Nebraska News

Columbus man pleads no contest in grandmother's death
COLUMBUS, Neb. (AP) — A Columbus man has pleaded no contest to manslaughter in the fatal stabbing of his grandmother in 2014. Twenty-year-old Chase Micklevitz entered the plea Monday. It means he neither admits nor disputes the charge. Micklevitz's murder trial for the death of 58-year-old Deanna Micklevitz was scheduled to begin in July. He was initially charged with second-degree murder and use of a deadly weapon to commit a felony, but they were dropped as part of a plea deal with prosecutors. Police say Micklevitz stabbed his grandmother four times last summer with a kitchen knife. She was pronounced dead at a hospital. Micklevitz is scheduled to be sentenced on July 31.

Former death row inmate died of rare salivary gland cancer
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — A man who spent 30 years on Nebraska's death row for two cult murders died of complications from a rare cancer in his salivary glands. A death certificate obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press lists the cause of death for Michael Ryan as "metastatic carcinoma or parotid gland origin." Ryan died on May 24 at the Tecumseh State Correctional Institutional in southeast Nebraska. Ryan was convicted in the 1985 torture and killing of 25-year-old James Thimm at a farm near Rulo, where Ryan led a cult, and in the beating death of Luke Stice, the 5-year-old son of a cult member. State Sen. Ernie Chambers of Omaha told a legislative committee in March that Ryan suffered from terminal brain cancer. It's not clear whether the cancer had spread.

Lincoln City Council denies over $600K in sewage claims
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — The Lincoln City Council has rejected more than $600,000 in claims by residents whose homes were damaged by sewage during heavy rains. The sewage backups were caused by storm runoff overwhelming the Theresa Street wastewater treatment facility in October and May. The city attorney has said Lincoln isn't legally responsible for the damage. He said city staffers weren't negligent and that the damage was caused by the weather. The council on Monday voted to deny the claims. The council has made an effort to help affected residents by approving a $1 million program that would go toward cleanup costs. Property owners can either accept the city's disaster assistance for cleanup costs or take their claims to district court.

Wyoming boy dies after being pulled from Nebraska reservoir
KIMBALL, Neb. (AP) — Authorities say a 3-year-old Wyoming boy who was pulled from a western Nebraska reservoir has died at a Denver hospital. The accident occurred Saturday evening at Oliver Reservoir, about eight miles west of Kimball. Sgt. Brandon Loy of the Kimball County Sheriff's Office says the boy had been with relatives in the swimming area. Loy says he was at the reservoir when one of the boy's relatives called 911 and says he soon found the boy floating in the water. Loy says paramedics took the boy to a Kimball hospital, and he later was flown to Denver. Loy says the boy died there around 3 a.m. Sunday. He identified the boy as Bentley Graves, of Pine Bluffs, Wyoming.

Nebraska Sen. Nordquist submits resignation to governor
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska state Sen. Jeremy Nordquist has submitted his resignation letter to the governor as he begins a new job with Democratic U.S. Rep. Brad Ashford. Nordquist's final day in office is Tuesday. The lawmaker was first elected to the Legislature in 2008, representing part of downtown Omaha and the South Omaha district. He announced last month that he is moving to Washington to serve as Ashford's chief-of-staff. Nordquist says he feels blessed to have served in the Legislature, and urged Gov. Pete Ricketts to appoint a replacement who shares the values of the district's residents. The appointee will serve the rest of Nordquist's term, which ends in January 2017.

2-year-old dies at hospital after being found in family pool
LAWRENCE, Neb. (AP) — Officials say a 2-year-old girl has died after being found in a pool at her family's home in southern Nebraska's Nuckolls County. The Nuckolls County Sheriff's Office says deputies were sent to the home in Lawrence about 10:20 a.m. Sunday. The office says in a news release that investigators think the child climbed the ladder of the above-ground pool while she played unattended in the surrounding yard. She was discovered in the water by her mother and grandmother after they noticed she wasn't in the house. The Sheriff's Office says the girl was taken to Mary Lanning Healthcare in Hastings, where she was pronounced dead. The child's name and the names of her mother and grandmother haven't been released. The girl's death is being investigated.

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