Good News and Views… Wednesday 7-1-20

RECENT UPDATES . . .

NEWNew directed health measures (DHMs), easing restrictions on businesses and activities, will take effect Monday, July 6th for Dakota, Hall, Hamilton and Merrick Counties.

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NEWThe Kearney Area Children’s Museum is carrying on with their summer camps.  The museum has made some adjustments to their camps due to the coronavirus but they are still trying to fit in 42 days of summer camps before the middle of August and already, they are about halfway.

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NEWGrand Island is entering Phase Two of reopening, and now Habitat for Humanity is getting back to work with hopes of speeding up the timeline it would take to build each home.  They normally build about five houses a year but they have a three-month late start.  Lack of fundraising is also a concern.  Contact Habitat for Humanity to find out how you can help.

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NEWSaturday, people had the opportunity to drive up to CHI Health and pick up a mask in an effort to slow the spread of coronavirus.  Two masks were given out to each member of the family for free.  CHI Health has also been doing mask giveaways in Lincoln and Kearney and estimates it has given out more than 60,000 masks so far.  The masks CHI Health gave out were made from a surgical material.  Many local volunteers and community businesses came together to make them.

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NEW:  (Listener submission, Chris)  “Our Grand Island Elks Lodge applied for and received 2 major grants from our Elks National Foundation to assist our communities during these trying times.  The first grant of $2500 helped local food pantries restock their shelves.  Checks were presented to the Salvation Army ($1000), Hope Harbor ($500) St. Mary’s ($500) and the Hamilton County Food Pantry ($500).  The second grant of $2000 was presented to the Heartland United Way to assist families experiencing problems keeping up with rent and utility payments.

Our primary mission is to help our local veterans.  We have an annual grant which funds our food pantry.  From that pantry, we deliver food boxes each month to approximately 50 veterans in the area.  If our shelves become overstocked from donations, etc., those items will get distributed to other food pantries in the area.  We also offer Welcome Home Packages for our veterans returning home from fighting for our freedom.

Being an Elk, gives us so many different ways to give back to our communities.”

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NEW:  Director Scott R. Frakes announced on last Thursday that inmates at the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services (NDCS) will soon be able to resume visits the week of July 13.

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NEW:  Two months removed from being a COVID-19 hotspot, the Grand Island area now sees just a few new cases a day.  Parks have opened, and now City Hall and the Library re-open on July 1st. Like the library, City Hall is re-opening, as are playgrounds at Lincoln Pool.

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NEW:  Goodwill of Hastings is now open and has changed the way they handle their donations.  Curbside donations are still an option however donors will not be assisted in unloading those items, as they typically would be, in an effort to practice social distancing.  Once the items enter the store they are disinfected with a heavy-duty spray and held in inventory for 24 hours before being placed on the floor.  Goodwill is still accepting all forms of donations and encouraging the community to keep donating items individuals may not have a use for as it’s never certain who may be able to use those items.  There is a limited number of people Goodwill is letting enter the store at one time and all customers are required to wear a mask at all times once inside the store.

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NEW:  Nebraska has received 1.25 billion dollars in Cares Act funding.  Officials say through the Community Cares Program they’re able to target organizations helping those in need with 85 million dollars.  Applications to receive help are now available.  Organizations and select providers eligible for the stabilization grant have to be licensed by the state of Nebraska.  They will get a one-time payment of at least $12,000.  Officials say the money will help organizations recover from reduced income, revenue, and or increased expenses during the pandemic.  Grants will be available for charitable and provider organizations to offer services to their communities including meals, housing, behavioral health, outreach to underserved populations and more.  You’re able to apply starting Monday, June 29th by going to the DHHS website.  Eligible organizations must provide complete and accurate information about themselves and explain how the pandemic has impacted them.

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The Hastings Museum got a major grant through the CARES Act to help them with operation costs and a new project.  The museum will be using the funding to cover staff salaries and operations as they work on a big project on the second floor. 

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The Grand Island Library is reopening on July 1st, there will be some restrictions in place.

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The state legislature is set to return to session July 20th after a long layoff due to the pandemic.

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The Grand Island Public Library will be hosting a virtual program, “Robb Holladay and his Amazing Magical Balloon Show” on June 29th at 10:30am.  The program will be hosted on the library’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/gilibrary.

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Registration for the Nebraska Senior Games is now being accepted, according to the City of Kearney Park and Recreation Department.  The games, for individuals 50 and older, are scheduled for August 6th – 9th in Kearney.

