15 things thathappened in 2015

Staff Writer
Nevada Journal

1. Ethanol plant

Hundreds gathered at the brand new DuPont facility in Nevada in late-October for the unveiling of the largest cellulosic ethanol plant in the world. DuPont Industrial Biosciences president William Feehery said the new plant will go down in the history of the biofuel industry.

The $225 million facility is a second-generation ethanol plant, meaning it uses stover, which is the residue left over in the fields. Aside from being the largest cellulosic ethanol plant in the world, it will also be among the first commercial-scale cellulosic biorefineries in the world, converting corn stover into roughly 30 million gallons of ethanol annually.

2. Story County Medical

On Oct. 12, Story County Medical Center broke ground on its new expansion. The $15 million project grows the current Story County Medical Center to include new facilities for Story Medical family practice services, Story Medical Wellness and Cardiac Rehabilitation Services and 21st Century Rehabilitation. The facility expansion will also include a larger dining space, meeting room space, registration space and Health Information Management space.

3. Community Building

A groundbreaking ceremony for the Community Building project at the fairgrounds in Nevada was held Nov. 4. The $1.1 million project will include major renovation to the historic Community Building. The project will include a number of upgrades, including heating and cooling of the building, which will allow it to be used year-round.

4. NHS ag/mech workshop

The $1.1 million project includes an addition and renovation of the current ag/mech building to include the addition of a welding lab, which will host a regional academy via DMACC. A greenhouse is also being added to support the current ag program.

5. City Hall campus

The City Hall Campus Project includes specific amenities, such as fencing, the multi-purpose stage or shelter, archway, benches, planters, flags, picnic table, pillars and trash cans. Currently, the Midtown Farmers’ Market and Community Band play in the City Hall parking lot. The $275,000 project will enhance those events, plus attract additional events such as movies in the park, community picnics, outdoor weddings and/or receptions, concerts, exercise classes and chamber events.

6. Football field

The first phase of the Cub Stadium renovation was the replacement of lights and scoreboard during spring/summer 2015 at a cost of $410,000. The second phase of the project is currently underway during winter 2015/spring 2016 and involves raising the playing surface and a new natural grass field surface at a cost of $448,000.

7. Cub Stadium

The final phase of the Cub Stadium renovation will take place during the spring/summer 2016 and will involve the remainder of the stadium (bleachers, press box, restrooms, concessions, spirit store, storage, etc.). The scope of the work is yet to be decided by the school board, and it will cost between $4.1 and $5.3 million, depending on whether the board decides on the basic plan or the addition of alternates. The two possible alternates on the project are a wrestling room and a team room.

8. Nevada PROUD

Branding committee members Tiffany Wingert, Mitzi Alexander, Diane White, Joe Wakeman and Lynn Scarlett, director of the Nevada Chamber of Commerce, which is the lead agency for this committee, have been touting the phrase: NEVADA PROUD.

“For a while, Nevada was not seen in a positive light, but we have held the Fill the Foyer event and the bottled water drive for the fire department, both events helping to change the way people see Nevada,” Scarlett said. “We want to continue to show Nevada as the positive and proud community it is.” Thus NEVADA PROUD was born.

9. Dakins Lake expansion

The expansion includes 20 acres of water stocked with channel catfish, bluegill and bass for fishing; a boat launch and dock; 29 campsites; two miles of trails and a picnic shelter available upon reservation. The improvement is not just an aesthetic one, said Rick Sanders; with more room for more people, the expansion will have a significant impact on the community economically. It was estimated by Iowa State University that Dakins Lake will bring in between an extra $750,000 to $1 million a year of new economic activity to Zearing.

10. Lincoln Highway

Improvements to Lincoln Highway included a 2-inch overlay on approximately 18 blocks, all the way through the city on Lincoln Highway between West Fourth Street and 15th Street. The $1.3 million project also included 19 blocks of seal-coating in the north part of town, between First Street and 10th Street.

11. NHS volleyball

The Nevada volleyball team won the Class 3A state championship trophy following a sweep of West Liberty in the 3A state championship at the U.S. Cellular Center in Cedar Rapids.

The Cubs played at their peak level, defeating the Comets by scores of 25-21, 25-14 and 30-28 to claim the state championship.

12. NHS girls’ basketball

The Nevada girls’ basketball team earned the first state championship in program history this year. The team won the Class 3A state championship game against Pocahontas Area at the girls’ state basketball tournament. The Cubs knocked off the Indians, 58-54.

13. Nevada scraps DOT plan

After nearly two hours of comments from the public, the Nevada City Council voted unanimously Nov. 23 to rescind its previous show of support for the Department of Transportation’s proposal that would close the Sixth Street intersection with Highway 30, close the intersection at S-14 and create an interchange at Airport Road. Instead, the council voted to support creating a task force that will attempt to work with the DOT on a new plan along the Highway 30 corridor at Nevada.

By doing so, council members took the responsibility off their shoulders and put it squarely on the public’s shoulders, just as the majority of residents at the meeting were asking them to do.

“Put it (the burden of this decision) back where the people want it,” said Nevada resident and business owner Larry Sloan of Nevada. “And the people have to take responsibility for the way it turns out.”

14. Water donations to the public safety department

Nothing says, “We support you,” like 800 cases of water.

That is the amount of water received by the Nevada Public Safety Department when residents came in droves to the Nevada fire station on July 15 to drop off their donations and visit with over 30 volunteers of the department, who were there to help stack water at the back of the building. Also received that night were 15 cases of Gatorade and $1,185 in cash.

“We are stunned at such an outpouring,” said Director of Fire and EMS Ray Reynolds. “Nevada is a very busy town, and we, like many, struggle to get out in the public as much as we can. It’s always nice when the public does things to show our members they are appreciated.”

15. Famous people

Comedian Louie Anderson and singer Keith Harkin were both big draws at The Talent Factory this fall. Nevada also hosted several politicians in 2015, including a visit from Gov. Terry Branstad in January. Republican presidential candidates Chris Christie, Ron Paul, Rick Santorum and Lindsey Graham also visited Nevada to campaign, although Santorum and Graham have dropped out of the race in recent weeks.