The Grow Grand Island area partners, namely the Grand Island Area Chamber of Commerce, Grand Island Area Economic Development Corporation and the Hall County Convention and Visitors Bureau encourage voters to learn more about the half cent sales tax ballot question on November 6.
While each organization has differing focus areas and expertise, they all agree that this initiative will help make Grand Island the greatest community it can be – both now and in the future. Voters can decide if that is a priority, too.
No one loves paying taxes, so raising taxes is understandably difficult to ask. However, the sales tax initiative ballot question is not a choice between a tax and no tax; it is a choice between whether the cost of essential capital improvements projects (roads, drainage, underpasses, parks, flood control) will be funded by higher property taxes or sales tax. It is estimated that the sales tax will generate $5.5 million in revenue annually.
No matter what voters decide, additional funds are going to be needed to replace the aging infrastructure stifling the prosperity of this growing community. Grand Island’s population has seen a five percent increase between 2010-2017, so this is an urgent matter.
A sales tax will fund public highways; municipal streets, bridges and sidewalks; buildings and capital equipment used in the operation of the city government; parking facilities and public safety equipment necessary for the provision of city public safety services.
The three previously mentioned organizations support the sales tax – not because they enjoy an additional tax, but because they don’t want community projects funded by increased property taxes. The tax burden is already high enough, and any additional increases on property taxes will have an adverse effect on the economy, local businesses, and the quality of the community.
“First and foremost, we’re a community of people who work together to make life better. It makes sense to look at half of a cent and realize that his proposed increase equals a penny on a two-dollar cup of coffee,” said Brad Mellema of the Hall County Convention and Visitors Bureau. “We know that visitors drink a lot of coffee and that their penny ripples throughout our city in so many positive ways. Small things such as this half-cent are important to take seriously and look at how it moves us forward.”
It is also important to point out that a sales tax is the most equitable option when it comes to funding city services and capital projects
Like the food and beverage occupation tax, the half cent sales tax is a shared tax. Grand Island is home to many major events such as the Nebraska State Fair, Husker Harvest Days, GILCA Livestock Competitions, the National 4-H Shooting Competition, SkillsUSA Nebraska Conference, and Harvest of Harmony, to name a few.
The individuals that travel here, either for work or recreation, all contribute to the local economy. Since non-residents, including those in the immediate area, the rest of Hall County and the surrounding 30 county trade area utilize our streets, parks and emergency services, it is only fair they pay a share of the tax, too. Grand Island is a regional retail center, meaning a large portion of the sales tax revenue will be generated by our hundreds of thousands of guests.
In addition, most essential goods such as food, medicine, health care, and services are exempt from sales tax.
Grand Island is faced with an unavoidable need to replace, rebuild and expand its infrastructure. The only reasonable option to do this is through the half cent sales tax. A vote against this initiative will force an increase in property taxes to fund projects. If that is the case, Grand Islanders will have directly endangered this city’s ability to sustain a high quality of life and a strong economy.
The half cent sales tax is an investment that ensures Grand Island is a safe, attractive, vibrant community that meets the needs of present and future generations.
Harvest of Harmony Parade Competition Results
TOP 10 ALL CLASS
SCHOOL MUSIC MARCHING GENERAL EFFECT TOTAL SCORE RANK Heartland Community Schools 39 28 39 96 1 Kearney High School 38 28 27.5 93.5 2 Aurora High School 39 26.5 27 92.5 3 Grand Island Senior High 38 25.5 27 90.5 T-4 Grand Island Northwest High School 38 26.5 26 90.5 T-4 Osmond Public Schools 36 25.5 28 89.5 6 Alma Public School 39 25 24.5 88.5 T-7 Crofton Public School 39 24 25.5 88.5 T-7 Lincoln East High School 39 24.5 24 87.5 T-9 Syracuse High School 34 27.5 26 87.5 T-9
CLASS AA MUSIC MARCHING GENERAL EFFECT TOTAL SCORE RANK Kearney High School 38 28 27.5 93.5 1 Grand Island Senior High 38 25.5 27 90.5 2 Lincoln East High School 39 24.5 24 87.5 3 Hastings High School 37 24 22.5 83.5 4 North Platte High School 32 25.5 22.5 80 5 Lincoln Northeast High 38 20 18.5 76.5 6
CLASS A MUSIC MARCHING GENERAL EFFECT TOTAL RANK Grand Island Northwest 38 26.5 26 90.5 1 Crete High School 37 24.5 24.5 86 2 Nebraska City High School 38 26 21 85 3 York High School 38 24 22.5 84.5 4 Seward High School 36 25.5 22.5 84 5 McCook High School 34 22.5 21.5 78 6 Schuyler Central High School 32 17 19.5 68.5 7
CLASS B MUSIC MARCHING GENERAL EFFECT TOTAL RANK Aurora High School 39 26.5 27 92.5 1 Syracuse High School 34 27.5 26 87.5 2 Pierce High School 38 25.5 23 86.5 3 Ogallala High School 37 26 23 86 4 Minden High School 36 27 21.5 84.5 5 Milford High School 39 23.5 21.5 84 6 Broken Bow High School 39 23.5 19.5 82 7 Scotus Central Catholic High School 34 25.5 20.5 80 8 Adams Central High School 35 23.5 21 79.5 9 Columbus Lakeview High School 35 20 17 72 10 Gothenburg High School 30 20.5 19.5 70 11 Fairbury High School 29 19 21 69 12 Cozad High School 31 17.5 15.5 64 T-13 Holdrege High School 30 16.5 17.5 64 T-13 Conestoga Jr./Sr. High School 30 17 15 62 15
CLASS C MUSIC MARCHING GENERAL EFFECT TOTAL RANK Heartland Community School 39 28 29 96 1 Crofton Community Schools 39 24 25.5 88.5 2 Wood River High School 37 24.5 21 82.5 3 Amherst Public School 36 23.5 22.5 82 4 Cross County High School 35 25.5 21 81.5 5 Kearney Catholic School 37 19.5 24 80.5 6 Freeman High School 32 25.5 22 79.5 7 Palmyra Jr./Sr. High School 33 25 20 78 8 Palmer High School 33 26.5 18 77.5 9 Yutan Public Schools 30 26 21 77 10 St. Paul High School 30 24.5 21 75.5 11 Southern Valley High School 33 24 16 73 12 Sandy Creek High School 36 20 16.5 72.5 13 Elm Creek Public School 32 19 21 72 14 Boone Central Schools 31 21.5 18 70.5 15 Doniphan-Trumbull High School 33 19 18 70 16 Elmwood Murdock Public School 29 19 21.5 69.5 T-17 Superior Jr./Sr. High School 30 20.5 19 69.5 T-17 Centennial Public School 34 17 17 68 19 Blue Hill Community School 30 24 13.5 67.5 T-20 Central City High School 32 17.5 18 67.5 T-20 Creighton Community High 29 23 13.5 65.5 22 Centura High School 30 19.5 15.5 65 23 Grand Island Central Catholic 30 18.5 15.5 64 24 Ord High School 30 15.5 16.5 62 25 Burwell Jr./Sr. High School 29 16 14.5 59.5 T-26 Southwest Public Schools 29 15.5 15 59.5 T-26 Lincoln Lutheran High School 29 16 12 57 28 Madison High School 29 15 12.5 56.5 29
