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* Funeral Service notes: (see more on the obituaries page)

* Brian D. Gaskins, 55, of Ainsworth pending

* Dale Edward Painter, 78, of Newport 10:30 a.m. June 27

* Twila Mae Kepler, 93, of Bassett 11 a.m. June 26

* Peggy A. Larson, 83, of Bassett 2 p.m. June 24

* Meeting reports located below for:

June 20 Brown County Commissioners

June 14 Ainsworth City Council

June 12 Ainsworth Community Schools Board of Education

June 6 Brown County Commissioners

* Power line sparks small fire Thursday in county road ditch north of Ainsworth

(Posted 8:15 a.m. June 23)

A spark from an electric line caused a small grass fire Thursday morning north of Ainsworth.

According to Ainsworth Volunteer Fire Department Assistant Chief Justin Nickless, at 10:25 a.m. Thursday, firefighters received a call of a grass fire in the county road ditch approximately 4-1/2 miles north of the Rolling Stone Feed Yard.

Nickless said a spark from the power line started the fire, which firefighters contained to the county road ditch. Nickless said the fire only burned about one-half acre of grass.

“Conditions are getting pretty dry, pretty fast,” Nickless said.

Firefighters returned to the Ainsworth Fire Hall by 11 a.m.

* Area students named to Deans' List at UN-L

(Posted 7 a.m. June 23)

More than 4,300 students have been named to the Deans' List/Explore Center List of Distinguished Students for the spring semester of the 2016-17 academic year.

Qualification for the Deans' List/List of Distinguished Students varies among the eight undergraduate colleges and the Explore Center. Listed below are the minimum requirements for each entity and the name of its respective dean or director. All qualifying grade-point averages are based on a four-point scale and a minimum of 12 or more graded semester hours. Students can be on the Deans' List for more than one college.

Area students named to the Deans’ List at UN-L include:

 

Ainsworth

Lydia Allen, sophomore, Dean's List, College of Arts and Sciences, English.

Austin Harthoorn, sophomore, Dean's List, College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, agricultural economics.

Conner Kozisek, senior, Dean's List, College of Arts and Sciences, political science.

Jacob Wilkins, sophomore, Dean's List, College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, agricultural education.

Bassett

Christopher Coulter, junior, Dean's List, College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, agribusiness.

Victoria Davis, sophomore, Dean's List, College of Education and Human Sciences, child, youth and family studies.

Springview

Kara Bruns, junior, Dean's List, College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, agricultural education.

Buck Cronk, sophomore, Dean's List, College of Arts and Sciences, computer science.

Moriah Heerten, junior, Dean's List, College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, agronomy and agricultural economics.

Newport

Thomas Ammon, senior, Dean's List, College of Engineering, mechanical engineering.

Stuart

Dylan Laible, senior, Dean's List, College of Arts and Sciences, computer science.

Atkinson

Alex Fritz, junior, Dean's List, College of Engineering, electrical engineering.

Kyle Linders, freshman, Explore Center List of Distinguished Students, Explore Center, pre-health.

Wood Lake

Shawna Wheeler, senior, Dean's List, College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, agricultural education.

Valentine

Eric Arnold, junior, Dean's List, College of Journalism and Mass Communications, broadcasting.

Cassie Cichorz, junior, Dean's List, College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, applied science.

Macey Mathis, sophomore, Dean's List, College of Education and Human Sciences, pre-speech-language pathology.

* Brown County Foundation awards $5,000 grants to care center and library

(Posted 11:30 a.m. June 22)

The Brown County Community Foundation continues to support projects that enhance the lives of area residents by awarding $5,000 grants to the Sandhills Care Center and the Ainsworth Public Library.

The pledge to the Sandhills Care Center will assist with the replacement of a bath tub that will accommodate residents with various physical limitations. The $5,000 grant is in addition to a $10,000 grant the Brown County Foundation made to the Sandhills Care Center Capital Campaign and a $50,000 pledge for enhancements to a new care center facility when completed.

The Ainsworth Public Library was granted $5,000 to assist with costs of digitizing local newspapers from their current microfilm state. Advantage Preservation will create a searchable database of the newspapers. The images and searchable database will be put on a hard drive for the library.

Advantage Preservation will also build, host, and maintain a website so the public can search through the papers by way of the Internet from the convenience of their home or office. The database will include 122 reels of microfilm from publications of the Brown County Democrat, Ainsworth Home Rule, Ainsworth Journal, Ainsworth Star-Journal, Sandhiller, Long Pine News, and the Johnstown Enterprise.

The recent grants totaling $10,000 are made possible due to the continued contributions being made to the Brown County Community Foundation Fund Endowment Account. The Sherwood Foundation currently matches $1 for every $2 donated to the Brown County Endowment Account. The match will continue through 2018 or until the foundation goal is reached. The Brown County Foundation is approximately 75 percent of the way to its $500,000 goal.  Contributions to the Brown County Foundation Fund may be made by mailing a check to PO Box 232, Ainsworth, NE 69210 and designating on the check’s memo line the words “Endowment Account.

* Recent cases from Brown County Court

(Posted 11 a.m. June 22)

In addition to fines, each case carries $50 in court costs

James R. Ashcraft, age 28, of Ainsworth, charged with disturbing the peace, fined $300.

Matthew Lee Kowalski, 27, of Waite Park, Minn., speeding 6-10 mph over the limit, $25.

Kori J. Yankowski, 18, of Ainsworth, minor in possession of alcohol, $300.

Joshua L. Stidham, 24, of Ainsworth, no fishing permit, $100.

Matthew H. Hager, 27, of Ainsworth, no operator’s license, $75.

Jonathan J. Moody, 41, of Ainsworth, first offense reckless driving, $500 and sentenced to six months of probation.

Schyler D. Schenk, 26, of Ainsworth, first offense reckless driving, $500 and sentenced to six months of probation.

Kenady R. Stanton, 19, of Bassett, minor in possession of alcohol, $300.

Tylor J. Heidecker, 25, of Wood Lake, Minn., attempt of a Class 4 felony, $1,000; possession of marijuana more than 1 ounce, $300.

Marcus M. Warscher, 20, of Buckeye, Ariz., speeding 16-20 mph over the limit, $125.

Jordan D. Keezer, 20, of Ainsworth, possession of an open alcohol container in a vehicle, $50; possession of marijuana less than 1 ounce, $300; possession of drug paraphernalia, $100; failure to wear a seat belt, $25.

Darren M. Jarl, 21, of Dassel, Minn., attempt of a Class 4 felony, $1,000; possession of marijuana less than 1 ounce, $300; possession of drug paraphernalia, $100.

Timothy S. Jarl, 30, of South Haven, Minn., accessory to a Class 4 felony, $1,000; possession of marijuana less than 1 ounce, $300; possession of drug paraphernalia, $100.

Jeffrey Q. Keezer, 46, of Neligh, two counts of third-degree assault, fined $250 on each count.

Sarah Jo Ludwig, 21, of North Fargo, N.D., possession of marijuana less than 1 ounce, $300.

Morgan E. Nellis, 21, of East Fargo, N.D., possession of marijuana less than 1 ounce, $300; speeding 6-10 mph over the limit, $25.

Dale R. Lloyd, 54, of Egan, S.D., possession of marijuana less than 1 ounce, $300; possession of drug paraphernalia, $100; speeding 11-15 mph over the limit, $75.

Audrey Jean Welch, 53, of Egan, S.D., possession of marijuana less than 1 ounce, $300; possession of drug paraphernalia, $100.

Jamie L. Forcum, 30, of South Rapids, Minn., attempt of a Class 4 felony, $1,000; possession of marijuana less than 1 ounce, $300; possession of drug paraphernalia, $100.

Wendy L. Hill, 35, of Clearwater, Minn., attempt of a Class 4 felony, $1,000; possession of marijuana less than 1 ounce, $300; possession of drug paraphernalia, $100.

Boston A. Lucht, 23, of Ainsworth, procuring or selling alcohol to a minor, $1,000.

Gavin R. Larson, 19, of Long Pine, speeding 11-15 mph over the limit, $75.

Charles J. Noheart Jr., 41, of Ainsworth, driving under the influence with a blood-alcohol content of 0.15 or greater, $500, also sentenced to 35 days in jail with credit for 35 days served, driver’s license revoked for one year, and ordered to install an ignition interlock device; second offense refusal to submit to an alcohol test, $500.

Dylan D. Zastrow, 23, of Sioux Falls, S.D., speeding 6-10 mph over the limit, $25.

Mckayla Bonge, 18, of Ainsworth, minor in possession of alcohol, sentenced to 90 days of probation and ordered to perform 20 hours of community service.

Shannon M. Jeffers, 41, of Ainsworth, possession of marijuana less than 1 ounce, $300; possession of drug paraphernalia, $100.

Clayton J. Larson, 19, of Springview, possession of marijuana less than 1 ounce, $300 and sentenced to five days in jail with credit for four days served; possession of drug paraphernalia, $100; possession of a loaded shotgun in a vehicle, $50.

Justin C. Reed, 32, of Long Pine, obstructing a peace officer, violation of protection order and two counts of disturbing the peace, sentenced to one year of probation.

Dallas P. Green, 23, of Lincoln, possession of drug paraphernalia, $100; possession of an open alcohol container in a vehicle, $50; failure to wear a seat belt, $25.

Austin L. Painter, 23, of Ainsworth, littering, $25.

Tiffany R. Dunn, 26, of Independence, Mo., driving under suspension, $100.

C.D. Mervin, 74, of Steamboat Springs, Colo., speeding 6-10 mph over the limit, $25.

* Renewable energy firm pledges $80,000 annual gift to Holt County communities

(Posted 9:15 a.m. June 22)

Representatives of community funds in Holt County visited the Grande Prairie Wind Farm Wednesday north of O’Neill to commemorate BHE Renewables’ contribution of $80,000 to the Nebraska Community Foundation. The donation will be distributed to the respective community-based affiliated funds at Stuart, Atkinson, O’Neill and Chambers, as well as the Holt County Economic Development Fund.

As part of the Grande Prairie Wind Project, BHE Renewables has committed to donating $80,000 per year to benefit charitable activities and opportunities in the community surrounding the 400-megawatt energy generation project.
“We’re proud to deliver on the commitment that was made as part of our Grande Prairie Wind Project to support activities and opportunities that will make a difference within these communities,” Alicia Knapp, project manager for BHE Renewables, said. “When this annual donation is combined with eligible matching grants over the next five years, the fund has the potential to grow to more than half a million dollars.”

The funds will benefit residents of all ages through a variety of projects.

Jeff Yost, president and CEO of the Nebraska Community Foundation, said, “We are so grateful to BHE Renewables for recognizing these communities’ commitment to progress and the future. We look forward to dreaming with local leadership about how these gifts can further build on the success that Holt County has already achieved and set our sights on even bigger goals for the future.”

Grande Prairie is the largest wind farm in Nebraska. In addition to providing clean, affordable energy to homes, businesses and communities, the project provides approximately 25 permanent full-time jobs as well as revenue for landowners and tax revenue for the communities within Holt County.

* Niobrara Council takes action to address substantial budget shortfall

(Posted 7 a.m. June 22)

The Niobrara Council began taking major steps to address a looming budget shortfall during its recent meeting, opting to move its office into space available in the old Cherry County Courthouse.

The Nebraska Legislature took no action during the 2017 session on the Niobrara Council’s request for an increase of $37,989 to its base appropriation of $42,011. That leaves the council with a substantial deficit for its upcoming budget.

With Cherry County offering space in the old courthouse, the council voted to provide 30-day notice to its current landlord and relocate its office to the courthouse by Aug. 1.

Making the move will save the council approximately $7,772. In addition to the rent, the council will not have to pay for utilities or snow removal.

The council took additional action to try and trim its expenditures, cutting the number of meetings from 10 per year down to seven. Executive Director Kalli Kieborz said each meeting costs between $800 and $1,000 in legal notice publications, mileage for the council members and fees for having the council’s attorney attend the meeting.

By cutting down from 10 to seven meetings, the council will save between $2,400 and $3,000 annually.

The council also drafted an amendment to Kieborz’s employment contract, removing the health insurance coverage benefit for her spouse. That measure will save the council $6,171.

While those measures save the council a total of $16,944, they do not account for the entirety of the projected shortfall.

The council opted to have its legal firm, Arganbright Law Office, available on an as-needed basis for an hourly fee as opposed to requiring the attorney to attend every council meeting.

The budget committee reported, despite the savings, the council will still face a substantial shortfall. Requests are being made to the county governing boards in the four counties included in the Niobrara National Scenic River Corridor.

The Brown County Commissioners Tuesday voted to contribute $3,000 during the upcoming fiscal year to the Niobrara Council. Similar funding requests will be made to the Rock and Keya Paha County boards, with Cherry County paying for the cost of the office space for the council.

The next meeting of the Niobrara Council is scheduled for Aug. 17 in the Peppermill at Valentine.

* Commissioners reject Nature Conservancy's application for perpetual easement

(Posted 2 p.m. June 20)

Following a unanimous recommendation from the Brown County Planning Commission, the Board of Commissioners Tuesday voted to deny an application for a perpetual conservation easement on property owned by The Nature Conservancy in northwestern Brown County.

Zoning Administrator Dean Jochem said The Nature Conservancy planned to sell the tract of land to William and Ann Sparks of Empire, Colo., and applied for a perpetual conservation easement to be included in the sale of the property.

“A perpetual easement is in violation of the county’s comprehensive plan,” Jochem said. “We do have conservation easements in the county. The issue is a perpetual easement. I am not opposed to conservation easements, but I am opposed to perpetual easements.”

Jochem said, even with a 99-year easement, there is at least an end date.

“No one can predict where we are going to be in 100 or 200 years,” Jochem said. “You can’t overlook the difference between a conservation easement and a perpetual conservation easement.”

Rich Walters Jr., who manages the Niobrara Valley Preserve for The Nature Conservancy, said the 868 acres proposed in the sale would be better managed by selling it to the neighboring landowner.

“This parcel is landlocked for us,” Walters said. “We have to cross a neighboring property owner to access it. That has made it troublesome trying to graze it.”

Walters said the best solution for The Nature Conservancy was to sell the ground.

“The conservation easement is part of our requirements for selling ground,” he said. “We want to protect the current use of the property. As an educational and research organization, the conservancy requires these easements to preserve the grasslands and the current agricultural use of the property.”

Commissioner Reagan Wiebelhaus said one section of the county’s comprehensive plan encourages the development of home structures, and a perpetual conservation easement would not fit with that portion of the plan.

“Where does the line get drawn?” Wiebelhaus asked. “At what point does the land get restricted so much that there is nowhere to build a house within 10 miles of the river?”

Attorney Todd McWha from North Platte, representing The Nature Conservancy, said the property proposed for sale is not an area that would likely be developed.

“This area is not easily accessible,” McWha said. “The comprehensive plan promotes development near communities and highways so the county does not have to provide as many services in remote areas.”

McWha said the county’s comprehensive plan discourages property to be owned by non-profit organizations.

“This parcel would be sold to a private individual,” McWha said. “Selling it to a private individual is the best way to ensure that it stays in the tax base. Selling it to a neighbor will improve the grazing opportunities and boost the economic benefits of that ground.”

McWha said the Niobrara Council overwhelmingly recommended the application be approved.

“Counties are always concerned about easements in perpetuity,” he said. “The restrictions in the easement are that no feed lot is constructed and no chemicals are used. The agreement can be terminated if the property use around it changes.”

Jochem said, as presented, there does not appear to be much future oversight included by The Nature Conservancy, but the agreement is a 21-page binding document.

“It is not quite as simple as it is being made to sound,” the zoning administrator said.

Wiebelhaus said the future value of the property would also likely be affected if it carried a perpetual easement.

McWha said The Nature Conservancy could sell or deed the property to a non-profit group that would then likely apply to take it off the tax base.

“If anyone was going to buy the property, they would know about the easement prior to the purchase,” McWha said. “Our livelihoods here are connected to the land and to the water. Isn’t that worth preserving? We are talking about one one-thousandth of the land in the county.”

Wiebelhaus said, “It is common sense that if there are two similar properties sitting next to each other, the property without the easement would be more valuable.”

Brown County Attorney David Streich said the basic principle with a free market is to have an agreement between a willing buyer and a willing seller.

“The county should not get into whether there are terms on a sale between a willing buyer and a willing seller unless those terms affect the county,” Streich said. “As county attorney, I do have a concern regarding the potential effect to the tax base. I think this is a unique situation in that this land is already under the control of the conservancy, but it is going to be transferred to private ownership. This is not adding more acres to the conservancy.”

Streich said state statute requires a county to determine whether an easement is consistent with its comprehensive plan when making a decision on an easement application.

“I know our county’s comprehensive plan has been updated to discourage conservation easements,” the county attorney said.

Walters said The Nature Conservancy pays its full share of land taxes, and the salary of conservancy staff comes from the income generated by the land through grazing leases and hunting leases.

Commissioner Les Waits said he did not believe in having easements in perpetuity.

“But, I have also seen land torn up that I don’t think should ever have been touched,” Waits said. “There are several ways to look at it.”

Wiebelhaus said he was not in favor of perpetual easements.

“That said, unless it was a close vote, I was going to follow the Planning Commission’s recommendation,” Wiebelhaus said. “They are in place to put the time into looking at these issues. If the Planning Commission had a close vote, it would make my decision more difficult. But, this was not a close vote by the commission.”

Commissioner Buddy Small asked Streich for his opinion on the easement, which Streich said he would provide in executive session since it posed potential legal arguments should the issue wind up in front of a court.

Following the executive session, Wielbelhaus said The Nature Conservancy has valid arguments about this easement conforming to the county’s comprehensive plan, and the Planning Commission has valid arguments that the easement does not conform to the plan.

