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Two more human cases of West Nile Virus have been reported in the Southwest Nebraska Public Health Department (SWNPHD) nine county health district. The first case was reported approximately two weeks ago. Additionally, two more mosquito testing pools in Chase County have tested positive for WNV.


Your best protection is to not get bit by a mosquito. Some of the ways that you can prevent getting mosquito bites are:

  • Wear your insect repellent with DEET. Remember sunscreen first then insect repellent.
  • Check around your home for any standing water, including your gutters
  • Repair any holes in screens and doors
  • Wear your long sleeves and pants during the hours of dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Always read the directions for any insect or sunscreen product to be sure it is being used correctly


The incubation time or the development of symptoms for West Nile Virus takes about 3-14 days. Approximately 80% of all people who become infected with West Nile Virus will not experience any symptoms. Symptoms people may experience are fever, headache, body aches, joint pain, rash, vomiting, and diarrhea.


There is no treatment for West Nile Virus. The best way to avoid becoming sick is prevention.


Southwest Nebraska Public Health Department serves Chase, Dundy, Frontier, Furnas, Hayes, Hitchcock, Keith, Perkins and Red Willow counties. You can follow us on Facebook and Twitter or view our website at


While it has been almost 75 years since Sen. George W. Norris died, the legacy of his accomplishments and his character grows in relevance.

This weekend, the momentum of the Norris legacy takes on a bigger role during McCook’s Heritage Days celebration.

The annual George W. Norris Prayer Breakfast will kick off Heritage Days weekend at 7 a.m. Friday with a new venue – McCook Christian Church, 507 West B. The breakfast will be catered by Schmick’s Market. Tickets are $10 and available at the McCook Area Chamber of Commerce of from Leon Kuhlen, 308-345-3981.

McCook Community College vice president Andy Long will deliver the keynote address. Maggie Repass will serve as the master of ceremonies and the Rev. Clark Bates, pastor at McCook Christian Church, will give the invocation. Ginger ten Bensel will provide musical entertainment, including the singing of “God Bless America.” Heritage Days Honor award winners and royalty will be special guests at the prayer breakfast.

“We can probably learn more about George Norris’s integrity from his political losses more than his political wins,” said Long. His address will examine what “we can learn from him” with regard to preventing the U.S. from getting involved in World War I, his effort to support Al Smith for president in 1928, and his effort to create the unicameral.

“There is something to be said for creating a state with strong public institutions and transparency to keep special interests and partisan politics from getting in the way to improving society,” Long said.

On Saturday, the senator’s 1937 Buick will re-emerge in the Heritage Days parade – thanks to a new focus in the Norris legacy. The Nebraska State Historical Society has given the senator’s 1937 Buick to the Norris Institute. It will continue to be housed at the George Norris Home but the change in ownership will allow better local access to display the automobile at special events, like Heritage Days Parade.

This weekend’s celebration will be a transition of sorts with the Norris Institute now assuming many of the responsibilities the George W. Norris Foundation fulfilled in keeping the career of George Norris relevant.

“I think George Norris leaves us a legacy in how public institutions can get community to come together to improve life for all of us,” said Long. “His effort to expand power throughout the country still impacts us today with public power, great service, and low rates. “


The Business and Community Education department at Mid-Plains Community College will take its Free Youth ATV Training to the Dundy County Fairgrounds in Benkelman on June 14.


There will be additional trainings in McCook and Imperial.


“The need for quality rider safety training is becoming more of a necessity every year as we continue to see serious injuries attributed to ATVs,” said Crystal Welch, Business and Community Education coordinator. “We are happy to offer this very important training to our area youth.”


There will be two sessions to choose from at each training: 9 a.m. to noon and 1-4 p.m. Classes will be divided by age group, 6-9 and 10-16. Six students from each age group will be allowed in each session.


The curriculum, developed by Central States Safety Driver Training, will consist of a combination of safety instruction and guided, hands-on ATV operation. Participants will practice turns, stops and terrain navigation.


Instruction topics will include ATV injury and fatality statistics, how ATV size can contribute to rollover injuries and fatalities, the dangers of carrying passengers and material on ATVs, risks of traveling on public roads and safety procedures and practices.


Those who complete the program successfully will receive a certificate that aligns with insurance company requirements.


ATVs in different sizes will be used during the trainings. Parents of children younger than 10 must stay for their child’s class.


Other requirements include:

§Closed-toe footwear (preferably over the ankle)

§Long, non-flare pants

§A long-sleeved shirt or jacket

§Approved eye protection (will be provided if a participant does not have any)

§A helmet (will be provided if a participant doesn’t have one)


Those unable to attend the training in Benkelman will have the option of taking it at the following times and locations:


§June 15 - Red Willow County Fairgrounds, McCook

§June 21 - Chase County Fairgrounds, Imperial


Space is limited in all classes. Pre-registration is required by calling (308) 535-3678.


The trainings are possible thanks to a grant from the CHS Foundation, of Inver Grove Heights, Minn. The money is administered through the North Platte Community College Foundation.

Amateurs Bar