Gov. Pete Ricketts on Wednesday hailed the approaching arrival of COVID-19 vaccines this month as a long-awaited signal that "help is on the way," and said he would consider providing some form of state economic assistance to Nebraskans if Congress remains deadlocked and the federal government fails to act.
"That is something we will take into consideration," the governor said in answer to a question at a coronavirus news briefing.
Ricketts said he is hopeful that Congress will act, but "we will take a look at what additional resources we may need to provide as we move forward" if Washington remains politically paralyzed.
Several states, including Michigan, Minnesota and Colorado, have recently enacted state programs to meet needs prompted by the pandemic and its impact on the economy.
Those actions have been directed at unemployment benefits, rental and utility assistance and stimulus checks.
Ricketts said the state could begin to see Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine flow in during the week of Dec. 14, with 15,600 doses expected in the initial allocation.
If Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine is also approved, as expected, its shipments could begin during the week of Dec. 21.
Nebraska could receive more than 100,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines this month, according to Angie Ling, who is coordinating the program for the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.
Those doses will be allocated almost entirely to health care workers and nursing home residents, the two groups deemed to have the highest priority for vaccinations by the federal government's advisory committee on immunization practices earlier this week.
The next phases of priority groups are expected to include essential workers, older adults and people with preexisting health conditions.
The general population is not likely to be fully vaccinated until spring or early summer.
Asked about himself, Ricketts said he is not on any priority list and would anticipate receiving the vaccine "sometime in the spring."
"I will have no qualms about taking the vaccine," the governor noted.
Ricketts said there will be a communications campaign that attempts to assure people about the safety of the vaccine while informing them about potential side effects.
Since most of the vaccines that are being developed require two doses to become maximally effective, there are concerns that some people might not return for the second vaccination unless they are adequately prepared to anticipate side effects.
Asked when Nebraskans could anticipate "a return to normal," Ricketts said "maybe in April, maybe sometime in the summer."
The governor said the state has "caught up" with a backlog that developed in its program of contacting people who may have been exposed to the virus by a relative or acquaintance.
Statewide, the number of new cases has slowed slightly but cases are surging at a rate that ranks Nebraska behind only Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming in new cases per capita over the past week, according to the New York Times.
Deaths in Nebraska crossed the 1,000 mark this week, with the Department of Health and Human Services announcing nearly 100 deaths in a span of just two days.
As mask mandates pop up in more cities and towns across the state, Ricketts said he has not changed his position on the possible denial of future federal stimulus funding to county governments if they deny services to a citizen who refuses to wear a mask.
"If any citizen gets denied services because of a mask, that would create a problem," he said.
Photos: The scene in Lincoln with much of city shut down
A lone University of Nebraska-Lincoln prepares for a final with a start time of 6 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020, at Henzlik Hall. FRANCIS GARDLER, Journal Star
leads the in-person students aas Miranda Orellana leads the remote learners via zoom as the pair co-teach a fifth grade math lesson on Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2020, at Lakeview Elementary. GWYNETH ROBERTS, Journal Star
City Council distancing
Chairs for the public at the City Council meeting are seen wrapped up in plastic bags to encourage social distancing on Nov. 23 at County-City Building.
Gameday empty Saturday
A crane used for construction of the Lied Place on Q street flies an American and Husker flag before the Nebraska versus Penn State game on Saturday, Nov. 14, 2020. KENNETH FERRIERA, Journal Star.
Thank you Bryan West
DeEtta Mayrose (right) greeted employees arriving for an evening shift of Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2020, during a Thank-You event for health care workers at Bryan Medical Center - West Campus. FRANCIS GARDLER, Journal Star
No fans allowed
Kathryn Goertzen and Kurt Goertzen watch the television screen on the northwest side of Memorial Stadium, Saturday, Nov. 14, 2020. JUSTIN WAN, Journal Star
Husker fan cutouts fill the North Stadium stands before the team takes on Penn State on Saturday, Nov. 14, 2020, at Memorial Stadium. FRANCIS GARDLER, Journal Star
Mitch Sweeney sprays the seats during cleaning in between state volleyball tournament games on Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020, at Pinnacle Bank Arena. JUSTIN WAN, Journal Star
Volleyball social distancing
Wahoo fans are seen spaced out from one group to the next during the first round of the Class C-1 state volleyball tournament on Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020, at Pinnacle Bank Arena. JUSTIN WAN, Journal Star
Skeletons outside of a South Lincoln home encourage residents to go vote in the upcoming election on Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020. Kenneth Ferriera, JOURNAL STAR.
