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J.C. Penney announced Thursday the list of the 154 stores it plans to close this summer, and one of those stores, the Grand Island location at the Conestoga Mall. The store will announce additional closures in the coming weeks. The chain was forced to temporarily close its stores due to the coronavirus pandemic and filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection back on May 15th. Store closing sales will be kicking off June 12th and are expected to  last anywhere from 10 to 16 weeks. 

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A Hastings truck driver has been killed in a crash in north-central Kansas.

The crash happened around noon Wednesday on K-14 Highway in rural Jewell County, killing Scott Sell, 50, of Hastings, Nebraska.

The Kansas Highway Patrol said its investigation showed that the southbound semitrailer Sell was driving veered onto the highway shoulder, overcorrected and went into the opposite ditch. The truck overturned in a pasture, and Sell was pronounced dead at the scene.

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On June 2nd, 2020 at around 9:26 pm, 42 year old Bobby Williamson of Alda, Nebraska was arrested on charges of Terroristic Threats, Use of a Firearms in the Commission of a Felony, and Possession of a Stolen Firearm.

The arrest follows an incident in which a peaceful protest was taking place in the Dodge Lot City Parking lot near the intersection of 1st and Walnut Streets. Williamson allegedly drove by in a white 2011 Nissan Versa near the intersection of Division and Walnut, and brandished a firearm toward a 31 year old Somali male participating in the protest. This action was observed by another witness.

The vehicle was immediately located and stopped by officers assisting with the protest.
Williamson was taken into custody, at which time three firearms were recovered from the
vehicle, a .22 caliber revolver, and .22 caliber rifle, and a 12 gauge shotgun. The .22 caliber handgun was determined to have been stolen from Grand Island in 2018. 

Additionally, roughly 30 rounds of .22 long rifle ammunition and 10 rounds 12 gauge 
ammunition were recovered.
None of the firearms were loaded at the time of recovery.

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The Miss Rodeo Nebraska Association will not have a pageant this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

The decision was not made lightly – it came after months of consideration and monitoring of safety recommendations by state and local health officials.

 

The MRNA tried to come up with alternatives, even pushing the pageant back from June to August, while still keeping the welfare of contestants and attendees as its top priority. Ultimately, it was determined that cancelling the pageant was in the best interest of everyone.

 

The reigns of Miss Rodeo Nebraska 2020 Joeli Walrath and Miss Teen Rodeo Nebraska 2019 Brylee Thompson will be extended into next year.

 

“The safety of those involved with the pageant and the public was the committee’s foremost concern, thus making the decision for us to cancel the pageant,” said Cindy Petersen, chair of the pageant committee. “We are grateful to our current titleholders who are willing to carry their titles into the next year and are looking forward to a successful pageant in 2021.”

 

Miss Rodeo America, Inc. made the same announcement last week – putting off its pageant until December of 2021. Current MRA, Jordan Tierney, will continue her reign until that time.

 

More information about the Miss Rodeo Nebraska Association, its titleholders and history can be found online at missrodeonebraska.org.


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Starting Monday, June 1, CHI Health St. Francis is scaling back hospital visitation restrictions. Almost three months ago, visitation restrictions were put in place that gradually increased to the current state of no visitors unless in select patient situations.

 

“As COVID-19 moved across our country, St. Francis, like many hospitals worked to prevent the spread as not to overwhelm our health care system. We were extremely successful. I’m so incredibly proud of the part our St. Francis team played in caring for our community. Now that the number of hospitalized COVID-19 positive patients has substantial decreased and we’ve resumed elective procedures, our community needs us to continue providing the same quality care relied on for the last 133 years. Part of that care is having a loved one by your side as you heal,” says Ed Hannon, president, St. Francis.

 

Starting June 1, St. Francis patients will be allowed one healthy adult visitor at a time while at the hospital. Additional visitors are allowed in the following circumstances:

 

·         Minor patients including NICU and newborns are allowed up to two parents/guardians at a time.

 

·         Patients receiving end of life care may be allowed more than one visitor as determined by the patient’s representatives and care team.

 

Hannon says on a case-by-case basis, visits by minors may be allowed at the discretion of the patient’s care team.

 

All visitors will continue to be screened upon arrival and will be required to wear a mask.

 

According to Hannon, even before the pandemic, hospitals routinely and safely cared for infectious disease patients. They continue to follow stringent policies and procedures making hospitals safe environments.

 

“Once again opening up to visitors reflects our confidence and reassures our community. Patients and visitors shouldn’t be hesitant to come to the hospital to have their health issues addressed. Waiting it out at home runs the risk of causing unnecessary, sometime irreversible, damage to our community’s health and safety,” says Hannon.

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CONCORD, N.C. (AP) — Chase Elliott capped a busy stretch for NASCAR by winning the Alsco Uniforms at Charlotte Motor Speedway yesterday, finishing 2.2 seconds ahead of Denny Hamlin. Elliott reeled in Kevin Harvick with 27 laps remaining and closed out his first Cup victory of the season. Ryan Blaney was third, followed by Ricky Stenhouse and Kurt Busch. The rain-delayed event closed a frantic 12-day period that featured four Cup races, two each in North and South Carolina.

UNDATED (AP) — Organizers have canceled the Boston Marathon for the first time in its 124-year history due to social distancing requirements of the coronavirus outbreak. The race had endured through two World Wars, a volcanic eruption and a previous pandemic. The race draws a field of 30,000 and already had been postponed from April 20 to Sept. 14. It will be replaced by a virtual event in which participants who verify that they ran 26.2 miles on their own will receive their finisher's medal.

UNDATED (AP) — NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is hopeful that coaches will be able to return to their team facilities by next week. Goodell also said during today’s owners conference call that the virtual offseason is being extended for two more weeks. NFL executive vice president of communications, public affairs and policy Jeff Miller said the league’s first consideration is of course the health and safety of the public and the players and the employees and the people who will be participating.

UNDATED (AP) — Sports agent Scott Boras is recommending that his clients refuse Major League Baseball’s attempt to cut salaries during negotiations with the players’ association. He is claiming that team financial issues caused by the coronavirus pandemic have their origin in management debt financing. Boras wrote in an email obtained by The Associated Press that players should not alter terms of the March 26 agreement between MLB and the union that called for players to reduce their salaries to a prorated rate based on a shortened season. MLB on Tuesday proposed a series of tiered reductions that would cause top stars to receive the biggest cuts.

UNDATED (AP) — The English Premier League plans to restart on June 17 after a 100-day shutdown with new staggered kickoffs to maximize broadcast slots as fans are prevented from attending games. The clubs agreed Thursday that the competition should resume with a Wednesday night doubleheader featuring Manchester City playing Arsenal and Aston Villa hosting Sheffield United. After those makeup games are played, the 30th round will start on Friday, June 19 provided authorities approve safety plans.

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MAY 28, 2020 (GRAND ISLAND, NEB.)  — Nebraska State Troopers have arrested a Lincoln man who was wanted in connection with a shooting that occurred just after midnight Thursday in Grand Island. The arrest is the result of an 18-hour search for the suspect between Aurora and Henderson.

At approximately 12:50 a.m. Thursday, a trooper observed a Chevrolet Trailblazer traveling eastbound on Interstate 80 near Aurora. The vehicle matched the description of one being sought by the Grand Island Police Department in connection with a shooting that occurred approximately 30 minutes earlier.

The trooper initiated a traffic stop near mile marker 335. Two occupants of the vehicle were quickly taken into custody, but a third occupant fled the traffic stop on foot. Additional troopers and Hamilton County Sheriff’s Deputies arrived on scene to search the area. The person who fled the traffic stop was identified as the suspect of the shooting currently under investigation by Grand Island Police.

Law enforcement continued searching the area throughout the day. Thursday afternoon, an arrest warrant was issued in Hall County for Antoine Johnson, 33, of Lincoln, on charges of attempt of a Class I/1A/1B/1C/1D felony, use of a firearm to commit a felony, assault in the 1st degree, and use of a firearm to commit a felony.

Late Thursday afternoon, NSP received information that Johnson may be in the area just south of Interstate 80 at the Henderson exit at mile marker 342. Troopers proceeded to the scene and were able to locate Johnson hiding in a ditch approximately one mile south of I-80. Johnson was taken into custody at approximately 6:45 p.m. without incident.

