Speaking of Nebraska: Flooding


>>FLOODING ACROSS EASTERN NEBRASKA THIS SPRING LEFT HUNDREDS HOMELESS AND DESTROYED BUSINESSES, FARMS, AND ROADS. BUSINESSES, FARMS, AND WE’LL TALK WITH A LOCAL MAYOR OF ONE OF THE AFFECTED TOWNS AND THE ASSISTANT DIRECTOR OF THE NEBRASKA EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY ABOUT HOW THE STATE IS PREPARING FOR LIFE AFTER THE 2019 FLOOD. THAT’S TONIGHT ON “SPEAKING OF NEBRASKA.”>>THANKS FOR JOINING US ON “SPEAKING OF NEBRASKA.” I’M NET NEWS DIRECTOR DENNIS KELLOGG. TONIGHT WE’LL HEAR THE LATEST NEWS FROM THE STATEHOUSE. BUT FIRST, WE’RE TAKING A CLOSE LOOK AT THE IMPACT OF HISTORIC FLOODING ACROSS NEBRASKA. AS BILL KELLY OF NET NEWS REPORTS, NEBRASKANS ARE STRUGGLING WITH BOTH AN ECONOMIC AND PERSONAL COST. >>THE FIRST OF THE STREAMS OVERFLOWED ON MARCH 13 IN COUNTIES ALONG THE SOUTH DAKOTA BORDER. IN THE FIRST FEW HOURS OF THE DISASTER, WATER FORCED DOZENS OF NEBRASKANS FROM THEIR HOMES.>>NOBODY DREAMED IT WAS GOING TO BE LIKE THIS. THE NEXT DAY, JUST BEFORE DAWN, THE THREAT BECAME ICE, TONS OF IT, CREATING A UNIQUELY DESTRUCTIVE FORCE ON THE NIOBRARA RIVER. FROZEN BLOCKS LOOSENED BY RAIN AND WIND SMASHED OVER, AROUND AND THROUGH SPENCER DAM.>>THE STEWART/NAPIER BRIDGE IS WEST OF THAT AND IT PICKED IT UP OFF ITS FOUNDATION AND DUMPED IT PROBABLY A QUARTER MILE DOWN THE RIVER. MOVING SLOWLY DOWNSTREAM, THE MASS BULLDOZED THROUGH HOMES AND ACROSS RANCHES BEFORE CRASHING INTO BUILDINGS ON THE FLATLANDS IN THE TOWN OF NIOBRARA. >>THE AFTERMATH OF IT, IT’S ALMOST HARD TO DESCRIBE BECAUSE THERE WAS JUST SO MUCH DAMAGE. THE DEBRIS THAT WAS LEFT. THE SAND THAT WAS MOVED. BUT EVERYTHING WAS GONE. AFTER SURVIVING AND THRIVING FOR GENERATIONS, RANCH FAMILIES LOST HOMES, BARNS, MACHINERY, DOZENS OF CATTLE AND NEW BORN CALVES. >>I WAS 20 YEARS OLD. I’D PROBABLY FIGURE SOMETHING OUT AND DO SOMETHING, BUT YOU GET UP TO 70 YEARS OLD, MAYBE IT’S TIME TO START THINKING TO DO SOMETHING ELSE.>>AT THE SAME TIME, NEARLY EVERY OTHER CENTRAL NEBRASKA COMMUNITIES LOCATED NEXT TO ONCE PEACEFUL CREEKS AND STREAMS WERE BEING INUNDATED BY FLOOD WATERS. BEAVER CREEK IN SAINT EDWARD. >>IT’S PRETTY DEPRESSING IF I LET IT GET TO ME, THAT AT THIS AGE, I AM VIRTUALLY HOMELESS. IT’S THAT SIMPLE.>>OAK CREEK IN DANNEBROG.>>I MEAN, IT WAS JUST FLOODED. EVERYTHING WAS JUST FLOATING. MY FRIDGE WAS CLEAR UP HERE. IT WAS MERE INCHES AWAY FROM THE ELECTRICAL OUTLET. >>ALONG THE LOUP RIVER, THE CREW AT LOUP PUBLIC POWER MADE A VALIANT STAND, BEFORE ROILING WATER DUG A RAGGED CHANNEL AROUND THE CONCRETE AND STEEL DIVERSION WALL..>>WELL, YOU’RE SHOOK UP. YOU’RE SHAKING A LITTLE BIT, YOU KNOW, BUT YOU ARE WORKING SO AND YOU ARE TRYING NOT TO LOOK AT WHAT IS GOING ON AROUND YOU. YOU ARE TRYING TO GET THE JOB DONE AND GET IT ACCOMPLISHED, BUT WE COULDN’T DO IT.