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Nebraska Communities Start Plugging In

By Bill Moore

The Nebraska city of Bellevue, the third largest in the state, has become one of the first to acquire electric cars for their fleet. The community whose motto has long been 'From Arrows to Aerospace' in recognition of its largest employer, nearby Offutt Air Force Base, also now can proudly proclaim it has 'plugged into the future' as it acquires its first two electric cars.

Historically speaking, Bellevue, Nebraska, on the banks of the Missouri river, is the oldest non-native settlement in the state. The Omaha tribe occupied the area from time immemorial, but it would be fur trappers and traders who would set up the earliest trading post here, some 700 miles up the Muddy Mo from St. Louis, in 1822. Its fortunes would ebb and flow with those of the fur trade and later the great migration west to Oregon and the California gold field. For decades in the late 1880s, it would remain in the shadow of Omaha, a dozen miles north and eastern terminus of the Union Pacific Rail Road.

The establishment of Fort Crook in 1894 revived the little town's fortunes and with the breakout of the Second World War and the construction of a Martin Aircraft bomber plant on what would be renamed Offutt Air Force Base, the economy and population began to thrive. Today, Offutt remains a key element in the nation's defense as home of Stratcom, manned by the 55th Wing of the USAF.

For years now, one of the town's mottos has been 'Arrows to Aerospace.' Now it can add, 'We're Plugged Into the Future" as it became one of the first communities in the state to acquire a pair of electric cars and accompanying public charger through a series of state grants, which other smaller Nebraska communities are also taking advantage of.

The city's two 2015 Nissan LEAF electric cars were acquired through Woodhouse Nissan, the local dealership, with the paperwork handled by Adam Ciochetto, pictured above, the dealership's LEAF specialist.

Bellevue isn't the only Nebraska municipality to plug-in, as Larry Burks, the Assistance City Administrator, explains in this two-part video conducted at their administration building some half-dozen miles due east of EV World's home office in nearby Papillion. Burks explains how both his community and others in the state are taking advantage of available grants intended to help them transition to more sustainable operations. One of the LEAF electric cars is being used by the city building inspector, while the second is available for staff to use on city business.

After nearly two decades of covering the EV world, which usually meant traveling to the coasts, it's exciting and encouraging for me personally to see communities in EV World's own backyard now discovering the benefits of plugging in. Here's hoping that my own hometown of Papillion also catches the vision and when Omaha starts deploying EVs I will know this 17-year campaign to help create a more sustainable world will have been won, at least on one small front.

Video Part 1

Video Part 2

Times Article Viewed: 1049
Originally published: 22 Nov 2014

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