“We believe the Planning Commission makes a more compelling argument,” Wiebelhaus said.

The commissioners unanimously voted to deny the perpetual easement due to it not conforming with the county’s comprehensive plan.

In other business Tuesday, Brown County Hospital Administrator Shannon Sorensen and Chief Financial Officer Lisa Wood presented the commissioners with a quarterly financial update.

Wood said the hospital has 172 days cash on hand, which is two days fewer than this time a year ago.

She said the hospital’s total assets declined by approximately $700,000 from the previous year, mainly due to depreciation. Wood reported hospital revenue is down 7 percent compared to what was projected in the budget, and expenses were pacing 3 percent lower than budgeted.

“Our losses are small compared to what many other critical access hospitals are seeing,” Wood said. “With most people having high insurance deductibles, we are finding more people are having a tough time paying their deductible. Although, we do also have more people who now have insurance who didn’t have any insurance before, so that is a good thing.”

She said, after the hospital receives the revenue generated by the hospital bond for the addition, revenue is running at just more than $15,000 above expenses, compared to approximately $200,000 above expenses at this stage last year. She said that revenue picture does include $867,000 of depreciation, which does not impact the hospital’s cash situation.

Sorensen said the Hospital Board is working on the 2017-18 budget, and she would present the budget to the commissioners when it is finalized.

“There are a lot of unknowns right now with the status of the legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act,” Sorensen said. “We have seen the effects of health care reform. We are seeing a higher percentage of patients with Medicaid.”

Wood said Medicaid revenue is being reduced by 3 percent by the state, so the hospital would need to take that into account for its upcoming budget.

In action items Tuesday, the commissioners accepted the 2017-18 BKR Extension budget as presented by Extension Educator Chandra Murray. Murray said Brown County’s 42 percent portion of the $74,624 budget would amount to an increase of $913.

Rock County is responsible for 33 percent of the Extension budget, and Keya Paha County supplies the remaining 25 percent. Brown County’s portion of the 2017-18 budget would be $31,342 as proposed.

The commissioners voted to contribute $3,000 to the Niobrara Council to help defray expenses after the council lost much of its state and federal funding. Small said, if the budget shortfall was not addressed, the Niobrara Council would have to lay off staff Jan. 1.

He said Cherry, Keya Paha and Rock counties would also be asked to contribute to the Niobrara Council, with Cherry County already agreeing to house the council office within the courthouse to save the council more than $4,800 per year.

The board voted to renew its membership with the Central Nebraska Economic Development District at a cost of $1,572.

The commissioners also approved an agreement between the county and the Brown County Agricultural Society in which the county will pay claims up to $60,000 from the Inheritance Tax Fund for fairground improvements, with the money repaid to the Inheritance Tax Fund over a three-year period from the Agricultural Society’s annual allocation.

The next meeting of the Brown County Commissioners is scheduled for 8:15 a.m. July 3. With the Fourth of July falling on the regular first Tuesday meeting date, the meeting was moved ahead one day.

* Traffic Accident

(Posted 12:30 p.m. June 20)

The Brown County Sheriff’s Department investigated a two-vehicle accident that occurred Friday, June 16, in Ainsworth.
According to the sheriff’s department report, at 10:48 a.m. Friday on Highway 20 near the Main Street intersection in Ainsworth, a 2011 Freightliner semi, driven by Cecil E. Lake, 56, of Lemoyne, was traveling west and attempting to turn. A 2000 BMW motorcycle, driven by Daniel W. Kraft, 53, of Fond Du Lac, Wis., was traveling west behind the semi and slid into the semi’s trailer tires.
No injuries were reported. Damage to the motorcycle was estimated at $2,500. The semi’s trailer, owned by SBT Inc. of Omaha, sustained approximately $2,400 damage.

* Children can enter alumni parade for chance to win a new bike

(Posted 7:45 a.m. June 20)

The Ainsworth Volunteer Fire Department is giving away four new bicycles to children who enter the alumni parade.
Children may enter a bike in the alumni parade by registering with the fire department at 9:30 a.m. Saturday at the Parkside Berean Church across the street from East City Park. Children will then ride their bicycles during the parade.
The fire department will give away a girls bicycle and a boys bicycle in two age groups: children from 3 to 7 years of age, and children 8 to 13.
The winners will be drawn following the parade at the Ainsworth Fire Hall.

* Sheriff's department continues to pursue purchase of canine unit

(Posted 7:30 a.m. June 20)

The Brown County Sheriff’s Department is in the process of raising funds to purchase a canine unit due to the growing drug problem within the county.

In the past two months, the sheriff’s department has made 22 arrests on drug-related offenses, with 16 of those arrests carrying felony charges. The arrests include both local and out-of-county residents.

Brown County Sheriff Bruce Papstein said the drug dog will be purchased from a professional trainer in Alabama. He said the Nebraska State Patrol purchases its canine units from the same trainer. The dog will be purchased in September, with training to immediately follow.

The cost of the canine, including training at the law enforcement training center near Grand Island, is between $8,000 and $10,000. The sheriff’s department’s goal is not to use tax dollars to purchase the dog.

The sheriff’s department has received $2,500 in donations to date. Anyone willing to support the sheriff’s department with the purchase of the canine unit may make a donation to any Ainsworth bank.

* Weekly summary from the Brown County Sheriff's Department

(Posted 6:45 a.m. June 19)

June 11

  • Investigated a report of a possible runaway juvenile in Ainsworth. The juvenile was located and returned to their residence.

  • Responded to a report of cattle out on Hwy 7 South of Ainsworth.

  • Responded to a report of suspicious activity at a church in Ainsworth.

  • Responded to a traffic complaint on South & Maple Sts in Ainsworth. 

    June 12    

  • Received a report of possible child abuse or neglect in Ainsworth.

  • Assisted an Ainsworth resident with a report of possible harassment.

  • Received a traffic complaint in Long Pine.

  • Assisted a Rock Co resident, with a report of a Brown Co resident, harassing them through text messages.


  • June 13

  • Received a report of an unknown subject driving over the watering pipes at the South & East Cemeteries, Ainsworth.

  • Released a subject from the Brown Co Jail on bond.

  • The Raven and Calamus Fire Depts responded to a report of a truck on fire, South of Ainsworth.

  • The Long Pine, Raven, Calamus, and Ainsworth Fire Depts were called upon to spot for tornado activity in Brown Co. The Tornado sirens were blown in Ainsworth & Long Pine.

  • Received a report of a bull out on Wilson St Ainsworth.

    June 14

  • Assisted Ainsworth residents with an out of control juvenile.

  • Investigated a report of a runaway juvenile. The juvenile was taken into emergency protective custody and transported to Richard Young in Kearney.

  • The Ainsworth Fire Dept issued a burn permit for property located West & North of Ainsworth.

  • Responded to a report of a small child left in a running vehicle at an Ainsworth business.

    June 15

  • Received several 911 calls from Long Pine area. Investigated these calls and determined it was children playing on cell phones.

  • Received a report of two bulls out on Wilson St Ainsworth.

    June 16

  • Investigated a motorcycle – semi accident in Ainsworth. Arrested a subject for driving under the influence and booked them into the Brown Co Jail. The subject was later released on bond.

  • Received a report of possible credit card fraud by an Ainsworth resident.

  • Responded to a report of a dog running at large on East 1st St Ainsworth.

  • Investigated suspicious activity involving a minor in Ainsworth.

    June 17

  • Investigated a report of lewd text messages sent to a juvenile in Brown Co.

  • Assisted an Ainsworth resident with a report of threats being made on social media.

  • Arrested two subjects for possession of marijuana with intent to deliver. The subjects were booked into the Brown Co Jail.

  • Received a report of two bulls out on North Wilson St Ainsworth.

  • Assisted an Ainsworth resident with a wild life complaint.

    Weekly Summary
    3 - Fix-it tickets were issued.
    0 - Handgun permits applied for
    16 - Incidents Reports were taken.
    1 - Paper Service was served.
    190 - Phone calls were received
    19 - 911 emergency calls received 
    3 - Titles were inspected.
    3 - Traffic Citations were issued.
    5 - Verbal & Written Warnings issued

* LB 840 Review Committee implores City Council to provide financial documents

(Posted 10:30 p.m. June 14)

Members of the LB 840 Citizen Advisory Review Committee urged the Ainsworth City Council Wednesday to assure that city financial statements relating to the LB 840 program are provided to the program administrator and the review committee following a third consecutive review in which the committee was unable to supply the council with the financial standing of the fund.

LB 840 Advisory Review Committee member John Halbersleben told the council the committee did not feel comfortable that any financial information related to the LB 840 program would be accurate because the committee is still not receiving the financial statements it requested from the city during the previous two six-month reviews.

“We are not confident in the financial figures at this time,” Halbersleben said. “Our level of concern is very high. This goes back a year and a half.”

Halbersleben said the account shows multiple double entries, and some monthly deposits have not been found. He said the committee requested bank statements and an LB 840 transaction history in November during the previous six-month review.

“We need to be able to verify that the LB 840 funds have been collected by the city and deposited into the account,” Halbersleben said. “This is getting frustrating.”

Councilman Greg Soles asked Halbersleben if this is the same request the committee made in July 2016 and again in November.

“This is the third time you are making this request, and you still aren’t receiving the information?” Soles asked. “LB 840 should be simple. It should show the deposits going in and any funds that go out.”

Mayor Larry Rice said the city’s financial software program has been a mess for about the same length of time the committee has been requesting the information.

“I think that has now been corrected,” Rice said.

Councilwoman Deb Hurless said she did not feel comfortable accepting city financial reports if the information is not accurate.

“I don’t want to say something is good if it isn’t,” Hurless said. “I want to know the money is being put where it is supposed to be.”

LB 840 Program Administrator Kristin Olson said, without the bank statements and accompanying data from the Nebraska Department of Revenue indicating the amount of sales tax that has been collected for the LB 840 program, she could not assure that any data provided by the committee would be accurate.

“To perform our due diligence, we need those statements,” Olson said. “We have not received monthly financial statements in a year and a half.”

Rice asked if the city’s pending audit would uncover any issues. City Attorney Rod Palmer said the city’s audit is a spot audit, not a full audit.

Discussion turned to the recent loans and grants that have been approved from the LB 840 fund by the council. The report showed a $60,000 grant that was approved by the council Nov. 9 was not initially closed due to the LB 840 account having insufficient funds. The approved funds were disbursed later after additional monthly sales tax collections were deposited into the LB 840 account.

Olson said it was later determined the account balance reported to the council in November when it approved the application might in actuality not have enough funding to close the grant.

North Central Development Center Board member Doug Weiss asked the council if it was comfortable that the money that was supposed to go to the LB 840 account has gone in, to which Hurless responded she was not.

Weiss said, “Then I think you would want to do a complete audit on the account.”

Olson said the review committee would be willing to go back and reconcile the account to save the city the cost of undergoing a full audit if it received the bank statements and the information from the Department of Revenue.

“We would be willing to do the leg work to go back and make sure that everything is where it needs to be,” Olson said.

In reference to the city supplying the data to the committee, Councilman Chuck Osborn said, “It will get done.”

In addition to the request to provide the program administrator monthly with all financial reports, the review committee also strongly recommended the city go through procurement for legal services for the LB 840 program in order to find an attorney willing to provide all the services necessary to complete LB 840 loans from origination through closing.

Halbersleben said, “We don’t think we need to have one attorney checking out another attorney’s work. This would avoid additional review fees.”

Palmer said attorney Avery Guernsey (of Bassett) knows the requirements to close the loans. He said City Administrator Lisa Schroedl had contacted Guernsey, and he is willing to handle the loan closings.

“I would feel very confident if he performed the work,” Palmer said. “It would be much more efficient.”

Following the lengthy discussion, the council unanimously approved the Citizen Advisory Review Committee’s report as presented.

Halbersleben told the council, “We just want to feel confident the numbers the committee is providing the council are accurate. We want to make sure there is a mechanism in place to assure that this is carried out so we aren’t back again with this in another six months.”

In another LB 840 item Wednesday, the council approved a $15,000 grant from the fund for project 2017-01. The LB 840 fund receives one-half cent of city sales tax collections. The treasurer’s report indicated a balance of $64,987 in the account. Hurless said she believed it has been established the city did have enough in the account to approve the $15,000 application as recommended by the LB 840 Review Committee.

The council also approved two applications for Ainsworth Betterment Committee funds, another fund utilizing a portion of the 1.5 percent city sales tax money.

The Brown County Agricultural Society will receive $10,000 in ABC funds for its arena lighting project, and the Ainsworth Airport Authority will receive $2,500 toward the cost of its 75th anniversary celebration in July. Both applications were unanimously recommended for approval by the city’s ABC Advisory Committee.

Though not in attendance Wednesday, City Clerk Lisa Schroedl’s report asked the council to consider decreasing the city property tax levy from 4 cents to 3.5 cents for the Mutual Finance Organization relating to the Ainsworth Volunteer Fire Department.

In her report, Schroedl said she spoke with Doug Rau from the Rural Fire District, Brad Fiala with the Ainsworth Fire Department, as well as Brown County Commissioner Buddy Small, and all were in agreement to decrease the levy by one-half cent. Brown County has also been supplying the Rural Fire District with 4 cents in levy. She reported Small indicated the county would likely agree to whatever the city decides.

Rice said, “This has to be submitted to the state by July 1, even though it won’t get officially included in our budget until the budget hearing.”

The council agreed to reduce the fire department’s levy from 4 cents to 3.5 cents for the 2017-18 budget.

In a final action item, the council approved moving forward with an application for grant funds to update the city’s comprehensive plan.

Soles said, “We were supposed to receive a summary from JEO, but I have not received any information.”

A representative from JEO Engineering presented information to the council during its May meeting regarding a need for the city to upgrade its comprehensive plan to become compliant with all state requirements.

During his report, Rice said the city began spraying for mosquitoes Tuesday, and planned to spray each Tuesday and Thursday during the summer as weather allowed.

Prior to adjourning, the council entered into executive session to further discuss issues raised by the LB 840 review committee.

The next meeting of the Ainsworth City Council is scheduled for 7 p.m. July 12.

(Photo courtesy of Todd Kicken)

Hail larger than golf balls fell on the George Kicken ranch 15 miles south of Ainsworth Tuesday afternoon. Large hail was reported south of Long Pine, south of Bassett, south of Mills, north of Stuart and Atkinson and in the community of Butte.

* Tuesday storms drop large hail and prompt tornado warning sirens in area communities

(Posted 7 a.m. June 14)

A narrow band of severe thunderstorms developed over north central Nebraska Tuesday afternoon and moved northeast across the area, causing hail damage in at least five counties and prompting tornado warning sirens to sound in Ainsworth, Long Pine and Bassett.
 The National Weather Service received reports of hail between 1 inch and 2.5 inches in diameter, with the largest hail reported at 5:15 p.m. 15 miles north of Atkinson that measured 2.5 inches in diameter.

Hail up to 2 inches in diameter was reported in Butte at 6 p.m., causing widespread damage. The first reports of hail occurred 24 miles southwest of Ainsworth just prior to 4 p.m.

At 4:15 p.m., hail measuring 1.5 inches in diameter was reported 13 miles east of Burton in Keya Paha County, and minutes later a second cell was dropping hail 1.75 inches in diameter 7 miles south of Long Pine in Brown County. That large hail was reported to the NWS as lasting for approximately 20 minutes.

Just after 4:30 p.m., large hail was reported in Brewster, and at 5 p.m. a cooperative weather observer 10 miles east of Bassett reported hail 1.75 inches in diameter that fell for more than 10 minutes.

The 2.5-inch diameter hail reported 15 miles north of Atkinson was reported to the NWS at 5:15 p.m., and at 5:30 p.m. the weather service received a report of hail 1.75 inches in diameter falling 11 miles north of Stuart.

The storms hit the Butte area at 5:45 p.m., dropping hail up to 2 inches in diameter.

KBRB received reports from listeners Tuesday of baseball-sized hail falling 8 to 10 miles south of Bassett, and 15 miles south of Mills.

In addition, the National Weather Service issued tornado warnings due to Doppler Radar-indicated cloud rotation just prior to 4:30 p.m. for eastern Brown and central Rock counties. The National Weather Service did not receive any confirmed reports of tornadoes reaching the ground.

Ainsworth Fire Chief Brad Fiala reported to KBRB that the fire department will now activate the civil defense siren in Ainsworth when a tornado warning is issued, as opposed to past policy of waiting until a tornado has been confirmed on the ground before activating the siren.

Additional tornado warnings were then issued for northeastern Rock County, eastern Keya Paha County and western Boyd County, and finally in northwestern Holt County as radar continued to indicate rotation in the system.

Stay tuned to KBRB for continued updates on damage from the Tuesday storm as reports come in.

* North Central RC&D schedules electronic waste recycling events for July

(Posted 6:30 a.m. June 14)

The North Central Nebraska RC&D set electronic waste recycling events for Ainsworth, Springview and Valentine July 14. The RC&D conducted one electronic recycling collection event at O’Neil in April, collecting 15,040 pounds of e-waste to be recycled.

The RC&D has recently released a Recycle, Reuse and Dispose of Properly Directory.

Recycling, reusing and disposing properly of any materials is now easier for those living in Boyd, Brown, Cherry, Holt, Keya Paha and Rock counties. The most current version of the directory is available online at www.nercd.org.

Anyone interested in helping with one of the upcoming collections can call Kim Burge at 402-376-5842.

The RC&D Council hired a consultant to conduct a feasibility study in 2015-16. The council was looking for ways to continue to serve the six counties in its area. Based on the results, the council decided to focus time and assets on identifying recycling opportunities.

