Good News and Views… Friday 5-22-20

NEW UPDATES TODAY…

NEW:  Governor Pete Ricketts announced that new directed health measures (DHMs) will take effect on June 1st.  “Phase I” reopening DHMs will apply to the Central District Health Department (Hall, Hamilton, and Merrick counties) and Dakota County.  “Phase II” reopening DHMs, which are less restrictive, will apply to the rest of Nebraska.  Go here for more.  

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NEW:  The Attorney General Doug Peterson joined a coalition of state attorneys general urging Congress to pass S.3607, the Safeguarding America’s First Responders Act.  The act would permit the families of first responders, who die or are permanently and totally disabled as a result of COVID-19, to receive the same federal benefits extended to first responders, or their survivors, otherwise killed or injured in the line of duty.  Current federal law only allows survivors access to certain benefits if evidence is provided, proving the deceased or permanently disabled first responder contracted COVID-19 while on duty.  Go here for more.  

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NEW:  The entire University of Nebraska system is reducing in-state tuition for most online undergraduate courses starting this fall.  The reduction amounts to about 9 percent, with most reduced-price online classes costing $259 per credit hour — a rate that will remain locked in place for two years.  UNMC online programs and colleges with varied tuition rates may be exceptions to the rate reductions.  NU President Ted Carter also stated in the release that the university is preparing for students to return to campus in the fall.

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NEW:  Three former Huskers will participate in NBC’s Titan Games. Former track athlete Chantae McMillan, former softball player Jamie Seeman, and former Pole vaulter Jessie Graff will appear on the TV show Monday night at 7pm (May 25th).    

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NEW:  While school buildings remain closed for now, every student in Grand Island will be able to take part in summer school activities.  With every kid (except Kindergarten and pre-school) having a Chromebook computer, administrators say that’s allowed them to open summer learning opportunities to more kids.  Some programs are open to kids at particular schools and others are open to all, plus some programs are specifically for students who may need extra help, especially after the extended absence from the classroom.  Grand Island will be offering summer options for preschool through high school, taking advantage of eLearning platforms.  Go here for more.  

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NEW:  While Stuhr Museum is closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, listeners can learn more about the museum thanks to a new podcast titled “Stuhr Crazy.”  Episodes are available on YouTube, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn, Apple Podcasts, the Stuhr Museum website, and on its Facebook and Twitter pages.  The podcast is free to download.

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NEW:  As many thrift stores have closed, the Kearney Jubilee Center said they are staying open for their customers and for community members. For over 30 years Kearney Jubilee has been supporting community members who are in need of extra assistance, but they say they’re seeing new faces during the pandemic.  Kearney Jubilee offers more than their resale shop.  They also host a food pantry while providing financial assistance for rent, utilities and medications.

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RECENT UPDATES…

NEW:  The Grand Island Public Library announced it will be restoring services on a phased and limited basis.  The first phase starts on Wednesday, May 27th with the reopening of its book drop on the north side of the building.  The next phase will be on Wednesday, June 3rd as a new curbside pickup service for reserved library materials on the west side of the building.  Go here for more

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NEW:  With a goal of getting team captains registered and keeping the community active, the Nebraska Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association is hosting its first-ever virtual Challenge Week this week.  The week was created to keep the Association’s mission in people’s minds and remind them that, even if they may be struggling with not being able to see loved ones or properly care for individuals with Alzheimer’s, that there is hope down the road.  Go here for more.  

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NEW:  The Gosper County Fair Board has decided to host the July 23-25 county fair as planned, except for the carnival.  The Fair Manager stated the 4-H part of the fair is a definite go, the entertainment is still booked, and he expects the rodeo also to proceed as planned.

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NEW:  The Nebraska Air National Guard conducted its flyover salute on Monday for healthcare professionals and all Nebraskans responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.  CHI Health St. Francis, CHI Health Good Samaritan, Phelps Memorial Health Center, and Nebraska Medical Center posted photos and videos of the salute on their Facebook pages.  The tribute, scheduled and flown as part of an already planned training flight, was a time-honored aviation tradition of rendering honors and recognition to outstanding individuals and groups.  Go here for more.

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NEW:  The Miss Rodeo Nebraska Pageant announced that the pageant will be postponed to August 2nd through August 5th due to the current social distancing in place for the state.  The Miss Rodeo Nebraska Association also extended its contestant deadline until June 15th.  Go here for more.

