Friday, May 14th, 2021

State and Local News

Omaha Republican state Senator John McCollister is joining a growing number of Republicans who are threatening to leave the party if it does not distance itself from Donald Trump.  A coalition of over a hundred Republicans released a statement on Thursday threatening the action if the party does not return to its principles.  Meanwhile, the national Democratic Party is newly-investing millions of dollars to help Nebraska’s Democratic candidates.  The Cornhusker State does not have a Democratic member of Congress or governor.

The first case of the Indian coronavirus variant has been detected in Nebraska.  The Lancaster County Health Department confirmed the case, which was linked to international travel.  Health officials say COVID-19 vaccinations should be effective against the variant.

The interim police chief in Papillion is being named to the position permanently.  Chris Whitted succeeded Scott Lyons, who left the department to take a new job earlier this year.  Whitted joined the Papillion PD in 1993.

The Nebraska Legislature amended and advanced a concealed-carry bill on Wednesday. Senator Tom Brewer’s initial proposal was to allow counties to authorize residents to carry without a state-issued permit.  The Nebraska Attorney General’s Office said earlier this week the bill was likely unconstitutional.  The amended bill without the so-called “constitutional carry” provision passed first-round debate by a 47-to-nothing vote.


New York’s Elise Stefanik is now the third-highest ranking Republican in the House.  Stefanik was selected as the new chair of the House GOP Conference in a closed-door meeting.  She replaces Wyoming’s Liz Cheney, who was ousted this week over her persistent criticism of former President Trump.  Stefanik was endorsed by Trump and easily defeated Texan Chip Roy.

States across the U.S. are lifting coronavirus mask mandates following new guidance from the CDC.  The new guidelines announced yesterday say those who are fully vaccinated no longer need to wear masks outdoors or indoors.  However, there are some exceptions. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky tells the Today show local mask rules may still be in effect.  Private companies, including airlines, can also still require masks due to the challenges of determining who is fully vaccinated.

Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk is down 20-billion dollars since hosting Saturday Night Live last week.  Musk didn’t take a financial hit because of bad reviews, but because a couple of his holdings are down.  Tesla shares were down more than 18-percent at the close Thursday and Musk’s cryptocurrency holdings fell, bitcoin down almost nine-percent and dogecoin off nearly six-percent.  Musk is still the third-wealthiest person on Earth with a net worth of 145-and-a-half billion dollars.

A list ranking the best and worst U.S. cities for barbecue is out in time for National Barbecue Month in May.  The online international food magazine Chef’s Pencil put together a list of its ten best and worst American cities for barbecue based on TripAdvisor ratings, and the list itself is getting mixed reviews.  Foodies took to social media to blast the rankings since places like Kansas City, Memphis, or any place in Texas didn’t make the cut.  But Houston, Fort Worth, and Plano [[ PLAY-no ]], Texas are on the Ten Worst list.  The official Twitter for Visit Houston replied to the list with nothing but laughter.  New Orleans is ranked best in the U.S. and the Top Ten also includes well-known barbecue hotspots Columbus, Ohio, Miami, and Seattle.

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