LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Gov. Dave Heineman is recommending that Nebraska buy a 12-year-old airplane for $2.2 million to replace another aircraft in its fleet.
Heineman's budget proposal to lawmakers includes a request from the state Department of Aeronautics for a new back-up plane, which serves as transportation for the governor, agency heads and other officials in state government.
The department says the new plane would replace a 1982 Piper Cheyenne aircraft that is no longer manufactured. Agency officials say parts are becoming increasingly difficult to find, keeping the plane grounded for longer stretches of time.
The department estimates that the old plane's engines would have to be replaced every 5 to 7 years, at a projected cost of $500,000. The old plane at that time would be worth an estimated $180,000.
BEATRICE, Neb. (AP) - A man sentenced last month in state court for beating and raping a Beatrice woman has been indicted on federal pornography charges.
Thirty-one-year-old Joseph Buttercase was scheduled to begin state trial Jan. 24 on three state porn charges. But Beatrice radio station KWBE reported Wednesday (http://bit.ly/W0zpBq) that the U.S. attorney's office has taken over the case.
Jan Sharp, of the U.S. attorney's office in Omaha, says Buttercase is accused of enticing a person under the age of 18 to engage in sexually explicit conduct, producing material that had been transported across state lines. Buttercase also faces two federal charges of transporting child pornography across state lines.
In the state case Buttercase was given up to 41 years after being convicted of beating and raping the 29-year-old woman in July 2011
WASHINGTON (AP) - The Senate Armed Services Committee will hold a confirmation hearing on the nomination of Chuck Hagel to be the next defense secretary on Jan. 31.
The panel announced the hearing in a statement issued Wednesday.
The committee's chairman, Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan, has expressed support for Hagel, President Barack Obama's pick to replace Leon Panetta as Pentagon chief. The panel's top Republican, Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, said in a statement late Tuesday that he would oppose the nomination.
Inhofe is one of a handful of Republicans who have expressed their opposition to Hagel, a Republican who served two terms as senator from Nebraska.
KEARNEY, Neb. (AP) - The father of a 4-year-old boy who died in 2009 as a result of child abuse says Nebraska officials should have taken the boy into protective custody.
The Kearney Hub reports (http://bit.ly/13CPTmz ) that 40-year-old Clinton Payne has filed a $1 million wrongful death claim against the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.
The South Dakota man says social workers had more than 50 contacts with his sister, Sharon Turnell, and her husband, Charles Turnell, before his son, Landon Payne, died.
Landon Payne was living with the Turnells because Clinton Payne was in a South Dakota prison. Landon had severe head trauma and dozens of cuts and bruises when he died.
Dustin Scoville and Sharon Turnell were sentenced to 49-to-50 years in prison. Charles Turnell, was sentenced to 19-to-20 years.
GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (AP) - Passenger totals jumped 19 percent during 2012 and set a record for the Central Nebraska Regional Airport in Grand Island.
The total was almost 56,100, compared with nearly 47,100 in 2011.
The 2012 figure smashed the old record of nearly 51,400 in 1980.
Officials say that to meet the rising passenger demand, the airport is planning to build a replacement passenger terminal and expand parking.
The airport offers twice-weekly nonstop flights to Las Vegas and Phoenix-Mesa and daily nonstop jet service to Dallas/Fort Worth.
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - Newly sworn-in U.S. Sen. Deb Fischer says she's ready to bring U.S. troops home from Afghanistan, but does not favor an option that would leave no troops in the country.
The Nebraska Republican, who defeated Democrat Bob Kerrey in November, made the remarks a day after returning from a congressional trip to Afghanistan and Israel.
Fischer was one of five Republican senators, led by Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, on the trip.
U.S. combat troops are slated to leave Afghanistan by the end of 2014. At issue is the size of a residual force for training and assisting Afghans. Obama administration officials have signaled that the U.S. might leave no troops in the country after December 2014. Other administration officials have said they are considering leaving as many as 15,000.