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

* Norma Jean Keech, 88, of Valentine later date

* Betty J. Chrans, 69, of Springview 10:30 a.m. May 26

* Roger W. "Bubba" Fischer, 84, of Bassett 10 a.m. May 25

* Joe Fleming, 78, of Valentine 11 a.m. May 24

* Lois A. Dvorak, 89, of Stuart 10:30 a.m. May 23

* Roger A. Bernt, 69, of Amarillo, Texas 9:30 a.m. May 23

* Doris Kohle, 87, of Stuart 10:30 a.m. May 21

* Meeting reports located below for:

May 17 Ainsworth Community Schools Board of Education special meeting

May 15 Nebraska Primary Election results

May 15 Ainsworth Community Schools Board of Education

May 14 Sandhills Care Center Board of Directors

May 10 Ainsworth City Council

* Area nursing students receive pins from Northeast Community College

(Posted 7 p.m. May 18)

Associate degree nursing and practical nursing students received their nursing pins during a special ceremony recently at Northeast Community College in Norfolk. During the ceremony, the graduating nursing students received their pins from family members or a close friend who has helped them along their journey.

“Today, we celebrate the educational success and journey that 42 Practical Nurses and 28 Associate Degree nurses have completed,” said Dr. Michele Gill, dean of health and wellness. “There have been many quizzes, tests, lab experiences, clinicals and study sessions in your pursuit of this academic achievement thus far, and we are so very proud of you all.”

Gill said the observance is the culmination of the students’ initial journey to professional nursing education.

“The annual ceremony is a bridge from nursing’s past to nursing’s future and is a time-honored nursing school tradition. It signifies the official initiation into the brotherhood and sisterhood of nurses.”

The history of the pinning ceremony goes back to the Crusades of the 12th century. The modern ceremony dates back to the mid-19th century when Florence Nightingale was awarded the Red Cross of St. George for her tireless service to the injured during the Crimean War. To share the honor, she in turn presented a medal of excellence to her brightest graduates.

Students from the area who were pinned with the Associate Degree Nursing pin include Hollie Morton and Kelsey Venenga of Bassett, and Sophia Sawle of Springview.

Jason Seger of Atkinson received the Practical Nursing pin.

 * School Board to enter into negotiations with Chief Construction for addition project

(Posted 9:30 a.m. May 17)

After meeting with four companies to go over details of a new agriculture and industrial technology building addition, the Ainsworth Community Schools Board of Education voted during a special meeting Thursday to negotiate a contract with Chief Construction of Grand Island for the project.

Utilizing the design-build format available to the school district as opposed to the design-bid-build method, the board members discussed the strengths of the four companies that presented proposals.

Superintendent Darrell Peterson said the district had four great interviews.

“I feel any of the four could do the project,” Peterson said. “All had advantages and disadvantages, but there were a couple that stood out.”

Board member Brad Wilkins said he had BD Construction of Kearney ranked first because of their experience locally.

“They have done school projects at Wallace, Mullen, Ord and Broken Bow,” Wilkins said. “They said they were happy to work with local sub-contractors. That was important to me.”

Wilkins said he liked Chief Construction’s proposal because the company builds the steel building itself, and they have extensive experience with steel buildings.

“The only concern to me with them is they have limited school experience,” Wilkins said. “They have done a ton of industrial work.”

Board member Mark Johnson said he had Chief Construction ranked first from among the four presentations.

“They have a lot of experience, and I like that they do everything in-house,” Johnson said. “Each of them said they would use local sub-contractors. It is really a toss-up for me between Chief and BD.”

Board member Jim Arens said he believed Chief Construction did its homework on the building site and had the best floor plan.

“They can get the building ordered and still give us some flexibility as we make final decisions on doors and some other things,” Arens said. Any of the four could do it, but Chief is my No. 1 choice. BD did a project at Wallace that is nearly identical to this one. They are my second choice.”

Board member Scott Erthum said Chief Construction was his top choice.

“I liked their idea of concrete interior walls,” Erthum said. “Chief looked at the site carefully, and I like the idea that they are doing the building themselves and not relying on another company.”

Board President Dan Dailey said he would go with Chief Construction because of their design.

“My only concern with Chief is they have not done as much work in the way of schools,” Dailey said. “I liked BD because of the local work they’ve done, and I liked Russ’s expertise with CTS.”

Dailey said he would have no problem with any of the three companies doing the work.

Secondary Principal Bill Lentz said Chief is a very reputable company, and the people at Wallace Public Schools really liked the work BD Construction did on their project.

Peterson said, in listing each board member’s preference, that there was a virtual tie between Chief Construction and BD Construction.

“Chief received more first-place votes,” Peterson said.

The board unanimously approved entering into negotiations with Chief Construction for the agriculture and industrial technology building addition project.

In the design-build format, if a contract cannot be negotiated with Chief Construction, the board would then begin negotiations with its second choice, BD Construction. CTS Construction was ranked third by the board, followed by Beckenhauer Construction.

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

(Posted 7:30 p.m. May 16)

The University of Nebraska at Kearney announced students who earned a place on the Dean’s List for the spring 2018 semester.

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

Area students named to the Dean’s List were:

 

Ainsworth

Hailey McBride, Hayley Murphy, Miranda Raymond, Cidnee Scholtes, Seth Taylor and Zachary Welch.

 

Long Pine

Vanessa Taylor

 

Bassett

Bailey DeVall and Aaron Sybrant

 

Newport

Braydon Caldwell

 

Stuart

Brittany Hanzlik, Kelsey Kaup and Hailey Paxton

 

Atkinson

Megan Bilstein and Chase Harrison

 

Brewster

Leah Pickering

 

Wood Lake

Makayla Hogenson, Brittney O’Kief and Britley Schlueter

 

Valentine

Madison Kelber

* Gragert and Kube advance to November in 40th District race for Legislature

(Posted 7 a.m. May 16)

The race to replace Tyson Larsen as the 40th District state senator on the Nebraska Legislature came down to the wire Tuesday.

