Monday, July 22, 2019

USDA Launches New Program to Create High-Speed Internet e-Connectivity in Rural America

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Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue today announced that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is offering up to $600 million in loans and grants to help build broadband infrastructure in rural America. Telecommunications companies, rural electric cooperatives and utilities, internet service providers and municipalities may apply for funding through USDA’s new ReConnect Program to connect rural areas that currently have insufficient broadband service. Answering the Administration’s call to action for rural prosperity, Congress appropriated funds in the fiscal year 2018 budget for this broadband pilot program. USDA Rural Development is the primary agencydelivering the program, with assistance from other federal partners.

   “High-speed internet e-Connectivity is a necessity, not an amenity, vital for quality of life and economic opportunity, so we hope that today rural communities kick off their rural broadband project planning,” Secretary Perdue said. “Under the leadership of President Trump, USDA has worked to understand the true needs of rural communities facing this challenge so we can be strong partners to create high-speed, reliable broadband e-Connectivity.”

   USDA will make available approximately $200 million for grants (applications due to USDA by April 29), as well as $200 million for loan and grant combinations (applications due May 29), and $200 million for low-interest loans (applications due by June 28). 

   Projects funded through this initiative must serve communities with fewer than 20,000 people with no broadband service or where service is slower than 10 megabits per second (mbps) download and 1 mbps upload.

Read more: USDA Launches New Program to Create High-Speed Internet e-Connectivity in Rural America

Midlands Mentoring Partnership is now MENTOR Nebraska

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MENTOR NE RGB Horizontal

Organization announces new name and statewide expansion

alongside annual recruitment effort

The Midlands Mentoring Partnership (MMP), a coalition that advocates for youth mentoring and the activities of its member agencies, is now MENTOR Nebraska.

R64ZQTQMMENTOR Nebraska is expanding statewide to meet the need for training and support for nonprofits and school districts throughout the state that want to strengthen or introduce new mentoring programs, but currently lack the expertise and resources to do so. “We are thrilled with the opportunity to expand the number and quality of mentoring opportunities for more youth in Nebraska,” said Deborah Neary, Executive Director of MENTOR Nebraska. “We are also truly grateful to our partner mentoring programs and stakeholders whose commitment to mentoring excellence have provided the mainstay of our work more than twenty years. This expansion will allow MENTOR Nebraska to ensure that more youth are being served safely and effectively through adherence to national standards for evidence-based mentoring.”

“MENTOR Nebraska’s name change and geographic expansion is an exciting evolution that reflects its incredible leadership throughout Nebraska and within the network of MENTOR’s Affiliates for many years,” said David Shapiro, CEO of MENTOR. MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership is a national nonprofit that serves as an advocate and resource for mentoring organizations. “This alignment also represents MENTOR Nebraska’s continued efforts to close the mentoring gap, expand quality youth mentoring, and provide leadership for the mentoring movement. We’re so proud to have their local leadership and partnership.”

Read more: Midlands Mentoring Partnership is now MENTOR Nebraska

Phelps County Sheriff's Log Jan. 3, 2019

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03:36 am A deputy assisted another agency with transporting prisoners, out of county.

07:37 am Report of a vehicle in the ditch, rural Phelps County.  A deputy checked the area, no vehicle was found.

07:56 am Report of a trailer spilling glutton on the roadway, US Hwy 6 & 34.  A deputy along with the state patrol assisted with traffic control for the spill.  The Nebraska Department of Roads assisted in cleaning up the spill.

13:55 pm A deputy investigated a one vehicle property damage accident, rural Phelps County.  The report has not been completed at this time.

14:45 pm Request for a deputy to keep the peace, Loomis.  A deputy assisted keeping the peace for a civil matter.

16:03 pm Complaint of horses running at large, rural Phelps County.  Owner was contacted.

17:10 pm Complaint of a reckless driver, US Hwy 6 & 34.  The Holdrege Police Department stopped the vehicle it had entered the city limits, a deputy assisted with the stop.

20:51 pm Report of lost dogs, Funk.  Information on file if we receive any calls for a dog running at large.

23:24 pm A deputy stopped to check on a motorist, rural Phelps County.  They had assistance already in route to help them.

NET Hosts Creative Writing Contest for Nebraska Students

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LINCOLN-Students across Nebraska have the opportunity to showcase their creative writing and drawing skills by participating in the 2019 NET PBS KIDS Writer’s Contest.

The contest, sponsored by NET, Nebraska’s PBS and NPR Stations, is open to all Nebraska students in kindergarten through third grade. Winners will be eligible to win a variety of prizes, including a Kindle Fire and a visit from a PBS KIDS character. First, second and third place winners will be selected from each grade level.

Submitted stories can be fact, fiction, prose or poetry and must include at least five original color illustrations.

Entries must be postmarked by March 31 and received by April 5. For more contest rules, details on how to enter, and helpful writing resources, visit

Gov. Ricketts Announces Plan to Expand Military Retirement Tax Relief

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LINCOLN – Governor Pete Ricketts announced a new plan to expand military retirement tax relief.  He was joined by Nebraska Department of Veterans’ Affairs (NDVA) Director John Hilgert, Adjutant General of the Nebraska National Guard Major General Daryl Bohac, President of the Nebraska Chapter of the Military Officers of Association of America (MOAA) Colonel Dan Donovan, and State Senators, as well as members of state veterans’ organizations.


image002“Over the years as I have traveled Nebraska, military retirement tax relief has been a top priority for veterans and their families,” Governor Ricketts said.  “We want to make Nebraska the most veteran-friendly state in the country and encourage our heroes to stay in our state and move here.  Surrounding states provide tax relief for veterans, and with this proposal, we can make our state more competitive regionally and nationally.”

The new proposed law would exempt 50% of military retirement pay from being taxed, and would include all of Nebraska’s military retirees receiving payments from the Department of Defense.  As of fiscal year 2017, this included over 13,000 Nebraskans.  The plan would deliver $15 million in tax relief for our state’s retired military veterans annually. 

Currently, only certain retired military personnel in Nebraska have options for partial income tax exemptions for their military retirement pay.  Starting on taxable year January 1, 2015, certain retired veterans have been able to choose to exempt 40% of their military retirement pay for seven taxable years or 15% of their military retirement pay starting once they turn 67 years of age.  Those who retired before July 18, 2012 are not eligible for any income tax exemption.

“Veterans groups in Nebraska have been talking about this issue and working towards this for at least 20 years,” said Nebraska MOAA President Col. Dan Donovan.  “Not only will it encourage veterans to decide to remain in Nebraska, it will enhance our state’s ability to meet the growing need for technologically adept and motivated employees and entrepreneurs starting businesses.  It’s a win-win for Nebraska.”

Read more: Gov. Ricketts Announces Plan to Expand Military Retirement Tax Relief