Help prepare the blood supply this National Preparedness Month
Monday, 22 August 2016 10:51
During National Preparedness Month in September, the American Red Cross encourages eligible donors to give blood to help ensure a readily available blood supply for emergencies.
Whether blood is needed for a chronic condition such as sickle cell disease, a routine surgery, a traumatic accident or a large-scale emergency, it’s the blood already on the shelves that helps save lives. Donors of all blood types are needed.
Donations decline around summer holidays like Labor Day.
To make an appointment to give blood, download the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). Donors are encouraged to make appointments and complete the RapidPass online health history questionnaire at redcrossblood.org/rapidpass to help reduce wait times. Call Jeannie Cozad in Valentine at 402-376-4715.
Upcoming blood donation opportunities:
9/1/2016: 11:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m., St. Nicholas Catholic Church Parish Hall, 400 West 5th St.
9/14/2016: 10:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Community Center, 305 Main St.
9/13/2016: 11:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m., St. Libory Elementary School, 435 St. Paul Road
9/7/2016: 11 a.m. - 5 p.m., Loup City Community Center, 803 O St.
9/6/2016: 9 a.m. - 3 p.m., Valley County Health System Old Rehab Department, 217 Westridge Drive
9/7/2016: 11:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m., Wheeler County 4-H Building, Third St.
Purchase Agreement Signed for Rocky Ford
Monday, 22 August 2016 10:48
A “Plan B” is emerging that would retain public access to the popular Rocky Ford rapids on the scenic Niobrara River without federal ownership of the land.
Brad Arrowsmith, a member of the Niobrara Council and a local rancher, revealed Thursday that he has signed a purchase agreement to buy the 25-acre piece of land around the rapids and he plans to hold on to the property until the council can raise the estimated $2.5 million to buy the land.
The 16-member river council, which consists of local landowners and elected officials from the area, voted earlier this year to oppose a federal purchase of the property after criticism of a plan by the National Park Service to buy it.
Arrowsmith, of rural Bassett, was one of the original members of the Niobrara Council. He said he believes the local council is much better equipped to reflect local wishes for the ownership and management of the property.
“This isn’t about making money. This is about protecting something I believe in,” Arrowsmith said.
He commented after the Niobrara Council met on Thursday afternoon in Valentine and unanimously voted to table a resolution concerning the Rocky Ford issue until the purchase of the property is finalized.
Council members said it didn’t make sense to discuss whether the council wanted to mount a multimillion-dollar fundraising drive until the purchase has closed.
“We need to wait until after the transaction takes place,” said Mike Tuerk of Springview, a member of the Keya Paha County Board.
After the meeting, Arrowsmith revealed that he was the pending purchaser. He said his plan allows the council the “opportunity” to buy the land and form partnerships with other entities, including the park service.
A purchase by the council would also ensure public access to Rocky Ford, a popular takeout point for canoe and inner tube float trips on the Niobrara, a nationally designated scenic river.
Access to Rocky Ford has been in doubt since the current owner, canoe outfitter Kerry Krueger, announced his intention to sell the property to the park service.
After the council in May voted to “vigorously” oppose the sale, Krueger said he was upset that the council was telling him, a willing seller, who could buy his property.
About a week later he threatened to begin charging $38 a person — more than 10 times the going rate — to use the takeout spot, in response to the council’s decision to oppose the sale.
Several groups, including Friends of the Niobrara, have spoken out in favor of public ownership of Rocky Ford, one of the state’s only Class III rapids and a place where most canoe and float trips end.
They fear that a private party could purchase the rapids site and close it off to canoe groups, which would restrict access to not only to the rapids but the most scenic portion of most float trips, which draw more than 30,000 people a year to the Niobrara.
There’s particular urgency because of the uncertainty of ongoing public access to Smith Falls State Park, a few miles upriver on the Niobrara. A lease with a local family for the parkland is set to expire in a few years, and there are rumors that a family member wants to take back ownership.
In addition, a private trout fishing club recently announced that it was closing off all public access to another local landmark, the Snake River Falls on the Snake River.
Under Arrowsmith’s plan Krueger would continue to manage his outfitting business on the property for the next two years, giving the council time to pursue a purchase.
Whether the council wants to launch a fundraising drive to do that is undecided.
Arrowsmith said it may take 30 days to finalize his purchase. The river council tabled discussion of any action until its next meeting, Sept. 15. Tuerk and another member of the council, Dallas Dodson of Cherry County, said it was premature to say whether they supported launching a fundraising drive by the council.
Tuerk did point out that the council passed a resolution in April to discuss and pursue “options to be a partner” in the acquisition of Rocky Ford.
He added that if the council owned land it would have to pay local property taxes. Taking land off the property tax rolls, as a federal purchase would have done, is counter to the purpose of the river council, he said.
A former member of the council, Dave Sands, of the Lincoln-based Nebraska Land Trust, told the council on Thursday that if it did eventually decide to launch a fundraising drive, it would take a lot of work and would have to include a “vision” for Rocky Ford that would draw donations from Omaha and Lincoln, the state’s largest cities.
“The Niobrara (River) is popular. It resonates with a lot of folks. You just have to have the right vision,” Sands said.