Johnson has been transported to Hall County Jail. The Grand Island Police Department is the lead investigating agency of the shooting that took place early Thursday morning.

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Grand Island, Neb. (5/28/20) – An arrest warrant has been issued for the suspect in the
shooting of Gary Zierke III near the intersection of Sycamore and Oklahoma Streets at 12:20
AM on 5/28/20.

The warrant is issued for Antoine C Johnson, of Lincoln, NE for Attempt of a Class
I/1A/1B/1C/1D Felony, Use of a Firearm to commit a felony, Assault in the 1st Degree, and Use
of a Firearm to commit a Felony.

Johnson is a Black Male, about 5’11” in height, and 185 pounds, with Black Hair and Brown
Eyes. He should be considered possibly armed and dangerous.

If Antoine C. Johnson is observed, please call 911 and report from a safe place or distance. If
you have information as to possible locations for Antoine C. Johnson, please contact 308-385-
5400 or your local police agency.



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At 12:20 AM on May 28th, 2020, the Grand Island Police Department responded to the area of Sycamore and Oklahoma Streets in reference to a shooting. On arrival, a victim was located with a single gunshot wound to his head. Lifesaving actions were taken by police personnel until emergency medical services could arrive.

The victim has been identified as Gary Zierke III, a 31 year old Lincoln male. Zierke is in critical condition and he has been taken by life flight to an Omaha Hospital.

This incident is believed to be drug related. A suspect in this case has been identified, and the search for that suspect is still ongoing. That search is being coordinated with other law enforcement agencies.

The Grand Island Police Department will continue to put resources toward the resolution of this incident and provide updates as warranted.

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North Platte, Ne - The following students qualified for the President’s List at Mid-Plains Community College during the 2020 spring term. To make the list, each student had to complete 12 or more applicable credit hours in college-level courses and maintain a grade point average (GPA) of 3.9 or greater on a 4.0 scale.

 

Nebraska

 

Anselmo - Luke Christen

 

Big Springs - Logan Osmera

 

Brady - Colton Lovitt, Emery Swan

 

Broken Bow - Mahala Sanchez

 

Brule - Justin Candy

 

Cambridge - Eddie Jaeger, Audrey Paisley

 

Cozad - Kaitlyn Kleinknecht, Tatiana Orozco

 

Culbertson - Kiera Barr, Suzette Dutcher, Adelina Wilcox

 

Elwood - Jaycee Wooters

 

Gothenburg - Mark Boson

 

Grant - Christopher Terry

 

Hershey - Caje Naranjo

 

Imperial - Kent Silvester

 

Indianola - Terasa Emmons, Dylan Hofman

 

Kearney - Makenzie Kollars

 

Lewellen - Shaun Swoboda

 

Lexington - Hana Brock, Weston Kunkee

 

McCook - Wade Burkert, Madison Cooper, Deanne Crocker, Stephen Guthrie, Kyle Kinne, Adrienne LaBay, Tyler Lytle, Nicholas Macfee, Brittanie Nolan, Rebecca O’Connor, Mary Osborne, Bria Simmonds, Ethan Wilcox, Alexander Wolvin

 

Merna - Cynthia Huhman

 

Mullen - Alysen Daniels

 

North Platte - Blake Barner, Alyssa Bergeron, Ty Brouillette, Noel Burrell, Tanner Collins, Blayden Gilbert, Elizabeth Goentzel, Kali Griesfeller, Regan Gutschenritter, Matthew Haynes, Shayla Hecht, Caleb Horne, Stephanie Johnson, Adam Kelsey, McKynzie Kelsey, Sungmoon Kim, Nicholas Lemke, Jenny Lim, Jade Lovitt, Sophia Maizo, Gabrielle Menghini, Duane Miller, Megan Morash, Angel Murphy, Jade Osborn, Shane Roebuck, Megan Shannon, Jaylee Sheets, Sylvan Singh, Amanda Smith, Carlye Stoppkotte, Bryson Walker, Daniel Wardyn, David Wellnitz, Ashtyn Winder, Lucas Zimbelman

 

Ogallala - McKenna Headley, Madison Mendoza, Conner Stevens

 

Ord - Chance Williams, Wyatt Williams

 

Paxton - Dalton Perlinger

 

Sutherland - Dewey Davis, Erica Hopping, Bonita Naughtin

 

Trenton - Jayda Dwyer, Kyleigh Scott

 

Valentine - Sheyenne Hammond

 

Venango - Valerie Perez

 

Wauneta - Alejandra Almanza


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North Platte, Ne - A North Platte man will face first-degree murder charges stemming from Friday’s fatal shooting in North Platte.