The next RC&D meeting is scheduled for 1:40 p.m. Aug. 9 in the Bassett City Office meeting room.

* Peterson discusses policy reviews during Tuesday Open Line program

(Posted 11:45 a.m. June 13)

Ainsworth Community Schools Superintendent Darrell Peterson discussed items from Monday's board agenda, including a review of several school policies.
To hear the report, click on the audio link below.

audio clips/School Open Line 6-13.mp3

* School Board approves first reading of tougher activity suspension policy

(Posted 2:45 p.m. June 12)

The Ainsworth Community Schools Board of Education engaged in discussion Monday regarding potential changes to the district’s activity suspension policy.

Superintendent Darrell Peterson said the school’s activities directors discussed strengthening the district’s activities suspension policy for students who have an alcohol, tobacco or drug violation after finding that many schools have more strict policies relating to violations.

Peterson said the biggest change would be alcohol or drug violations accumulating during all four years of a student’s high school career, as opposed to resetting each year.

Instead of a 15-school-day activity suspension for a first offense, students would be suspended from activities for 30 days. A second offense would result in a 60-school-day activities suspension. If a student does not self-report a violation to the school, the first offense results in a 60-day activity suspension and the second offense is a full calendar year suspension.

Students with three alcohol, tobacco or drug-related suspensions during their high school career would be banned from participating in extra-curricular activities. Violations incurred during the summer months when school is not in session would still count toward the activities suspension.

He said there would be an appeal process after one year’s time to have those privileges restored, and, barring additional violations during that time, the student could have the activities ban removed.

Board member Erin Rathe questioned having pep band listed as one of the activities in which students would not be allowed to participate.

“Performing in the pep band at games is part of their grade,” Rathe said. ‘I don’t think students should be excluded from that.”

Rathe said pep band should be treated the same as taking photos during a game for the yearbook, which is an allowable activity under the new policy.

Following discussion, the board voted to remove the pep band from the list of activities students were not allowed to participate in following a violation.

With board member Dan Dailey absent Monday, the board approved the first reading of the updated policy.

The board also discussed updating its grading procedure policy. The policy would remove the former valedictorian and salutatorian designation for graduating seniors in favor of the cum laude system preferred by colleges.

Principal Bill Lentz said he did have one parent of an incoming senior student express disagreement with the change. Lentz said the parent told him the student had worked three years toward a goal of becoming the class valedictorian.

Following discussion, the board approved the policy but will have it first take effect for the graduating class of 2019, which will be the incoming junior class.

The board also approved the first reading of several additional policies Monday, including the Every Student Succeeds Act, which replaced the No Child Left Behind Act; a policy on immunization guidelines following updates from the Department of Health; a policy on police questioning and apprehension of students from a district building; a policy regarding homeless students; and an Internet safety and acceptable use policy.

In other action items, the board approved a contract for special education and school nursing services with the Educational Service Unit 17.

Peterson said the special education contract decreased by 8 percent to $630,806 since the district had hired a special education teacher to replace a retiring teacher who the district had contracted through the ESU. The contract for health services increased by 4.5 percent to $30,008.

The board approved three option enrollment requests to allow students to opt out of the Ainsworth district.

The board approved the requests as submitted to allow Davi Dodson to attend freshman classes at Rock County Public Schools, Austin Kerner to attend kindergarten at Valentine Community Schools, and Joshua and Leah McNabb to attend eighth grade and freshman classes respectively at Rock County Public Schools.

Peterson said Kerner’s mother works in Valentine, and the McNabb children had previously been home-schooled.

During public hearings Monday, the board reviewed its student fee and parent involvement policies. No changes to either policy were recommended.

The board also reviewed and opted to make no changes to the district’s school bomb threat and anti-bullying policies.

Peterson reported Laurie Goodloe was hired as a library aide to replace Linda Trail, who retired following the 2016-17 school year.

He said the district would receive $53,537 in state aid for the 2017-18 year, which equals the income tax rebate dollars in the district.

“That is what we had been receiving until last year, when it disappeared,” Peterson said. “Now, they have given us that state funding back again.”

Peterson also reported the McAndrew Gymnasium ceiling is currently being repainted.

Lentz reported summer school began May 29 for eight middle school students and 10 high school students, and would continue through June 20.

The board changed its July meeting date from the typical second Monday of the month to 8 a.m. Thursday, July 13, in the district office.

* Steuter retiring from Foundation Advisory Committee

(Posted 9:30 a.m. June 12)

The Brown County Community Foundation Advisory Committee announced the retirement of Al Steuter from the committee. Steuter joined the Foundation Advisory Committee in 2009 and became chairman in 2013, serving in that capacity for four years.

Under Steuter’s leadership, the Foundation is currently conducting the Sherwood Challenge, enabling Brown County to reap the benefits of increasing grant funds due to the generous donations of residents and friends and the 50 percent match from the Sherwood Foundation.

Steuter also serves on the Nebraska Community Foundation Board of Directors and is currently chairman of that board. Steuter will continue working with the Brown County Foundation as a member of the Campaign Committee and an ex officio member of the Advisory Committee.

The incoming chairman of the Foundation Advisory Committee is Scott Steinhauer. He has been a member of the committee since 2010 and also serves as chairman of the Scholarship Committee.

Matt and Jen Lentz are being welcomed as new Foundation Advisory Committee members.  Matt Lentz is director of patient services for the Brown County Hospital and Jen Lentz is the elementary administrative assistant at Ainsworth Community Schools.

* Traffic Accident

(Posted 7 a.m. June 12)

The Brown County Sheriff’s Department investigated a vehicle-deer accident Thursday, June 8, on Highway 183.
According to the sheriff’s department report, at 1:48 a.m. Thursday on Highway 183 approximately one-quarter mile north of the Keller State Park entrance, a 2016 Hyundai Accent, driven by John Klein, 30, of Longville, Minn., was traveling south when the vehicle struck a deer in the roadway.
No persons were injured during the accident. Damage to the Hyundai, owned by Hertz Rental Car of Baxter, Minn., was estimated at more than $1,000.

* Weekly summary from the Brown County Sheriff's Department

(Posted 6:45 a.m. June 12)

June 4

Received several firework complaints in Ainsworth.

Assisted subjects with a report of a dog locked in a vehicle.

 

June 5

Investigated a report of a dog not having access to water in Ainsworth.

Received a report of possible child abuse and neglect in Ainsworth.

June 6

Responded to a report of a vehicle tearing around city streets in Long Pine.

Assisted a subject with a parking complaint in Ainsworth.

Investigated a report of juveniles harassing other juveniles in Ainsworth area.

Responded to a report of a domestic disturbance in Long Pine.

The Ainsworth Fire Dept issued a burn permit for property located South of the Meadville bridge.

June 7

Received a report f possible child abuse or neglect in Brown Co.

Booked a subject into the Brown Co Jail on a drug court sanction.

Responded to several reports of a cow out on Hwy 7, South of Ainsworth.

Booked a subject into the Brown Co Jail for Strangulation and Domestic Assault 2nd Degree.

Investigated a report of littering and possible intoxicated driving, in Long Pine.

Booked a subject into the Brown Co Jail on an Arrest Warrant for possession of a controlled substance.

The Brown Co Ambulance responded to an emergency call at Shopko, Ainsworth. No one was transported from the scene.

June 8

Investigated a vehicle / deer accident without injury on Hwy 183.

Released a subject from the Brown Co Jail on bond.

Booked 2 subjects into the Brown Co Jail on court ordered commitments.

Investigated a report of dogs running at large on 2nd St Ainsworth.

Received a report of a dog running at large on West 6th St Ainsworth.

Arrested 4 subjects for possession of a controlled substance. All subjects were booked into the Brown Co Jail.

June 9

Investigated a vehicle/ deer accident without injury East of the Buffalo Cemetery.

Responded to a report of a dog not having access to water, in Ainsworth.

Released 7 subjects from the Brown Co Jail.

Arrested 2 subjects for possession of Marijuana over a pound. Both subjects were booked into the Brown Co Jail.

The Brown Co Ambulance responded to a report of an injured subject in rural Brown Co. No one was transported at the time. 

June 10

Released a subject from the Brown Co Jail as their sentence was complete.

Received a traffic complaint in Long Pine.

Weekly Summary
3 - Fix-it tickets were issued.
2 - Handgun permits applied for
17 - Incidents Reports were taken.
5 - Paper Service was served.
161 - Phone calls were received
6 - 911 emergency calls received 
9 - Titles were inspected.
5 - Traffic Citations were issued.
9 - Verbal & Written Warnings issued.

* Numerous area competitors qualify for State High School Finals Rodeo at Hastings

(Posted 6:45 a.m. June 12)

The entry list has been set for the Nebraska State High School Finals Rodeo, to be held Thursday through Saturday at the Adams County Fairgrounds near Hastings. 

Nearly 150 high school rodeo athletes will compete in 12 events. The top four competitors in each event at the state level will earn a berth at the National High School Rodeo Finals at Gillette, Wyo., July 16-22.

The 12 events include bareback riding, saddle bronc riding, tie-down roping, steer wrestling, team roping, breakaway roping, goat tying, pole bending, barrel racing, boys cutting, girls cutting, and bull riding. 

The Finals, the culmination of 29 regular season rodeos, will be held at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, with the short round on Saturday at 1 p.m. After Thursday and Friday’s performances, the top ten contestants in each event will advance to the short round on Saturday. The cutting will be held at 7:30 a.m. on Thursday and Friday, with the short round at 8 a.m. on Saturday. The 2017-18 Miss Nebraska High School Rodeo Queen will be crowned prior to Saturday’s rodeo performance. 

 

Qualifying high school rodeo contestants for the 2017 Nebraska State High School Finals Rodeo from the area include:

 

Bareback Riding

3. Ty Richardson, Ainsworth

 

Barrel Racing

1. Rachael Calvo, Bassett

2. Bailey Witt, Valentine

5. Alison Stracke, Stuart

6. Sheyenne Hammond, Valentine

9. Jaylee Simonson, Dunning

11. Macey Vonheeder, Ainsworth

13. Brooklyn Leach, Dunning

15. Mataya Eklund, Valentine

16. Madison Stracke, Stuart

26. Halli Haskell, Ainsworth

27. Briean Schipporeit,Ainsowrth

 

Boys Cutting

2. JT Bradley, Brewster

6. Ty Bass, Brewster

 

Breakaway Roping

7. Mataya Eklund, Valentine

13. Aluxyn Hollenbeck, Valentine

14. Bailey Witt, Valentine

15. Ashley Odenbach, Taylor

20. Sheyenne Hammond, Valentine

24. Sydney Graff, Long Pine

30. Maddie Stump, Elsmere

 

Bull Riding

2. Dillon Micheel, Ainsworth

10. Jared Shaw, Bassett

 

Girls Cutting

10. Alexis Rutar, Springview

 

Goat Tying

4. Jaylee Simonson, Dunning

7. Rachael Calvo, Bassett

8. Bailey Witt, Valentine

10. Mataya Eklund, Valentine

12. Aluxyn Hollenbeck, Valentine

22. Brooklyn Leach, Dunning

28. Maddie Stump, Elsmere

 

Pole Bending

5. Halli Haskell, Ainsworth

7. Jaylee Simonson, Dunning

8. Sydney Hollenbeck, Winner, S.D.

14. Ashley Odenbach, Taylor

18. Rachael Calvo, Bassett

20. Macey Vonheeder, Ainsworth

22. Brieann Schipporeit, Ainsworth

23. Brooklyn Leach, Dunning

24. Sheyenne Hammond, Valentine

25. Shylo Paddock, Ainsworth

26. Aluxyn Hollenbeck, Valentine

 

Saddle Bronc

3. Sage Miller, Springview

4. Garrett Long, Valentine

 

Steer Wrestling

5. JT Bradley, Brewster

8. Talon Mathis, Atkinson

14. Evan Hewett, Dunning

18. Sage Miller, Springview

 

Team Roping

9 Jade Buss, Atkinson, and Nathan Poss, Scotia

14. JT Bradley, Brewster, and Quentin Anderson, Pierce

20. Talon Mathis, Atkinson, and Danielle Wray, Ord

21. Will Thiele, Atkinson, and Maddee Doerr, Creighton

25. Ty Bass, Brewster, and Ashley Odenbach, Taylor

27. Sheyenne Hammond, Valentine, and Seth Pearson, Oconto

28. Evan Hewett, Dunning, and Ty Chasek, Mitchell

30. Sydney Graff, Long Pine, and Clare Kohl, Surprise.

 

Tie-Down Roping

2. Will Thiele, Atkinson

3. JT Bradley, Brewster

19. Talon Mathis, Atkinson

23. Ty Richardson, Ainsworth

26. Cade Adamson, Valentine

28. Sage Miller, Springview

* Road work to begin Monday on Highway 83 south of Valentine

(Posted 3:45 p.m. June 8)

Weather permitting, work is scheduled to begin Monday on Highway 83 approximately 25 miles south of Valentine, from milepost 179 to milepost 186.
Western Engineering Co., of Harlan, Iowa, has the $2.5 million contract for the project, which includes roadway and shoulder work, milling, and culvert work.
Traffic will be maintained with flaggers and a pilot car for the 7.7 miles of roadway. The project is anticipated to be completed September.
The Nebraska Department of Roads’ manager for the project is Darrell Lurz of Valentine. Motorists are asked to drive cautiously through construction zones.

* Taylor's NHD documentary to be showcased in Museum of African American History

(Posted 6:45 a.m. June 7)

Vanessa Taylor’s National History Day documentary will be showcased in the Oprah Winfrey Theater of the new National Museum of African American History and Culture at Washington, D.C.
The showing will take place Wednesday, June 14.  Taylor’s documentary is titled, “Never Yield an Inch:  The Omaha DePorres Club's Moral Stand Against Employment Discrimination.”
Of the 62 documentaries submitted by National History Day, the museum staff selected 24 to be showcased next Wednesday. The chosen documentaries embody the mission and stories reflected in the museum, including: African American history and culture, struggles and triumphs for civil rights and human rights, and African American influence in international history.
Taylor and Dakota Stutzman are currently traveling to Washington, D.C., for the National History Day Contest.

* Road maintenance issues debated during Brown County Commissioner meeting Tuesday

(Posted 1 p.m. June 6)

Two area farmers engaged in a discussion with Highway Superintendent Kenny Turpin and the Brown County Commissioners Tuesday on the condition of the roads in the county, particularly the roughness of the roads following the roads department pulling up the shoulders of several county roads.

Brian Johnson said pulling up the shoulders of the roads forces those who travel those roads to endure abuse to their vehicles and farm machinery.

“I don’t feel the road graders are getting their blades down enough,” Johnson said. “With everything it takes to pull the shoulders up, I think adding a semi load of gravel would be cheaper.”

Turpin said pulling up the shoulders of the county’s rural roads helps with drainage.

“If you don’t have drainage, you don’t have anything,” Turpin said. “I can take you to counties that haven’t pulled up the shoulders of their roads for 20 years and I can show you how bad those roads can get.”

Johnson said he believed pulling up the shoulders was good when necessary, but he felt it was a waste of taxpayer money to pull up roads when it is unnecessary.

Turpin asked Johnson what experience he had with maintaining roads, to which Johnson replied he had driven the roads in the county for most of his life.

The highway superintendent said, “I have driven past corn all my life, too. That doesn’t make me an expert on growing corn.”

Also in attendance Tuesday, Mark Johnson said he felt, for the most part, the roads are fine.

“I just think there is some fine tuning that could be done,” Mark Johnson said. “I understand you need drainage, but I think there is too much of a crown on some of these roads.”

Turpin said the roads department starts with a little extra crown in the spring because it allows the county maintainers to better smooth the roads as the year progresses without damaging the road base.

“You want a little extra crown in the spring so you can cut it out gradually in the summer and take out the washboards that develop,” Turpin said. “I am always open to ideas, but we do the best we can. The longer you wait to pull up the shoulders, the more sod you will have to pull up and the rougher the road will be.”

Turpin said the eight employees of the roads department are responsible for more than 450 miles of roads in the county, not to mention the numerous bridges and road signs the department must maintain.

“We try to give every road some attention,” the highway superintendent said. “Each man has 56 miles of road to take care of. If each guy had 20 miles of road to take care of, there probably wouldn’t be anything to complain about.”

Commissioner Buddy Small said he has talked to county commissioners across the state, and all of them deal with the same issues.

“We do spend a lot of time talking about how to make the roads better, and safer,” Small said. “I speak with Kenny several times a day.”

Commissioner Reagan Wiebelhaus said many of the drainage issues the county used to experience have been addressed by Turpin and the roads department through pulling up road shoulders and excavating ditches.

“We don’t have near the water problems that we had seven years ago when we toured all the roads,” Wiebelhaus said.

In other roads items Tuesday, Turpin reported Norden Avenue was now closed with the roads department removes an old concrete box culvert and replaces it with a steel culvert. Norden Avenue traffic is being diverted east one mile.

He said the department has also been busy grading roads to get them back in shape after the area received 4 inches of rain in late May.

Turpin said he would contact the Nebraska Department of Roads regarding the availability of any millings from the work being performed south of Ainsworth on Highway 7.

In other business Tuesday, the commissioners held a brief discussion on a potential issue with offering county employees of Medicare age cash in lieu of accepting the county’s health insurance premium benefit.

County Attorney David Streich said there was a potential issue with offering the cash in lieu of insurance to employees eligible for Medicare.

Streich said Pam Bourn with the Nebraska Association of County Officials raised the issue during a recent workshop.

“Under federal law and the ACA, they want to see people who are eligible for Medicare but who are also eligible for private insurance take the insurance so it is the primary insurer, and not Medicare,” Streich said.

