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/...