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Nerf war at the YMCA

Kids arrived armed with bright orange and green Nerf guns, ready for battle.

On Friday night, the Beatrice YMCA hosted a Nerf War Night and invited local youth to shoot foam darts across the gymnasium at one another.

There were big foam mats to hide behind, as well as a couple of inflatable bounce castles to take cover in. Nerf darts were provided and 500 extras littered the floor like Easter eggs for anyone brave enough to pick them up.

“We're always looking for opportunities for kids to do something fun in a safe environment,” said Beatrice YMCA CEO Alison Leonard. “It's finding those things that, really, kids love. Definitely Nerf guns and shooting one another is a fun thing to do.”

There were about 80 kids taking part in the Nerf battles. Participants were divided by age into two different groups, with each age group doing battle for approximately an hour.

They brought their own Nerf guns from home, but the YMCA supplied eye protection and foam bullets. Competitors came strapped with dart guns ranging in size from pistol to sniper rifle to a sort of chainsaw-gun hybrid.

The Nerf battle comes on the heels of the YMCA’s upcoming Healthy Kids Day on April 29. While there will be significantly fewer foam darts flying, the event will feature fun ways for kids to stay healthy.

The event will take place from 10 a.m. until noon on the last Saturday of the month and a variety of vendors from around the community will be on hand. Kids can talk with dentists and chiropractors and learn about healthy food and snack options. The Gage County 4-H Extension office will also be teaching kids how to plant a garden.

The first 100 kids will get a Healthy Kids Day T-shirt and other items, Leonard said.

If you missed the Y’s first Nerf battle, Leonard said not to worry, there will be opportunities in the future.

“We've had parents ask if we're going to do an adult night,” she said. “So, it's definitely going to happen again and again, I think.”

Youth get say in community

Economic development officials are seeking the public’s input at a series of meetings aiming to keep Gage County youth in the area.

The second of three Growing Gage Communities events will be Tuesday evening. The meetings were made possible by a $100,000 USDA grant, and follow a series of surveys given to area high school students.

“It’s part of a multi-year process of planning for facilities in every community in Gage County,” said Walker Zulkoski, director of the NGage economic development group. “These three initial meetings, the point is to make a road map to use these grant dollars and build facilities that retain people or gets people to move home. A huge component is engaging youth now while they’re in these communities.”

The first meeting was held in Adams on April 3. The second will be Tuesday, April 10, at the Carnegie Building, 218 N. Fifth St., Beatrice. The meetings start at 5:30 p.m. and includes a light supper.

Results of the student surveys will be presented, along with the 3-D displays constructed by the high schoolers in visioning sessions facilitated by Craig Schroeder of the Heartland Center for Leadership Development.

What the students like about their communities, what they dislike and what they would like to see in their community 10 years from now were also included in the survey.

According to a press release, 859 students answered an online survey that asked them to reflect on quality of life factors in their communities and to project economic opportunities for young people in the next several years. The press release stated that 55 percent of the students said they could picture themselves living in the area in the future, after graduating high school or college, getting career experience or starting a family.

The teens had ideas about how to make their communities better places to live, though only 15 percent said an adult had ever asked for their input.

Zulkoski said workforce is at the center of what NGage does, and that the meetings will hopefully provide valuable input to keep current students in the area when they’re adults.

“These initial meetings are to explain what the Heartland Center for Leadership Development heartland center saw and heard from working with these youth,” Zulkoski said. “(The meeting) will be some small group things, where they see the community 10 years from now. Most sessions are learning about what the heard from the youth. We want to take that knowledge make road map for next few years, how we can take students’ ideas and implement them.”

A third meeting will be held at Wymore Southern High School on Tuesday, April 24.

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Wymore woman injured in Sunday crash

BLUE SPRINGS -- A Wymore woman was flown by helicopter to a Lincoln hospital following a crash Sunday evening.

The Gage County Sheriff’s Office and Wymore Fire and Rescue responded to the scene of a crash at 5:45 p.m. on Sunday after a crash was reported at the intersection of First and A streets in Blue Springs.

The Sheriff’s office said that a 1999 Mercedes Benz ML320 was traveling westbound on First Street when the vehicle failed to stop at a stop sign at the A Street intersection.

The vehicle may have been traveling at a high rate of speed when it hit a dip in the roadway, causing the driver to lose control, the Sheriff’s office said.

The Mercedes struck sidewalk steps in front of a house on the south side of First Street and then collided with a tree in front of the home.

The sheriff’s office didn’t know if the driver, a 38-year-old woman from Wymore, was wearing her seatbelt, but the airbags did deploy during the crash.

The driver of the vehicle, Amy Swafford, sustained injuries to her chest, wrist and lower leg and was airlifted by StarCare to Bryan West General Hospital in Lincoln.

The sheriff’s office said that alcohol may have been a contributing factor in the crash. A second person may have been in the vehicle and talked with medical personnel, but left the scene before speaking with law enforcement.

The crash is still being investigated by the Gage County Sheriff’s Office.