>>THE CARETAKER’S HOUSE SLID INTO THE RIVER. FIVE BREACHES IN THE CANAL LEVEES FLOODED NEIGHBORING FARMS. THE LOUP POURED INTO THE PLATTE ALONG WITH SCORES OF SMALLER STREAMS, TAKING OUT COLUMBUS AND SCHUYLER AND NORTH BEND BEFORE TURNING FREMONT AND VALLEY AND WATERLOO INTO ISLANDS CUT OFF FROM THE REST OF THE STATE. >>MY DAD’S HOUSE IS FOUR AND A HALF FOOT ABOVE THE GROUND AND HE’S GOT AT LEAST FOUR INCHES OF WATER ROLLING THROUGH HIS HOUSE. >>HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE, CAUGHT OFF GUARD BY THE SPEED OF THE WATER, RELIED ON VOLUNTEER FIRE DEPARTMENTS, POLICE, THE NATIONAL GUARD TO GET THEM TO HIGHER GROUND. >>IT’S A LIFE AND DEATH SITUATION AND IT CAME UP QUICK. THEY DIDN’T SEE IT COMING. WE TRIED TO GET THEM ADVANCE WA
RNING. WE WERE OUT BUT I DON’T THINK THEY UNDERSTOOD THE SEVERITY OF IT. THEY THOUGHT THEY HAD MORE TIME. IT WASN’T OVER. THE MILLIONS OF GALLONS OF WATER FLUSHED INTO THE ELKHORN AND PLATTE SURGED INTO THE MISSOURI RIVER JUST SOUTH OF OMAHA. IT WAS HISTORY NOBODY WANTED, RECORD HIGH WATER LEVELS IN NEBRASKA, IOWA, AND DOWN TO MISSOURI. FOUR NEBRASKANS DID NOT MAKE IT OUT ALIVE. OTHERS CAME BACK TO HOMES THEY KNEW COULD NEVER BE OCCUPIED. A LIFETIME OF BELONGINGS RUINED. WATER-LOGGED BUSINESSES MAY OR MAY NOT COME BACK. NONE MAY BE MORE FRAGILE THAN FAMILY FARMS AND RANCHES.>>IT TOOK PEOPLE’S LIVELIHOODS. IT TOOK THEIR CROP. I MEAN, THEIR FARMLAND. IT TOOK THEIR CATTLE. BOYD COUNTY LOST THREE BRIDGES IN ONE DAY AND NEARLY EVERY ROAD HAD BEEN SCARRED. SOME CRUCIAL GRAVEL ROUTES REMAIN BARELY DRIVABLE. AT AN EMERGENCY MEETING OF THE BOARD OF COUNTY SUPERVISORS. HERE’S THE NEWS FROM THE CONSULTING ROADS ENGINEER. >>I GUESS WE’LL START OUT WITH THE STICKER SHOCK. 4.4 MILLION. THAT’S A 4.4 MILLION DOLLAR BILL TO PAY AND IT OUTSTRIPS THE ENTIRE BOYD COUNTY BUDGET FOR A YEAR. THE 1900 PEOPLE WHO LIVE HERE WILL HAVE TO DIVVY UP THE COST. >>WE’RE GOING TO HAVE TO BE CREATIVE I GUESS. WE DON’T KNOW YET. WE’RE WORKING ON IT. BECAUSE EVERYONE RELIES ON THE ROADS TO GET DOWN EVERYWHERE, KIDS TO SCHOOL, MAIL DELIVERED. SO WE GOTTA DO SOMETHING. A FAST-TRACK DISASTER PROCLAMATION FROM THE PRESIDENT MEANT THE FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY COULD MOVE QUICKLY. NEBRASKANS BATTERED BY THE FLOODS COULD APPLY FOR INDIVIDUAL ASSISTANCE FUNDS. THOUSANDS HAVE, BUT MANY OTHERS HAVE YET TO REGISTER FOR THE PROGRAM. >>IN THE MIDWEST WE ARE VERY PROUD FOLK. A LOT OF TIMES WE DO NOT WANT TO ASK FOR HELP AND WE’VE LEARNED THAT HERE IN NEBRASKA. THERE ARE CERTAIN COMMUNITIES THAT HAVE BEEN HEAVILY IMPACTED BY THE FLOOD AND THEIR JUST NOT ASKING FOR HELP. THOSE WHO DID REGISTER, AND FILE CLAIMS RECEIVED FEMA CHECKS AVERAGING 3 TO 4,000. OTHER APPLICANTS STRUGGLED WITH A PROCESS REQUIRING SPECIFIC DOCUMENTATION. SOME WERE REJECTED.