43 year old Keith Allen made his preliminary court appearance Tuesday where he was charged with first-degree murder in the shooting of 25 year old Brett Torres. 


Allen called 911 Friday afternoon and reported that he had shot Torres in self-defense.

Police arrived on scene and found Torres in a vehicle unresponsive and suffering from multiple gunshot wounds.

Police did not report finding any weapons in Torres' possession or inside the vehicle.


Allen will remain in the custody of the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office with no bond, and is due back in court on June 4th.


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The Hall County Fair announced Wednesday morning it’s intentions of presenting the 2020 county fair with adherence to all prevailing COVID-19 protocols. Hall County Fair manager Corby Flagel says it’s a developing situation. 

“Our primary goal is to offer an opportunity for the people of Hall County to show their livestock and static exhibits they have dedicated themselves to since last July,” 
 
“We are prepared to adapt our fair with a number of contingencies to coincide with the evolving health and safety guidance issued by the Nebraska Central District Health Department.” 

As of now, no music concerts or entertainment in a large gathering venue are scheduled to occur at this time, but that to could change should the covid 19 conditions continue to improve.

The Hall County Fair is scheduled to take place at Fonner Park from July 22 – 26. 

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LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — State officials say another Nebraska prisons employee has tested positive for COVID-19. The Nebraska Department of Correctional Services says in a news release that a staff member at the Lincoln Correctional Center tested positive for the virus and is self-isolating at home. The department says it will be notifying employees and inmates at the facility of the development and is directing anyone who had close contact with the staffer to self-quarantine until the are medically cleared to come out of quarantine. The staffer is the 11th state prisons employee to test positive for the virus.

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On May 22, 2020, Grand Island Mayor Roger Steele issued an order reopening the City’s softball and baseball fields to organized team activities effective June 1, 2020. Organized team practices and games at the city’s softball and baseball fields are required to follow the Directed Health Measures and Sports Reopening Guidelines issued by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services and City Park Rules.


MAY 26, 2020 (GRAND ISLAND, NEB.)  — Nebraska State Troopers have arrested four people following a pursuit and search of the Gibbon area that ended Monday evening.

The Sunday evening pursuit, in which the driver of a Chevrolet Camaro reached a speed of 174 miles per hour while attempting to flee a traffic stop, had ended in Gibbon. A trooper had been able to deploy spike strips during the pursuit, which led to the Camaro becoming disabled near Gibbon High School. All three occupants of the vehicle fled the scene on foot.

At approximately 7:30 p.m. Monday, Troopers received information that a suspect being sought in relation to the pursuit was attempting to leave the area in a Jeep Patriot. Troopers performed a traffic stop on the vehicle as it was leaving Gibbon on Highway 30.

Inside the vehicle, troopers located the suspect, Tyler Liles, 22, of Creve Coeur, Illinois. The driver of the Jeep Patriot, Kyle Buss, 26, of Pekin, Illinois, had traveled to Gibbon in an attempt to transport Liles and the two others out of the area. Liles and Buss were both arrested.

Troopers then developed information that led to the location of the two other people who had been in the Camaro during the pursuit, Alexis Schurter, 19, of Hartsburg, Illinois, and Bradley Fulton, 20, of Pekin, Illinois. Troopers arrested Schurter and Fulton without further incident in Gibbon.

Liles was arrested for willful reckless driving, leaving the scene of an accident, felony flight to avoid arrest, obstructing a peace officer, possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of money during a drug violation, accessory to a felony, and possession of multiple licenses.

