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DIY Network Star Visits GI Students

26-Oct-2016 / Tyson Havranek
Over at Career Pathways Institute Kayleen McCabe, from Renovation Rescue on the DIY Network, came to speak Wednesday morning to GIPS students. McCabe speaks nationally about the shortage of skilled employment and opportunities for nontraditional and female students in high skill, high wage areas.
McCabe spoke at the SkillsUSA Mid-America conference last week in Columbus, and just yesterday visited Schuyler Public Schools, and is really impressed with what she has seen from Nebraska students
McCabe's tour also included a home project being built by CPI students and a presentation at GI senior high.

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Heartland Youth Softball and Baseball Commission

25-Oct-2016 / KRGI News
On Wednesday, Oct. 26, at 6:30 p.m., the City of Grand Island will be holding an introductory meeting for a new collaborative community initiative proposed by Mayor Jeremy Jensen—the Heartland Youth Softball and Baseball Commission. The meeting will be held in the community meeting room downstairs at City Hall, 100 E. First St.

Coaches and board members of any youth softball or baseball organization in Grand Island, as well as any community member are encouraged to attend the introductory meeting. The meeting will consist of an open dialogue about the overall vision of the Heartland Youth Softball and Baseball Commission while soliciting feedback from participants.

Possible initiatives of the commission include:
-revitalize the current Grand Island leagues that elect to play recreationally in Grand Island, avoiding costly travel;
-work with each of the member organizations and teams to create a workable schedule for field usage;
-possible financial support and/or reduced fees for participating organizations;
-offer free clinics for players focusing on fundamental training, as well as clinics for coaches teaching coaching techniques;
-make Grand Island the home of multiple major tournaments, which will bring people to Grand Island and allow teams to stay in Grand Island and play on home turf.

The overall vision of this initiative would be to have the commission serve as a singular voice that communicates with the Parks and Recreation Department in terms of current facilities, how best to utilize those facilities, costs associated with the facilities, and if new fields were built how to maximize the facilities for the best overall impact for all youth players.
Currently, the Parks and Recreation staff attempts to accommodate the needs of nearly 40 teams and organizations for softball and baseball field and facility usage. From high school teams, to Legion teams, to recreational leagues, to numerous independent travel teams—the large number and diversity of teams creates numerous logistical challenges for staff. It is hoped that with the creation of a Heartland Youth Softball and Baseball Commission the needs of these programs could be better met.

additional content: KRGI's Tyson Havranek's interview with GI Mayor Jeremy Jensen via phone  

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Election Preview: District 33

20-Oct-2016 / Tyson Havranek
As we continue our election coverage this morning we take you back to the race for a seat at the state capitol but we move away from District 35 and into district 33. District 33 covers all of Adams County as well as Southern and Western Hall Counties, specifically the communities of Doniphan, Cairo and Wood River.
The Candidates: Incumbent Les Seiler and challenger Steve Halloran.
Senator Seiler was appointed to the legislature back in 2012 after the passing of Senator Dennis Utter. Seiler says in his five years it’s the time spent as chair of the judiciary committee that he feels have made the most impact on the state.
Halloran, a 5th generation farmer says his goal is to be a citizen statesman and not a career politician.
As far as differences between the two candidates are concerned, Seiler says it comes down to experience.
Halloran says his experience is in the agriculture background, which he believes will go a long way in obtaining significant property tax relief.
A major storyline in the race came shortly before the primary election as Governor Pete Ricketts unconventionally endorsed the challenger Steve Halloran. Senator Seiler says that move likely came after he voted to override the Governor’s veto on the death penalty and another bill that created a process for immigrants to be able to work in Nebraska.
While Halloran certainly appreciated the endorsement, he said it was received after the two met and agreed on several what he calls principal issues.
Seiler still feels however that the endorsement is an attempt by the Governor to have his veto’s stand.
Halloran says it’s his “old school” approach to state government gives him an edge with the District 33 voters
Seiler says he’s been accountable and he’s given voters the truth.
Halloran did receive more votes than Seiler during the primary election, but in a presidential election year it’s unclear how much voter turnout will be different, and may affect the race.