Boo at the Zoo
Shae Center (from left) give out candies to Payton Jones, 6, as the family Bre Jones, Carson Jones, and Miles Jones, 3, go trick-or-treat during Boo at the Zoo at Lincoln Children's Zoo, Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. JUSTIN WAN, Journal Star
Nebraska fans cheer on the Huskers while watching the Ohio State game on the Cube in the Railyard on Oct. 24.
The YMCA on 11th and P streets is closed until further notice on Thursday, Oct, 22, 2020. Kenneth Ferriera, JOURNAL STAR.
Downtown mask art
Pop-art ads encourage patrons downtown to wear masks on Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, in Lincoln, Nebraska. Kenneth Ferriera, JOURNAL STAR.
Marching band competition
Lincoln Pius X saxophonists compete during The LPS Marching Band Showcase at Seacrest Field the on Saturday, Oct. 10, 2020. Kenneth Ferriera, JOURNAL STAR
University of Nebraska-Lincoln senior Joel Smith packs up his bag at a newly created seating areas under tents at Nebraska Union, Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. JUSTIN WAN, Journal Star
East Campus proposed budget cuts
University of Nebraska junior Emma Fritz works on hard draping using a half-scale model in Draping Class in the Department of Textiles, Merchandising and Fashion Design, part of the College of Education and Human Sciences, on Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020. GWYNETH ROBERTS, Journal Star
Poppy Massing, 11, gets vaccinated by Barb Martinez, a public health nurse at Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department, during a vaccine clinic at Lefler Middle School, Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. JUSTIN WAN, Journal Star
The Rev. Thomas Dummermuth started a project in quarantine to put together a handwritten Bible where people around Nebraska would write chapters of the Bible by hand. He was inspired by a church in his home county of Switzerland that had the idea. "It is beautiful work that people send in; some of it is just amazing," Dummermuth said.
Demonstrators protest the mask mandate in front of the Capitol on Monday, Sept. 7.
No Football Saturday
Four-year-old Avery Rider and her brother Julian, 7, of Omaha play around with the Bob Devaney statue as they pose for pictures for their parents, Melissa and Aaron, on Saturday, Sept. 5, at Memorial Stadium. The family, who had tickets for the home opener that would have been Sept. 5, walked around the stadium, which had few visitors.
People wait their turn in a socially distant line outside the Department of Motor Vehicles' 46th Street office Monday, Aug. 31, the deadline to get registrations renewed.
UNL in-person class
University of Nebraska-Lincoln students attend a class in masks on the first day of in-person classes in August 2020.
Customers wait outside of Iguana's Pub on O Street on Friday, Aug. 21.
Farmers Market influencers
Jordan Gonzales walks through the Haymarket Farmers Market on Saturday, Aug. 22, handing out stickers, masks and wristbands encouraging others to wear masks and practice social distancing. Gonzales is part of a group of about 25 ambassadors involved in the "LNK is Greater Than" marketing campaign organized by Archrival. "We just want to give some positive reinforcement to those who are wearing masks, letting them know that they are doing the right thing," Gonzales said.
Belmont Elementary School first grade teacher Hailey Greene balances her iPad on her knees in order for remote learners on Zoom and students in the class to be able to follow along during a lesson on Aug. 21.
Weeping Water vs. Fillmore Central/Exeter-Milligan
Weeping Water players gather before a game against Fillmore Central/Exeter-Milligan on Tuesday, Aug. 19, at Doris Bair Complex.
Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department Director Pat Lopez attends a City Council meeting on her permanent appointment on Monday, Aug. 17. Ben Madsen, owner of Madsen's Bowling and Billiards, is pictured in the background at a hearing where he opposed her appointment.
First day of middle school
A double-pump hand sanitizer station built at the University of Nebraska's Innovation Campus sits outside the lunchroom at Dawes Middle School on Thursday, Aug. 13, the first day of school for middle school students.
Jeff and Marie King of Lincoln play with the class on the rock formation on Wednesday, August 12, 2020, at Stransky Park. For the past month, students in SCC’s Continuing Education’s Intro to the Ukulele class have been learning how to play the instrument via Zoom.