>>THE CONSEQUENCES ARE, WE’RE ON OUR OWN AND WE’RE GOING TO DEPEND ON EACH OTHER. AND WHILE THAT MEANS WE DON’T HAVE THE FUNDS, WE STILL HAVE EACH OTHER. WE WILL FIGURE OUT A WAY. I DON’T KNOW HOW IT WILL BE, BUT WE WILL FIGURE OUT A WAY TO PERSEVERE. >>WE’RE GOING TO BOUNCE BACK. WE WILL OVERCOME THIS. I HAVE MAINTAINED MY SENSE OF HUMOR BECAUSE IF I DIDN’T, I’D FALL APART. FALLING APART IS NOT GOING TO MIRACULOUSLY MAKE THIS HOUSE BACK TO WHERE I CAN LIVE IN IT. IT’S NOT GOING TO HELP THE REST OF THE TOWN. IT WAS ABSURD FOR ANYONE TO ASK “HAVE YOU EVER SEEN ANYTHING LIKE IT?” NO ONE IN NEBRASKA, NO ONE, HAD SEEN THE LIKES OF THE MARCH FLOODING. FOR NET NEWS, I’M BILL KELLY.>>THANKS FOR BEING WITH US. LET’S START WITH YOU. GIVE US AN UPDATE ON THE LATE SITUATION. WHERE DO YOU STAND?>> WE ARE ACTIVELY ENGAGED WITH INDIVIDUAL SYSTEMS THAT WILL CONTINUE UNTIL JUNE 19. WE WERE EXTENDED ANOTHER 30 DAYS FOR THAT PROGRAM. SO THE EFFORT TO REACH OUT AND IDENTIFY PEOPLE HAS BEEN IMIMPACTED PERSONALLY BY THIS EVENT TO REGISTER THEM FOR INDIVIDUAL ASSISTANCE, THINGS LIKE HOUSING AND OTHER UNMET NEEDS. THAT WILL CONTINUE. A TEAM OF PERSONNEL WILL BE WORKING ON WHAT IS CALLED A DISASTER RECOVERY CENTER OR SNOWMOBILE DISASTER ROVE CENTER AND THEY WILL OPEN THEIR DOORS TO RECEIVE PEOPLE WHO WANT TO REGISTER FOR INDIVIDUAL ASSISTANCE. THE OTHER ACTIVITIES THAT WE’RE ENGAGED WITH NOW ARE THE — WHAT WE CALL THE PUBLIC ASSISTANCE PROGRAM, WHICH IS ANOTHER RECOVERY PROGRAM OPERATED BY FEMA. WE ARE A PARTNER IN THAT PROGRAM. THE EFFORT THERE IS TO REACH OUT TO THE LOCAL JURISDICTIONS OR THE ELIGIBLE APPLICANTS, AND THAT CAN BE A GOVERNMENT ENTITY, IT COULD BE A PRIVATE NOT-FOR-PROFIT ORGANIZATION OR IN SOME CASES ORGANIZATIONS THAT COBBLE JIB SO RIGHT NOW WE ARE REGISTERING PEOPLE FOR THE PUBLIC ASSISTANCE PROGRAM. WE ASK THEY SUBMIT THEIR INFORMATION, SO THAT WE CAN THEN IN SOME OTHER COMMUNITIES. SMALLER RURAL COMMUNITIES. FOR INSTANCE, THE COMMUNITY OF LYNCH NEBRASKA UP IN BOYD COUNTY, AND THEN WINSLOW IN THE FREMONT, DODGE COUNTY AREA. THERE ARE SOME CRITICAL HOUSING ISSUES. FREMONT WAS HEAVILY IMPACTED AS WELL. THEY’RE WORKING THROW THE ISSUES OPEN OUR GOAL IS TO LOOK AT WHAT IS THE SHORT-TERM HOUSING POSITION. A NUMBER OF FOLKS WHOSE HOMES CAN BE PREPARED AND BE HABITUAL ONCE AGAIN, IN SOME CASES THEY WERE PROVIDED FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE THROUGH EITHER THE SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION OR FEMA. SOME FOLKS, WE HAD A VERY HIGH NUMBER OF FOLKS WHO HAD FLOOD INSURANCE, SO THEY WERE ABLE TO RECOVER THEIR LOSSES OR SEEK LOW INTEREST HELPS TO HELP REBUILD OR REPAIR.>>I WANT TO ASK YOU A LITTLE ABOUT THE NORFOLK AREA IN PARTICULAR. HOW IS THE ROVE GOING THERE?