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Daily NET Radio news and features on a wide variety of topics that affect Lincoln, Omaha, and all of Nebraska. Updated weekdays.

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    • Sep 26, 2022 LATEST EPISODE
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    Latest episodes from News & Features | NET Radio

    Sec. of State will hold three hearings on ballot initiatives

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 26, 2022 0:51

    Nebraska's Secretary of State's office announced three public hearings on two ballot initiatives Monday ahead of the November 8th election. Nebraska Public Media's Will Bauer has more on what the initiatives are and when Nebraskans can learn more about them.

    Despite Niskíthe camp, city files suit to keep housing project

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 26, 2022 0:48

    The City of Lincoln filed a lawsuit that aims to keep a housing development moving forward, despite concerns from local Native American groups. Nebraska Public Media's Will Bauer has more on the growing rift between the city and the Niskíthe prayer camp.

    Commission approves Lincoln casino, first in Nebraska

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 23, 2022 1:34

    The Nebraska Racing and Gaming Commission approved the Warhorse Casino in Lincoln, the first in the state's history.

    Midwest farmers hope their hops can find a place in craft beer

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 23, 2022 0:41

    The craft beer industry is driving farmers in the Midwest to grow hops for their local beer makers. But the crop is not easy to grow — it's labor intensive and expensive.

    Mississippi River needs more work to keep invasive species out

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 23, 2022 4:12

    Federal and state agencies spend millions of dollars every year to keep destructive invasive carp out of the Great Lakes. Meanwhile, at least 25 destructive species — like water fleas and bloody red shrimp — are inching closer to the Mississippi River Basin.

    Colorado pushes back against Ricketts water claims

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 22, 2022 1:33

    Colorado officials say Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts is wrong when he says Colorado is not sending Nebraska enough water.

    2022 Governor's Lecture in Humanities Speaker: Candice Millard

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 22, 2022 17:05

    New York Times Best Selling Author Candice Millard is this year's Governor's Lecture in Humanities Series. Throughout her career, Millard has used her skill as a journalist and author to explore, humanize and contextualize people and events in ways that may be surprising to readers. In her latest book, River of the Gods, Millard explores the ill-begotten journey to discover the source of the Nile River in Egypt. Nebraska Public Media's William Padmore got the chance to sit with Millard a few days before the lecture and has this preview…

    A grassbank in Missouri shows how cattle can conserve prairie

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 22, 2022 0:42

    Dunn Ranch Prairie has the first grassbank in the Midwest, a partnership where The Nature Conservancy allows local ranchers to graze their cattle on its grasslands while the ranchers' pasture is allowed to rest.

    Telehealth abortion services struggle with murky laws

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 22, 2022 3:59

    Nebraska law allows telehealth services for a host of medical situations – but not for abortion. It's part of a patchwork of regulations in states around the Midwest that leaves providers and patients to navigate legal gray areas around the region. For the Midwest Newsroom, Farah Yousry reports.

    Ricketts says Colorado not delivering enough water

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 21, 2022 1:18

    Gov. Pete Ricketts says Colorado is not sending the amount of water it's required to have in the South Platte River at the state line.

    Family says Chadron State has hidden their daughter's death

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 20, 2022 5:27

    Fatima Larios' family hoped school officials could use her death as a way to help others trapped in abusive relationships seek support. Years later, the family thinks the Nebraska school has quietly tried to distance itself from the tragedy.

    Nebraska Pardon board decides to keep Earnest Jackson in prison

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 19, 2022 1:27

    The Nebraska Board of Pardons unanimously voted to deny Earnest Jackson's commutation request for immediate release on Monday.Jackson's family, friends, lawyers, volunteer groups – and the victim's family – all say Jackson did not kill Larry Perry – a crime which Jackson has served 22 years in prison for.“I'm so hurt that I'm speechless,” said Jackson's sister, Remee Greer. “I came here optimistic, hoping for the best, praying for the best but understanding how things go.”

    Frakes looks back on time as Nebraska corrections director

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 19, 2022 5:59

    Scott Frakes offers some thoughts on staffing, crime and punishment, and a new prison.

    Giant Kansas solar farm project pits neighbor against neighbor

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 16, 2022 4:10

    Johnson and Douglas counties approved regulations allowing the construction of what would be the largest utility-scale solar farm in Kansas. But while residents say they support green energy, there's a vocal contingent pushing back against building 2,000 acres of panels so close to their communities.

