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life in rural nebraska

Formal USDA Grant Award Announcement

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Here is our formal announcement for the USDA grant win we’ve mentioned a couple weeks ago.  We’ll be hosting a ribbon cutting 4/22 at 11am, with Senator Kate Sullivan, the LVRPPD Board of Directors and the Valley County Supervisors in attendance.  We’re hoping Maxine Moul (the Nebraska state director of USDA – Rural Development) will be able to attend as well.  I hope you can join us!!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
For more information, contact:

Chuck Fuhrer
Loup Valleys Rural Public Power
606 S Street
Ord, NE  68862
(308) 728-3633
cfuhrer@frontiernet.net

USDA grant won by Loup Valleys RPPD and Valley County

(Ord, NE) – The Loup Valley Area has won a $300,000 grant award to establish a revolving economic development loan fund for the LVRPPD service area.  The initial funds will be loaned to Valley County to assist in the renovation of the Valley County Courthouse. Installation of an elevator, fire exit stairway, fire sprinkler system and an upgrade to the fire alarm system will bring enhanced safety to Courthouse occupants.

The funding being provided is from the Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant program, administered by USDA Rural Development. The program provides interest free loans and grants to local utilities that re-lend money to local businesses for projects that will create and retain jobs in rural areas.

Funds from the grant will be repaid from Valley County over the course of ten years, with repayment formalizing another economic development fund for region-wide benefit.  Communities and businesses within the Loup Valleys RPPD service area interested in details of the program can contact Chuck Fuhrer at (308) 728-3633.

A formal announcement and ribbon cutting with the LVRPPD Board of Directors, Valley County Supervisors, Senator Kate Sullivan and other state dignitaries will be held Thursday, April 22nd at 11:00 am on the steps of the Valley County Courthouse.

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Written by Caleb

April 9, 2010 at 2:35 pm

Monthly report now available

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Our monthly report is now available.  We have a recap on the USDA grant award, upcoming area events, awesome sales tax collection figures and much more.  Have a look here.

Written by Caleb

April 8, 2010 at 7:56 pm

National effort recognizes local business

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Brad and Gina Babb with Gene Rahn of REAP

Waaay back in October, we mentioned that Brad and Gina Babb of Sandhills Glass and Garage Doors were recognized by the Association for Enterprise Opportunity as an exemplary model for their use of microfinance to grow their business.

AEO recently released the the first of five videos that showcases national microenterprise success stories; Brad and Gina are one of the four businesses included in the video series.  Check it out here.  (Scroll down the main page and click away on the video.)

This is yet another case of fantastic recognition for all the amazing things going on in Ord and the surrounding areas.  Brad and Gina have been great supporters of economic development and recipients of assistance from our local economic development loan fund.  Put simply, microenterprise works in rural America.  It’s nice to see a national organization that agrees with us.

A needed hat tip goes out to Jeff Reynolds at REAP, and Gene Rahn for working with Brad, Gina and myself in developing a plan to make Sandhills Glass and Garage Doors a rural success story.

Congrats Brad and Gina!

Written by Caleb

April 8, 2010 at 4:38 pm

Loup Valley Soapbox Rally

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Father’s Day weekend (June 19) is a big weekend in Ord with the Father’s Day Rod Run in town.  It’s about to get even more epic with the Loup Valley Soapbox Rally.  Photos of the event can be see here – we had a great turnout and great kids participate in last year’s event.  What was evident last year was the parental glee in racing the soapbox cars after the kids were finished.  So…we opened up an adult division this year.  You can download the rules, regs and registration form here.  You can follow the event on Facebook here.

Spread the word – we’ll see you Father’s Day weekend.

Written by Caleb

April 6, 2010 at 4:00 pm

Posted in Rural Living

Changes to a local financing program

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Last night, City Council approved changes to our Valley County Business Corridor Microloan pool that drops the 4% interest rate to 0%.  That means you, the Valley County business owner, can get up to $10,000 at 0% interest for property improvements if the property resides on a major Valley County thoroughfare.  Interested?  Drop me a line and we can give you details: calebpollard@frontiernet.net

Written by Caleb

April 6, 2010 at 3:35 pm

Update: Watchable Wildlife Workshop

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Greater Prairie Chickens, photo by Aaron Price

Greater Prairie Chickens, photo by Aaron Price

Back in February, we posted some information about an upcoming wildlife watching workshop we were working on with our economic development partners.  Good news!  It’s ready to roll.  We did move the date back a bit, and you can read the first of many, press releases below.  Enjoy!

FOR MORE INFORMATION:     Sharon Hueftle
South Central Economic Development District, Inc.
PO Box 79; 502 East Avenue (2nd floor)
Holdrege, NE  68949
308-995-3190, www.scedd.us

Nature and Wildlife Tourism Workshops

Holdrege, NE – Jim Mallman of Watchable Wildlife Inc. will be hosting several workshops to share insights into how individuals and businesses can build sustainable nature/wildlife tourism programs.  The first workshop will be held in Red Cloud on May 18 followed by workshops in Ord on May 19 and Ogallala on May 20. Watchable Wildlife Inc. is a nonprofit working with federal, state and local wildlife and tourism professionals to help communities and wildlife prosper.

Figures generated by public agencies, private institutions and news sources are showing substantial growth in “non-game” wildlife related to recreation. Simply put, people with money want to watch birds and animals in their natural habitat. The economic influence of this area of recreation has been conservatively estimated at $46 billion in the U.S. economy alone. After all these years, what is the explanation for this explosion in wildlife viewing?

The real story seems to be hidden in an interesting shift in our culture. Understanding these reasons and defining ways to predict future growth can generate substantial benefits to rural communities with abundant access to nature.

“This is designed for businesses and individuals that have an interest in beginning or may already be involved in the area of tourism or are considering expanding into this lucrative area,” says Sharon Hueftle of the South Central Economic Development District. “Nature based tourism can be a wonderful addition to a bed and breakfast, motel, hunting enterprise or restaurant. Landowners can derive additional income without additional inputs by granting access to wildlife enthusiasts. We’re also looking for people who have knowledge about the natural environment of Nebraska who are interested in sharing that knowledge with visitors.”

Watchable Wildlife Inc. is an organization dedicated to helping communities harness and conserve this great natural resource. Come learn more about the key factors responsible for fueling the tremendous growth of this industry.

The workshops will begin at 8:30am and will run until 4:00pm with lunch and refreshments included. The registration fee is $25 before May 11th (after this date the fee increases to $40).  For registration forms, please visit the Nebraska Development Network Central Region website at www.ndncr.com or if you have any questions, please contact Sharon or Jodi at (308) 995-3190.

QT Report

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Behold!  Our Spring Quarterly Report is now available.  You can download it here.

Have a Happy Easter!

Written by Caleb

April 2, 2010 at 4:44 pm