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Suzanne Geist

Sen. Suzanne Geist

District 25

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Are You Ready for the Eclipse?
August 21st, 2017

From the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency

CONTACT Jodie Fawl, Public Information Officer, 402-471-7428,
DATE Aug. 20, 2017, 1:45 p.m.
Are You Ready for the Eclipse?
Make Sure You’re Prepared for a Safe and Enjoyable Eclipse Viewing

Lincoln, NEB. – Nebraska Emergency Management Agency is coordinating with Nebraska’s other state agencies and partners to pre-position personnel, material and equipment across the state in an effort to provide for the safety and wellbeing of eclipse viewers. State agency staff have been planning and working together to make sure the state is ready to respond in the event any state resources are needed.

Now it’s time to make sure that you, too, are ready for a safe experience viewing the eclipse. The most important thing is to monitor local weather conditions and to have a plan in case of a weather emergency.

Here are some personal planning tips to make your day as safe as possible:

If you are traveling…
· Fill up your gas tank before you start out for your destination
· Allow extra time to get to your viewing location as large crowds and increased traffic are expected.
· Plan in advance for a secondary viewing location in case you need to move because of cloud cover or severe weather.
· Do not park on the sides of Nebraska roadways. Parking on roadway shoulders may result in ticketing or impounding of vehicles.
· Keep roadways open for emergency services
· Take note of your location should you need to call emergency services.
· Drive with your headlights on all day.

If you run into severe weather…
· Nebraska weather can change quickly and can include high heat, high humidity, high winds and summer storms that can produce flooding. Be ready for all possibilities.
· Know where you will take shelter if needed
· Have plenty of water and sunscreen with you because of high temperatures.
· Develop ways to get emergency alerts and warnings. Follow local media for weather reports or download a weather app to be aware of conditions.
· Be aware of your surroundings. Know what county you are in so weather apps will give you the information you need.
· Make a plan with family and friends for where you will meet after an emergency .

If you are camping…
· Know where you are so you can summon help if needed.
· Have an evacuation route in the event of severe weather
· identify the nearest shelter and have an evacuation route
· Be careful with your campfire. Despite the recent rains conditions are dry in Nebraska.
· Stay Informed.

If you are boating…
· Rivers and lakes will be extra busy so pay special attention to your surroundings.
· Turn on your boat lights during the eclipse
· Visit for safe boating tips.

Federal Emergency Management Agency
You can track severe weather through a FREE phone app from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) that is easy to download on any type of mobile device. Some of the key features of the app include:
· Weather Alerts: users can elect to receive alerts on severe weather happening in specific areas they select, even if the phone is not located in the area, making it easy to follow severe weather that may be threatening family and friends.
· Safety Tips: tips on how to stay safe before, during and after more than 20 types of hazards, including floods, hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes.
· Disaster Reporter: users can upload and share disaster-related photos.
· Maps of Disaster Resources: users can locate and receive driving directions to open shelters and disaster recovery centers.
· Information in Spanish: The app defaults to Spanish-language content for smartphones that have Spanish set as their default language.

The latest version of the FEMA app is available for free in the App Store for Apple devices and Google play for Android devices. Users who already have the app downloaded on their device should download the latest update for the reminder alerts feature to take effect. The reminders are available in English and Spanish and are located in the “Prepare” section of the FEMA App.

You can also download the app via text messaging:

· If you have an Apple device: Text APPLE to 43362 (4FEMA)
· If you have an Android device: Text ANDROID to 43362 (4FEMA)

If you use text messaging, standard message and data rates apply.

Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)
The Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Behavioral Health cautions that the eclipse event may introduce stressors for people who deal with behavioral health issues.

Some of the challenges can include: spending extra money on food or other items, alcohol served at special events, travel and social anxiety at large gatherings of people. Common stressors can affect people physically, emotionally, socially, financially, spiritually and occupationally. Routines may be altered, sleep affected and over stimulation may cause added stress.

The Division of Behavioral Health offers the following tips to avoid feelings of stress, some ideas to stay well and some ways to practice self-care:
Incorporate a wellness activity into the day;
Identify people who can provide support when challenges arise; Make arrangements in advance so they will be available to provide support, if needed. Stay connected;
Attend enjoyable events;
Identify potential challenges and stressors that may come up. Have plan to get through them;
Plan ahead when shopping and know your limits to avoid blowing the budget;
Try to get enough rest each night and avoid oversleeping.
For eclipse viewers, make sure to only use legitimate eclipse glasses. For safe viewing information, including eye protection, see this link:

National Weather Service
Cloud cover is expected to be in the moderate to high range throughout the day on Monday. There is limited chance for rain, thunderstorm/lightning and winds over 20 miles per hour.
There is a potential for dense fog on Interstate 80 from Grand Island to Ogallala on Monday morning and a chance for patchy fog in other areas of the state.

Two inches of rain fell Saturday night in some areas and there is the potential for more Sunday night leaving soggy conditions. Counties may need to close roads because of wet conditions. Do not go around any road closure barricades.

The fire weather risk is lower in areas that received rain, however there are still dry conditions and the potential for fire remains.


2017 Session Overview
July 11th, 2017

My first session as a Nebraska State Senator was been eye-opening, frustrating, exhilarating, gratifying, humbling and exhausting. If you think this sounds like every emotion in the book, you are correct!

The state’s budget shortfall hovered over every vote. I am pleased we did not raise taxes to meet our state obligations, but I do not believe the use of transfers from cash funds to plug financial holes is a long term solution.

As state officials, we must act responsibly and not overspend the tax-payers’ money. Just as a family must make hard decisions and change spending habits when money is tight, so too, must the state.

I am concerned tougher financial decisions lay ahead of us, since the one time money has already been depleted in the current budget and it will not be available in the future.

As a new senator, I was assigned to the Transportation and Telecommunications Committee and the Natural Resources Committee. I was also honored to be chosen to serve as Vice Chair of the Nebraska Legislative Performance Audit Committee.

I really enjoy the diversity of my committees and am immersing myself in the issues.

I introduced three bills this session. All three were voted out of committee with two being debated and passed by the full body this year.

I introduced LB154 on behalf of the Department of Natural Resources to eliminate a $10 nuisance fee that was required when a dam is completed. It was costing the Department more money in time and resources to collect the fee than the amount it generated.

LB164 was amended into a larger Transportation Committee bill to modernize a few areas of law for the Department of Motor Vehicles. Nebraskans’ personal information when they register motorboats, ATVs, snowmobiles and minibikes is now protected at the same level as other motor vehicle records. The new law also allows the Department of Transportation to send the Motor Vehicle Accident Report electronically to the Department of Motor Vehicles, saving time and money.

Each session, senators are allowed to select one priority bill, insuring it will be considered ahead of other bills. I chose LB271, introduced by my good friend, Senator Mike Hilgers.

LB271 allows the Nebraska Department of Transportation to assume responsibility for reviews of environmental, social and economic effects of proposed transportation projects in Nebraska. This will speed up road projects like the East Beltway and save taxpayer money.

I am pleased the bill passed with zero “no” votes and was signed into law by Governor Ricketts in April.

While the more contentious topics where heavily publicized, the Legislature quietly tackled many important issues this year. One example is LB166, introduced by Senator Mark Kolterman.

This new law allows patients being dismissed from an emergency room to receive small amounts of medications when a retail pharmacy is not open during evening or weekend hours in our rural or underserved urban communities.

Near the end of this session, the Legislature passed LR127, creating the Nebraska Justice System Special Oversight Committee. This special committee provides oversight of the Nebraska Department of Corrections and the role of state agencies and their involvement in the justice system.

I was chosen to serve on the committee, along with five other members of the legislature and Senator Ebke, the Judiciary Committee Chair. We are busy visiting the correctional facilities around the state and speaking with staff and inmates.

If we want to provide real solutions to the obstacles facing our Department of Corrections, we must work together across agency lines and branches of government. I am heartened by so many who are willing to do just that.

While the session had its challenges, it is an honor to work with my fellow senators and serve the citizens of Legislative District 25!

If you need assistance or have a question, I can be reached at or at the Capitol office, 402-471-2731.

Sen. Suzanne Geist

District 25
Room 1110
P.O. Box 94604
Lincoln, NE 68509
(402) 471-2731
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