    Rail strike averted, but slowdowns still hurting Nebraska ag

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 16, 2022 1:16

    A tentative railway union agreement stopped a worker strike this week, but Nebraska farmers have been dealing with railway issues throughout the year. Nebraska Farm Bureau's president talks about how the railway staffing shortage has impacted farmers.

    Prison report: progress on crowding, staffing; health concerns

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 15, 2022 1:28

    A new report says Nebraska prisons are less overcrowded and understaffed than a year ago, but still short of medical personnel.

    Riley: South Platte canal could help in future droughts

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 14, 2022 1:55

    Nebraska Director of Natural Resources says a proposed canal to bring water from Colorado could alleviate future droughts.

    Mickey Joseph takes over Nebraska football program after Frost

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 13, 2022 1:12

    Mickey Joseph made his first public comments as the interim head coach of the Nebraska football program Tuesday. They come after former coach Scott Frost was fired over the weekend. Nebraska Public Media's Will Bauer reports Joseph talked briefly about his goals.

    Getting rural Nebraskans mental health care remains a challenge

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 13, 2022 4:34

    Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in Nebraska. Addressing this issue – especially in rural parts of the state – can be difficult. Nebraska Public Media's Will Bauer reports about the challenges to prevent suicide in rural areas and what officials plan to do about it. We should note: Some people may find this four minute story disturbing.

    Nebraska fires Scott Frost; Mickey Joseph appointed interim

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 12, 2022 4:56

    Nebraska's head football coach is out. On Sunday, University of Nebraska-Lincoln athletic director Trev Alberts fired Scott Frost in his fifth season with the Huskers. Nebraska Public Media reporters Will Bauer and Aaron Bonderson reflect on what led up to Frost's departure and what's next for the program.

    Rural areas need more vets, but low pay and debt are challenges

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 9, 2022 3:58

    Veterinarian clinics in rural towns have been dramatically declining in numbers for decades. Rural veterinarians often get paid less than urban practitioners, take on more workload and carry thousands of dollars in debt from medical school.

    Ricketts "Windshield Survey" of Canal Dips into Colorado

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 9, 2022 1:56

    Gov. Pete Ricketts' toured the route of his proposed canal to bring water from Colorado to Nebraska this week.

    This small town Iowa bar is a musical paradise

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 9, 2022 6:04

    Long after church bells have stopped chiming, this small northwest Iowa bar holds a different kind of Sunday communion. Folks from across the state pilgrimage to Pomeroy, a town of just under 500 people. All because of one unassuming bar that's drawing big acts from all over the country and then letting the bands keep the money.

    Abortion bans may harm Black Midwesterners more

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 8, 2022 4:34

    Abortion restrictions will likely affect Black women the most. Many are concerned about the impact on Black maternal mortality, and the risk of criminalization.

    Muslims in Lincoln are growing and need a mosque upgrade

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 7, 2022 5:09

    Lincoln's Sunni Muslim population is growing. With the addition of more Afghan refugees in the past few months, their mosque needs an upgrade. Nebraska Public Media's Will Bauer reports on the Muslim community's to plan to finish a long standing project.

    Bryan Health's CMO details ongoing challenges in hospitals

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 6, 2022 4:48

    There are less COVID-19 patients in hospitals, but staffing remains a challenge. We hear from Bryan Health's chief medical officer on issues sticking around even though COVID-19 surges dwindled months ago.

    Frakes Resigning as Nebraska Prison Chief

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 1, 2022 1:41

    Scott Frakes is resigning his position as the director of the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services.

    How Midwestern states tempt tourists with unpretentious getaways

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 31, 2022 4:07

    Mount Rushmore and the Great Lakes are a couple of the Midwest's tourism magnets, but some states sometimes have to work against their reputations to attract visitors. They're getting creative by highlighting amenities that can be a bit off the beaten path.

    Nonprofit Brings Joys of Pottery to Visually Impaired People

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 31, 2022 4:41

    For a little over a month, groups of blind and visually impaired Nebraskans have been gathering in Omaha for pottery lessons. The goal of the nonprofit putting on the classes? Provide a chance for students to transcend their disabilities through art.

    Why Migrant Workers Detassel Corn More

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 31, 2022 4:58

    For decades, Midwest teenagers have been hired by seed companies to walk fields of corn and help out with the pollination in a process called detasseling. It's fondly seen as a local rite of passage. But an investigation by the Midwest Newsroom found seed companies have posted jobs to avoid teenagers and opt for migrant workers instead.