Streich said the main concern is the county could potentially be fined if the federal Department of Health and Human Services audited the county’s insurance program.

“We have gotten along fine so far, but I thought this would be a good time to revisit this and see if you wanted to make any changes,” Streich said.

Following discussion about the numerous other governmental entities nationwide that offer something similar to employees, the commissioners decided the likelihood of the program encountering any issues was minimal, and took no action on the item.

The commissioners Tuesday re-appointed Chuck Irwin of Ainsworth to a five-year term on the Brown County Veterans Service Committee. Irwin’s new term begins July 1 and expires June 30, 2022.

Small reported the county received its renewal rate for its liability insurance through the Nebraska Intergovernmental Risk Management Association. Small said the county’s premium for 2017-18 is $69,985, which represents a decline of $11,644, or 14 percent, from the 2016-17 liability insurance rate.

Prior to adjourning, the commissioners began preliminary work on the 2017-18 county budget.

The next meeting of the Brown County Commissioners is scheduled for 8:15 a.m. June 20.

* Four motorists arrested on DUI charges during 'Click It or Ticket' enforcement

(Posted 6:45 a.m. June 6)

The Brown County Sheriff’s Department, through funding provided by the Nebraska Office of Highway Safety, participated in the national “Click It or Ticket” campaign May 22 through June 4.

The campaign is a national program to increase public awareness and make roadways safer. The sheriff’s department joined with other law enforcement agencies to help save lives by strongly enforcing seat belt laws around the clock.

The sheriff’s department used regular enforcement, saturation patrols and an enforcement zone during the campaign. Three deputies worked a total of 27 hours of overtime.

During the enforcement, two motorists were arrested on charges of driving under the influence of alcohol, and two additional motorists were arrested on charges of driving under the influence of drugs.

The sheriff’s department issued nine citations on speeding charges, one for failure to signal a turn, one for driving without headlights after dark, five on charges of possession of marijuana less than 1 ounce, and three citations on charges of possession of drug paraphernalia. A total of 19 citations and 36 warnings were issued during the special enforcement.

Brown County Sheriff Bruce Papstein thanks everyone for doing their part to make roadways safer by always wearing a seat belt and making sure everyone under the age of 18 is buckled up at all times.

* Ricketts discusses legislative session, passage of 2 mainline budget bills

(Posted 9:30 p.m. June 4)

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts visited with KBRB's Graig Kinzie to recap the recently completed legislative session, including the passage of bills to address a nearly $1 billion budget shortfall.
To hear the report, click on the audio links below.

audio clips/Gov Pete Ricketts 6-5-17 budget process.mp3

audio clips/Gov Pete Ricketts 6-5-17 property valuations-school aid.mp3

* Northeast Community College names spring President's List, Dean's List students

(Posted 2:30 p.m. June 2)

Northeast Community College in Norfolk has released the President’s List and Deans’ List for both full- and part-time students for the spring semester.

To be named to the President’s List, students must earn a perfect grade point average of 4.0 and be enrolled for at least 12 credit hours. Some 186 students made the President’s Full-time List this semester.

Students named to the Deans’ List must have earned a grade point average of 3.75 or above and be enrolled for at least 12 credit hours. One hundred ninety-seven students were named to the Deans’ Honor List.

Another 207 students named to the President’s Part-Time list attained a 4.0 grade point average while taking at least six credit hours, and 65 students named to the Deans’ Part-Time list earned a grade point average of 3.75 or above while taking at least six credit hours.

Area students receiving President’s List and Dean’s List recognition are:

 

PRESIDENT’S LIST - Full-Time

Ainsworth - Sydney Fling

Valentine - Walker Wolff

 

DEANS’ LIST-Full-time

Nebraska

Ainsworth - Francesca Lohmeyer and Cody Luther

Atkinson - Sierra Welsh

Bassett - Hollie Morton

Valentine - Nicholas Fisbeck and Mason Poulsen

 

PRESIDENT’S LIST—Part-time

Ainsworth - Jacob Fernau, Traci Ganser, Kortney Kronhofman, Sasha Taylor and Riggin Temple

Atkinson - Megan Bilstein, Anna Meyer, Rachael Osborne, Jason Seger and Cody Wells

Bassett - Riley Bussinger, Bailey DeVall, John Gale, Aubrey Kroll and Katherine Osbon

Stuart - Brooke Jarman

 

DEAN’S LIST Part-Time

Ainsworth - Jayme Jarnigin

Atkinson - Connor Osborne and Zachary Thatcher

Bassett - Kelsey Venenga

* Ainsworth sees well above-average moisture during May

(Posted noon June 2)

Ainsworth Weather Observer Gerry Osborne reported the city received 40 percent more moisture than the average during May. The total of 4.72 inches of moisture was bolstered by more than 1.50-inch rains twice during a five-day span in the final 10 days of the month.
To hear Osborne's summary, click on the audio link below.

audio clips/Gerry Osborne May Weather Summary.mp3

* Recent cases from Brown County District and County courts

(Posted 3 p.m. June 1)

In District Court proceedings Thursday, Kyle Hobbs, age 19, of Ainsworth, was sentenced to not less than two years nor more than four years in the Nebraska Department of Corrections after having been previously convicted of one count of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver, a Class IIA felony.

Hobbs received credit for 15 days already served in jail. Sentencing Thursday was held at Broken Bow to accommodate Judge Karin Noakes and the attorneys involved in the case. Brown County District Court Judge Mark Kozisek had previously recused himself from hearing the case.

 

Recent cases from Brown County Court

In addition to fines, each case carries $50 in court costs

Eric S. Moeder, age 52, of Great Bend, Kan., charged with speeding 16-20 mph over the limit, fined $125.

Steve Wilson Hodges, 61, of Cheyenne, Wyo., speeding 6-10 mph over the limit, $25.

Brenda R. Masek, 48, of Purdum, speeding 6-10 mph over the limit, $25.

Keith A. Carroll, 41, of Long Pine, violation of turkey hunting regulations, $100 and ordered to pay $100 in liquidation damage.

Roger W. Schnelle, 61, of Gypsum, Colo., speeding 11-15 mph over the limit, $75.

Cody R. Terry, 23, of Canyon Lake, Colo., speeding 6-10 mph over the limit, $25.

Anna G. Jones, 37, of Gretna, speeding 6-10 mph over the limit, $25.

Erika J. Lich, 33, of Stanton, speeding 6-10 mph over the limit, $25.

James Lind III, 18, of Ainsworth, exceeding two auxiliary light or spotlights, $25.

Trey S. Cochran, 24, of Anderson, Calif., attempt of a Class 4 felony, $1,000; also charged with possession of marijuana more than 1 ounce, $500; possession of drug paraphernalia, $100.

Grace A. Porter, 19, of Ainsworth, minor in possession of alcohol, sentenced to 90 days of probation and ordered to perform 20 hours of community service.

Shawn G. Adams, 24, of St. Joseph, Mo., speeding 11-15 mph over the limit, $75.

Ida L. Fredericksen, 51, of Ainsworth, first offense driving under the influence, $500, also sentenced to seven days in jail with credit for one day served, driver’s license revoked for six months, and ordered to install an ignition interlock device.

Kenneth J. Woitte, 25, of Sioux Falls, S.D., speeding 11-15 mph over the limit, $75.

* Brewer recaps legislative session, expands on court decision regarding White Clay

(Posted 2 p.m. June 1)

Nebraska 43rd District State Sen. Tom Brewer on Thursday recapped the recently completed session of the Nebraska Legislature. In addition to talking about the difficulty in dealing with a nearly $1 billion budget shortfall, Brewer expanded on legislation he initiated and also talked in depth about the recent decision by the Nebraska Liquor Control Commission to deny the liquor licenses of four businesses located at White Clay.
To hear the report, click on the audio links below.

audio clips/State Sen Tom Brewer 6-1-17 session recap.mp3

audio clips/State Sen Tom Brewer 6-1-17 white clay.mp3

* Chamber of Commerce accepting nominations for Yard of the Week

(Posted 1:45 p.m. May 31)

The Ainsworth Area Chamber of Commerce is accepting nominations for its annual "Yard of the Week" promotion.
Anyone who knows someone who goes the extra mile with their yard may contact the chamber at 402-382-3537 or by email at ainsworthchamber@gmail.com.
The chamber of commerce recognizes the effects on the community of those who keep the area looking beautiful.
Nominations are being accepted now through July 31.

* Area students named to Wayne State College Dean's List for spring semester

(Posted 1:15 p.m. May 30)

Wayne State College included more than 900 students on the dean's list for exemplary academic achievement during the past semester. Students listed on the dean's list are full-time undergraduate students who have achieved a GPA of 3.5 or above on a 4.0 scale for the semester. An asterisk (*) denotes a 4.0 GPA for the term.

Area students on the Dean’s List include:
Ainsworth

Lauren Allen*, Carey Franklin, Shania Nilson and Courteney Zwiebel.

Bassett

Tristen Sell.*

Stuart

Tanisha Fahrenholz, Conner Paxton, Samantha Sattler* and Jaden Schafer.*

Valentine

Justin Smith.*

* February taxable sales down for most area counties; Keya Paha the exception

(Posted 6:45 a.m. May 30)

Nebraska Department of Revenue
Comparison of February 2017 and February 2016 Net Taxable Sales
for Nebraska Counties and Selected Cities

County
or City

2017
Net Taxable
Sales

2016
Net Taxable
Sales

Percent
Change

2017
Sales Tax
5.5%

2016
Sales Tax
5.5%

Boyd

731,937

766,689

(4.5)

40,256.61

42,168.00

Brown

2,143,802

2,209,751

(3.0)

117,909.32

121,536.50

Ainsworth

2,069,710

2,120,156

(2.4)

113,834.24

116,608.77

Cherry

4,198,600

4,622,008

(9.2)

230,923.30

254,210.81

Valentine

4,036,684

4,471,991

(9.7)

222,017.88

245,959.82

Custer

6,682,654

6,803,449

(1.8)

367,546.48

374,190.18

Broken Bow

5,589,119

5,440,792

2.7

307,401.90

299,243.86

Holt

7,208,918

7,437,485

(3.1)

396,491.17

409,062.27

Atkinson

1,251,521

1,346,449

(7.1)

68,833.83

74,054.84

O'Neill

5,108,083

5,300,872

(3.6)

280,944.89

291,548.22

Keya Paha

130,465

123,333

5.8

7,175.60

6,783.34

Rock

399,451

522,719

(23.6)

21,969.87

28,749.58

Valley

2,651,534

2,805,222

(5.5)

145,834.59

154,287.45

Ord

2,403,961

2,532,635

(5.1)

132,218.03

139,295.11

State Total

$2,108,002,744

$2,079,111,804

1.4

$115,874,931.63

$114,836,497.06

Nebraska Department of Revenue
Comparison of February 2017 and February 2016
Motor Vehicle Sales Tax Collections by County

County
or City

2017
Net Taxable
Sales

2016
Net Taxable
Sales

Percent
Change

2017
Sales Tax
5.5%

2016
Sales Tax
5.5%

Blaine

78,803

218,340

(63.9)

4,265.18

11,978.46

Boyd

279,098

562,566

(50.4)

15,338.83

30,997.74

Brown

776,342

525,689

47.7

42,837.03

29,114.75

Cherry

1,092,940

1,330,821

(17.9)

60,456.41

73,547.03

Custer

$1,830,359

$2,051,562

(10.8)

$101,287.43

$113,481.86

Holt

2,133,571

2,643,891

(19.3)

118,092.35

146,273.81

Keya Paha

170,503

281,733

(39.5)

9,396.79

15,471.79

Rock

315,667

414,424

(23.8)

17,447.15

22,832.78

Valley

984,354

956,236

2.9

54,530.33

52,934.03

State Total

$290,007,051

$299,020,574

(3.0)

$16,148,355.33

$16,600,438.37

* Weekly summary from the Brown County Sheriff's Department

(Posted 5:45 a.m. May 29)

May 21

  • Assisted Ainsworth residents with a report of harassment and possible child neglect in Ainsworth.

  • Released a subject from the Brown Co Jail on bond.

    May 22

  • Received a report of a possible mountain lion sighting, North of Ainsworth.

  • Investigated a report of a possible sexual assault in Brown County.

  • The Ainsworth Fire Dept responded to a report of the smell of smoke, at a residence on North Elm St Ainsworth.

    May 23

  • Responded to a report of suspicious activity in Long Pine.

  • Responded to a report of juveniles racing around city streets on go-carts.

  • Assisted a subject with a report of a possible missing vehicle in Ainsworth.

  • Responded to a report of a vehicle being driven erratically on Hwy 20 West of Ainsworth.

  • The Brown Co Ambulance transported a Johnstown resident to the Brown Co Hospital.

    May 24

  • Received a report of possible child neglect in Ainsworth.

  • Assisted Brown Co residents with a report of a possible scam, involving pavement crews working in the area.

  • Responded to a report of a dog running at large in the alley between a Elm & Oak, and 3rd & 4th Sts, Ainsworth.

  • Investigated a report of the possible solicitation of a minor in Ainsworth.

  • Responded to a report of horses out on Hwy 20 West of Ainsworth.

    May 25

  • Investigated a report of a hit and run accident on North Walnut St Ainsworth.

  • Arrested two subjects and booked them into the Brown Co Jail, for possession of a controlled substance.

  • The Brown Co Ambulance transported an Ainsworth resident, from the Ainsworth schools to the Brown Co Hospital.

  • The Ainsworth Fire Dept issued a burn permit for property located North and East of Ainsworth.

    May 26

  • Arrested a subject and booked them into the Brown Co Jail for driving under the influence of drugs.

  • Arrested a subject for driving under the influence of alcohol and booked them into the Brown Co Jail.

  • Released three subjects from the Brown Co Jail on bond.

    May 27

  • Released a subject from the Brown Co Jail on bond.

  • Received a report of a dog running at large on Hwy 20 in Ainsworth.

  • Received a report of a vehicle passing in a no passing zone, South of Ainsworth.

    Weekly Summary

    0 - Fix-it tickets were issued.
    0 - Handgun permits applied for
    16 - Incidents Reports were taken.
    2 - Paper Service was served.
    148 - Phone calls were received
    8 - 911 emergency calls received 
    5 - Titles were inspected.
    3 - Traffic Citations were issued.
    8 - Verbal & Written Warnings issued

* City flagging curb stops and valves as part of water, sewer mapping project

(Posted 8:45 a.m. May 25)

Ainsworth Water Superintendent Brad Miller reports that the city is currently locating all curb stops, valves and man-holes for its water and sewer system as part of a mapping project.

Miller said Ainsworth residents will notice marker flags placed in their yards. Those flags mark a curb stop or valve from the city’s water and sewer department, and residents are asked to replace the flags if they need to move them temporarily to mow.

The city is undergoing a GIS mapping project for its water and sewer system, which is expected to last most of the month of June. Miller said assistance from residents in leaving the flags in their proper location is appreciated.

Anyone with questions may contact the city office at 402-387-2494.

* Road work begins soon on Highway 7 north of Brewster

(Posted 8:15 a.m. May 24)

Weather permitting, work is scheduled to begin May 30 on Highway 7, approximately 18 miles north of Brewster and extending 6 miles north, according to the Nebraska Department of Roads.
Werner Construction, Inc., of Hastings has the contract for the $1.6 million project, which includes milling, asphalt overlay, bridge and guardrail repair, and rumble strips. There will be a 10-foot width restriction at the Calamus River Bridge beginning May 31 until June 9. Lane closures will be in place and traffic maintained with flaggers and a pilot car. The anticipated completion date is late August.
The Department of Roads’ manager for the project is Michael Rudnick of Ainsworth. Motorists can expect delays and are advised to use caution while driving through construction zones.

* Brown County Foundation offering scholarship opportunities

(Posted 7 a.m. May 24)

The Brown County Fund Scholarship Committee reminds upper class students that several scholarships are being offered this year.
Scholarships include the Brown County Upper-Class, Non-Traditional, Jan O'Hare and Teacher Education scholarships.
Applications for the scholarships may be obtained from Brown County Fund Scholarship Committee Chairperson Scott Steinhauser  by emailing scottsteinhauser@gmail.com or via the web at www.nebcommfound.org. Click on the tab titled "For Affiliated Funds" and then search for the Brown County Affiliated Fund. Once there, click on the scholarship link. Applications are to be returned to Steinhauser, either at the email listed above or to 724 N. Maple, Ainsworth, NE  69210 by June 1.

* Game and Parks plans upgrades at Twin Lakes in Rock County

(Posted 7 a.m. May 24)

Angler access improvements are planned this summer at Twin Lakes Wildlife Management Area in Rock County.

New boat ramp facilities will be built at both north and south Twin lakes. South Twin will have an access road, parking area and walkways to a restroom and a concrete boat ramp built at this accessible launch facility. North Twin will have a gravel access road, rocked parking area and concrete boat ramp.

Work should begin in early June and be completed by the end of July, depending on the weather. The existing parking area located off Eagle Nest Road at South Twin Lake will be closed during construction.

Rough fish – primarily common carp – were removed from Twin lakes in the spring of 2016. Since then, the re-stocking of bluegill, black crappie, yellow perch and largemouth bass has been ongoing.

These boat launch improvements are, in part, from the boat launch facility capital maintenance funds and matching U.S. Coast Guard boating safety dollars.

Twin Lakes WMA is located 15 miles south of Bassett.