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NEW:  There’s no doubt that small businesses have felt an impact from COVID-19, but a new program in Hastings is hoping to help out.  The Give Back Gift Card program involves customers purchasing a gift card from the business they want and that business will receive the amount of the gift card and a 100% match.  If someone purchases a $20.00 gift card, then business will receive $40.00.  The Hastings Economic Development Corporation is contributing $100,000 to the program with each business having a cap of $2,000 in matching funds.

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The Nebraska School Activities Association will allow multiple rooms to be used for strength training and conditioning starting on June 1st.  But the NSAA says no more than 10 people can be in each room.  The NSAA will also limit outdoor conditioning sessions to 10 people as well to meet social distancing guidelines during the coronavirus pandemic.

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Nebraska-Strong Listener Submission –

I keep watch of the FB page of my grandmother’s nursing home to keep updated on their daily activities and happenings. My grandmother’s nursing home is over 2 hours away and I feel like seeing and reading the daily posts on the FB page help me cope with not getting to visit her. I’ve been noticing on their FB page lately that the hometown families and businesses there have been providing meals, snacks, and gifts to the nursing home staff in appreciation for taking care of their loved ones. I am also so grateful to these employees for taking such great care of my grandmother and all of the residents, but I couldn’t figure out how to show my appreciation from miles away.

Then it clicked. Though I have no family members in the nursing home where I reside, I am still grateful for the staff that take care of them. So my husband, children and I decided to spread a little cheer to our local community’s nursing home employees by providing homemade cookies, apples and oranges from the local grocery store (another business we would be lost without here!). We are so proud of our community and enjoy living here to spite being miles away from some of our loved ones. Sometimes it’s the little things that can help someone push through a difficult day, or offer sunshine during the rain, or just remind them that what they do is important.

I ask to stay anonymous because I want no recognition for this. I just want to share kindness and inspiration to keep these little gestures going. If nothing else, pray. It costs nothing, takes little effort, and might just be someone’s saving grace during this uncertain time in our world’s history.

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As a result of the Governor’s announcement on May 11th, beginning June 1st NSAA member schools are permitted to open weight rooms for voluntary strength and conditioning sessions. 

Prioritizing the health and safety of all students and staff must remain the focus of each NSAA member school. 

These requirements must be followed when conducting voluntary strength and conditioning sessions: 

– Maintain social distance by being 6 feet apart
– Follow gathering guidelines of groups of 10 or less students
– Groups of 10 or less must be pre-determined
– Once groups determined, students may not switch from one group to another
– Interaction between groups shall be avoided
– Sessions can only include weightlifting, running, and exercises designed to promote physical fitness
– Sport-specific drills are not permitted, and sport-specific equipment may not be used
– Implement diligent and effective cleaning and disinfecting of frequently touched objects and surfaces following the guidance of the CDC
– It is the responsibility of each NSAA member school to comply with the above requirements 

Additionally, NSAA member school sponsored camps, clinics and open gyms are prohibited in any sport at this time.  Should the conditions warrant, these requirements will be adjusted.  Any further official updates will be posted on the NSAA website and the NSAA social media platforms.

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The Hastings College football team still plans to host its Annual Bronco Football Gridiron Classic on June 19th at Southern Hills Golf Course.  The four man scramble is a fundraiser for the Bronco football team.  Go here for more

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All but 24 Nebraska counties began looser restrictions.  The Central District Health Department is asking residents not to travel to those counties.

Less restrictive Directed Health Measures (DHMs) will take effect in three additional regions in southern Nebraska on May 18, 2020.  These regions are the South Heartland, Public Health Solutions, and Two Rivers districts.  Looser restrictions apply to salons/barber shops, massage therapy services, and body art services.

The Governor also issued guidance to resume baseball and softball in June, with enhanced physical distancing measures in place for the safety of athletes, coaches, and spectators.  Practices will be permitted starting on June 1st, and games can take place as of June 18th.  Go here for more.  

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UNK’s Athletic Department recently teamed up to fill the Big Blue Cupboard mission.  The mission serves UNK students and employees suffering from food insecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Since March, supporters have contributed nearly $5,500 to the campaign, which continues through May.  UNK’s Big Blue Cupboard distributed more than 2,300 items and recorded about 500 individual visits.  The Big Blue Cupboard will remain open for UNK students and staff during the week and weekend.  Go here for more.  

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GRAND ISLAND…

Peace Lutheran in Grand Island is offering Vacation Bible School virtually this summer. Find out more at their Facebook page.

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KEARNEY…

The Trails & Rails Museum is actively seeking people’s stories during the Covid-19 pandemic.  More specifically, Trails & Rails want to hear and preserve the stories from essential workers in Buffalo County and put it in our bi-monthly publication, “Buffalo Tales.”  Entries help the museum record and preserve these unprecedented times for future years to come. Go here for more information and to submit and entry.  

