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APRIL 1, 2020 (KEARNEY, NEB.)  — Troopers with the Nebraska State Patrol have arrested three people and seized 20 pounds of methamphetamine during a traffic stop near Kearney.

The traffic stop occurred at approximately 8:00 p.m. Tuesday, when a trooper observed a Chevrolet Tahoe fail to signal a turn as it exited Interstate 80 near Kearney. During the traffic stop, the trooper detected clandestine activity.

Troopers performed a search of the vehicle and found 20 pounds of methamphetamine and two ounces of marijuana. The driver, Shanae Douglas, 31, of Gary, Indiana, was also discovered to have a revoked driver’s license.

Douglas, and passengers Antoinette Brandy, 33, of Gary, Indiana, and Juwan Powell, 21, of Harvey, Illinois, were all arrested for possession of methamphetamine, possession with intent to deliver, and possession of marijuana. Douglas was also cited for driving with a revoked driver’s license. All three were lodged in Buffalo County Jail.

The City of Grand Island Public Works Department is announcing the North Road Paving Improvement Project will begin the week of April 6, 2020.  North Road is scheduled to be closed on Monday, April 6, 2020 from Northwest High School to Highway 2.  This segment of North Road is tentatively planned to be closed until August 2020.  

The North Road project includes reconstruction from Capital Avenue to Highway 2.  The project will consist of removal of the existing 24’ wide asphalt roadway and construct a concrete curb and gutter, 3-lane, 41’ wide roadway section.  A roundabout will be constructed at the intersection of Capital Avenue and North Road.  The project will also include storm sewer construction, sidewalk improvements, water main adjustments and sanitary sewer extension at Northview Drive.  

On March 10, 2020, City Council awarded the construction contract to Diamond Engineering Company of Grand Island, Nebraska for $3,335,787.35
For more information on the roadway project, and other Public Works projects, visit the projects webpage at, or call Public Works at 308-385-5455.

This morning, Central District Health Department (CDHD) reports a lab-confirmed positive test in a long-term care facility in Hall County. The positive test is in a health care worker. CDHD is currently working with the facility to identify possible exposures and to advise as to prevention measures. 

Central District Health Department (CDHD) reports a total of fifteen (15) lab-confirmed cases as of 4:30 p.m. today, up from a total of 6 yesterday morning. Fourteen (14) cases are in Hall County and one (1) case is in Hamilton County. The total number of tests administered is not known since various labs both private and public are processing tests. The increased number of positive tests is concerning but not unexpected. “We will continue to monitor the number of positive cases in our three-county area, and take necessary actions to protect our community,” states Anderson.

Anderson reminds community members that social distancing is the responsibility of everyone ALL the time. Fresh air and sunshine are great both physically and mentally, but there are limits. It is not possible to play games like basketball or soccer and keep a 6-foot distance even outdoors. Outdoor activities that maintain social distancing include taking family walks or bike rides, hiking, boating, fishing, gardening, camping with the family, etc. As long as, a 6-foot distance between people is maintained, outdoor activities are encouraged. Also remember, ten or more people create a gathering inside or outside. “We are asking that people practice social distancing regardless of whether they are indoors or outdoors,” says Anderson.

We see that as weeks go by, social distancing is becoming more of the standard and people are adapting to the idea of continuously maintaining that 6-foot distance. It is up to each of us to protect ourselves, our families and each other.  Slowing the spread of the virus remains our chief goal.

LINCOLN – Today, Governor Pete Ricketts held a press conference to announce that the State of Nebraska has extended statewide social distancing restrictions through April 30th.  Earlier in March, the State of Nebraska issued social distancing restrictions for the entire state.  The previously announced restrictions, which have now been extended, can be found by clicking here.

In addition to these social distancing restrictions, 30 counties are currently covered by a Directed Health Measure which can be found by clicking here.

At the news conference, Gov. Ricketts detailed new unemployment programs being implemented in Nebraska as a result of federal legislation to aid the pandemic response.  The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Donald J. Trump on March 27, 2020.

