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Police Chief Todd Schmaderer’s Brother Seriously Injured During Intrusion Alert

omaha police chiefOMAHA, Nebraska — Police Chief Todd Schmaderer’s brother was seriously injured late Wednesday while police were checking the South Omaha post office for a possible intruder.

Police said officers reported to the post office at 4730 S. 24th St. around 11:55 p.m. after an intrusion alarm sounded.

Police said officers found evidence of a burglary and began clearing the facility.

Later, Officer Brian Schmaderer fell 10 feet while he was clearing a catwalk, police said. he was unconscious when officers found him, police said.

He was taken to the Nebraska Medical Center in serious condition, according to rescue squad personnel at the scene.

Brian Schmaderer was alert while he was taken to the hospital, police said.

There were no arrests.

Road Widening Project Closes the Street on Thursday for Several Months

Omaha roadsOMAHA, Nebraska — A heavily used north-south travel corridor in northwest Omaha is scheduled to close for several months beginning Thursday for a major roadway upgrade project.

At 9 a.m., 168th Street, roughly between West Maple Road and West Dodge Road, will be closed for the street-widening project that will impact on motorists for nine months.

On Thursday, Blondo Street between North 171st Street and Dora Hamann Parkway, which is about three blocks east of North 168th Street, will also be closed for about six months as part of the improvement project.

The overall improvement work will widen 168th from two lanes to four lanes and add a median and left-turn lane. This project also will include improvements to the 168th and Blondo Streets intersection.

An estimated 17,700 vehicles use 168th Street daily. Officials expect the number to grow to 30,500 daily by 2040.

The project, estimated to cost more than $21 million, initially was set to be completed in two phases — West Maple to Blondo Street in 2018, then Blondo to West Dodge, with the second phase probably set for 2019. But they are both combined into one project by the city.

‘I apologize to my wife and son’, State Senator Mike McDonnell Said After DUI Arrest

Nebraska State Senator Mike McDonnell did not reference his first-offense arrest on suspicion of DUI, as he apologized Thursday on the floor of the legislature to his family, constituents, and colleagues.

The Nebraska State Patrol arrested the Omaha senator early Thursday on misdemeanor charges of driving while intoxicated and refusing to submit to a test. He was also cited for failure to stay in a lane. The DUI charge is the first offense.

McDonnell, 52, was stopped by the Nebraska State Patrol on Interstate 80 and booked through the Sarpy County Sheriff’s Office at 12:52 a.m. Thursday.

As a state senator, McDonnell’s prosecution will be delayed until the session ends in mid-April. He was released shortly after 2 a.m.

“Last night, I was pulled over for not maintaining my lane on Interstate 80,” McDonnell told fellow lawmakers.

But McDonnell stopped himself as began to describe the incident.

nebraska senator

“The trooper was professional. He was polite. I refused…”.


McDonnell changed the direction of his comments to note senators are held to a higher standard and should not make decisions that affect their districts or state negatively.

“I take full responsibility for my actions and the decisions I make,” said McDonnell.

“I apologize to my wife and son, the people of my district, and the members of the legislature which I’m honored and proud to serve in,” he said.

In addition, McDonnell is a Gross High and the University of Nebraska at Omaha graduate. He has a master’s degree in public administration from Bellevue University. McDonnell served 6 years as Omaha fire chief, and a total of 24 years as an Omaha firefighter, including 10-years as union president.

He was elected to the Nebraska Legislature in 2016 representing South Omaha’s district 5.


Standoff Situation in the Omaha Neighborhood

Omaha newsOMAHA, Nebraska — Thursday evening Omaha Police attempted to serve warrants to a suspect who locked himself in his home near 45th and Grand Ave.

The man refused to open the door for police and a standoff ensued.

The residence was surrounded quickly after heavily armed police units were called.

The situation remained tense for several hours.

After speaking with the man, the suspect came out of the home and was taken into custody.


Early Christmas Morning Fire Destroys People’s Homes

Omaha FireOMAHA, Nebraska — Omaha firefighters were called to two early Christmas Day house fires.

The first fire started around 12:30 a.m. in Ralston.

Four people were forced to leave their home after a fire started in an upstairs bedroom of a home near 80th and Lakeview streets.

“It was seconds, in one second my house was in flames, everything happened in a minute,” homeowner Jessica Rivera said in Spanish.

Rivera says she was celebrating Christmas Eve with her husband, Enoc, their two sons, ages 7 and 12, and a friend when smoke started filling the home. She said the haze seemed to be coming from her bedroom.

“When we opened the door, I saw the flames rising to the ceiling,” Rivera said.

Rivera said she and her husband rushed to get their children out the door. Enoc told that he punched through a glass window sheet to help dissipate the smoke. His hand was wrapped up in gauze Christmas morning.

