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Authorities say they’ve found the remains of a missing woman in southwest Nebraska and arrested three people suspected of involvement in her disappearance and in the kidnapping of another woman.

The Chase County Sheriff’s Office says the body was found Sunday afternoon near Imperial. Her father had reported three days earlier that he hadn’t heard from his 22-year-old daughter for about a week. Her name hasn’t been released.

A 43-year-old man from rural Enders was arrested Thursday. County court records say Russell Mann is charged with two felony counts of being an accessory to kidnapping. The records don’t list an attorney for him.

The sheriff’s office says two more people were arrested Saturday in Fort Collins, Colorado. Twenty-four-year-old Kevin German, of Colorado Springs, Colorado; and 22-year-old Keonna Carter, of Taylorsville, Utah, are charged with kidnapping, use of a firearm, assault and other crimes. 

All three are also suspected in the kidnapping and assault of a 20-year-old woman. The sheriff’s office says she’s safe now.


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The finance director of the Nebraska State Fair has resigned, saying the state fair may be on the verge of bankruptcy.


Patrick Kopke resigned Friday at a meeting of the fair board, telling members that his concerns about excessive spending had not been addressed.

Kopke told the board the State Fair, which has been held in Grand Island since 2010, has lost money the last two years. He projected the fair to be nearly $1.7 million in the red for 2019 and could be forced to file for bankruptcy next year.

Former Grand Island mayor Jeremy Jensen, who is chairman of the fair board’s finance committee,says that Kopke's projection was premature.




Following Kopke’s resignation, the board approved a new budget that could require cutting as much as half of the fair's staff and is dramatically different from the 2019 budget in a number of ways. 



Jensen estimated the savings from the new budget will be about $600,000.



Jensen on resignation

jensen on 2020 budget

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Speaker Nancy Pelosi has cast doubt on the possibility of passing an updated North American trade deal by the end of 2019 as impeachment-related delays could throw updated U.S. trade policy into the heat of the presidential primary campaign.


U.S. Senator Ben Sasse, an outspoken advocate for trade and agriculture, called Pelosi’s claim nonsense.


"Nancy Pelosi is holding Nebraska farmers and ranchers hostage and House Democrats are wasting time on circuses instead of doing real work for the American people. Last week Speaker Pelosi said a vote on the USMCA trade deal was 'imminent,' but today she's saying that there's not enough time to do it this year. That's some pure, grade-a bunk. The USMCA will pass tomorrow if Speaker Pelosi calls the vote and she knows it. Let's get this done."


The selling points for the new pact known as USMCA are that it updates NAFTA for the 21st century with hard-won provisions on digital trade, intellectual property, financial services and agriculture trade.



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Investigators with the Nebraska State Patrol have arrested a Phelps County sheriff’s deputy on suspicion of third-degree assault and child abuse for an altercation that left a 15-year-old girl with a black eye.


The patrol announced in a news release that 37-year-old Deputy Jamie Tilson was arrested Friday and booked into the Phelps County Jail.


The patrol says the arrest came after it was asked by the Nebraska Attorney General’s Office to investigate a report of a Sept. 3 assault in Holdrege. An arrest affidavit says Tilson attempted to slap the teen in the mouth during an argument, and instead hit her in the eye when she flinched.



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Heartland United Way

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Heartland United Way

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A multistate outbreak of Hepatitis A has been linked to eating blackberries purchased at Fresh Thyme Farmers Market in three states:  Indiana, Nebraska and Wisconsin. It is noted that these same berries were also distributed in IA, IL, IN, KY, MI, MO, MN, NE, OH, PA, and WI.

 

Teresa Anderson, Health Director Central District Health Department advises, “The blackberries would have been purchased at Fresh Thyme Farmers Markets between September 9th and September 30th, 2019. If you didn’t freeze these berries you probably won’t have any left. However, if you purchased and froze berries during this time period and still have them, please contact us so that we can work with Nebraska DHHS in testing any berries that are still available.

 

Hepatitis A is a highly contagious liver infection caused by the Hepatitis A virus. It can range from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a severe illness lasting several months. Although rare, Hepatitis A can cause death in some people. Hepatitis A usually spreads when a person unknowingly ingests the virus from objects, food, or drinks contaminated by small, undetected amounts of stool from an infected person. Symptoms begin somewhere between 2 and 7 weeks after exposure. Individuals are considered most contagious during the 2 weeks before and 1 week after onset of symptoms. Those diagnosed with hepatitis A or persons symptomatic after a known exposure should not work or prepare food for one week after symptoms begin and until symptoms are gone for greater than24 hours.


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Grand Island Public Schools Foundation Board members surprised teachers and students in the Grand Island Public Schools when they arrived at schools Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday to award 17 classroom mini-grants. 

The Grand Island Public Schools Foundation awards mini-grants in two rounds on an annual basis. Mini-grants are designed to fund educational opportunities for students that are not available through the school district's general budget.  

