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Man accused of 2 escapes pleads not guilty to many charges

A 19-year-old man who Sheridan County authorities say escaped twice from custody has pleaded not guilty to several charges.

Chadron radio station KCSR reports that Michael Brown made the pleas on Monday. The judge set another hearing for April 7.

Authorities say Brown escaped from the back of a police car on Jan. 21 and was captured the next day. They say he escaped from the Sheridan County Jail on Feb. 10 and was recaptured on Feb. 17 in Gordon. Besides facing charges in the escapes, Brown is accused of several break-ins and weapons violations.


Grant Fischer Qualifies for Geographic Bee


Grant Fischer, student at Valentine Middle School won the school competition of the 2015 National Geographic Bee last December and a chance at a $50,000 college scholarship. The school Bee, at which students answered questions on geography, was the first round in the 27th annual National Geographic Bee. Grant then took a written qualifying test and was chosen as one of the top 100 scorers in Nebraska. He is now eligible to participate in the state level National Geographic Bee at the University of Nebraska-Omaha on March 27, 2015.

The National Geographic Society will provide an all-expenses paid trip to Washington, D.C., for

state winners to participate in the Bee national championship rounds May 11-13, 2015. The first place

national champion will receive a $50,000 college scholarship, a lifetime membership in the Society including a subscription to National Geographic magazine, and a trip to the Galápagos Islands, courtesy of Lindblad Expeditions and National Geographic. Award-winning journalist Soledad O’Brien will moderate the national finals on May 13. The program will air on television.

Other top scoring students in the school level Bee in 6th grade were Elliana Springer, Shyanne Urbin, and Hank Lancaster. In 7th grade, the other two top scorers were Logan Cate and Tanner DeVoogd. In 8th grade, the top scorers were Elizabeth Harvey, Reaghan Shelbourn, and Jakob Harp.

Valentine Community Schools would like to thank all of the students who participated in this year’s school level Bee, and we wish Grant the best of luck in Omaha!


Speech at North Platte

The Duet Team of Sophie Lopez and Jacy Miller placed 2nd at Best of the West Speech event in North Platte.  Superiors went to the OID team of Sydney Dunn, Sophie Lopez and Jacy Miller.  Amos Utecht and Lincoln Stoeger earned a superior in Duet as well.  In Humorous Prose, Sydney Dunn and Amos Utecht received superiors.  Sophie Lopez and Sydney Dunn received superiors in Poetry.  Ashley Hoffman was awarded a superior in Persuasive Speaking. Jacy Miller also received a superior in Informative Speaking.
The VHS speech team will compete in  Southwest Conference which will be held on Tuesday, March 10 in Ainsworth.  Districts are in Paxton on March 16th.  The top three placers in each event will qualify for the state meet which is in Kearney on March 26th.


Panel approves 6 cent per gallon tax bump, speed limit increase in SD

A House committee has approved a proposal to hike funding for roads and bridges and raise the speed limit on interstate highways to 80 mph in South Dakota.

The State Affairs Committee passed a modified version of the Senate's transportation bill Monday.

It goes to the House floor.

The committee has limited gas tax increases to 2 cents per gallon for three years. Lawmakers on the panel hope to find more money in the session's final days.

The committee has also supported amendments further raising vehicle license plate fees and giving the counties the authority to further increase the wheel tax.

One other change includes an increase in the interstate speed limit to 80 mph. The proposal the House panel has passed has more limited gas tax increases than those Senate lawmakers approved.


Committee advances bill to repeal Nebraska death penalty

The full Legislature will consider repealing Nebraska's death penalty, and the senator pushing the proposal says he's optimistic it could happen.

A committee unanimously advanced the bill Monday.

Sen. Ernie Chambers of Omaha has fought for 40 years to end capital punishment and says his bill has "as good a chance to getting passed as has ever been."

The Legislature approved a repeal in 1979 but it was vetoed by then-Gov. Charles Thone.

Chambers says conservative Republican senators are approaching him with practical questions about the bill's implementation, making him more optimistic.

Death penalty opponents say it prolongs suffering for victims' relatives and wastes tax money on appeals.

Senators would likely have to override a veto by Gov. Pete Ricketts, who supports the death penalty.


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