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North Platte, Ne - Mid-Plains Community College has postponed its commencement ceremonies originally scheduled for May 8 until July 31, 2020. This is due to the Directed Health Measure issued by the governor regarding coronavirus. The health measure is currently in effect until May 11. 

 

“It is our desire to celebrate our students’ educational accomplishments, and we are hopeful that this late summer date will enable us to do just that,” said MPCC President Ryan Purdy. “These plans may change if the Directed Health Measure currently in effect is extended beyond our rescheduled date.”

 

MPCC typically hosts commencement in May of each year, however, several instructional programs continue into late summer. Purdy said moving commencement to July will allow students in those programs to finish their summer schedules while also allowing students planning to transfer to other institutions an opportunity to attend the celebration.

 

“We know that not all students will be able to return, and we hope to provide them with an opportunity to send a picture or video to us to include in a pre-ceremony presentation,” Purdy said.

 

The commencement ceremony at McCook Community College will begin at 10 a.m. followed by commencement at North Platte Community College at 3 p.m. 

 

More information about the college’s response to the pandemic can be found online at mpcc.edu.


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The McCook Community College softball team has signed its first recruit for the 2021 season.

Taylor Thein of West Branch, Iowa has signed her letter of intent to continue her softball in McCook next season.

Taylor’s strengths are her athleticism and speed. She brings versatility as she can play outfield or infield,” said MCC Softball Coach Kevin Kaalberg.

Thein grew up in West Branch, Iowa with her mom, dad, and older brother while attending West Branch High School.

Within her school, she has been involved in many different activities and clubs including softball, basketball, soccer, track, student government, National Honor Society, co-editor in chief of her school newspaper, and was elected president of the student leadership activity team.

“I love being challenged to prove to myself that I can overcome obstacles,” she said.

She added that if she’s not playing a sport, you can find her fishing, hanging out with friends, or eating pizza.

Thein is not sure what she will study at MCC but, said “I am excited to start my journey as an Indian! Go Tribe!”



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As we continue to navigate closure guidelines, questions regarding graduation are frequently discussed.  McCook Public Schools understand the importance of graduation in the lives of our seniors and want to ensure that district conversations we are having about our ability to continue them as planned are not being taken lightly.

Per the current Directive Health Measure from the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, gatherings of more than 10 people are prohibited until at least April 30th and school closures have been announced through the end of the school year. 

At this time, plans for the McCook High School Class of 2020 Graduation Ceremonies for Sunday, May 17, 2020 have been rescheduled. As we have seen in recent weeks, circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic are rapidly changing, and we need to remain flexible. We are working on plans to best fit the responses: needs of the community as a whole. Knowing that, we are committing to the following  

  • McCook High School Graduation - Friday, July 31, 2020 at 6:00 p.m. held at The Graff Event Center on the Campus of McCook Community College.

 

  • McCook High School Post Graduation/Prom - Saturday, August 1st (Time = TBD) McCook Senior High/Jr High Campus

If the July plans can not be implemented, additional plans will be developed as appropriate.  

Additionally, we understand that several of our graduates have commitments to leave for military service training and we are working on plans to do a graduation recognition for these students prior to their leave.

Please know, we understand and value the importance of this milestone for students and their families, and we will continue to do all that we can to make it a reality while prioritizing the health and safety of all involved.


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Officers responded to an injury accident at 18th St and Broadwell Ave yesterday evening. After a vehicle struck a juvenile riding a bike across Broadwell Ave. The juvenile was injured and treated by GIFD and transported to CHI Health St. Francis Hospital.

During the investigation it was revealed the driver, Jonathan Rodriguez, smoked marijuana earlier in the day. Rodriguez also had a suspended driver’s license, a Hall County Warrant and he was also found to be in possession of drug paraphernalia. Rodriguez was arrested for DUI-Great Bodily Injury, Possession of Marijuana, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Driving During Suspension & Hall County Warrant.

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(CDHD Release) - Central District Health Department (CDHD) reports 86 lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases as of 2 p.m. today. This includes 2 in Merrick County, 8 in Hamilton County, and 76 in Hall County.

