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.

Sign protesting XL Keystone pipeline on a storefront in Polk, Nebraska

Keystone Pipeline shut down after leak into Kansas stream on Wednesday

By: - December 8, 2022

LINCOLN — Canadian pipeline company TC Energy shut down its Keystone Pipeline on Wednesday after an oil leak was detected about 8 p.m. The leak released oil into a creek in Washington County, Kan., about 20 miles south of a pipeline terminal at Steele City, Neb. The company, in a press statement, said an emergency […]

Texas man ordered to pay $40 million in restitution for defrauding investors

By: - December 7, 2022

LINCOLN — A Texas man, who assured investors that he was investing their funds in businesses providing “excellent and innovative” products, has been sentenced to 66 months in prison and ordered to pay $40.9 million in restitution. Frederick Voight, 65, of Richmond, Texas, was sentenced Wednesday by U.S. District Judge John Gerrard for mail fraud […]

ditch irrigation

Water users file lawsuit and protest against proposed merger of power districts

By: - December 7, 2022

LINCOLN — A group of central Nebraska irrigators, upset over the proposed merger of two public power and irrigation districts, have now taken legal steps to block it. A lawsuit filed Friday by a group called “Citizens Opposed to the Merger” maintains that public meeting laws were violated when the governing boards of the Central […]

Amid lawsuit over recount, Nebraska secretary of state to discuss accuracy of vote count

By: - December 7, 2022

LINCOLN — Nebraska Secretary of State Bob Evnen, who is facing a legal challenge over a recount in a tight Lincoln legislative race, has scheduled a press conference Monday to discuss the 2022 general election and results of an audit of the accuracy of the ballot count. Cindi Allen, a spokeswoman for the Secretary of […]

Council Bluffs, Iowa, man sentenced to prison for placing explosive devices at Omaha residence

By: - December 6, 2022

LINCOLN — A Council Bluffs, Iowa, man has been sentenced to two years in federal prison for placing more than a dozen homemade explosive devices around a detached garage and vehicle in Omaha. Ricky Wynn, 61, was sentenced on Friday by U.S. District Judge Robert Rossiter Jr. for transporting explosive materials with intent to injure. […]

Marshbanks home

Pursuit for funds from deceased Lincoln businessman expands to Iowa

By: - December 6, 2022

Editor’s note: This article was updated to include a second court filing from Iowa. LINCOLN — Three more financial institutions, including two from Iowa, have now joined the more than 20 Nebraska banks, savings and loans and credit unions seeking repayment of loans from a Lincoln businessman found deceased a month ago. In a court […]

Republican gubernatorial candidate Jim Pillen

Gov. Ricketts now says he’ll be an applicant for vacant U.S. Senate seat

By: - December 6, 2022

Editor’s note: this story has been updated to add comments from Gov. Ricketts’ press conference Tuesday morning. LINCOLN — After playing coy for more than two months, Gov. Pete Ricketts said Tuesday he will apply for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Ben Sasse. “For me, it came down to a single question: How […]

chicken barns

Report suggests that litter from chicken farms has upped contamination of water

By: - December 6, 2022

LINCOLN — A new report suggests that manure-laced litter, removed from chicken barns raising millions of chickens for Costco, is increasing contamination of some nearby streams in eastern Nebraska. The three-year-long study, facilitated by the environmental group GC Resolve and the Nebraska Farmers Union Foundation, calls for increased testing of contaminants such as phosphorous and […]

Ben Sasse makes it official, will resign U.S. Senate seat Jan. 8

By: - December 5, 2022

LINCOLN — U.S. Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., made it official Monday afternoon, submitting a resignation letter that says he will leave office on Jan. 8. That would be only three days after Gov.-elect Jim Pillen takes the oath of office. Pillen, a Columbus pork producer and veterinarian, is widely expected to appoint current Gov. Pete […]

Marshbanks home

Target of loan fraud investigation was building multimillion-dollar residential complex

By: - December 5, 2022

Editor’s note: this story was updated with new information learned Monday. LINCOLN – The target of a state banking investigation into alleged fraudulent loans was in the process of building a multimillion-dollar residential complex on the eastern edge of the Capital City. Aaron Marshbanks, who was found dead a month ago in a downtown Lincoln […]

State investigating what could be Nebraska’s largest bank fraud

By: and - December 2, 2022

LINCOLN — State and local officials are investigating what might be Nebraska’s largest case of bank fraud related to loans obtained by a recently deceased Lincoln developer. Claims by banks and other lenders against the estate of Aaron Marshbanks already total more than $30 million and may eclipse $50 million by the time all of […]

Mayhew Cabin

Historic cabin, popular tourist stop remains closed, maybe for good

By: - November 30, 2022

NEBRASKA CITY — The sign outside the long-closed Mayhew Cabin museum and John Brown’s Cave is blunt and to the point: “Killed by City of NC.” “NC” refers to Nebraska City, a quaint Missouri River town that is the home of Arbor Day as well as 10 museums, honoring everything from windmills to Civil War […]