Platte County Dive & Rescue

Justin Grant, left, and Christopher Spale, Platte Count Sheriff's Office deputies and members of the Platte County Dive & Rescue team, pose for a photo on Wednesday beside the front of their rescue boat. The front end is equipped with an iron triangular bar and hooks used for dragging lake and river floors during body recovery missions.

1. "Servant's heart: Gokie takes pride in helping community" (July 13)

Jeff Gokie was only a senior in high school when he started up his first business as a way to make some money and solve a community-wide problem.

His idea was to design and install underground sprinkler systems in his hometown of Atkinson after overhearing in a relative’s machine shop how it was a pain for residents to get someone from Omaha to make the nearly four-hour trek to the north-central Nebraska community.

Read the full story, here: https://bit.ly/2XMKeuk

2. "Big Boy" steam engine attracts crowd" (July 12)

Hundreds of people made their way to the downtown area on Friday morning to catch Union Pacific’s “Big Boy” engine roll through town briefly, but it was nothing compared to Geoffrey and Fatinha Kerr.

The duo traveled 4,441 miles from Mafra, Portugal, to Columbus, part by plane and the rest by RV, in order to get a glimpse of newly restored Big Boy No. 4014, which is the world’s largest steam locomotive. The Kerrs retired overseas, but each year take two to three months to vacation in America. This year, they decided to follow “Big Boy” due to their passion for trains that have been part of his family for generations.

“Railroading is deep in my family’s history,” Geoffrey said. “My grandfather graduated from the University of Glasgow and moved to Oregon and was the lead engineer on designing the Cascade Tunnel which at the time was the longest tunnel ever done back in the 1920s or ’30s. He had a memorial to him that was given by the Great Northern. It goes way back in history. My father was in charge of the Pennsylvania Railroad during World War II.”

Read the full story, here: https://bit.ly/2LVFn7C

3. "Platte County Dive and Rescue aims to improve equipment" (July 10)

It's common knowledge among the 10 or so Platte County Dive & Rescue team members that their equipment is a little outdated.

The joint-departmental team comprised of members of the Platte County Sheriff’s Office, as well as the Columbus Police and Fire departments, was founded in 1984. And the vast majority of the equipment used by the squad on rescue and recovery missions dates back decades all the way to the group’s inception.

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But with most search, rescue and recovery missions, the equipment remains proficient - it even upheld during the catastrophic March flooding. Still, PCSO deputies/Dive & Rescue team members Christopher Spale and Justin Grant said that if the county is ever underwater again they – and the rest of their team – want to ensure that they have the best equipment possible to carry out their jobs and save lives.

Read the full story, here: https://bit.ly/2YVjJUP

4. "Roads, bridges need repair: Moser tours county, sees progress" (July 10)

State Sen. Mike Moser’s first year serving in the Nebraska Legislature was a little bit of trial by fire.

The former Columbus mayor did his homework, but there were definitely some unknowns lying on the horizon. With this Legislative session wrapping up at the end of May, and the new session not starting until January 2020, Moser has had a little bit of time to reflect.

“There are a lot of moving parts in the state, and we had to get a budget figured out, and then we had the flood right in the middle of that,” Moser said Wednesday afternoon. “So it’s definitely been a daunting project getting up to speed.”

Read the full story, here: https://bit.ly/2XI8gLL

5. "Local environmental firm awarded grant to complete work on Indian reservation" (July 12)

Biologist Mike Gutzmer is a hands-on kind of guy who enjoys nothing more than getting outside and interacting with nature.

Gutzmer, principal and owner of Columbus-based New Century Environmental (NCE), has spent years of his life providing an assortment of professional environmental services in Platte County and beyond. While he certainly prefers being outside getting his hands dirty, Gutzmer readily acknowledged that there are aspects of his chosen career path which aren’t always the most enjoyable.

The politics and grant writing and behind-the-scenes work can take its toll sometimes, but ultimately, some of the less appealing aspects of his occupation are the ones that pay the highest dividends – like when it results in NCE receiving a hard-to-come-by grant from the federal government.

Read the full story, here: https://bit.ly/2JATdec

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