First day of school
Students at Wysong Elementary keep their distance from each other as they enter the lunchroom on the first day of school Wednesday, Aug. 12.
Pius X volleyball practice
Lincoln Pius X players listen to head coach Katie Wenz as she explains drills during the first day of fall practice Aug. 10, at Pius X.
The Lincoln Police Department on Saturday morning, Aug. 8, enforced the city health department's order to close Madsen's Bowling & Billiards, blocking all entrances to the business with police cruisers.
House of Flowers delivery
DeAnna Stewart loads bouquets of flowers into her car in 2020 at the House of Flowers to deliver to a customer. House of Flowers is Lincoln’s oldest flower shop, dating back to 1908.
City Council BLM protest
Caleb Petersen (right) uses buckets to drum alongside others during a rally outside of the County-City Building while the Lincoln City Council met inside on Monday, Aug. 3.
Parent and Lincoln Public Schools teacher Ellen James (center), dressed as the Grim Reaper, holds a sign in front of the state Capitol on Monday, Aug. 3, as protesters called for more safety protocols before reopening schools.
A couple sits in a row while wearing face coverings before the Beach Boys performance at Pinewood Bowl on Sunday, Aug. 2. Seating at the concert was set up to follow social distancing guidelines.
Rally and hearing
Terrell McKinney sits behind a row of marked off chairs during a hearing on bill LB1222 hosted by Sen. Justin Wayne at the state Capitol on Friday, July 31. Only 20 people were allowed into the hearing chamber at a time while all others had to wait outside for their turn
Lancaster County Super Fair
Noah Jelinek, 14, with Amazing Treasures 4-H, shows his American Plymouth Rock chicken to judge Tom Brubaker as the Lancaster County Super Fair got underway on Thursday, July 30. There were no rides or shows this year.
LPS board meeting
Kristi Molina, a Lincoln North Star High School teacher, holds a sign outside the Lincoln Public Schools offices ahead of a school board meeting Tuesday, July 28.
Meatpacking workers rally
Sen. Tony Vargas of Omaha speaks at a rally to support protections for meatpacking workers on the north steps of the Capitol on Tuesday, July 28.
Floor debate on Monday, July 27, 2020, at the Nebraska State Capitol.
Lincoln Northeast graduation
Graduates wave and blow kisses to family members in the seats above during Lincoln Northeast's graduation ceremony at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Friday, July 24.
Gov. Ricketts address Legislature
Gov. Pete Ricketts puts his mask back on after addressing the Legislature on Friday, July 24.
Jane Erickson carries grocery items out of A Street Market on Tuesday, July 21. As of Monday, a health measure from the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department requires people to wear a face covering indoors with some exceptions, including for children under age 5.
Charlie Klingler (left) takes the temperature of Sen. Dan Quick as Quick prepares to enter the legislative chamber Monday, July 20, at the Capitol.
Lincoln Northeast head coach Charity Iromuanya cleans basketballs with a disinfectant solution after players put them away during open gym practice at Lincoln Northeast on Friday, July 10.
Masked Archie the Mammoth
Archie the mammoth at the University of Nebraska State Museum is masked up on Thursday, July 9, 2020.
First Jury Trial in Four Months
Wearing a face shield, Lancaster County Attorney Erica Pruess (right) prepares for a case at the Lancaster County Hall of Justice on Thursday, July 9, 2020, during the first jury trial in four months.
Lincoln Community Playhouse
Amy Koepke as Prudence Purewater (left) and Marie Barrett as Hazel Hoochater perform Wednesday, July 1, during a rehearsal for the upcoming Parking Lot Plays at the Lincoln Community Playhouse.
The Kindler Hotel
Fabiola Delacruz cleans a seating area in the lobby of The Kindler Hotel on Tuesday before it reopens Wednesday, July 1.
Garth Brooks Drive-In Concert
Stephanie Carpenter and Justin Doyle dance the two-step as Silas Creek performs at the Garth Brooks drive-in concert Saturday, June 27, at the Lancaster Event Center.
Chief Judge John M. Gerrard of the U.S. District Court conducts a naturalization ceremony on June 22 at the Chief Standing Bear statue on Centennial Mall.
Urban Air Adventure Park
Allison Franks cleans equipment while wearing a mandatory face shield at the Urban Air Adventure Center on Saturday, June 20, 2020.
