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Gov. Ricketts welcomes Nebraska troopers back from border, announces education grant winners

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts
Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts
Published: Jul. 22, 2021 at 1:20 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (WOWT) - Gov. Pete Ricketts on Thursday welcomed back the Nebraska State Troopers who gave support at the Texas-Mexico border.

Ricketts deployed about 25 NSP troopers to the border last month after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott declared the situation at the border a disaster on June 1. Ricketts extended the NSP’s stay an additional two weeks earlier this month.

NSP officials have defended their state-funded mission to the U.S.-Mexican border in Texas, arguing that they answered a call for help from fellow law enforcement officers amid a surge in illegal border crossings. Patrol officials on Thursday described the situation in Del Rio, Texas, as a humanitarian crisis and said many locals welcomed them.

The agency has come under some criticism for agreeing to not seek repayment for the services it provided to Texas at Nebraska taxpayers’ expense.

The last of the 25 troopers who were deployed are expected to return Friday.

Before hearing from Col. John Bolduc, superintendent of the state patrol, the governor and other state officials also gave details about new workforce development grants during the afternoon news conference.

Behlen Manufacturing Co. in Columbus and Great Plains Health in North Platte were announced as recipients of the 2021 Developing Youth Talent Initiative grants, which help middle-school students find their way into careers like manufacturing, IT, engineering, and healthcare.

“By introducing middle school students to in-demand jobs early in their studies, we can start them down an educational pathway to a great-paying career here in Nebraska when they graduate,” Ricketts said in a release from his office.

Behlen Manufacturing plans to use its $116,000 help Columbus Middle School implement a program designed to enhance students’ knowledge and interest in manufacturing careers, coding, broadcasting, and entrepreneurship.

Great Plains Health plans to use its $134,000 grant to purchase augmented reality and virtual reality equipment for Adams Middle School’s new simulation lab and establish Summer Healthcare Engage Camp in North Platte next year.

Watch Thursday’s news conference

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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