Loup City Hosts Creighton School of Law Community Economic Development Clinic

Lyons, NE – The Center for Rural Affairs’ Rural Enterprise Assistance Project (REAP) and the Sherman County Economic Development Board are collaborating to bring Creighton School of Law Community Economic Development Clinic to Loup City on Thursday, April 8, 2010.

The workshop will be held at the Community Center at 803 O Street, Loup City from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m.

Milo Alexander with the Creighton School of Law will deliver the workshop entitled, “LLC or S corporation: What’s the Difference?”

“Time and money are basic concerns for every entrepreneur. This presentation addresses the pros and cons of LLCs and S corporations in terms of their impact on your time and money,” said Alexander.

Current business owners, individuals considering starting a business, bankers, accountants, attorneys, service providers and other interested parties are encouraged to attend.

“We’re proud to work with Sherman County Economic Development Board in bringing Creighton’s Community Economic Development Law Clinic to rural Nebraska,” said Dena Beck, Center for Rural Affairs REAP business specialist. “Business owners or potential business owners are often confused as to what structure is best for them or worse yet; they are not using a structure accurately.”

The workshop is intended to answer those questions and more – such as, “How do you know if your current legal structure is best for you and your business? Are you considering starting a business and are confused as to the best legal structure? Do you consult with business owners and need guidance on these issues?

“It is important for our existing businesses in the area as well as potential start ups to receive this important information regarding legal formations and which may be the best fit,” said Wes Leithoff, Executive Director SCEDB.

The clinic is Free to the public. Light refreshments will be provided.

National Entrepreneurship Week

This week is National Entrepreneurship Week. Entrepreneurship is the foundation of rural economies such as ours. Most of our local businesses started with an idea, planning, and lots of hard work. In observation of this event the Sherman County Economic Development Board (SCEDB) would like to remind all entrepreneurs in Sherman County that our organization can help you. Creation, retention, and expansion of small businesses is at the core of our mission. If you have an idea and determination, the SCEDB can help you work out the feasibility of your venture. Our doors are always open to public, our constituents. Office hours are Monday thru Friday 8:00 to 5:00 at 133 South 8th St.

Economic Development Through Tourism

We have a lot be proud of here in Sherman County. Our high quality of life is an important factor in recruiting new residents to our area. A lot of us know all about our unique local history, attractions, and events. But do outsiders know what Sherman County has to offer?
I believe that developing tourism is important to boost our local economy. But like many of you, I have some questions. What exactly does tourism do for our local economy? How do we get more people to visit Sherman County? How do we get those visitors to buy more locally? How do we do it? Luckily, answers are on the way. In January of this year, a dedicated group of the volunteers has formed a Tourism Committee to tackle these issues.
On February 9 members of the Tourism Committee invited Michael Collins, a Tourism Development Specialist from NE Division of Tourism and Travel, to Loup City. Mr. Collins provided a Tourism 101 training session to an engaged audience. Those in attendance included Michael Eurek, Rich Peters, Mark Oseka, Becky Bandur, Wesley Leithoff, Dennis Welty, Alec Baile, Vonnie Dzingle, Eric Kowalski, and Janelle Mostek. Collins stressed the importance of tourism in community development and also economic impacts of actively promoting tourism. Travelers spent 3.7 billion dollars in Nebraska during 2008, which translates into nearly 40,000 jobs. The presentation also included information on the numerous resources available to small communities to develop attractions and marketing materials. Committee members are now working with Collins to conduct a tourism assessment of Sherman County. The group hopes to use the valuable recommendations to plan future activities. If you would like help promote our community and build our local economy please talk to Vonnie Dzingle or myself. We can connect you with a fun project that suits your interests.

New Website Coming to Loup City

The Rural Development Commission has awarded Loup City $2,257 to develop a new website for Loup City and informational brochures for Sherman County. The promotional materials will assist in efforts to attract new residents and businesses to our community. In September of ’09, the Loup City Area Chamber of Commerce and Sherman County Economic Development Board (SCEDB) formed a task force to update Loup City’s presence on the web. The committee members include Eric Kowalski, Alec Baile, Paul Eurek, Wesley Leithoff, and Michael Eurek. Please give them your input on this exciting and important promotional tool. The City of Loup City and Sherman County Board of Commissioners are assisting the project as formal applicants. The SCEDB wrote the grant and will administer it in the future.

U.S. Census Bureau (Temp)

The U.S. Census Bureau is taking applications for the interviewer positions to be filled in the west Nebraska region.  Positions are only temporary and will most likely end in July.  Nights and weekends required.

Applications are available at the Sherman Count Economic Development Office, 133 S 8th St. Loup City.

Census rep. will be at the office on Tuesdays at 1 p.m. to collect applications, give tests, and answer questions.

Call Wes at 308 750-3133 for more information.

Energy Efficiency Improvement Grants

The idea of pinching pennies is nothing new.  Ben Franklin once stated “A penny saved, is a penny earned.”  Energy efficiency improvements make a lot of “cents” with the current availability of government subsidies and low interest financing.  Many people have already heard about the incentives for residential energy improvements.  If you haven’t, contact a local contractor to find out more. 

What about incentives for businesses?  The current economic downturn has left many businesses with tough decisions about their expenditures.  In some situations saving a few extra dollars every month may make the difference in retaining an employee or even keeping the doors open.  A lower energy bill can help. 

Small businesses and agricultural producers in Sherman County may be eligible for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Projects. The USDA Rural Development program may fund up to 25% of the improvements for eligible applicants through a grant.   In addition, a guaranteed loan program may also finance an additional 50% of the project.  USDA officials report that combination grant/loan applications are processed faster and have greater chance of approval. 

How much will energy improvements initially cost and eventually save me?  The Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD), USDA, and a local contractor will work together to answer this important question.  Eligible applicants may receive an energy audit from NPPD.  The audit provides useful information about the efficiency savings and payback time for recommended energy efficiency improvements. 

In many situations, the improvements pay for themselves.  Plus, using a local contractor will help boost our local economy.  Although the Sherman County Economic Development Board doesn’t administer these incentives, Wes Leithoff can lead you in the right direction.  Please stop by their office in the Gray Municipal Building or call (308)750-3133 for more information.

The impact of Sherman County Economic Development efforts

Shawn Kaskie, Executive Director of the Sherman County Economic Development Board is resigning to take as the Director of the University of Nebraska at Kearney’s Center for Rural Research and Development. His last day in Loup City will be Aug. 28, and he will start at UNK September 8. 

 The primary reason I resigned was because the UNK position is more aligned with my professional interests.  Specifically, this includes my new position’s focus on University outreach and economic development education related to entrepreneurship and applied business and community research. 

 I sincerely enjoyed my time and work as the first Sherman County Economic Development Director.  Getting a new organization up and running takes more time and coordination than most people realize.  I am thankful to have had a very helpful and understanding board of directors that includes Tom Bandur as President, Roger Hofts as Vice President; Mark Eurek as Secretary; Brad Christensen as Treasurer, and Amy Rademacher as member Director.

 With their help and financial aid from our Interlocal funding partners including the City of Loup City, Sherman County, Private Investors through the Sherman County Community Foundation, and the Loup City Development Corporation, we have made a significant impact on the community.  Thanks in part to the Economic Development Board’s early organizational and research efforts, the community and visitors are now benefitting from two new venture capital/investment groups that led to the development of a new Subway, the retention of a motel, spirit shop, and eventually a new steakhouse.  This equates to creation of 15 new jobs while keeping another 5.  Thanks to recent grant writing and organizational efforts by the economic development board and Loup City Housing committee, the City has been tentatively awarded $390,000 in grant funds to develop a new street that will serve 6 new single family homes located East of Peterson Park.  If the City Council decides to accept the grant September 8, construction of the street and new homes could begin next spring. The successful administration of another $30,000 Nebraska Building Entrepreneurial Communities Act grant has led to the education of 107 business owners, students, volunteers, or non-profit organization leaders in topics such as entrepreneurship, small business finance, marketing, and business planning.  The direct impact of Economic Development assistance has led to the creation of 3 new business, 6 new jobs, keeping 9 jobs, and more than half a million dollars in outside grant investment in the community.  For a complete list of accomplishments go online to BECA Grant Presentation and sample Program Impacts from Sherman County – Jan 21, 2009,  www.shermancountyprogress.com, or stop by the economic development office at 133 S. 8th St. in Loup City.

 From my professional experience working in this field in 3 states and overseas, it is critical that small towns like Loup City continue to work to support economic development efforts from all angles.  This includes providing quality housing, recreational and business service options to both residents and visitors.  Without the community’s support, small towns will continue to get smaller, instead of maintain or grow their population. I believe that Loup City has the existing and hidden leadership to ensure the community maintains its population and excellent quality of life.  Please support economic development efforts and encourage people you know have the potential to be excellent leaders in our community to volunteer in roles that can move our community forward.  Last Tuesday, August 25, the economic development board hired 2 new staff to carry on the great efforts we have already initiated.  Please support them by volunteering where you can encourage your elected officials to look towards a positive future for our community. Thanks for a great experience. Shawn Kaskie