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GERING, Neb. – Attendees of a program at Wildcat Hills State Recreation Area will observe and learn about the night sky. The program gets underway at the Wildcat Hills Nature Center at 8:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 3.
The presenter is Tom Robinson, a Western Nebraska Community College instructor who teaches astronomy.
Robinson said attendees will meet at the nature center for an introductory video provided by Hyde Memorial Observatory of Lincoln, then move to the east end of the park to observe celestial objects through telescopes.
The program, which was moved up a week from its original scheduled date to capitalize on better viewing opportunities, is an installment of the Wildcat Weekends series of events at the park. It is open to the public free of charge, but a Nebraska park entry permit is required for vehicles.
HERSHEY, Neb. (AP) — Sheriff’s deputies in western Nebraska say a 23-year-old man has died after falling into the North Platte River and becoming trapped in an irrigation gate.
The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release that it received a report of a possible drowning around 4:30 a.m. Saturday. Deputies and a rescue team responded and found 23-year-old Matthew Bruning’s body trapped underwater in the gate. His body was recovered a few hours later.
A witness told investigators that Bruning was standing on the gate structure when he fell in.
His death has been ruled an accident.
GIBBON, Neb. (AP) — Authorities in south-central Nebraska say a man killed his wife and shot a neighbor before later fatally turning the gun on himself.
The Buffalo County Sheriff’s Office says the shooting happened Friday night in Gibbon following a domestic disturbance at the home of 38-year-old Ryan Gove and his 37-year-old wife, Evita Gove. Investigators say Evita ran with the couple’s 6-year-old child to a neighbor’s house as Ryan chased her with a handgun. Investigators say Ryan then shot Evita several times and shot the neighbor, George Hoffmeister, at least once before running back to his house. Hoffmeister was hospitalized. The child was not injured.
Deputies surrounded the home and tried for about four hours to get him to surrender. Officials say he was later found inside dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Gibbon is about 170 miles (273.58 kilometers) southwest of Omaha.
By Richard P. Holm, MD
Prairie Doc Perspectives
We have all had to deal with bullies throughout our lives, and I have had my share. One fall day, coming home from school, I saw two guys from my third-grade class beating up on a smaller kid and was moved to step in to help. I was chagrined but not surprised when the victim ran home, and I became the new target. The beating I took that day was minimal, however, the sense that I did the right thing by standing up against bullies has propped up my self-worth my whole lifetime.
Bullies and abuse are everywhere. While in medical school, I was in an Atlanta emergency room when a woman came in with a broken nose and other broken bones and bruises that were explained away as the result of a fall, when we knew full well the injuries were inflicted by her spouse. Since coming to this prairie town 38 years ago, I have seen several cases of parents who physically and emotionally abused their children, and of adult children who physically and emotionally abused their parents. I remember numerous cases where women came into my office, explained their husbands were physically beating them, and despite my recommendations to escape and seek shelter, they stayed married to the scoundrels.
The American Psychiatric Association defines domestic violence and abuse as control by one person over another in any relationship. Control is the operative word. The means of this control can result from physical, sexual, emotional and economic abuse, including threats of isolation.
The number of American troops killed in Afghanistan and Iraq from 2001 through 2012 was greater than 6,000, and the number of American women murdered by male partners during that time was about 12,000. The Center for Disease Control estimates that in the U.S., one out of every four women and one out of every seven men will have experienced severe physical violence from a bully in their lifetimes.
The National Coalition for the Homeless estimates ten million children are exposed to domestic violence every year, and that people exposed to such hostility as children are three to four times more likely to become abusive or be abused than people raised in families without it.
Sometimes it’s right to stand up to a bully, and when there is danger, it’s right to escape and get help. And it’s always right to save your children from a lifetime of abuse by not allowing it in your family.
For free and easy access to the entire Prairie Doc® library, visit www.prairiedoc.org and follow Prairie Doc® on Facebook, featuring On Call with the Prairie Doc® a medical Q&A show streamed most Thursdays at 7 p.m. central.