The only things the family was able to save were themselves, and their car.

“We lost the two kids’ bedrooms, my room, the living room, we lost everything,” Rivera said.

Newly-opened gifts were sitting in the hallway and living room Christmas morning. The table was still set with half-eaten plates of food. The only difference is that everything was covered in a layer of dirt.

Ralston firefighters knocked down the fire with assistance from the Omaha Fire Department. No injuries were reported.

The Red Cross was called in to help the family find a place to stay for the night. Rivera said it was the last place she imagined herself to be on Christmas.

“You’re with your family, you see your kids happy, and suddenly you feel as if you’ve lost it all in a second,” she said, “and it’s very sad.”

Rivera said she’s grateful that she and her family members were not hurt or killed.

The family believes the blaze started somewhere along the chimney of their wood burning stove.

The state fire marshal’s office is investigating the case.

Omaha firefighters were called to a second house fire, which started around 1:30 a.m. in the basement of a home near 14th and Browne streets. The flames caused extensive damage before crews could put them out.

Firefighters said no one was home when the fire started.

The causes of both fires are under investigation.


New Corporate Headquarters of Kiewit in North Downtown Omaha


OMAHA, Nebraska — Kiewit, one of North America’s largest construction and engineering organizations, is developing plans for a new corporate headquarters in North Downtown Omaha next to Kiewit University.


The new headquarters will give Kiewit’s Omaha-based employees a location suited for greater association and interaction as they continue to support Kiewit’s nearly 20,000 other employees delivering construction and engineering programs.


There are still plenty of things Kiewit needs to evaluate before plans and specifics are finalized, but discussions with the City of Omaha and Mayor Jean Stothert have been very encouraging.


Stothert made the following statement on the announcement Thursday afternoon.


“We welcome Kiewit, a Fortune 500 company, to downtown Omaha. The pace of development throughout downtown Omaha demonstrates a new enthusiasm for our urban core as a business center, entertainment and leisure destination and residential district. The decision to build its new global headquarters in north downtown is great news for the City, the company and its employees. Kiewit will further accelerate development in this important growth area of downtown. The future for north downtown is very promising, with the opening of Kiewit University, the Capitol District, the new Creighton Dental School in 2018, The Yard, and eventually development of Lot B, west of the CenturyLink Center. The City looks forward to working with Kiewit on construction and opening of its new campus.”


On Tuesday, Kiewit and Stothert executed a Memorandum of Understanding regarding the proposed project.


Kiewit has maintained The Noddle Companies as its developer and has begun working with HDR on introductory building and site designs.


Kiewit opened Kiewit University on the corner of 14th in February and Mike Fahey streets, where it hosts more than 3,000 employees from across North America each year for training and development.


Kiewit University’s location in an emerging North Downtown neighborhood — only minutes from Eppley Airfield, TD Ameritrade Park, Creighton University, CenturyLink Center and downtown Omaha — has proved to be very popular with the company’s employees.


The new headquarters should continue to encourage development in the neighborhood and reaffirms Kiewit’s commitment to Omaha and Nebraska, the company’s home since 1884.


More details will be released about the plans for a new headquarters as they continue to take shape.


Crash on I-55 Killed 4 People in Hamel, People Identified

HAMEL, Ill. – There is new information about the crash that killed four people on Interstate 55 near Hamel, Ill.


Illinois CrashIllinois State Police said Mohamed Yussuf Jama, 53, of Colorado was the driver of a truck that crashed into several vehicles.


The driver of the truck that crashed into several vehicles on Interstate 55 in southwestern Illinois, killed four people. Four young women died from their injuries in the crash: Hailey Bertels, 20, and Madisen Bertels,17, of Staunton and Tori Carroll, 20, of Alhambra and Vivian Vu, 19, of Joplin, Missouri.


The investigation is ongoing.

Self-driving Bus Crashed in its First Trial Hour

Las Vegas CrashLAS VEGAS, Nevada — Las Vegas’ self-driving shuttle service marked its return by getting into a minor collision, according to local NBC station.

French startup Navya’s autonomous electric vehicle shuffles at around 15 MPH on a 0.6-mile circuit in the downtown Fremont East district. But, just an hour into its year-long trial (which follows a successful stint in January) the shuttle was hit by a delivery truck that was backing up.

None of the 8 passengers aboard the driverless vehicle suffered injuries and neither did the truck driver. Instead, the front bumper of the shuttle took the pressure of the damage.

A representative of the Las Vegas City government also posted a note on its official Tumblr page detailing the accident. “The autonomous shuttle was testing today when it was grazed by a delivery truck downtown,” reads the post. It continued: “The shuttle did what it was supposed to do, in that its sensors registered the truck and the shuttle stopped to avoid the accident. Unfortunately, the delivery truck did not stop and grazed the front fender of the shuttle.”

