Valley County Wins Two Awards

Ord and Valley County were big winners last night at the 47th Annual Nebraska Community Improvement Program Awards Banquet.  Ord won “Most Creative Website” from the Websites for Growth Award, an effort to recognize excellence in digital media.  Also, Valley County won a Special Award in Technology, Infrastructure & Planning for the new hospital building project.  The banquet was part of the Governor’s Conference on Rural Development, a day-long education, training and networking conference on rural development.

You can read the Nebraska Department of Economic Development’s full press release below.  Congrats to Ord, Valley County and all the rest of the awards winners from last night!


Communities, counties celebrated during 47th NCIP awards banquet

(KEARNEY, NEB.) – Community volunteers and leaders celebrated their efforts at successfully promoting and encouraging economic and community development as part of the 47th Annual Nebraska Community Improvement Program (NCIP) awards banquet in Kearney. The event capped the Third Annual Governor’s Conference on Rural Development.

NCIP awards reflect outstanding community and economic development projects. A program of the Nebraska Department of Economic Development, NCIP is sponsored by Black Hills Corporation, Ag Processing Inc., First National Bank of Nebraska, including First National Bank North Platte, Platte Valley State Bank and Trust Company-Kearney, First National Bank and Trust-Columbus, and Fremont National Bank and Trust Company, Union Pacific Railroad Company, Dawson Public Power District, NMPP Energy, Hemingford Cooperative Telephone Company, Kearney Visitors Bureau, Consolidated Companies, Nebraska Public Power District and Nebraska Community Foundation.

Following are the 2010 award winners:

The Otto Hoiberg Award for top overall community development went to Scribner. This year alone, volunteers logged more than 1,400 hours on various projects. These included a playground addition to the Scribner-Snyder Sports Complex, a redevelopment project that cleaned up condemned residential and commercial properties, and a youth fundraising project for the Rainbow House in association with Omaha Children’s Hospital. Other significant projects included development of an industrial park and construction of a new day care facility.

The Good Neighbor Award, presented to a community that has assisted, supported and encouraged a neighboring community or region, went to Wauneta. After Imperial’s swimming pool closed for repairs, Wauneta offered its pool as a practice facility for Imperial’s high school swim team and for swim meets. The village also employed lifeguards from Imperial to staff the pool.

The Founders Award, which honors outstanding intergovernmental projects in Nebraska went to Wahoo in recognition of the partnership between the organizations that contributed to construction of Lake Wanahoo, a large flood control reservoir. Earning recognition were The City of Wahoo, Saunders County, Lower Platte North Natural Resource District, the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, Nebraska Department of Roads, Nebraska Environmental Trust, Nebraska Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Game and Wildlife Service, and the Environmental Protection Agency. Construction commenced in October 2008 and wrapped up this past August 31.

The Marilyn Ristine Leadership Award went to Jerry Johnson from Wahoo. Johnson has been involved in NCIP programs in several communities through the years. In 1974, he chaired the Gothenburg Community Improvement Association. From 1978-1981, he led the Dorchester Community Improvement Program. After moving to Wahoo, he reinstated NCIP in 2004 and held the chair position until 2009. As an NCIP Advisory Board member, Johnson has actively promoted communities and volunteered as an NCIP judge for the past six years. The award, named in memory of Marilyn Ristine (1928-1992), an outstanding community leader in Gothenburg, was created in 1993 to recognize a long-time, community volunteer who exhibited exemplary leadership qualities.

The Youth Leadership for Outstanding Community Service Award recognizes outstanding youth who develop and lead projects and peers for the betterment of their communities. Following are this year’s youth leader awardees in their respective NCIP population categories:

Class I: Jason Buchli, Alexandria

Class II: Kayla Piper, Scribner

Class III: Thomas Sullivan, Imperial

Class IV: Sydney Swanson, Alliance

Class V: Andrew Sorsen, Seward

Governor’s Community Spirit Awards, given for overall excellence in community and economic development, were presented as follows:

Class I: (Pop. 1-700) 1st—Bassett. 2nd—Wolbach. 3rd—Farnam.

Class II: (Pop. 701-1,100) 1st—Scribner. 2nd—Henderson. 3rd—Pawnee City.

Class III: (1,101-4,000) 1st—Ainsworth. 2nd—Imperial. 3rd—Hartington.

Class IV: (Pop. 4,001-plus) 1st—Wahoo. 2nd—Seward. 3rd—Nebraska City.

Class V: (Multi-Community)  1st—Pawnee County. 2nd–Seward County.

This year’s 2010 NCIP Special Award Recipients are:

Volunteer & Leadership Development
Class I: Wolbach – Alumni Cookbook
Class II: Deshler – Intergenerational Memorial Day in Deshler
Class III: Imperial – Meeting of the Minds
Class IV: Nebraska City – Community Development Committee—Formalization and Growth
Class V: Seward County—Volunteers and Volunteer Leadership Projects—Special Projects

Youth Involvement & Leadership Development
Class I: Bassett – Rock County Youth Leadership Class
Class II: Scribner – FCCLA Project—Children’s Hospital Fundraiser
Class III: Gothenburg – ABLE Elementary Vehicle Day
Class IV: Wahoo – Wahoo Middle School Unity Council

Business Assistance & Development
Class I: Farnam – New Business
Class II: Scribner – Growing with Leaps & Bounds Child Enrichment Center
Class III: Imperial – Cornerstone Development Project
Class IV: Wahoo – Saunders County Lost Pets

Tourism Promotion & Development
Class I: Bassett – Sandhills Ranch Expo
Class II:  Henderson – School House at Henderson Mennonite Heritage Park
Class III: Gothenburg – History – A Window Into the Past for Future Generations
Class IV: Alliance – Dobby’s Frontier Town
Class V: Pawnee County – Pawnee County Back Roads Tour

Workforce Development
Class III: Ainsworth – Future in the Hands of Our Youth
Class V: Cedar County – We Have It All In Cedar County

Technology, Infrastructure & Planning
Class II: Henderson – Hospital Expansion Project at Henderson Health Care Services, Inc.
Class III: Ainsworth – Vision 2023: Citizens Create Strategic Plan
Class IV: Seward – Project Band Shell Phase II: Benches
Class V: Valley County – Valley County Health System Replacement Hospital

Parks, Recreation & Environmental Awareness
Class I:  Union – Union’s Clean Up & Green Up
Class I Honorable Mention:  Alexandria – Pony Express Park Picnic Shelter Renovation
Class II:  Laurel  – Community Beautification Through Landscaping
Class III (tie): Geneva – the Secret Garden, and Atkinson – Atkinson Lake Park
Class IV:  Nebraska City – Nebraska City Green Coalition – Community Garden
Class V: Gering/Scottsbluff – From Spare Parts to Library Arts

Arts & Humanities
Class I: Bassett – Bassett History DVDs
Class II: Pawnee City – AmericCorps Helping Museum
Class III (tie): Gothenburg – Things are Popping at the Sun, and Imperial – Quasquicentennial Celebration
Class IV: Alliance – Knight Museum and Sandhills Center

Community Services
Class I: Wolbach – Soup Cook Off Fundraiser for Community Center

For information or to obtain a script from the awards ceremony, contact: Christina Bartels at 800-426-6505 or



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