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.

ditch irrigation

Irrigators upset over proposed merger of central Nebraska irrigation/power districts

By: - October 24, 2022

LINCOLN — Water users in the Central Nebraska Public Power and Irrigation District plan a show of force Monday to oppose a proposed merger between Central and the Dawson Public Power District. The governing boards of the two districts have scheduled a joint board meeting for 3 p.m. Monday at Elwood to vote on a […]

Nebraska Environmental Trust

Nebraska Environmental Trust seeks input on grant application process, which has stirred past controversy

By: - October 21, 2022

LINCOLN — The Nebraska Environmental Trust has scheduled a trio of “listening sessions” — beginning Tuesday — to gather ideas on whether changes are needed in the process of awarding grants that benefit the state’s environment. The Trust, which grants about $20 million a year in state lottery proceeds after scoring them, has come under […]

U.S. Rep. Adrian Smith

Smith touts work on tax relief and trade as he campaigns for an eighth term

By: - October 21, 2022

LINCOLN — Seeking re-election for an eighth two-year term, U.S. Rep. Adrian Smith, R-Neb., is emphasizing his work on tax relief and foreign trade as he campaigns for votes in the state’s vast, 3rd Congressional District.  In an interview with the Nebraska Examiner, the 51-year-old Republican defended his vote against certifying results of the 2020 […]

Historical marker

New state program funds historical markers for underserved groups

By: - October 20, 2022

LINCOLN — A dozen state historical markers are being erected as part of a new History Nebraska program to share the stories of underserved groups and historical events. The state history organization on Thursday announced the first recipients of its Nebraska Historic Marker Equity Grant program, which finances the markers. They cost up to $6,000 […]

whooping crane

Migrating whooping cranes prompt temporary closure of Clay County wildlife area

By: - October 20, 2022

LINCOLN — A pair of migrating whooping cranes has prompted the temporary closure of Kissinger Wildlife Management Area, north of Fairfield, Nebraska. The closure is standard procedure for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission when endangered whooping cranes take up temporary residence on property owned or managed by the agency. The closure will be lifted […]

maximum security cells

Prison watchdog urges caution in opening new unit for highest risk inmates

By: - October 20, 2022

LINCOLN — A prison watchdog is urging caution as the state prepares to open a new, 384-bed unit designed to hold the state’s most dangerous inmates. In a 29-page report released Wednesday, the Inspector General’s Office for Nebraska Corrections outlined a series of complaints, fielded from inmates and security staff, about the management of similar, […]

Patrick O'Donnell

Patrick O’Donnell, nation’s longest-serving clerk of the Legislature, plans to retire

By: - October 18, 2022

LINCOLN – Patrick O’Donnell, the longtime clerk of the Nebraska Legislature, announced Tuesday that he’s retiring at the end of the year. O’Donnell, 73, is currently the longest-serving clerk of a state legislature in the nation, having held the post since 1978. In an email to state senators late Tuesday afternoon, O’Donnell gave no detail […]

Pete McClymont

McClymont to retire from top job at Nebraska Cattlemen

By: - October 18, 2022

LINCOLN — Pete McClymont, the executive vice president of the Nebraska Cattlemen, has announced his retirement. During 25 years with the livestock organization, McClymont rose from serving on the board of directors, to becoming vice president of legislative affairs and, eventually, the top job, in 2013. McClymont, a native of Holdrege, said that it has […]

Heartland Expressway

More miles completed on Panhandle’s Heartland Expressway

By: - October 18, 2022

LINCOLN — Dignitaries gathered Monday to celebrate completion of an additional 14 miles of four-lane, divided freeway on the Heartland Expressway in Nebraska’s Panhandle. The new four-lane portion extends from Nebraska Highway Link 62A,  east of Minatare, to Alliance. Increased revenue from the Build Nebraska Act and the Transportation Innovation Act enabled the Nebraska Department […]

Ted Carter, NU president

NU Regents race is spiced by charge that campaign is aimed at replacing top university leaders

By: - October 15, 2022

LINCOLN — A contentious race for a seat on the University of Nebraska Board of Regents is being marked by claims that the top issue is whether the NU leadership is “too liberal” and must be replaced. One candidate for the post, State Sen. Matt Williams of Gothenburg, said recent attacks against his campaign from […]

Legion members protest pardon for fellow veteran for ‘heinous’ sex assault

By: - October 14, 2022

LINCOLN — A group of American Legion members are protesting the September pardon of a fellow Legion member, saying that John Arias didn’t deserve a pardon for a violent, 1993 sex assault and that Arias used other Legion members to win the pardon. On Sept. 19, the Nebraska Board of Pardons voted 2-1 to grant […]

David Else

David Else swaps his calls to Ricketts’ call-in show for a campaign for Congress

By: - October 13, 2022

LINCOLN — You may know him as “David from Overton” for his regular calls to Gov. Pete Ricketts’ radio call-in show to criticize Republican policies.  But that notoriety and a hard-luck life story have elevated David Else from a call-in show regular into a candidate for U.S. Congress, albeit a long-shot one, against U.S. Rep. […]