By George Ledbetter
CHADRON – A trip to the University of Indiana’s Lilly Library this spring gave a Chadron State College student and a faculty member an opportunity to view and touch some of the historic pieces of literature that have shaped the culture of the English-speaking world, as well as a chance to access primary research materials for their writing projects.
The trip to the prestigious library by Assistant Professor Dr. Mary Clai Jones and senior Rachel Mitchell of Riverton, Wyoming, was part of an upper level independent study course about women traveling. It was also an opportunity for Jones to conduct research for a book analyzing women’s mobility in the Victorian era. Grants from the CSC Research Institute Committee and the Dean’s Council funded the weeklong excursion to Bloomington, Indiana.
The Lilly Library collection includes more than 450,000 rare books, more than eight million manuscripts, and 150,000 sheets of music. Among the items in the library are a Gutenberg New Testament, the first printed edition of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, personal archives of Orson Welles, Sylvia Plath, and Kurt Vonnegut Jr., Thomas Jefferson’s personal copy of the first printing of the Bill of Rights, and a 1623 First Folio of Shakespeare’s plays.
“At the Lilly Library we took advantage of finding out what treasures they had in their archives. They had a handful of extremely rare pieces of history,” Mitchell said. “I got to hold and read the very first bound edition of Shakespeare’s complete works, held a 2000 BCE cuneiform tablet written in Babylonian, and held the first copies of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes.”
Initially two students were to go on the trip in order to learn about primary research by assisting in the women’s travel project, but one had to drop out for personal reasons, said Jones. After a short time in the library reading room, it was clear that Mitchell was well prepared and able to pursue her own research on Conan Doyle’s famous detective, Sherlock Holmes, she said.
“I held a handwritten letter by Arthur Conan Doyle that he signed,” said Mitchell. “With the help of the librarians, we made the absolute most out of the trip.”
Mitchell said she will use results of her research for a conference of the North American Victorian Studies Association in October, where she hopes to present her work.
“I’m hoping this will help put me above the rest and stand out,” she said.
After completing undergraduate work at CSC, Mitchell plans to earn a doctorate in English literature, with an emphasis in Native American literature.
“I hope to become a teacher at a university and have some of my own critical and creative works published,” she said. “I feel absolutely blessed by the experience to look (at) and touch pieces of literature that were so crucial to history. The college has allowed me to achieve life goals at a very young age. I won’t forget the life-changing experience and couldn’t be more thankful to have been chosen to go.”
Jones was familiar with the Lilly Library from attending a writers’ conference there while studying for her Doctor of Philosophy degree, and wanted to access the institution’s collection of 18th and 19th century women’s literature, particularly travel guides and travelogues from the time. Though an initial request for books and manuscripts pertaining to women’s travel experiences in the U.S. and Europe wasn’t productive, she said a librarian directed her to a trove of letters written by American expatriate and writer Mary Barenson, among other things.
“The most fun materials I got to sift through were pamphlets, brochures, calendars, ads, and maps…focused on bicycle ephemera from the 1870s to the 1920s,” Jones said.
For Jones, access to letters home from American women living abroad, some private travel diaries, and materials about women’s journeys by bike from the library’s online exhibit called “The World Awheel” will be valuable for specific chapters of her book project.
“These vital ethnographic materials regarding women’s journeys through public space help me examine its subversive and disruptive effects,” she said.
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Officials in Nebraska and Wyoming were scrambling Thursday to respond to an irrigation tunnel collapse that cut off water to more than 100,000 acres of farmland in both states during one of the hottest and driest times of year, a major threat to the region’s economy.
The collapse prompted governors from both states to declare an emergency, freeing up state resources to help local officials and laying the groundwork to request federal assistance.