The National Guard tested approximately 150 healthcare workers and symptomatic persons between yesterday and today. CDHD has been informed this afternoon that the National Guard will be able to perform approximately 300 more tests. CDHD is currently working with the National Guard to develop a plan for the additional testing now available.

Guidelines for discontinuing home isolation for people who have symptoms of COVID-19 are:

You have had NO fever for at least 72 hours (3 days) without the use of medicine
AND

Other symptoms have improved (ex: cough, shortness of breath)
AND

At least 7 days have passed since symptoms first appeared.
The decision to stop home isolation should be made in consultation with your healthcare provider and state and local health departments. Local decisions depend on local circumstances. (Guidance from the CDC)

 

Stay Home, Stay Healthy, Stay Connected.

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OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Health officials have reported more deaths related to the coronavirus in Nebraska in the last 24 hours, bringing the state's death toll to at least 13. Lincoln on Wednesday reported that city's first death from the virus. Hours earlier, officials in Douglas County reported two deaths in the Omaha area, including a woman in her 70s and another woman in her 90s who was a long-term care resident at the Douglas County Health Center. The long-term care center has seen 15 residents and 10 employees test positive for the disease. Two residents have died. The number of cases statewide had risen to 519 as of midday Wednesday. 

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LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — The University of Nebraska closed all of its campuses Wednesday as the coronavirus outbreak worsens. NET reports that NU President Ted Carter announced the closures in an email Tuesday, citing public health models predicting a peak of COVID-19 cases sometime in late April. The closure applies to most employees, including all student workers, for at least two weeks. Carter says discussions are being held to determine which employees are necessary to remain campus, including health care workers, public safety officers, and housing and dining employees. Employees are eligible to take up to 160 hours of emergency paid administrative leave. The email says employees should plan to work remotely “until further notice.” 

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Grand Island, NE - It all started out eight days ago. Eric Sell, engineering teacher with Grand Island Public Schools, was contacted to potentially help on a project that could help supply face shields locally in Grand Island but also to healthcare workers in the the state of Nebraska. With the use of three 3D printers from Grand Island public schools, Sell is able to produce around 80 to 85 face shields a day and has plans in the works to soon add a fourth printer to help with the production. Some of the face shields that have been made in the last few days will be given to the Central District Health Department and food service workers with Grand Island Public Schools. 

To make an order for face shields visit: https://covid.w0wwv.org/Requests/Create

Listen to a full interview with Mr. Stell below. 


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LINCOLN – Four deaths related to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) were reported to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) bringing the state total to 12.

Two were Douglas County residents. One woman in her 70s and another woman in her 90s. Both with underlying health conditions - https://www.douglascountyhealth.com/latest-news.

The third was a woman in her 60s from Hall County - https://cdhd.ne.gov/.

The fourth was a man in his 80s from Custer County - https://www.facebook.com/lbphd.org/.

All 93 Nebraska counties are now covered by state Directed Health Measures (DHMs) until May 11 – http://dhhs.ne.gov/coronavirus. It’s critical that Nebraskans follow these enforceable state Directed Health Measures to help slow the spread of COVID-19 in the state. These measures help protect each other and those who are more vulnerable to severe illness and death, and help hospitals and clinics from being overwhelmed so they can continue to provide care to families, friends and neighbors who need it.

In addition to the state-issued DHM, some Local Health Departments have issued additional restrictions - http://dhhs.ne.gov/Pages/Coronavirus.aspx#SectionLink1.

Tonight’s state case total is 478. DHHS launched a new data dashboard that provides daily updates to the state’s COVID-19 case totals. You can find it at http://dhhs.ne.gov/coronavirus.

Here’s where to find tools and resources for individuals and families, schools, communities, businesses, healthcare facilities, and first responders on the DHHS website - http://dhhs.ne.gov/coronavirus and CDC’s website – https://www.cdc.gov/covid19.

DHHS opened a statewide COVID-19 information line to help answer general questions and share the latest information and resources with Nebraskans to help keep them informed. The number is (402) 552-6645; hours of operation are 8 a.m.-8 p.m. CST, 7 days a week.