This is the sixteenth annual mini-grant cycle for the Grand Island Public Schools Foundation.  Since the program’s inception, the Grand Island Public Schools Foundation has funded 282 mini-grants totaling $248,464. Grants have been awarded to every school in the district, benefiting approximately 52,755 students.  

The 2019-2020 mini-grant fund was established via the "Add it Up to Opportunity!" staff and board fund drive and the "Tradition of Excellence" community campaign held during the past 12 months.

For the 2019-2020 school year, 17 grants totaling $19,322 were awarded through the mini-grant process. Grants ranged from $250 to $2,000.  3,222 students will benefit from a classroom mini-grant this school year.  

Day One grant winners, grant amounts, and project titles were:

*Kim McCain, Jodi Fegley, Engleman Elementary, $1,830, “Wildcats Wild about Maker Space!” With the Makerspace movement in full swing across our district, Engleman Elementary wants to expand their learning opportunities for their students. With only four large robots, adding the ability to code more often is one goal for a student body of 530. We also would like to continue developing creativity and problem solving using recyclables with Makedo: Cardboard Construction. With Makerspace hands-on learning activities, students gain problem solving skills and collaboration skills in the curriculum areas of math, science, art, language/literature, and technology. This grant will benefit 530 students in grades K-5.

*Kenneth DeFrank, Success Academy, $1,970, “Flexible Seating.” Success Academy is an alternative program that focuses on students with mental and behavior challenges. We would like to offer more flexible seating to our students, including wiggly chairs, rocking chairs, and any other non-traditional seating to help kids stay focused on their academics. This grant will benefit 91 students in grades 9-12.

*Danielle Dudo, Stephanie Finnegan, Andrew Poltack, and Katie Slattery, Newell Elementary, $850, “Traveling Along the Oregon Trail.” Students will experience the Oregon Trail in a first-hand expedition across school district property.  Students will face many of the same challenges that pioneers faced from traveling hardships, illness, trading and pioneer meals.  Their mission is to successfully transport their family along the trail to their final destination.  (Starting at Newell Elementary, stopping at Walnut Middle School and ending at Grand Island Senior High). This grant will benefit 80 students in grades 4-5.

*Sara Robinson, Gates Elementary, $1,000, “Every Student, Every Day, A Reader!” The purpose of this grant is to provide teachers with the materials they need to design meaningful phonics lessons. The materials will guide instruction that directly aligns to the LETRS (Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling) professional development. This grant will benefit 215 students in grades K-5.

*Jason Zelasney, Shane Campbell, and John Faxon, Jefferson Elementary, $1,000, “Jefferson Gentleman.” The Jefferson Gentlemen will be a program focused on teaching our young boys how to be our next generation gentlemen. This program will teach our boys skills to help them feel good about themselves in every setting and have the confidence to lead by example. Our goal is to lift students up and help prepare them for the road ahead.  During our group time, we plan to focus on learning proper etiquette in different settings, how to dress to impress and tie a tie, how to give a proper handshake and demonstrate respect to others, and learn other characteristics of being a gentleman. This grant will benefit 50 students in grades K-5.

*Chandra Kosmicki, Jefferson Elementary, $1,870, “Stop-Motion Claymation Movie Makin’.” Remember the Gumby or the California Raisins? In this project, students will grow their skills as a 21st century learner and become engaged in stop-motion animation by creating, editing, and sharing their very own Claymation movie. This grant will benefit 400 students in grades K-5.

*Trevor Cornelius and Nancy Sutherland, Knickrehm Elementary, $900, “It Only Takes a Spark.” It can be difficult for students to transition from reading picture books to chapter books; for some students, due to fear and lack of confidence, it seems almost impossible. These obstacles can be overcome by creating an afterschool program using literacy circles, where like-ability students can gather to explore and discuss the hidden treasures found within the written word.  This grant will be used to purchase sets of books from seven different genres, in four different reading levels, in order to meet our students where they are at and encourage them to grow. This grant will benefit 40 students in grades K-5.

*Janet Dobbins and Rebecca Waind, Stolley Park Elementary, $1,300, “Purposeful Play in a Kindergarten Classroom.” We are creating an environment in the kindergarten classroom whereas 'play' becomes purposeful in providing extensive opportunities for children to represent and extend their thinking through multiple modalities including, but not limited to drawing, writing, painting, movement, drama, construction, dance, technology, and discovery.  Purposeful play centers will integrate standards, targets, and success criteria to naturally support learning. 'Play' will provide areas in the classroom that are ever-changing. This grant will benefit 46 students in Kindergarten.

