Central Nebraska town wins greenest city in America contest

We say “greenest city in America,” and you say — Portland? Seattle? Savannah? Try Hastings, Nebraska. The town of 25,000 beat out some 350 other cities to win a contest sponsored by Yahoo! as part of the portal’s “Be a Better Planet” initiative. Yes, we’re pretty sure we just got suckered into giving Yahoo! a free plug, and we’re not entirely sure that Hastings — birthplace of Kool-Aid — is ultra-green so much as ultra-good at organizing its residents to use Yahoo!. But we’re still going to celebrate the fact that a central Nebraska town is shouting its green cred from the rooftops. Eco-initiatives there include energy-efficient streetlights, an extensive network of parks and trails, and, uh, ethanol production — but civic leaders, who walked away with $250,000 for the honor, say green is just common sense. Simple things like shutting off lights and enjoying the outdoors are, says Lt. Gov. and former Hastings mayor Rick Sheehy, “things that we as Nebraskans have done all of our lives.”