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The Hastings Museum will open exclusively for members for 10 days on June 30th, before opening to the general public on July 14th.

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The swim lake at Cottonmill Park in Kearney is open.  The swim lake is open from sunrise to sunset.  Adult supervision is recommended.

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Nebraska will extend its unemployment benefits.  The Nebraska Department of Labor said it will provide up to an additional 13 weeks for eligible recipients who have exhausted their regular or pandemic unemployment benefits.

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Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium has announced a phased approach to continue opening more areas and exhibits at the Zoo.  These decisions are based on the most recent health and safety guidelines provided by the governor’s office.  With capacity limits increasing to 10,000 for the Zoo as a whole and indoor spaces increasing to 50 percent of rated capacity, the Zoo is preparing to open indoor exhibits for guests.  As the Zoo waits for official approval of building opening plans by the Douglas County Health Department, guests will begin to see changes next week.  According to officials, two-way pedestrian traffic will be allowed on pathways, which also means the Main Entrance can be used for both entry and exit of the Zoo, while the North Gate will remain exit only for now.  The Gift Shop will open and concessions will increase operations.  Drinking fountains and water refill stations will remain unavailable, as well as the tram service.  A limited supply of stroller, wagon, ECVs and wheelchair rentals will be available.  Skyfari will begin operating on a limited schedule this weekend, with increased sanitation and cleaning.

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Kearney Police Officer Jeff Schwarz, and Kearney Tire & Auto owners Ronda and Don Jaeschke were on Fox News Thursday.  Officer Schwarz took the time on flag day to pick up and American flag at Kearney Tire & Auto and properly roll it up and store it with honor as a flag holder was broken.  The Jaeschke’s we’re out of town, but the event was caught on security camera.

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UNK employees working from home are about to start returning to campus.  The transition will begin July 1st.

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The University of Nebraska-Kearney men’s and women’s basketball teams will play a 22-game league-only schedule for the upcoming 2020-21 season.

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The Peterson Senior Activity Center in Kearney will reopen and resume normal hours on Monday, June 22nd.

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Nebraska football coach Scott Frost and men’s basketball coach Fred Hoiberg will donate a portion of their salaries for the upcoming year back to the Nebraska athletic department’s general operating fund to aid during the coronavirus pandemic.

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The University of Nebraska at Kearney’s combined 2020 Spring and Summer Commencement will be held at 10am. on Friday, July 31st.  To support COVID-19 directed health response, it is being planned as an outdoor event on Foster Field at Cope Stadium.  In support of current safety protocol and to meet facility capacity requirements, in-person attendance will be limited to no more than three invited guests per graduate.

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Kearney swimming pools are open.  The facilities will be sanitized between each open session.

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Kearney Cinema 8 is now open after being closed for more than three months due to the pandemic.

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The Nebraska-Kearney volleyball team’s adjusted 2020 schedule has the Lopers playing 20 MIAA matches this fall.

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The Sumner 4th of July Celebration is still on with revisions due to COVID-19. The whole celebration will kick off on Saturday, June 27th with the traditional Co-Ed Sand Volleyball Tournament and the 2nd Annual Cornhole Tournament.  On Sunday the 28th, we will have the Commercial Club Dinner (Picnic), Toad & Turtle Race and Ice Cream Social with the Sumner EMT’s.  Cool off with the SEM Cross Country team during the Splash Run 5k and 1 mile at 5 pm on the 28th.  An evening cruise night on the 4th (starts at 6 pm) we hope you will come cruise and stick around for the Fireworks!  There are two performances of the Rodeo on the 3rd at 7:30pm and on the 4th at 1:30pm.  The afternoon of the 4th starting at 3pm there will be Bingo at the Community Hall and Live Entertainment in Sumner Park.  And FOOD TRUCKS – BBQ and FUNNEL CAKES The celebration will wrap up with the Fireworks at the Sumner Ball Field at dusk.  There will be concessions from Kappel Electric 8-9:30pm.  Visit their Facebook for more.

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Central District Health Department is moving to Phase 2 of reopening on June 22nd.  Most of the state will now move to Phase 3.  In addition, Gov. Ricketts said he expects students to return to school when the school year begins.

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The public transit service through Crane Public Transit is open again to the public, no longer restricted to essential purposes only.  Public transit riders may begin booking trips and are encouraged to practice social distancing and other appropriate measures.  Crane Public Transit serves the residents of Hall County with a portal-to-portal, demand responsive service operating within the urbanized area of Grand Island and the communities of Alda, Wood River, Cairo and Doniphan.

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