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Brush fire that threatened North Platte homes contained

Firefighters have contained a fire that threatened several residences in the western Nebraska city of North Platte.

Fire Chief Dennis Thompson says fire crews from several departments that were called in contained the blaze around 9 p.m. Monday. He says flames were still visible amid trees in the wooded area on Tuesday morning.

Thompson says no injuries to firefighters or civilians have been reported, and no occupied homes were damaged. Some sheds and other outbuildings were destroyed, however. The chief says he didn't know for sure how many acres were blackened by the wind-whipped blaze.

The fire was first reported around 2 p.m. Monday on the east end of Cody Park, which sits just south of the North Platte River.

 

Stray dogs being gathered on reservation after women's death

Stray dogs are being rounded up on the Rosebud Indian Reservation after an attack that killed a woman.

Authorities say 49-year-old Julie Charging Whirlwind died Saturday after being surrounded by a pack of dogs and mauled.

Tribal Council members on Monday authorized tribal police to work with tribal wildlife officials to round up stray dogs that are deemed dangerous. The dogs will be impounded or killed.

The schedule for the dog control is as follows (subject to change):

Tuesday, March 17th - Rosebud 9 am - 12 pm; Soldier Creek 1 pm - 4 pm

Wednesday, March 18th - St. Francis 9 am - 12 pm; Spring Creek 1 pm - 4 pm

Thursday, March 19th - Parmalee 9 am - 12 pm; Upper Cut Meat 1 pm - 4 pm

Friday, March 20th - He Dog 9 am - 12 pm; Ring Thunder 1 pm - 4 pm.

The death of Charging Whirlwind comes just a few months after the Nov. 18 death of 8-year-old Jayla Rodriguez, who was killed by dogs while she was sledding on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Both reservations are in southwest South Dakota.

 

Game and Parks Commission to Host Meeting on Valentine-Area Projects

A public informational meeting will be held in Valentine on March 26 to discuss several planned improvements for fishing, boating and angler access in the area.

The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will host the meeting at the Niobrara Lodge, 803 E. U.S. Highway 20, from 7-9 p.m. A presentation on the projects will be followed by a question-and-answer session.

A summary of the projects to be discussed:

Valentine National Wildlife Refuge – An Aquatic Habitat Project will begin this summer to address the passage of common carp through existing water control structures. New designs for control structures below Watts, Hackberry, Dewey, Whitewater, Clear, Willow and Pelican lakes will limit upstream fish passage and help control high densities of carp in these lakes. West Long Lake will see earth fill added to the existing roadway berm. Cleaning out the channel between the lakes also will allow Fish and Wildlife Service personnel to manage the water and fish populations more effectively. Plans are underway for a rotenone fish renovation at Watts Lake the week of March 23.

Merritt Reservoir – Construction of a new boat launch facility at the main landing area is planned for this summer and fall. A 16-foot-wide boat ramp will be poured adjacent to a protective rock breakwater. The design eventually will allow launching most years into August. A second breakwater may be built near the Willow Cove area, and it would provide wave attenuation, fish habitat benefits and access to deeper water for bank anglers.

Rat and Beaver Lakes – An update will be given on the recent completion of a fish renovation, installation of water control structures with carp barriers and fish stockings.

Big Alkali Lake – The rock breakwater near the boat ramp needs repair, and excavation will be done to improve boat launching.

Call Zac Brashears at 402-376-8080 or Mark Porath at 402-471-5583 for more information.

   

North Platte Wildfire Monday

A fire broke out Monday afternoon north a row of homes along East 16th Street in North Platte.

When the call came in at about 2 p.m., the fire was reported to have started on the walking trail that goes east from Cody Park. Within 10 minutes, the fire had spread over a large area in the trees and brush situated between the North Platte River and the homes on East 16th Street.

Firefighters in grass fire rigs approached the fire through private property, but by that time the fire had began to burn woodpiles and children’s playground equipment, among other things.

Traffic throughout the area also became quite congested within a short time as people were curious about the smoke.

With the dry conditions, the fire had plenty of fuel, and with the gusty wind whipping to as strong as 35 mph, the fire spread quickly.

At about 6 p.m., the fire was still blazing. At 10 p.m. it was reported as contained.

 

SD State prison inmate fails to return from funeral furlough

A state prison inmate at a minimum-security unit in Rapid City has been placed on "escape" status after failing to return from a funeral furlough.

Authorities say Dace Lunderman was allowed to attend a funeral in Mission but did not return at the scheduled time on Saturday.

The 30-year-old Lunderman was serving two years in prison for assaulting a law officer in Pennington County.

   

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