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NEWS 5.10.22

Nebraska Secretary of State

Higher turnout is expected for primary election day in Nebraska, mainly due to the tight race for the GOP nomination for governor.

Three candidates are locked in a bitter primary race. One of the leading candidates endorsed by former President Donald Trump was accused of groping several women during the past few years.

Charles Herbster denies the allegation. The businessman and cattle breeder is in a nine-way contest to replace Governor Pete Ricketts, who is leaving office due to term limits. The other leading candidates are Board of Regent member Jim Pillen, who is also a veterinarian and hog farm owner, and State Senator Brett Lindstrom, a financial advisor from Omaha.

The winner will be a strong favorite in November and will likely take on the top candidate for the Democratic nomination for governor State Senator Carol Blood of Bellevue.

Herbster filed a defamation lawsuit against one of his accusers, State Senator Julie Slama. He says she falsely accused him to derail his campaign. Slama filed a countersuit, alleging sexual battery.

Republicans in the 1st Congressional District will still see former Representative Jeff Fortenberry’s name on the ballot. He resigned following a conviction for lying to the FBI about a foreign campaign contribution. His resignation came after the deadline to remove his name from the ballot.

If voters choose him, Fortenberry’s name will still be on the November ballot unless he withdraws his name.

A special election is scheduled for June 28 to decide who will fill the final months of Fortenberry’s term in Congress. Republicans picked Mike Flood and Democrats Patty Pansing Brooks. Both are state senators who are also running in the primary election.

Polls in Nebraska close tonight at eight.

Nebraska Republicans are set to nominate a candidate for governor in a primary race that's turned bitter. That contest has been upended in recent weeks after a leading candidate endorsed by Donald Trump was accused of groping at least eight women over the last few years. The candidate, businessman, and cattle breeder Charles Herbster, denies those allegations. The GOP primary to replace Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts features eight other candidates.

A federal appeals court has ordered that a case between Planned Parenthood and the state of South Dakota be put on hold until the U.S. Supreme Court issues a decision in a separate case that could overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade case that legalized abortion nationwide. The South Dakota lawsuit is over a rule pushed by Republican Gov. Kristi Noem that would require abortion-seekers to make three separate visits to a doctor to take abortion pills. Planned Parenthood asserted that the rule would have ended its ability to provide medicine-induced abortions. However, South Dakota is one of 13 states with a trigger law that would ban abortions altogether if Roe is overturned.

Prosecutors say a man accused of killing an Iowa state patrol trooper had plenty of opportunities to surrender before the fatal shooting. Assistant Iowa Attorney General Douglas Hammerand made the remarks Tuesday during opening statements in the first-degree murder trial of 42-year-old Michael Thomas Lang. The Waterloo-Cedar Rapids Courier reports that Lang's attorney, Aaron Hawbaker, told jurors the trooper's death was tragic but did not amount to murder. Lang is accused in the April 2021 killing of Patrol Sgt. Jim Smith, who was shot as he led a tactical team to arrest Lang in his home. Lang was wanted for assaulting a police officer after a traffic pursuit earlier that day.

A Nebraska prosecutor has identified an officer who shot a driver accused of dragging the officer with her car as Neligh Police Chief Michael Wright. Antelope County Attorney Joseph Abler also identified the woman shot as 38-year-old Josie Auld of Norfolk. The shooting happened Sunday afternoon in Neligh following reports of a disturbance in a convenience store parking lot. The Nebraska State Patrol has said 47-year-old Wright had stopped Auld's car when she drove off, dragging the officer. Investigators say Wright then fired his gun, hitting Auld before he fell from the vehicle. The patrol said a witness was able to force Auld's vehicle off the road. Both Wright and Auld were taken to hospitals and are expected to survive.

A central Iowa police officer has been taken to a Des Moines hospital after being shot in the leg early Tuesday morning. Television station KCCI reports that the shooting happened around 5 a.m. Tuesday, injuring a Perry police officer. Television station WHO 13 reports that the officer was shot in the leg and that the injury did not appear to be life-threatening. The officer was flown to a Des Moines hospital for treatment. Police have not released the officer's name or any other details about the shooting, including whether anyone had been arrested.