DHHS will continue to update Nebraskans through the DHHS website and on Facebook and Twitter as we have new information. The CDC’s website is also a good resource for COVID-19 information - https://www.cdc.gov/covid19.

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(CDHD Release) - Central District Health Department (CDHD) reports 78 lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases as of 4.30 p.m. today. This includes 2 in Merrick County, 7 in Hamilton County, and 69 in Hall County. Approximately 75 healthcare workers were tested today by the National Guard at Fonner Park, with plans for an additional 75 to be tested tomorrow.

Central District Health Department reminds everyone to clean your hands often, avoid close contact-maintain 6 foot social-distance, cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when in public, for example grocery stores; cover coughs and sneezes, and clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily

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As promised, Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts has sent the National Guard to Grand Island to perform additional Covid 19 testing. Teresa Anderson, director of the Central District Health Department, said today at City Hall that the testing is being limited to health care workers and emergency personnel.

The Health Department was also notified that the limited testing from the National Guard for health care workers is being further limited due to issues of testing supplies. Adjustments are being made accordingly in order to facilitate testing 150 health care workers today (Tuesday) and tomorrow (Wednesday).


Teresa Anderson, director of the Central District Health Department

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(CDHD Release) - Central District Health Department (CDHD) is saddened to report the second COVID-19 related death in Hall County. The death was a woman in her 60’s who was hospitalized.

We were also notified that the limited testing from the National Guard for health care workers is being further limited due to issues of testing supplies. We are making adjustments accordingly in order to facilitate testing 150 health care workers today and tomorrow.

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In an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 cases in
Grand Island, the Grand Island Police Department will continue to enforce the city park and
GIPS school playgrounds closures with citations. The closure of city parks does not include city
sidewalks and the hike and bike trail system and lake walkways (Pier Park Lake, Suck’s Lake,
and Eagle Scout Lake walkways), however users of those walkways must be using them for
their intended purpose and are encouraged to maintain social distancing.
Additionally, the Grand Island Police Department will proactively patrol and respond to
complaints of gatherings of more than 10 persons or smaller gatherings with invitees where
social distancing isn’t taking place, particularly during the upcoming holiday weekend. If these
gatherings include persons who are not permanent residents of that address, we will enforce the
Directed Health Measures with discretion accordingly.
This will be done in accordance with the Directed Health Measure, which reads as follows:
1) Gatherings and services as described are prohibited:
a. Any event or convening that brings together more than ten (10) persons, excluding staff, in a
single room or single space at the same time, including but not limited to, a school, daycare
facility (including in home facilities), gymnasiums, fitness center, auditorium, stadium,
arena, large event conference room, meeting hall, theater, library, or any other confined
indoor or confined outdoor space, and weddings, funerals, parades, fairs, festivals, and
concerts.
b. Any indoor or outdoor event or convening having ten (10) or fewer persons where a
minimum distance of six (6) feet between all individuals cannot be maintained.
c. Customer services at tattoo parlors, massage parlors, barbershops, beauty/nail salons, and
similar personal services businesses.

2) Public Park access is restricted to hiking and biking trails and public sidewalks. Users of trails and
sidewalk are encouraged to maintain six (6) feet of separation between all persons. Additional
restrictions may be imposed by municipal or county authorities.

This is a time for all residents of Grand Island to work together, keep one another healthy, and
help save lives as the presence of COVID-19 in our community grows.

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North Platte, Nebraska - The West Central District Health Department (WCDHD) has now tested 163 individuals in Lincoln County for Coronavirus (COVID-19).  Of the 163 tested, 16 have been positive.  Five are travel-related, four are due to contact with a traveler, three are community spread, and the remaining four are due to contact with community spread.  All sixteen cases are within Lincoln County.  Stay informed of new cases by visiting our website athttps://wcdhd.org/(information will be updated daily at noon and 6:00 PM).

The best antidote to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 is social and physical distancing.  