*Lauren Peitzmeier and Sandy Meyer, Stolley Park Elementary, $1,947, “Make Space for Robotics!” We would like to provide opportunities for Stolley Park students to experience robotics and coding using Ozobots and Spheros in our dedicated makerspace where they will be available for all K-5 teachers to use with their entire class, in addition to before and after school STEAM programs and clubs. The Ozobot is a small but powerful robot that is programmable using simple markers (for beginners) or block based computer programming (for intermediate users).  Like the Ozobot, the Sphero SPRK+ utilizes drawing and block based programming, but adds a third level for advanced learners to use JavaScript to actually write text programs.
This grant will benefit 225 students in grades K-5.

*Melissa McDonald, Shoemaker Elementary, $1,000, “Every Student, Every day, A Reader!” The purpose of this grant is to provide teachers the materials they need to design meaningful phonics lessons. The materials will support instruction that directly aligns with the LETRS (Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling) professional development. This grant will benefit 280 students in grades K-5.

*Kevin Butters, Vicki Weseman, and Brenda Carlson, Lincoln Elementary, $1,000, “Patterns of Earth and Sky.” As fifth grade students begin the school year, they investigate what causes the daily and yearly pattern of what objects we see in the night sky. Throughout the investigations they discover how the orbits of Earth around the sun and of the moon around Earth, together with the rotation of Earth about an axis between its North and South poles, causes observable patterns. These students would greatly benefit from an end-of-unit, culminating activity that includes a trip to the University of Nebraska at Kearney Planetarium and an art activity incorporating what they have learned. Students could make connections with what they have learned, recognize many of the stars they have read about, and share in an experience which will stay with them for years to come. This grant will benefit 65 students in grade 5.

*Bianca Ayala, Howard Elementary, $250, “Books & Braids.” Books & Braids is a morning weekly club where the students are able to read books of their choice and have their hair styled. All students (boys & girls) are welcomed and after having their hair styled leave with a big smile on their face! Having special books and hair materials for the club would engage more students to join while building their confidence at the same time! This grant will benefit 50 students in grades K-5.

*Gina Conyers and Clint Felber, Barr Middle School, $450, “Outdoor Leisure Activities.” We would love to offer a unit at the beginning and end of every school year that features yard games that our students will most likely play in their neighborhoods, tailgating, or while camping with family and friends in the summer like:  Ladder golf, Polish Horseshoes, Corn Hole, Yard Darts and Kan Jam.  This is a great unit to add to our curriculum as it is able to help us hit several standards.  They will also be developing skills and knowledge of games that they will be able to participate in for a lifetime of fun. This grant will benefit 750 students in grades 6-8.

*Nicole LeClaire, Wyandotte Learning Center, $2,000, “Building a 21st Century Crime Lab – Law and Public Safety Academy at the Academies of Grand Island Senior High.”  This grant will design and build a crime lab where Law and Public Safety
 students would be able to role-play future careers in the fields of Law and Public Safety through crime scene simulations. The crime lab would be dynamic-scenes, simulations, and events would change and build upon unit concepts. This grant would offset the cost of supplies to build set scenes and supplemental lesson materials. This grant will benefit 125 students in grades 9-12.

*Jerome Dubas, Grand Island Senior High, $1,146, “UNDRground Contemporary Arts Marketing.” The Senior High Art Department collaborates with the Azteca Market to operate a professional art gallery- UNDRground Contemporary Arts.  The operating expenses include postcard mailings, postage, and vinyl, insurance, transportation expenses, food for receptions, website hosting fees, pedestals, and other miscellaneous expenses (light bulbs, paint, cleaning supplies, hardware, etc.).  Every two months we have a new show and we use the postcards to market each of the art shows, and we apply vinyl to the entry foyer wall with the artist's name and the name of the show. This grant will benefit 45 students in grades 9-12.

*Corey Farlee, Shaun Willey and Maggie Mintken, Grand Island Senior High, $250, “Journals & Paper Planners for Freshman Academy.” Working as a counselor in the Freshman Academy at Grand Island Senior High we have learned that our freshmen need help with organization and dealing with emotions. We have found success using journaling strategies to manage feelings and maintain mental health with many students. We have also observed student's organization skills and grades improve by using paper planners to help them gain control of their workload, which can be overwhelming for freshman. The transition from middle school to high school can be troubling, so having these materials to assist our students with this transition would be helpful. This grant will benefit 100 students in grade 9.

*Nancy Jones, Grand Island Senior High, $559, “TeamMates Lego Project.” As a school-based mentoring program, TeamMates of Grand Island's main goal is to build positive, trusting relationships between students and mentors through weekly conversations and activities.  These conversations are the basis for constructive, critical life decisions that students choose to discuss with their mentor, but can often be difficult when new relationships are developing.  Having a physical focus in their hands, helps students to openly talk about themselves and their lives without feeling interviewed or interrogated. TeamMates would like to purchase Legos sets for the four TeamMates schools in the district; Barr, Walnut, Westridge and Senior High. This grant will benefit 130 students in grades 6-12.

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Heartland United Way

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