A call-in via teleconferencing or using the video software Zoom, were like golden tickets this morning for the weekly Hebron Chamber Coffee that has hit a couple of scheduled bumps in the road because of the novel coronavirus.
An email last week that the 8:30 a.m., coffee was going to be accessible in two ways, and safe, according to virus guidelines, couldn’t have begun to describe the positive atmosphere brought by those in attendance.
Dennis Dye drew the group into the city’s concern for businesses that are or will eventually be negatively affected by the coronavirus. He is the LB840 committee administrator with Karla Joe as the chair. Karla worked on the application for LB840 emergency relief in the form of a grant for up to $3,000.
The story actually goes much further back as city clerk Jana Tietjen told her story this morning at the coffee, saying she was surprised when she discovered a large business in Hebron had to downsize because of the virus.
It struck her that smaller businesses would have an even tougher time, and Jana talked to everyone she could think of — Mayor Doug Huber, the governor’s office who referred her to Sen. Tom Brandt, and Cong. Adrian Smith, to use the LB840 funds for businesses that can use it. Smith told her that was the great thing about LB840 as long as the process fit within the LB840 guidelines.
Turns out it does and now people are contacting Jana on the concept. Fairbury reached out to her, and the application and information was sent to the Nebraska Department of Economic Development.
Rita said it was a group effort with ideas to bring to the table and put them into action.
The emergency application for funds is available on the City of Hebron website, https://www.hebronnebraska.us/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=169. Just click for it. Rita Luongo said using the funds for emergency purposes is a bright concept and the urgency of the coronavirus is going to take a lot of people “thinking outside the box.”
“You can make a difference if you work together,” Rita said.
That wasn’t the end of the positive news coming from the coffee group — Rita went on to say the city had received the MAXIMUM amount of the Civic and Community Center Financing Fund grant for the New Aquatic Facility Project in Hebron.
The City of Hebron had originally announced the news, but the story behind it comes from coffee talk.
Yes, the entire $562,000 was granted for Hebron’s new pool with a formal notice of approval by the director of the Community Development Division, Steve Charleston, on behalf of the state economic development director, Anthony Goins.
Rita didn’t leave anyone out as she thanked Liz Cody from Southeast Nebraska Development District and JEO Consulting, Inc., for their efforts in completing the grant, not to mention the numerous letters of support from the community, which makes more than a dent when considering to award such a grant, and what a stack of letters it was, as it outnumbered the allowable number for letters of support. The committee sent them anyway.
If the coronavirus put a damper on fundraising for the pool project, the people involved aren’t too concerned because they’re chasing more grants and checking some things out in the recently signed CARES Act that targets fundraising activities.
Coffee talk is the place, and now online group, to learn the back stories and sneak peeks into Hebron happenings, like the Girl Scout troop that will “egg” yards in a fun way.
Next week, the coffee talk will feature Thayer Central, April 8 at 8:30 a.m., To join via teleconferencing or video, email CFangmeier@southeast.edu.