Hundreds gathered for the Juneteenth celebration at the Lincoln Indian Center on Friday, June 19.
Gere Branch Library
Hillary Umland, a library service associate, grabs a book bundle for pickup at Gere Branch Library on Tuesday, June 16.
Music on the Move
Mascha Miedaner (left) takes in the performance of guitarist and singer Orion Walsh (center), who played a variety of songs from Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash to Oasis via "Music on the Move," a bicycle-powered stage driven by Dan Warren (right), which visited the East Campus neighborhood Saturday, June 13.
Lifeguard Tyler Akins disinfects a chair at Fallbrook YMCA swimming pool on Thursday, June 11.
Members of Legislature's Judiciary Committee spent two days in early June listening to speakers talk about systemic racism and law enforcement policies and practices during sessions in Omaha and Lincoln.
Bars Opening in Lincoln
Dan Hartong of Lincoln cools off with a beer last June at W.C.'s South Sports Bar. Drinks to go have helped restaurants and bars that serve food the opportunity to stay afloat during the pandemic.
LPS Teachers Retirement
Longtime East High football and baseball coach and Scott Middle School teacher Bill Kechely waves to a well-wisher at his drive-by retirement party May 28.
Holmes Lake Manor Horse Visit
Having grown up with horses in Glenwood, Iowa, Edwin Johnson was happy to see Jewel, a 30-something Arabian mare who made a visit to his window with owner Sheila Carroll of Lincoln last May at Holmes Lake Rehabilitation & Care Center.
Lancaster County Courthouse
A court security guard wipes the front door handle as someone enters the Lancaster County Courthouse on Friday, May 22.
To maintain social distancing, officials have closed every other campsite at Branched Oak State Recreation Area.
Church Social Distancing
To help parishioners maintain social distancing, the altar society at St. Patrick's Catholic Church made ornate fabric dividers to block off alternate pews.
Children of Smithfield
Mariah Wailes (from left), Claudia Perales and Luis Sandoval rally in support of Smithfield workers in Crete on Saturday, May 16. "Estamos con ustedes
" translates to "We stand by you."
Shoppers walk through the Haymarket Farmers Market on Saturday, May 16. It's the first day the market has been open this season.
Parkview Christian Teacher Appreciation Day
The Parkview Christian parent/student community celebrated educators Wednesday, May 13, by decorating cars and doing a brief parade through the school parking lot for Teacher Appreciation Day.
Eric Post, owner of The Normandy, serves customers Jane Williams (center) and Keith Larsen on the first day of dine-in service returning in Lancaster County on Monday, May 11.
Doris Carbon is all smiles on Mother's Day when her family visits her by her nursing home window, including son-in-law Steve Bartels (left) and Corey Carbon, of Los Angeles on Sunday, May 10, at Legacy Retirement Community.
Lincoln Christian 2020 Seniors
Lincoln Christian senior Ally Korte (left), one of 52 graduates recognized by the school, talks with KC Orduna in May. Each senior had their name painted on the school's football field along with a yard sign featuring the portrait.
Test Nebraska site
CHI Health workers place a COVID-19 swab in a test tube while administering tests by appointment at a drive-thru Test Nebraska site at Lancaster Event Center on May 8.
Amanda Russell of Firespring installs a mural May 7 at Bryan East that was designed by Jon Humiston of Umbrella Photo Booth. Another has been installed at Bryan West.
Drive-Thru Career Fair
Iyonna Clay hands out bags containing one-page documents from employers who are hiring, explaining what the company does, what jobs are available, and how people can apply during a drive-thru career fair Tuesday, May 5, at Gateway Mall.
Center for People in Need food distribution
Boxes of bagged fruit and other food items await distribution by staff of the Center for People in Need and Army National Guard personnel last May. The Center received a $5,000 grant from the Viking Foundation in December to help alleviate increased food insecurity during the pandemic.
The intersection of 14th and Vine streets, near where the Lincoln Marathon would have started this year, sits empty on May 3, 2020.
Residents and staff of The Windcrest on Van Dorn wave to decorated vehicles parading through the parking lot on Thursday, April 30. Family and friends of residents made a visit following social distancing guidelines to the assisted-living center, which has banned visitors during the coronavirus pandemic.
Masks For Truckers
Nebraska State Patrol Sgt. Les Zimmerman hands a package of surgical masks to a truck driver on Wednesday, April 29, 2020, at the westbound I-80 weigh station. The masks were provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Department of Homeland Security as part of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
CHI St. Elizabeth president Derek Vance places a sign outside a hospital employee's home Wednesday, April 29. The hospital planned to place 1,500 signs at employees' homes.
Lucas Anderson disinfects a bike at the BikeLNK station at 21st and Q streets Saturday, April 25.
Teacher and Staff Parade
Students wave to teachers and staff from their cars on Thursday, April 23, 2020, during a teacher and staff parade at St. John the Apostle School.
Recovered COVID-19 patient Imogene Hostetler, 91, heads home from CHI St. Elizabeth accompanied by nurses Brittany McCoy and Patrick Kamphaus on Thursday, April 23.
Private 2nd Class Gary Mack (left) and Senior Master Sgt. Donald Dissmeyer unload food at a food distribution site Wednesday, April 22, at Lincoln High School.
Hannah Elliott (from left), executive director of Woodlands at Hillcrest, joins volunteers from NRC Health, including Emily Wiebeck, Tess Kurtenbach and Emily Schweitzer, as they thank staff members showing up for work at the senior housing facility Wednesday, April 22.
Virtual City Council
People watch the live coverage outside the City Council chambers Monday, April 13.
Good Friday Music
Bob Milliken and Carol Milliken perform religious music for a gathering of neighbors on Good Friday, April 10, on Hunts Drive.
Masks on a walk
Martin and Darlene Weber wear masks as they stroll past Bishop Heights Park on April 10.
Watch: A timelapse of the mural at Saro Cider
A "Heroes Work Here" sign shown outside the Lancaster Rehabilitation Center on Thursday, April 9, 2020.
Watch: Hand sanitizer rolls off Innovation Campus assembly line
No fun here
A playground closed sign is displayed in front of an empty playground Monday, April 6, at Pioneers Park.
A line of cars travels P Street during a drive-thru parade outside the Lincoln Children's Museum on Saturday, April 4.
An empty scene at the Railyard earlier this year.
Sparse vehicle and foot traffic moves through downtown on O Street on Thursday, April 2, 2020.
Tower Square sign
Last week, a sign showing support for New York showed up in Tower Square in downtown Lincoln.
A billboard calls for Lincoln residents to stay home during coronavirus pandemic.
Pastor Greg Bouvier delivers a livestreamed sermon in late March at Sheridan Lutheran Church. "We're trying to replicate service as it would be if you're here," said Bouvier. "Our theology of worship is not an individual thing. It's a communal thing. We want people to have a sense of that community."
WATCH: Celebrating a birthday with a parade
Derek Johnson, who delivers for DoorDash, leaves the downtown Qdoba with a customer's order March 27.
Wearing a mask for protection, Teri Stoppel waits for a StarTran bus at the Gold's Building in downtown Lincoln in March.
Simpsons in the windows
Replicas of Lisa Simpson and Homer Simpson watch the world pass by from the windows of a home near South 30th Street and Bonacum Drive on March 24. The owner said she had the figures in her basement and was attempting to spread a little cheer.
Drive-thru COVID-19 testing
Manager Jen Anderson (from left), registered nurse Claire Nalder and manager Tammy Fandrich set up the COVID-19 testing drive-thru March 24 at Bryan LifePointe.
UNL Beekeeping virtual class
Dr. Judy Wu-Smart, an extension and research Entomologist shows how to manipulate frames for better hive management as she's filmed live by lab technician Luke Norris during a virtual beekeeping class on Saturday, March 21, at the Entomology Hall on the UNL East Campus.
Lincoln Lutheran Online Teaching
Katie Bockelman teaches students world geography using Zoom on Friday, March 20, at Lincoln Lutheran School. The school has shifted to holding classes via Zoom with students at home.
Shows are set to return to the Bourbon Theatre this month.
Best friends Lilly Bliven (top) and Eva Gutz wave to a passing UPS delivery truck, as they practice social distancing while talking to each other on walkie-talkies across the street from each other on Tuesday, March 17.