    Listen: Winnebago Health CEO Reflects on Her Four Years

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 29, 2022 4:35

    As the CEO, Smith oversaw the merging of the reservation's hospital and public health department, Nebraska Public Media spoke with Smith about her time as CEO of the health system

    GOP Endorses Wilmot over Fellow Republican Williams for Regent

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 29, 2022 1:54

    The Nebraska Republican Party has endorsed Kathy Wilmot over fellow Republican Matt Williams for University of Nebraska regent.

    Silica mine rekindles fears about Missouri's Old Lead Belt

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 29, 2022 4:22

    Pickle Creek runs two miles through Ste. Genevieve County's sandstone valleys. It carries some of Missouri's cleanest water, but residents worry that could change if Nexgen Silica gets full approval to mine sandstone on a 249-acre plot of land along nearby Highway 32.They don't have to look very far to see the outcome they fear most. Ste. Genevieve sits near Missouri's Old Lead Belt, where mining lasted from the 1700s to 1972 and spanned nearby Washington, Madison and St. Francois counties.The industry produced nine million tons of lead and 250 million tons of hazardous mining waste.Decades later, some residents are still dealing with toxic waste left behind by lead mining.“There is literally a Superfund site sitting in the middle of town that they capped off, but for decades it was just loose, blowing lead everywhere,” said Samantha Danieley, who grew up in Washington County and now lives in St. Francois County. The new mine has nothing to do with lead, but residents fear history could repeat itself. Lead mining and silica mining can both produce invisible dust that can harm a person's health if swallowed or inhaled once it's in the air. Brothers Larry and Patrick Kertz are lifelong residents of Ste. Genevieve. They remember riding motorcycles past the hills of mine waste 35 miles from home in the 1970s and 1980s. After living in the shadow of lead mining, Larry Kertz said he wants a better understanding of what will be left when the silica mine is no longer useful. “It could be a big ditch with a huge waste pile of silica sand that could blow out into the area,” he said. “They're not really addressing what's going to be done after the mine is over.”Other residents are worried about how the mine will impact the natural environment. “We want to raise our kids in this beautiful outdoorsy environment with farm life and all these things,” said Jillian Ditch Anslow, a mom to a 14-month-old daughter who started Operation Sand, an organization to oppose the silica mine earlier this year. “And now we have this potential threat to our children's health and development.”Lasting legacyThe fight over Nexgen's silica mine has rekindled a debate that has played out in communities across the country, where the lasting legacy of lead mining means residents regularly risk contact with the neurotoxin in their daily lives.Lead persists in the environment, including in water and soil where it can pose a threat to the health of people living nearby. After the mining ended in the Old Lead Belt, several large areas of mine waste, called chat dumps, were left behind in the region.A combination of years of blowing winds, runoff from rain and manual transportation by locals of waste materials have supercharged the toxin's reach. The Big River, a tributary of the Meramec River, also transported toxic mine waste downstream.“I remember growing up in Potosi and we would pick pieces of lead up off the ground,” Danieley said. Some of the piles left behind span upwards of 1,000 acres, said Jason Gunther, a project manager with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) who oversees remediation work in Big River Mine Tailings Superfund site, including St. Francois County. “This material was also set above these towns, some of these piles were 300 feet above the neighboring towns,” Gunther said. “They would blow… Not just gravel-sized materials but also much finer materials.”He estimates the soil on 5,000 properties in St. Francois County has been contaminated by lead, although soil sampling isn't complete. Even if a sample comes back at 800 parts per million – double the concentration considered safe by the EPA for children to play in – it could be years before the soil is remediated because of the high number of properties testing with high concentrations. “It's not uncommon to see some that are above 2,000 parts per million,” Gunther said. Natural levels of lead in soil typically range from 50 to 400 parts per million, according to the EPA. Gunther expects soil remediation and pile stabilization work to continue beyond 2030.Meanwhile, locals have adapted to life under the toxic circumstances. Danieley said when her teenage children were younger, she worried about letting them play outside. Children can become poisoned from playing in contaminated soil when they get lead dust or paint chips or dust on their fingers then put their hands in their mouths. Danieley also worried about how the contaminated soil could impact local farming. “If you're out doing yard gardening, and you're digging through all this lead contaminated dust, you're getting that dust on your hands, you're possibly ingesting it,” she said. Mining isn't the only way lead can end up in soil, says Jeff Wenzel, bureau chief for the Bureau of Environmental Epidemiology