Devastating tornadoes kills at least 90 people in the Kentucky area
A slew of tornadoes tore through parts of Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee on the night of Dec. 10. At least 80 of the estimated 90 people killed were in Kentucky. CoreLogic, a property information and analytics company, estimated damages to nearly 15,000 structures, worth about $3.7 billion. Gov. Andy Beshear of Kentucky said at least 300 National Guard members were deployed in the state and more than $2 million has been donated to assist recovery efforts. President Joe Biden toured the damage Dec. 15 and updated a presidential disaster declaration to boost federal disaster funds from 75% to 100% coverage for debris removal and emergency protective measures over a 30-day period in Kentucky.
Nebraska women’s volleyball team takes second place in the NCAA tournament.
After winning against Pitt in the Final Four of the NCAA tournament, the Huskers advanced to the national championship game against Wisconsin on Dec. 18. The Huskers lost to the Badgers in the fifth set. This was Nebraska’s 10th national championship game and their fourth in the last seven years.
Lancaster County Board approves permit to build Nebraska’s largest solar farm
The Lancaster County Board approved a special permit Dec. 16 to allow the construction of the Salt Creek Solar Project, which would be the largest solar farm in the state. The farm would span approximately between O Street and Havelock, from 120th to 190th Streets in east Lincoln. The project is to cover nearly 3,000 acres and cost about $230 million. The project website says it is expected to create more than 300 jobs, generate over $20 million in tax revenue and reduce carbon emissions by hundreds of thousands of metric tons each year- which is equivalent to taking nearly 10,000 cars off the road. The permit passed with an amendment that the solar panels must be at least 450 feet away from homes and the operators must participate in annual training with local fire departments.
Several eastern Nebraska schools cancel classes due to extreme weather on Wednesday
The National Weather Service issued a high wind warning for eastern Nebraska and surrounding areas on Wednesday. Several school districts, including Lincoln Public Schools and Bellevue Public Schools, canceled all classes. Omaha Public Schools swapped in-person classes for remote-learning. The high winds downed trees and powerlines, and 6,000 Lincolnites were without power Wednesday afternoon, according to the Lincoln Electrical System outage map. Several tornadoes were spotted in Nebraska and Iowa, and winds up to 100 mph were recorded in some areas. According to the National Weather Service, storms like these have been spotted across the Midwest this week.
Former Lincoln Police Officer speaks to City Council about sexual harrassment and discrimination within the Department
Former LPD officer Sarah Williams spoke to Lincoln City Council on Dec.13, asking for culture changes within the department. She wants the Council to ensure “command staff is held responsible, perpetrators are held accountable and female officers will be held as equals.” Williams said she knows of two female officers who have been sexually assaulted by other officers and that command staff did not take action when the assaults were reported. She stated that officer Melissa Ripley has been passed over for promotions and Sgt. Angela Sands has been placed on “unjustified, unpaid leave.” She believes that if the City Council does not do something, those who speak up will be suspended or fired. “We have strong anti-discrimination policies and have made extensive efforts to foster an inclusive and safe workplace. We take all complaints, external or internal, seriously,” said Lincoln Police Chief Teresa Ewins in a statement. She said that any notion that the department is not an equal-opportunity employer is incorrect.
Former Husker quarterback Adrian Martinez commits to K-State
Adrian Martinez announced his transfer to Kansas State in a tweet on Dec. 16. Martinez, who holds 16 school records, has one year of eligibility left for Kansas State. The Wildcats went 7-5 this season.
Spider-Man: No way home out in theaters
The latest sequel to Marvel’s Spider Man released in U.S. theaters Dec 17. The film, starring Tom Holland and Zendaya, has a high 95% “Fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
COVID booster shot effective against Omicron variant, no need for variant specific booster
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the White House chief medical adviser, said Wednesday that the current booster shots work against the COVID-19 omicron variant and do not need to be adjusted to combat the new strain at this time. According to Rochelle Walensky, the director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the omicron variant has been detected in 36 states so far. She said early studies indicate it is more transmissible than the delta variant with a doubling time of about two days. Although omicron severely compromises the primary two-dose vaccination series from Pfizer and BioNTech, it still offers considerable protection against the virus, Fauci said. CDC data reveals that unvaccinated individuals are eight times more likely to become hospitalized and 14 times more likely to die from the disease.
Smokey smell throughout southeastern Nebraska
According to officials, there were dozens of reports of smoke, ash and smog smells across Lincoln, Crete, Omaha and Odel on Dec. 15. According to 10/11 NOW, the smoke came from a large grass fire in northwest Russell County, Kansas.