The 14-foot-wide tunnel that collapsed is part of the Fort Laramie Irrigation Canal that runs above and below ground, delivering water from a pool created by the Whelan Diversion Dam on the North Platte River to eastern Wyoming and western Nebraska. The arid region is dominated by irrigated farms that rely on the water to grow corn, sugar beets and alfalfa, but may have to do without for the next month.
“It’s 95 degrees right now and there’s no chance of rain,” said Rob Posten, general manager of the Goshen Irrigation District in Wyoming. “This couldn’t have happened at a worse time.”
Posten said officials still don’t know why the 102-year-old tunnel collapsed or how much it will cost to repair the damage. Engineers are currently working on a temporary fix to shore up the tunnel that will cost an estimated $2 million and could take up to 25 days to complete. Posten said recent inspections of the tunnel found no major concerns. The tunnel is about 100 feet below ground.
The collapse caused water to back up on the Wyoming side and bust through the canal’s walls, said Michael Pearlman, a spokesman for Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon. The breach flooded nearby farmland and prevented any more water from flowing down the canal.
Pearlman said Gordon “recognizes that this is a serious emergency.”
Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts promised to use his state’s resources to help farmers who have lost water “at a critical time in the growing season.” The canal provides water to about 55,000 acres of Nebraska farmland.
Posten said his 12-member staff is working 16-hour days to try to fix the damage and brought in a contractor from St. Louis to help.
Although they haven’t confirmed a cause, officials believe the tunnel may have collapsed because of unusually heavy spring rains and snowfall that saturated the soil above it, said Nebraska state Sen. John Stinner, who represents part of the affected area. The waterlogged soil would have placed substantially more weight on the tunnel.
Stinner said farmers in the area are trying to remain positive.
“Everybody’s hoping we can get a break in the weather. Some rain would be helpful,” he said. “It’s a day-by-day thing.”
Nebraska state Sen. Steve Erdman, a farmer who lives in the area, said the breach will cause major economic damage in western Nebraska that could reverberate through the whole state.
Erdman said farmers who are affected will likely see major losses, and the state may have to help cover the canal and tunnel repair costs. Unlike storms that damage crops in one swoop, the sudden loss of water is forcing many to decide whether they want to continue investing in this year’s crop to try to salvage what they can, even though they’re at risk of losing it all.
“It weighs on your psyche,” Erdman said.
CHADRON, Neb. (AP) — Authorities say three people aboard a small plane died when it crashed near Chadron.
The crash occurred around 2:45 p.m. Wednesday, about 3 miles northwest of the city and a half-mile north of Chadron Municipal Airport.
Chadron City Manager Greg Yanker said the plane didn’t catch fire after it plunged into a farm field. Yanker said the pilot and two passengers were pronounced dead at the scene and have yet to be identified.
The Federal Aviation Administration said its preliminary investigation shows the two-engine Beechcraft 55 was registered out of Sebastopol, California, and crashed as it was approaching the airport.
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts has issued a state emergency declaration following the collapse of a major tunnel that transports water from Whalen Dam in Wyoming to Scotts Bluff County in Nebraska.
Ricketts plans to visit the Scottsbluff area Thursday to consult with local officials. The emergency declaration came late Wednesday afternoon amid concerns that the collapse is disrupting the water supply, which is vital for irrigation.
Ricketts says he’s been in frequent contact with Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon and state lawmakers from the area.
The irrigation tunnel typically serves around 55,000 acres in Nebraska. Government officials, engineers and natural resources managers are working to restore the supply.
Wyoming officials have said they found a short-term solution to get water flowing.
The Gering Police Department is asking the public’s assistance in helping find a missing teen.
Gering Police Captain Jason Rogers said, “He was reported missing a little before 3 a.m.”
“As we get information on reported sightings we’re asking that local enforcement agencies or anybody with information…we’ll forward that to the appropriate agency where the sighting happened and see if they can follow up on it for us,” Rogers said.
If you have any information on the whereabouts of Crable, call the Gering Police Department at (308) 436-5089.