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150th celebration offers chance to share in success
If we weren't already convinced we live in a great state, there were a couple of national stories within the last few days that should finish the job.
For one, Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo, always ranked as one of the best, was approved to receive elephants imported from drought-ravaged regions in Africa. No small accomplishment in light of the current political climate.
For another, Lincoln got national attention as part of the "Silicon Prairie," with Des Moines and Kansas City, an effective and economical place to incubate high-tech industries. (That CBS story can be viewed here.
Lest we feel neglected in this end of the state, we've got a golden opportunity to join in a celebration of Nebraska's success and potential for the future.
We've got one year from today to prepare for the celebration of Nebraska's 150th birthday, the sesquicentennial of statehood, March 1, 2017.
Some of us remember Nebraska's Centennial celebration of 1967, when men grew beards, everyone dressed in vintage clothes, kids did pioneer skits and we celebrated our history.
Some of the same activities are going on today, but modern technology will tie the state together like never before.
Gov. Pete Ricketts and First Lady Susanne Shore announced the Nebraska 150 Celebration, which will officially begin Jan. 1, 2017. That includes a website, www.ne150.org, to provide regular updates on activities and initiatives.
"This is a celebration meant for all Nebraskans," Shore said. "Through the Nebraska 150 Celebration, we are going to bridge communities and individuals to form a greater overall community, build stronger connections between Nebraskans and their state, and help to create an enhanced sense of pride in Nebraska."
Some of the activities already planned:
* Statehood Day celebrations in Lincoln March 1, 2017.
* A three-day Whistle Stop Tour Across Nebraska sponsored by the Union Pacific Railroad.
* A traveling exhibit by the Omaha Children's Museum.
* Visits by fourth graders to the state capitol.
* One State, One Book distributions of free books about Willa Cather and Chief Standing Bear to Nebraska high school and elementary students with accompanying curriculum.
* eNErgize Nebraska, a web-based fitness challenge with mobile app to encourage Nebraskans to walk, run, bike or swim 150 miles or more in 2017.
* Impact Nebraska to encourage volunteers to engage in 150 hours or more of service in 2017 and track progress through a web-based program.
* The Nebraska Atlas project to provide workbooks, by Wayne State College Professor Dr. Randy Bertolas, and curriculum that highlights fun information about our state for every fourth grader.
* Preserving Our History, an oral history project through the Nebraska State Historical Society.
* A "Sesquicentennial Spectacular Celebration" in Lincoln featuring a parade, light show, fireworks, music, art and more.
* A Tree Planting Initiative through the Arbor Day Foundation.
* Special Veterans Day celebrations supported by private donations and supported by the Nebraska 150 celebration.
Now for our part.
Communities, organizations, schools, businesses, government entities and others with ongoing parades, festivals, fairs, programs and events can apply to become officially recognized sesquicentennial events.
The application form is available at www.ne150.org
Check out greetings from our congressional delegation here.