The Governor explained that the Nebraska Department of Labor (NDOL) is undertaking software changes and making other preparations to roll out the unemployment programs outlined in the CARES Act.  Nebraska’s Labor Commissioner, John Albin, is working directly with the U.S. Department of Labor to expedite implementation of the unemployment programs.  At today’s press briefing, Commissioner Albin joined the Governor to overview the unemployment programs contained in the CARES Act and to report on the State’s preparations to administer them.

Those programs include:
·       Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) – Allows unemployment benefits to individuals who have exhausted all other unemployment benefits, and those not eligible for other unemployment benefits, including workers who are self-employed and independent contractors.  The minimum PUA weekly payment will be $174 and top out at $440.

·       Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) – This emergency increase in Unemployment Insurance Benefits adds $600 per week in federal benefits to the unemployment benefit amount for COVID-19 unemployment claims, including PUA claims.

·       Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) – Allows 13 weeks of federally funded benefits to be added to the end of the normal 26 weeks of benefits.

·       Short Time Compensation Programs (also known as Work Share) – Provides federal funding of Short-Time Compensation, a program that allows businesses to uniformly reduce their teammates’ hours while the workers receive a partial unemployment benefit.

At today’s press event, Governor Ricketts also signed a proclamation to designate every Tuesday from March 31st through the end of April 2020 as “Takeout Tuesday.”  The purpose of the proclamation is to encourage Nebraskans to support their local dining establishments as these restaurants continue to serve customers during the pandemic.

R.J. Vega, with Copal restaurant in Lincoln, thanked the Governor for the proclamation during the press conference.  Vega described the challenges restaurants have faced due to the coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) public health emergency.  Servers, bartenders, and hourly staff have had their lives profoundly impacted.  Restaurants have struggled to make payroll and keep the lights on.  Vega also spoke of Copal’s innovative work to overcome these challenges by transitioning its business model from dine-in to carry-out and delivery.

Gov. Ricketts also reiterated the State’s social distancing measures at the press conference.

·       Some Local Health Departments (LHD) in Lincoln and metro Omaha have issued additional restrictions on social gatherings and/or businesses.  Check with your LHD for additional information.  

·       The 10-person limitation applies to outdoor gatherings like picnics or outdoor activities like sand volleyball.

·       Travelers coming back to Nebraska from out of state should self-quarantine for 14 days.  This includes snowbirds returning to Nebraska after having spent the winter in places like Arizona, Florida, or Texas.  However, the guidance to sel

LINCOLN, Neb. – The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission is suspending the sale of nonresident spring turkey hunting permits in a proactive effort to prevent the potential for the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). This is being done by the Commission in coordination with Gov. Pete Ricketts Executive Order No. 20-11 to help protect the health of Nebraskans by discouraging unnecessary travel.

Game and Parks will stop selling 2020 nonresident spring turkey permits effective immediately. Nonresidents who have purchased permits will be able to use them, but will not be able to purchase additional permits. Nonresidents with Nebraska turkey permits will be contacted by Game and Parks through email within the next week with additional information, including potential refunds.

Nebraska’s spring turkey season opened March 25 for archers. The shotgun season opens April 11 for youth and April 18 for adults. All turkey seasons close May 31.

The agency in late March closed all parks offices and commission offices; service and education centers; and other facilities temporarily. Also closed in April, with a possible extension period, are state park and recreation area lodges, cabins, and public shower buildings.

State parks, recreation areas and campgrounds remain open at this time, as are a limited number of public restrooms, which are sanitized regularly per Centers for Disease Control and Protection recommendations.

For the most up-to-date information on closures and event cancellations or postponements, visit

MARCH 31, 2020 (NORTH PLATTE, NEB.)  — Investigators with the Nebraska State Patrol (NSP), with the assistance of the Imperial Police Department, have arrested a Chase County man on multiple charges following an investigation into reported sexual assaults of a child.

In February, NSP was notified by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services that a series of assaults had been reported to them. NSP immediately opened an investigation, which has determined that the assaults began in 2015 and continued until this year.

On Monday, March 30, officers with the Imperial Police Department arrested Richard Butt, 66, of Imperial. Butt was lodged in Chase County Jail for 1st degree sexual assault of a child and 3rd degree sexual assault of a child.

The investigation remains ongoing and additional charges are possible.

Starting on Thursday, April 2, free meals for both Thursday and Friday will be offered. There will be no meal pickup on Fridays.

This decision was made for the safety of our staff and to limit their exposure. We will continue to make improvements for the health of our staff and our community.

Meals will be offered Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at eight locations.
Walnut Middle School; 1600 N. Custer Ave.; Door 23 (east entrance)
Knickrehm Elementary; 2013 N. Oak St.
Seedling Mile Elementary; 3208 East Seedling Mile Rd.
Dodge Elementary; 641 S. Oak St.
Howard Elementary; 502 W. 9th St.
Lincoln Elementary; 805 N. Beal St.
Starr Elementary; 1800 S. Adams St.
Shoemaker Elementary; 4160 W. Old Potash Highway

UPDATE: On-site registration May 5-7 will be rescheduled

Our on-site registration planned for May 5-7 at all schools will be rescheduled once we know a safe date in the future. 

Families can still register online at If they have questions they can contact us through Let's Talk.

Grand Island Public Schools has announced the hiring of Dr. Ashley Tomjack as the Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Professional Learning.

“We are very excited to welcome Dr. Tomjack back to the district in a new role to help move us forward,” said Dr. Tawana Grover, GIPS superintendent. “Her experiences paired with her passion make her a great addition to the GIPS family.”

Tomjack is currently the principal at Blumfield Elementary School in the Ralston Public Schools district. She will join GIPS this summer, taking over the administration position vacated by Shanna Gannon, who has been named superintendent of Shelton Public Schools.

“In this role, I look forward to helping shape the educational opportunities we provide students and staff through the lens of curriculum, instruction, assessment and professional learning,” Tomjack said.

Dr. Tomjack started her teaching career with GIPS and is a former Engleman Wildcat.

“As a former teacher for Grand Island Public Schools, I am familiar with the high expectations for excellence that exist as well as the tremendous innovation that has taken place in the years since I was hired,” Tomjack said. “From the Academies of Grand Island Senior High to the Gear Up Promise grant, GIPS is rich with examples of creative ways that educators are meeting students’ needs and helping them reach their full potential academically. I am honored to have the opportunity to be part of a place that puts students first and I look forward to serving our students, staff and community as we work together to provide educational opportunities to open doors for kids.”
Dr. Toni Palmer, GIPS Chief of Leading for Learning, said she is looking forward to what Tomjack brings to the team.
"Dr. Tomjack's educational philosophy and experiences align well with our district mission and vision,” Palmer said. “I am confident she will continue the current work and leverage our administrative teams to lead forward as we plan for the 20-21 school year.
Tomjack said she and her husband, Jason, are eager to return to their roots in Central Nebraska and to be closer to family and friends.
“We have a deep commitment to the Grand Island community, respect the values with which we grew up and are looking forward to the opportunity to serve,” Tomjack said.
Grover said this role will make an impact on student achievement and will play a part in “ensuring GIPS has students who thrive.”
“This role is critical in accomplishing the goals we want to accomplish as a district,” Grover said. “Dr. Tomjack’s role will lend a hand to many of the 11 student success measures outlined in the GIPS Strategic Plan, as well as our three district priorities of equity, attendance and social-emotional learning.”

(Grand Island, NE) - The Mayor’s office is carefully monitoring the evolving circumstances presented by the coronavirus. A public health emergency has been declared in the United States and on March 13 Governor Ricketts declared a public health emergency in the State of Nebraska.
Directed Health Measures for this area, county and Grand Island have been ordered by the
Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services and by the Central District Health
Department. In cooperation with these agencies and their efforts to prevent the spread of
Covid-19 and demands upon our medical community, Mayor Steele ordered that Jackrabbit
Run Golf Course and Heartland Shooting Park will close to the public effective March 31,
2020 until further notice.

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