Blue for public health
Nebraska State Capitol is seen lit in blue for "Public Health Thank You Day" on Monday, Nov. 23, 2020. JUSTIN WAN, Journal Star
Cathy Goldman (left), a paraeducator at Elliott Elementary, looks on as her mother Margaret Elley prepares dinner, Monday, Nov. 23, 2020. Goldman previously contracted COVID-19 and now keeps a distance whenever she is in a room with her elderly parents. JUSTIN WAN, Journal Star
Basketball without fans
The Nebraska men's basketball team announced its 2021-22 non-conference schedule Tuesday.
Thanksgiving to go
Alex Andrade (left) of Billy's Restaurant works swiftly to add items to their to-go Thanksgiving meals on Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020. Andrade said they will be preparing over 200 to-go meals over the next two days for families to enjoy. FRANCIS GARDLER, Journal Star
Nebraska head coach Amy Williams speaks to a referee during a timeout against Idaho State at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Dec. 6.
William Kieffe, with Food Bank of Lincoln, unloads some of the pallets with 35,640 pounds of butter and cheese donated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints earlier this month.
Malcolm girls basketball head coach Andy Klepper sprays disinfectant at the weight room, Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020. JUSTIN WAN, Journal Star
Socially distant Santa
Santa gives a socially distant air-five to 5 year old Nahlia Killsenemy on Friday, Dec. 4, 2020. Due to Covid-19, children had to maintain 6 feet and were unable to sit in Santa's lap. KENNETH FERRIERA, Journal Star.
Christmas tree demand
Cora Clay looks a tag from atop Eric Clay's shoulders at the Prior Pines Christmas tree farm on Sunday, Dec. 6, 2020. Kent Prior, owner of Prior Pines, estimates that they have sold over 900 trees so far this season. "It is definitely busier this season," Prior said. "On our first day we had people parking on the main road." KENNETH FERRIERA, Journal Star.
People walk in front of the Sparkle Globe during the Zoo Lights event at the Lincoln Children's Zoo on Thursday.
Volunteers from Stand In for Nebraska help load bags of clothing to be transported and donated to the Pine Ridge Reservation on Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020. The annual winter clothing drive for the Pine Ridge Reservation had its most successful year yet. A record number of donations poured in from all over Nebraska. With so many donations, clothing drive organizer Bill Hawkins posted on Facebook to ask for a bigger truck. Stand in for Nebraska, a local nonprofit group, answered the call and paid for the gas as well. By the end of the morning the 26-foot moving truck was packed tight with donations heading northwest. KENNETH FERRIERA, Journal Star.
CHI Health St. Elizabeth RN Crystal Shield (L) administers a COVID-19 vaccination to hospitalist Cory Shield on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020. GWYNETH ROBERTS, Journal Star
A pair of individuals who declined to give their names wave to passing motorists at 67th and O Streets as they look for signers for a recall of Lincoln Leirion Gaylor Baird on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020. FRANCIS GARDLER, Journal Star
Staying socially distanced from Santa Claus, Hailey Neff (left) delivers her list of Christmas gift wishes to the fellow from the North Pole on Saturday, Dec. 19, 2020, during a visit to Pioneers Park. Saint Nick toured the area, making stops at Holmes Park, Walt Branch Library and Williams Branch Library in addition to Pioneers Park. FRANCIS GARDLER, Journal Star
Robert Fugarino takes a photo of the conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter on his smartphone at Holmes Lake Park, Monday, Dec. 21, 2020. JUSTIN WAN, Journal Star
The Schawang family listens from their front porch to Santa Claus read, 'Twas The Night Before Christmas on Monday, Dec. 21, 2020. Shawntay and Glen Schawang's children, Maxine (from left), Valentine, Jules, and Calvin have been leaving gifts and surprises for nearby retired couples. The retirees in the neighborhood had no idea who was leaving the gifts behind. "The kids were getting such a kick out of being the mystery gift givers," retiree Rodney Turner said. After deducing who the mystery gift givers were, the older neighbors began to leave gifts of their own. Going back and forth leaving little surprises for months. To wrap up the year, the retirees decided to schedule a visit from the master gift giver himself. KENNETH FERRIERA, Journal Star.
Joshua Schulte does most of his writing on his couch in his living room or wherever he is most comfortable on Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2020. Joshua Schulte, 13, started writing the Schulte Daily when the pandemic started, he has since pivoted to the Schulte Weekly (issue 72 was last week). When asked why he started Joshua stated, "It might've been because I was bored, I've always liked writing newspaper articles." Joshua distributes his newspaper to 7 local families in his neighborhood. Even making a mile long bike ride to deliver a copy top his grandparents. He also has written an 80-page Christmas book that takes place in London in the 1800s .KENNETH FERRIERA, Journal Star.
