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Agency: Progress made on public benefits backlog

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Nebraska officials say they're close to catching up on a backlog of public benefit applications that has prompted a federal lawsuit and an investigation by lawmakers.

Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services spokesman Russ Reno says the agency expects to have all of the delayed paperwork finished by late October or early November.

Two advocacy groups sued the state in early August on behalf of a single mother in Lincoln who waited more than a month for the state to renew her public food benefits. The groups are asking a judge to certify the lawsuit as a class-action claim.

Lawmakers have also formed a special committee to investigate ACCESS Nebraska, a service that allows people to apply for and renew their public benefits. Committee members will meet September 18th.


Voters will decide whether to renovate 1928 school

SUMNER, Neb. (AP) - Voters in a small central Nebraska school district will decide in November whether to support a $4.35 million bond issue.

The Kearney Hub reports the Sumner-Eddyville-Miller School District proposed the bond issue to pay for improvements at a school built in 1928.

Interim Superintendent Cynthia Wendell says it will be hard for the district to upgrade the building without a bond issue.

The project would ensure that the school meets building codes while adding classrooms, locker rooms and restrooms. The project would also consolidate offices and upgrade technology throughout the building.

About 200 students attend the district that serves parts of Buffalo, Dawson and Custer counties.

The cost of the bond issue hasn't yet been set because the district hasn't decided how many years to spread the repayment over.


Nebraska bank robber may be linked to other crimes

NEBRASKA CITY, Neb. (AP) - Authorities say a man who robbed a bank in Nebraska City earlier this month matches the description of the "AK-47 Bandit" who has robbed banks across several western states.

No one was harmed in the August 22nd robbery of the First National Bank branch in southeast Nebraska. KETV reports authorities held a news conference Sunday because the suspect may be the same man who robbed banks in California, Idaho and Washington in 2012.

The suspect carries an assault rifle similar to an AK-47 into the banks.

During a robbery in Chino, California, in February 2012, the suspect shot and seriously wounded a police officer.

Law enforcement officials say the suspect is dangerous. The FBI is offering a reward of up to $20,000 for information leading to the suspect's arrest.


Police arrest suspect in death of 76-year-old

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - Omaha police have arrested a suspect in this weekend's shooting death of a 76-year-old man.

Police said Sunday that 41-year-old Ray Hubbard has been arrested on suspicion of first-degree murder in Saturday's shooting.

Officer James Shade says there was an argument before shooting happened around 5:30 p.m. Saturday in northeast Omaha.

Paramedics took L.B. Liggins to the hospital where he died.

Hubbard will also likely face two weapons charges in the case.


UNK to host talk on psychiatric drug alternatives

KEARNEY, Neb. (AP) - A national mental health expert is set to speak in Kearney about alternatives to psychiatric drugs.

The University of Nebraska at Kearney is hosting the presentation by Peter Breggin. Breggin, a Harvard University-trained psychiatrist, will give his talk at 7 p.m. on September 15th in the Nebraska Student Union Ponderosa Room.

Breggin is a former consultant at the National Institute of Mental Health. He has been called "The Conscience of Psychiatry" for his efforts to reform the mental health field.

His presentation will include a question and answer session.


Willa Cather letters to be available online

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Letters from Willa Cather, the renowned author of "My Antonia" and "O Pioneers," are expected to be available online in January 2018.

The letters will be digitized under a grant of nearly $272,000 from the National Endowment for the Humanities. "The Complete Letters of Willa Cather" will be published online as part of the Willa Cather Archive. The archive is a venture of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Center for Digital Research in the Humanities

Cather was born in 1873 in Virginia and lived there for nine years before moving with her family to Nebraska. The family resettled to Red Cloud in 1885. She graduated from the University of Nebraska in 1895. She died in 1947.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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