MADISON — The James and Neva Winters family received a special recognition award earlier this week at the Madison County Fair here.

Nebraskans preserve and protect the 50 million acres of land that make up the state. 135,000 of those acres in 13 Nebraska counties helped establish what is now the University of Nebraska-Lincoln

In Madison County, 2,240 acres of unclaimed land in the mid-1800s were granted by the federal government to Nebraska. The law specified that profits from the sale or lease of this land would be used to open the university.

The James and Neva Winters family purchased 320 acres of the unclaimed land in 1866 that helped establish the University of Nebraska. They are the first family to have received special recognition for their part in establishing the University of Nebraska.

The land has been in the Winters family for 153 years and this year marks 150 years since UNL first welcomed students in Lincoln.

In other news

LINCOLN — Gov. Pete Ricketts announced Thursday he has made appointments, including several Northeast and North Central Nebraskans, to fill Nebraska’s boards and commissions.

Beginning Monday, July 29, West Norfolk Avenue between what’s known as Emergency Road and 27th Street will be closed to traffic due to the construction of the skywalk connecting Faith Regional’s new South Medical Office Building with its existing west campus.

State health officials have confirmed the death of a woman in North Central Nebraska from West Nile virus.