October 22, 2014

TransCanada denies Energy East is alternative to Keystone XL

A TransCanada executive denies an ambitious new project by the company is being undertaken as an alternative to the Keystone XL pipeline.

Approval of Keystone XL has been delayed for years. TransCanada now awaits a decision on its route through Nebraska from the state Supreme Court.

Vice President for the Keystone Pipeline Project, Corey Goulet, says the proposed 3,000 mile oil pipeline, dubbed Energy East, that would span Canada is not a replacement for Keystone XL.

“We’ve received commitments from different customers to ship on each of these pipelines,” Goulet tells Kevin Thomas, host of Drive Time Lincoln on Nebraska Radio Network affiliate KLIN.

Some have suggested that TransCanada proposed the cross-Canadian pipeline after being rebuffed for years by the United States in building the northern portion of Keystone XL.

Goulet says if there is an alternative to transporting oil through Keystone XL, Energy East isn’t it.

“Well, certainly, we’ve seen one of the alternatives to Keystone and that’s that our customers, the oil producers, are shipping more crude by rail,” according to Goulet. “That’s increased dramatically, both in Canada as well in the U.S., the last couple of years as everyone knows.”

Goulet says oil will be shipped, one way or another; both crude from oil sands in western Canada and from the Bakken oil fields in the Dakotas. He says the most efficient, least disruptive, and most environmentally friendly way to ship it is through pipelines.

And Goulet claims the oil sands of western Canada won’t go away even if Keystone XL never receives approval.

“Certainly that oil will be produced and the producers will continue to develop their projects that they have for the oil sands and they will find a way to get that product to market.”



Stock Market showing signs of recovery Friday

After six straight days of losses the Stock Market is showing signs of recovery Friday.   Darrell Bryant is the owner of D. Bryant Retirement Strategies in Omaha and says what we experienced this week was a correction. Most of the indexes dropped 8% to 12%.

Bryant says, “This is not a full fledge bear market. That would require a loss of 20% over six months or more but there are some global fears. The dollar is really strong and a lot of people don’t realize that makes for great vacationing. You can buy a bunch of stuff in Russia right now with the dollar but it makes our stuff a bit more expensive here.”

He says if this does turn into a bear market that will have an impact on those considering retirement right now.

This is a case of never putting all your eggs in one basket. Bryant says everything will make money over time – the question is what time.

Broken Bow to host workshops for wanna-be homeowners

First-time homebuyers in central Nebraska who need to learn about things like mortgages, escrow and balloon payments might consider a special course being offered in Broken Bow.

Melissa Krysl, spokeswoman for the Central Nebraska Housing Developers, says they’ll be hosting two workshops that offer a thorough overview for those looking to buy a house.

“We take them step-by-step through the home buying process,” Krysl says. “Everything from making a decision about purchasing a home to looking at different houses, getting a mortgage loan, closing on the loan and maintaining the home once its theirs.”

Krysl says folks who don’t have a lot of money to put down on a home might find the course of particular benefit.

“There are certain downpayment assistance programs, certain loans that require that they take a class like this,” Krysl says. “This is a certified class and it meets those requirements for a lot of downpayment programs.”

The workshops will be held this Thursday and next Thursday (October 16th and 23rd) from 6-to-10 PM at the Mid-Plains Community College Broken Bow Campus. Pre-registration is required with a $50 fee to cover books and materials.

By Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton


State sponsored internship program keeps growing

A special state program to encourage college students to accept internships at Nebraska businesses keeps growing.

The Nebraska Internship Program has reached 750 active participants.

Reinke Manufacturing CEO Chris Roth says the program has proven valuable for his operation in the southern Nebraska city of Deshler.

“We had four interns last year working for us through that program,” Roth says. “It gives us an opportunity to evaluate the students. It gives them the opportunity to evaluate us.”

The program which began in 2011 provides $1.5 million in state funding to be matched by the private sector to fund paid internships.

According to the governor’s office half of the college students who participated in the program went to work for the company with which they interned.

Gov. Dave Heineman says the program works both to provide college students with experience and to help businesses fill their workforce needs.

“What the employer sees; they have the opportunity for the internship time, two or three months, to observe what kind of good worker they are and if they’re doing a really good job, they’re going to remember it. They’ve already gotten a proven workforce,” according to Heineman. “So, the employers that I’ve talked to have been very satisfied with that program and we’re going to continue to try to expand it.”

The Nebraska Internship Program was part of Heineman’s economic package approved by the Unicameral in 2011.

According to the governor’s office, over the last three years, 402 companies have participated in the program; 5,301 students have registered online with the program; and 36% of interns participating in the grant program have worked at companies located in rural Nebraska.

The program kicked off in June of 2011 with nearly 80 Nebraska businesses applying for funding through Intern Nebraska. Initially, 45 businesses won approval to participate.

Students interested can apply on online by clicking here. The website also contains other job search tips, such as how to build a resume and how to react during a job interview.

For more on the program, go to InternNE.com.

Modern factories in search for skilled workers (AUDIO)

Reinke CEO Chris Roth addresses the news media with Chamber of Commerce President Barry Kennedy to his right and Gov. Dave Heineman to his left

Reinke CEO Chris Roth addresses the news media with Chamber of Commerce President Barry Kennedy to his right and Gov. Dave Heineman to his left

Factories aren’t what they used to be and the modern manufacturer needs workers with modern skills.

Manufacturing has bounced back since the great recession and Nebraska Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Barry Kennedy says it’s changed.

“The manufacturing picture of old, if you will, where people see an assembly line and people just adding a part here and there is really not the manufacturing facility of today,” according to Kennedy.

Nebraska is home to approximately 2,700 manufacturers, many outside the metropolitan areas of Lincoln and Omaha, supporting some of the smaller cities in the state. Those companies employ 120,000 Nebraskans, about 10% of the workforce.

That workforce increasingly needs a higher skill level.

Reinke Manufacturing Company is an example. Reinke makes center-pivot irrigation systems in the small community of Deshler, located in southern Nebraska.

Reinke President and CEO Chris Roth says the factory in Deshler needs workers for fabrication, welding, engineering, and purchasing.

“So, they have to be very educated as far as math. They really have to understand that. A lot of sciences, because we do a lot of metallurgy,” Roth says. “So, they need to understand those kinds of things. And, again, they have to be able to run those computers. So, they have to have some pretty good computer skills.”

Manufacturers have been scrambling to recruit those skilled workers, according to both Roth and Kennedy. Pay has increased with the skill level and many of those manufacturers now try to lure more young workers with paychecks that can reach $55,000 annually.

AUDIO:  Brent Martin reports [1 min.]