CLASS D MUSIC MARCHING GENERAL EFFECT TOTAL RANK Osmond High School 36 25.5 28 89.5 1 Alma High School 39 25 24.5 88.5 2 Neligh-Oakdale High School 38 26.5 22.5 87 3 Deshler High School 37 24 22 83 4 Hastings St. Cecilia High 36 24 20 80 5 Chambers Public School 34 22.5 22.5 79 T-6 McCool Junction Public School 32 23 24 79 T-6 Friend Public School 36 24 18.5 78.5 8 Arcadia Public School 35 23 18.5 76.5 T-9 Plainview High School 34 20 22.5 76.5 T-9 Arapahoe-Holbrook High School 30 24.5 20 74.5 11 Ravenna Public School 37 20.5 16.5 74 12 Axtell Community Schools 33 22 17 72 T-13 Sumner-Eddyville-Miller Schools 31 22.5 18.5 72 T-13 Verdigre High School 35 17 18 70 15 Kenesaw High School 31 19 19.5 69.5 T-16 Orchard Public School 29 23.5 17 69.5 T-16 Wilcox-Hildreth Public School 33 16 20 69 18 High Plains Community Schools 30 20 17 67 T-19 Medicine Valley High 27 22 18 67 T-19 St. Edward Public School 31 20 15.5 66.5 21 Bruning-Davenport High School 33 16.5 16.5 66 T-22 Overton Public School 29 19 18 66 T-22 Elkhorn Valley High School 30 19 16.5 65.5 T-24 Franklin Public School 31 18 16.5 65.5 T-24 Pleasanton High School 29 18 18 65 26 Harvard Public Schools 30 20.5 14 64.5 27 Shelton Public Schools 29 20 14 63 28 Meridian High School 29 15 18.5 62.5 29 Brady Public School 30 16 15.5 61.5 30 Eustis Farnam Public School 29 18 13.5 60.5 31 Fullerton High School 29 15.5 15.5 60 T-32 Osceola High School 28 18.5 13.5 60 T-32 West Holt Public Schools 29 16.5 14 59.5 34 Hampton High School 27 16.5 15 58.5 35 Central Valley High School 27 14 17 58 T-36 Gibbon Public School 27 14.5 16.5 58 T-36 Giltner Public School 27 17 13.5 57.5 38 Callaway Public 26 17 14 57 T-39 Loup City High School 29 16 12 57 T-39 Elba Public School 29 15 12.5 56.5 T-41 Perkins County High 28 15 13.5 56.5 T-41 Stapleton Public Schools 30 14 12.5 56.5 T-41 Wheeler Central Schools 26 14 16.5 56.5 T-41 Clearwater Public School 21 17.5 17 55.5 45 Heartland Lutheran High School 29 15 11 55 46 Lawrence-Nelson Public Schools 25 15 13.5 53.5 47 Cedar Bluffs High 22 13 13.5 48.5 48
Field Competition Results
BEST FIELD SHOW AWARD
Lincoln East High School
Superior Rating: Kearney High School, Lincoln Northeast High School, Hastings High School, Lincoln East High School
Excellent Rating: North Platte High School, Grand Island Senior High School
Superior Rating: Seward High School, Grand Island Northwest High School
Excellent Rating: York High School, McCook High School, Nebraska City High School
Superior Rating: Pierce High School, Adams Central High School, Syracuse High School, Ogallala High School, Aurora High School
Excellent Rating: Minden High School, Holdrege High School
Good Rating: Columbus Lakeview High School, Cozad High School, Conestoga High School, Central City High School
Superior Rating: Palmyra High School, Crofton High School, Kearney Catholic High School
Excellent Rating: Superior Jr./Sr. High School, Centura High School, Creighton Community School
Excellent Rating: Perkins County High School
Good Rating: Elkhorn Valley High School, Loup City High School
Congratulations to Miss Grand Island Senior High, Leavitt Reno,
on being named 2018 Miss Harvest of Harmony!
2018 Float Award Winners
Grand Marshal's Choice
Building Blocks for Community
1st Place - CHI St. Francis
2nd Place - Amur Equipment
3rd Place - New Beginnings Family Services
1st Place - Cub Scout Pack 112
1st Place - Building Blocks Foster Care
2nd Place - Wednesday Group
3rd Place - Boys Town
1st Place - Girl Scouts Troop 30 & 36
2nd Place - Grand Island/Cairo Area Bowling Association
3rd Place - Cub Scout Pack 107
GI Scout Troops 30 & 36
Husker Harvest Days 'a gem' for Grand IslandMuch was made about the significant upgrades made this past off-season to ‘weather-proof’ the site of Husker Harvest Days, such as the additions of paved roads, storm sewers and a drainage pond.
So, of course, the year all this work is done...we get three days of abundant sunshine and comfortable temperatures.
But still, the $7.5 million dollar improvements were the story of the week, and they ensure that Husker Harvest Days will continue to be a major event for the city of Grand Island for years to come.
Community leaders expressed just that during Tuesday morning’s opening ceremony.
“(Husker Harvest Days) is a world class show and takes a back seat to nobody," said DJ Eihusen, President and CEO of Chief Industries. For those of us in this community, this is a gem and a jewel.”
Grand Island mayor Jeremy Jensen said it was important for the city to help financially with the improvements on the Husker Harvest Days site.
As reported by Robert Pore of the Grand Island Independent, Husker Harvest Days invested $5 million into the project while the City allocated $2.5 million with funds coming from the food and beverage tax.
Husker Harvest Days, the world’s largest totally irrigated farm show, is a three-day event that brings in 100,000-plus visitors, as well as over 600 exhibitors, to the Grand Island area. That results in a direct economic impact of $5 million for the city each year alone.
“We can’t minimize the importance of bringing people to the community,” Jensen said during the opening ceremony.
“Our hotel rooms fill up in Grand Island...it affects our retail and our businesses. It really drives traffic to those businesses,” added Tony Schultz, a board member for the Grand Island Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Grand Island Welcomes 1,592 Members
of our Future Workforce
Read Grand Island Independent Story
This past week, 1,592 of this state's brightest young minds participated in the SkillsUSA Nebraska Conference at the Heartland Events Center-Fonner Park complex.
Students competed in 141 contests from over 100 different areas of career and technical education
Here's just a taste of some of the various competitions held: 3-D Visualization, Automotive Service Technology, Carpentry, Criminal Justice, Culinary Arts, Diesel Equipment Technology, Electrical Wiring, Interactive App and Gaming Design, Medical Math, Nurse Assisting, Precision Machining Technology, Robotics, TV Production, Web Design and Welding.
There were even competitions for extemporaneous speaking, community service and job interviews.
What is SkillsUSA? It is a partnership of students, teachers and industry working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce.
Many industries today face a shortage of skilled workers, and SkillsUSA offers a way to help solve this problem. SkillsUSA complements technical skill training with instruction in the employability skills that make a well-rounded worker and citizen. It's not just about technical work, either. SkillsUSA also focuses on a student's soft skills, such as leadership, teamwork, citizenship and character development.
That's exactly why your Chamber of Commerce fought to make Grand Island the home of this event two years ago.
We focus on the development of the workforce in Grand Island.
We hope that by introducing these young, talented future members of our workforce to both our community and our businesses that they'll consider Grand Island when they decide where they want to live, work and raise their families.
Exciting News! Grand Island has two Opportunity Zones
Click here to read story in The Independent
Grand Island just gained an important tool to help attract new investments and job opportunities, according to Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts.
Ricketts announced Monday that the United States Department of the Treasury had granted approval of Opportunity Zones nominated by the State of Nebraska.
There are two Opportunity Zones within Grand Island. One Opportunity Zone stretches from Highway 281 to North Broadwell Avenue. This tract will have a significant impact on the Veteran’s Legacy Project.
The second Opportunity Zone stretches from West Stolley Park Road to North Front Street.
“Grand Island was excited to receive great news about receiving two opportunity zones for our community,” said Grand Island Area Chamber of Commerce President Cindy Johnson. “Kudos to the Grand Island Team (City of Grand Island, Economic Development, Chief Construction and Development, and Chamber) for getting this important development tool in our community.”
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 created the Opportunity Zones program to spur economic growth by supporting new investment.
