Several Iowa and Nebraska lawmakers have scored high on the number of listening sessions they are holding during this summer recess.
Wednesday, 20 August 2014 09:31
The website Legistorm, which tracks various aspects of Congress, said in a post that it had found 418 in-person, town-hall-style events scheduled for August. It listed the top 15 lawmakers with the most scheduled events.
With 14 events, Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb., tied for third with Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., behind a couple of House members.
Two Iowa Republicans made the list: Rep. Steve King with 10 events and Sen. Chuck Grassley with eight. Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, R-Neb., made the list with seven events.
Fischer aides touted the list and her frequent listening sessions. They also noted that she made a top 10 list for August 2013 town halls assembled by the Washington publication Roll Call. Grassley and Rep. Adrian Smith, R-Neb., also made that 2013 list.
Although Sen. Mike Johanns, R-Neb., did not make Legistorm’s latest list, spokesman Nick Simpson said Johanns has held 50 town halls across the state over the past three years.
“He is using his final months in office to fulfill existing meeting requests, especially those that relate to issues Congress must deal with during the remainder of this session,” Simpson said.
Legistorm noted that new events are being announced every day.
Nebraska State Fair Begins Friday
Wednesday, 20 August 2014 09:08
Before the people of Nebraska have seen what the State Fair has to offer this year, Events and Entertainment Director Chelsey Jungck is already planning for next year.
“It’s a year-round process,” Jungck said. “Especially right after this fair, I’ll start researching.”
While getting everything in order for the big-name acts takes time, Jungck puts just as much effort into the daily grounds acts, strolling acts and smaller stages that add fun to the fair.
Some of the most popular shows must be booked two years in advance, Jungck said, and this year, there will be 15 acts around the grounds.
Here is more information about what to look for from Aug. 22 to Sept. 1, from returning favorites to new thrills.
One of the attractions that is back this year is Hedrick’s Petting Zoo and Camel and Pony Rides and the Racing Pigs.
The elephant show, EleFun!, was a last-minute addition last year, Jungck said, but it was a hit.
“It was so popular that we invited them back,” she said.
But there are new acts, too.
One that will be fun and interactive for families, she said, is Cow Town USA. The exhibit is like an old creamery, Jungck said, and visitors can do everything from preparing a cow for milking to following the process to a finished product.
Other acts will have more of a thrill element, such as the Penguins of the Arctic High Diving Show and the Marvelous Mutts.
In the past, Jungck said, the fair has had some dog attractions, but the Marvelous Mutts show will have a slightly different feel.
Fairgoers will be impressed as the dogs show off agility with Frisbees and dive into a pool, she said.
“The dog shows are always really popular,” she said.
The performers of Penguins of the Arctic will be diving into a pool, too, Jungck said — but they’ll be doing it from 80 feet up.
The show, with people costumed as penguins, will involve comedy, she said, as well as real Olympic dives.
But the State Fair entertainment won’t just be limited to the stages, Jungck said. Plenty of entertainers will roam the grounds as strolling performers.
One that will seem familiar to visitors is the Bamboo act.
In the past, she said, there have been similar performers on stilts who were camouflaged as vines creeping around the grounds. Bamboo is a version of that, but it incorporates some martial arts moves.
Another stilt act will be new to the fair this year, Jungck said.
Mango and Dango and the Flying Umbrella Ship has a bicycle-like vehicle, she said, and the performers do acrobatics.
“It’s a little bit of a spin on your traditional stilt act,” she said.
The Rubber Chicken Show will also entertain, Jungck said, with a take on a strolling circus act that involves magic, comedy and juggling.
Finally, she said, the Xpogo Stunt Team will amp up the energy.
The strolling performers jump up to nine feet in the air, completing flips and tricks on pogo sticks.
Plus, professional performers from around the country won’t be the only ones in the spotlight at the State Fair.
Smaller stages, such as the Bristol Windows Stage, will feature performers from Nebraska and with ties to the state, Jungck said.
“That really aligns with our mission at the fair to showcase Nebraskans,” she said.
There will be more than 75 performers, Jungck said — so many that they won’t be limited to the stage. Because of that, she said, fairgoers should look for impromptu performers in every nook and cranny of the grounds.
“We’ve got a tremendous amount of talent in our state,” she said.
The acts, whether they’re strolling, on the grounds or tucked in a surprising place, should ensure that every minute of the fair is fun, Jungck said. And because they’re free with admission, the entertainment is an added value.
For a full schedule, visit www.statefair.org.
By Lauren Sedam / World-Herald News Service