Over a span of four years, thousands of Iowans have donated more than $1.6 million to an organization run by the Iowa State Sheriffs and Deputies Association, with only one-third of that amount used to help law enforcement and other charitable purposes.

That’s according to an investigation by the Iowa Capital Dispatch. For more on the story click here.

The institute, an offshoot of the Iowa State Sheriffs and Deputies Association, has used an Oklahoma fundraising company called ResourceOne, also known as Altus Marketing, to raise money from Iowans.

The company solicits donations from the public through a series of direct-mail campaigns. Typically, donors are told their money will support law enforcement, help send underprivileged children to camp, and support the Iowa Special Olympics.

The president of the ISSDA declined to speak to the Iowa Capital Dispatch about the association’s fundraising efforts, as did several other board members.

Iowa officials have launched a new ad campaign focused on children’s mental health and suicide prevention.

The ads will air on social media and traditional media platforms starting this month.

Department of Human Services Director Kelly Garcia says the state is launching the campaign as it’s seeing an increase in younger children experiencing mental health crises.

"We're seeing really small children in distress – crisis – mobile crisis response and crisis stabilization utilization for really little kids. And we're seeing really young children attempt and complete suicide, which is horrifying."

The ads urge kids who are struggling to seek help. And directs adults to resources to help them approach the topic of mental health with kids.

Iowans who need help can find these resources at your life Iowa dot org.

Sioux City school teachers will receive a $765 increase in base salary. That is more than $2,400 less than what was proposed by the teachers' union.

The Sioux City Journal reports the school board approved the agreement with the Sioux City Education Association, which represents the district’s teachers, on Monday.

The Sioux City Education Association initially proposed an 8.6 percent base salary increase.

The director of the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation has announced he'll run for attorney general. That suggests embattled incumbent Republican Jason Ravnsborg won't seek a second term as he faces an impeachment trial in the death of a pedestrian. David Natvig's announcement Tuesday sets up what will be a showdown of at least two candidates at the GOP convention in June. Natvig announced his candidacy in a video touting his work investigating drug trafficking. He will face Marty Jackley, a former state attorney general and U.S. attorney who mounted a campaign to unseat Ravnsborg as he faced impeachment for his actions surrounding a 2020 car crash in which he struck and killed a pedestrian.

A man facing a possible life sentence on federal drug and money laundering charges has won the lottery in South Dakota. KELO-TV reports 45-year-old Canbie Thompson was featured on the state lottery’s website for winning $40,000 on a scratch-off ticket. Thompson earlier pleaded guilty to the charges which resulted from a larger Minnehaha County drug bust involving 11 pounds of methamphetamine and seven other defendants. According to court documents, when police pulled Thompson over last year, they found drugs in his car. He also admitted he was involved in a money-laundering scheme to hide drug money.

Iowa U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley is asking that leaders of an appropriations subcommittee prioritize funding to address the outbreak of bird flu across the country.

More than 37 million commercial and backyard birds have died from highly pathogenic avian influenza or been killed to stop it from spreading. Iowa has the largest outbreak.

Republican Chuck Grassley says there haven’t been problems reimbursing poultry producers for the birds they have to destroy, but he wants to make sure the U-S-D-A has the tools to fight the disease.

"I think most of you know that Iowa is the number one producer of eggs. So it's critical to Iowa's rural economy that we control the virus and get producers back to producing high-quality food for the country."

Grassley and several other Senators wrote a bipartisan letter to the Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies. They’re asking the committee for “robust funding” for the bird flu outbreak in the upcoming fiscal year.

There wasn’t a lot of action in the farm fields last week.

The U.S.D.A. crop report says weather limited farmers to just about two good days in the field.

With no tractors pulling planters, only 5 more percent of the corn crop got in the ground for a total now of 14%.

Radio Iowa reports that pace is two weeks behind both last year and the 5-year average.

Soybean planting moved from four to seven percent. That is 12 days behind the bean planting pace for last year and 11 days behind the 5-year average.

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