This includes:

  • Stay home and practice social and physical distancing

    • Stay Home

    • Avoid gatherings of 10 or more

  • When out stay 6 foot away from others

  • Cough and/or sneeze into your elbow

  • Wash your hands with warm soapy water for at least 20 seconds

  • Do not touch your face

  • Wear a community mask - this will help mitigate the spread of the virus

While testing continues to improve, Governor Pete Ricketts has issued a state-wide Directed Health Measure (DHM).  To learn more about this DHM and how it may affect you, please visit the governor’s website atGovernor Pete RickettsAdditionally, the governor has launched a new campaign in honor of State Health Week, asking all Nebraskans to Stay Home, Stay Healthy, and Stay Connected.

Public health officials would like to remind you that if you have a fever of over 100.4 or symptoms of respiratory illness, please self-isolate and contact your healthcare provider for additional guidance.  If you are tested, have been in direct contact of a lab-confirmed case, or traveled outside of Nebraska in the last two weeks PLEASE register with WCDHD athttps://consultinglhd.sjc1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_a67PjRi6skYXMrP



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North Platte, Ne - 69 local nonprofit causes have signed up to participate in North Platte Giving Day set for May 6. During this community giving event, donors choose which local nonprofits to support and how much to give to each. 

“North Platte Giving Day is the best time to help community causes,” said Eric Seacrest, executive director of Mid-Nebraska Community Foundation, which is hosting Giving Day for the fifth year.

“Just by donating, donors can help their favorite nonprofits earn pledged matching gifts and win cash prizes provided by sponsors,” Seacrest said. “And new for 2020 is a change in tax law, allowing virtually every donor to claim a tax deduction for a charitable gift.”

Giving Day gifts are tax deductible as charitable contributions.  As part of COVID-19 relief legislation, a new charitable tax deduction of up to $300 is available in 2020 for taxpayers who use the "standard deduction". 

100% of each Giving Day donation will go to donor-selected nonprofits. The Community Foundation along with a generous anonymous donor are covering all donation processing fees. There is no charge for nonprofits to participate in North Platte Giving Day. 

Early Giving is available beginning April 27 to Giving Day donors making gifts online and by mail. Early Giving gifts can win cash prizes for nonprofit and earn available pledged matching funds. More than 40 cash prizes will be given to nonprofits based on random selection or greatest number of unduplicated donors by check or online during various time periods. Cash prizes will range from $200 to $1,000.

Matching gifts pledged to specific nonprofits will be available to be earned when donors make gifts to those nonprofits.

Giving Day donors can give online from computers, smartphone and tablets at NorthPlatteGivingDay.org. The minimum online gift to a nonprofit is $10. Live support will be available on the website to assist donors if needed on Giving Day. 

Giving Day donation checks can be mailed to Mid-Nebraska Community Foundation, PO Box 1321, North Platte NE 69103. 

Donors can drop off checks at local Giving Sites on May 6. Local Giving Sites will accommodate social distancing. Giving Sites are expected to include: Prairie Arts Centers, Orr’s Cleaners, Bill’s U-Save Pharmacy and Mid-Nebraska Community Foundation.

“North Platte Giving Day fits the mission of the Community Foundation to serve charitable people and worthy causes in this area,” said Seacrest. “Our Board of Directors wants the community to know about the important work of local nonprofits and their need for financial support.”

Each of the 69 participating nonprofits serves people in Lincoln County and many serve an even larger area. “Nearly all the local nonprofits in Lincoln County that people depend on are participating,” Seacrest said.

Several participating nonprofits are helping people of Lincoln County cope with consequences of the consequences of the COVID-19 outbreak including Connection Homeless Shelter, Grace Ministries Food Pantry, Great Plains Health Care Foundation, North Platte Catholic Community Food Pantry, North Platte Senior Center, Salvation Army and the COVID-19 Response Fund.

During last year’s Giving Day, $271,378 was raised for local nonprofits from donations, cash prizes from sponsors and earned matching gifts. 

Giving Day website technology again is provided by CiviCore, based in Denver. CiviCore provides technology for many of the largest giving days in the country as well as many other giving days in Nebraska.

Beginning at 12:01 am on May 6, the online leaderboard will display early giving donation totals.  as well as gifts received on Giving Day. During Giving Day the online leaderboard will provide updates on donation totals for nonprofits as well as prizes won by nonprofits.

Information about each of the 69 participating nonprofits including need for financial support and volunteer opportunities can be viewed at NorthPlatteGivingDay.org.

