Gov. Pete Ricketts has appointed two men to the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

Ricketts announced Friday that Doug Zingula of Sidney and Scott Cassels of Omaha were appointed as new commissioners. Zingula will represent the state's Panhandle district. Cassels' seat is at-large.

Their four-year terms are effective Jan. 16.

Zingula is retired from outdoor retailer Cabela's, where he was vice president of corporate merchandising. He serves on the board of the Nebraska Big Game Society and is a member of the Wild Sheep Foundation and the Safari Club.

Cassels is the executive vice president of Kiewit Corporation, where he has more than 35 years of experience in construction. He serves in several business and community leadership roles, including on the Ak-Sar-Ben Foundation Board of Governors.

Bird counts set at three state parks: The Christmas Bird Count will take place this month at Ponca State Park (Dec. 14), Indian Cave State Park (Dec. 16) and Lake Ogallala State Recreation Area (Dec. 30).

The Christmas Bird Count is a one-day bird census that includes volunteers across the United States and other nations in the Western Hemisphere. The data collected over the past century has allowed biologists to study the long-term health and status of bird populations.

At Ponca, meet at the Resource and Education Center at 7:45 a.m. Dec. 14. A chili lunch will be available. For more information, call the park at 402-755-2284.

At Indian Cave, meet at the park office at 8 a.m. Dec. 16. Binoculars and bird ID books will be available. For more information, call the park at 402-883-2575 or send an email to

Details for the Lake Ogallala on Dec. 30 haven't been finalized. For more information, contact Alison Bleich at 308-284-0855 or

You will need a park-entry permit to enter the parks and SRA.

— From staff and wire reports

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