Said Ricketts of the Opportunity Zones: “This announcement builds on the positive news we’ve seen from companies from Nelnet to Wal-mart, who are reinvesting their tax cuts into their workforce through higher wages and bonuses. Non of this would have been possible without the great work of Nebraska’s federal delegation, which unanimously supported the tax relief bill.”
‘Opportunity Funds’ are going to be used to spur economic growth in the designated zones. Parties who invest in these funds can benefit from tax incentives, such as deferrals on capital gains tax.
Said U.S. Senator Deb Fischer on the announcement: “For the past two weeks, I’ve been traveling across Nebraska and hearing about the positive proceeds from tax reform. Nebraskans are excited; they have more money in their pockets and many businesses are raising wages and giving workers bonuses. The designation of these opportunity zones is another good result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which helps continue the pattern of economic growth in our local communities.”
Said U.S. Senator Ben Sasse: “Nebraskans believe in dignity and in community. We want to see every neighborhood succeed and we want to tackle poverty with opportunity. Washington has a long way to go but Congress took an important step by including Opportunity Zones in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
“It’s simple,” Sasse continued. “We want to celebrate the American Dream in every zip code by expanding investments in economically distressed communities.”
U.S. Congressman Adrian Smith said that the goal of the Opportunity Zones is to “ensure every American benefits from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.”
“We would like to thank our federal delegation for their work in passing the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which made the opportunity zones program a reality,” said Nebraska Department of Economic Development Director Dave Rippe. “We’re eager to begin working with our communities to harness this program to its full potential to grow Nebraska. We also appreciate the support of the numerous local leaders who submitted program applications. Their commitment to the economic well-being of their communities is an invaluable asset to our state.”
For more information, visit opportunity.nebraska.gov/program/opportunity-zones/
Over 800 4th grade students
participate in Ag Day
The Grand Island Area Chamber of Commerce’s Agricultural Committee hosted over 800 4th graders for Ag Day on Tuesday, March 27th, at Fonner Park.
The students, which came from 17 Grand Island or area schools, got a hands-on experience with Nebraska’s top economic engine: agriculture.
We are thankful for our local media for outstanding coverage of this event.
First, please read this wonderful article from Robert Pore featuring photos from Barrett Stinson about Ag Day.
Robert also provided some live video from the event on his Twitter feed:
As part of Ag Day for 4th graders, the kids get to interact with farm animals. https://t.co/uE3M5fpDHz
— Robert Pore (@robertpore) March 27, 2018
More than 700 4th graders from 17 different schools are attending Ag Day at Fonner Park. https://t.co/VcCZbdo4pb
— Robert Pore (@robertpore) March 27, 2018
NTV's Steve White also provided some live coverage of the day:
Here was NTV's report of the day:
The educational experience our Agricultural Committee provided couldn’t have been possible without the following sponsors: Ag-Express Electronics, Agricultural Services, Aurora Cooperative, Bank of Doniphan, Bosselman Energy, Central Community College, Central Nebraska Regional Airport, Countryman Associates, Cornerstone Bank, Doane University, Equitable Bank, Farm Credit Services of America, First National Bank, Five Points Bank, General Collection, Graham Tire, The Saddle Club, Green Line Equipment, H & R Block, Heritage Bank, Home Federal Bank, Hooker Brothers Construction Company, Jerry’s Sheet Metal, Nebraska Truck Center, Northwest Public Schools, Nova-Tech, Orscheln Farm & Home, Stoltenberg Irrigation, Syngenta, T&E Cattle Company, Union Bank & Trust, Wells Fargo and Western Edge.
What a night!
Nearly 500 were in attendance for our 2018 Annual Meeting March 15 at Riverside Golf Club, and it truly was a memorable night for the Grand Island business community!
We honored recipients of the Hall of Fame award, Small Business of the Year, the Outlier Award and the Richard Good Distinguished Service Award. In addition, the Grand Island Chamber of Commerce's Top 35 Under 35 was also recognized.
We are grateful for the presence of Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts, who helped us congratulate each of the award winners! We also extend a special thank you to our main event sponsors: First National Bank, the Nebraska State Fair, NorthWestern Energy, Principal and Dinsdale Automotive.
Hall of Fame Award: Century 21/Da-Ly Realty
Da-Ly Realty was started in 1961 by two local businessmen as a real estate and insurance agency. Through the next four decades, ownership passed to several new partners until 2008 when Jeff Reed took the role. That same year, Da-Ly Realty affiliated with the Century 21 brand. That affiliation boosted Da-Ly Realty into a new realm, and today, the business captures 49 percent of the real estate market in Grand Island. Currently 45 independent contractors are associated with Century 21/Da-Ly Realty, up more than 150 percent from 2008.
Small Business of the Year Award: GIX Logistics
GIX Logistics’ management team sat down five years ago and made it their mission to be the best freight brokerage company in the country. Now, they are one of the most rapidly growing third-party logistics companies in the nation since starting in 2006. GIX Logistics has a carrier database composed of 15,000 reliable carrier companies who ship a variety of different loads across the 48 contiguous states and parts of Canada. It also has access to over 225,00 pieces of equipment to deal with any shipping arrangement.
Richard Good Distinguished Service Award: Pam Lancaster
Pam Lancaster has served more than 20 years on the Hall County Board of Supervisors, including an unprecedented number of successive one-year terms as Board Chair. As a County Board Supervisor, Pam participates in a number of County committees, including: Corrections Steering, Cornhusker Army Ammunition Plant, Midland Area Ageny on Aging, Personnel, Senior Citizens, and Union Negotations. In 2005, she was named the Grand Island Independent’s Woman of the Year.
Outlier Award: The Grand Foundation
The Grand Foundation is 501(c)3 not-for-profit corporation that owns and operates the Grand Theatre in downtown Grand Island. Governed by a volunteer Board of Directors, the Grand Foundation exists to provide arts, entertainment and social interaction, as well as preserve the last historic movie palace in Grand Island. The Grand Foundation, which was formed in the summer of 2004 by a group of downtown business leaders, has also hosted town hall events.
The following individuals have been named the Grand Island Area Chamber of Commerce's Top 35 Under 35 for 2018!
Ibby Allan, Green Line Equipment
Sarah Arthur, Hornady Manufacturing
Bianca Ayala, Grand Island Public Schools
Dr. Rachel Brown-McDonald, Cottonwood Dental
Grady Erickson, Mayer, Burns & Koenig Law Firm
Andy Gdowski, Equitable Bank
Jenna Grenier, Lutz
Bethany Guzinski, Wood Bros. Realty
Jessica Hanson, Cottonwood Dental
Dr. Tyler Hanson, Eyecare Professionals
Phil Hranac, Edward Jones
Sarah Koch, Heartland CASA
Shane Labenz, CMBA Architects
Cole Larsen, Chief Buildings
Mitch Maire, Cobler Chiropractic
Erin McMillan, CHI Health St. Francis
Jana Meyer, Essential Personnel Inc.
Ashley Millard, Nebraska Department of Health & Human Services
Keith Mingus, Five Points Bank
Adam Musich, Active Family Chiropractic
Jacqui Nordstrom, Rabo Agrifinance
Rachael O’Callaghan, Beavercreek Marketing
Bonnie Oltean, Heartland CASA
Raece Paulsen, Nebraska Truck Center
Mark Porter, 10/11 News
Michael Porter, Wells Fargo Bank
Cody Raile, Feel Fit
Jimmy Reed, Century 21 Daly Realty
JR Rother, Bosselman Enterprises
Josh Smidt, Hornady Manufacturing
Dr. CJ Stec, Stec Cosmetic & Family Dentistry
Joseph Stump, Almquist, Maltzahn, Galloway & Luth
Kelsey Trausch, Surgery Group of Grand Island
Kelly Wilson, GI Area Economic Development
Mallory Zelasney, State of Nebraska District 9 Probation
Budget primary topic of
2018 State Of The City Address
For more information, check out this article from The Independent by Austin Koeller: http://www.theindependent.com/news/...