News 2008 May 2008

Press tour offers insight into Nebraska arts & culture

Writers will see both modern and historical art

LINCOLN, NEB. (May 21, 2008)—This fall, The Nebraska Department of Economic Development’s Travel and Tourism Division invites writers to immerse themselves in the state’s richly sophisticated arts scene. The Nebraska Arts & Culture Press Tour, to take place Sept. 4-7, 2008, invites media to visit Omaha, Lincoln, Winnebago and Brownville—all communities within eastern Nebraska—and experience firsthand the state’s burgeoning and diverse art community, learn about its artistic past and experience its lively cultural fabric. 

The tour begins the evening of September 4 with a welcome reception at the new Magnolia boutique hotel, located in the heart of downtown Omaha.  The tour continues with planned visits to Omaha’s Bemis Center for Contemporary Art in the historic Old Market district, Joslyn Art Museum and Durham Museum. Media can look forward to exploring two of Omaha’s revitalized gem neighborhoods, North Downtown (or NODO as it’s come to be known) and Benson, and visiting galleries and other attractions including the famous Saddle Creek Records’ new concert venue, Slowdown, in these burgeoning areas. Along the way, look forward to chatting with local artists, art organizers, Nebraska Arts Council staff and others important to Nebraska’s thriving arts community.

A visit to Nebraska’s capitol city, Lincoln, will include a  tour of the Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery on the  University of Nebraska-Lincoln city campus and the city’s historic Haymarket district, home of monthly “First Friday” art openings.  We’ll visit a handful of openings, take in some fine art and talk with some of Lincoln’s artists before returning to Omaha.

One day will include your choice of a visit to historic Brownville or the Winnebago village on the Winnebago Indian Reservation. Each destination is about one hour outside of Omaha. Brownville is a community that thrives on its artistic heritage, with many of its residents making their living through quaint businesses—most arts related—on the town’s main street. The town earned the designation of “Booktown USA”—one of only four in the U.S. to do so—and though it has only 146 residents, it is home to four bookstores.

Our destination in Winnebago is the Woodland Trails Arts Center, a newly developed destination that includes gallery spaces, artist studios, performance area, and classrooms that are home to numerous educational programs. Started by twenty-something entrepreneur Garan Coons, the space is igniting the development of similar businesses and enterprises in a community once devoid of any arts organization that celebrated its Native American heritage.

For more information on the press tour, or to get your sign-up packet, please email Sarah Baker at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call her at (402) 326-4896. Application materials are also available at www.VisitNebraska.org in the Press Room section of the site. Application deadline is August 1, 2008.


FOR INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Sarah Baker at 800-228-4307, 402-471-3797, or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Approximately $1.5 million available for second round of rehabilitation program

Applications accepted June 1-July 25
LINCOLN, NEB. (May 15, 2008)—Eligible local governments are encouraged to take advantage of the opportunity to apply for a second round of approximately $1.5 million in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds to be awarded in the housing owner-occupied rehabilitation category.  The Nebraska Department of Economic Development will only accept applications from June 1 to July 25, 2008, based on the U.S. Postal Service postmark, or official date of receipt via other means of delivery.
Applicants with eligible applications submitted in the first round may have projects considered in Round 2 by contacting Brian Gaskill at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or by submitting an application during the Round 2 cycle.  Communities that are participating in the Department’s Comprehensive Revitalization program are not eligible to apply. 

Each application must be for an owner-occupied rehabilitation program to serve low-and-moderate-income households in that single community. Funds will be awarded by selecting the highest scoring application in each of the Nebraska Affordable Housing Program Investment Zones:  Northeast, Southeast, Central and West.  The remaining funds will be awarded to the remaining highest scoring applications regardless of geographic location.

The application guidelines are available at http://www.neded.org/nebraska-affordable-housing-trust-fund-library-and-forms titled “2008 Annual Application Cycle Chapter 6 – Owner Occupied Rehabilitation”.

Applicants needing technical assistance should contact their Regional Housing Specialist:
•Northeast – Cassie Seagren – 402-471-4296 – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
•Southeast – Paula Rhian – 402-471-3760 – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
•Central – Pat Compton – 308-865-6511 – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
•West – Kristi McClung – 308-889-3420 – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

For information, contact:  Brian Gaskill at 800-426-6505, 402-471-2280, or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.           

FOR INFORMATION CONTACT
Patty Wood at 800-426-6505, 402-471-1559, or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

$871,791 awarded for housing as part of South Sioux City’s Liberty Place development

SOUTH SIOUX CITY, NEB. (May 12, 2008)—The Nebraska Department of Economic Development (DED) has awarded $871,791 in Nebraska Affordable Housing Trust Funds (NAHTF) to the Community Development Agency of South Sioux City to construct 48 rental units for individuals and families as part of the new Liberty Place development.

In addition to the NAHTF money, $3,953,914 in CRANE low-income housing tax credit is being invested through the Collaborative Resource Allocation in Nebraska (CRANE) process. The project also includes $675,500 from Horizon Bank of Waverly and Superior, Neb., $450,000 from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Topeka, $182,659 from Region IV (LB40A), $173,015 in Deferred Developer Fees, $30,000 HOME funds from South Sioux City, $20,000 from Cardinal Housing Fund, and $500 in general partner equity.

Liberty Place will feature 21 one-bedroom units in a triplex design, 14 two-bedroom units in a duplex design, and 13 three-bedroom single-family homes. The one-bedroom units will be reserved for clients of Heartland Counseling, Inc., earning 50 percent of the area median income (each triplex will feature a small community/counseling room) and accessible off W. 25th Street.

The remaining two-bedroom units and single-family homes, to be rented to elderly residents and families earning 60 percent of the area median income, will be located along a cul-de-sac off Willow Street. Monthly rents for all 48 units will range from $450-750. The single-family homes will be offered on a rent-to-own basis. The Center for Siouxland will provide homebuyer education and counseling.

Partners in the project include South Sioux City, South Sioux City Community Development Agency, Housing Agency of South Sioux City, Heartland Counseling, Center for Siouxland, Prime Agency, L.L.C., Lemars, Iowa, which will manage the property, and Prime-Fallesen Development, LLC, Lincoln, Neb., which designed the development.

For project information, contact Lance Hedquist, city administrator, at 402-494-7517, email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

FOR INFORMATION CONTACT
Patty Wood at 800-426-6505, 402-471-1559, email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Discover Nebraska this summer

25th annual Tourism Week celebrates the travel industry

LINCOLN, NEB. (May 12, 2008)—Many Nebraskans have already taken advantage of some of the vacation activities throughout the state: top-notch hiking and biking, growing cities, a calendar full of summer events to suit anyone’s fancy and affordability that’s second to none.

For those who haven’t yet experienced the fun that comes with a Nebraska vacation, now’s the time to find out. Here’s a few good reasons:

  • AAA recently named Nebraska one of the top five most affordable vacation destinations in the United States, with average daily vacation costs for a family of four well below the national average.
  • May 10-18 marks the 25th Annual National Tourism Week, a time dedicated to celebrating – and learning about – tourism opportunities throughout the United States. This year’s theme, “Discover Great American Traditions,” is perfect for Nebraska. Learn about our state’s history along the Mormon and Oregon Trails. Follow in the Footsteps of Lewis and Clark in eastern Nebraska. Tour the majestic state capital building in Lincoln. Learn about the history of transportation at the Great Platte River Road Archway near Kearney.
  • Take advantage of Nebraska Tourism’s Group Travel Planner or Road Trip planners online. Find a day trip near your home and get there and back on one tank of gas. Find an event in a small community near your home and mark the calendar now. Go to www.VisitNebraska.org for more information and start planning your trip today.
  • Tourism is a great way to support the economy. Nationwide, the U.S. travel industry directly employees 7.5 million people, generates payroll of $178 billion and tax revenues of about $110 billion. The Travel Industry of America ranks travel fifth among 20 major private industry sectors. Visitors to the U.S. spent more here than U.S. residents traveling abroad, creating a positive balance of trade of $8.3 billion for the national economy. Travel expenditures within the United States total $740 billion. If you don’t have your free 2008 Nebraska Travel Guide, now’s the time to order or download your copy from Nebraska’s one-stop tourism shop, www.VisitNebraska.org. There you can find road trip planners, view photo galleries and download fun activities to keep kids busy on the road to your Nebraska vacation.

FOR INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Sarah Baker at 800-228-4307, 402-471-3797, or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Nebraska supports “Invest in America”

LINCOLN, NEB. (May 12, 2008)—All Nebraska businesses are encouraged to celebrate the Invest in America Initiative, which promotes investing in the U.S. by highlighting the many advantages, and countering any misconceptions of potential investors. Invest in America is the brainchild of the U.S. Department of Commerce through the International Trade Administration.

“Hand’s down, our state has greatly benefited from those subsidiaries of foreign firms that have expanded here in terms of the numbers of people they employ, the outstanding wages they pay, the percentage of goods they export, the money they’ve spent on research and development, and how much of their profits they’ve reinvested here,” said Richard Baier, director of the Nebraska Department of Economic Development.

In 2007, there were 277 companies of foreign origin with facilities in Nebraska ranging from agriculture, banking and finance, insurance, manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, transportation, travel accommodations, and warehousing, among others.

Some of these corporations have benefited from the tax incentives available through the Nebraska Advantage Act.

“The Nebraska Advantage package has made a competitive difference in our economic landscape. Businesses using the credits are investing in our communities and people. The jobs and investment that this package offers impacts Nebraska’s rural and urban, small and large businesses across the board,” said Baier.

In mid-September, the state will hold its first reverse trade mission where interested foreign companies can learn more about opportunities here that include introductions to potential customers, sourcing companies, joint venture partners, and emerging technologies; and tours of companies specializing in alternative energy, distribution and logistics, medical and research, agriculture, finance and insurance, and information technologies.

Nationally, U.S. subsidiaries of foreign firms employ 5.1 million American workers, support an annual payroll of $324.5 billion, and pay on average 32 percent higher wages than U.S. firms. U.S. subsidiaries of foreign firms also account for 19 percent of total U.S. exports of goods ($153.9 billion), and in 2005 reinvested $59 billion of their profits back into the U.S. economy.

FOR INFORMATION CONTACT
Patty Wood at 800-426-6505, 402-471-1559, or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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