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NebraskaLand National Bank is celebrating local heroes with the “behind the mask” campaign.  Submit a photo and message to thank those working the front lines in healthcare, public safety and others who continue to serve the community for the greater good during the COVID-19 pandemic.   NebraskaLand National Bank admires the bravery and appreciates the dedication. Go here to share a message of gratitude along with a photo of your hero. 

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Hot Meals USA continues to feed those in need, including first responders, amid the coronavirus crisis in Kearney.  The organization formed to respond in the wake of disasters has produced about 40,000 meals in the weeks since setting up in the MONA parking lot.  If you’re in need and can’t stop by yourself contact the Kearney Jubilee Center to have a meal delivered Monday through Saturday between 11 and 1:30pm.

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Bison Bullion in Kearney is helping raise money for families at this time.  Through the sale of 1000 10 oz bars, Bison Bullion’s goal is to raise $20,000.  $10,000 from its customer’s generous donations and $10,000 matched from Bison Bullion.  The money being raised is for a special program in Kearney in conjunction with The Alley Rose called “Drive up and Feed Kearney.”  The event will take place each Wednesday as long as the funding for the program lasts.  The first Drive up event will take place Wednesday evening May 6th.  Go here for more.

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Our partner Kearney Cinema 8 is offering HUGE bags of their delicious theater popcorn for $25!  The bag comes with two FREE movie passes.  Bags are available at the HyVee in Kearney.

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HASTINGS… 

The Hastings Parks & Rec Department has had to change their spring and summer program schedule due to the pandemic, but have come up with a few social distancing activities.  One of them includes a Rock Scavenger Hunt.  Since March, the Parks & Rec Department has hidden “Dwayne the Limestone Rock” at a Hastings business, and posted clues on their Facebook page as to where it can be found.  People who find the rock can send a photo of themselves with the rock via direct message to the Parks & Rec Department on Facebook.  Those who are successful in the hunt will be eligible for a gift card.  The Parks & Rec Department is also encouraging people to try out a state-wide scavenger hunt called Great Park Pursuit.  Locations can be found on their website.  The newly scheduled dates for some of the department’s programs are all pending what happens with the Directed Health Measure.   

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ACROSS NEBRASKA…

For teacher appreciation day, NBC’s “TODAY” honored and surprised an elementary school librarian from Lincoln, Betsy Thomas.  From her basement, Mrs. Thomas launched a TV series which has become a must-see show for children and kids.  Hoda from “TODAY” revealed a heartwarming surprise for Mrs. Thomas.  Go here to watch the surprise.

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You can keep yourself safe in these times by showing your Husker spirit, AND help Nebraska Food Banks.  Husker Face Masks are on sale right now at the shop at NRG sister property huskermax.com.  The masks are handmade, available in four styles, and will ship in early May.  Go here for the masks and for more details.

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Mobile food pantries providing free food are offered in the area every two weeks by the Community Action Partnership of Mid-Nebraska in cooperation with the Food Bank for the Heartland in Omaha.  

Drivers should remain in their vehicles while masked volunteers load groceries. 

Food pickups, by appointment only, begin at 9:30am.  Call Kyla Martin at 308-440-0153 to set up a time.  The pantries rotate to serve Buffalo, Custer, Dawson, Hall, Kearney and Phelps counties. 

Future dates include:

– June 12, Phelps County Fairgrounds, Holdrege
– June 26, Community Action Partnership Food Bank, Kearney

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Wear red on Fridays to show support to all healthcare professionals, essential workers, and all first responders.  The idea of wearing red on Friday’s began with Nebraska Medicine and we want to help spread the word and show support.  On social media, use the hashtag “Wear Red Be Proud NE” (#WearRedBeProudNE) and post messages of support to the community.   Also, use the hashtag “One For The Heroes” (#OneForTheHeroes). 

Previous Blog Posts…

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Good News and Views… Wednesday 5-27-20

RECENT UPDATES … NEW:  On May 27th the Alley Rose will be hosting its third Wednesday ‘Drive Up and Feed Kearney Event’.  The greatest part of this program is that everyone eats for free.  The meals are first come first serve from 4pm – 7pm at the Alley Rose in Kearney.  If you would like…read more »

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Good News and Views… Tuesday 5-26-20

RECENT UPDATES . . . NEW:  Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium plans to reopen on Monday, June 1, 2020.  The Zoo has been planning for its reopening for about a month and will share its reopening details, which include significant restrictions, on Tuesday, May 26th. ——– NEW:  Doane University will resume its course offerings…read more »

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