The top two of six candidates running in the non-partisan legislative race advance to the November General Election. Only 255 votes separated second from fifth in the race.

Timothy Gragert advanced to the General Election with 1,665 votes, which accounted for 20.39 percent of the 8,165 votes cast in the race. Joining him is Keith Kube, who picked up 1,585 votes. That was 99 votes better than third-place finisher Shane Greckel, who earned 1,486 votes. Thomas Ferry had 1,330 ballots cast for him, followed by Michael Sobotka with 1,149, and Julie Thomsen with 950.

Gragert and Kube advance to the General Election. The 40th District includes Rock County, which cast 90 votes for Kube Tuesday, the highest among the six candidates. Gragert finished sixth in Rock County with 39 votes.
U.S. Sen. Deb Fischer cruised Tuesday in her bid for re-election, capturing 75.8 percent of the Republican Party vote. Todd Watson was the highest finisher among her four challengers, finishing with 11.6 percent of the vote.

Fischer will face Jane Raybould in the General Election. Raybould won the Democratic Party nomination for U.S. Senate with 63.7 percent of the vote. Chris Janicek received 20 percent of the party’s vote.

Third District Rep. Adrian Smith had no trouble securing the Republican Party nomination for another term in the House of Representatives. Smith picked up 65.7 percent of the Republican vote Tuesday, with Kirk Penner leading three challengers with 26 percent of the vote.

Smith will face Democrat Paul Theobold in the General Election, as Theobold ran unopposed Tuesday.

Kara Eastman edged former Congressman Brad Ashford in the Democratic Party Primary for the U.S. House of Representatives 2nd District seat. Eastman scored 51.4 percent of the vote to 48.5 percent for Ashford. Eastman advances to face incumbent Republican Don Bacon, who ran unopposed Tuesday in the Republican Primary.

Incumbent Republican Jeff Fortenberry will face Democratic challenger Jessica McClure in the District 1 House race in November. McClure scored 66 percent of the Democratic Party vote to defeat Dennis Crawford Tuesday.

Gov. Pete Ricketts earned 81.4 percent of the Republican Party vote in his bid for a second term Tuesday. Challenger Krystal Gabel received 18.6 percent. Ricketts will face former State Sen. Bob Krist in November, as Krist won the Democratic Party nomination with 60 percent of the vote. Vanessa Gayle Ward finished with 28.6 percent of the vote and Tyler Davis 11.3 percent.

John Murante defeated Taylor Royal in the Republican Party race to replace retiring State Treasurer Don Stenberg. Murante received 56.5 percent of the vote compared to 43.5 percent for Royal. Murante does not face a challenge from a Democrat in November.

Bob Evnen secured 58.4 percent of the Republican vote Tuesday in his bid to replace retiring Secretary of State John Gale. Debra Perrell received 41.6 percent of the Republican vote. Evnen advances to face Democrat Spencer Danner in November, who ran unopposed Tuesday.
Incumbent Republican Doug Peterson and Democrat Evangelos Argyrakis both ran unopposed Tuesday and will meet in November to see who becomes the state’s attorney general.

Incumbent Republican Charlie Janssen and Democrat Jane Skinner ran unopposed Tuesday and will square off in November in the race for Nebraska’s Auditor of Public Accounts.

John Vogel and Forrest Peetz advance to the General Election in the Upper Elkhorn Natural Resources District sub-district 2 race. Vogel received 39.5 percent of the vote and Peetz picked up 37.2 percent of the vote. James Hedstrom finished third in the race. Rock County voters sided with Vogel, throwing 201 votes his way compared to 88 for Peetz and 45 for Hedstrom.

Linda Hoffman and Paul Allen advance to the General Election in the Lower Niobrara NRD sub-district 3 race. Hoffman had 48.2 percent of the vote to 41.3 percent for Allen. Lana Bell earned 10.5 percent of the vote and does not advance.

Keya Paha County voters gave Allen the nod Tuesday with 49 votes to 43 for Hoffman and 18 for Bell. Rock County also had a few voters in the Lower Niobrara NRD sub-district 3 boundary, with Hoffman receiving eight votes, Allen seven and Bell six.

Statewide, 24.27 percent of Nebraskans voted Tuesday, with 291,197 ballots cast from among the 1.19 million registered voters.

* Bauer and Wiebelhaus elected to Brown County Commissioner seats

(Posted 9:45 p.m. May 15)

Brown County
Nine votes separated second and third place for the two spots up for grabs Tuesday in the Republican Party Primary race for Brown County Commissioner.

Dennis Bauer led the eight-way race Tuesday, receiving 349 votes. Incumbent Reagan Wiebelhaus received 250 votes to take the second commissioner seat. Iree McNally fell nine votes shy at 241 Tuesday, followed closely by Cherie Priest with 230 votes. Incumbent Les Waits finished fifth in the race with 163 votes, one ahead of Jim Walz. Mark Johnson picked up 155 votes among Brown County Republicans, and Marvin Schenk finished with 80 votes.

Bauer and Wiebelhaus advance to the November General Election, where they will not face any Democratic Party nominees.

In the other main local race contested Tuesday, Cody Goochey and Jeremiah Sullivan advance to November in the non-partisan race for the mayor of Ainsworth.

Goochey received 196 votes Tuesday, with Sullivan picking up 193 votes. Both advance to November. John Mead earned 50 votes for mayor, and there were 13 write-in votes.

A total of 967 ballots were cast in Brown County Tuesday, representing 45.31 percent of the 2,134 registered voters. There were 869 ballots cast by Republicans, 66 by Democrats, three by members of the Libertarian Party and 29 non-partisan ballots.

