AURORA, Neb. (AP) — The son of actors Sean Penn and Robin Wright has pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor in his Nebraska drug case.
Twenty-four-year-old Hopper Penn and his girlfriend, 26-year-old Uma Von Wittkamp, were arrested during a traffic stop on April 4 on Interstate 80 in southeastern Nebraska.
The Nebraska State Patrol says a search of their vehicle turned up 14 grams of marijuana, four amphetamine pills and 3 grams of psychedelic mushrooms.
Both were initially charged with felony drug possession. Court records show they later pleaded no contest to the misdemeanor charge of attempt of a felony. Each was ordered to pay $1,000.
A no-contest plea allows a defendant to not admit guilt but acknowledge that there's enough evidence for a conviction.
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska motorists could soon pay less to the state at gas pumps.
The Department of Revenue announced Wednesday that the state motor fuels tax will drop fourth-tenths of a cent on July 1, to 28 cents per gallon (nearly 4 liters) from 28.4 cents.
The fuels tax is composed of a wholesale, variable and fixed tax. The wholesale is based on the wholesale price of fuel. That tax will rise to 9.7 cents from 8.7 cents.
The variable tax is based on legislative appropriations for transportation. That rate will drop to 3.5 cents from 4.9 cents.
The fixed tax will remain unchanged at 14.8 cents per gallon.
The new rate runs through Dec. 31.
Nebraska advances execution plans despite secrecy concerns
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska officials are forging ahead with their effort to execute the state's longest-serving death-row inmate without disclosing where they obtained lethal injection drugs, despite a judge's order this week to identify their supplier.
The Nebraska attorney general appealed the judge's ruling on Tuesday as it pushes in a separate case to set a July 10 execution date set for Carey Dean Moore.
State officials are scrambling to execute Moore before their supply of a key execution drug expires in August, while simultaneously fighting a legal battle that could force them to reveal who gave them the drugs.
The administration of Gov. Pete Ricketts has also sued the Legislature to block a subpoena that would force the state corrections director to testify about Nebraska's execution protocol.
Amazon, JPMorgan Chase and Berkshire Hathaway have picked well-known author and Harvard professor Dr. Atul Gawande to transform the health care they give their employees.
The three corporate titans said Wednesday that Gawande will lead an independent company focused on a mission they announced earlier this year: figuring out ways to improve a broken and often inefficient system for delivering care.
Health care researchers have said any possible solutions produced by this new venture will be felt well beyond the estimated 1 million workers the three companies employ in the United States. Other companies that provide employee health coverage are eager to find solutions for health care costs that often rise faster than inflation and squeeze their budgets in the process.
Berkshire Chairman and CEO Warren Buffett has described health costs as a "hungry tapeworm on the American economy."
Leaders of the three companies have said little about how their Boston-based venture plans to tackle this problem, but they have noted that it will take time to figure out solutions, a point they emphasized again on Wednesday.
"We said at the outset that the degree of difficulty is high and success is going to require an expert's knowledge, a beginner's mind, and a long-term orientation," Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said in a prepared statement. "(Gawande) embodies all three, and we're starting strong as we move forward in this challenging and worthwhile endeavor."
Employer-sponsored insurance covers about 157 million people, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. That's nearly half the total U.S. population and the biggest slice of the country's patchwork health insurance market.
Neither companies nor many of their employees are happy with how the system currently works. Employers have reacted in part to rising costs by raising deductibles and other costs, asking their workers to pay more of the bill and to shop around for better deals. Many patients, especially the sickest, struggle with that.
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — A new court in Nebraska is working with veterans facing felony charges to get their lives back on track.
The Lincoln Journal Star reports that the Lancaster County Veterans Treatment Court has accepted six veterans into the program since it began about a year ago. The court serves combat veterans with little or no criminal record before their service ended, who were honorably discharged and have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder or a traumatic brain injury.
Corry Starks has both and was facing two felony drug charges. He says the program is a full-time job, but it's helping him transition back into society.
Coordinator Tony Conell says the program is beginning to welcome more applicants. He says they're looking to extend treatment to combat veterans with mental health disorders beyond PTSD and brain trauma.
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — The state's preliminary May unemployment rate matched the April, March and February rate of 2.8 percent, the Nebraska Labor Department said in a report released Friday.
The rate is down a tenth of a point from the 2.9 percent of May 2017, the department said, and remained well below the U.S. figure, which dropped to 3.8 percent from 3.9 percent in April.
"Total nonfarm employment for May 2018 marks an all-time high for Nebraska," said state Labor Commissioner John Albin. "Contributing to this growth were the Lincoln and Omaha metropolitan areas, which also reached historical highs."
State nonfarm employment for May was 1,039,557, up 12,760 over the year and up 13,162 over the month. Private industries with the most growth year over year were manufacturing, up 3,539; leisure and hospitality, up 3,442; and professional and business services, up 2,857.
Month to month, the largest gains were seen in mining and construction, up 3,525; trade, transportation and utilities, up 3,378; and leisure and hospitality, up 2,736.
The preliminary Omaha-area rate dropped to 2.8 percent from 2.9 percent in April. The new rate is a tenth of a point lower than that of May 2017. Lincoln's preliminary rate remained unchanged at 2.6 percent in May, matching the year-ago figure. Grand Island's preliminary rate for May dropped to 2.9 percent from 3 percent in April. The new figure was a tenth of a point higher than May 2017.
The unemployment rates for Grand Island, Lincoln and Omaha have not been seasonally adjusted, so they cannot be directly compared with the state unemployment rate.
Here are preliminary area labor market unemployment rates for May, followed by the April rates:
— Beatrice: 3.0, 3.1
— Columbus: 2.8, 2.8
— Fremont: 2.8, 2.8
— Hastings: 2.8, 2.9
— Kearney: 2.5, 2.3
— Lexington: 2.7, 2.9
— Norfolk: 2.5, 2.6
— North Platte: 2.9, 2.9
— Red Willow: 2.6, 2.5
— Scottsbluff: 3.2, 3.3
(GRAND ISLAND, NEB.) — Troopers with the Nebraska State Patrol have arrested two men and seized 149 pounds of marijuana during a traffic stop on Interstate 80.
At approximately Wednesday, June 13, a trooper stopped an eastbound 2017 Dodge Caravan for failing to signal near York, at mile marker 353. During the stop, the trooper observed a vacuum-sealed bag of marijuana plainly visible inside the vehicle.
Troopers and deputies from the York County Sheriff’s Office searched the vehicle and discovered 149 pounds of marijuana. The estimated street value of the marijuana is $447,000.
The driver, Robert Rosenwasser, 56, of Florida, and Milton Coore, 53, of Jamaica, were arrested for possession of marijuana – more than one pound, possession with intent to deliver, and no Drug Tax stamp. Both men were lodged in York County Jail.