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NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (AP) — Officials say disease didn't kill the thousands of fish found dead along the shore and in a western Nebraska lake.

The fish kill was reported May 26 at Lake Maloney, which sits about 3 miles (5 kilometers) south of North Platte. Most of them were white bass.

The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission says the examinations of carcasses indicated several possible causes for the fish deaths.

Experts say the bass were spawning over an extended time because of the unusual weather during their normal spawning period. The fish expended extra energy over a prolonged time, making them more susceptible to more stressors, such as poor water quality.


OSHKOSH, Neb. (AP) — A western Nebraska judge has acquitted a school superintendent accused of assaulting an 8-year-old student.

Judge Randin Roland filed a verdict of not guilty last week for Garden County Schools Superintendent Paula Sissel, who'd been charged with misdemeanor assault in Garden County. He'd considered testimony and evidence from a nonjury trial last month in Oshkosh.

A video of the Nov. 13 incident shows Sissel pulling the girl down a hallway before the girl's placed in what was referred to as a "chill out room." It's alleged the girl suffered a rug burn.

Sissel acknowledged pulling the girl, in part to protect a physical therapist who was trying to deal with the girl's outburst. The girl's mother says the girl is possibly autistic and functions at the level of a 3- or 4-year-old.


JUNE 29, 2018 (NORTH PLATTE, NEB.)  — The Nebraska State Patrol and many other entities participated in an exercise this week in North Platte to unify all entities who respond to a critical traffic incident.

The exercise included a mock crash, with response from law enforcement, emergency medical services, fire departments, road management officials, and tow operators. The concept allows for each discipline to focus on their job, allowing others to do their work.

“This exercise was important because it allows us to coordinate with other agencies to develop a common sense approach to these major incidents,” said Captain Martin Denton, Commander of NSP Troop D – North Platte. “When everyone is on the same page before they arrive on scene, the coordinated response is very efficient and much safer.”

Participants included the Nebraska State Patrol, Nebraska Department of Transportation, North Platte Fire Department, North Platte Police Department, Region 51 (Lincoln County) Emergency Management, Kearney Towing, Herbst Towing, Big Red Towing, Great Plains Health Life Net / Air Methods, and Union Pacific. Several other agencies and businesses from the surrounding area attended to observe.

The exercise was facilitated by the 3rd Traffic Incident Management System (TIMS) group in Nebraska. The event took place at S. Victoria Lane in North Platte on Wednesday, June 27


JUNE 27, 2018 (SCOTTSBLUFF, NEB.)  — One person has been arrested following an operation of the Panhandle Region Team of the Nebraska Human Trafficking Task Force.

The operation occurred on Tuesday, June 26, in Sidney. The Task Force was assisted by the WING (Western Nebraska Intelligence and Narcotics Group) Task Force, the Sidney Police Department, Cheyenne County Sheriff’s Office, Gering Police Department, Scottsbluff Police Department, the Nebraska Attorney General’s Office, the Nebraska State Patrol, and several other entities.

During the operation, James Raymond Hill, 52, of Mitchell, Nebraska was arrested for solicitation of prostitution.

In addition to enforcement against those who solicit sex acts, the operation also focused on recovering victims of human trafficking.

The Task Force would like to thank CAPstone, the Salvation Army, and DOVES for their assistance.


OGALLALA, Neb. (AP) — At least one person was injured when a powerful thunderstorm rolled through Keith County in western Nebraska.

The National Weather Service says one person was injured Sunday at Lake McConaughy, where camping vehicles were tossed or rolled by howling winds. A gust of 83 mph (134 kph) was reported.

Heavy rain and hail also were reported in the area.


OSHKOSH, Neb. (AP) — A judge is considering a verdict after the trial of a western Nebraska school superintendent accused of assaulting a student.

On Wednesday Judge Randin Roland heard testimony regarding the misdemeanor assault charge against Garden County Schools Superintendent Paula Sissel.

A prosecutor said Wednesday that Sissel had put her hands on the 8-year-old girl. A video of the Nov. 13 incident shows Sissel pulling the girl down a hallway before the girl's placed in what was referred to as a "chill out room." It's alleged the girl suffered a rug burn on a shoulder.

Sissel acknowledged pulling the girl, in part to protect a physical therapist who was trying to deal with the girl's outburst. The girl's mother says the girl is possibly autistic and functions at the level of a 3- or 4-year-old child.

A ruling is expected within two weeks.


KEARNEY, Neb. (AP) — Police say they aren't giving up on a 10-year-old central Nebraska homicide case and are still actively pursuing leads despite having no suspects.

Kearney Police Department Captain Mike Kirkwood tells the Kearney Hub that officers work on the Kelcey Fike murder investigation on almost a daily basis. He says police remain confident they'll find Fike's killer, particularly once technology advances to test and decipher the DNA found on the victim's body.

Kirkwood has shared more details about Fike's death at her trailer in Kearney in June 2008. He says police believe there's a high probability the killer knew Fike and that an attempted sexual assault may have occurred.

An autopsy found that Fike died of a ligature strangulation and blunt force trauma to the torso and head.


(NORTH PLATTE, NEB.) — The Nebraska State Patrol (NSP) is seeking the public’s help in locating a person wanted on multiple charges. An arrest warrant has been issued in Chase County for Kody G. Huff, 30, for the following offenses: first degree assault, kidnapping, terroristic threats, use of a weapon to commit a felony, possession of a weapon by a prohibited person.

If you have any information on the whereabouts of Kody Huff, please call the NSP tip line at (308) 535-8137.


NORTH PLATTE,Neb. (June 11, 2018) — As part of an international movement, the American Red Cross is launching the Missing Types campaign today to recruit new blood donors – and those who have not given recently – to ensure lifesaving blood is available for patients.

During the Missing Types campaign, the letters A, B and O – the main blood groups – will disappear from brands, social media pages, signs and websites to illustrate the critical role every blood donor plays. When the letters A, B and O vanish from everyday life, the gaps are striking. And when A, B and O blood types are missing from hospital shelves, patient care could be impacted.

“Unfortunately, blood shortages still happen and the number of new Red Cross blood donors is shrinking each year,” said Cliff Numark, senior vice president, Red Cross Blood Services. “That’s why the Red Cross is asking those who have never donated blood and those who haven’t given in a while to make a lifesaving donation. You are the missing type patients need.”

Don’t wait until the letters A, B and O go missing from hospital shelves. Join the #MissingType movement today – make an appointment to give blood by visiting, using the Red Cross Blood Donor Appor calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).


A Hayes Center woman has been named Miss Teen Rodeo Nebraska 2018.

Rebel Sjeklocha was crowned Wednesday afternoon at the North Platte Community Playhouse in North Platte. Sjeklocha, 17, won the personality, speech, written test and appearance categories of the pageant.

JoSee Saults, 17, of Big Springs, won the pageant’s Rising Star award.

Bailey Lehr, 17, of Columbus, was named first-runner up after winning the horsemanship, photogenic and congeniality awards. She will fulfill the duties of queen if, for some reason, Sjeklocha is unable to complete her reign.

Sjeklocha won first-runner up at the pageant in 2016 and 2017. She also won the speech category both years.

“The experience taught me to never give up on my goals,” Sjeklocha said. “If your heart truly longs for something, keep working hard to obtain that goal.”

Sjeklocha is the daughter of Rusty and Susan Sjeklocha. She graduated from Maywood High School in May and has plans to attend the University of Nebraska–Lincoln to study Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Communications in the fall.

Rebel would like to eventually go to law school and open a practice in a rural area. Her dream is to help farmers and ranchers pass on their livelihoods to the next generation as well as defend the natural resources that are vital to their operations.