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The number of lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Central District totals 68 as of 5 p.m. today. This includes 1 case in Merrick County, 5 in Hamilton County and 64 in Hall County.

Additionally, we have been notified that testing will be provided to at risk healthcare workers and first responders on a very limited basis this week. The National Guard will be in Grand Island tomorrow through Friday (5 days). Hours for testing are 1:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. each day. The goal is to test 75 healthcare workers and first responders each day for five days by appointment only. Nasopharyngeal specimens will be obtained and sent to the Nebraska Public Health Lab. The first priority is testing of long term care workers who have been exposed or are having symptoms. Then the schedule will be filled with other HCWs who have been exposed or are having symptoms. Health care workers providing direct care will be prioritized for testing. 

The testing provides an opportunity to determine the spread of the virus in the healthcare community. This will in turn give us knowledge of the level of the virus in our community in general. The process is being coordinated through CDHD. For more information, call 308-385-5175.


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APRIL 6, 2020 (LINCOLN, NEB.)  — In accordance with the State of Emergency declared by Governor Pete Ricketts and guidelines from federal and local health officials regarding social distancing, NSP will prioritize some specific fingerprinting services through Friday, May 22, 2020. Appointments will be available for all categories beginning Tuesday, May 26, 2020.

Between April 6 and May 22, fingerprinting appointments will be available for the following categories. Appointments must be made in advance and will include extra precautions.

·       Those who are required to be fingerprinted under the Sex Offender Registration Act, including federal sex offender regulations

·       Concealed Handgun Permit applicants

·       Concealed Handgun Permit renewal applicants who are unable to renew online.

·       Law Enforcement Officers

·       Healthcare, Daycare, and other essential personnel not covered by an Executive Order

 
Nebraskans who fit any of those categories can call the NSP Criminal Identification Division office in Lincoln at 402-479-4971 to schedule appointments, regardless of your location in Nebraska. Renewals or changes to existing CHPs, such as updating a name or mailing address, can still be completed online at https://www.nebraska.gov/apps-nsp-chp/.

Pursuant to Executive Orders 20-08 and 20-10 regarding healthcare workers and daycare providers, work may begin prior to completion of an FBI fingerprint-based background check. Those who are covered by an Executive Order should schedule that required fingerprint-based background check for after May 26, 2020.

Other persons required to be fingerprinted for employment purposes, such as law enforcement, healthcare/daycare providers not covered by an Executive Order, or other essential personnel who are not subject to an Executive Order amending timeline requirements, should call 402-479-4971 for scheduling options.

The unavailability of fingerprinting appointments at NSP does not interfere with an employer’s ability to conduct the background checks that are still required during this time.

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APRIL 6, 2020 (KEARNEY, NEB.)  — Troopers with the Nebraska State Patrol (NSP) have arrested a York man following a pursuit on Interstate 80 that began near Lexington and ended near Kearney.

At approximately 8:45 a.m. Sunday, NSP received a call from a motorist regarding a dangerous driver traveling eastbound on Interstate 80. A trooper was able to locate the vehicle, a Mercury Mystique, in Dawson County and observed it speeding at 102 miles per hour and passing another vehicle on the shoulder.

The trooper attempted a traffic stop near Lexington at mile marker 236, but the driver refused to stop. The trooper initiated a pursuit.

During the pursuit, the suspect threw a container of a white, powdery substance from the vehicle, which was retrieved by another trooper. The vehicle also intentionally struck multiple road signs as it fled from troopers.

At mile marker 263, near Odessa, troopers successfully deployed spike strips to slow the vehicle. As the vehicle reached the Kearney rest area on I-80, a trooper was able to perform a tactical vehicle intervention maneuver to bring the vehicle to a stop.

The driver, Cody Brouillette, 26, of York, was arrested for felony flight to avoid arrest, willful reckless driving, driving under the influence of drugs, driving under suspension, resisting arrest, possession of methamphetamine, possession of drug paraphernalia, tampering with evidence, criminal mischief, and numerous traffic violations. Brouillette was lodged in Buffalo County Jail.


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Tommy Gunz
GI Vapors