Fremont area residents spent time on Sunday digging out from the Saturday’s deluge of snow.
Snowfall amounts for Fremont ranged from 10 to 11 inches. Wind whipped the white stuff into large drifts in various areas.
Local and area residents took various photos — from big drifts to adults working to clear paths across the white landscape to kids and dogs making the best of a snowy situation.
And while some folks may be ready to holler “S.O.S.” — Sick of Snow — and be longing for spring, the National Weather Service at Valley is forecasting a chance of snow on Wednesday and Thursday nights and Friday.
The first day of spring is March 20.
Judy Ekeler of Fremont has been elected to the Nebraska Foundation for the Humanities board of directors.
Humanities Nebraska provides opportunities for the public to engage in history and culture.
Ekeler was elected in January and is set for orientation in April. She appreciates the opportunity.
“I really believe in what the Humanities does,” she said. “A lot of Fremont institutions take advantage of Humanities speakers.”
Humanities Nebraska speakers have given presentations at the Louis E. May Museum in Fremont, Ekeler said.
They also have given programs under the Chautauqua tent during the John C. Fremont Days festival, in the Saunders County Historical Society Museum during Christmas on the Prairie in Wahoo, in the Swedish Heritage Center in Oakland – and many other locations.
Fremonter Cherrie Beam-Callaway and Jeff Kappeler of Valley are among presenters.
“I’ve been familiar with the work that the Humanities does and there are a lot of other programs that I’m just learning about,” Ekeler said, adding, “It’s something that’s so good for so many communities and it enables people in all parts of Nebraska to have access to those outstanding speakers and historians.”
Ekeler looks ahead to her service with the foundation.
“I am excited about it,” she said. “Ever since I retired from teaching, I’ve had the opportunity to be around so many people who are interested in history and historic preservation. I’ve had so many opportunities to serve in those areas and I feel really lucky to live in Fremont.”
Ekeler is a member of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution and Honorary State Regent of Nebraska DAR.
She is a past president and current first vice president of the Dodge County Historical Society and is a May Museum docent.
Ekeler has a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a master’s degree from the University of Nebraska at Omaha.
Following her retirement, her volunteer work in the Fremont area also has included: historical chair for JCF Days and serving on boards of the Fremont Area Hospital Foundation, Fremont Family YMCA and Friends of the Fremont Area Parks.
She is a member and past president of Chapter EX, P.E.O., and is a member of Colonial Dames XVII Century.
The Humanities foundation works with the Nebraska Humanities Council to raise private donations and advocate for public funding at the state and federal levels.
In a prepared statement, Humanities Nebraska stated that its core programs include major and mini grants for humanities-related projects in communities across the state.
Other core programs are the speakers’ bureau provides hundreds of presentations to libraries, schools and other community groups statewide.
Major programs also include: Prime Time; Family Reading Time; Capitol Forum on America’s Future for high school students studying global issues; Chautauqua summer history festival; touring exhibitions from the Smithsonian and more.
Eleker mentioned other programs: Museum on Main Street; Nebraska Warrior Writers; and partner programs such as History Day and State Poet.
Humanities Nebraska recently announced Ekeler’s election to the foundation board.
The Fremont Police Department, Dodge County Sheriff’s Office, and the Nebraska State Patrol, along with road crews, worked through Monday following Saturday’s blizzard.
FPD responded to several calls over the weekend including five complaints of stuck or stranded motorists and two car accidents. There were also complaints about snow-covered parked cars, plowed snow piling up and causing a hazard, and someone pushing snow from their driveway into the street.
The Dodge County Sheriff’s Office said they had a long list of entries in the call log. They said there were numerous calls of stranded vehicles as well as a few accidents. Many calls simply mentioned that drivers are not slowing down on the snow-covered roads throughout the county.
The heaviest snowfall was recorded just south of Wahoo with 12 inches covering Weston and Ceresco according to the National Weather Service. Fremont recorded 11 inches of snow while Hooper and Arlington each recorded 10 inches. Just over nine inches fell in Valley, Craig recorded 8 1/2 inches and West Point had just five inches.
The winter storm arrived in the area shortly after 1 p.m. on Saturday. Visibility was reduced to less than a city block in some cases as the snow was whipped by gusty winds, and many drivers were forced to stop on the side of the road to clear windshield wipers that couldn’t keep up with the ice building up on them.
The Nebraska State Patrol first closed I-80 between Gretna and Grand Island on Saturday afternoon because of numerous crashes along the 120-mile stretch, including one involving semis at the U.S. 77 South interchange in northwest Lincoln.
The interstate reopened at 11:30 a.m. Sunday after being shut down for nearly 20 hours between Lexington and the western edge of Omaha.
Conditions were similarly bad on state and U.S. highways in the area, and in many cases, travel times were two to three times what they normally would be.
The state patrol said troopers responded to large crashes at interstate mile markers 329, 355 and 409. Some of the crashes involved injuries, but the extent of those injuries was not immediately clear.
The first large crash occurred at about 2:45 p.m. east of York, involving an estimated 30 vehicles, including at least 15 semis. An ambulance from the Waco Volunteer Fire Department was hit while responding to the accident, according to a post on the Waco Volunteer Fire Department Facebook page.
There were six first responders in the ambulance when it was struck by a semi. Four of them were taken to a local hospital for evaluation, and two were transferred to a trauma unit for treatment. One had successful surgery Sunday, while the other had surgery scheduled. The post said both patients were in the intensive care unit but stable Sunday night.
At about 3:10 p.m., a crash near Aurora involved approximately 15 vehicles, including 10 semis, and at least 50 vehicles became stranded behind that crash and had to be escorted off the interstate.
There were also an estimated 25 vehicles, including about 15 semis, involved in a crash near Waverly at about 4 p.m. Saturday. No significant injuries were reported in that crash.
The Fremont City Council will consider two resolutions which would provide a total of $700,000 in economic development loans for RTG Medical’s new planned office facility within the Gallery 23 East development.
The application for a $600,000 loan was submitted for the purpose of developing a new office facility for RTG Medical, a medical staffing agency focused on contracting travel and permanent healthcare professionals.
The request for a $600,000 LB840 loan is tied to a proposal by WLG Fremont to construct the 54,000 square foot building in which RTG would be the sole tenant. The total cost of the building project is estimated at $16 million, according to information provided within a staff report authored by City of Fremont Grant Coordinator Lottie Mitchell.
WLG Fremont, LLC is a limited liability company formed by DANA Partnership, LLP and RTG Medical. DANA Partnership, LLP is a private equity investment firm with a focus on real estate development.
Terms of the proposed loan include a total of $600,000 at zero percent interest. The loan would also be forgiven over a 60 month period subject to RTG increasing its workforce by 50 full-time equivalent employees. It would also be contingent on an executed lease agreement for no less than five years between RTG Medical and WLG Fremont.
Both the Local Option Review Team (LORT) and Citizen Action Review Committee (CARC) voted to recommend the requested loan during meetings on Feb. 19 and 20 respectively.
The LB840 loan fund is designed for the purposes of creating new jobs, expanding the labor market, retaining existing jobs, attracting new capital investment, broadening the tax base, and providing economic diversification.
Along with the requested $600,000 LB840 loan, WLG Fremont is also requesting a $100,000 loan from the city’s Economic Enhancement Fund. The funds are budgeted and generated annually by the Department of Utilities for economic development projects.
The terms of the $100,000 Economic Enhancement loan are similar to the LB840 loan, including a zero percent interest rate and is forgivable over a 60 month period subject to RTG increasing its workforce by 50 full-time equivalent employees.
It is also contingent upon an executed lease agreement between RTG and WLG for at least five years, a loan guarantee by RTG Medical and its ownership in WLG Fremont.
The Utility and Infrastructure Board reviewed the application on February 26 and voted to recommend approval of the loan application.
Other notable items on the Fremont City Council agenda include:
- A resolution on the city’s One and Six Year Street Improvement Plan.
- A resolution being brought forward by Councilmember Glen Ellis to accept the SlingStudio device video solution recommendation and authorize the City’s IT Department to purchase up to $3,000.00 of equipment necessary to facilitate video streaming of city council meeting.
- The final reading of an ordinance amending sections of Chapter 2 of the Municipal Code to adopt public comment period during city council meetings.
The full city council agenda can be found online at fremontne.gov/agendacenter. The City Council meeting is set for 7 p.m. on Feb. 26 within the City Council Chambers at 400 E. Military Avenue.
A body was found in Fremont on Monday, according to the Fremont Police Department. No foul play is suspected and no autopsy was ordered, police said.
The fire department and police department were both dispatched to a residence in the 1400 block of Bristolwood Drive at around 10:15 a.m. on Monday morning, where a body had been found in the backyard.
A subsequent investigation showed that the body was that of the homeowner of the property.
No additional information was immediately available.