NE Strong Update

NE Strong Update

UPDATE: The state legislature is set to return to session July 20 after a long layoff due to the pandemic.

UDPATE: The Grand Island Library is reopening on July 1st, there will be some restrictions in place. 

Starting July 1st Nebraska High school sports programs can practice without restrictions. What teams did last summer is legal according to NSAA Executive Director Jay Bellar.  NSAA schools may sponsor camps and clinics, conduct a conditioning program, have open gym and have teams participate in summer leagues from July 1 through July 31.

Nebraska will extend its unemployment benefits. The Nebraska Department of Labor said it will provide up to an additional 13 weeks for eligible recipients who have exhausted their regular or pandemic unemployment benefits.

The Grand Island Parks and Recreation Department has made an update on facilities reopening in the community.

The following facilities will be open Wednesday, July 1:

  • Outdoor park basketball courts
  • Skate Park in Pier Park
  • Futsal Court in Lions Club Park
  • Gaga Ball Court in George Park

Lincoln Park Swimming Pool opens Wednesday, July 1:

Park Facilities and Programs Closed or Cancelled for the Summer:

  • Island Oasis Water Park
  • Stolley Train
  • Summer Concert Series
  • Wading Pools – Pier, Lincoln, Stolley, and Grace Abbott Parks
  • Swimming Lessons, Children’s Park Camps, and Children’s Theater 

 Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer welcomed visitors back and opened its doors to the general public as the final step in its phased reopening.

Kearney Cinema 8  has reopened after being closed for more than three months due to the pandemic. For movie listings go to


UPDATE: The Grand Island Public Library will be hosting a virtual program, “Robb Holladay and his Amazing Magical Balloon Show” on June 29 at 10:30 a.m. The program will be hosted on the library’s Facebook page at

UPDATE: Registration for the Nebraska Senior Games is now being accepted, according to the City of Kearney Park and Recreation Department. The games, for individuals 50 and older, are scheduled for Aug. 6-9 in Kearney.

UPDATE: The Hastings Museum got a major grant through the CARES Act to help them with operation costs and a new project. The museum will be using the funding to cover staff salaries and operations as they work on a big project on the second floor.  The Hastings Museum will open exclusively for member for 10 days on June 30, before opening to the general public on July 14.

Tom Dinsdale Automotive Nebraska Greats Golf Classic presented by 1st State Bank at Riverside Country Club, Grand Island is on July 24.  The Nebraska Greats Foundation provides emergency medical and financial assistance to any former athletics letter winner from ANY of the 16 4-year schools in the state. These are former sports heroes from Nebraska to Chadron State who need emergency medical attention and can’t afford it. Please sign up a foursome (space is limited) to play.  The donation is $325 per person which includes golf, cart, lunch, prizes, awards, dinner, special gifts at Riverside and a chance to play with a celebrity.  Among the celebrities committed are former Huskers Eric Crouch, Johnny Rodgers, Mike Rozier, Johnny Dorn, Jared Crick, Brendan Stai and Jay Moore.For non golfers, there is a limited amount of space available (to comply with social distancing) for the evening DINNER event which includes a celebration of all 16 member schools, unique auction items and a Q/A with each of the celebrity former athletes. Sign up at

The swim lake at Cottonmill Park in Kearney has opened.The swim lake is open from sunrise to sunset. Adult supervision is recommended.

UNK’s combined 2020 Spring and Summer Commencement will be held at 10 a.m. on Friday, July 31. To support COVID-19 directed health response, it is being planned as an outdoor event on Foster Field at Cope Stadium. The event will begin at 10 a.m. In support of current safety protocol and to meet facility capacity requirements, in-person attendance will be limited to no more than three invited guests per graduate.

Drive-in movies in Kearney will continue at sundown when The World Theatre will team up with the Buffalo County Fairgrounds. The World plans to book family-oriented films and old drive-in favorites, such as “Goonies,” “E.T.” and “Grease.”  The World will sell advance tickets, the cost which has not been determined, for $20 or $25 per car. Gates will open at 8 p.m. and the movie will begin at sundown. Films will be shown Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights through the summer.

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. Future dates include:   June 26, Community Action Partnership Food Bank, Kearney.

Enjoy an outdoor adventure with family or friends. and engage in healthy recreation — and possibly win prizes. The Great Park Pursuit is a free program encouraging participants to visit up to 20 official sites across the state, consisting of community, regional, state and federal parks. Participants register a team of up to 10 people online and then follow clues from the website or Great Park Pursuit mobile app to find a program post located somewhere within a park area. Once they find the post, the team can use the mobile app to mark their visit, or make a pencil impression of the post to prove they were there. A number of prizes are up for grabs, including Nebraska state park entry permits for 2021, an iPad and the grand prize, an outdoor recreation package valued at $1,500. Prizes and entry into drawings are based on the number of post impressions that teams collect, or the number of park visits they mark on the mobile app. For more information and to register, visit The Great Park Pursuit app is available at the Apple iStore and on Google Play for Android.

 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.

The Sumner 4th of July Celebration is still on with revisions due to COVID-19. The whole celebration will kick off on Saturday, June 27th with the traditional Co-Ed Sand Volleyball Tournament and the 2nd Annual Cornhole Tournament. On Sunday the 28th, we will have the Commercial Club Dinner (Picnic), Toad & Turtle Race and Ice Cream Social with the Sumner EMT’s. Cool off with the SEM Cross Country team during the Splash Run 5k and 1 mile at 5 pm on the 28th. An evening cruise night on the 4th (starts at 6 pm) we hope you will come cruise and stick around for the Fireworks! There are two performances of the Rodeo on the 3rd at 7:30 pm and on the 4th at 1:30 pm. The afternoon of the 4th starting at 3 pm there will be Bingo at the Community Hall and Live Entertainment in Sumner Park. And FOOD TRUCKS – BBQ and FUNNEL CAKES The celebration will wrap up with the Fireworks at the Sumner Ball Field at dusk. There will be concessions from Kappel Electric 8-9:30. Visit their Facebook for more.

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!  GO HERE: