Monday, September 15, 2014
   
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Several Iowa and Nebraska lawmakers have scored high on the number of listening sessions they are holding during this summer recess.  

The website Legistorm, which tracks various aspects of Congress, said in a post that it had found 418 in-person, town-hall-style events scheduled for August. It listed the top 15 lawmakers with the most scheduled events.

With 14 events, Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb., tied for third with Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., behind a couple of House members.

Two Iowa Republicans made the list: Rep. Steve King with 10 events and Sen. Chuck Grassley with eight. Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, R-Neb., made the list with seven events.

Fischer aides touted the list and her frequent listening sessions. They also noted that she made a top 10 list for August 2013 town halls assembled by the Washington publication Roll Call. Grassley and Rep. Adrian Smith, R-Neb., also made that 2013 list.

Although Sen. Mike Johanns, R-Neb., did not make Legistorm’s latest list, spokesman Nick Simpson said Johanns has held 50 town halls across the state over the past three years.

“He is using his final months in office to fulfill existing meeting requests, especially those that relate to issues Congress must deal with during the remainder of this session,” Simpson said.

 

Legistorm noted that new events are being announced every day.

 

Nebraska State Fair Begins Friday

Before the people of Nebraska have seen what the State Fair has to offer this year, Events and Entertainment Director Chelsey Jungck is already planning for next year.

“It’s a year-round process,” Jungck said. “Especially right after this fair, I’ll start researching.”

While getting everything in order for the big-name acts takes time, Jungck puts just as much effort into the daily grounds acts, strolling acts and smaller stages that add fun to the fair.

Some of the most popular shows must be booked two years in advance, Jungck said, and this year, there will be 15 acts around the grounds.

Here is more information about what to look for from Aug. 22 to Sept. 1, from returning favorites to new thrills.

Grounds acts

One of the attractions that is back this year is Hedrick’s Petting Zoo and Camel and Pony Rides and the Racing Pigs.

The elephant show, EleFun!, was a last-minute addition last year, Jungck said, but it was a hit.

“It was so popular that we invited them back,” she said.

But there are new acts, too.

One that will be fun and interactive for families, she said, is Cow Town USA. The exhibit is like an old creamery, Jungck said, and visitors can do everything from preparing a cow for milking to following the process to a finished product.

Other acts will have more of a thrill element, such as the Penguins of the Arctic High Diving Show and the Marvelous Mutts.

In the past, Jungck said, the fair has had some dog attractions, but the Marvelous Mutts show will have a slightly different feel.

Fairgoers will be impressed as the dogs show off agility with Frisbees and dive into a pool, she said.

“The dog shows are always really popular,” she said.

The performers of Penguins of the Arctic will be diving into a pool, too, Jungck said — but they’ll be doing it from 80 feet up.

The show, with people costumed as penguins, will involve comedy, she said, as well as real Olympic dives.

Strolling acts

But the State Fair entertainment won’t just be limited to the stages, Jungck said. Plenty of entertainers will roam the grounds as strolling performers.

One that will seem familiar to visitors is the Bamboo act.

In the past, she said, there have been similar performers on stilts who were camouflaged as vines creeping around the grounds. Bamboo is a version of that, but it incorporates some martial arts moves.

Another stilt act will be new to the fair this year, Jungck said.

Mango and Dango and the Flying Umbrella Ship has a bicycle-like vehicle, she said, and the performers do acrobatics.

“It’s a little bit of a spin on your traditional stilt act,” she said.

The Rubber Chicken Show will also entertain, Jungck said, with a take on a strolling circus act that involves magic, comedy and juggling.

Finally, she said, the Xpogo Stunt Team will amp up the energy.

The strolling performers jump up to nine feet in the air, completing flips and tricks on pogo sticks.

Smaller stages

Plus, professional performers from around the country won’t be the only ones in the spotlight at the State Fair.

Smaller stages, such as the Bristol Windows Stage, will feature performers from Nebraska and with ties to the state, Jungck said.

“That really aligns with our mission at the fair to showcase Nebraskans,” she said.

There will be more than 75 performers, Jungck said — so many that they won’t be limited to the stage. Because of that, she said, fairgoers should look for impromptu performers in every nook and cranny of the grounds.

“We’ve got a tremendous amount of talent in our state,” she said.

The acts, whether they’re strolling, on the grounds or tucked in a surprising place, should ensure that every minute of the fair is fun, Jungck said. And because they’re free with admission, the entertainment is an added value.

For a full schedule, visit www.statefair.org.

 

 

By Lauren Sedam / World-Herald News Service

 

Observe National Sickle Cell Awareness Month this September by donating blood with the American Red Cross

The American Red Cross encourages eligible donors to help ensure a stable and diverse blood supply by giving blood in honor of National Sickle Cell Awareness Month this September.

Sickle cell disease is an inherited disease that causes red blood cells to form an abnormal crescent shape. It is estimated that sickle cell disease affects as many as 100,000 people in the U.S. Many of these patients face a lifetime of blood transfusions to help reduce the risk of stroke, damage to major organs and other complications that can arise as a result of sickle cell disease.

Since blood from donors of the same ethnic background as the recipient is less likely to cause complications, the Red Cross must maintain a diverse blood supply. This is particularly important for patients like those with sickle cell disease who may require regular blood transfusions.

For more information or to make an appointment to donate blood, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

Upcoming blood donation opportunities:

Cherry County:

Sept. 4 from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at St. Nicholas Catholic Church, 400 W. 5th St. in Valentine

Custer County:

Sept. 3 from 2 - 7 p.m. at Municipal Building, 314 S. 10th in Broken Bow

Sept. 12 from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Community Center, 305 Main St. in Sargent

Holt County:

Sept. 4 from noon to 6 p.m. at American Legion, 103 N. Norvell in Chambers

Sept. 15 from noon to 6 p.m. at Knights of Columbus, 410 W. Douglas St. in ONeill

Sherman County:

Sept. 3 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Loup City Community Center, 723 N. 8th in Loup City

Thomas County:

Sept. 15 from noon to 6 p.m. at Thomas County Fairgrounds, 83861 Highway 83 in Thedford

Wheeler County:

Sept. 2 from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at Wheeler County 4-H Building, Third St. in Bartlett

How to donate blood:

Simply call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental consent in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

   

NPPD Warns of Phone Scams

Columbus, Neb. –There have been an increased number of phone scam incidents reported this week to the Nebraska Public Power District by NPPD customers. Incidents in Kearney and O’Neill have prompted NPPD to advise all customers, statewide, to be wary of suspicious calls.

Customers have reported receiving scam calls from individuals stating that they are with ‘the electric utility’ and they are collecting for a past due amount on an electric bill. They state the bill must be paid immediately or the power will be shut off. Sometimes the scammer’s caller-identification is falsified so it appears to originate from the utility company, a practice known as ‘spoofing’.

In the case of a Kearney customer, the caller advised to go to a local store, purchase a “green dot” or pre-paid card, then contact the caller with the card information.

In O’Neill, NPPD customers have been told there would be a ‘meter upgrade’ or a power outage, situations that sound like utility business, but when questions are asked, the caller hangs up or puts the customer on hold.

To help customers be wary of such scams, NPPD offers the following tips and suggestions:

· NPPD, as a business practice, does not call to ask customers for a credit card number.

· NPPD does not demand payment with a pre-paid card.

· Any customer receiving such a call should not attempt to make payment over the phone.

· Write down the call back number or consider asking where the caller is located.

· Contact law enforcement.

· Let NPPD’s Centralized Customer Care Center at 1-877-ASK-NPPD (877-275-6773) know about the call.

· If served electrically by a rural public power district or municipality, customers should contact that organization before providing any type of payment.


“Unfortunately, these scams take place every year throughout the country,” said Vice President of Customer Services Ken Curry. “Anyone who receives such a call should not let their guard down. Instead, know that NPPD offers a variety of payment plans to help customers who may have challenges paying their bills, and inform local law enforcement of the incident.”

 

Back to School for Local Students

Valentine High School Students head back to school Friday, August 15th for their first full day. On Monday the 18th, High School Students will have their first full week of classes. The Middle School will commence classes with a 1/2 day on Tuesday the 19th. Kindergarten orientation will take place at 8:30 AM CT on the 19th, the Elementary School will hold an ice cream social at 5 pm, and High School Fall Sports Parents meeting will be at 7 pm on the 19th as well.  Rural School Students head back to school on Wednesday the 20th, and Elementary students have a 1/2 day on the 20th, with their first full day to follow on the 21st. Best wishes to all students!

   

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