with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.Soil along busy roads can also be contaminated from before gasoline was unleaded and paint chips from old houses can taint soil in yards. But in Missouri in particular, lead mining contributed significantly to contaminated soil in some areas. “Lead mining has been in Missouri pretty much since since Missouri was a state even before Missouri was a state,” Wenzel said. Once lead makes it into soil, it can pose a major health hazard for people living nearby. Wenzel says that beyond the hand-to-mouth route, lead particles can also be breathed into the mouth then swallowed.Crops planted in tainted soil can also pose a threat. “Your root crops can have dirt or soil left on them, so you want to clean those really well,” Wenzel said. “We see uptake in plants, especially plants like kale. Things like green plants that can live multiple years or come back year after year especially can have a pretty high lead accumulation.”According to the World Health Organization, there is no safe level of lead, and even low levels of exposure has been shown to cause cognitive impairment in children.Research dating back decades has shown that children living near mining areas are more likely to have elevated blood lead levels than children who don't. Missouri's Old Lead Belt counties aren't the only former mining regions devastated by the impacts of the industry long after it ended. Galena, Kansas, is part of the Tri-State Mining District that spanned parts of Kansas, Oklahoma and Missouri until the 1970s. The rural town of less than 3,000 people was named after the lead ore known as galena after it was found there in the late 1800s.In the same county in Treece, Kansas, the Picher Lead Company of Joplin, Missouri, discovered lead and zinc underground in 1914, according to a 2012 article published in The New York Times. By the 1920s, the site was the largest producer of zinc and lead in the country and by 1981 the EPA ranked Treece as the most contaminated area in the country. Today, it's a ghost town, bought out by the federal agency.Waste from zinc and lead mining covered 4,000 acres in Cherokee County when the mining ended.The EPA is still taking remedial action on the site and conducting investigative work on nearby watersheds. Silica health risksIn Ste. Genevieve, Anslow wants to keep her town from becoming a case study for how silica mining impacts human health.Silica mining typically relies on open pit or dredging mining methods. The process can generate dust-sized particles invisible to the naked eye that can be inhaled and reach the lungs. Over time, extended exposure is associated with silicosis, lung cancer or chronic bronchitis. People working directly with silica dust are most at risk for developing medical lung conditions, said Bobby Shah, a pulmonologist with St. Luke's Hospital in Chesterfield, Missouri. “We definitely have known for decades that silica itself is harmful to the lungs,” Shah said. “Patients across that spectrum of acute, chronic or accelerated [silicosis], can develop scarring in their lungs, the term that is commonly used as fibrosis,” Shah said, “and they can quickly and then from there on, develop even more respiratory symptoms.”Shah said there's not enough data to know what risk silica particles pose to the general population surrounding a mining site, but people who smoke are more likely to develop medical conditions related to exposure. “I don't want my daughter to be where it's like, okay, ‘Let's come and sample and let's monitor the children's health in Ste. Genevieve County,'” Anslow said. Mitigation processes will help limit the mine's impact on residents' health, said Clark Bollinger, Nexgen's general manager.“Certainly the dust will not be an issue,” he said. “The noise – we've got ideas and things in place to help mitigate some of the noise for the local residents.”Bollinger said the site contains enough reserves for around 50 years of mining and that there's a plan in place to restore the area and ensure it's safe after the mining ends by installing a large lake. He also said the mine will have minimal or no impact on nearby Hawn State Park or the local watershed and aquifer. Missouri Parks Association executive director Kendra Varns Wallis said it's not yet possible to know for sure how the mine could impact local water sources and wildlife and expressed concern about its proximity to Hickory Canyons Natural Area. “There couldn't be a worse place to put it, honestly,” Wallis said. As Ste. Genevieve residents fight against the mine, Nexgen remains far from breaking ground. Some of Anslow's work with Operation Sand paid off when county commissioners and the county health department passed an ordinance prohibiting new mines from opening within a half-a-mile of schools, towns, churches and public wells.Nexgen has filed a suit asking a judge to strike down the ordinance. In July, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources Land Reclamation Program granted the company one of three permits required to operate the mine. The company m

    How groups monitor toxic algae in the absence of state testing

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 26, 2022 3:48

    Blue-green algae appears in lakes all over the Midwest during the summers and can make both people and animals ill. Few states have routine testing programs to check for the toxic algae, but some local and volunteer groups are stepping in to fill that gap.

