CPD arrests 14 in campaign

COLUMBUS -- Columbus Police Department recently completed its participation in the statewide Click It or Ticket seat belt enforcement campaign.

The campaign resulted in a 68 percent seat belt compliance rate, up from 60 percent prior to the campaign. During the enforcement period the department made a total of 14 arrests ranging from drug violations and driving under the influence to active arrest warrants and driving under suspension. The department also issued 19 citations and 29 warnings for various violations.

CPD was awarded a $2,000 grant from the Nebraska Office of Highway Safety to pay for the overtime enforcement activity.

Holiday event at Cottonwood

COLUMBUS -- Cottonwood Place, 3271 29th Ave., invites the public to attend a holiday event from 1-6 p.m. Dec. 21.

Refreshments will be provided and holiday cookies and other treats will be available for purchase.

RSVP to Sharon by Dec. 19 at 402-562-9136.

Round-table event on recycling

COLUMBUS -- Recycling providers in the Columbus area will attend a public discussion from 4-6 p.m. Dec. 19 at Columbus Public Library.

Representatives from GreenFiber, Nebraska Recycling Council, Keep Columbus Beautiful, Schuyler Recycling and Central Community College's sustainability program will present and lead a discussion about current and future recycling opportunities in Columbus.

This round table is free and open to the public, and is intended to raise public awareness about the process of recycling, highlight recycling options in Columbus and show public support for a recycling program. Community involvement is encouraged.

Solar farm up and running

KEARNEY (AP) — The largest solar farm in Nebraska has started operations.

The 53-acre solar farm in Kearney was dedicated Monday. The system's nearly 22,500 solar panels will generate 5.8 megawatts of renewable energy, which is about 5 percent of the city's electrical demand.

The $11 million project is a partnership between the city, Nebraska Public Power District and Chicago-based SoCore Energy.

SoCore will sell energy to the power district, which will then sell it to customers in the area. The University of Nebraska at Kearney has already contracted for half of the farm's solar power.

The Kearney project is SoCore Energy's largest so far, according to Russell Young, the company's vice president of operations. The company has built hundreds of solar arrays, typically on the roofs of large buildings. The solar panel array in Kearney is nearly a half-mile long and 600 feet wide.

The company will likely build more large solar farms as the cost of building the arrays declines, Young said.

Kearney municipal leaders started exploring solar energy a few years ago after losing a bid for a $1 billion Facebook data center. Facebook opted for an Iowa location because of that bid's wind energy options.

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