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(CDHD Release) - Central District Health Department (CDHD) reports 105 lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases as of 2 p.m. today. This includes 2 in Merrick County, 9 in Hamilton County, and 94 in Hall County. The increasing number is concerning but not unexpected given the trend we have seen in these past two weeks. If the trend continues, we will continue to see notably larger numbers each day.

Stay home: We each can do our best to slow that growth. Stay home where you are away from the exposure to the virus. Order your groceries on-line and pick up at the outside pickup stations. Designate one person to go to the store if needed once weekly. Wear a mask in public. Keep your hand sanitizer handy and apply frequently. Wash your hands with soap and warm water when available. 

Stay healthy: Lead a healthy lifestyle. Get adequate sleep and think health foods when choosing what to eat and serve for meals. Make time for physical activity either in your home or on a hike and bike trail. Practice meditation or other stress management techniques. Talk to your children about what is going on. Remain calm and reassuring, and help them practice healthy habits.

Stay connected: COVID-19 news is everywhere and can be overwhelming. Choose an accurate source of information like our website: www.cdhd.ne.gov or the CDC website: www.cdc.gov.  Check in each day but not all day. Stay connected electronically with family and friends and to share holiday greetings.

We have several rough weeks ahead of us, but together, we are stronger.

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Grand Island Public Schools has announced the hiring of Dr. Allison Bailey as the GEAR UP Director.

“We are pleased to welcome Dr. Bailey to the GIPS team,” Superintendent Dr. Tawana Grover said. “Dr. Bailey brings a wealth of knowledge from her experience in higher education, grant work and communication. She will continue to grow the Grand Island GEAR UP PROMISE program for our students and families.”

In 2018, Grand Island Public Schools became the first Nebraska district to be awarded a federal GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) grant. The Grand Island GEAR UP PROMISE (Partners, Resources & Opportunities Matching Individualized Supports & Education) started for all Walnut and Barr Middle School 6th and 7th grade students in the 2018-2019 school year, their parents and their teachers.

The support followed the students into 7th and 8th grade in 2019-2020. The program continues in the 2020-2021 school year for Barr and Walnut 8th graders and will be at Grand Island Senior High for students in the Academy of Freshman Exploration - regardless of which middle school they attended.

Dr. Bailey is currently an associate professor at the Institute for Environmental & Spatial Analysis within the University of North Georgia. She is also a University System of Georgia eCore faculty member.

“I have been an educator for many years; throughout that time, I have always secured additional funding to bring more opportunities to students,” Dr. Bailey said.

“Most recently I have been leading a multi-year community-based environmental education project funded by the EPA where I have been leading a grant team, collaborating with community partners and directing programs in four school systems, at local colleges and in the community to educate all about the importance of healthy forest ecosystems and clean water,” Dr. Bailey said. “Honestly, I just love putting my talents and energy into serving students and teachers to create rewarding experiential learning opportunities.”

Dr. Bailey said she was looking for an opportunity to work on a larger grant project regarding community-based education and student success initiatives. She learned about what GIPS has accomplished so far with GEAR UP and was intrigued with the district and community.

“I am originally from Louisiana, but as a daughter of an Army officer, I have had the privilege of living in many places in the United States and in Germany. Because of that experience, I have developed an appreciation for people, other cultures and languages and for myriad landscapes,” Dr. Bailey said. “I am excited about joining the GIPS family and embracing all that makes Nebraska the great state that it is.”

GEAR UP provides many supports for students, parents and GIPS staff, all with the aim of encouraging more families to understand students’ post-high school options.

“Dr. Bailey’s role with GIPS is very important to help provide a variety of unique opportunities so students can be college, career, community and world ready,” Dr. Grover said.

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North Platte, Ne - Mayor Dwight Livingston announced today that he had selected an applicant to recommend to

the City Council to fill the City Administrator’s position created by the retirement of longtime

City Administrator, Jim Hawks.


The successful applicant selected by Mayor Livingston is Matthew F. Kibbon of Cheyenne,

Wyoming. Matt Kibbon is a native of Nebraska, having been raised in Hampton, Nebraska,

where his parents still live. After graduating from Hampton High School, Matt graduated from

Wayne State College. He was then employed as a Project Engineer/Superintendent by the Kiewit

Building Group headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska, for 12 years. Since that time, Mr. Kibbon

has acquired 7 years of Governmental experience and 5 years experience as a Senior

Administrator with the University of Wyoming. Mr. Kibbon currently serves as the Deputy

Director for Planning and Construction for the University of Wyoming where he has been

responsible for managing projects ranging from $1 million to $150 million, with an additional

$450 million worth of work under construction or design. Mr. Kibbon and his wife (a Physical

Therapist), together with their 2 young daughters, are looking forward to coming back to

Nebraska and the challenges of trying to fill in for the retiring City Administrator, Jim Hawks.

Mayor Livingston also took the opportunity to again publicly thank Jim Hawks for his years of

dedicated public service to the citizens of North Platte and Lincoln County.



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March 26, 2020 – North Platte, NE-Great Plains Health is pleased to announce two new members to its executive team. Tina Pate, MSN, RN, CEN, was promoted to chief nursing officer and Danelle Franzen, MBA, MLS (ASCP), was promoted to chief provider network officer.

Tina holds a Master of Science in Nursing and has over 20 years of experience in the healthcare industry. She has served in various capacities and leadership roles, most recently serving as the senior director of nursing, a role she has held since 2017. 

“Tina has demonstrated her leadership skills and her abilities to open the lines of communication among staff and foster strong teams during a time of uncertainty,” said Mel McNea, Great Plains Health CEO. “I am excited to see her succeed in this new role and am extremely confident that she will continue to raising the bar in a way that will drive the highest quality of care for our patients.”

Tina earned her BSN from the University of Phoenix and her master’s degree in nursing from Grand Canyon University.

“I have been fortunate to be a part of the extraordinary improvements that we have made in the quality of care for our patients,” said Tina Pate. “I look forward to building on those accomplishments and creating a more collaborative relationship with our patients, families, physicians and teams to continually advance our care and services.”

Danelle Franzen has accepted the role of the chief provider network officer overseeing the physician group.

“Danni is known for driving improvements while cultivating an environment of engagement and teamwork,” said McNea. “She has an unwavering dedication to our vision of being the region’s most trusted healthcare community and is the right person to step into this important role.”

Danni has been in the healthcare industry since 1994 beginning as a lab technician and most recently serving as the senior director of the provider network. She earned an MBA from Bellevue University, her bachelor's degree in clinical laboratory science from Weber State University and an associate's degree from Mid-Plains Community College.

“I’m excited to serve Great Plains Health in this capacity,” said Danni Franzen. “I feel privileged to work with a great team and I look forward to meeting the challenges of this current healthcare environment together with our board, leadership team and physicians.” 



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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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