Brown County Republicans favored incumbent Sen. Deb Fischer in her re-election bid, sending 624 votes her way compared to 114 for closest challenger Todd Watson. Jane Raybould was the leading Senate vote-getter among Democrats with 31. Chris Janicek received 15.

Incumbent Adrian Smith was also an overwhelming favorite among Brown County Republicans in his bid for another term in the U.S. House of Representatives. Smith received 588 votes Tuesday to 139 for nearest challenger Kirk Penner.

Gov. Pete Ricketts picked up 671 votes from Brown County Republicans, compared to 152 for challenger Krystal Gabel. Bob Krist was the top vote-getter among Democrats in Brown County with 26. Vanessa Gayle Ward received 19, and Tyler Davis 16.

Brown County Republicans favored Debra Perrell over Bob Evnen by a 337 to 309 margin in the race to replace retiring Secretary of State John Gale.

John Murante scored 395 Republican votes to 294 for Taylor Royal in Brown County in the race to replace retiring State Treasurer Don Stenberg.

 

Rock County

Jim Stout and Glen May were the top vote-getters Tuesday in the Republican Party race for Rock County Commissioner.

Stout, the lone incumbent in the race, led the way with 259 votes. May picked up 187 votes, which was 38 ahead of third-place finisher Cliff Heyden. TJ Ellermeier finished in fourth in the seven-strong Republican race with 143 votes, followed by Duane Pfister with 51, JW Ogier with 46, and 36 for write-in candidate Jeff Maloun.

Stout and May advance to the November General Election, where they will not face any Democratic Party opposition for the two commissioner seats.

Rock County had 52.27 percent of its registered voters cast ballots for the Primary, with 529 ballots cast from among 1,012 registered voters.

By a one-vote margin, Rock County voters sided with Keith Kube in the race to replace Tyson Larsen as the 40th District State Senator. Kube received 90 votes in Rock County, with Michael Sobotka picking up 89 votes and Julie Thomsen 81 votes. Shane Greckel received 68 votes for Legislature in the six-candidate race, with Thomas Ferry earning 46 votes and Timothy Gragert 39 votes.

Deb Fischer had strong support among Rock County Republicans in her bid for re-election to the U.S. Senate. Fischer received 356 votes. Her nearest Republican challenger, Todd Watson, earned 41.

Jane Raybould earned 17 votes to lead the county among Democrats. Frank Svoboda picked up nine votes in the Democratic U.S. Senate race.

Incumbent Adrian Smith led all Republicans in the race for the 3rd District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. Smith earned 339 votes in Rock County. Kirk Penner was the closest challenger with 55 Republican votes.

Gov. Pete Ricketts received 394 votes from Rock County Republicans, with challenger Krystal Gabel picking up 59 votes.

Bob Krist led Democrats in Rock County with 16 votes, compared to 11 for Tyler Davis.

It was a close vote for Secretary of State on the Republican side in Rock County. In the race to replace the retiring John Gale, Bob Evnen received 176 votes and Debra Perrell picked up 152. Democrat Spencer Danner earned 29 Rock County votes.

John Murante was the favorite for Rock County Republicans in the race to replace retiring State Treasurer Don Stenberg. Murante picked up 203 votes to 149 for Taylor Royal.

Rock County voters sided with John Vogel in the Upper Elkhorn Natural Resources District sub-district 2 race with 201 votes. Forrest Peetz received 88 votes, and James Hedstrom 45.

 

Keya Paha County

In the main contested local race in Keya Paha County, Republican incumbent Bruce Ritterbush held off a challenge from Bryan Kienke for another term on the Board of Commissioners representing the East District.

Ritterbush received 48 votes, to 27 for Kienke.

Keya Paha County Republicans gave Sen. Deb Fischer their support for re-election with 128 votes compared to 20 for closest challenger Todd Watson. Frank Svoboda received five votes to lead Democrats from the 12 total cast Tuesday.

Incumbent Adrian Smith scored 119 votes from Keya Paha County Republicans in his re-election bid to the U.S. House of Representatives. The nearest Republican challenger was Kirk Penner at 35 votes.

Gov. Pete Ricketts earned 142 votes in his bid for another term in office compared to 26 for challenger Krystal Gabel. Bob Krist led Democrats by a 5-4 margin over Tyler Davis.

In the Republican race to replace Secretary of State John Gale, Bob Evnen received 79 Keya Paha County votes compared to 48 for Debra Perrell.

John Murante earned 81 votes to 55 for Taylor Royal in the Keya Paha County Republican Party race to replace retiring State Treasurer Don Stenberg.

In the Lower Niobrara Natural Resources District sub-district 3 race, Paul Allen received 49 votes in Keya Paha County compared to 43 for Linda Hoffman and 18 for Lana Bell.

Only 29.46 percent of Keya Paha County registered voters cast ballots Tuesday, with 188 of the 638 registered voters casting a ballot in the Primary.

* Allen accepted into Wayne State RHOP program

(Posted 1 p.m. May 15)

Payton Allen of Ainsworth has been accepted into the Rural Health Opportunities Program at Wayne State College. 
Allen will study nursing at Wayne State College prior to transferring to the University of Nebraska Medical Center at Omaha. Under the RHOP program, Allen receives a full tuition scholarship to Wayne State College and guaranteed pre-admission to UNMC upon successful completion of the prescribed course work at Wayne State.
RHOP is a cooperative effort between Wayne State and UNMC. A shortage of rural health practitioners in Nebraska prompted the educational institutions to implement the RHOP program in 1989.

* Two new principals, 4 teachers hired by Board of Education Monday

(Posted 7 a.m. May 15)

Two new principals and four new teachers received contracts from the Ainsworth Community Schools Board of Education Monday, and all staff openings have now been filled.

Steven Dike was hired to replace the retiring Bill Lentz as the school’s secondary principal for grades seven through 12.

