Sponsored by Frontier Communications, DISH Network, The Weather Channel and CoBank, America’s Best Communities aims to spark innovation and growth in small towns across the country. 

KEARNEY, Neb., April 29, 2015 — Kearney, Nebraska, is celebrating its victory in the first round of the America’s Best Communities competition, a $10 million initiative to stimulate economic revitalization in small towns and cities.

Community members met with the planning team to learn about the next steps of the competition and show off Kearney's victory banner.

Community members met with the planning team to learn about the next steps of the competition and show off Kearney’s victory banner.


Frontier Communications, DISH Network, The Weather Channel and CoBank — the contest’s sponsors — today announced Kearney has advanced into the quarterfinals of this innovative competition, following selection from a pool of about 140 applicant teams by an independent group of expert judges. The community will now be awarded $50,000 to develop a comprehensive strategy to accelerate the revival of the local economy and improve quality of life.


The competition’s 50 quarterfinalist communities now have six months to complete their revitalization plans for the chance to win up to an additional $3 million to bring their ideas to life.


“When the America’s Best Communities competition was first launched, I was confident that Kearney had a great chance to do very well – maybe even win it all,” said Shayne Zwiener, Frontier General Manager for Nebraska. “This victory in the first round of the competition is proof that Kearney has what it takes to be America’s best. With continued hard work and ongoing support from neighbors, I’m sure there are many more good things to come from this great community. We extend our congratulations and wish Kearney the best of luck in the quarterfinals.”


“Nebraska’s strong and vibrant communities didn’t just happen. They’re the result of hardworking people and determined local businesses coming together to make their communities great places to live, work and raise a family,” said Becky Potts, Frontier’s National Region President.  “I’m proud to congratulate our neighbors in Kearney for advancing in the America’s Best Communities competition. We’re looking forward to seeing the Community Revitalization Plan they build and implement with this new financial support.”


Kearney’s application set forth a community vision for growth and development to be achieved.  The Americas Best Community Team Kearney stated it is essential that inter-organizational collaboration continues, and new solutions be innovative.  The primary obstacle to business expansion and recruitment in Kearney is a skilled, available labor pool and available workforce housing.  Leading the planning team is Marion McDermott of the Kearney Area Chamber of Commerce, with fiscal management and project oversight powered by Denise Zwiener, Buffalo County Community Partners.Team members are:

  • Darren Robinson, Buffalo County Economic Development
  • Mike Morgan, City of Kearney
  • Stan Clouse, Mayor
  • Todd Gottula, UNK Communications
  • Judi Sickler, Kearney Area Community Foundation
  • Meredith Collins, Community Action Partnership of Mid NE
  • Lisa Reese Parish, United Way of Kearney Area
  • Jonathan Nikkila, Kearney City Council
  • Jana Petersen, Youth Rehabilitation & Treatment Center – Kearney
  • Holden Armstrong, Buffalo County Community Partners


After launching in September 2014, the America’s Best Communities competition successfully attracted entries from 138 applicant teams, representing 347 communities across the country.


The 50 quarterfinalist communities have six months to complete their comprehensive Community Revitalization Plans and compete for additional investment. In early 2016, 15 semifinalists will be selected to attend the America’s Best Communities summit to present their strategies and eight finalists will be awarded another $100,000 to continue implementation of their plans.


In April 2017, America’s Best Communities will name its three competition winners — those communities best able to dream big and deliver on those dreams.  The winning community will be awarded $3 million, with $2 million for second place and $1 million for third.



Frontier Communications Corporation (NASDAQ: FTR) offers broadband, voice, video, wireless Internet data access, data security solutions, bundled offerings, specialized bundles for residential customers, small businesses and home offices and advanced communications for medium and large businesses in 28 states. Frontier’s approximately 17,400 employees are based entirely in the United States.
More information is available at www.frontier.com
Hispanohablantes: www.internet.frontier.com/espanol


About DISH

DISH Network Corp. (NASDAQ: DISH), through its subsidiaries, provides approximately 13.978 million pay-TV subscribers, as of Dec. 31, 2014, with the highest-quality programming and technology with the most choices at the best value. Subscribers enjoy a high definition line-up with more than 200 national HD channels, the most international channels, and award-winning HD and DVR technology. DISH Network Corporation is a Fortune 250 company. Visit www.dish.com.


About CoBank

CoBank is a $102 billion cooperative bank serving vital industries across rural America. The bank provides loans, leases, export financing and other financial services to agribusinesses and rural power, water and communications providers in all 50 states. The bank also provides financial services to affiliated Farm Credit associations serving farmers, ranchers and other rural borrowers in 23 states around the country. CoBank is a member of the Farm Credit System, a nationwide network of banks and retail lending associations chartered to support the borrowing needs of U.S. agriculture and the nation’s rural economy. Visit www.cobank.com.


About The Weather Channel
Through the Weather Channel (weather.com) and Weather Underground (wunderground.com) brands, The Weather Company provides millions of people every day with the world’s best weather forecasts, content and data, connecting with them through television, online, mobile and tablet screens, as well as third-party publishing partners via API. Through WSI, the company delivers superior professional weather services for the media, aviation and energy sectors. For more information, visit www.theweathercompany.com.


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