    In the halls of a post-Dobbs Planned Parenthood clinic

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 26, 2022 4:46

    It's been 63 days since the Supreme Court overruled Roe v. Wade. In Nebraska, abortion access remains unchanged, as state law bans abortion 20 weeks after fertilization. Nebraska Public Media's Will Bauer went to Planned Parenthood's clinic in Lincoln to get a tour and hear what's changed since June.

    Congressional Delegation: Improvement Needed in Legal Immigratio

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 25, 2022 1:59

    Members of Nebraska's congressional delegation say improvement is needed in the nation's legal immigration system.

    Low water levels reveal shipwrecks, abandoned towns

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 25, 2022 0:46

    Much of the Great Plains is way behind on moisture. The drought has drained water levels at many rivers and lakes, uncovering historical relics that are typically submerged.

    Medical Marijuana Question Will Not Appear on Ballot

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 22, 2022 1:24

    Secretary of state's office says supporters of legalizing medical marijuana did not turn in enough valid signatures to put the issue on the November ballot.

    After One Month, Nebraska's New 988 Service 6% Above First Goal

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 22, 2022 1:02

    DHHS set a goal of resolving 90% of the 988 calls by phone. In the first month, the state's call center at Boys Town received more than 1,538 calls, and 96% of those were resolved by phone.

    Farmland prices soar, making it even harder for young farmers

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 19, 2022 3:54

    Across the Midwest, farmland prices have risen sharply from last year, in part because of high commodity prices and a global food shortage. The highly competitive market, which often includes investors, can make it difficult for young farmers to grow their businesses.

    Douglas County Health Dept Addresses Death from Deadly Amoeba

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 18, 2022 1:07

    The Douglas County Health Department held a press conference on Thursday morning to address the death of a Douglas County child, suspected to be caused by a deadly infection from water-borne amoeba

    North, South Omaha Recovery Ideas Sought

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 18, 2022 1:47

    A legislative committee is looking for ideas to revitalize north and south Omaha.

    Honeybees are still on the decline, a recent survey found

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 18, 2022 0:44

    Recent survey results show commercial honeybees are on track to have another year of colony losses. A decline in these essential pollinators could hinder food production.

    Pillen Won't Debate, Says They Are "Political Theater"

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 17, 2022 1:12

    Nebraska gubernatorial candidate Jim Pillen will not debate before the election, according to his campaign. Pillen's decision would make him the first governor since at least the 1970s that didn't debate.

    EPA and Columbus Factory Discuss Risks

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 16, 2022 2:02

    The EPA says emissions from a Columbus factory create risks of cancer; Becton Dickinson says the facility is safe and getting safer.

    Housing to Healthcare: New Casinos Could Help Winnebago

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 16, 2022 4:26

    Ho-Chunk is the first player to build a comprehensive casino off reservation land in Nebraska. Last year, Ho-Chunk paid about $5 million in reinvestment to the tribe. Of that reinvestment – the tribe budgeted out about $3.7 million for their general fund. That's used for tribe programs like Ho-Chunk language preservation, the annual homecoming celebration, healthcare and substance abuse services, and more.

    Housing to Healthcare: New Casinos Could Help Winnebago

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 16, 2022 4:27

    Ho-Chunk is the first player to build a comprehensive casino off reservation land in Nebraska. Last year, Ho-Chunk paid about $5 million in reinvestment to the tribe. Of that reinvestment – the tribe budgeted out about $3.7 million for their general fund. That's used for tribe programs like Ho-Chunk language preservation, the annual homecoming celebration, healthcare and substance abuse services, and more.

    Farmers of color: Inflation Reduction Act breaks relief promise

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 16, 2022 0:52

    The Inflation Reduction Act repeals and replaces part of the American Rescue Plan Act that earmarked $4 billion in debt relief for farmers of color.

    Acre by acre, Iowans try to restore the state's natural prairie

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 16, 2022 4:56

    Before farmland covered more than 90 percent of the state, the vast majority of Iowa was prairie. But, the tall green fields dotted with wildflowers that once dominated the state began to vanish as settlers put it under the plow.Now, only a tiny sliver of Iowa prairie land – less than 0.1 percent – remains untouched by the agriculture and development that surrounds it.

    Former Official Penalized For Illegally Raising Her Pay

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 15, 2022 1:34

    A former township official was among those who voted themselves an extra $1,000 a week for a $600 a year job.

    Getting cattle in the forest could help the climate, farmers

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 12, 2022 3:56

    Silvopasture is the practice of grazing livestock in a forested area instead of an open pasture. It's a very old practice that might see new life.

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