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PNS Daily Newscast - January 18, 2019. 


A blockbuster storm forecast to bring major snowfall to the Midwest today, Northeast over the weekend. Also on the Friday rundown: Women’s Marches planned across the nation tomorrow; plus Democrats slog through Iowa on path to the White House.

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Grand Island First in State to Join AARP's Livability Network

Communities that have joined AARP's age-friendly network work to adopt features  including creating safer, walkable streets  to make towns and cities more livable for people of all ages. (Hugo Chisholm/Flickr)
Communities that have joined AARP's age-friendly network work to adopt features including creating safer, walkable streets to make towns and cities more livable for people of all ages. (Hugo Chisholm/Flickr)
January 10, 2019

GRAND ISLAND, Neb. – Grand Island is the first city in Nebraska to join AARP's Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities.

Tonja Brown chairs Grow Grand Island, the group leading the city's initiative, a coalition that includes the local Chamber of Commerce, the Economic Development Corporation and the Convention and Visitors Bureau.

She says by joining the national livability network, community leaders have made a commitment to take on specific initiatives to improve the quality of life for all residents.

"Those things range from transportation, housing, walkability, social participation, health services – the kinds of things that make a community strong and livable for people of all ages," she explains.

Brown says the next steps for Grand Island involve creating a task force to focus on livability issues and listening sessions to get input from local businesses and residents.

After that, community leaders will start tackling concrete steps to implement a three-year Livable Community Action Plan.
Brown says while it can be challenging to get various civic organizations rowing in the same direction, the network provides resources and roadmaps to help create a shared vision of the future.

"If you can get those organizations to sit down around a common table and talk about something, and even better, put their collective resources and energies toward something, OK, now you've got something bigger and better," she stresses.

Brown says she hopes the work in Grand Island will nudge other Nebraska towns to join the network, including Columbus, McCook, North Platte and Scottsbluff.

Three states and 315 communities across the U.S. are on board so far. The U.S. program is part of the World Health Organization's Global Network of Age-Friendly Cities and Communities.

Eric Galatas, Public News Service - NE