Paul Hammel

Paul Hammel

Senior Reporter Paul Hammel has covered the Nebraska state government and the state for decades. Previously with the Omaha World-Herald, Lincoln Journal Star and Omaha Sun, he is a member of the Omaha Press Club's Hall of Fame. He grows hops, brews homemade beer, plays bass guitar and basically loves traveling and writing about the state. A native of Ralston, Nebraska, he is vice president of the John G. Neihardt Foundation.

Nebraska gets $87.7 million in additional funds for broadband expansion

By: - August 30, 2022

LINCOLN — Nebraska is getting an additional $87.7 million for its so-called Broadband Bridge program to improve high-speed internet services across the state. The U.S. Department of Treasury announced the award Tuesday. The funding is part of the American Rescue Plan Act and part of President Joe Biden’s push to improve broadband coverage. The new […]

Western Governors University

Nontraditional students get another option to complete college degrees

By: - August 30, 2022

LINCOLN — Married with three kids and working, Amanda Redler said she couldn’t manage the one-hour commute to a community college from her home in Albion to resume her college studies. So Redler turned to the Western Governors University, a completely online university that Nebraska helped found back in 1996 when Ben Nelson was governor. […]

Logan Creek

Legislative report says dams could mitigate flooding on lower Platte River

By: - August 30, 2022

LINCOLN — A recent legislative study into developing a huge recreational lake between Omaha and Lincoln was careful to reassure residents of Ashland that it wouldn’t include damming the Platte River and flooding the town of Ashland. That idea, part of past proposals to spur development between the state’s two largest cities, stirred up a […]

state auditor

Allegations of misuse of funds by Rockville village clerk referred for possible prosecution

By: - August 29, 2022

LINCOLN — Allegations that a former village clerk in central Nebraska used village funds to purchase home canning supplies, Christmas-type lights and liver cleanse pills have been forwarded for possible criminal prosecution.  The Nebraska State Auditor’s Office issued a report Monday noting that the former village clerk in Rockville, Amanda Green, had used a village […]


State teachers union launches campaign to highlight public education, push back on effort to fund private schools

By: - August 29, 2022

LINCOLN — The Nebraska teachers union will push a “Public School Proud” public relations campaign this fall to counter efforts to divert public funds to private schools. The Nebraska State Education Association said a grant from the National Education Association will help fund the five-week television, radio and digital campaign this fall. NSEA President Jenni […]

Rep. Mike Flood headed to southern border as congressional delegation addresses immigration issues

By: - August 26, 2022

ASHLAND, Nebraska — U.S. Rep. Mike Flood said Thursday that he’ll visit the southern U.S. border next week to see first-hand what’s been described to him as a crisis. “I’ve heard from several congressmen who said you’ve heard about the immigration problem, but when you actually see it … you would be shocked at what […]

Nebraska State Capitol Building

New girls’ YRTC in Hastings gets 100% compliance with corrections standards

By: - August 26, 2022

LINCOLN — The state’s new Youth Rehabilitation and Treatment Center for girls in Hastings recently earned a 100% compliance grade from a national corrections group, according to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. The Hastings center, which opened last year to replace the girls’ YRTC in Geneva, was found in compliance with 343 […]

Nearly $17.5 million in grants awarded for affordable housing projects in Nebraska

By: - August 25, 2022

LINCOLN — Forty affordable housing projects across the state, from  Auburn to Bertrand and Ewing to Omaha, will share in nearly $17.5 million in state housing grants, the Nebraska Department of Economic Development announced Wednesday. The grants, which are annual awards from the 26-year-old Nebraska Affordable Housing Trust Fund, will help develop 381 housing units, […]

Stacks of Petitions

Signatures on medical marijuana initiative petitions to get a second look

By: - August 24, 2022

LINCOLN — The Nebraska Secretary of State’s Office has agreed to take another look at signatures submitted by a group seeking legalization of medical marijuana to determine if they should have been counted. But the office says that even with a second look, its declaration remains that the initiative petition drive by Nebraskans for Medical […]

Major Nebraska Democratic Party fundraiser renamed in honor of Kerrey, Nelson

By: - August 24, 2022

LINCOLN — The Nebraska Democratic Party is renaming one of its annual fundraisers in honor of Bob Kerrey and Ben Nelson, who both served as Nebraska governor and in the U.S. Senate. The annual event has been known as the Morrison-Exon Dinner, in honor of Gov. Frank Morrison and Sen. Jim Exon. Morrison, who served as […]

Group condemns distribution of antisemitic literature near Omaha synagogue

By: - August 23, 2022

OMAHA – A national civil rights group on Tuesday condemned the recent distribution of antisemitic literature in a west Omaha neighborhood near a Jewish synagogue. A spokesman with the Council on American-Islamic Relations said that it’s a favorite tactic of white supremacist groups to fill bags or envelopes with rice or gravel so that they […]

Medical marijuana

Senator pledges to seek special session, introduce bill to legalize medical marijuana

By: - August 23, 2022

LINCOLN — Advocates for legalization of medical marijuana were pursuing a trio of options Tuesday after their attempt at qualifying the issue for the November ballot fell short. Representatives of Nebraska for Medical Marijuana met Tuesday with officials with the Nebraska Secretary of State’s Office to try to discern how the petition drive fell short […]