Author

Paul Hammel

Paul Hammel

Senior Reporter Paul Hammel has covered the Nebraska Legislature and Nebraska state government for decades. He started his career reporting for the Omaha Sun and later, editing the Papillion Times group in suburban Omaha. He joined the Lincoln Journal-Star as a sports enterprise reporter, and then a roving reporter covering southeast Nebraska. In 1990, he was hired by the Omaha World-Herald as a legislative reporter. Later, for 15 years, he roamed the state covering all kinds of news and feature stories. In the past decade, he served as chief of the Lincoln Bureau and enterprise reporter. Paul has won awards for reporting from Great Plains Journalism, the Associated Press, Nebraska Newspaper Association and Suburban Newspapers of America. A native of Ralston, Nebraska, he is vice president of the John G. Neihardt Foundation, a member of the Nebraska Hop Growers and a volunteer caretaker of Irvingdale Park in Lincoln.

Stacks of Petitions

After eight years of failed efforts, advocates for legalizing medical cannabis try again in the Legislature

By: - January 18, 2023

LINCOLN — Advocates for legalizing cannabis for medical use are trying again in 2023, despite at least eight years of setbacks in Nebraska. “There is one thing we will not do, and that is give up,” said Crista Eggers of Gretna, whose son suffers from intractable epileptic seizures. The first proposal in the Nebraska Legislature […]

youth sports

Bills would ban transgender youths from sports teams, block gender alteration procedures for minors

By: - January 17, 2023

LINCOLN — Nebraska would join at least 18 other states that have enacted bans on transgender youth participation on sports teams, under a bill introduced Tuesday in the Nebraska Legislature. The “Sports and Spaces” proposal, introduced by State Sen. Kathleen Kauth of Omaha and 27 co-sponsors, would limit participation of youth athletes to school-sponsored teams […]

James Lawler

UNMC official predicts next two months will be ‘real ugly’ due to new ‘Super Kraken’ COVID-19 variant

By: - January 17, 2023

LINCOLN — Infectious disease authority Dr. James Lawler is predicting a couple of “real ugly” months ahead due to the arrival of a new, more transmissible, more immunity-evasive variant of COVID-19. In a YouTube video posted last week, Lawler said the new XBB. 1.5 COVID variant is already causing jumps in hospitalization rates in the […]

harvest

‘Right to repair’ advocate plans to wait and see if recent MOU really helps

By: - January 17, 2023

LINCOLN — If a tractor on State Sen. Tom Brandt’s farm near Plymouth breaks down, he doesn’t reach for a wrench but for a telephone — because only a John Deere technician can discern what a computer-coded alert of a problem means on one of its modern tractors or combines. It costs $150 an hour […]

Gun rights

With threats against politicians rising, group says it’s time to ban guns at Nebraska State Capitol

By: - January 16, 2023

LINCOLN — With threats against politicians on the increase, a Nebraska group is calling for approval of a ban on the open carrying of guns at the Nebraska State Capitol. Nebraskans Against Gun Violence was among those testifying last week at a legislative hearing in support of a rule change that would ban the open […]

Tekamah bank

Tekamah entrepreneur restores elegant and historic bank to new glory

By: - January 16, 2023

TEKAMAH – Cindy Chatt has a thing for old buildings. In her former profession as a marketing consultant for corporations, she chose to live in the city cores of New York City, St. Louis, Philadelphia and Jacksonville, in structures that were part of those cities’ history. When she decided to return to her hometown of […]

American Legion

American Legion decides to censure, not remove, officials who wore Legion caps to pardons hearing

By: - January 13, 2023

NORFOLK, Nebraska — Voices rose and gavels pounded Friday, but in the end, several officers with the American Legion were censured, rather than removed from office, for wearing their official Legion caps as a show of support for pardoning a convicted sex offender. The censure was a compromise reached by an executive committee of the […]

ACLU condemns ‘drag’ show proposal as part of national effort to ‘push LGBTQ+ people out of public life’

By: - January 12, 2023

LINCOLN — A bill introduced Thursday in the Nebraska Legislature to block minors from attending “drag” shows was condemned as part of the culture war against the LGBTQ+ community. “Let’s call this what it is — an unconstitutional censorship attempt rooted in a coordinated national effort to push LGBTQ+ people out of public life,” said […]

Senators introduce parental ‘bill of rights’ proposal to ensure parental control over education

By: - January 12, 2023

LINCOLN — As promised, State Sen. Dave Murman of Glenvil has introduced a bill that he says would ensure that parents have control over the teaching of their children and that inappropriate books or instruction are not offered. On Thursday, he and nine cosponsors introduced Legislative Bill 374, the “Parents’ Bill of Rights and Academic […]

COMMENTARY

Veteran head of political accountability commission to retire in August

By: - January 12, 2023

LINCOLN — Frank Daley Jr., who has been executive director of the Nebraska Political Accountability and Disclosure Commission since 1999, has announced that he will retire in August. Daley, a native of Orange, N.J., called his job “fascinating” but said that he will be 69 by August and felt that it was time to “look […]

Nebraska State Capitol

Senator proposes to block reporters from executive sessions in Nebraska Legislature

By: - January 11, 2023

Nebraska media opposes proposal to block reporters from covering executive sessions of State Legislature as reducing transparency

Omaha lawyer named to sort out complex Lincoln estate in $40 million bank fraud case

By: - January 11, 2023

LINCOLN — With 12 lawyers looking on, a Lancaster County judge on Wednesday approved the appointment of an attorney to sort out the tangled estate of deceased Lincoln businessman Aaron Marshbanks. “This is a unique case, which is probably an understatement,” said Brandon Tomjack, who represents Midstates Bank of Council Bluffs, Iowa. Since Marshbanks, 45, […]