>> FORTUNATELY WE DID NOT SURF MUCH DAMAGE IN TERMS OF PROPERTY. OUR LEADERSHIP — IN A HEAVY INDUSTRY SYSTEM. — [ INDISCERNIBLE ]– WITHIN SOME SPOTS WE WERE WITHIN A FOOT OF OVERTOPPING. AGAIN FORTUNATELY WE DIVERTED FLOODWATERS OUTSIDE OF NORTH FORK. TO THE NORTH OF US COMMUNITIES ON THE NORTH FORK RIVER WERE HIT REALLY HARD.>>ONE THING I WANT TO TALK ABOUT IS YOU WROTE AN OPENED WHERE YOU CHALLENGED NEBRASKA COMMUNITIES NOT JUST TO REBUILD, BUT DO IT IN A FORWARD-LOOKING MANNER. I WANT TO TOUCH ON THAT A LITTLE BIT. YOU WRITE WHAT IF YOU LOOKED AT THIS AS A HUGE LIFT, THIS DO YOU WANTING WORK TOWARD RECOVERY, AS A CHANCE FOR A REAL INVESTMENT IN OUR FUTURE. WHAT IF WE USE THIS OPPORTUNITY NOT JUST TO REBUILD, BUT TO RETHINK AND REVITALIZE RURAL NEBRASKA. WE’RE SAYING DON’T JUST I WOULD THE SAME INFRASTRUCTURE ON TOP THE OLDER INFRASTRUCTURE, BUT BUILD IT BETTER AND SMARTER.>>YEAH. THE POINT IS NOT JUST REBUILD AND REPLACE, BUT RETHINK AND REPOSITION HOW RURAL NEBRASKA WORKS WITH THE — THINK ABOUT PLACING ROADWAYS, TELL COMMUNICATIONS STRUCTURE AND FIBER OWN PARTICULARS THAT ADDRESSES THE BROAD BAND GAP IN A POLICYIONS HAVE BEEN TALKING ABOUT FOR YEARS, FIX ANY HIGHWAY SYSTEMS THAT WERE PROMISED TO RURAL NEBRASKA DECADES AGO, BUT THE BRIDGES AND PORTIONS OF THOSE HIGHWAYS TO ACCOMMODATE THOSE CORRIDORS. IN THE INSTANCES OF ELECTRICITY TRANSMISSION INFRASTRUCTURE WHERE THERE IS DAMAGED SUBSTATIONS AND DOWNED POWERLINES, LEE TALK ABOUT — THINK ABOUT HOW TO ACCOMMODATE THE STATE’S RENEWABLE GENERAL RACE FUEL POTENTIAL AND GENERATE SYSTEMS TO FACILITATE GROWTH AND IMPROVEMENT IN THOSE AREAS.>>SO HOW IS THE STATE PROPOSING THIS? ARE THEY TAKING SOME OF THOSE THINGS INTO ACCOUNT?>> YES. THE IDEA IS TO REPAIR AND REPLACE INFRASTRUCTURE, BUT IS THERE AN OPPORTUNITY TO MAYBE HE IMPROVE IT AND HAVE THAT WORK IN UNISON WITH OTHER ACTIVITIES OR — OR INITIATIVES THAT A COMMUNITY MAY HAVE. HAZARD MITT GAITION PROGRAMS ARE ANOTHER PROGRAM THAT IS ADMINISTERED THROUGH PEOPLE WITH COOPERATION OF THE — COOPERATION OF THE STATE. PRESERVATION ADDRESSES THE YOU SUFFICIENCY AND INFRASTRUCTURE OR REBUILD INFRASTRUCTURE, SO IF IT’S IMPACTED IN THE FUTURE, YOU DON’T SUSTAIN AS HEAVY A LOSS OR MAYBE NO LOSS AT ALL. THERE ARE CERTAINLY OPPORTUNITIES WHERE HAZARD MITIGATION DOLLARS CAN BE FACTORED INTO REBUILDING AND REPAIR STRATEGIES. WE ARE FORMING A LONG-TERM RECOVERY GROUP, AND SO FEMA DOES PROVIDE TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE ON THAT, BUT THE STATE HAS TO PROVIDE KIND OF THE LOCAL KNOWLEDGE, THE LEADERSHIP DIVISION, AND YOU HAVE TO ENGAGE IN A NUMBER OF STAKEHOLDERS TO ACCOMPLISH THAT, SO IT’S NOT DISCOVERING IT, IT’S OTHERS. SO CERTAINLY LONG-TERM HOUSING SOLUTIONS ARE ONE OF THOSE PIECES OF THAT LONG-TERM RECOVERY STRATEGY, BUT THERE ARE OTHER ISSUES. THE GOAL IS TO REBUILD THE VIE TALENT AND ECONOMIC CAPACITY OF COMMUNITIES OR COUNTIES THAT HAVE BEEN HEAVILY IMPACTED. IT OFFERS AN OPPORTUNITY TO REALLY RETHINK THE STRATEGY, LOOK FORWARDS THE FUTURE AND REBUILD.