You have permission to edit this article.
Edit

Benefits of wind energy

As wind energy projects continue to be debated in this corner of the state, we can’t help but take note of what’s happening in O’Neill this year.

O’Neill Public School officials recently provided an update on a $13 million building project that will break ground in July.

The district is using a lease-purchase agreement to finance the project and has hired Davis Design and Hausmann Construction to complete the design and construction.

All kinds of improvements are planned, including construction of a science wing, a Center for Teaching and Learning and special education rooms to replace modular classrooms. New administration offices also are in the plans as well as construction of additional classrooms, gymnasium, locker rooms and band and choir room. That’s a pretty impressive plan.

The connection to wind energy? It comes via the fact that property tax revenue from the large Grande Prairie Wind Farm in Holt County is serving to ease considerably the tax increase needed to complete the project.

There’s a tangible example of how rural areas — which often struggle to create jobs and add to their tax base — can benefit from the growing presence of wind energy in Northeast and North Central Nebraska.

How about something a bit harder to specifically quantify? Currently in this corner of the state, there are either wind farms under construction or soon to begin. As the year progresses, it’s estimated that there will be at least 400-plus construction workers hard at it on those projects — and will be for numerous months.

That translates into additional revenue for restaurants, convenience stories, motels and a variety of retailers. No one may be able to exactly come up with the total of economic benefits, but they’re real — and they’re large.

With wind energy continuing to be a topic of discussion and debate, we see counties in Northeast and North Central Nebraska taking various approaches. Some have put out the “Not welcome” sign, or are considering doing so. Others are more open to the presence of the turbines on the landscape.

It’s for each county and its residents to decide what’s best for them, but we certainly hope the economic aspect of the issue get its full consideration.

In other news

The “minefield” that used to await us as we stepped out onto the deck has disappeared. It’s been safe for two days now. Safe … but sad.

Did you know that Nebraska was the 17th state out of the 48 total in 1919 who allowed women to vote? That was pretty forward thinking for a state located far from the so called "academia" of the east.

During the current worldwide pandemic, Mason Cooley's quote, “Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are,” is ever more meaningful. We are facing a fall and winter of COVID-19, the flu and severe weather with social distancing and isolation that could do harm to our p…

A common question going around is, “Do you wear a mask on a regular basis?” My standpoint on this question varies. Personally for myself, I choose when the “right” situations come to wear a mask. I also believe that people should choose whether they want to wear masks or not. Therefore, I do…

Masks are a huge topic of debate right now, especially when it comes to whether we should have a mandate or not. I, for one, feel like at this point in time we do need a mask mandate. A mask mandate forces people to have to wear them places. Along with having this mandate, I feel that masks …

The bell rings and school is out. Everyone gets their hands spritzed with hand sanitizer, and then they’re gone. The once socially- distanced students begin to file out of the classrooms in herds, meeting up with their friend groups for practice. The murmurings in the hall sound excited, fea…

I remember when we first learned about the COVID-19 pandemic. I didn’t think it was real or could do any damage. I scoffed at the idea of wearing masks and thought it would all blow over within a week. I was wrong.

Who would have thought that last fall we would be debating the wearing of masks? But here we are, in the middle of a pandemic, polarized as a country, a state and even at a community level, on the wearing and effectiveness of masks. Science shows it’d be a safe and smart idea for masks to be…

Appeara

The mural decorating the back wall of Roxi’s Elegant Bridal in downtown Norfolk is one of three that will be completed before the snow flies.

While flowers in gardens and porch pots are gasping for breath, the flowers behind Roxie’s Elegant Bridal on Norfolk Avenue are in full bloom.

-