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West Central District Health Department has identified two new positive cases of COVID-19. This brings the total to three confirmed positive cases in Lincoln County. The cases do not indicate community-spread at this time.


The first case is a woman in her 40s that had been traveling in Colorado when she became ill. She is currently self-isolating at home. 


The other Lincoln County case is a male in his 20s that was in close contact with an individual who previously tested positive for COVID-19. 


West Central District Health Department has begun the contact investigation to determine those that may have been exposed. 


 “Our focus right now is to complete the contact investigations and to protect the health of the community,” said Shannon Vanderheiden executive director of WCDHD.  “We want to continue to remind everyone that the best way to stop the spread of this virus is to stay at home if you are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19 infection.


Public health officials would like to remind everyone that if you have a fever of over 100.4 or symptoms of respiratory illness, please self-isolate and contact your healthcare provider or your local health department.



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LINCOLN, NE (March 18, 2020) - Nebraska Cattlemen (NC) staff and leadership, focused on finding solutions to help correct the market situation, applaud two letters the National Cattlemen Beef Association (NCBA) sent March 17th to top government and packing industry leaders.
 
The first letter went to U.S. Vice President Mike Pence as chair of the federal government's response to the coronavirus outbreak. The letter asks that the Administration, in partnership with state and local leaders, take swift and proactive steps to minimize the negative consequences of COVID-19 and preserve the economic viability of the U.S. beef supply chain. Specifically, it asks for USDA's Farm Service Agency (FSA) to expand the availability of low- and zero-interest loans in addition to increasing flexibility of terms for existing loans. Further, it requests FSA coordinate with USDA Rural Development and the Small Business Administration throughout the implementation of these accommodations.
 
Regarding transportation, the letter requests the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's (FMCSA) emergency declaration and suspension of Hours of Service to extend to haulers transporting shipments of livestock feed, critically important animal health technologies, and trucks moving livestock to feedyards and packing facilities. This critical step will not only keep cattle haulers in business, but it is the only way to ensure movement across the entire beef supply chain during this challenging time.
 
Regarding cattle prices, and the increasing disparity between cattle and boxed beef prices, it requests that the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) keep a close eye on the cattle markets to ensure that no one tries to use the uncertainty of the live cattle market to manipulate or illegally take advantage of the situation.

The letter explains that the U.S. cattle producers are no strangers to difficulties in the market created by factors outside of their control and believe they will recover from these dark days in due time. Cattle families feel the impact of this pandemic just like other families and will do their best to keep cattle healthy and to provide American families with safe, high-quality beef. Producers ask government leaders to work with them to keep the stream of commerce moving as efficiently as possible so that they may continue to keep store shelves stocked with beef for American consumers.
 
NC also supports the second letter, which was sent to the North American Meat Institute (NAMI), the trade organization representing packers. It asks that NAMI members be aggressive in the cash market and base their bids on the increased cutout value we see rather than the futures. This will help with market liquidity and transparency, thus helping bring some stability back to the cattle markets. Second, it asks packers to participate in the weekly Fed Cattle Exchange to provide further confidence to the producer segment of our industry by providing transparency and price discovery. The letter also asks that NAMI actively communicate your actions with NCBA and allow us to communicate those actions to the full beef community.
 
The letter to NAMI states NCBA will continue to work with USDA to ensure it provides the inspectors and graders to keep the beef supply moving. Any plant shutdown or slowdown will further compound the economic impact on feeders, stockers, and cow/calf producers. NCBA will also help to fight any attempt to restrict interstate commerce that would impact the flow of cattle and beef.
 
About the calls for action, Nebraska Cattlemen President Ken Herz said NC staff and leadership remain committed to members. "Please know we are working diligently to find solutions to the current situation while keeping our long-term focus on improving market transparency and reducing market volatility. We will continue to keep you up to date as more information becomes available."
 

North Platte, Ne -  Officials from the City of North Platte, Great Plains Health and North Platte Public Schools addressed the media this morning about what plans are being made to address the Covid-19 Virus that is impacting the Country. North Platte Mayor Dwight Livingston opened the press conference by saying that it's business as usual for the City at the moment but did add thanks to the West Central Health Department for their assistance, he added that the City would like citizens that pay bills and need City Hall Assistance, to Call, use their personal mobile devices or the City's Drive Through Window to do their City Business. Livingston went on to say the North Platte Recreation Center and North Platte Public Library are both currently open, although some services will be limited.

 

Also, speaking at the Press conference were City Manager Jim Hawks, North Platte Fire Chief Denis Thompson, and Executive Director of West Central District Health Department Shannon Vanderheiden who says they have currently had 20 Negative tests from the North Platte Area. She went on to remind people to get tested, ill feeling people need to first contact their primary physician, who will mandate your test procedure; also that testing is available through a drive up process. The Mobile testing station is located near an Ambulance in the Great Plains Health Pavilion on the north side of Francis Street across from The Hospital Emergency Room.

 


North Platte COVID-19 Press Conference

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MARCH 17, 2020 (LINCOLN, NEB.)  — A large and growing number of restaurants and bars have announced modified operations or closures to comply with public health guidance to limit the spread of COVID-19. As those efforts continue, the Nebraska State Patrol urges those who are celebrating St. Patrick’s Day to do so responsibly.

“We’ve already seen how well our communities throughout our state are responding to this unprecedented situation,” said Colonel John Bolduc, Superintendent of the Nebraska State Patrol. “Our hope is always that people celebrate responsibly, but that message has a different meaning today. If you’re celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, please do so responsibly by adhering to CDC recommendations for gatherings and by designating a sober driver.”

Troopers are constantly patrolling for impaired drivers throughout Nebraska. Those efforts will continue tonight as St. Patrick’s Day traditionally has among the highest incidence of drunk driving nationwide.

NSP’s St. Patrick’s Day impaired driving enforcement is made possible thanks in part to a grant for $7,552 from the Nebraska Department of Transportation – Highway Safety Office.

The Nebraska State Patrol urges all Nebraskans to comply with guidance from Governor Ricketts, the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to limit gatherings to ten people or fewer.

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LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Gov. Pete Ricketts has limited public gatherings to 10 people in an effort to keep the coronavirus from spreading, even though it's likely to mean painful economic times and major disruption to people's lives. Ricketts' announcement will force the cancellation of events statewide and many businesses will shut their doors as people hunker down to try to avoid catching COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus. He says he was aligning the state with recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — The Nebraska Legislature has suspended its session to try to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus. Lawmakers were off on Monday but had been set to reconvene Tuesday. The session has now been postponed and it's not clear when lawmakers will return to the Capitol. Sen. Adam Morfeld, of Lincoln, says roughly two-thirds of the Legislature's 49 senators are in the high-risk category if they were to catch the virus. The Legislature's decision came as the number of coronavirus cases in Nebraska had climbed to 20.

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In an effort to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in the communities within our service area, Mid-Plains Community College is taking the following precautions to protect our students, staff, and the communities we serve.  MPCC will hold classes as scheduled next week, March 16-20.  At the close of next week, MPCC will be on an extended spring break for the two weeks beginning Sunday March 22 – Saturday April 4.  Online classes will continue as scheduled.  Faculty will return to campus on March 30 to prepare to adjust their courses to a remote education delivery format where possible.  When classes resume on Sunday, April 5, most courses will have been moved to a remote education delivery format.  Applied tech courses and other courses with required labs will resume on campus. There will be some exceptions based on certain programs so students are encouraged to communicate with their instructors about the adjusted expectations and format of their courses moving forward. 

Dual credit and early entry students taking courses at one of MPCC’s campuses should check with their college instructors on upcoming changes.  Students taking courses at high school locations should continue to follow their high school schedules. 

Scheduled on-campus events are on an event-by-event basis dependent on the size of the anticipated audience for each event and the final decision to proceed, postpone, or cancel will be made by the appropriate Vice President in conjunction with the President.  North Platte PTK Induction, scheduled for Sunday, and North Platte Inter-High Day, scheduled for next Wednesday, March 18, have been cancelled.   

Residence halls, food service, student services and all other college functions will continue to operate and serve those students remaining on campus.  MPCC will provide student services to students in a virtual environment for advising, registration, etc. 

Intercollegiate athletes will continue to participate in competitions as long as the NJCAA and Region IX continue to hold competitions.  All athletic facilities will be accessible by college for-credit students only and will be closed to the general public effective immediately.   

Out-of-state travel for college-related business will be suspended until further notice.


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Four individuals were charged Thursday  connected to sex trafficking in Furnas County, 
Joseph H. Baumbach, 59, of McCook has been charged with Manufacturing Child Pornography and Evidence Tampering, both felonies. Baumbach's arraignment is scheduled for Monday at 9:30 a.m.
Jacob E. Kramer (21) of Oxford has been charged with one count of Sex Trafficking of a Minor and one count of 1st Degree Sexual Assault, both felonies.
Terry L. Smith (37) has been charged with one count of 1st Degree Sexual Assault of a Child and one count of Sex Trafficking, both felonies. Smith's arraignment is scheduled for Wednesday at 2 p.m.
Bucky J. Weaver has been charged with one count of 1st Degree Sexual Assault of a Child, a felony. 
We will have information as soon as its released.

Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson News Release
 

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MARCH 3, 2020 (KEARNEY, NEB.)  — Family, friends, colleagues, and fellow law enforcement officers will gather to honor the life and service of Trooper Dale Fahnholz #227 on Thursday, March 5 in Kearney.

A funeral service for Trooper Fahnholz will be held at 11:00 a.m. CST Thursday, at First Lutheran Church, 3315 G Avenue in Kearney. Members of the public are welcome to attend the service. The ceremony will include the honor guard from the Nebraska State Patrol.

For those wishing to send cards, please send them to the Nebraska State Patrol Troop C Headquarters at 3431 West Old Potash Highway, Grand Island, NE, 68803.


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January 28, 2020 (McCook, Neb.) An inmate was apprehended shortly after jumping the fence at the Work Ethic Camp (WEC) in McCook this morning. The escape occurred just before 9:30 a.m. Ryan Lykens #76263 (37) was taken into custody near the facility around 45 minutes later.

Staff members noticed that razor wire along the fence line at the facility had been pushed aside and followed tracks in the snow to a nearby canyon. While Lykens moved through the canyon, staff members from WEC continued their search. When they found him, he refused multiple directives to stop and surrender. Staff members then deployed chemicals (oleoresin capsicum) to gain his compliance. Shortly thereafter, deputies arrived on the scene and took Lykens into custody.

Lykens was taken to an area urgent care facility for stitches resulting from an injury he received during the escape. Two staff members received scrapes and bruises when they accidentally ran into a snow-covered fence during the search.

Lykens is currently sentenced on charges out of Dodge County including possession of a deadly weapon, terroristic threats and domestic assault. He has a tentative release date of October 31, 2020. In April 2019, Lykens was released on parole. In December he violated his parole and was returned to the custody of NDCS.

Lykens will be moved to the Red Willow County jail. Authorities will determine if he will face additional charges resulting from the escape.

The Work Ethic Camp is a minimum security facility. Inmates are able to work in the community with intermittent supervision.



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McCook Humane Society