Additional Content:
- KRGI’s Five Minute Focus Program On The District 33 Race
- KRGI’s Full Interview With Senator Les Seiler
- KRGI’s Full Interview With Steve Halloran

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City Council Discussion On 1/2 Cent Sales Tax

18-Oct-2016 / Tyson Havranek
Tuesday night the Grand Island City Council held a listening session on the upcoming ballot issue for the half cent sales tax increase. Mayor Jeremy Jensen joined us this morning on AM 1430 KRGI and said that the sales tax increase is needed to complete a plethora of infrastructure projects that the city no longer has money in the budget for.
Last May Grand Island voters approved a food and beverage occupation tax, and some residents are concerned that the city is asking too much of voters in one year's time but City Administrator Marlan Ferguson says these two tax increases are earmarked for completely different projects.
If approved by voters the sales tax increase would go into effect in April .

For more on the story:
-Earlier on Tuesday October 18th Grand Island Mayor Jeremy Jensen stopped by our KRGI Studio's to preview the half cent sales tax issue and the Council work session.

-After the Council work session KRGI's Tyson Havranek caught up with City Administrator Marlan Ferguson for his reaction to the meeting.

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Underpass Infrastructure Priority

13-Oct-2016 / John Dibbern
The underpass at Sycamore St. in Grand Island was highlighted by City Public Works Director John Collins as an infrastructure project that is a top priority. The 64 year old structure has sidewalks around it sinking, water causing issues with structure strength, the erosion of soil under sidewalks causing them to sink alongside the underpass, and many other deficiencies. Collins says that they are swiftly running out of time on repairing the damaged structure.
One portion of the structure that is beyond repair is the bridge connecting South Front St. over the underpass. Structural Engineer Jay Bleier says the bridge must be removed.
The city has proposed using a ½ cent sales tax increase to pay for infrastructure projects like the underpass. The issue is on the November ballot for Grand Island residents.
You can hear more about the underpass project on this morning’s 5 Minute Focus by clicking the link below.

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3rd District Congressman Makes Stop In GI

06-Oct-2016 / Tyson Havranek
Nebraska's Third District Congressman Adrian Smith made a stop by our KRGI studio’s Thursday morning to talk about issues facing our country. The House just passed his bill to bring relief to those who lost coverage due to the affordable care acts collapsing co-ops.

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GI Author's Fantasticland To Be Released This Month.

04-Oct-2016 / Tyson Havranek
After nearly 18 months Grand Island resident Mike Bochoven is only a little over a week away from having his first novel Fantasticland hit the bookshelves. Fantasticland will be officially released on October 11th. KRGI’s Tyson Havranek caught up with the author.

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New Turf Being Installed At The Fieldhouse

27-Sep-2016 / Tyson Havranek
This morning work continued at the Grand Island community Fieldhouse as the field turf is being installed. In preparation of the opening of the Fieldhouse on Oct. 1, recreation staff is busy transitioning the building from the Nebraska State Fair 4-H exhibit building to the Community Fieldhouse. Part of this preparation is the installation of the new synthetic turf field which takes about five days to complete.

Jeremy Bachmann, recreation superintendent says the new synthetic turf field was $170,000 and has a life expectancy of five to ten years depending on amount of use. The turf was purchased from and will be installed by Mid-America Sports Construction from Lee’s Summit, Missouri.

This is the second synthetic turf field that has been purchased since the opening of the Community Fieldhouse in 2010. The Community Fieldhouse is a 70,000 square foot facility that includes indoor batting cages, turf sports fields, basketball courts, volleyball courts, meeting rooms, and a children's playground.

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City Council To Discuss 2016-2017 Budget

12-Sep-2016 / Tyson Havranek
The Grand Island City Council will hold their final public hearing Tuesday night on the proposed budget for the fiscal year of 2016-2017. City Administrator Marlan Ferguson says the City was able to take a million and a half dollars out of expenditures.

The cuts in expenditures are due to the current budget forecast, where Grands Island’s projected 2021 deficit now stands at a negative $4.2 million

The Foretasted deficit came about because of growth, Ferguson said when the City of Grand Island became a Metropolitan Statistical Area, the needs grew for a growing community.

The City Budget must be turned into the State by September 20.


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Current Street Projects Nearly Complete As Summer Is Coming To Close

06-Sep-2016 / Tyson Havranek
With the state fair in the books and summer winding down, road projects in Grand Island are nearing the finish line for 2016. John Collins with the city of Grand Island says starting tomorrow Webb to Kennedy will be reduced to one lane on Faidley avenue as panel replacement efforts begin. The effort is expected to last approx. two weeks, with the first phase of the repair effort ending at Custer.
Another project highly anticipated to be completed is the capitol avenue widening project. Collins says mainline paving is complete, and the intersection will be completed in a week or two and possibly be open to traffic in October.
Locust street leveling is also complete and Collins also says the traffic signal at locust and state fair boulevard was a big success.

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