Basketball fans reduced
Fan attendance for this basketball game between Lincoln East and Norfolk was greatly reduced due to the coronavirus pandemic, Monday, Dec. 28, 2020. JUSTIN WAN, Journal Star
Ethan (bottom) and Colin Easley take to the slopes as they joined dozens of others to enjoy the substantial snowfall on Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2020, at Holmes Lake Park.
RelyCare LTC pharmacy certified technician Sara Ferguson administer a COVID-19 vaccine at Havelock Manor, Thursday, Dec. 31, 2020.
Pius X poses with their newly won trophy after defeating Fremont in the Heartland Athletic Conference Tournament championship match at Lincoln Northeast High School. KENNETH FERRIERA, Journal Star
Supporters of Pres. Donald J. Trump rally on the north side of the Nebraska State Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6 2021, during the first day of the Legislature. FRANCIS GARDLER, Journal Star
Mike Hilgers at Legislature's First Day
Speaker Mike Hilgers (left) greets Sen. Lynne Walz after Walz was elected to be chair of the education committee during the first day of the 2021 legislative session Jan. 6 at the State Capitol.
Zoo Bar membership
A view from behind the Zoo Bar bandstand on Wednesday, Jan. 6 2021. The music establishment is launching a membership program to help it survive the COVID-19 pandemic. FRANCIS GARDLER, Journal Star
Melanie Butcher holds her cat Miss Chievous at Staybridge Suites, Monday, Jan. 4, 2021. JUSTIN WAN, Journal Star
New high school
Work progresses on the new high school near Northwest 48th and West Holdrege streets in early January.
Cindy Knippelmeyer (left) and her husband Tyson Knippelmeyer fish on the ice of Holmes Lake, Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021. JUSTIN WAN, Journal Star
Customers order their sandwiches from Colton Harpst and Chris Mathews during lunchtime at Danny's Downtown Deli on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. GWYNETH ROBERTS, Journal Star
Steve Woitaszewski make measurements as he scores a deer during Nebraska Deer and Game Expo, Friday, Jan. 15, 2021, at Lancaster Event Center. JUSTIN WAN, Journal Star
Due to the pandemic the pool deck is less crowded and swimmers, coaches and race staff are required to wear masks on Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021, during the Gene Cotter Invitational at Lincoln Northeast High School. FRANCIS GARDLER, Journal Star
People enter Pinnacle Bank arena for a COVID-19 vaccination event on Feb. 5.
Brion Westfahol (left) and Jamie Wenz take a break from the trail to enjoy a cup of hot cocoa on Saturday, Feb. 6, 2021, along the Rock Island trail. Adverse weather was of no concern to the cold blooded bikers who took part in the Frosty Bike Ride on Saturday. Despite temperatures in the low teens and a snow forecast of 4 inches, bike enthusiasts braved the weather for the annual ride. KENNETH FERRIERA, Journal Star.
Anti-vaxxers and proponets of LB643 mingle in the rotunda outside of the hearing chamber while waiting to testify favor of LB643 on Thursday, February 04, 2021, at the Nebraska State Capitol. If passed LB643 would allow them to be exempted from any vaccine program, though at this time one does not exist. KENNETH FERRIERA, Journal Star.
Biking in snow
A biker braves heavy snowfall on Saturday, Feb. 6, 2021, along the Rock Island trail. Adverse weather was of no concern to the cold blooded bikers who took part in the Frosty Bike Ride on Saturday. Despite temperatures in the low teens and a snow forecast of 4 inches, bike enthusiasts braved the weather for the annual ride. KENNETH FERRIERA, Journal Star.
LINCOLN, NEB. - 02/09/2021 - Venturing out in the below-zero wind chill on snowshoes he received in Christmas 2019, Walt Stroup of Lincoln blazes a trail on the pristine powdery remnants of the 25.3 inches of snow the city received during a 14-day period from Jan. 25-Feb. 7 on Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021, at Holmes Lake Park. FRANCIS GARDLER, Journal Star
Reach the writer at 402-473-7248 or
On Twitter @LJSdon