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Today in Nebraska-December

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Dec. 1

1868 — The first state capitol was ready for occupancy.

1946 — A $4 million contract was let for construction of the Enders dam on Frenchman Creek in Chase County.

1948 — Timothy Iron Bear was executed in the electric chair in Lincoln for killing a ranch woman who lived near Rushville.

Dec. 2

1863 — President Abraham Lincoln designated Omaha as the starting point for the transcontinental railroad's westward push. Ground was broken on the same date one year later.

1919 — A state constitutional convention began.

Dec. 3

1873 — The city of Kearney incorporated.

Dec. 4

1951 — Robert D. Harrison, a Norfolk oil man and Republican, defeated Fremont Mayor Carl F. Olson, a Democrat, in a race for the U.S. House seat from Nebraska's 3rd Congressional District.

1959 — Keith Neville, a Democrat who was Nebraska governor, 1917-1919, died in North Platte. He was 75.

Dec. 5

1858 — William Richardson resigned as territorial governor in protest of President James Buchanan's pro-slavery policy for Kansas. J. Sterling Morton became acting governor.

1972 — Johnny Rodgers, the University of Nebraska's all-purpose back, won the Heisman Trophy as the nation's outstanding college football player.

2007 — A 19-year-old fatally wounded eight people at the Von Maur department store at Omaha's Westroads Mall. The gunman, Robert Hawkins, then killed himself.

Dec. 6

1875 — The federal government decreed that all Sioux Indians in Nebraska must report to a reservation or be considered hostile.

1890 — The city of Gering was incorporated.

Dec. 7

1873 — Author Willa Cather, whose novels were often set on the plains of Nebraska, was born in Winchester, Virginia

Dec. 8

1934 — A nationwide federal cleanup drive against drug users and dealers resulted in more than 500 arrests, and 28 of those arrested were taken to Omaha.

Dec. 9

1854 — Residents of Bellevue accused acting Gov. Thomas Cuming of accepting and even exacting bribes from the Omaha town company for consideration as territorial capital.

1874 — The military post on the North Loup River was named Fort Hartsuff, in honor of Maj. Gen. George Hartsuff.

Dec. 10

1934 — The athletic advisory board gave formal approval for Omaha University to join the North Central conference.

Dec. 11

1970 — In Wahoo, students at John F. Kennedy College defied 18-degree weather to begin a 30-hour "dig-in," digging the basement for the foundation of a new campus student union.

Dec. 12

1854 — The Nebraska Territory held its first elections.

1871 — Adams County was organized.

1917 — The Rev. Edward Flanagan founded Boys Town in Omaha, officially known as Father Flanagan's Boys' Home.

1919 — The National Park Service acquired land to create Scotts Bluff National Monument.

Dec. 13

1867 — Gen. Christopher Augur, commanding officer of the Army's Department of the Platte, ordered Company E of the 30th Infantry to be stationed at Sidney Barracks.

Dec. 14

1970 — The University of Nebraska Board of Regents directed all student organizations to comply with anti-discrimination policies by Feb. 1 or lose their official sanction.

1984 — Nebraska Attorney General Paul Douglas, who resigned Dec. 26, 1984, was convicted of perjury by a county court jury in Lincoln. The state Supreme Court later overturned the conviction.

Dec. 15

1969 — Durward B. "Woody" Varner was named chancellor of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Dec. 16

1941 — Peace officers from nine western Nebraska counties met in Sidney and drafted a resolution for a radio communications system for the national defense.

Dec. 17

1934 — The Rev. William J. Corboy resigned as faculty regent of athletics at Creighton University in Omaha. He had held the post since 1914.

Dec. 18

1900 — Meatpacking heir Edward Cudahy Jr. was kidnapped and then ransomed for $25,000 in gold.

Dec. 19

1896 — Sgt. Leodegan Schnyder, a Swiss immigrant who was in the U.S. Army for 53 years, died on his farm near Tobias.

Dec. 20

1854 — Acting Gov. Thomas Cuming announced that the territorial legislature would meet in Omaha.

Dec. 21

1944 — State officials approved a petition to create the Custer Public Power District in Broken Bow.

Dec. 22

1970 — The state school districts reorganization committee approved plans for creating a high school district in Colfax County.

Dec. 23

1934 — The McCook City Council accepts a land donation to serve as a site for McCook Junior College, forerunner of McCook Community College.

Dec. 24

1913 — Joseph Cullen Root, founder of the Omaha-based Modern Woodmen of America fraternal organization, died in Hendersonville, North Carolina

1985 — A passer-by discovered the body of a young boy in a roadside ditch near Chester. The town later buried the child, who was eventually identified as 9-year-old Danny Stutzman. His father was convicted of abandoning the body.

Dec. 25

1799 — Mark Izard, an early territorial governor, was born in Lexington, Kentucky

1917 — The Rev. Edward Flanagan and 25 boys living at his newly founded home that would eventually be called Boys Town had sauerkraut for Christmas dinner.

Dec. 26

1975 — Arizona State defeated Nebraska in the Fiesta Bowl, breaking the Cornhuskers' six-game bowl winning streak.

Dec. 27

1980 — Nebraska defeated Mississippi State in the Sun Bowl, 31-17.

Dec. 28

1934 — Judge L. B. Day of the state Supreme Court was elected president of the Nebraska Bar Association.

Dec. 29

1913 — Joseph Cullen Root, founder of the Woodmen of America fraternal organization, was buried in Omaha.

Dec. 30

1848 — Fort Childs was renamed Fort Kearny in honor of Brig. Gen. Stephen W. Kearny, who had died a year earlier.

Dec. 31

1885 — A blizzard struck Ogallala.

1974 — Nebraska defeated Florida 13-10 in the Sugar Bowl.

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