The trial is set to continue, but the incident will do little to ease the concerns of those skeptical about self-driving cars. The free autonomous shuttle service was the first of its kind in the US.

White SUV Inside of the Crane Coffee in Omaha: 5 Injured

Omaha NewsOMAHA – White SUV Crashes into Crane Coffee near 132nd and West Maple. Two young women lying in the parking lot; one unconscious and bleeding from her head, the other a few feet away, screaming “it hurts.” In the wreckage of the building, bystanders pulling bricks off another woman. She appeared unconscious.


This was Tuesday morning in a west Omaha parking lot. A sports utility vehicle crashed into the small but popular Crane Coffee shop, injuring five, witnesses said.


“I was just in shock because I had never seen something like this,” said Olivia Smith, 19, who arrived in the immediate aftermath of the crash. “It did not feel real.”


The crash took place before 9:45 a.m. just east of 132nd Street and West Maple Road when a Jeep Grand Cherokee plowed into the coffee shop at Eagle Run Square shopping center.


Omaha Police Sgt. Doug Klein said, four of the five injured are Crane Coffee employees. The 5th is the driver of the Jeep.


The employees of Crane and their reported injuries: Rachel Ayala, 36, a possible injury to her esophagus; Danae Humbert, 25, a lacerated liver and a fractured pelvis; Chrisanna McClure, 22, cuts and scrapes; and Jesse Moore, 29, a broken left hand, cuts and scrapes.


One of the workers had been ejected from the building into the parking lot, police said. They did not specify which one.


Ayala was listed in critical condition Tuesday evening at Creighton University Medical Center-Bergan Mercy, Humbert was listed in serious condition, and McClure had been treated and released.


The driver of the SUV was identified as Jake Yestingsmeier, 33, of Omaha. He suffered minor injuries from the deployment of the airbag, police said.


Yestingsmeier, who was treated and released, told police that he blacked out and did not recall what happened.


Neither speed nor alcohol appears to have been a factor in the crash, police said. An officer conducted a drug-recognition evaluation on Yestingsmeier, but it came back negative.


Truong said he asked the driver what had happened.


“He said he did not remember anything,” Truong said.


“I just hope the families are doing OK, the victims are doing OK,” she said. “I hope everything gets figured out with the driver.”


Klein said the SUV was eastbound on West Maple when it veered to the right, went off the road, crossed a grassy area and another road before entering the parking lot where it smashed into the Crane Coffee shop.


The 312-square-foot building is a total loss, police said.


No tire marks indicating braking were evident outside the building.


Omaha is One of the Best Cities to Launch a Business

Omaha wants to spread its status as the “Silicon Prairie.”
Start-up costs, as well as the cost of living, are lower in Omaha compared to other U.S. cities.
David Arnold managing director of Straight Shot said: “On top of that, there’s great institutional support for entrepreneurs”.
In addition, the Omaha Small Business Network assists entrepreneurs in economically poor districts that are in need of working capital.
According to Arnold the presence of Fortune 500 companies such as ConAgra, Berkshire Hathaway, and Union Pacific Railroad has also created a robust network of mentors,
“And many top talents at these companies are jumping ship and starting their own companies.”

How is Omaha different from other cities for entrepreneurs?

The work ethic in Omaha is really hard. I think you’ll find it’s something that’s baked in over the last century or so. In general, Nebraskans are very much a hard-working group. So when there is a team of people that get together with an idea, they will work hard for very little.
It’s kind of creating an entrepreneurial revival if you will. There’s access to a lot of smart people that are extremely hard working. For example, at Hay Needle, we’ve hired something like 350 people.
Both coming out of undergrad, but also coming out of experienced companies like Union Pacific, and First Data, some really talented programming. Both front end and back end. The talent, in a way, is kind of cooped up. They want to jump out and start their own thing.

What makes Omaha a great place for startups?

Mark Hasebroock: Omaha has got a really exciting young dynamic culture that’s starting to embrace starting their own businesses. It’s a laid-back way of life. It’s really easy to live in Omaha. The cost of living is very low. We don’t have great big booms. We don’t have many busts. It just kind of floats along under the radar.

Where is there more capacity, in engineering, sales, or other areas?

Omaha has been, a call center environment from the 1960s and 1970s up through the early 2000s, because of Strategic Air Command putting big pipes in the city. Call centers are almost everywhere; West Telemarketing, as well as in-bound out-bound type stuff. So you had this infrastructure for customer service. If you wanted to set up a call center environment, there were many people to choose from that were very talented.