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Birds

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The U.S. government says it will protect two populations of a rare prairie bird that’s found in parts of the Midwest, including one of the country’s most prolific oil and gas fields. The lesser prairie chicken’s range covers a portion of the oil-rich Permian Basin along the New Mexico-Texas line, and extends into parts of Colorado, Oklahoma and Kansas. The bird's habitat has diminished about 90% from historical levels. Officials say the prairies where the birds live are in peril as they get broken up and developed.

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In the summer of 1997, audiences in Minneapolis at the Orpheum Theatre saw something no one had ever seen before: leaping antelopes, fluttering birds and elephants lumbering through the orchestra seats. It was “The Lion King,” and it would soon transfer to Broadway and start a stunning run that regularly lands it among the weekly top earners and becomes young people’s introduction to theater. It turns 25 years old on Broadway this month. Part of its longevity is due to the movie tie-in, simple-to-understand story, family-friendly themes and the fact that it’s a spectacle not dependent on big-name stars.

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The U.S. government says four areas in Louisiana and two in Texas should be protected as critical habitat for a rare snake that eats small gophers and takes over their burrows. Louisiana pinesnakes have been listed as threatened since 2018, largely due to the loss of sandy longleaf pine savannas. National forests make up the bulk of four areas that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed as critical habitat. But the largest is nearly all private land in north Louisiana, home to the snakes' largest population. The smallest, in Scrappin’ Valley, Texas, is all privately owned.  A private biologist says it's already being managed for an endangered woodpecker that also needs open-canopy longleaf pine forests with grassy floors.

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Reynaldo A. De Los Angeles, 76, of Kearney was arrested in September at his office at 409 E. 25th St., on a Buffalo County warrant charging him with third-degree sexual assault, a misdemeanor. He is accused of having sexual contact with a victim without consent that didn’t cause serious personal injury at his office on Aug. 25.

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