* Williams discusses summer school, more during final Open Line appearance

(Posted 11 a.m. May 23)

Ainsworth Elementary Principal Sarah Williams, who is moving to the fourth grade classroom in the fall, appeared on KBRB's school day edition of Open Line to promote the school's summer school program and discuss other end of year activities.
To hear the report, click on the audio link below.

audio clips/Open Line-ACS Mrs.Williams-5-23-17 .mp3

* Traffic Accident

(Posted 7 a.m. May 22)

The Brown County Sheriff’s Department investigated a vehicle-deer accident that occurred Friday, May 19, northeast of Long Pine.
According to the sheriff’s department report, at 3:59 p.m. Friday on Highway 20 approximately 1 mile northeast of Long Pine, a 2017 GMC sport-utility vehicle, drive by Pamela Bauer, 60, of Ainsworth, was traveling west when the vehicle struck a deer in the roadway.
No persons were injured during the accident. The GMC was considered a total loss.

* Sheriff's department participating in 'Click It or Ticket' initiative

(Posted 6:45 a.m. May 22)

The Brown County Sheriff’s Department, through funding provided by the Nebraska Office of Highway Safety, will participate in the annual “Click It or Ticket” campaign May 22 through June 4.
The campaign is a national program to increase public awareness and make roadways safer. The sheriff’s department is partnering with other law enforcement agencies across the country to help save lives by strongly enforcing seat belt laws.

Though the enforcement runs May 22 through June 4, the sheriff’s department enforces seat belt laws year round.

The annual “Click It or Ticket” mobilization has increased seat belt usage and saved many lives over the years, but there is still more that can be done. High visibility enforcement and encouraging everyone in the vehicle to buckle up can turn lives lost into lives saved.

Wearing a seat belt can reduce the risk of dying in an accident by 45 percent. Sheriff Bruce Papstein thanks everyone for doing their part to make roadways safer by always wearing a seat belt and making sure everyone under the age of 18 is buckled up at all times.

* Weekly summary from the Brown County Sheriff's Department

(Posted 6:45 a.m. May 22)

May 14

 

    Cited a subject for lewd behavior, behind a business in Ainsworth.

    Investigated a report of the possible theft of items from a Long Pine residence.

    Investigated a report of a vehicle / deer accident without injury East of Ainsworth.

    Responded to a report of a disturbance on North Main St Ainsworth.

 

May 15

 

    Investigated a report of a possible underage party, in rural Ainsworth area.

    Received a report of possible child abuse in Brown Co.

    Investigated a two-vehicle accident on Hwy 20 at the Hwy 183 junction. The Brown Co
Ambulance, Long Pine Rural Fire Dept, and the Ainsworth Fire Dept responded to assist. A subject was transported to the Brown Co Hospital, by ambulance.

    Responded to a disturbance on East 2nd St, Ainsworth.

    The Brown Co Ambulance transported a patient from the Brown Co Hospital to the Good Samaritan Hospital in Kearney.

 

May 16

 

    Responded to a report of juveniles on the Ainsworth School’s roof.

    Received a report of possible child neglect or abuse in Ainsworth.

    Investigated a two-vehicle accident without injury on Hwy 20 in Ainsworth.

    Assisted with an attempt to locate a juvenile who was truant.

    Received a report of possible harassment in Ainsworth.

    Investigated a report of harassment in Ainsworth.

    Responded to a report of a possible sighting of a mountain lion in Ainsworth.

    Assisted Ainsworth residents with a report of a disturbance at a local business.

    Responded to a report of a vehicle/ deer accident, West of Ainsworth.

    Received a traffic complaint in Long Pine.

    The Long Pine Rural and Ainsworth Fire Depts responded to a report of a fire on the Brown/Rock Co line.

    The Brown Co Ambulance transported a patient from the Brown Co Hospital to Faith Regional in Norfolk.

 

May 17

 

    Received a report of suspicious activity at an Ainsworth residence.

    Arrested a subject for domestic assault 3rd Degree and booked them into the Brown Co Jail.

    The Brown Co Ambulance transported a subject from South Osborne St to the Brown Co Hospital.

    The Brown Co Ambulance transported a patient from the Brown Co Hospital to Valentine Airport, for Air-Lift to another facility.

 

May 18

 

    Assisted subjects with a report of inappropriate behavior between a juvenile and adult.

    Responded to a report of a verbal dispute in Ainsworth.

    Released a subject from the Brown Co Jail on bond.

 

May 19

 

    Received a report of vehicles speeding in the Ainsworth area.

    Assisted an Ainsworth resident with a report of a lost or stolen credit card.

    Investigated a vehicle / deer accident on Hwy 20 in the Long Pine hills.

    Arrested a subject and booked them into the Brown Co Jail, for sexual assault of a vulnerable Adult.

    The Johnstown Fire Dept issued a burn permit for property located on the Brown / Cherry Co line.

 

May 20

 

    Assisted the Probation Office with a residential search. A subject was arrested for possession with intent to manufacture marijuana.

    The Brown Co Ambulance transported a subject from a residence on South Main to the Brown Co Hospital

    The Brown Co Ambulance transported a subject from a business in Ainsworth to the Brown Co Hospital.

 

Weekly Summary

0 - Fix-it tickets were issued.

1 - Handgun permits applied for

28 - Incidents Reports were taken.

3 - Paper Service was served.

98 - Phone calls were received

6 - 911 emergency calls received 

6 - Titles were inspected.

0 - Traffic Citations were issued.

3 - Verbal & Written Warnings issued.

* Several organizations receive Brown County Foundation grants

(Posted 8:45 a.m. May 19)

The Brown County Community Foundation Fund recently awarded $7,705 in grants for county-wide projects designed to enrich the lives of area residents.

The village of Johnstown was awarded $1,500, which is one-half of the total cost of a current enhancement project involving the planting of trees, flowers, shrubs and the placement of mulch and signage.

The Ainsworth Senior Center received a $2,590 grant for the replacement of the center’s kitchen counters and backsplash.

Ainsworth Community Schools Bridges Summer School program requested $615 to fund a craft project and a student trip to Ash Fall Fossil Beds State Historical Park at the conclusion of this summer’s session.

The Ainsworth Airport Authority was granted $1,000 to assist with expenses associated with their 75th Anniversary Fly-In scheduled in July.

The Long Pine Chamber of Commerce and the Lamplighter Service Club were approved for grant of $2,000 to assist with their on-going Main Street beautification and improvement project.

The Brown County Community Foundation Fund invites countywide organizations to apply for grants throughout the year.

Grants may be made to qualifying projects in the area of health care, education, recreation and community infrastructure. Grants are made possible by funds invested in the Brown County Community Foundation Fund Endowment Account.

Currently, the fund is participating in the Sherwood Challenge. This challenge provides $1 from the Sherwood Foundation for every $2 donated to the Endowment Account. The Brown County Foundation is currently 75 percent of the way toward meeting the goal of raising $500,000. The Sherwood Foundation has matched with over $150,000 to date.

To make a contribution to the Endowment Account, send donations to the Brown County Community Foundation Fund, PO Box 323, Ainsworth, NE 69210 and note the words “Endowment Account” on the check. The contributions make these and future grants possible.

* Lions Club approves slate of officers and directors for 2017-18

(Posted 8 a.m. May 19)

The Ainsworth Lions Club membership voted to approve the slate of officers and directors for the 2017-18 year. Roland Paddock was elected president of the club, with Brian Williams serving as past president. Connie Lentz was elected first vice president, Sarah Williams secretary, and Phil Fuchs treasurer.

Dwain Grunke was elected as the club’s tail twister, and Dr. David Spann as lion tamer. Elected to the board to two-year terms were Vergil Heyer and Larry Rice. They will join one-year directors Chuck Osborn and Todd Mundhenke. Mundhenke will also serve as membership chair.

The Fourth Grade Foresters project, which consisted of distributing trees to 4th grade students, was held April 27, with seven Lions Club members participating. 

Spann provided a report on the AHS All-Sports Tailgate Party held April 25. As has been done the past couple years, the Lions Club will donate $300 to the local chapter of TeamMates.

The Adopt-A-Highway cleanup project along Highway 20 was held May 7, as arranged by project chair Shannon Sorenson. Eleven members participated, along with three additional volunteers.  Fifteen bags of trash were collected. 

Evan Evans reported the park swing set and the benches are here and ready to be installed.  Arrangements for a work session have been made for 9 a.m. June 10. Evans will contact a few members to assist with assembly prior to the June 10 work session. Mundhenke, chair for the Alumni Banquet meal, said plans for serving the meal June 24 are on target, noting that a worksheet will be provided prior to the event.

The Nebraska Lions Club will hold its annual state convention in Chadron on June 2-4.  Lions Club dues statements will be sent in May via e-mail, with the due date being June 19. The dues will continue to be $65, with a spouse’s dues set at $40.

The Ainsworth Lions Club approved a $1,000 donation to the Lions Club International Foundation for eyesight care at the April meeting. Since the donation of $1,000 would provide an opportunity for the club to award a member of the club (or past member) with a Melvin Jones Fellowship, the club decided to forward an application in honor of Lion Scott Ritter, who passed away in January 2011. Ritter characterized himself as a true “Lion,” devoting his time and energy to numerous Lions Club activities, in addition to sponsoring a club leading 11 new members to the Ainsworth Lions Club.

A Melvin Jones Fellowship is the highest membership honor bestowed by Lions Club International Foundation.

* Area students named to UNK Dean's List for spring semester

(Posted 8:45 a.m. May 18)

The University of Nebraska at Kearney announced the names of students who earned a place on the dean’s list for the spring semester.

Students who are on the dean’s list must have completed 12 credit hours or more of classes with a 3.5 or better on a 4.0 scale.

Dean’s list students will receive a certificate from their respective deans.

From the area, dean’s list students are:

Ainsworth – Hayley Murphy, Sara Salzman, Seth Taylor and Zach Welch.

Bassett – Kenady Stanton and Jamie Turpin.

Stuart – Brittany Hanzlik, Kelsey Kaup and Hailey Paxton.

Wood Lake – Makayla Hogenson and Brittney O’Kief.

Valentine – Gavin Higgins.

Brewster – Emma Pickering and Leah Pickering.

Dunning – Ian Albrecht and Keesha Albrecht.

* Stuart eighth-grade students named Big Red Stars by UN-L

(Posted 7 a.m. May 18)

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln honored Nebraska eighth-graders for their academic excellence, leadership and perseverance May 10 at the Nebraska Union.
The Big Red Stars program is designed to recognize outstanding eighth-grade students in Nebraska. These talented young people were nominated by school principals and guidance counselors for showcasing strong leadership skills and academic promise.
Among those eighth-graders recognized as Big Red Stars were Jett Kunz and Wade Paxton of Stuart.

* Area athletes receive Academic All-State Awards from NSAA

(Posted 9:15 a.m. May 17)

Each year the Nebraska School Activities Association and the Nebraska Chiropractic Physicians Association recognize students who have been nominated by their schools, based on their individual academic excellence, leadership and significant contributions made to their NSAA activity.

The NSAA and the NCPA are proud to recognize all of the 2,130 award winners of the 2017 Spring NCPA Academic All-State Award.

This brings the total number of NCPA Academic All-State Award winners to over 60,000 spanning the 11 years of this awards program.

Area Spring Academic All-State Award recipients are:

 

Ainsworth

Sam Wilkins in boys golf, Miranda Raymond and Britley Schlueter in music, Payton Allen and Jack Arens in boys track and field, and Emma Good and Claire Steinhauser in girls track and field.

 

Rock County

Riley Bussinger in boys golf, Bailey DeVall and Kate Osbon in music, Braydon Caldwell and Jack Gale in boys track and field, and Megan Erickson and Rachel Stewart in girls track and field.

 

Stuart

Harlee Fischer and Alison Stracke in music, and Harlee Fischer and Rachel Kaup in girls track and field.

 

West Holt

Eddie Fredrick and Seth Hytrek in boys golf, Dawson Borer and Kyla Wallinger in music, Jake Judge and Payton Williams in boys track and field, and Bailey Kraus and Anna Meyer in girls track and field.

 

Valentine

Jordan Kelber and Logan O'Kief in boys golf, Will Major and Amos Utecht in music, Kooper Reece and D.J. Stephen in boys track and field, and Sarah Shelbourn in girls track and field.

 

Sandhills

Sheven Rodocker in boys golf, Kyra Kennedy and Amanda Payne in music, Nolan Marten in boys track and field, and Elizabeth Peterson in girls track and field.

* Sheriff's department investigates second mountain lion sighting in past week

(Posted 6:45 a.m. May 17)

A possible mountain lion sighting was reported to the Brown County Sheriff’s Department Tuesday evening on the west edge of Ainsworth.

The Brown County Sheriff’s Department and Nebraska Game and Parks Commission searched a large area near where the sighting was reported but, as of Tuesday night, had not been able to confirm the sighting through the finding of tracks or other mountain lion sign.

Sheriff Bruce Papstein said, despite the sighting not yet being confirmed, people should be aware that a sighting has been reported.

This is the second mountain lion sighting reported to the sheriff’s department in the past week. A lion was reportedly sighted Thursday in rural Long Pine, where something killed a lamb. That sighting was also investigated by the sheriff’s department and the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, but was not confirmed.

Mountain lions typically shy away from humans unless wounded or protecting their young. The large cats, however, have in the past preyed upon pets.

* Lightning strike prompts fire department response Tuesday

(Posted 3 p.m. May 16)

An early Tuesday morning lightning strike north of Long Pine ignited a tree, but the area was wet enough the fire was extinguished by firefighters before it spread.
According to Ainsworth Assistant Fire Chief Randy Johnson, at approximately 8:45 a.m., smoke was reported 8 miles north of Long Pine at the Pine Glen Wildlife Management Area.
Johnson said, though the tree was still smoldering from the lightning strike, the area received enough rain during the storm that it kept any fire from spreading. He said two Ainsworth Volunteer Fire Department trucks and two Long Pine Rural Volunteer Fire Department trucks responded to the call.

* Lentz discusses end of school year activities on Tuesday Open Line

(Posted 3 p.m. May 16)

Ainsworth Secondary Principal Bill Lentz appear on the school day edition of Open Line Tuesday.
To hear the report, click on the audio link below.

audio clips/ACS-Mr Lentz-5-16-17.mp3

* Commissioners opt to maintain current benefits as health premiums rise 14 percent

(Posted 2:30 p.m. May 16)

With health insurance premiums increasing by 14 percent for the upcoming fiscal year, the Brown County Commissioners Tuesday mulled having employees with single health insurance pay for a portion of the monthly premium before ultimately deciding to leave the current benefit structure the same.

Currently, those employees on the county insurance plan receive the cost of a single health insurance plan as a benefit. Those who have a spouse on the county plan or have a full family plan pay for 22 percent of the cost of those plans, with the county paying 78 percent of the total premium.

The 14 percent rise in premiums results in just shy of $40,000 in additional premiums that will have to be paid for 2017-18 through the county’s Blue Cross/Blue Shield plan as part of its membership in the Nebraska Association of County Officials.

That additional cost took for granted the county keeping the benefit structure the same as the current plan.

Commissioner Reagan Wiebelhaus said he believed, at some point, the county would need to have employees with a single plan pay for a portion of the premium.

If the county had employees with single coverage pay for 15 percent of the cost of the premium, it would amount to the employee paying $123 monthly and would save the county roughly $11,800 annually for the eight employees currently on the single plan.

Employees also have the option of receiving cash in lieu of accepting an insurance plan through the county. Those employees are paid 75 percent of the premium cost not to take the insurance offered by the county.

The 14 percent increase brought the cost of a single plan to $821.12 monthly, a two-party plan to $1,648.28 monthly, and a family plan to $1,885.76 monthly. For those with a spouse on the county plan, the premium hike will result in an additional $22 monthly in the employee’s contribution.

After a motion from Wiebelhaus and a second from Commissioner Buddy Small to have employees with a single plan pay 15 percent of the premium cost, the board discussed the item further with several county officials in attendance and opted to rescind the motion and the second and vote to keep the benefit structure the same for the 2017-18 fiscal year.

In other business Tuesday, the commissioners voted to commit $80,000 to the Sandhills Care Center as part of the county’s 2017-18 budget process. Care Center Board member Jim Walz asked the commissioners during the board’s May 2 meeting to consider contributing $80,000 per year for the next four years to support the care center, with the county having the ability to recoup the money through the sale of the center’s bed licenses should the facility not be viable after the five-year time period.

The board approved an agreement and job description for new County Weed Superintendent Matt Wambold. Wambold will continue to serve as a deputy sheriff when not handling weed superintendent responsibilities.

In a related item, the board approved an updated resolution giving Wambold the authority to issue 10-day and 15-day notices to property owners to treat noxious weed infestations.

Wambold said he would prefer to utilize the 10-day spray notices and then have a commercial applicator spray the weeds and bill the cost to the landowner.

“I would rather stay away from the 15-day notices and keep it out of the courts,” Wambold said.

He told the board he has performed between 20 and 30 inspections thus far, and has visited with several landowners about weed infestations.

The commissioners approved an employment agreement with Carl Hart to serve as the county’s deputy emergency manager. Hart will be paid $10 per hour and will be limited to 20 hours of work per month, which is the same agreement the county had with former deputy emergency manager Jeff Keezer.

During his report, Highway Superintendent Kenny Turpin said Norfolk Contracting had replaced the 429th Avenue canal bridge. The county is allowing time for the new concrete bridge deck to cure before opening the one-mile stretch of 429th Avenue north of Highway 20 to traffic. He anticipated the road would reopen Friday unless the weather causes a delay.

Turpin said he planned to continue replacing the old wooden deck bridges across the canal, with the canal bridge across Meadville Avenue just north of Ainsworth the next bridge scheduled for replacement.

“If we replace those wooden bridges before they fail, it can make the difference between closing the road for a week instead of for months if we wait for it to fail and then have to find someone to replace it,” Turpin said.

He also identified canal bridges on the Airport Road and the road east of Ainsworth leading to the Ainsworth Irrigation District and KBR Solid Waste Transfer Station as priorities for replacement.

The highway superintendent reported the roads department planned to begin work June 5 on replacing a box culvert with a steel culvert on Norden Avenue a few miles north of Johnstown. He said the project would close Norden Avenue for approximately three days, with northbound traffic rerouted on Road 882 east, then north 1 mile and back west on Road 883.

The next meeting of the Brown County Commissioners is scheduled for 8:15 a.m. June 6.

* Monday accident on Highway 20 injures 1 motorist

(Posted 12:45 p.m. May 16)

A two-vehicle accident Monday afternoon on Highway 20 at the intersection of Highway 183 injured one motorist.
According to the Brown County Sheriff’s Department, at 2:24 p.m. Monday, a 2012 Ford sedan, driven by Harlin Welch Sr., 80, of Ainsworth, was traveling east on Highway 20 and attempted to turn north onto Highway 183. The Ford collided with a westbound 1997 Nissan Quest, driven by Chase Muir, 30, of Bassett.
A passenger in the Nissan, Kristine Aulner, 61, of Grand Island, was transported by the Brown County Ambulance Association to the Brown County Hospital due to injuries suffered during the accident.
Damage to both the Ford and the Nissan were estimated at more than $1,000.

* Traffic Accident

(Posted 12:45 p.m. May 16)

The Brown County Sheriff’s Department investigated a vehicle-deer accident that occurred Sunday, May 14, on Highway 20.
According to the sheriff’s department report, at 3 p.m. Sunday on Highway 20 approximately 1.5 miles east of Ainsworth, a 2002 Ford pickup, driven by Myron Nilson, 50, of Ainsworth, was traveling west when the vehicle struck a deer in the roadway.
No persons were injured during the accident. Damage to the Ford was estimated at $1,300.

* Traffic Accident

(Posted 11:15 a.m. May 15)

The Brown County Sheriff’s Department investigated a vehicle-deer accident that occurred Saturday, May 13, east of Ainsworth.
According to the sheriff’s department report, at 3:27 a.m. Saturday on Highway 20 approximately 4 miles east of Ainsworth, a 1998 Ford minivan, driven by Brandi Albaugh, 28, of Havana, Ill., was traveling west when the vehicle struck a deer in the roadway.
No persons were injured during the accident. The Ford was considered a total loss.

* Weekly summary from the Brown County Sheriff's Department

(Posted 6:30 a.m. May 15)

May 7

 

    The Ainsworth Fire Dept responded to a report of a truck on fire, west of Ainsworth.

    Assisted the NE State Patrol, on an arrest of a subject, for possession of a controlled substance. The subject was booked into the Brown Co Jail.

    Received a report of possible child abuse or neglect in Ainsworth.

    Responded to a disturbance on Hwy 20 in Ainsworth.

    Assisted an individual with a report of an intoxicated subject, walking on Main St, Ainsworth.

 

May 8

 

    The Ainsworth Fire Dept issued a burn permit for property located North & West of Ainsworth.

    Released a subject from the Brown Co Jail on bond.

    Assisted a subject with a traffic complaint on county roads in rural Ainsworth area.

    Responded to a report of a possible badger, burrowing under a residence in Ainsworth.

    Investigated a report of a possible domestic disturbance in Ainsworth.

    Responded to a report of underage drinking in Ainsworth.

    Booked a subject into the Brown Co Jail on a court ordered commitment.

 

May 9

 

    Investigated a report of suspicious activity on Elm St Ainsworth.

    Responded to a report of a subject with dark clothing, walking along Hwy 20, west of
Ainsworth.

    The Brown Co Ambulance transported a patient from the Brown Co Hospital to Faith Regional Hospital in Norfolk.

 

May 10

 

    The Johnstown Fire Dept issued a burn permit for property located north on Norden Rd.

    Investigated a report of possible stalking in Ainsworth.

 

May 11

 

    The Ainsworth Fire Dept and the Brown Co Ambulance responded to a report of a garage fire on South Wilson St, Ainsworth.

    Assisted an individual with a report of a possible violation of bond restrictions.

    Investigated a report of a possible mountain lion in rural Brown Co. The NE Games & Parks assisted in the investigation.

    Responded to a report of reckless driving East of Ainsworth.

    Responded to a report of possible intoxicated subjects driving in Long Pine. Arrested a subject & booked them into the Brown Co Jail for a probation violation and procuring. 2 other subjects were cited for minor in possession.

 

May 12

 

    The Long Pine Rural Fire Dept issued a burn permit for property located south of Long Pine.

    Received a report of a subject driving recklessly in Long Pine.

    Released a subject from the Brown Co Jail on bond.

    Responded to a dog running at large on 2nd St Ainsworth.

    Investigated a hit and run at East City Park.

    Assisted a rural Ainsworth resident with a report of a lost or stolen dog.

    Received a report of a cat biting a subject from Long Pine.

 

May 13

 

    Investigated a vehicle/ deer accident on Hwy 20 east of Ainsworth.

    Cited 2 subjects for minor in possession and 1 subject for procuring and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

    Responded to a barking dog complaint on Hwy 20, Ainsworth.

    Received a report of a vehicle tearing around Ainsworth.

 

Weekly Summary

1 - Fix-it tickets were issued.

0 - Handgun permits applied for

24 - Incidents Reports were taken.

8 - Paper Service was served.

171 - Phone calls were received

7 - 911 emergency calls received 

6 - Titles were inspected.

1 - Traffic Citations were issued.

5 - Verbal & Written Warnings issued.

* Firefighters called to garage fire Thursday in Ainsworth

(Posted 7:45 a.m. May 12)

The Ainsworth Volunteer Fire Department responded to a garage fire in Ainsworth Thursday afternoon.

According to Ainsworth Fire Chief Brad Fiala, at 4:35 p.m. Thursday at 345-1/2 S. Woodward St., two children playing with a torch started a fire in a garage owned by Tim Bunch. Fiala said paper caught fire from the torch. As the paper burned, it fell near a gas can, igniting the fuel and causing the fire in the garage.

The fire chief said the children were uninjured, but the fire caused substantial damage to the contents of the garage.

“We spoke to the kids about the dangers of playing with things like that,” Fiala said.

The Brown County Ambulance Service provided stand-by service, as it does during all structure fires. A Nebraska Public Power District employee unhooked power to the garage, and the Brown County Sheriff’s Department also responded to assist if necessary.

Firefighters returned to the Ainsworth Fire Hall by 5:30 p.m.

* Area schools to hold graduations this weekend

(Posted noon May 11)

Eighteen seniors are scheduled to graduate from Rock County High School at 2 p.m. Saturday. Jack Gale is the class valedictorian, and Riley Bussinger is the salutatorian.

Thirty-nine Ainsworth High School seniors are scheduled to receive their diplomas at 2:30 p.m. Sunday in McAndrew Gymnasium.

There are five co-valedictorians for the senior class: Jack Arens, Emma Good, Miranda Raymond, Britley Schlueter and Vanessa Taylor.

Graduation for Stuart High School and West Holt High School are both scheduled for 2 p.m. Sunday.

Congratulations to all of our area graduates.

* Area students receive scholarships

(Posted 9:30 a.m. May 11)

The Brown County Community Foundation Fund announced the 2017 Ainsworth High School donor-advised scholarship recipients. Scholarships awarded include:

Adkisson Family Scholarship -  Jack Arens

Alumni Scholarship - Emma Good, Britley Schlueter, and Vanessa Taylor

Elizabeth Aten Memorial Scholarship - Sydney Graff and  Shylo Paddock

Roy Aten Memorial Scholarship - Breanna Schwindt and Macey VonHeeder

First National Bank Scholarship - Riggin Temple

Tansy Pitcher-Forbes Memorial Scholarship - Britley Schlueter

The Brown County Fund congratulates all scholarship recipients. The Brown County Fund also thanks the scholarship account donors.

In other scholarship news, the Brown County Hospital awarded $750 scholarships to Sydney Graff and Zach Welch.

* Highway striping underway in the area

(Posted 8:45 a.m. May 11)

Roadway paint striping is underway in Cherry County, according to the Nebraska Department of Roads.
Swanston Equipment Co., of Fargo, N.D., has the $661,552 contract for district-wide striping.
After striping is completed in this Cherry county, work will progress east through Brown, Keya Paha, Blaine, Rock, Garfield, Loup, Holt, Boyd and Wheeler counties.  The anticipated completion date is July 1.
The Department of Roads’ project manager is Carl Hart of Ainsworth.  Motorists are advised to use caution when encountering construction vehicles on the roadway.

* Council hears proposal to update city's comprehensive plan

(Posted 7 a.m. May 11)

The Ainsworth City Council Wednesday heard a proposal to update its comprehensive plan to provide guidance for future capital improvements and infrastructure investments.

Jeff Ray with JEO Consulting told the council its current comprehensive plan was missing an energy component, which is now a requirement of the state when applying for Community Development Block Grants.

Ray said CDBG and NIFA grants could cover the costs of updating the city’s comprehensive plan, but the CDBG program nationwide was now on shaky footing.

“There is a possibility of CDBG funds going away next year,” Ray said. “President Trump has zero dollars in the CDBG line item in his budget proposal.”

Ray said updating the comprehensive plan would provide the city with updated zoning ordinances, and could be useful as a guideline when planning future improvements in the community.

It will be up to the City Council to move forward with writing grant applications to potentially fund an update to the comprehensive plan.

In other business Wednesday, former councilman and member of the Sandhills Care Center Board Kent Taylor asked the council to consider providing $80,000 in funding annually for the next four years to support the care center.

“The care center is averaging three admissions per month, and we are about five residents away from cash-flowing,” Taylor said. “We want to move forward in a positive manner. The facility is in good shape right now, and we plan on being there for a period of time.”

Taylor said the 46 bed licenses the care center holds would hold a potential value of $15,000 each, but the facility must operate for at least five years.

“If both the city and county agree to $80,000 per year for four years, and then it doesn’t work, you would have the value of those bed licenses to recoup your money,” Taylor said.

He said, if the center gets to a point where it cash flows, they may not even need the $80,000 each year.

Mayor Larry Rice said he and City Administrator Lisa Schroedl had spent time looking at the city’s budget to figure out where the city can find $80,000 without rocking the boat.

“Do you want some kind of positive affirmation from us tonight?” Rice asked.

Schroedl said there was already a line item for the care center in the city’s budget.

“We added it last year when we weren’t sure how we were going to provide our initial match,” Schroedl said.

Councilman Chuck Osborn, who serves as the council’s representative on the care center board, said the biggest thing the board members have stressed is patience.

“I think the $80,000 is a good deal to commit to,” Osborn said. “It is something that we need. That commitment would give everyone a boost of confidence.”

Councilman Greg Soles told Taylor he believed it was safe to say that providing the funding to the care center would be a priority for the council.

No official action was taken, but the council will consider the request when beginning budget preparations in August.

Whitney Abbott with the North Central District Health Department and Area Substance Abuse Prevention coalition, asked the council to consider requiring those applying for future special designated liquor licenses to take a responsible beverage server class provided free of charge by the coalition.

“Our goal is to reduce youth alcohol abuse in a nine-county area,” Abbott said. “In a recent survey, 9 percent of youth reported drinking at a public event. Typically, those events are when a special designated liquor license is used.”

Abbott said some communities are beginning to require the responsible beverage server training as part of approving those special designated licenses.

Osborn asked if the servers would have to travel somewhere to take the course. Abbott said the class was free, and one of ASAP’s three responsible beverage server trainers would travel to the community for the training.

“The training is good for three years,” Abbott said. “You could also just require the person applying for the license to take the training.”

The council did not take any action on the request.

The council did approve Rice’s recommendation of appointing Mary Jo Huey to fill a term on the Ainsworth Housing Authority. Huey will fill the remainder of Helen Sherman’s term, which expires in August of 2020.

In the only other action item Wednesday, the council approved a resolution allowing the Ainsworth Alumni Board and the Ainsworth Area Chamber of Commerce to hold its annual alumni parade June 24, closing Main Street from 9 a.m. until noon.

The consent agenda Wednesday included allowing the Chamber of Commerce to also close Main Street from 6 p.m. June 8 until 1 a.m. June 12 for the annual carnival days.

The consent agenda also included approval of special designated liquor licenses for the Silver Circle for a beer garden June 24 during alumni and for the Elks Lodge July 15 during a fire department event.

It also included permission for the Ainsworth Evangelical Free Church to utilize the Courthouse Park June 4 for a free event.

During her report, Schroedl said the new chlorinator for the swimming pool has arrived, and would be installed this week. She said Katie Painter will serve as the swimming pool manager, with Kay Anderson as the assistant manager. Four lifeguards have also been hired.

The city held a free appliance and furniture pickup day May 3, with 14 chairs, 12 couches, 10 dressers, 12 washers, six dryers, three refrigerators, six freezers, 18 televisions, seven microwaves and 14 mattresses picked up.

The next meeting of the Ainsworth City Council is scheduled for 7 p.m. June 14.

* Peterson is Tuesday's guest on school-day edition of Open Line

(Posted 11:30 a.m. May 9)

Ainsworth Community Schools Superintendent Darrell Peterson appeared on KBRB's Open Line program Tuesday to discuss items from Monday's meeting of the Board of Education.
To hear the report, click on the audio link below.

audio clips/Open Line-ACS Mr. Peterson-5-9-17.mp3

* Tuesday morning fire destroys home east of Newport

(Posted 9 a.m. May 9)

A Tuesday morning fire completely destroyed a home and a family’s belongings just east of Newport.

Bassett Fire Chief Jim Stout said the fire call was received just after 4:30 a.m. Tuesday, May 9, one-half mile east of Newport.

“The fire was called in from someone passing by on the highway, so we were immediately concerned there may be people in the house,” Stout said. “Fortunately, they were not home when it started.”

Stout said the fire had completely engulfed the home owned by Michael Brandon upon the arrival of firefighters. The home and the family’s belongings were destroyed.

KBRB will provide information on how the public can assist the Brandon family when a fund or when a drop-off site for personal items are established.

* School Board approves slight price increases for 2017-18 meal program

(Posted 7 a.m. May 9)

The Ainsworth Community Schools Board of Education set the 2017-18 breakfast and lunch prices Monday, agreeing with a proposal from Lunchtime Solutions to raise the price for breakfast by 5 cents and the cost of lunch by 10 cents for those students who pay full price for meals.

Breakfast prices for 2017-18 will move upward from $1.45 to $1.50. Lunch for elementary students will increase from $2.60 to $2.70, and middle and high school lunch prices will move from $2.75 to $2.85.

Superintendent Darrell Peterson said the school will continue to offer free breakfast for those students who qualify for reduced-price lunches.

Board member Brad Wilkins said, even with the slight increase, the district still provided a pretty good value with its meal prices.

Peterson presented the board with a report of the usage of school breakfast and lunch by students for the current year, with the number of meals served continuing to stay above the district’s goal.

The district has realized a profit of $1,302 on the year for its meal program, with the district’s goal to break even. Peterson said the donated local beef program resulted in approximately 30 percent more beef being eaten by students during the current year than the past year. He said much of that difference was likely due to the quality of the beef that was provided.

In other business Monday, the board approved upgrades to the elementary school and McAndrew Gymnasium.

Peterson proposed the board approve $40,000 in upgrades to the elementary school’s heating and cooling system. The project includes replacing five ceiling fan coil units and two air handlers. He said the $40,000 would actually be only $24,000 of additional spending, as the district did not use $16,000 of the $140,000 approved in the previous budget for similar upgrades.

The board approved the $40,000 project with Rasmussen Mechanical, and also approved a $15,333 quote from Kucera Painting to paint the ceiling in McAndrew Gymnasium.

Peterson said painting the ceiling would help brighten the gym, and the district would then look at pursuing new energy efficient lighting.

The superintendent said the Nebraska Public Power District conducted an energy audit last summer for the district, and the results showed new energy efficient lighting would not only improve the brightness level in the gym but would pay for itself in 9-1/2 years with the energy savings.

The board reviewed a proposal to change the district’s procedures relating to class rank and graduation recognition.

Peterson said the plan would allow more students to be recognized by going to a system similar to colleges and awarding students achieving a grade-point average of 3.5 or better with cum laude, magna cum laude and summa cum laude recognition during graduation and doing away with the valedictorian and salutatorian titles.

He said the hope would be the students would take the classes they need instead of worrying about keeping a perfect grade-point average.

Wilkins said he believed changing the system was a step in the right direction.

“This would recognize all the outstanding scholars,” Wilkins said.

No action was taken on changing the grade recognition system for graduating seniors, but the item will be placed on the board’s June agenda for a possible vote.

The board watched presentations from National History Day qualifiers Vanessa Taylor and Dakota Stutzman. Taylor, a senior, has qualified for the National History Day contest for seven straight years, and Stutzman, a sixth-grader, qualified for the first time.

Per the district’s policy, the board voted to provide the students with $100 each to help offset travel expenses to the national contest.

The board also voted to provide $100 each to the five students who qualified for the Destination Imagination Global Finals later this month at Knoxville, Tenn.

Citing his additional experience serving on a school board, the board voted for Steve Koch of Hershey to serve on the Region 15 Legislative Committee for the Nebraska Association of School Boards. Koch has been on the Hershey School Board for 25 years, while his opponent for the committee seat, John Winkler of Louisville, has been a board member for less than 1 year.

The board approved allowing a third foreign-exchange student, Lovis Hellman of Sweden, to attend Ainsworth Community Schools for the 2017-18 year. Shawn and Cheryl Fernau will serve as Hellman’s host family.

Elementary Principal Sarah Williams reported the kindergarten through sixth-grade students will tour the Nebraska Mobile Children’s Museum Thursday, as the traveling museum will be located in the Ainsworth Conference Center.

She reported 32 students are currently registered for the June session of the Bridges Summer School program, and 31 students are signed up for the July session. She said the school received a grant from the Brown County Foundation to take the students on a field trip to the Ashfall Fossil Beds.

The next meeting of the Ainsworth Community Schools Board of Education is scheduled for 8 a.m. June 12.

* 429th Avenue west of Ainsworth closed for bridge replacement

(Posted 11:45 a.m. May 8)

Brown County Highway Superintendent Kenny Turpin reported Monday that 429th Avenue west of Ainsworth is closed until further notice.
The road is closed between Highway 20 and Road 879 while Norfolk Contractors replaces a bridge across the Ainsworth Irrigation District canal.
The closure is marked, with signs across the road. Turpin will report to KBRB when 429th Avenue is reopened to traffic.

* Nebraska Mobile Children's Museum to be in Ainsworth Thursday and Friday

(Posted 9 a.m. May 8)

The Nebraska150 Celebration’s “Truckin’ Through Nebraska: A Mobile Children’s Museum” will be at the Ainsworth Community Center Thursday and Friday.

School field trips are scheduled from 10 a.m. until 2:40 p.m. Thursday, with the museum open to the public from 2:40 until 5 p.m. Thursday and from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. Friday.

There is no admission charge. While exhibits in the Mobile Children’s Museum are intended for children ages 5-12, audiences of all ages are welcome.

The Mobile Children’s Museum is on a 26-week, 42-community tour across Nebraska now through October.

First Lady Susanne Shore said, “We created the Mobile Children’s Museum to provide a fun, hands-on learning experience for children who may not normally be able to easily access a children’s museum. Through play, interactivity and the latest technology, Nebraska’s children will explore their heritage and envision their futures. We hope the experience will help power the imagination and create an excitement about learning.”

Ainsworth City Administrator Lisa Schroedl said, “We are very proud and excited to have been chosen as one of the 42 communities across the State to host the museum.  We have received many inquiries about the event and it will be a great opportunity for the children of our community to learn and experience Nebraska history.”

* Area students scheduled to receive degrees from Northeast Community College

(Posted 9 a.m. May 8)

The 44th Commencement of Northeast Community College is scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday, May 13, in the Cox Activities Center on the Norfolk campus.

Area students scheduled to receive degrees Saturday include:

Ainsworth – Isabella Lohmeyer, an Associate of Arts degree; Nicholas Runyan, an Associate of Arts degree; Johnathan Ford, an Associate of Applied Science degree in automotive technology; and Andrew Klatt, an Associate of Applied Science degree in banking services.

Long Pine – Jorden Hollenbeck, an Associate of Arts degree.

Bassett – Hollie Morton, a diploma in practical nursing; and Kelsey Venenga, a diploma in practical nursing.

Springview – Sophia Sawle, a diploma in practical nursing.

Newport – Katherine Pfaff, an Assiciate of Arts degree.

Stuart – Courtni Kunz, an Associate of Arts degree; and Callie Evans, an Associate degree in nursing.

Atkinson – Rachael Osborne, an Associate degree in nursing; Jennifer Poessnecker, an Associate of Science degree; Bo Jensen, an Associate of Applied Science degree in auto body repair technology; Sierra Welsh, an Associate of Applied Science degree in physical therapy assistant; Dillon Larby, an Associate of Applied Science degree in wind energy; and Ryan Linders, an Associate of Applied Science degree in wind energy.

Valentine – Cameron Bancroft, an Associate of Arts degree; Brooks Coleman, an Associate of Arts degree; Kylla Sharp, an Associate of Arts degree; and Ty Wolken, a diploma in diversified manufacturing technology.

* Area students receive degrees from UN-L

(Posted 8:15 a.m. May 8)

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln granted 3,107 degrees during commencement exercises Friday and Saturday.

The graduates are from 52 countries, 42 states and over 250 Nebraska communities.

Pinnacle Bank Arena hosted a ceremony for students earning graduate and professional degrees Friday and one for those earning bachelor's degrees Saturday. The College of Law ceremony was Saturday in the Lied Center for Performing Arts.

Area graduates include:

Newport

Andrew Scott Broders, College of Business, Bachelor of Science in Business Administration.

Stuart

Dylan Christopher Laible, College of Arts and Sciences, Bachelor of Science with high distinction.

Atkinson

Mackenzie Ann Gibbens, College of Architecture, Master of Architecture.

Autumn Lynn Lemmer, College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, Bachelor of Science in Agribusiness.

* Sunday fire destroys truck west of Ainsworth

(Posted 8 a.m. May 8)

The Ainsworth Volunteer Fire Department responded to a vehicle fire Sunday, May 7, west of Ainsworth.
According to Ainsworth Fire Chief Brad Fiala, at approximately 1:15 p.m. Sunday, firefighters received a call of a feed truck on fire 4 miles west of Ainsworth.
Fiala said a 1976 International truck, owned by Danny Johnson, caught fire in the engine compartment. The fire then spread to the truck’s cab. The truck was considered a total loss, but the attached feed box was saved.
Firefighters returned to the fire hall by 1:45 p.m.

* Traffic Accident

(Posted 10:58 a.m. May 4)

The Brown County Sheriff's Department investigated a vehicle/horse accident that occurred Thursday, May 4.

At 5:17 a.m. on US Hwy 20 one mile north of Long Pine near the 9A spur intersection, a 2004 Dodge SQ2, driven by Edwin Rohde, 68, of South Sioux City, NE, was traveling east on US Hwy 20 when he saw a horse in the road and could not avoid him.  The horse, owned by Roy Moretz of Long Pine, died shortly after the accident. Rohde did not sustain any injury.  Damage to the Dodge was estimated at $2,500.

* Traffic Accident

(Posted 10:40 a.m. May 4)

The Brown County Sheriff's Department investigated a three vehicle accident that occurred Wednesday, May 3.

At 7:59 a.m. Wednesday on East Second Street and Oak Street in Ainsworth, a 1997 Honda Accord station wagon, driven by Charles Noheart, 41, of Ainsworth was westbound and was preparing to turn south into the alley. The Honda Accord went left of center and struck a 2010 Chrysler SLT driven by Margo Haskell, 40, of Ainsworth. The Honda Accord then turned into the alley and slid into a pickup box trailer, owned by David Collins of Ainsworth. The Chrysler, after being hit by the Honda Accord, then hit a parked 2016 Chevrolet Malibu owned by Jessica Hollenbeck of Bassett. Haskell and a passenger in the Chrysler were injured but refused medical attention at the scene. Estimated damages were: $1,500 to the Honda Accord, $3,000 to the Chrysler SLT, $3,000 to the Chevy Malibu, and $100 to the pickup box trailer.

* Traffic Accident

(Posted 10:25 a.m. May 4)

The Brown County Sheriff's Department investigated a one vehicle accident that occurred Tuesday, May 2.
At 5 a.m. Tuesday on Highway 7 approximately 22 miles south of Ainsworth, a 2015 Volkswagen Jetta, driven by Richard Prins, 66, of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, was traveling north when the vehicle struck a deer in the roadway. No persons were injured during the accident. The Volkswagen was considered a total loss.

* Academic All-State Awards

(Posted 11 a.m. May 4)

The Nebraska School Activities Association and the program sponsor, the Nebraska Chiropractic Physicians Association (NCPA), has announced Academic All-State Awards for spring sports and activities. The NCPA Academic All-State Award recognizes students for their individual academic excellence, leadership, and significant contributions in their NSAA activity. To be considered for this award, a student must be a varsity player or organizational leader who has played a significant role on the team or in the organizational activity. Honorees must attain at least a 93% cumulative grade point average on a 100% scale or a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.7 on a 4.0 scale. Award winners for Ainsworth High School for Spring 2017 activities are Miranda Raymond and Britley Schlueter in music, Sam Wilkins in boys golf, Emma Good and Claire Steinhauser in girls track and field, and Payton Allen and Jack Arens in boys track and field. Congratulations to these students for earning this award.

* Commissioners hear request to provide funding for a 4-year period to care center

(Posted 1:45 p.m. May 2)

An outgoing county representative on the Sandhills Care Center Board urged the Brown County Commissioners Tuesday to commit to providing $80,000 to the facility annually for the next four years to ensure the facility remains open and allows the city and county to add the asset of more than $600,000 worth of bed licenses.

Current Sandhills Care Center Board member Jim Walz, who is leaving the board following May’s meeting after being appointed to the Brown County Hospital Board of Trustees, told the commissioners Tuesday it will be much easier to recruit employees and potential residents if there is stability in the facility.

“It is hard to get residents if there is negativity floating around, and it is hard to find employees,” Walz said. “The facility is only four or five residents away from cash-flowing. It is about $27,000 per month from being at a break-even point now.”

He asked the commissioners to consider providing $80,000 annually for the next four years from the county’s general fund, and he said he would make the same request to the city of Ainsworth.

“The 46 bed licenses we received from the state have to be used for five years or they go back to the state,” Walz said. “Each bed license will bring between $15,000 and $22,000. There are about $675,000 worth of bed licenses there. If we don’t keep the nursing home open for five years, we lose the value of those bed licenses.”

Walz said, even in a worst-case scenario where the decision would be made to close the facility after five years, the city and county would recoup the $80,000 annual investment by being able to sell the bed licenses.

“The city and county committing to the nursing home for four years would take away the negativity,” Walz said. “That will provide assurance that the facility will remain open and take away the doubt.”

Walz said some family members are hesitant about placing a loved one in the facility because they are worried it may close. He said that same concern makes it difficult to recruit employees.

Walz said he believed the nursing home would not even require the $80,000 from each entity after the first two years. Should the care center continue to build its census, he said there could be something included in the agreement where the city and county start receiving repayment on their contributions when the facility starts making money.

Sandhills Care Center Manager Stephanie Rucker said three new residents have been admitted to the facility in the past week, and the census Tuesday stands at 15 residents after one resident passed away Monday.

“People are calling and inquiring about our services,” Rucker said.

She said the facility has hosted some events for the public in an effort to reintroduce them to the facility and display the changes that have been made since the city and the county took over the venture.

“Part of what we are still dealing with is the reputation the previous company had,” Rucker said.

She said several events open to the public were planned in the facility during National Nursing Home Week May 15-19. After focusing on recruiting employees, she said the facility would soon begin advertising to promote the quality of care residents receive in the Sandhills Care Center.

Commissioner Les Waits said he was pleased to hear the facility admitted three new residents in one week.

“That is a huge positive to me,” Waits said.

Following discussion on the legal ramifications involved if one of the two entities involved in the nursing home decided not to continue the funding for all four years, the board agreed any additional funding would be incorporated into the general fund budget and not taken from the inheritance tax fund.

The county and the city have each contributed $415,000 thus far to reopening the nursing facility in the community.

Following the discussion, Commissioner Reagan Wiebelhaus said he was in favor of continuing the support for the nursing home for the next four years.

“You can count on my vote for that commitment,” Wiebelhaus told Walz.

In other business during Tuesday’s meeting, the commissioners approved partially reimbursing long-time county employees for a portion of their accrued sick leave upon the completion of their employment with the county.

Those employed by the county for at least 10 years and who leave employment in good standing will be compensated for one-fourth of the number of unused sick days accrued during their employment, up to a maximum of 20 reimbursed days.

During the board’s previous meeting, Wiebelhaus said the reimbursement would both reward longevity and possibly prevent county employees from abusing the county’s sick leave policy.

Hourly county employees receive nine hours of sick leave for each month they are employed.

Highway Superintendent Kenny Turpin reported the roads department planned to start a road improvement project soon on Road 881 between 427th Avenue and 428th Avenue.

After receiving a request during the board’s April 18 meeting, Turpin said he met with Bill Dunne and his son-in-law and agreed to have the roads department perform some minor repair work on a 300- to 400-yard stretch of Dunne’s private drive in exchange for Dunne having agreed to allow the county to pile roads materials on his property for the past several years.

The next meeting of the Brown County Commissioners is scheduled for 8:15 a.m. May 16.

* Flyers promoting upcoming circus in Bassett are a scam

(Posted 8 a.m. May 2)

KBRB received a report that someone placed flyers around Bassett promoting a circus at the Rock County Fairgrounds. Representatives from the Rock County Agricultural Society informed KBRB there is no circus at the fairgrounds, and the flyers are a scam.

* Recent cases from Brown County Court

(Posted 3:30 p.m. May 1)

In addition to fines, each case carries $50 in court costs

Cody A. Smith, age 30, of Burwell, charged with no fishing permit, fined $150 and ordered to pay $1,000 in liquidation damages.

William D. Jeffers III, 44, of Ainsworth, driving under suspension, $100.

Chad R. Lower, 39, of Ainsworth, disturbing the peace, $100.

Robert J. McLeod, 43, of Ainsworth, third offense driving under the influence, $1,000, also sentenced to 30 days in jail with credit for 28 days served, one year of probation, driver’s license revoked for two years, ordered to install an ignition interlock device; also charged with committing child abuse negligently, sentenced to 30 days in jail and one year of probation; driving left of center, 30 days in jail and one year of probation; transporting a child while intoxicated, 30 days in jail and one year of probation; disturbing the peace, one year of probation.

Tacie M. Hawkins, 46, of Wood Lake, no valid registration, $25; failure to use a seat belt, $25.

Chris Johnson of Long Pine, dog running at large, $25.

Jacob Korus of Arlington, no park permit, $25.

Philip O. Korbel, 29, of Fargo, N.D., speeding 16-20 mph over the limit, $125.

Tyler D. Douglas, 21, of Ravenna, speeding 11-15 mph over the limit, $75.

David A. Jelinek, 27, of Gunnison, Colo., speeding 36 miles per hour or more over the limit, $300.

Jeffrey Q. Keezer, 46, of Ainsworth, first offense driving under the influence, $500, also sentenced to six months of probation, driver’s license revoked for 60 days, and ordered to install an ignition interlock device.

Derick T. Lux, 25, of Hubbard, first offense driving under the influence, $500, also sentenced to seven days in jail with credit for one day served, driver’s license revoked for six months, and ordered to install an ignition interlock device.

Kaycee L. Hollenbeck, 23, of Bassett, first offense driving under the influence, $500, also sentenced to six months of probation, driver’s license revoked for 60 days, and ordered to install an ignition interlock device.

Kevin K. Scheer, 60, of Elsmere, speeding 21-35 mph over the limit, $75.

Kaleb C. Lauer, 19, of Ainsworth, minor in possession, $300.

Brent A. Goeken, 36, of Long Pine, first offense driving under the influence, $500, also sentenced to seven days in jail with credit for one day served, driver’s license revoked for six months, and ordered to install an ignition interlock device; driving under suspension, driver’s license revoked for one year.

Chelsy D. Grim, 27, of O’Neill, licensing a vehicle without liability insurance, $100.

Elijah C. Kalambokidis, 20, of Ainsworth, two counts of committing child abuse negligently, sentenced to 44 days in jail with credit for 44 days served on each count.

Schuyler K. Privett, 20, of Ainsworth, selling tobacco to a minor, $50.

Alan K. Sears, 62, of Eaton, Colo., speeding 6-10 mph over the limit, $25.

Shonda O. Voss, 42, of Ainsworth, driving on the shoulder, $25.

Kraig A. Brown, 30, of Ainsworth, criminal mischief between $500 and $1,500, fined $100 and ordered to pay $879 in restitution.

Ty L. Milleson, 19, of Dunning, speeding 21-35 mph over the limit, $125.

Clayton J. Larson, 19, of Springview, speeding 36 mph or more over the limit, $300.

Erik J. Justin, 24, of Moorhead, Minn., speeding 6-10 mph over the limit, $25.

* April finishes warmer, wetter than normal in Ainsworth

(Posted 2 p.m. May 1)

Ainsworth Weather Observer Gerry Osborne reported April finished above normal in both average daily temperature and total moisture.
A total of 2.99 inches of moisture was recorded during the month, which is 0.71 of an inch above the average. That brings the 2017 year-to-date precipitation total to 5.85 inches, 1.15 above normal.
To hear the complete report, click on the audio link below.

audio clips/Gerry Osborne April 2017 weather summary.mp3

* Area students scheduled to receive degrees from UNK Friday

(Posted 10:30 a.m. May 1)

Graduate and undergraduate degrees for 668 students will be conferred during the University of Nebraska at Kearney commencement exercises at 10 a.m. Friday, May 5.

Mathematics teacher Amber Vlasnik, awardee of the 2017 Nebraska Teacher of the Year, will deliver the commencement address. Vlasnik graduated from UNK in 2008 and teaches at Lincoln High School. She has earned her master’s degree and is pursuing a doctorate in educational studies from University of Nebraska-Lincoln. At Lincoln High, Vlasnik has served as math department chair, a math instructional coach and instructional team leader, and was designated a Noyce Master Teaching Fellow.

Morgan Prochnow of Seward will be a summa cum laude graduate on Friday, with a degree in communication disorders. She will give the senior class reflection. A member of Mortar Board, she has been on the dean’s academic honors list each semester while in college, and is a member of Phi Eta Sigma Honor Society and Gamma Phi Beta sorority.

University of Nebraska President Hank Bounds and NU Regent Bob Phares will address the graduates, as will Jack Kreman, president of the UNK Alumni Association LEAD Council.

The University Wind Ensemble, directed by Duane Bierman, UNK Director of Bands, will provide the processional “Konigsmarsch” by Richard Strauss; and “Pomp and Circumstance” by Edward Elgar. The national anthem will be performed by a trio of graduates: John Jacobs, Nolan Pribnow and Alyssa Wetovick.

Those from the area who will receive degrees from UNK include:

Ainsworth - Erin Rathe, a Master of Arts degree in education.

Johnstown – Lars Johnson, a Bachelor of Arts degree in theatre.

Bassett – Carter Camp, a Bachelor of Arts degree in education, health and fitness education.

Valentine – Alana Cardinal, a Master of Arts degree in education, and Alexandra Taylor, a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in visual communication and design.

* Brown County Hospital Trustees approve proposal to remodel specialty clinic

(Posted 8 a.m. May 1)

Upgrades will be made to the Brown County Hospital Specialty Clinic, as the Board of Trustees unanimously approved a $31,000 proposal that includes new exam room chairs, lobby furniture, and carpeting for the specialty clinic.

Also included in the proposal is a new front door and painting the clinic’s interior.

The trustees also looked at quotes for improving the signage for the emergency room entrance on the west side of the hospital. The board approved adding an emergency room flagship sign near the entrance to the ER, adding an ER Parking sign on the hospital building, and eliminating two parking spaces in front of the emergency room sign near Harrington Street to improve the sign’s visibility.

In other action items during the recent meeting, the board approved a proposal from Seim Johnson to conduct the 2017 hospital audit and cost report. Five proposals were submitted and reviewed.

The board approved medical staff consulting privileges for Dr. David Hadford, Dr. Yuying Jiang, Dr. Cody Evans, Dr. Nathan Murdoch, and Daniel Novinski, DO. The credentials were reviewed by the hospital’s medical staff and recommended for appointment.

Hospital Administrator Shannon Sorensen introduced Inspire representatives Andrew Weides and Gene Svec to the board. The two spoke on the collaboration between Inspire and the hospital for services in the rehabilitation department.

The board approved a contract with Inspire to begin July 1.

Sorensen reported more than 80 students participated in the six weeks of lap walking at Ainsworth Community Schools.

Erica Hasenohr presented the board with information on the completed remodeling project at the Ainsworth Family Clinic. She said a television was added to the waiting room, and additional efforts have been made to help buffer sound coming from the patient examination rooms in the clinic.

Matt Lentz reported the hospital will host a Rural Trauma Team Development Course this summer for members of the hospital staff and the Brown County Ambulance Association.

The next meeting of the Brown County Hospital Board of Trustees is scheduled for May 15.

* Sunday storm causes power outage in southern Brown, Rock counties

(Posted 7:30 a.m. May 1)

Though completely missing Ainsworth, Sunday’s winter storm brought several inches of snow to parts of the KBRB listening area, and KBR Rural Public Power customers in southeastern Brown County and southern Rock County are without power.
KBR Rural Public Power Manager Bob Beatty reported Sunday’s storm brought down at least 40 power poles in southeastern Brown and southern Rock counties. KBR customers in those areas have been without power since Sunday evening.
Beatty said KBR has called in repair crews from the surrounding area, as well as a contracted repair crew, and will try and have the poles replaced and power restored to those affected rural customers as soon as possible.
Stay tuned to KBRB, as KBR Rural Public Power will provide progress reports as repairs are made and power restored.

* Ainsworth Area Chamber of Commerce Radio Takeover Day winners listed

(Posted 3:30 p.m. March 31)

Another year of the Ainsworth Area Chamber of Commerce Radio Takeover Day is in the books, and it was a fantastic year for raising funds and memberships for the chamber. A huge "thanks" to all the guest announcers and front office folks, as well as to the businesses and individuals who donated items to the auction, those who paid their membership dues, and to the great KBRB listeners for calling in with bids throughout the day.
Below are the hourly lists of items on the auction, the names of the winning bidders and the prices paid for the auctioned items.
Winning bidders may pick up and pay for their items from Home Again on Main Street from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Saturday, April 1, and Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. beginning April 3.
Anyone with questions may contact Home Again at 382-3477 or KBRB at 387-1400.
 

AACC 2017 Radio Takeover Day

 

7 a.m. Bret Younkin and Kathy Klammer - Guest Announcers

 

7:28 a.m. – A $25 beef draft from Madison’s Great Western for $23 – Brandy Connell.

 

Bids open from 7:30 until 8 a.m. on following items    Opening Bid    Winning Bidder/Price

 

Ainsworth Motors – A gift certificate for                              $30               $47, John Halberslaben
a front-end alignment.

 

Plains Equipment Group – One riding lawn                           $75                   $100, Jim Hoch

mower inspection

 

Daniels Manufacturing – A gate package,                              $40                  $45, Steve Gann

includes a GL-2 latch and 2 barbwire fence closers

 

Wellness by Wade – A one-hour massage                              $30                  $65, Dan Zwiebel

 

Husker Meats – One box of frog legs                                     $10                  $30, Kenny Eggers    

 

Bret and Julie Younkin – Two tickets to the                          $25                  $30, Don Graham

Nebraska Sandhills Cowboy Hall of Fame banquet

and induction ceremony June 10 at Valentine

 

KBRB – Four tickets to the Husker Spring Game April 15   $20                  $35, Crystal Sell

 

Furry Friends Grooming – Certificate for a                            $20                  $32, Jude Lutz

dog grooming.

 

Ainsworth Flowers & Gifts - Autographed                            $20                  $20, Phyllis Harlan

Nebraska Husker Santa from the Bert Anderson

limited edition collection, No. 492 of 500.

 

First Two Callers - A $10 Dachota’s Caf and Confections gift certificates for $8, Kendra Cleal and Becky Schelm.

 

First Caller – A $25 Red & White Market gift certificate for $23, Brandy Connell.

 

First Caller – Ainsworth Elks Club $20 gift certificate for $18, Jennifer Conroy.

 

AACC 2017 Radio Takeover Day

 

8 a.m. Jennifer Erthum and Dane Sears, Guest Announcers

 

Bids open from 8 until 8:30 a.m. on following items    Opening Bid    Winning Bidder/Price

 

Husker Meats – Jalapeno cheese summer sausage                  $10              $35, Marjorie Peterson

 

Century Lumber – Four gallons of Deck Correct

paint-on protection that makes old decks look new               $75                  $75, KBRB Radio

 

Bomgaars – 10 broiler chickens and a 10-pound                    $15                  $27, Lindsey Fernau

bag of feed.

 

Rangeland Rehab – One 45-minute session with                   $40              $75, Shareen Dearmont

physical Therapist Bryan Doke for an evaluation

 

First Class Auto – One vehicle service -                                 $25                  $55, Rod Worrell

Includes 5 quarts of oil, filter and labor

 

Fitness First – One month membership                                  $15                  $15, Jenny Nickless

 

First Caller – A $25 beef draft from Rolling Stone Feed Yard for $23, Brandy Connell.

 

Bids open from 8:30 until 9 a.m. on following items    Opening Bid    Winning Bidder/Price

 

Ainsworth Community Schools – One 2017-18                     $35                  $70, Jamie Stutzman

season activity pass

 

Local House 20 – Two steak dinners                                    $20                $60, Todd Mundhenke

 

Gross Seed Company – One 10-pound bag of                       $15                  $20, Dan Zwiebel

Kentucky blue grass seed

 

Middle Niobrara Natural Resources District –                       $10                  $25, Stan Pennington

Bundle of 10 burr oak trees (starter size)

 

KBRB – Two tickets to the Husker                                       $10                  $20, Jill Ganser

Springs Game April 15

 

Mundhenke Agency – A Nest Protect smoke  and carbon      $50                  $75, Sherry Buoy

monoxide alarm that connects to your cell phone for alerts

 

First caller – A $25 gift certificate to Simple Solutions for $23, Becky Schelm.

 

AACC 2017 Radio Takeover Day

 

9 a.m. Codi Sedlacek, Marcus Fairhead and Melissa Doke, Guest Announcers

 

Bids open from 9 until 9:30 a.m. on following items    Opening Bid    Winning Bidder/Price

 

Ainsworth Motors – A check-engine light                             $30                  $55, Joyce Micheel

diagnostic service.

 

Middle Niobrara Natural Resources District –                       $10                  $30, Steve Salzman

10 burr oak trees, starter size

 

Office Products of Winner, S.D. – A                                     $75                  $107, Bonnie Richey

Shredcat paper shredder

 

William Krotter Lumber Co. – An XXL                                $10                  $10, Brad Witte

orange raingear coat

 

Pizza Hut – A family meal deal, which                                  $10                  $27, Joyce Micheel

Includes a large pizza, breadsticks and soda.

 

Husker Meats – 10 pounds of hamburger                               $15                  $45, Kade Gracey

 

First Caller – A $30 gift certificate to the Ranch of BS (Bobbie Smith) for $27, Joyce Micheel.

 

Bids open from 9 until 9:30 a.m. on following items    Opening Bid    Winning Bidder/Price

 

Ainsworth High School metals class – A metal laser             $30               $100 Brittanie Jackman

sign featuring a Ranch Scene cut by Kade Kral.

 

Pam and Denny Bauer – Four 18-ounce rib-eye steaks          $20                  $85, Jim Carley

 

Brown County Hospital – Entry into the Hospital                 $90           $180, Mundhenke Agency

Golf Tournament June 16 with dinner following

 

Daniels Manufacturing – A boxed sprinkler                           $20                  $40, Janet Kuchera

 

Ainsworth Golf Course – 9 holes of golf for                         $20                  $45, Dave Dodson

two people with carts

 

KBRB – Four tickets to the Husker Spring Game                 $20                  $60, Jim Brown

 

First Caller – A $20 certificate to the Ainsworth Elks Club for $18, Becky O’Hare.

 

First Two Callers - A $10 Dachota’s Caf and Confections gift certificate for $8, Becky Schelm and Erin Lambrecht.

AACC 2017 Radio Takeover Day

 

10 a.m. Brandy Bussinger and Lesley Holmes, Guest Announcers

 

Bids open from 10 until 10:30 a.m. on following items   Opening Bid  Winning Bidder/Price

 

Lashley Land & Recreational Brokers – An Amazon                $75            $120, John Rossenbach

Kindle with Wifi, 4GB of memory, daylight readable,

300PPI touch display and built-in light

 

Middle Niobrara Natural Resources District –                           $10              $36, Pam Munk

10 burr oak trees, starter size

 

Home Again – Gift Certificate for a Memorial Arrangement    $30              $32, Joyce Micheel

 

Buckles Automotive – An LED spotlight.                                 $35              $45, Scott Hallock

 

H&R Food Center – One large fruit tray                                   $15              $26, Tiff Naprstak

 

J’s Keggers – A 750ml bottle of Sauza                                      $25              $35, Pat Gibbs

triple-distilled Tequila with two shot glasses

(Must be 21 or older to bid)

 

First Caller – A $25 beef draft from Madison’s Great Western for $23, Joyce Micheel.

 

Bids open from 10:30 until 11 a.m. on following items   Opening Bid  Winning Bidder/Price

 

Ainsworth Motors – Certificate for a front end alignment       $30               $75, Tiff Naprstak

 

KBRB Radio – Two tickets to the Husker Spring Game          $10               $25, Becky O’Hare

 

Fitness First – One month membership                                     $15               $22, Joyce Micheel

 

Daniels Manufacturing – One small,                                         $20               $46, Kurt Ammon

heavy duty sprinkler

 

Husker Meats – One full rib-eye loin                                         $75               $170, Steve Salzman

 

Hills & Trails FCE Club – 10-dozen cream cheese mints         $15               $35, Chuck Kaup

 

First Caller – A $100 gift certificate from KC Collision for $90 toward a windshield replacement, Kari Kenner.

 

First Caller – A $25 gift certificate to Red & White Market for $23, Joyce Micheel.

 

AACC 2017 Radio Takeover Day

 

11 a.m. Kathy Worrell and Jan Buoy, Guest Announcers

 

Bids open from 11 until 11:30 a.m. on following items   Opening Bid  Winning Bidder/Price

 

Keller’s Custom Embroidery & Imprints – A Bulldog               $20          $30, Vanessa Hernandez

stadium seat and carrying bag

 

William Krotter Lumber Co. – An XL orange fleece pull-over    $10            $25, Al Hansen

 

Fernau Construction – A 180-piece Dewalt                               $75              $100, Darrin Jones

Mechanic Tool Set

 

H&R Food Center – A large vegetable tray                               $15              $30, Daniel K. Woods

 

Middle Niobrara Natural Resources District –                           $10              $25, Kurt Kunze

10 burr oak trees, starter size

 

First Class Auto – A vehicle service,                                          $25              $55, Rod Worrell

 

First Caller – A $25 beef draft from Rolling Stone Feed Yard for $23, Travis Magary.

 

Bids open from 11:30 until noon on following items   Opening Bid  Winning Bidder/Price

 

Ainsworth Community Schools – One 2017-18                     $35                  $60, Beth Chase

season activity pass

 

Husker Meats – 10 pounds of hamburger patties                   $20                $50, Andrew Paddock

 

Home Again – Gift certificate for one dozen roses                $25                  $27, Steve Gann

 

Plains Equipment Group – A 12-volt portable refrigerator    $50                  $86, Kent Croghan

 

Subway – Six certificates for regular, 6-inch subs                  $15                  $25, Jason Lauer

 

Fitness First – A one-month membership                               $15              $25, Phoebe McDaniel

 

Simple Solutions – One wireless computer mouse                 $10                  $20, Maynard Harr

 

JC Construction – 10 percent off construction labor              $50                  $75, Connie Lentz

 

First Caller – Farmers-Ranchers Cooperative $25 gift certificate for $23, Becky Schelm.

 

First Caller – A $25 beef draft from Madison’s Great Western for $23, Betty Lucht.

 

AACC 2017 Radio Takeover Day

 

Noon – Kade Gracey and Penny Waits, Guest Announcers.

 

Bids from Noon until 12:30 p.m. on following items   Opening Bid  Winning Bidder/Price

 

Simple Solutions – One wireless mouse                                 $10                  $15, Lendi Goochey

 

The Gun Corner in First Class Auto – One box                     $30                  $65, Eric Davis

of 500 Remington .22 shells

 

Ainsworth Senior Center – Five noon meals                          $10            $20, Carolyn Schipporeit

 

Husker Meats – One box of frog legs                                     $10                  $56, Shep Gibbs

 

The Book Peddler – A Gooseberry cookbook                        $10                  $30 Doreen Wood

 

Ainsworth Motors – One vehicle service                                $25                  $75 George Friedrich

 

First Caller – A $25 gift certificate to Red & White Market for $23, Don Scholoski.

 

First Caller – A $25 beef draft from Rolling Stone Feed Yard for $23, Carol Woods.

 

Bids open from 12:30 until 1 p.m. on following items   Opening Bid  Winning Bidder/Price

 

KBRB – Four tickets to the Husker Spring Game                 $20                  $25, Becky O’Hare

 

Fitness First – A one-month membership                               $15                  $20, Ernie Higbee

 

Pam & Denny Bauer – Four 18-ounce rib-eye steaks             $20             $70, Pine Valley Resort

 

Meadville Store – A prime rib dinner for two people and      $20                  $60, Don Schiloski

$10 in drinks. Prime rib is served every Saturday night.

 

Gross Seed Company – A 10-pound bag                               $15                  $37, Stan Pennington

of Super Turf 2 seed

 

Ainsworth Golf Course – Nine holes of golf                         $20                  $48, Jennifer Conroy

with cart for two people

 

Pizza Hut – A family meal deal                                              $15             $30, Carolyn Schipporeit

 

First Caller – A $25 beef draft from Madison’s Great Western for $23, Deb Vonheeder

 

First 2 Callers - A $10 Dachota’s Caf and Confections gift certificate for $8, Kendra Cleal and Carol Painter.
 

AACC 2017 Radio Takeover Day

 

1 p.m. – Melissa Keller, Angie Hood and Nick Rau, Guest Announcers.

 

Bids open from 1 until 1:30 p.m. on following items   Opening Bid  Winning Bidder/Price

 

Ainsworth High School Metals Class – A “welcome”           $30            $110, Mackenzie Crane

sign featuring a tractor cut by Kade Kral.

 

Home Health – A first aid kit.                                                $15                  $20, Kade Gracey

 

Big Red Vending – One box of Snickers                               $20                  $70, Craig Freeman

Candy bars.

 

Husker Meats – A 10-pound box of pork riblets                    $10                  $30, Pat Gibbs

 

Longhorn Bar – A 4x6 foot American Flag, manufactured   $25                  $85, Heath Rudnick

by Fairbury Flag Co. with a lifetime guarantee

 

Middle Niobrara Natural Resources District –                       $10             $60, Shareen Dearmont

10 burr oak trees, starter size

 

KBRB Radio – Four tickets to the Husker                            $20                  $40, Crystal Sell

Spring Game April 15

 

First Caller – A $25 gift certificate to Simple Solutions for $23, Becky O’Hare.

 

First Caller – A $25 beef draft from Rolling Stone Feed Yard for $23, Joyce Micheel.

 

First Two Callers - A $10 Dachota’s Caf and Confections gift certificate for $8, Becky Schelm and Crystal Sell.

 

All-Day Auction Items, 1:30 until 2 p.m.

 

Buckley Steel equipment rental                                                                      $275, Gary Leach

 

First National Bank – Buy a Banker, Dane Sears                                          $300, Bonnie Richey

 

Three River Communications Microsoft Surface tablet                          $350, Brenda Mundhenke

 

State Farm Insurance, West Plains Bank, First National Bank,

Union Bank & Trust and Ainsworth Vision Clinic yard manicure package      $435, Rod Worrell

 

KBRB Traeger Grill & 30 pounds of brats                                                     $760, Kenny Eggers

 

Frontier Diesel 13-foot rubber tire watering tank                                             $850, Tom Frank

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