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5 Fun Facts About March 17 In Nebraska History

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1. Nebraska became a state on March 1, 1867, but it wasn't until March 17 of that year that its first governor, David Butler, took office. Butler served for two terms and oversaw significant progress in developing Nebraska's infrastructure and economy.

2. In 1884, a major blizzard struck Nebraska on March 17 and lasted for three days. The storm brought heavy snowfall and high winds, leading to dangerous conditions and widespread destruction. Many people were stranded or trapped in their homes, and some died from exposure.

3. The Cornhusker State Games, a multi-sport event held annually in Nebraska, were first held on March 17, 1985. The inaugural games featured 17 sports and attracted over 4,000 participants. Today, the Cornhusker State Games are one of the largest amateur sports festivals in the country, with over 70 sports and 11,000 athletes competing each year.

4. On March 17, 1989, a tornado touched down in rural southeastern Nebraska and caused significant damage to several farms and businesses. The tornado was part of a larger outbreak of severe weather that struck the Great Plains region, causing widespread destruction and several fatalities.

5. In 2012, Nebraska lawmakers passed a bill on March 17 that abolished the state's death penalty and replaced it with a sentence of life imprisonment without parole. The bill was vetoed by then-Governor Dave Heineman, but the legislature overrode the veto with enough votes to make Nebraska the first Republican-controlled state in more than 40 years to repeal the death penalty. The law was briefly reinstated in 2016, but was again repealed in 2019.
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