Locals ready for historic solar eclipse

The solar eclipse for 2017 arrives Monday.
    It is important that the proper glasses are used to view this event, according to Dr. Eric Gengenbach of First Insight Eyecare. Only glasses specifically made to view a solar eclipse will protect eyes.
    All four clinic locations in Imperial, Grant, Ogallala and North Platte have been distributing the glasses. They have been asking for donations to go toward selected benefits.
    The response has been very good and so have the donations, said a representative of First Insight Eyecare. The offices ran out of glasses  quickly, and raised $650 among the four offices. More glasses are on order for all four locations.
    Many Chase County residents are preparing to view the solar eclipse by traveling to locations where they can see the eclipse in its totality.
    One group of local motorcycle enthusiasts is planning a trip to Arthur to see the total eclipse. Brad Dinnel, trip coordinator, said they are combining the trip to Arthur with a poker run. They will be meeting at the Imperial City Gym mural on Monday between 8:30 and 9 a.m. for registration. Dinnel said that any motorcycle rider or individuals in other vehicles are welcome to join the group for this trip.
    Jim Pirog, co-owner of The Balcony House B & B in Imperial, said they are fully booked with people wanting to get as close to the eclipse path as possible so they won’t have very far to travel to see the eclipse in totality. Pirog said he also has people booked from as far away as New Mexico.
    “I have had quite a few inquiries to book a room for the eclipse, probably in the 20-25 range,” he said.
    Campsites at all 34 Nebraska state park areas and 186 wildlife management areas within the path of totality have been booked for months.
    Nebraska has attracted NASA scientists for the Aug. 21 event because of the wide open spaces. Nebraska is considered one of the best locations in America for viewing.
    Grand Island and Alliance will host high altitude weather balloons livestreamed from 100,000 feet. The broadcast will be seen on NASA TV and NASA.gov with real time footage of the solar eclipse.
    Nearly 40 percent of Nebraska lies within the path of totality of the 2017 total solar eclipse.

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