April 18: Storms, drought and misconduct allegations
Herbster accused of sexual misconduct against eight women
Eight women confirmed to the Nebraska Examiner that Charles W. Herbster, a leading candidate for governor, groped them at public events, and one of the women said he cornered her privately and forcibly kissed her. Sen. Julie Slama of Sterling is one of the women. She said Herbster reached up her skirt and touched her inappropriately at an event in 2019. The Nebraska Examiner reported that it corroborated six of the accounts with at least one witness. All 13 women state senators in Nebraska created a joint statement in support of the women who came forward and said Herbster’s actions have rendered him unfit to serve. “This is not a question of politics– it is an issue of character and basic human decency,” the statement said. Herbster denied the allegations. “This story is a ridiculous, unfounded dirty political trick being carried out by Pete Ricketts and Jim Pillen,” he said.
Storms cross southeastern Nebraska
A band of storms came through eastern/southeastern Nebraska the night of April 12. A tornado touched down a couple of miles southwest of Goehner in Seward County, and there was no reported damage associated with it. Tornado warnings were also issued for the Fort Calhoun area and in Nemaha County, but no touchdowns were confirmed. Up to quarter-sized hail was spotted near Seward and Lancaster Counties. Two hundred eighty-four Lincolnites experienced brief power outages due to the storm, Lincoln Electric System said on Twitter. All clocking in at over 90 degrees, Lincoln, Omaha, Grand Island, Hastings and Norfolk all set record high temperatures that day. That night, each of those cities dropped to below freezing.
Great majority of Nebraska plagued by moderate to severe drought conditions
According to a U.S. Drought Monitor map released April 14, 96.5% of Nebraska is facing moderate to extreme drought conditions. Much of the severe and extreme conditions are concentrated in the state’s central, northeastern, southwestern and panhandle areas. The City of Lincoln and Lincoln Transportation and Utilities encouraged residents to begin water conservation efforts. On hot summer days, Lincoln residents use 50% of the city’s daily water supply to irrigate grass and other landscape plantings, Lincoln Water System Superintendent Steve Owen said. Much of that water is wasted due to overwatering, irrigation system leaks, evaporation and poorly maintained systems. The City of Lincoln website provides a list of water conservation methods people can put into practice to help.
University of Nebraska Regent pleaded not guilty to felony witness tampering charge
University of Nebraska Regent Jack Stark, who was arrested on a class 4 felony charge of witness tampering in August 2021, entered a written non guilty plea April 15. According to Douglas County Court documents, Stark allegedly told someone close to him not to testify in an impending criminal investigation in August 2020. A four-day jury trial is scheduled to begin July 5.
Car crash fatalities on the rise in Nebraska
The Department of Transportation released fatality car accident statistics for March, and it shows that 29 people were killed in 23 car accidents that month. In comparison, there were 11 fatalities March 2021. There have been 70 car crash deaths from January to March 2022. In comparison, there were 45 car crash deaths from January to March 2021.