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Mutual of Omaha puts new headquarters plan on back burner

(Information from: Omaha World-Herald,

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Plans by Mutual of Omaha to replace its Omaha headquarters have been put on hold.

The Omaha World-Herald reports that the insurance company recently decided to put a pin in the idea of a new home base and instead focus on other priorities. Spokesman Jim Nolan says those other priorities include bolstering technology to support Mutual’s growing insurance business.

The news comes after a more than yearlong study of a possible $200 million-plus project to replace Mutual’s current headquarters in midtown Omaha. The plan had been to erect a new headquarters fairly close by.



Audit: $44,000 in dubious charges at Education Department

(Information from: Omaha World-Herald,

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — A state audit says that a former Nebraska Department of Education employee spent more than $44,000 on a work credit card on questionable items.

The auditor says the former employee, Nicole Coffey, racked up the charges between January 2016 and April 2018 while serving as state advisor for DECA, which is a student marketing organization.

The Omaha World-Herald reports Coffey told investigators that some of the charges, such as buying food for volunteers or thank-you gifts for officers, were meant to help the organization. But she says she was lax in keeping her personal and professional expenses separate.

Coffey resigned in May 2018 after officials began questioning the expenses.

The auditor says Coffey took out 13 cash advances in violation of department policies.



Nebraska awarded nearly $2 million for new 911 system

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska’s public utilities agency says it has been awarded nearly $2 million in federal grant money to revamp the state’s 50-year-old 911 system.

The $1.99 million grant from the U.S. Transportation Department and U.S. Commerce Department will go toward implementing a new system called Next Generation 911. The new system will use GPS data to help locate those who call 911 from a cellphone. It will also give Nebraska 911 centers the ability to receive digital information to include, text, pictures and video.

Earlier this year, state officials said that four of every five calls placed to 911 are made on cellphones.

The Nebraska Public Service Commission applied for and will administer the grant. The state will have until March 31, 2022, to apply the federal funds.


Official: Mental health crisis center set to launch in Omaha

(Information from: Omaha World-Herald,

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A Nebraska hospital system says it will build a psychiatric emergency center on its Omaha campus, dashing the hopes of Sarpy County officials who had pitched building the center in Bellevue.

The Omaha World-Herald reports that University of Nebraska Medical Center psychiatry chairman Dr. Howard Liu says the health system’s board of directors approved the project in concept Monday. Liu added they aim to open the center next spring or summer.

Nebraska Medicine was in “very preliminary” discussions with Sarpy County about adding such a facility to its Bellevue campus. But Liu noted that discussions with Sarpy ended a few months ago.

A planning group of leaders in psychiatry and emergency medicine concluded that the health system should instead prioritize Douglas County due to its larger patient volume.



Omaha man gets prison for 2016 killing of rival gang member

(Information from: Omaha World-Herald,

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A 27-year-old man accused of killing a member of a rival Omaha gang has been sentenced to a minimum of 15 years in prison.

The Omaha World-Herald reports that Tontavious Montgomery was sentenced Thursday to 15 to 20 years for manslaughter and 15 to 20 years on a weapons count, to be served one after the other. Under state law, that means Montgomery will have to serve at least 15 years before he’s eligible for parole.

Montgomery pleaded no contest in April to the charges in a deal with prosecutors. He had initially been charged with first-degree murder for the death 22-year-old Terrance Gunn in May 2016.

An accomplice, Alphonso Hall III, pleaded guilty last year to manslaughter and was sentenced to 15 to 20 years in prison.



Bellevue man convicted in Omaha man’s shooting death

(Information from: Omaha World-Herald,

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A Douglas County jury has convicted a Bellevue man of first-degree murder in the July 2018 killing an Omaha resident.

The Omaha World-Herald reports that the jury deliberated only two hours Thursday before finding 39-year-old Phillip Figures guilty of the murder charge and a weapons count in the death of 57-year-old Frederick Green.

Key to Figures’ conviction was the testimony of his wife, Vanessa Figures, who said her husband had told her he and another man entered Green’s home, beat him and demanded money. She said Phillip Figures’ accomplice later shot Green in the leg, panicked, then killed Green to keep him from identifying the shooter and Figures.

Vanessa Figures went to police — taking items stolen from Green — after she said her husband threatened to kill her if she said anything.



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