11/12: Frost pay cut, Bailey Boswell sentencing and new veterans memorial park
Four offensive coaches fired and Scott Frost takes $1 million pay cut for 2022
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln athletic department unveiled a restructured contract for head football coach Scott Frost on Nov. 8. According to the contract, the head coach will earn $4 million instead of $5 million in 2022, and, if UNL chooses to let Frost go, he will receive $7.5 million instead of $15 million. Nebraska Athletic Director Trev Alberts said he and Frost agree that the football team is not where they want it to be right now, but he has faith that Frost can turn things around. Alberts reported that he has had multiple discussions with Frost in which Frost has laid out a clear plan and vision for the team. Two hours after the athletic department announced the changes to Frost’s contract, it also announced the immediate dismissal of offensive coaches Matt Lubick, Greg Austin, Ryan Held and Mario Verduzco. In a statement, Frost called them “good coaches” with “outstanding character” and said he appreciates what they have done for the team.
State Senator Briese calls for move to year-round daylight saving time
On Nov. 8, Sen. Tom Briese of Albion said it’s time for Nebraska to adopt daylight saving time permanently. Briese introduced a bill (LB283) in 2021 that would make the change once federal regulations allow it and once three neighboring states pass similar legislation. The bill has been advanced to the Legislative floor for consideration in the 2022 session and has 22 co-sponsors.
Nebraska Attorney General challenges vaccine mandates for the third time
The Nebraska Department of Justice filed the third lawsuit against the Biden Administration’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services mandate on vaccines for healthcare workers. The DOJ said this mandate violates the U.S. Constitution and exceeds the Biden Administration’s powers. A press release from the Attorney General’s office stated that healthcare providers across Nebraska said the mandate will force them to fire critical employees, creating a “devastating impact” on healthcare facilities.
Bailey Boswell sentenced to life in prison for part in Sydney Loofe murder
On Nov. 8, a three-judge panel sentenced Baily Boswell to life in prison for hand in the 2017 murder of Sydney Loofe. Boswell narrowly avoided being the first woman sentenced to death in Nebraska. Judge Peter Bataillon of Omaha stated that prosecutors had not proven that the killing met the definition of “exceptional depravity.” All three judges would have had to unanimously agree that there was exceptional depravity in the murder in order to impose a death sentence. In October 2020, Boswell was found guilty of first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder and improper disposal of human remains. Boswell’s boyfriend Aubrey Trail was sentenced to death in June 2021 for his part in the murder. The Omaha World-Herald published a detailed timeline of the murder.
Vaccine clinics open for children ages 5 to 11
The Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department hosted its first vaccination clinic on Nov. 6. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced on Nov. 2 that it’s recommended for children aged 5 to 11 years old to receive a Pfizer-BioNTech pediatric vaccine. Health Director Pat Lopez said over 1,600 children had registered for the vaccine so far. Parents and guardians at Lancaster County can schedule an appointment for their children for a vaccine at COVID19.lincoln.ne.gov. The upcoming schedule for appointment-only vaccination clinics is as follows:
- Nov. 12 – 4 to 7 p.m., Norris High School Gymnasium, 25211 S. 68th St., Firth
- Nov. 13 – 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Lincoln Northeast High School Gymnasium, 2635 N. 63rd St.
New park in Cairo honors veterans
An empty lot in Cairo has been turned into a veterans memorial park. The project took approximately three years to complete and was put together by volunteers such as city employees and the Cairo Fire Department. On Nov. 6, a dedication ceremony was held during which State Sen. Tom Brewer spoke. The park’s creation was born out of a donation from Korean War veteran Edward VanWinkle, who died in 2014. His family kept with his plans and helped complete the park.
COVID-19 dial reaches high risk
Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department shifted the COVID-19 risk dial to high risk on Nov. 2. Health Director Pat Lopez said the position of the risk dial is based on an increase in new cases, a high positivity rate, and strained hospital capacity. The community positivity rate had gone from 9% from the past eight weeks to more than 11% at the end of last week. Lancaster County reported eight COVID-19 deaths in November. See the risk dial here. The news release on Nov. 10 stated that 61% of residents in Lancaster County have been vaccinated. The current Directed Health Measure is effective through Nov. 24 and requires all individuals who are 2 years of age and older to wear a mask indoors regardless of vaccination status.
Lincoln diocese declares fasting day after sex abuse report
In a message sent to parishioners in Lincoln, The Catholic Diocese in Lincoln proclaimed Nov. 12 as a day of fasting and abstinence “in reparation for offenses” identified in a report released by the Nebraska Attorney General’s Office on Nov. 4. Bishop James Conley said in the message that priests are to offer “three Masses for the healing of the victims.” Fasting includes one meal, two small snacks and abstinence from all meat.
UNL unveils plans for military tribute on campus for Summer 2022
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln plans to build a Veterans’ Tribute on Memorial Mall, located outside of the Pershing Military and Naval Science building. UNL intends the memorial to be a “thought-provoking space” where quotes gathered from 900 military members about moments in their lives will be engraved on glass panels. This memorial is modeled after the American Disabled for Life Memorial in Washington D.C. “This project is intended to honor veterans. All members of the military and their families, and illustrate the multiple facets of a service member’s life,” said Michelle Waite, Assistant Chancellor for Government and Military Relations at UNL.
U.S. reopens to allow vaccinated foreign travelers
After more than 18 months of international travel restrictions, the U.S. reopened its borders to vaccinated international travelers on Nov. 8. This policy change comes as the tourism industry has continued to struggle from the impacts of COVID-19 restrictions.
Custodian at Lincoln Public Schools accused of sexually assaulting children
Randall Stollar, a former janitor at Lincoln Public Schools, was arrested last week after four children told authorities that he had sexually assaulted them between 2016 to 2020. One student told investigators that Stollar assaulted her about 10 times. According to the arrest affidavit, Stollar is charged with two counts of first-degree sexual assault of a child and two counts of third-degree sexual assault. Stollar worked at Lincoln East High for more than 30 years before transferring to Brownell Elementary School, where he had worked for about a year. He is no longer employed at LPS.
UNL to return to random mitigation testing for the unvaccinated
Beginning Nov. 14, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln will be returning to a random mitigation testing strategy for students, faculty and staff who did not participate in the university’s voluntary vaccine registry. The decision was made considering the limited spread of COVID-19 on-campus and growing vaccination rates. Around 80% of UNL students, faculty and staff have been vaccinated and reported it via the voluntary registry.
Contributors: Hanna Christensen, Chin Tung Tan, Jonathan Grant, Ramey Vachal and Caitlyn Thomas