Photo of the Nebraska State Penitentiary, with the words
Nebraska State Penitentiary. Photo by Sydney Heineman.

10/22: Fortenberry indictment, Superior shooting and prison overcrowding

Congressman Jeff Fortenberry indicted

Rep. Jeff Fortenberry of Nebraska’s 1st Congressional District was indicted Oct. 19. A federal grand jury in California accused Fortenberry of lying to the FBI during an investigation that looked into illegal campaign funds from foreign countries. Fortenberry said he did not know about foreign donations to his campaign. Because of the indictment, Fortenberry has resigned from his House subcommittee assignments. Fortenberry pleaded not guilty in an arraignment. 

Two dead following Superior grain elevator shooting

According to a tweet from Nebraska Public Media Senior Producer Bill Kelly, a man opened fire at the Agrex Elevator in Superior on Oct. 21. The shooter was identified as Max Hoskinson, who was fired from his job at the elevator earlier that day. Hoskinson shot three people, injuring two and killing one man. Hoskinson was killed by an employee who returned fire.

Nonprofit group releases prison overcrowding report for Nebraska

The Criminal Justice Institute revealed that the Nebraska prison system was designed to hold 3,700 inmates but currently has 5,300. The report shows that minorities dominated the prison system. One in 20 Nebraskans is Black while one in five inmates is Black. While 1% of Nebraska’s population is Native American, 6% percent of the prison system population is Native American. The report also states that the state’s prison population increased by 21% from 2011 to 2020.

Reports from Biden administration warn of climate impact

The series of reports, titled “Report on the Impact of Climate Change on Migration,” was commissioned by Biden via executive orders in January and February of 2021. The reports show how climate change poses problems such as increased migration and security threats. 

Human remains discovered in Plattsmouth

Plattsmouth police found remains near the home of Dalton Berens, 29, who has been missing since February 2020. Det. Matt Watson told Channel 10/11 that he and another police officer decided to work off a hunch and found the body 300 feet from Berens’ home. Police have yet to identify the remains. 

Colin Powell dies at 84

Colin Powell, the first Black secretary of state and former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, died Monday morning due to complications from COVID-19 amid a battle with cancer. Powell, age 84, had also battled other health complications that can weaken the immune system. According to a Facebook post by Powell’s family, he was fully vaccinated. “We have lost a remarkable husband, father, grandfather and a great American,” the post said.

Thomas Jefferson statue set to be removed from New York City Hall

New York City officials voted unanimously to move the statue of Thomas Jefferson from New York City Hall to a new public location that is yet to be determined. This comes after renewed efforts to have the statue removed during the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd last year. Officials on both sides of the issue have debated Jefferson’s history as a slaveholder and his legacy as a founding father. 

Reports show a slow and steady decline in local COVID cases

Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Director Pat Lopez spoke to the community about COVID-19 reports at a briefing Oct. 19. According to Lopez, local positivity rates have stayed at around 9% to 10% for the past five weeks. The LLCHD reports a slow and gradual decline in COVID-19 hospitalizations and 17 local COVID-19 deaths this month. “Many indicators used to determine risk are moving in the right direction, however, the number of new cases is still too high,” Lopez said. “We’re not yet seeing the sustained declines we need to see.” She reported that just over 60% of Lancaster County residents are fully vaccinated and urged people to get the vaccine.

George Strait set to come to Lincoln

George Strait will perform in Lincoln for his 2022 tour. The show, “George Strait: Strait to the Star City,” will be April 23 at 7:30 p.m. with special guest Asleep at the Wheel.

Reba McEntire announces Omaha tour date

Reba McEntire’s REBA: LIVE IN CONCERT multi-city tour will hit Omaha’s CHI Health Center on Thursday, Feb. 3. Tickets go on sale Oct. 15 at 10 a.m. McEntire will be joined by guest performer Brandy Clark.

Contributors: Ramey Vachal, Hanna Christensen, Jon Grant, Chin Tung Tan and Jasmine Hermosillo-Padilla