April 19, 2014

Omaha’s Benson HS Jr. ROTC heading to France

Twenty-seven students from Omaha’s Benson High School will get a first hand look at history in June. Members of the Junior ROTC will travel to Normandy, France and take part in ceremonies to mark the 70th anniversary of D-Day.

The cadets raised $91-thousand in the past year. They hosted countless car washes, pancake feeds, sold cookie dough, held dances and march-a-thons. They also received donations from a number of organizations in the Omaha area as well as other states.

Battalion Commander Liz Green says they leave June 3rd and will be gone a week. She says events already planned include marching in two parades and they will visit several cemeteries in Paris.

FFA membership in Nebraska sets new record high

FFAFuture farmers from across the state are in Lincoln for the annual Nebraska State FFA Convention, which wraps up today.

Matt Kreifels, the state director of agricultural education, says a record number of FFA members are attending this year’s convention — around 38-hundred.

“We see the state FFA convention as a celebration of all our members across the state, their hard work and development back at home,” Kreifels says. “They’ve been working hard to prepare for the competitive events and the recognition they’ll be receiving.”

Not only is there a record number of students at this year’s event, he says membership in the FFA organization is also up this year, both nationwide and in Nebraska.

Kreifels says, “There’s a record number of FFA members across the state, 7,100-plus members in Nebraska, and we’ve never had numbers of that nature in this state.”

Activities are scheduled on the East Campus of UNL, at the Cornhusker Hotel and at Southeast Community College.

He says a highlight of the convention is the evening ceremonies held at Pershing Auditorium when individuals, organizations and chapters are recognized for their efforts during the past year.

By Dave Niedfeldt, KWBE, Beatrice

Be prepared for severe weather by attending Lincoln symposium

CloudsSpringtime weather can quickly turn hazardous and Nebraskans of all ages need to be educated about the risks. The annual Central Plains Severe Weather Symposium will be held this weekend at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

UNL climatologist Ken Dewey says the offerings will include what’s called Family Weatherfest.

“We have 12 stations with hands-on activities for families that are engaged in weather for little kids all the way to the grandparents,” Dewey says. “We have exhibitors throughout the building and in the auditorium, we also have speakers.”

One of those speakers will be talking about last year’s devastating flooding in Colorado.

“Bob Henson will talk about those floods that occured in Colorado, not a once in a 100, not a once in a 200, but once in 500-year flood, 16-inches of rain in Boulder, Colorado, incredible flooding and that floodwater made its way to the Platte River.”

Dewey says another presentation will focus on weather myths. There will also be a talk by a forecaster at the national Storm Prediction Center about last year’s deadly Oklahoma tornadoes.

“Talking about what it was like to be at the Storm Prediction Center forecasting those tornadoes and what information the SPC uses to help keep us safe up here when our severe weather season kicks in,” Dewey says.

National Weather Service meteorologist Barb Mayes will discuss this past year’s severe weather in Nebraska and talk about what we might be able to expect in the spring and summer ahead.

The symposium is Saturday and includes weather spotter training at 2 P-M. Family Weatherfest runs from 9 A-M to 2 P-M. All events are at the UNL East Campus at 3310 Holdrege Street in Lincoln.

By Doug Kennedy, KWBE, Beatrice 

USDA seeks more sites for summer meals program for Nebraska kids

Of the thousands of Nebraska children who participate in the USDA’s summer meals program, many thousands more are eligible but don’t take part, raising fears they may be going hungry.

Kevin Concannon, the agency’s Undersecretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services, says non-profit groups across Nebraska are being encouraged to open their doors to the summer program.

“They could be in churches, they could even be in public libraries in some communities, boys and girls clubs, county recreation sites,” Concannon says. “We’re open to a variety of different settings.”

A study from the group Feeding America shows 20% of Nebraska children are at risk for hunger. Concannon says facilities are being lined up now at the start of spring so they’ll be ready to go when summer arrives and they’re needed for the program.

“Our goal is to increase the number of locations in the state, but also to encourage more students to participate in the program in the summertime,” he says.

The program is very important in ensuring the kids get the proper nutrition during the summer. The USDA pays for the food and its preparation while volunteers distribute it to eligible kids.

A federal report out last year found 211,000 Nebraskans are “food insecure,” meaning, they don’t always know where they will find their next meal.

Nebraska school offering Twitter 101 for parents

A Nebraska school district wants to help parents learn how to use social media. Angela Simpson is the principal at Platteview High School near Springfield says they are offering a Twitter 101 class Tuesday night.

Simpson says they will inform parents what Twitter is all about set up an account and teach them how to send tweets. She says this is a great way for parents to keep tabs on their children and to help watch what they are doing on social media. They will help parents find their children’s Twitter accounts, teach the terms like hash-tag and help them understand how their children use it to communicate. It is also a great way to communicate with teachers and keep up on school events.