NE Strong Update

NE Strong Update

UPDATE: The Harmon Park and Centennial Park Swimming Pools are scheduled to open in late June once aquatic staff are trained and the pools are filled, heated, and chlorinated. Multiple sessions will be offered each day to compensate for the reduced occupancy requirements. Season passes will not be available for purchase. City staff will release more details prior to the pools opening. For more information, please contact the Kearney Park and Recreation Office.

The  Buffalo County DMV  office plans to reopen on June 8. Just like many other locations, the DMV will prescreen individuals with a series of questions along with taking their temperature.

The City of Hastings announced it would be canceling the annual Fourth of July Concert and Fireworks Show at Brickyard Park amid ongoing health concerns with the COVID-19 pandemic. The event will go on as planned in 2021.

 UPDATE: Auto Racing is back in Nebraska. Kearney Raceway Park opens its season this Saturday and Sunday. Eagle Raceway near Lincoln opens their season on Saturday. Also Kam Raceway in Hastings will open up on June 12th. All tracks will be operating with limited attendance and under guidelines set by the state and by local Heath districts. 

UPDATE: The City of Grand Island, The Grand Island Area Economic Development Corporation and the Central Nebraska Growth Foundation now offers emergency loans for small businesses. The Revolving Loan Fund is an existing program from the city, but the two organizations will add matching dollars to help provide sustainability for Grand Island businesses moving forward. About $340,000 dollars will be available to assist in recovery, with a maximum of 22,500 dollars for each business. Any operation with 2 to 49 employees is eligible.  If you would like to fill out an application, visit The Grand Island Area Economic Development Corporation website

The Kearney Public Schools CLASS Act fundraiser event will now be an online auction June 15-20. You can register for the event to place bids for auction items and receive information and announcements during the event.  To register go to,


UPDATE: The Hastings Parks and Recreation Department announced Thursday that the Hastings Aquacourt will remain closed for the summer. In the statement the Parks and Recreation director, Jeff Hassenstab said after reviewing guidelines under the state’s current directed health measures as well as guidelines from the American Red Cross and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the department determined that the goal to open the Aquacourt is unachievable at this time. The Libs Park splash pad is scheduled to open on June 8. The Heartwell Park and Lincoln Park wading pools will open on June 15.

UPDATE: The Big Apple Fun Center in Kearney has just announced the health department has cleared them to reopen their grill, bowling lanes and go cart track, but with precautions. Next to open, sand volleyball in July.  They also have a large construction project underway, expected to be complete this fall, Big Apple Fun Center is building a new indoor black light go-cart course. More information about the Big Apple Fun Center can be found on their website.

UPDATE: Instead of the usual Wagons West event featuring pioneer crafts and experiences, Trails & Rails Museum will present a reverse parade as part of the 35th annual Wagons West event, 10 a.m.-noon June 13 at the museum at 710 W. 11th St. The parade will include volunteers dressed up as pioneers. Visitors will drive by to see the volunteers in the fashion of a reverse parade. Admission to the event is free. The first 300 children will get gift bag souvenirs. Trails & Rails Museum also will host the 13th annual half-marathon. In an effort to comply with health regulations, the runners will complete the event virtually. Sign up at and run it between now and June 14. The museum plans to open to the public on June 15. 

UPDATE: Five Kearney-based arts and cultural organizations — Buffalo County Historical Society, Crane River Theater Co., Museum of Nebraska Art, Merryman Performing Arts Center and The Archway — are among 31 Nebraska nonprofits that received a share of $204,418 in federal CARES Act grants through Humanities Nebraska. Other Nebraska organizations that would like to apply may view the guidelines at The application period will remain open until all available dollars have been granted.

UPDATE: The Kearney Area Children’s Museum has reopened and will have Kids Night Out 6-8 p.m. Friday June 5th. Children, ages 3-12, will enjoy playing in exhibits, a craft and more activities. Dinner will be popcorn chicken, fruit, a cookie and lemonade or water. Children with food allergies are welcome to bring their own food. Children may not come if they are coughing or have a fever of more than 100 degrees. Water fountains are turned off, so children should bring their own water bottles. Each parent will need to agree to guidelines and sign a waiver before the event.

With Hot Meals USA serving its final lunch Saturday, a collaboration of food assistance programs in the region have developed a transition plan to support residents who need food assistance. All services listed on the BCCP website, begin Monday, unless otherwise noted. Hot Meals USA has served 100,000 free meals since March 16 in Kearney.

On Saturday June 13th wheels for Warriors USA will be at Kearney Power Sports giving away a motorcycle to a veteran! Wheels for Warriors USA is a non profit organization based out of Lincoln Nebraska to raise awareness and lower veteran suicide through 2 wheel therapy.

 To provide items without contact, Hastings Public Library now has 18 metal lockers set up outside the building, allowing visitors to pick up items they’ve requested and will be located in the alley. To request an item, visit the library web site or call (402) 461-2346. A staff member will call patrons back once their items are ready for pickup, and patrons will have 48 hours to collect the items. Requests will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis, starting with materials requested in March. Patrons will be limited to five items each. The library remains closed to the public at this time, and some interactive services are still unavailable.

The 65th annual Spring Conference at the Willa Cather Center will keep the event as scheduled but change the way it looks. For the first time in its history the Conference will take place entirely online as opposed to in person on the grounds of the National Willa Cather Center in Red Cloud. The Conference is scheduled to begin June 4 and end on June 6. It consists of panel discussions, lectures, virtual exhibits and more. The topic of this year’s conference centers around the 100th anniversary of Cather’s short story collection “Youth and the Bright Medusa”. Anyone interested in registering for the 65th Spring Conference can visit the Center’s website here

 Stuhr Museum is re-opening, after being closed during one of the busiest times of the year. The museum’s executive director said they’re taking several steps due to the coronavirus, including temperature checks and asking visitors to wear masks. They also have hand washing stations set up at the living history museum in Grand Island.  Classes are underway and starting June 15, members can visit. Monday, June 22 they’ll reopen to the public.

The community is invited to participate in Kearney Public library’s 7th Annual Edible Book Festival. Anyone can enter by creating something edible that is book-related. The library suggests to think about titles, characters, plots, literary book figures, puns on book titles.  Entry form and more info is available at

The Hastings Parks and Recreation Department will reopen on June 8, the Libs Park splash pad will be open to the public.  On June 15, the Heartwell Park wading pool and Lincoln Park wading pool will be open to the public.  Visit their website to find guidelines in place.

Free meals will be provided to Lexington residents in need four the next four weeks  on a first come, first serve basis. Meals will be available for curbside pickup at St. Ann’s Parish Center at 1003 Taft St. in Lexington or they can be pre-ordered to have meals delivered. One box of groceries per family will also be available every Thursday. For free delivery to your home, call (308) 324-4647.  The meals are provided by Lexington Community Foundation, Orthman Manufacturing and St. Ann’s Parish in partnership with Hot Meals USA.

The Nebraska Passport for 2020 program is underway. Travelers will have from June 1 through October 31 to visit attractions and receive stamps, according to Nebraska Tourism. Due to COVID-19 some stops have had to adjust their business hours and some will be reopening at a date later than June 1, so check for updates before beginning your travels. Passports will be available at participating stops starting June 1 or can be ordered at

 The Archway in Kearney has will reopened to visitors. The hours will be 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Saturday and noon-5 p.m. Sundays. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the opening of The Archway.

Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium is now open. ALL indoor exhibits will be closed and capacity will be limited to 3,000. Visitors are required to sign up in advance for a time slot to attend up to two days in advance at

Starting June 18th the Hasting Parks and Recreation will get the summer adult softball league season underway. To practice social distancing they will be extending the dugouts to the bleachers. Any fans that come to the games will have to bring their own chairs and sit along the foul lines or in the outfield. For more information on the summer leagues you can visit the City of Hastings website.

 Goodwill Industries of Greater Nebraska is slowly re-opening their nine stores, with six open so far. Requiring masks and delaying donation processing, these are just a couple new practices in place at Goodwill stores across central Nebraska.  They said items donated are not being processed or put onto the floor for at least a full 24 hours. Management said at this time they do not know when the Grand Island or Lexington stores will be opening.

Relay for Life of Central Nebraska in an effort to support and protect cancer survivors, caregivers and the community, the event will be held virtually from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on June 12. People can tune into Relay for Life of Central Nebraska’s Facebook page, where they’ll be able to watch videos and live feeds. Relay for Life of Central Nebraska covers Phelps, Kearney and Buffalo Counties. You can create a team or donate online.

For the first time ever, The Kansas Biggest Rodeo is selling tickets online right now at The tickets will also go on sale in person on July 1 at Heritage Insurance Group in Philipsburg (685 Third St.).The rodeo will be held July 30-August 1 in Phillipsburg and begins at 8 pm each night.

Kearney Jubilee Center remains open to serve customers and community members in need.  The Center also hosts a food pantry while providing financial assistance for rent, utilities and medications.

 The Hastings College football team still plans to host its Annual Bronco Football Gridiron Classic on June 19 at Southern Hills Golf Course.The four man scramble is a fundraiser for the Bronco football team. For more go to 

Mobile food pantries providing free food are offered in the area every two weeks by the Community Action Partnership of Mid-Nebraska in cooperation with the Food Bank for the Heartland in Omaha. Drivers should remain in their vehicles while masked volunteers load groceries. Food pickups, by appointment only, begin at 9:30 a.m. Call Kyla Martin at 308-440-0153 to set up a time. The pantries rotate to serve Buffalo, Custer, Dawson, Hall, Kearney and Phelps counties. Future dates include: June 12, Phelps County Fairgrounds, Holdrege,  June 26, Community Action Partnership Food Bank, Kearney.

 You can keep yourself safe in these times, show your Husker spirit, AND help Nebraska Food Banks. Husker Face Masks are on sale right now at the shop at NRG sister property The masks are handmade, available in four styles, and will ship in late May.  GO HERE: