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Dr. Grover "Nothing changes our dedication to students"

With parent teacher conferences this week and in light of recent national news items, Dr. Tawana Grover, the Superintendent for Grand Island Public Schools issued the following statement reminding patrons of the mission of Grand Island Public Schools: Every Student, Every Day, A Success.

This is a letter from Dr. Grover to GIPS students, staff, parents and the community.

“Our students have a right to a public education. In fact, we are required by law to educate every child who lives in our district. All children are welcome and encouraged to attend our schools.

More important than any law, we want our students to be in class every day. We look forward to seeing them here. When you join GIPS, you join a district rich in diversity, something in which we take great pride. We love our students. We provide a safe and engaging learning environment for them. We embrace what each unique student brings to our schools.

It does not matter to us where a student was born, who their parents are, what their home life looks like, what language they speak or with what abilities they come to us. We are here to provide them all with the opportunity to lead a successful life. We strive to get them future ready.

It is easy to be wrapped up in the national news, the drama from the political world, the fear circulating around us. However, our charge is to stay focused and maintain the relationships we have with our students and this community. Together, we are the ones who create a positive, supportive, unified culture.

When you look at GIPS, you see 9,800 students, 1,500 employees, a $100,000,000 budget, two dozen buildings. We spend countless hours on training, building partnerships and researching ways to improve our operations.

What everyone may not see or may easily forget is how every decision we make, every dollar we spend, every discussion we have, every second of every day is for one purpose: educating the hearts and minds of individual students.

Our nine-member Board of Education starts every January meeting by rededicating themselves to these operating principles:
every student will be taught to read, write and communicate effectively; solve problems; acquire and apply knowledge; and demonstrate mastery through performance to the best of the student's abilities;
every student will be treated with fairness and dignity;
every student will experience a sense of belonging, contribution and success; and
every student will develop responsibility and show respect for others as well as oneself.
In educating students, we teach hearts as well as minds.
The Board isn’t required to do this. They do it because they find value in reminding themselves - and the community - this passion for students is what the district stands for. The Board sets the stage for creating the environment of student success.

These operating principles convey the intent of the work we do for students.

We know it is making a positive impact when we see the hug a teacher receives from a child in the morning. The fist bump with the custodian. The reassuring smile over a shared success. The close-knit unity of our teams and families. The early morning breakfast gatherings. The late-night rehearsals. These validate our acceptance and appreciation of all kids in our community.

When you hear us say Better Together, you should know it means all of us. Students, staff, parents and community. Together WE are GIPS. We are family. We are all invested in improving the lives of every student we have in our schools.

Nothing is more important to us than our students.

And nothing can or will change our commitment to every single one of them.

Dr. Tawana Grover
GIPS Superintendent

LB 632 A Concern For Local Breweries

LB 632 is awaiting hearing later this month in the General Affairs Committee.
LB 632 in short summary would change provisions relating to the Nebraska Liquor Control Act and music licensing agencies, but it has Nebraska craft brewers concerned.

Nate Bell with Kinkaider brewery in Broken Bow says “LB 632 is taking away the ability to expand to any retail location. Whatever retail locations you currently have in place as of January 1st of this year is all you can ever have, and basically any expansion for any brewery to open a location anywhere in the state would not be possible.”

That has major implications for Kinkaider Brewing which had just this month announced plans to open another brewery in Downtown Grand Island.

Bell says “We are super excited to be a part of Grand Island, and really want to help revitalize railside. Any help you can provide in helping us kill portions of this bill would be greatly appreciated, because the last thing we want to do is not be able to participate in the redevelopment of Grand Island.” “I think we have a great building that we can really take advantage of, with us and Prairie Pride downtown it’s really going to start kicking off, and really amplify what Grand Island wants to do with their downtown”

A hearing on the bill will be held on February 13th

Additional Content full interview with Nate Bell from Kinkaider Brewing

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NEA President Says DeVos Unqualified For Education Secretary

A Senate panel is scheduled to vote today on President Donald Trump’s nominee for education secretary, Betsy DeVos, who has become one of Trump’s most controversial Cabinet picks.

Earlier this morning KRGI News spoke with the President of The National Education Association Lily Eskelsen Garcia.

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Senator moved to withdraw LB 667

LB 667 the controversial horse racing tax increase bill has been withdrawn. No revisions or other changes are expected.

Press Release from Senator Robert Hilkemann.

Lincoln - State Senator Robert Hilkemann of Omaha moved to withdraw his bill, LB 667, Wednesday in light of concerns about the potential consequences of the bill’s passage.
LB 667 would have removed a tax exemption on parimutuel wagering, a type of betting that is used on horse races.

“I introduced this bill to have a discussion on tax exemptions,” Sen. Hilkemann said. “My intention was not for the bill to hurt the horse racing industry, and I certainly do not want to see horse racing end in Nebraska.”

Sales tax exemptions have often been part of the discussion when the Legislature considers potential methods of tax reform. This year, with the Legislature facing a budget crisis, which may result in significant cuts to the Department of Health and Human Services and the University of Nebraska, many senators are looking to the tax code for future safeguards.

Though sales tax exemptions warrant discussion this year, Sen. Hilkemann said, he does not believe LB 667 is the bill to facilitate that discussion.

“After several conversations with representatives from horse race tracks, along with my constituents and other Nebraskans, I have decided to withdraw this bill,” Sen. Hilkemann said. “I am fully committed to a deep review of our tax system, to ensure that Nebraska is serving the taxpayers wisely.”

Senator Robert Hilkemann of Omaha represents District 4 in the Nebraska Legislature. He began his first term in January 2015. Hilkemann serves on the Appropriations Committee.

Hall County Fatality Accident Update

Deputies responded to an accident on Interstate-80 near the Wood River exit on Saturday afternoon, where two people lost their lives.

A preliminary investigation indicates the mini van was traveling west on Interstate 80 between mile marker 298 and mile marker 299 when the vehicle lost control and left the roadway and entered the ditch, where it rolled multiple times.

The driver was identified as 47 year old Catarina Nolasco of Lexington. The female passenger was identified as 12 year old Maria Nolasco of Lexington. Maria was a student at Lexington Middle School, and was in 6th grade. The male passenger was identified as 17 year old Gaspariny Nolasco he was transported to CHI Health St. Francis.

This accident is still under investigation.

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