>>LET’S TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT ROADS. EASTERN NEBRASKA SUFFERED SEVERE DAMAGE WHEN IT COMES TO ROADS. 3,000 MILES ROADS CLOSED INITIALLY, $100 MILLION DAMAGED IN STATE HIGHWAYS AND 60 MILLION MORE TO LOCAL ROADS. HOW ARE WE DOING IN REBUILDING THOSE ROADS AND HOW LONG OF — HOW LONG OF A PROCESS IS IT GOING TO BE?>>AT ONE POINT WE HAD ALMOST 3,000 MILES CLOSED, ON THE STATE HIGHWAY SYSTEM. THERE’S MAYBE A DOZEN MILES CLOSED. MOST WERE DUE TO SEVERAL BRIDGES WASHED OUT, OR HEAVILY DAMAGED OR DESTROYED, SO WE HAVE 12 BRIDGES AND UNFORTUNATE THREE OF THOSE IN THE BOYD, KNOX AREA. TRANSPORTATION AND ISSUES RELATED TO THAT IS REALLY IMPACTING A LOT OF THOSE LOCAL COMMUNITIES. SO THERE IS A TASK FORCE THAT IS LOOKING AT THE ROAD, THE HIGH STATE HIGHWAY SYSTEM AS WELL AS WORKING WITH THE LOCAL OFFICIALS ON HOW DO WE REPAIR AND REPLACE THE COUNTY ROAD INFRASTRUCTURE. WE KNOW, WE HAVE A LOTS OF BRIDGES, CULVER’S, AND ROADS HAVE BEEN ABSOLUTELY DESTROYED, BUT THE FEMA PUBLIC ASSISTANCE PROGRAM CAN PROVIDE ASSISTANCE TO ADDRESS THE REBUILDING AND REPAIR. THAT’S A REIMBURSEMENT PROGRAM, SO ONE OF THE DIFFICULT THINGS IS FOR COUNTIES TO IDENTIFY WHETHER THEY HAVE EXISTING REVENUE OR DO WE HAVE TO TO GO OUT AND BORROW AGAINST THOSE DGESZ PROCESSES, REBUILD AND RECEIVE REIMBURSEMENT FROM FEMA.>>I WANT TO GO BACK TO YOUR OPENED AND I’M GOING TO GET THERE THAT SECOND, BUT THE “NEW YORK TIMES” HAD AN ASH THIS WEEK AND THE HEADLINE READ FLOOD HIT MIDWEST, MAYOR ON SEEKS CLIMATE CHANGE BEST AVOIDED. THE ARTICLE SAYS MAYORS ARE SKID ISSUE ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE, SAYING IT’S RISKY AND WANT TO FOCUS ON LEVEE — YOU WRITE WHAT IF WE PRIORITIZE DISASTER PATROL INFRASTRUCTURE TO PROTECT OUR COMMUNITIES IN A WAY THAT BEGINS TO EXPECT 100 OR EVEN 500-YEAR FLOODS JUST MIGHT BE MORE LIKE 10 OR 15-YEAR FLOODS, SO NOT BACKING AWAY TAKING INTO ACCOUNT SOLUTIONS THAT DO INCLUDE THE IMPACT CLIMATE CHANGE. IS THAT A POLITICAL RISK FOR YOU?>>I THINK REGARDLESS POLITE THINGS, WE ARE ALREADY ON THE GROUND IN NEBRASKA. I MOVED BACK HOME TO LINCOLN 10 YEARS AGO. IN 2010 THERE WAS EXTREME FLOODING ON THE HE WILL CORN RIVER AND THAT WAS CONSIDERED TO BE A 100 YEAR OR 500-YEAR LATER AT THAT TIME. HERE WE ARE 10 YEARS LATER AND WE HAVE ANOTHER FLOOD OF SIMILAR MAGNITUDE IF NOT GREATER. WE HAVE TO FIND A WAY TO DEAL WITH IT. AGAIN, WE WERE LUCKY IN NORFOLK THAT PASSING LEADERS WOULD WORK WITH THE STATE, WORK WITH THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO BUILD UP DISASTER INFRASTRUCTURE THAT SAVED OUR COMMUNITY FROM MILLIONS AND MILLIONS OF DOLLARS OF LOSS AND LOSS OF LIFE. I THINK IT’S AN IMPORTANT POINT AS WE MOVE FORWARD, HOW TOO WE ADDRESS DISASTER CONTROLIN — INSTROBING THAT COMES TO ASSUME THESE BIG WEATHER EVENTS ARE GOING TO BE MORE AND MORE COMMON IN THE FUTURE.>>AS LONG AS WE’RE ON POLITICS, LET’S TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT ANOTHER SOLUTION THAT YOU BRING UP. YOU COULD YOU S SAY NEBRASKA HAS A GOVERNOR AND STAFF THAT KNOWS THAT VERY WELL — WHEN YOU ELECTED IN 2015 IT WAS PROBABLY GOING TO LEAVE NEBRASKA AND MANY OTHER STAITSD IN 2020, SO ONE OF YOUR SUGGESTIONS IS USING THAT FARM AIRPORT THEY HAVE WITH THE PRESIDENT TO MAYBE PUSH SOME OF THIS FUNDING AND THE RELIEF EFFORT FORWARD.>>I THINK THE TIMING IS GOOD TO LEVERAGE SOME OF OUR POLITICAL CAPITAL. AGAIN, PRESIDENT TRUMP BENEFITED FROM THE POLITICAL SUPPORT OF RURAL AMERICANS ACROSS THE COUNTRY, AND I THINK IT’S TIME FOR US TO SAY LOOK, WE’RE NOT EVEN TALKING ABOUT IN SOME CASES 21st CENTURY INFRASTRUCTURE. WE’RE TALKING ABOUT 20th CENTURY INFRASTRUCTURE IN THE WAY OF FOUR-WAY HIGHWAYS THAT MAKE SIMPLE CONNECTIONS BETWEEN OUR COMMUNITIES. THAT COULD BENEFIT PUBLIC SAFETY AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND GROWTH AND INCREASE OPPORTUNITIES IN RURAL NEBRASKA WHERE THEY DON’T EXIST OTHERWISE, SO I THINK THE TIMING IS, RIGHT GIVEN THE TALK OF INFRASTRUCTURE AT THE FEDERAL LEVEL, SAY LOOK, WE CAN DO SOME THINGS IN RURAL AMERICA THAT WILL BENEFIT NOT ONLY US, BUT THE COUNTRY AS A WHOLE IN TERMS OF WHAT WE DO, IN TERMS OF FUEL PRODUCTION AND ENERGY PRODUCTION.>>LET’S TALK AGRICULTURE. FARMERS AND RANCHERS HIT VERY HARD BECAUSE OF THE FLOODING AND A BLIZZARD THAT HAPPENED IN THE SAME WEEK. WHAT IS THE OUTLOOK ON THAT?>> WE KNOW WE SUSTAINED A LOT OF LOSS TO LIVESTOCK DURING THE BLIZZARD EVENT AND OBVIOUSLY THE AMOUNT OF PRECIPITATION THAT HIT US ON THE FLOODING, AGAIN, A LOT OF LIVESTOCK LOST. THE USDA WASSEN GAUGED VERY EARLY ON. WE HAD SEVERAL ACTIVITIES RELATED TO IDENTIFYING WHERE HERDS WERE STRANDED SO WE COULD GET FEED TO THOSE HERDS OR TO SIMPLY IDENTIFY WHERE THE LOSS WAS AT AND MAKE ARRANGEMENTS FOR PROPER DISPOSAL. SO FARMERS ARE GOING TO SUSTAIN A LOT OF LOSS. WE HAVE A LOT OF CROP LAND THAT SUSTAINED A LOT OF DAMAGE DUE TO SALT AND DEBRIS DEPOSITED ON THE GROUND. THERE ARE HITGATION STRATEGIES WHERE THEY CAN TRY TO REMOVE THAT AND RESTORE THAT PROPERTY OVER TIME. THERE ARE PROGRAMS THAT HELP SUSTAIN FARMERS DURING THAT LOSS OF PRODUCTION PHASE. THE SBA DOES HAVE A VERY HEAVY PRESENCE. WE’VE ALWAYS ENCOURAGED OUR AGRICULTURE PRODUCERS TO DO TO CONTHEIR FARM SERVICE AS REPRESENTATIVE IN THEIR COUNTY, IDENTIFY THE PROGRAMS THEY MIGHT BE ELIGIBLE FOR, TRY TO TRACY THEIR NEEDS AS BEST AS POSSIBLE. — ADDRESS THEIR NEEDS. WE HAVE A TREMENDOUS AMOUNT OF VOLUNTEER OR DONATION ACTIVITY, SO WE HAVE A NUMBER OF PRODUCER GROUPS THAT ARE VERY INVOLVED WITH FUND-RAISING, WE HAD TREMENDOUS AMOUNT OF HAY AND FENCING MATERIALS DONATED TO NEBRASKA TO THE FARMERS THAT NEEDED IT THE MOST.>>WE JUST HAVE A MINUTE OR SO LEFT. MAYOR, ARE YOU OPTIMIST ABOUT THE FUTURE ABOUT WHERE WE’RE HEADING WITH THE RECOVERY EFFORTS AND HOW WE’LL TAKE THOSE RECOVERY EFFORTS FORWARD?>> I THINK IF WE CONTINUE TO WORK TOGETHER, AND I WANT TO COMPLIMENT YOU FOR ENGAGING WITH PEOPLE AND WORKING COLLABORATIVELY TO ADDRESS THE IMMEDIATE EMERGENCY NEEDS OF OUR COMMUNITIES AND REALLY GETTING ROADS BACK OPEN AND DOING THINGS THAT NEED TO BE DONE TO RETURN SOME SENSE OF NORMALCY TOWARD COMMUNITIES. I THINK TO ANSWER YOUR QUESTION, IF WE REALLY FOCUS ON HOW WE NOT ONLY REBUILD AND REPLACE, BUT REPOSITION RURAL NEBRASKA WHILE WE’RE DOING THIS WORK, THERE CAN BE SOME GREAT BENEFIT FOR OUR COMMUNITIES.>>A LOT OF REBUILDING AND A LOT OF RECOVERY HEAD WITHOUT A DOUBT. NEBRASKA IS STRONG, RIGHT? WE’VE SEEN IT. THANK YOU BOTH FOR BEING WITH US ON SPEAKING NEBRASKA.>>THANK.>>THIS INTERVIEW AND TONIGHT’S PROGRAM ARE AVAILABLE ON OUR WEBSITE. JUST GO TO NETNEBRASKA.ORG/SPEAKI
NGOFNEBRAS KA.>>I BEEN A BUSY WEEK IN NEBRASKA LEGS AND HERE IS FRED TO TALK ABOUT IT. FRED, A LATE NIGHT ON MEDICAL MARIJUANA THIS WEEK. CAN YOU GIVE US SOME OF THE HIGHLIGHTS?>>THAT WAS A DEBATE ON A PROPOSAL TO LEGALIZE MEDICAL MARIJUANA FOR A LIST OF SPECIFIC CONDITIONS. PEOPLE WITH CANCER OR AIDS OR PARKINSON’S. OPPONENTS OF THE BILL EXPRESSED SYMPATHY, BUT SAID IT WAS A SLIPPERY SLOPE THAT WOULD LEAD TO OTHER DRUG USE. SO HERE IS WHAT SHE SAID FOLLOWED BY A RESPONSE FROM SENATOR JOHN LOWE WHO IS AN OPPONENT OF HER BILL.>>WHAT I’M CONCERNED ABOUT IS THE THE CANCER PATIENT WHO COMES THE MY OFFICE AND IS SELF MEDICATION INDICATING USING SOMETHING THEY BOUGHT I WILL LISTLY OFF OF THE STREETS WHERE YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT THE QUALITY OF THAT IS, OR HAVE THEY DRIVEN TO COLORADO AND THEY’RE COMING BACK, RISKING POTENTIALLY THEIR CRIMINAL RECORD AND THEY’RE USING RECREATIONAL CANNABIS AND THEY’RE NOT CONSULTING WITH A DOCTOR.>>THIS IS A SLIPPERY SLOPE. NO MATTER IF WE START OUT WITH A CONSERVATIVE MEDICAL MARIJUANA BILL, OR IF WE JUST GO DIRECTLY TO EVERYTHING, INCLUDE THE MUSHROOMS, THE MARIJUANA, AND EVERYTHING ELSE, WE’RE ON OUR WAY DOWN A BAD DIRECTION.>>SO THREE HOURS OF DEBATE ON THIS. WHERE DID THEY END UP?>>WELL, UNDER THE SPEAKER’S RULE, THERE WAS NO VOTE. IT WENT OFF THE AGENDA AND WOULD NOT COME BACK ON UNLESS THE SENATOR SAID SHE HAD ENOUGH VOTES TO OVERCOME A FILIBUSTER. SHE SAID SHE DOES NOT. SO THE NEXT STEP IS A PETITION DRIVE, WHICH SHE HAS ENDORSED TO PUT MEDICAL MARIJUANA ON THE NOVEMBER 2020 BLOT. IT COULD — BATTLE. IT COULD COMPLETE WITH ANOTHER BIGGEST WHICH WOULD LEGAL LIZ EVERY FORM OF CANNABIS, INCLUDING RECREATIONAL AND LEAD UP TO THE LEGISLATURE TO FLUSH OUT THE BILL.>>, ALSO THIS WEEK, SPEAKER SHEAR ANNOUNCED THAT THE LEGISLATIVE SESSION IS GOING TO END ON MAY 31 INSTEAD OF JUNE 6, ADJUSTING THE PREVIOUS SCHEDULE. WHAT KIND OF EFFECT IS THAT GOING TO HAVE ON THE LEGISLATION THAT IS STILL PENDING?>> THERE ARE TWO MAJOR PROPOSALS STILL PENDING. ONE IS AN ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT SLASH CORPORATE TAX INCENTIVE BILL, THE SPEAKER SAID HE HAS ENOUGH SUPPORT TO BRING IT BACK AFTER ONCE AGAIN THREE HOURS OF DEBATE. THE OTHER ONE IS THE MASSIVE TAX SHIFT SLASH SCHOOL FINANCING CHANGE THAT SENATOR LUNAHAN HAS PROPOSED. THAT ALSO HAD THREE HOURS OF DEBATE. IT’S QUESTIONABLE WHETHER THAT HAS ENOUGH SUPPORT TO COME BACK AGAIN, BUT NOW THERE’S TALK OF A SCALED DOWN PROPOSAL THAT WOULD JUST BE — IT WOULD GET RID OF THESE PROPOSED SALES TAX INCREASES OF HALF A CENT AND WOULD JUST BE I WILL NATURING SOME EXEMPTIONS THAT MIGHT RAY 100 MILLION, BUT IN A $4 BILLION PROPERTY TAX SYSTEM THAT IS ONLY 2-1/2% CHANGE. WE’LL SEE IF EVEN THAT INDICATED DOWN PROPOSAL HAS ENOUGH LEGS — LEGS TO MAKE IT.>>ONLY A COUPLE WEEKS LEFT. IS IT TOO EARLY TO SAY WHETHER THIS SESSION HAS BEEN A SUCCESS OR NOT?>> IT’S ALWAYS IN THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER. THE SPEAKER WHEN HE NOUNED THE SCHEDULE SHORT FLING HE SAID IT WAS A GOOD SESSION AND THEY’VE DONE A LOT OF GOOD WORK. I IMAGINE THERE WILL BE PEOPLE OUT THERE WHOSE PROPERTY TAXES ARE NOT BEING — [ INDISCERNIBLE ] — THAT MIGHT DISAGREE WITH THAT.>>THANKS, FRED.>>THANK YOU.>>AND BE SURE TO KEEP PACE WITH WHAT’S HAPPENING IN THE LEGISLATURE EACH DAY. LISTEN FOR FRED’S UPDATES ON NET RADIO AT 5:45 AND 7:45 WEEKDAY MORNINGS AND 5:45 IN THE EVENING. AND READ HIS STORIES EACH DAY ON OUR WEBSITE AT NETNEBRASKA.ORG/NEWS >>MORE THAN A BILLION POUNDS OF PESTICIDES ARE APPLIED EVERY YEAR ON US CROPS. TUNE INTO NET RADIO NEXT WEEK FOR THREE SIGNATURE STORIES FROM HARVEST PUBLIC MEDIA.>>MONDAY, A LOOK AT THE TOXIC CHEMICALS SOME FIELD WORKERS MAY BE EXPOSED TO. ON TUESDAY, HOW THE LAW MEANT TO PROTECT THOSE WORKERS FALLS SHORT. AND ON WEDNESDAY, MARIJUANA IS THE ONLY CROP IN AMERICA THAT HAS ZERO FEDERAL REGULATION ON PESTICIDE USE, LEAVING STATES TO CREATE THEIR OWN.>>LOOK FOR THOSE STORIES, AND ALL OUR STORIES, ONLINE AT NETNEBRASKA.ORG/NEWS. AND ON FACEBOOK AND TWITTER. JUST FOLLOW US AT “NET NEWS NEBRASKA.” >>THAT’S ALL FOR THIS WEEK ON “SPEAKING OF NEBRASKA.” THANKS TO BRYAN TUMA AND MAYOR JOSH MOENNING FOR JOINING US. ALSO BILL KELLY AND FRED KNAPP FOR THEIR REPORTING, AND ALL OF THOSE BEHIND THE SCENES WHO WORK TO BRING THIS SHOW TO YOU. NEXT WEEK WE’LL TAKE A LOOK AT TOURISM IN NEBRASKA. DID YOU KNOW IT’S THE THIRD LARGEST INDUSTRY IN OUR STATE? UNTIL THEN, I’M NET NEWS DIRECTOR DENNIS KELLOGG. THANK YOU FOR JOINING US.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *