Local stories sharing resolve needed now more than ever

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It feels like a bad dream.
Time and again these past two weeks I’ve had friends and colleagues say they wish someone would just wake them up already and end this coronavirus nightmare. It might make a good Hollywood script, or not, but it’s too bizarre to be happening in some remote third world country, let alone right here at home.
Unfortunately, it’s real, and that unsettling reality will be with us for a while, though nobody knows for sure how long. Thankfully we’ve not had a COVID-19 diagnosis here in Hamilton County, though the threat and close proximity is more than enough to kick in all the appropriate safety protocols. Please, be safe, protecting not just you and your loved ones, but our entire community.
Here in Nebraska we’re used to taking challenges head on and working together to find a solution. That process has begun on several fronts, though unlike any storm or tragedy perhaps since the 1918 flu epidemic our society is fighting a horrific enemy that invisibly threatens our health and well-being. It’s unsettling that at a time we need it the most we can’t gather to worship, share or just spend quality time with so many who matter in our lives.
In the midst of all this angst, it’s so encouraging to see and hear such can-do spirit and cooperation on the local level. There is no model to follow, but people are figuring out ways to connect and make a difference. The News-Register is committed more than ever to sharing those local stories, reflecting the hope, goodwill and perspective we all need to hear.
This week’s edition includes several up-lifting stories about how local schools and businesses are reaching out in these trying times. There is anxiety and uncertainty voiced in those stories, to be sure, but you’ll also see strength and resolve to bear down and figure out how to cope as best we can, together. Remote learning strategies, in particular, represent unprecedented challenge, a topic you’ll read about in detail this week and in coming editions.
With social distancing changing the way we live and what we can and cannot do, the ANR staff is reaching out to the community to help us tell your stories. A picture page in this edition, for example, features the Aurora Middle School’s ever-popular People of the Past, with photos snapped by families in living rooms all over town. POP may not have drawn hundreds of people to the gymnasium as it has for years, but those young folks proudly told their stories, via video, for the world to see.
We say thanks for those who contributed to that report and invite any and all to share what’s happening in your own, confined, coronavirus-altered world. We will get through this nightmare, eventually. Until then, having a means to stay connected, sharing faith, perspective and hope, will brighten all our days.
Kurt Johnson

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