Fulton and Schurter were both arrested for obstructing a peace officer, possession of money during a drug violation, and accessory to a felony. Buss was arrested for aiding consummation of a felony, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of marijuana, and possession of money during a drug violation. All four were lodged in Buffalo County Jail.

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MAY 25, 2020 (LINCOLN, NEB.)  — Troopers with the Nebraska State Patrol (NSP) arrested a motorcycle rider Sunday evening following an aerial pursuit in Lincoln.

At approximately 8:45 p.m. Sunday, the NSP Aviation Support Division was providing aerial support to Troopers and Lincoln Police Officers as they monitored traffic on O Street in Lincoln. The Trooper Pilot observed a motorcycle driving erratically and splitting vehicles near 33rd and O. The pilot notified troopers on the ground and initiated an aerial pursuit of the motorcycle as it reached speeds of nearly 100 miles per hour.

The NSP helicopter continued to follow the motorcycle, while directing troopers to the area. The motorcycle nearly hit a pedestrian as it passed through downtown Lincoln. It then traveled to the area of West A and South Coddington Streets where a trooper attempted a traffic stop. The rider refused to stop and attempted to turn around and pass the trooper at a slow speed. The rider then lost control at a slow speed and laid the motorcycle down. He was then immediately taken into custody. The rider was not injured.

The rider, Farean Iron Shell, 40, of Lincoln, was arrested for felony flight to avoid arrest, willful reckless driving, traffic violations and expired registration. He was lodged in Lancaster County Jail.

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OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - Nebraska will let bars, zoos, movie theaters and swimming pools reopen and allow small concerts and auctions to resume on June 1 in all but four hard-hit counties, Gov. Pete Ricketts said Thursday as the number of coronavirus deaths continued to rise.

Ricketts announced plans to further loosen social-distancing restrictions, saying he's trying to strike a balance between public health and the need to move back toward normal life as people grow restless.

"We're taking this a step at a time," he said at a news conference.

He made the announcement as state officials reported six more coronavirus deaths and 276 new cases in Nebraska as of Wednesday night, bringing the statewide totals to 138 deaths and 11,122 confirmed cases. Nearly 75,900 people have been tested.

The number of new cases has trended downward, however, since the one-day peak of 677 on May 7. Ricketts has said he's using Nebraska's hospital capacity to judge when to ease restrictions, and those numbers have remained fairly stable. Even so, public health officials say people still need to practice social-distancing measures to keep the virus from spreading.

Businesses that do reopen will still face mandatory social distancing restrictions. For instance, the number of patrons allowed in bars will be limited to half of the venue's rated capacity, and groups of customers will have to remain at least six people apart. Patrons won't be allowed to play pool, darts or arcade games or eat at the bar.

Nebraska will also allow gatherings of up to 25 people or 25% of a venue's rated occupancy, whichever is greater, as long as the total crowd doesn't exceed 3,000 people.

The new requirement will replace the state's current 10-person limit and will apply to both indoor and outdoor venues, including stadiums, fairgrounds, meeting halls, zoos, libraries and swimming pools. Individual groups will still be capped at six people and required to stay away from other groups.

Additionally, any event expected to draw more than 500 people will need prior approval from the county's public health director. In Omaha's Douglas County, the threshold is 1,000 people.

Ricketts will also ease rules for sports, allowing baseball, softball and volleyball teams to resume practices on June 1 and play games on June 18. Rodeos can begin on June 1, but contact sports such as football, basketball and wrestling will remain prohibited.

The changes won't apply to Hall, Hamilton, Merrick or Dakota counties, some of the hardest-hit regions in Nebraska. Hall and Dakota counties have seen particularly large spikes driven by local meatpacking plants.

On Thursday, a coalition of Latino Americans called on Ricketts and local meat packers to do more to protect plant workers who now account for a large share of Nebraska's coronavirus restrictions. Activists said conditions at the plants have generally improved, but they're still hearing reports about inconsistent use of protective equipment at some facilities.

"Unfortunately, these efforts may be seen as too little, too late," said Yolanda Nuncio, a former member of the Nebraska state Latino American Commission. "Some of these plants have not lowered production rates, so when workers go on standard breaks, their coworkers must maintain the same rate of production."

