Nebraska Travel Association honors Brad Mellema

Brad Mellema, executive director of the Hall County Convention and Visitors Bureau, received the Crystal Compass Award from the Nebraska Travel Association last week at the Nebraska Travel Conference in North Platte.

The Crystal Compass Award is presented to a NETA member who, provides direction for the tourism industry at the local, regional and state levels. It is given to a member who has gone above and beyond with their time, talent and treasure in service to the industry.

Mellema has contributed through the Nebraska Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus, the Nebraska Travel Association and the Upper Midwest Convention and Visitors Bureaus Board of Directors.

He previously directed the Nebraska State 4-H Camp in the Nebraska State Forest at Halsey and was executive director of both the Crane Trust Nature & Visitor Center and the Iain Nicolson Audubon Center.

Brostrom, Kuehner and Emerton named fellows by State Bar Foundation

Kevin Brostrom of Grand Island, Jennie Kuehner of Aurora and Thomas Emerton, president and CEO of Pathway Bank of Cairo, are among 30 Nebraska lawyers named to the 2019 Class of Fellows by the Nebraska State Bar Foundation.

Kuehner is an attorney with Cline, Williams, Wright, Johnson & Oldfather, LLP, in Aurora.

She received her bachelor of science with highest distinction in chemical engineering in 1997 from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and her juris doctor degree with high distinction in 2000 from the NU College of Law. She was executive editor of the Nebraska Law Review and a member of the Order of the Coif. She is a member of the Nebraska State Bar Association.

In her community, she is a member and secretary of Memorial Community Health Board of Directors and member and treasurer of Bremer Community Center Board of Directors.

Brostrom is a solo practitioner with Lauritsen, Brownell, Brostrom in Grand Island. He has served on the Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission as chairman, vice chairman and secretary. He is a board member of the Central Community College Foundation and Senior Citizens Industries Inc.

He received his bachelor of arts with distinction in 1977 from the University of Nebraska and his juris doctor degree in 1980 from the NU College of Law. He is a member of the Nebraska State Bar Association and the 11th Judicial District Bar Association and a member and past president of the Hall County Bar Association. He received the Nebraska Lawyers Foundation Visionary Award in 2009.

Emerton previously was Loup County attorney and executive director of the Platte River Whooping Crane Trust.

He received his bachelor of arts in 1971 from Nebraska Wesleyan University and his juris doctor degree in 1975 from the NU College of Law. He is a member of the Nebraska State Bar Association and is a former partner at Bradley, Elsbernd, Emerton & Anderson in Grand Island.

The new Fellows will be formally inducted at the Bar Foundation’s 32nd Annual Fellows Dinner on March 13, 2020, at the Holland Center in Omaha.

Hall County Corrections promotes Palacz, Vaira to corporal

Jeremy Palacz and Robert Vaira have been promoted to corporal by the Hall County Corrections Department.

Palacz began his career with Hall County as a corrections officer in 2010. During the last 10 years, he has served in booking, armed transport, court, fingerprinting, felony DNA collection and sex offender registry data collection. He earned his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice at Chadron State College in Chadron.

Vaira joined Hall County Corrections after serving in the U.S. Army in a multitude of positions, including squad leader, section sergeant, personnel sergeant, operating/training sergeant and completing two deployments to Iraq. Since becoming a Hall County corrections officer in 2016, he has been a master control operator, a jail training officer and a PPCT/GAGE instructor.

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