Asked about the criticism on Thursday, Ricketts said he has talked by phone with plant workers and union leaders to discuss their concerns. He also has said that local public health officials from the University of Nebraska Medical Center have gone out to plants to help them establish safety procedures to keep the virus from spreading.

For some infected people, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, the virus can cause severe illness or death. But for most people, it causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough, that clear up in two to three weeks.

 

 


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(Full story with audio at bottom of story)

The Hall County Commissioners met Tuesday with questions and concerns and had the ear of State Senators Quick, Freisen and Halloran as they addressed how to protect the county tax payer, who have already suffered enough. 

State Senator Steve Halloran of Hastings says the Grand Island and Hall County area are not immune to this problem and these questions will be asked by every county in the state.
Halloran added that he is in the minority, in the Nebraska legislature but believes we are already behind schedule in opening up the State. 

Chair of the Hall County Commissioners Pam Lancaster says county boards are feeling the effects, and points out that the long term impact when it comes to budget cuts will need to be examined, but said simply there are not many more places to cut.
Nebraska lawmakers will resume their regular session on July 20, four months after they last met to approve emergency coronavirus funding. 

Another question that was addressed at the County Commissioners meeting deals with Hall County as a whole and the increase in frustration that many of the rural communities are facing. Cario, Wood River, Doniphan..all placed under the DHM’s for the Central District Health Department region despite not seeing nearly the amount of cases or deaths that the Grand Island community has seen. It was asked what options do they have? That question was asked at the State Capital during the daily press briefing by Governor Pete Ricketts.

Impacts on the business community are not just being felt at county level but 87 percent of businesses surveyed a month ago from the University of Omaha were reported to have been negatively impacted by Covid 19.
The data was gathered by the University of Omaha April 15 through April 24th.

Whats Next For Hall County

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(Listen to this feature in it's entirty below)

(Grand Island, NE) - Monday morning a flyover..over CHI Health St. Francis in Grand Island to salute those on the front lines in our healthcare system, a healthcare system that with collaboration with other hospitals and an extremely dedicated staff of heroes were not overwhelmed by the coronavirus.

The data coming back from the Central District Health Department in GI is also showing positive signs, signs all pointing to one thing.

We are past the peak of this virus.

But instead of a sigh of relief, it’s more concern, and more questions for local businesses in Grand Island who watch other parts of the state slowly open, while our community sits on the sidelines.

Local business owner Casey Williams is in the tourism industry, a hotel owner with the Travel Lodge here in GI, who has seen bookings and stays simply come to a halt as more and more events preemptively call things off.

Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts has said consistently, that the original goal of the DHM's and social distancing practices were to not overwhelm the healthcare system.

“That’s what we’ve done very successfully, at no point was our health care system in danger of being overwhelmed.”

So mission accomplished? Will we see a relaxation on the directed health mandates and social distancing restrictions?

The Governor has taken a more cautious approach.

The frustration that many Nebraskan’s are feeling isn’t due to the boredom of social distancing, it’s the uncertainty and the lack of a gameplan for the business community to move forward.

A popular hashtag on social media is “win back GI”, it could be argued we never lost it, but while we wait, the question remains...what will we come back to?


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The Nebraska State Fair Board has chosen their next Executive Director.

Bill Ogg, a Wyoming native and manager of the Walla Walla Fair and Frontier Days in Washington was selected as the finalist by the personal committee. 

Ogg said this morning he believes he can help contribute to leading the state fair out of its current financial issues. 

Ogg was a finalist for the position three years ago when the board selected Lori Cox, who mutually agreed to a consultant position with the State Fair back in March. 
Ogg was approved unanimously, subject to contract approval by the State Fair Board.

That said, there are questions on the fair itself, especially after Governor Pete Ricketts commented on the possibility of public gathering in Grand Island being sidelined until August, at the least. A Covid 19 working group has been formed by the State Fair Board as they address the pandemic.

Kathleen Lodl said this morning that the committee doesn’t want to rush to a decision and is balancing the needs for a successful fair, and a safe fair, should the State Fair take place in 2020.

Ogg added these decisions aren’t just weighing heavy on the Nebraska State Fair, but every fair in the country right now.


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