Superintendent Darrell Peterson said Dike has been a principal in Kansas for the past 19 years, but is originally from the Anselmo-Merna area and taught in Nebraska before becoming a principal in Kansas.

Curtis Childers received a contract as the school’s elementary principal for kindergarten through sixth-grade students.

Peterson said Childers has been teaching at O’Neill Public Schools, and recently completed his administrative degree through Doane College.

In addition to the two principals, the board offered contracts to four teachers for the 2018-19 year.

Three of those teachers fill openings left by the retirements of Linda Alberts, Sue Wragge and Jeff Carr.

Reagan Fairhead of Ainsworth was offered a contract for an elementary teaching position. Fairhead taught in Keya Paha County Public Schools this year. Peterson said she would be assigned to third grade, as current third-grade teacher Lori Pollock has opted to move to the kindergarten classroom to replace Wragge.

Roberta Denny of Ainsworth received a contract to teach English, filling the position from Carr’s retirement.

“English teachers are not easy to find,” Peterson said. “We were fortunate to have someone here in the community.”

Peterson said Denny has previous teaching experience in the Chambers Public School system, and has assisted Ainsworth Community Schools in the past with some extra-curricular activities.

Samuel Aldridge of Lincoln, a recent graduate of Nebraska Wesleyan University, received board approval to fill a social studies position. The superintendent said Aldridge would also help with coaching duties.

Amanda Evans will also move from Little Paws Preschool into a fifth-grade classroom for the 2018-19 year, as Central Nebraska Community Services will again employ the Little Paws Preschool teacher as opposed to Ainsworth Community Schools.

In addition to the three full-time teachers, the board offered a half-time contract to Mitzi Randall of Ainsworth to serve as an English Language Learner instructor for the district.

Peterson said Randall has an endorsement for ELL, and has teaching experience with ELL students in Kansas.

Elementary Principal Mike Wentz said the district currently has eight ELL students, with the potential for two additional ELL students to enroll in August.

In other items Monday, the board approved bids to replace the seating and carpeting in the Learning Center.

Davis Seating of Wisconsin provided a bid of $44,600 to place 319 new chairs in the Learning Center. Peterson said Davis Seating quoted a price of $140 per seat, which included shipping and installation. The other bid the school received was for $159 per chair and did not include shipping or installation.

“These are middle of the road seats,” the superintendent said. “They are not fancy, but they are not the cheapest.”

Peterson said the Learning Center currently has about 300 seats, and the new seats do have a padded seat and backing.

The board also approved a bid of $19,074 from Phipps Commercial Flooring of Wayne to place new carpet in the Learning Center. Peterson said district staff plan to handle the removal of the current carpet prior to installation, and students already assisted with the removal of some of the Learning Center chairs during the recent Community Betterment Day.

The board viewed a slide show of photos taken during the Community Betterment Day, where students left the classroom and assisted with projects throughout the county.

From cleaning Main Street and a nature trail in Long Pine, to the Ainsworth Golf Course and Brown County Fairgrounds, and projects at the school, theater, care center and parks, Activities Director Jared Hansmeyer said there were 2,084 total man-hours put in by the students.

“All the kids seemed to enjoy it,” Hansmeyer said. “We would like to turn this into an annual event.”

Activities Director Scott Steinhauser said organizers underestimated how quickly the students would complete the projects that were identified, and organizers scrambled to find the students additional projects to fill out the day.

The board approved a contract with Lunchtime Solutions to continue to serve as the district’s food service provider for the next five years.

Peterson said Lunchtime Solutions has served as the district’s meal provider for the past 15 years. The district also received a proposal from Thrive Nutrition Services. He said Lunchtime Solutions has contracts with several schools in this area, while Thrive serves a couple school districts in southern Nebraska.

Peterson said a committee reviewed the two proposals and recommended the board approve the contract with Lunchtime Solutions.

He said federal guidelines will require the district to increase lunch prices by 10 cents per meal and breakfast prices by 5 cents per meal for the 2018-19 year.

The superintendent reported breakfast and lunch participation remain strong for the current year, with the district experiencing a profit of $14,536 for the year. He thanked those who donated beef and money for processing for the school’s local beef program. The school received beef donations from Al and Lois Steuter, the Beel Brothers Ranch, Bejot Feed Lot, and the Williams and Williams Ranch, and monetary donations from the Brown County Farm Bureau, the Ainsworth Lions Club, and Brian and Sarah Williams.

Peterson reported the elementary and middle school qualified for the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program for the 2018-19 year. Fresh fruits and vegetables will be given to students two to three times each week.

Middle school students presented their qualifying National History Day Contest pieces to the board. Savannah Holmes gave her presentation on “Conflict of Conscience: World War II Conscientious Objectors and Mental Health Care.”

Katherine Kerrigan, Taylor Allen, Karli Kral, Nathan Bryant and Airyan Goochey gave their performance of “The Orphan Trains: A Life Changing Compromise.”

The board approved $150 for each student to cover the cost of the registration to the National History Day Contest in Maryland with advisor Nichole Flynn.

The board also provided $150 for each of the three students who qualified to attend the Destination Imagination Global Finals in Tennessee with advisor Kim Bejot.

In a final action item Monday, the board approved an option enrollment request from Heidi Snyder to allow her kindergarten and fourth-grade students to attend Keya Paha County Public Schools.

The Board of Education has a special meeting scheduled for 10 a.m. Tuesday to interview potential builders for the agricultural and industrial technology building addition. There are four potential builders who will be interviewed, with each receiving an hour with the board to present their proposals.

The next regular meeting of the Ainsworth Community Schools Board of Education is scheduled for 8 p.m. June 11.

* Agenda for Tuesday Brown County Commissioner meeting

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

Brown County Commissioner agenda
Meeting 5:15 p.m. May 15
Brown County Courthouse
 

05:15 - 05:20             Roll Call

 

05:20                          Brown County Assessor – GIS Workshop Contract Renewals

 

                                    Brown County Highway Superintendent Kenneth Turpin -Update on Road department issues

 

                                    Review Brown County Road Department Job Performance evaluations

 

05:30                          Scotty Clark – Permission to use Courthouse Park for Family Fun Day hosted by Evangelical Free Church, June 3, 2018

 

                                    Appoint two Brown County Representatives to the Ainsworth/Brown County Care Center Inter local Board

 

05:35                          Jim and Nancy Carly RE: Posting of speed limit through Hidden Paradise

 

06:00                          Dave Boschult with Nebraska Department of Ag – Noxious Weed Division annual update

 

                                    Region 24 Fiscal Year 2018-2019 Budget

 

                                    Money for minutes – Nebraska Intergovernmental Risk Management Association (NIRMA) Program

 

                                    Choose an AFLAC value added service for enrollees

 

                                    Sign renewal letter with Madison National Insurance LTD

 

                                    Sign Nebraska Association of County Officials (NACO) Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) Subgroup Application for 2018-2019 plan year

 

                                    FSA Annual Limit Increase to $2650

 

                                    App Café Highly Compensated Questionnaire

 

                                    App Café Key Employees Questionnaire

 

                                    Designate road to Craig Smith ranch a County road

* Care Center Board approves 5 percent private-pay rate increase effective Aug. 1

(Posted 5:30 p.m. May 14)

Based upon a recommendation from its management company to match private pay rates to what the facility receives from Medicaid, the Sandhills Care Center Board Monday approved a 5 percent increase to the cost charged to residents paying privately.

Walt Dye with Rural Health Development, the company hired to manage the facility, said the average paid by private pay residents is currently $209 per day. He said that figure needs to be around $220 per day to match the Medicaid reimbursement rate.

“We are proposing a 5 percent increase to the private pay rate so it equals the Medicaid reimbursement rate,” Dye said. “Our costs to operate the facility will continue to go up, so we need to be able to make up for that somewhere.”

Dye said current private pay residents are given 60-day notice prior to the rate change, so the change would become effective Aug. 1.

The board unanimously approved the 5 percent rate increase.

In other items, the board opted to continue using the Lyons payroll service, as employees are able to utilize the company’s group plan for health insurance.

Administrator Stephanie Rucker told the board she researched other options for employee medical insurance.

“Olson quoted us, and their vision, dental and life insurance were competitive,” Rucker said. “However, the medical insurance side would have been a 68 percent increase in premiums the employees would pay compared to what they pay through the Lyons plan. I don’t think we can afford to get rid of Lyons because of that difference.”

She said she can’t afford to lose employees, who she feared would look for employment elsewhere if they were forced to pay that level of additional premium for health insurance coverage.

While the facility pays Lyons about $1,950 per month to handle the care center’s payroll, the additional cost out of pocket for the employees if the center went away from the company would be between $8,000 and $9,000 per month.

Board chairman Phil Fuchs said it was never the board’s intent to make employees pay more in premiums.

“The way I see it, we are stuck with this until something else better comes along,” Fuchs said.

The board had Rucker research alternatives for employee health insurance coverage in an effort to potentially save the $1,950 monthly charge for Lyons to handle the facility’s payroll.

Rucker reported the Sandhills Care Center currently has 17 residents – eight private pay, eight receiving Medicaid assistance and one through Medicare.

She said the facility admitted one new resident in April, and had one resident pass away.

The care center generated $103,901 of income during April, with expenses of $130,386 for an operating loss of $26,484 for the month.

Rucker said, after meeting with families, the facility has the potential for two new admissions in the next couple weeks.

The board approved paying claims and using a $24,000 loan from a $70,000 line of credit to cover the monthly costs. Fuchs said the board has $23,000 remaining from the line of credit to help cover costs in June before additional funding from the county becomes available.

The line of credit was issued to the facility using approximately $70,000 in Medicaid reimbursement that is due to be received in the summer.

Rucker said she continues to have no success in finding a maintenance person for the facility. She said she has received no applications, and would even settle for someone on a part-time basis at this point.

She also reported the facility was in need of an additional five window air-conditioning and heating units. The board purchased five window units in May 2017, with the understanding the facility would likely need five more at some point.

The cost to purchase the window units in 2017 was $680 per unit. The board gave Rucker the go-ahead to have five additional window units installed.

Rucker provided the board with a quote of $645 to remove tree stumps at the facility, with an additional $100 charge to clean up the debris from grinding the stumps. The board opted to hold off on removing the stumps, and instead directed Rucker to have the sprinkler system tested for the summer and make any repairs if necessary to get the system running.

The board also instructed the administrator to have a company fertilize the care center lawn and spray for weeds.

The next meeting of the Sandhills Care Center Board is scheduled for June 11.

* Area athletes selected to play in Northeast All-Star Basketball games

(Posted 7:30 a.m. May 14)

Some of the finest high school basketball players in the region will take to the hardwood next month in Norfolk.

Northeast Community College will host the 35th annual Northeast Nebraska All-Star Basketball Games in the Cox Activities Center on Friday, June 15. The girls’ game will tip-off at 6 p.m., with the boys’ game to follow at 8 p.m.

Members of the Girls’ Dark Team include: Jadyn Bussinger and Caitlin Orton both of North Central; Bailey Kraus of West Holt; Kylie Hammer, Wayne; Brittney Hinkel, West Point-Beemer; Bri Hingst, Allen; Caitlin Kumm, Osmond; Jordan Peitz, Norfolk Catholic; Anna Reifenrath, Hartington Cedar Catholic; and Allie Rosener, Hartington-Newcastle.

Coaches are Marcus Messersmith of Hartington-Newcastle, and Alex McCleary of North Central.

Members of the Girls’ Light Team include: Vicki Gatzemeyer, Bancroft-Rosalie Lyons-Decatur Northeast; Lexis Haase, Guardian Angels Central Catholic; Hannah Heppner, Stanton; Kortni Kasik, Lutheran High Northeast; Macey Kulhanek, Howells-Dodge; Kyla Moore, Norfolk; Shailece Porter, Omaha Nation; Taylor Stoltz, Norfolk; Carly Sutherland, Pierce; and Sidney Zimmerer, Pierce.

Coaches are Jared Oswald, Norfolk, and Brad Vogt, Omaha Nation.

Members of the Boys’ Light Team include: Bryce Kerkman and Mason Hale of West Holt; Justin Appleby and Alex Thramer of O’Neill; Blake Freudenburg and Ty Pape of Lutheran High Northeast; Dylan Gentrup and Jesse Sullivan of Boone Central/Newman Grove;  and Matt Hagedorn and Zack James. 

Coaches are Darin Suckstorf, Lutheran High Northeast, and Todd Hale, West Holt.

Members of the Boys’ Dark Team include MaNaPe Cleveland, Winnebago; Connor Day, Ponca; Logan Kingsbury, Ponca; Stone Kraft, Battle Creek; Alex Kumm, Osmond; D’Von LaPointe, Winnebago; Mason Lee, Wayne; Max Masin, Ponca; Ben Moxness, Logan View/Scribner-Snyder; and JaShaun Vyborny, Winside.

Coaches are Adam Poulosky, Ponca, and Tom Meyer, Winside.

* Polls open at 8 a.m. Tuesday for Primary Election

(Posted 7 a.m. May 14)

Polls open at 8 a.m. Tuesday for the 2018 Nebraska Primary Election, and remain open until 8 p.m.

Voters in Brown, Rock and Keya Paha County will have a few choices to make on Tuesday, including heavily contested county commissioner races in Brown and Rock counties on the Republican side.

In Brown County, incumbents Les Waits and Reagan Wiebelhaus will try and retain their board seats against six challengers in the Republican Primary.

Iree McNally, Dennis Bauer, Jim Walz, Cherie Priest, Mark Johnson and Marvin Schenk have filed to unseat Waits and Wiebelhaus in the Republican Primary. No one filed for commissioner from the Democratic Party, so the two board seats will be determined May 15.

Jeremiah Sullivan, John Mead and Cody Goochey filed to become the next mayor of Ainsworth. Current Mayor Larry Rice did not file for re-election. Two of the three between Sullivan, Mead and Goochey will advance to the General Election in the non-partisan mayoral race. All residents inside the Ainsworth city limits will see that race on their ballot.

Doug Pankowski, Robert Maxwell and William Lentz filed for terms on the Ainsworth Airport Authority.

In Rock County, seven candidates from the Republican Party are running for two seats on the Board of Commissioners. Jimmy Stout filed for re-election, and will be challenged by newcomers Glen May, Duane Pfister, TJ Ellermeier, Cliff Heyden, Jeff Maloun and JW Ogier.

In Keya Paha County, incumbent Bruce Ritterbush is being challenged for the Keya Paha County East District Commissioner seat by Bryan Kienke in the Republican Primary.

There are also several state and federal races that will appear on Tuesday’s Primary ballot, both on the Republican and Democratic side.

Numerous candidates filed for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Republican Deb Fischer of Valentine.

Fischer will face Jack Heidel of Omaha, Dennis Frank Macek of Lincoln, Jeffrey Lynn Stein of Omaha and Todd Watson of Lincoln in the Republican Party Primary.

The winner of that five-person Republican Primary will advance to November to face the winner of a four-way race on the Democratic ticket between Jane Raybould of Lincoln, Frank Svoboda of Lincoln, Larry Marvin of Fremont and Chris Janicek of Omaha.

Jim Schultz of Lincoln and Mark Elworth Jr. filed for U.S. Senate from the Libertarian Party.

Current 3rd District Rep. Adrian Smith of Gering will also face a challenge in the Republican Primary and in the General Election in his bid for another term in the House of Representatives.

Kirk Penner of Aurora, Larry Lee Scott Bolinger of Alliance and Arron Kowalski of Grand Island are challenging Smith in the Republican Primary, and the winner of that race will face Democrat Paul Theobald of Osmond in the General Election. Theobald is the lone Democrat in the 3rd District House race.

Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts of Omaha is being challenged by fellow Republican Krystal Gabel of Omaha in the Primary Election. The winner of that race May 15 will take on whoever emerges from a three-way race in the Democratic Party Primary between Vanessa Gayle Ward of Omaha, Tyler Davis of Omaha, and Bob Krist of Omaha.

With current Secretary of State John Gale retiring, two Republicans and one Democrat have filed to be his replacement. Bob Evnen of Lincoln and Debra Perrell of Hershey will square off in the Republican Party Primary, with the winner meeting lone Democratic candidate Spencer Danner of Omaha in the November General Election.

State Treasurer Don Stenberg did not file for another term. Republicans John Murante of Gretna and Taylor Royal of Omaha will face off Tuesday to see who becomes the next state treasurer. The Democratic Party did not field a candidate in that race.

Republican Doug Peterson of Waterloo is seeking another term as the state’s attorney general. He does not face an opponent May 15, but will go up against Democrat Evangelos Argyrakis of Omaha in the General Election.

Republican Charlie Janssen is running for another term as the state auditor of public accounts. He will advance to November against the lone Democrat, Jane Skinner of Omaha.

For Rock County voters, six candidates are vying for the 40th District seat on the Nebraska Legislature. Current State Sen. Tyson Larson cannot seek another four years due to term limits.

Filing for the 40th District seat are Keith Kube of Crofton, Shane Greckel of Bloomfield, Timothy Gragert of Creighton, Thomas Ferry of Ponca, Michael Sobotka of Inman and Julie Thomsen of Wakefield. The top two vote-getters May 15 advance to the November General Election.

* Ainsworth Power Lifting team finishes third at Orchard competition

(Posted 6:45 a.m. May 14)

The Ainsworth Power Lifting team finished third in a competition at Orchard over the weekend.

Conner Jackman finished first in his weight class, recording a 440-pound deadlift, benching 292 pounds and squatting 407 pounds.

Sloan Raymond also won his weight class, with a deadlift of 315 pounds, a bench press of 236 pounds, and a squat of 347 pounds.

Oren Pozehl placed third in his weight class, deadlifting 336 pounds, benching 215 pounds, and squatting 225 pounds.

* Sheriff's Department will issue notices to abate nuisance ordinance violations

(Posted 7 a.m. May 10)

The Ainsworth City Council discussed the abatement procedure for properties in the community that have been identified as violating the city’s nuisance ordinance.

Brown County Sheriff Bruce Papstein told the council Wednesday he has nine or 10 of the violation forms filled out and ready to deliver to property owners, and plans to gather evidence on another five properties identified as possibly violating the city’s nuisance code.

“The ordinance says we are to determine the ownership and legal description of the property,” Papstein said. “We will have to mail notices to those who are out of state.”

Papstein told the council he must include a deadline for abating the nuisance when the forms are sent.

“Some of these will be a big job to clean up,” the sheriff said.

Councilwoman Deb Hurless said the properties identified have already been through the nuisance abatement process.

“Give them the five or 10 days required after they sign for the certified mail,” Hurless said.

City Administrator Lisa Schroedl said, if the property owner does not believe they can clean up the violation in time, they can request a hearing with the council.

Papstein said he hoped to have all of the notices served to property owners within the next week.

In other business Wednesday, the council approved a recommendation from its consultant selection committee to negotiate a contract with Olsson Associates to serve as the city’s engineering firm for its upcoming wastewater improvement projects.

Schroedl said the city is working on a funding application with the USDA for the projects, and one of the requirements of the application is having an engineering firm selected.

“We put out a request for proposals, and received proposals from JEO Engineering, Miller and Associates, and Olsson Associates,” the city administrator said. “We have worked with all three of these companies.”
She said the committee scored the three proposals and recommended the council negotiate a contract with Olsson Associates because it scored the highest.

“No dollar figures were included on the proposals, so now we negotiate,” Schroedl said. “If we can’t agree to a contract with Olsson, then we go back and negotiate with another firm.”

The council approved a request from the Ainsworth Evangelical Free Church to allow the church to utilize the courthouse park for its upcoming family fun concert Sunday, June 3.

Evangelical Free Church Associate Pastor Scotty Clark said the fourth annual family fun concert will be fairly similar to the first three.

“Using the Courthouse Park has worked well,” Clark said. “Everything is free to attend.”

He asked if the city would be willing to again provide a dumpster and trash cans for the event, which the council agreed it would provide.

Mayor Larry Rice reported numerous railroad ties placed around playground equipment at East City Park have started leaking creosote.

“The creosote gets onto the kids’ shoes, then onto the slides,” Rice said. “It is a mess.”
The mayor said the city removed 25 railroad ties that are treated with creosote, and the park board would find an alternative for edging around the playground equipment.

Schroedl reported the city hired Paul Carpenter as its street sweeper operator. She said Carpenter would be tasked with sweeping the city’s streets between four and six times each year, and as needed during events.

She also told the council she and Councilman Chuck Osborn met with representatives from the Nebraska Department of Transportation regarding an upcoming renovation of Highway 20 in Ainsworth.

She said the Department of Transportation initially indicated the city would have to pay for the replacement of all lighting structures, which could amount to more than $250,000.

However, Osborn said the DOT later agreed that it would replace the lighting.

Osborn said, “There will be a sidewalk on the south side of the highway all the way. On the north side it will stop at Remington Arms.”

Osborn said the Department of Transportation planned to let bids for the project in the fall of 2019, with work to begin in the spring of 2020. He said the project could take two years to complete, and some of the current access points from the highway into some businesses could be altered. He said there would be a truck turning lane installed at the Wilson Street intersection on the west side of town, and the Meadville Avenue intersection would be widened to accommodate truck traffic.

The consent agenda approved Wednesday included special designated liquor license requests for the Silver Circle and the Ainsworth Elks for events scheduled June 30 and July 21 respectively.

The next meeting of the Ainsworth City Council is scheduled for 5 p.m. June 13.

* RC&D collects electronics and household hazardous waste at O'Neill

(Posted 12:30 p.m. May 8)

The North Central RC&D held its second electronics and first household hazardous waste collection recently at O’Neill.

A total of 4,080 pounds of electronics and 9,033 pounds of household hazardous waste were collected.

In total, more than 6.5 tons of waste was diverted from the local landfill. The electronics will be recycled and the household hazardous waste will be disposed of properly. 

RC&D member Lynn Sobotka handled the electronics collection and transport to Grand Island. Red Willow County Hazardous Waste handled the household hazardous waste. Sixteen communities were represented during the course of the collection.

“This event was a great success,” RC&D Council President Mike Burge said. “Our members in the six counties asked for assistance with recycling. We are bringing it and community members are responding. Our second year of actively hosting collections is starting strong. Northeast RC&D included us in a grant they received for the household hazardous waste collection. The opportunity to partner with them was a significant benefit. It is cost prohibitive to offer a collection like this. We appreciate their invitation.”

The household hazardous waste collection was made possible by the communities of O’Neill and Atkinson, North Central and Northeast RC&Ds and the Nebraska Environmental Trust.

Springview, Ainsworth and Valentine are next on the calendar with a second electronics collection planned for June 1. Springview’s collection that day runs from 9 until 11 a.m., followed by 12:30 until 2:30 p.m. in Ainsworth and in Valentine from 4 until 6:30 p.m.

* Area students scheduled to graduate from NECC May 12

(Posted 3:45 p.m. May 7)

The 45th Commencement of Northeast Community College will take place at 10 a.m. Saturday,
May 12, in the Cox Activities Center on the Norfolk campus.

Some 894 students earned 980 degrees; 37 students earned two degrees, 21 earned three degrees, one earned four degrees, and one earned five degrees.

Area students slated to graduate include:

Associate of Arts Degree

Ainsworth - Lane Clapper, Ana Garcia, Heather Painter, Shayden Platt, Ashley Titus

Stuart - Tessa Fox, Brooke Jarman, Monique Schafer

Atkinson - Sarah Hamik

 

Associate Degree in Nursing

Bassett - Hollie Morton, Kelsey Venenga

Springview - Sophia Sawle

 

Associate of Science Degree

Ainsworth - Melissa Franklin, Amanda Pike

 

Associate of Applied Science Degree in Agriculture

Stuart - Jacob Pacha

 

Associate of Applied Science Degree in Agriculture – Diversified Agriculture

Stuart - Grant Wallinger

 

Associate of Applied Science Degree in Banking Services

Atkinson - Cheye Shaw

 

Associate of Applied Science Degree in Building Construction

Valentine - Nicholas Fisbeck

 

Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business

Atkinson - Lukas Laible

 

Associate of Applied Science Degree in Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning

Ainsworth - Cody Luther

 

Associate of Applied Science Degree in Horticulture and Golf Course Management

Ainsworth - Sydney Fling

 

Associate of Applied Science Degree in Physical Therapist Assistant

Stuart - Brandi Kaup

 

Associate of Applied Science Degree in Veterinary Technology

Springview - Makaleigh Nilson

 

Diploma in Practical Nursing

Atkinson  - Jason Seger

Dunning - Michaela Goedeke

 

Diploma in Welding

Bassett - Ty Jackson, Dalton Schmidt

 

Certificate in Media Production

Ainsworth - Brendon Carson

* Area agricultural land valuations mostly unchanged from 2017

(Posted 3:15 p.m. May 7)

The Nebraska Department of Revenue, Property Assessment Division, has processed the 2018 Real Property Abstracts of Assessment filed by the 93 Nebraska county assessors. The analysis indicates that real property valuations have increased 2.04 percent from 2017 to 2018, resulting in an increase in valuation of approximately $4.6 billion. The values of the primary classes of real property as shown on the attachment indicate the following changes for the state:

• Residential Property values with newly constructed property increased by 5.40 percent
• Commercial Property values with newly constructed property increased by 6.94 percent
• Agricultural land values decreased by 2.77 percent

This is the second straight year that agricultural land values statewide showed a decline, with 2017 down by 0.15 percent from 2016. That followed several years of steep increases in agricultural land values, including 22.82 percent in 2013, 29.12 percent in 2014 and 19.14 percent in 2015.

While agricultural land values in Brown County did not decline, values were virtually equal to 2017, up just six one-hundredths of 1 percent. With residential valuation rising by 4.69 percent and commercial property up by .82 percent, the county’s overall valuation increased by 0.88 percent.

Agricultural land value in Rock County was also virtually unchanged from 2017, with ag land declining by six one-hundredths of 1 percent. Rock County residential property increased in value by 5.14 percent, and commercial property value moved upward by 6.32 percent. Rock County’s total valuation for 2018 increased 0.91 percent.

Agriculture land value also declined minimally in Keya Paha County, down eight one-hundredths of 1 percent. Residential valuation in Keya Paha County did see a sharp increase, up 10.35 percent overall, with commercial property value increasing by 1.24 percent. Keya Paha County’s overall valuation of all classes of property increased by 0.90 percent.

Cherry County agricultural land, like Rock County and Keya Paha County, declined by a scant five one-hundredths of 1 percent. And, like Keya Paha County, residential valuation in Cherry County increased sharply, by 16.58 percent. Commercial property valuation in Cherry County was up by 1.01 percent, for an overall increase of 1.15 percent in property value from 2017.

Holt County equaled Brown County, with agricultural land coming in six one-hundredths of 1 percent higher than 2017.

Residential property valuation in Holt County increased by 0.76 percent, but new construction accounted for all of the increase. Commercial property increased by 10.06 percent, giving Holt County a total valuation increase of 0.35 percent for 2018.

Agricultural land in Boyd County declined by almost 1 percent for 2018. However, residential property in Boyd County jumped by 16.6 percent, and commercial property increased in value by 3.35 percent. Those increases offset the loss in value for agricultural land and gave Boyd County an overall 0.52 percent increase in valuation.

The real property value percentage change by property type is based on the total real property reported in each county. The real property value of individual property in each county may not be affected by the same percentage change.
Real property valuations are set by the county assessors and are subject to review during the statewide equalization proceedings before the Tax Equalization and Review Commission.

Assessors set the valuation for property based on three years of sales data in each property classification.

Real property valuation change notices will be mailed on or before June 1 to real property owners who had real property values that increased or decreased from 2017 to 2018.

* Area students receive NSAA Academic All-State Awards for spring activities

(Posted 9:30 p.m. May 6)

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 with Academic All-State Awards.

The NSAA and the NCPA recognized 2,128 Spring Academic All-State Award winners.

Area recipients include:

 

Ainsworth

Boys Golf - Samuel Wilkins

Music - Mackenzie Kovar and Claire Steinhauser

Boys Track & Field - Payton Allen and Jacob Sinsel

Girls Track & Field - Megan Appelt and Claire Steinhauser

 

Rock County

Boys Golf - Gunnar Bussinger

Music - Josie Kuchera and Caitlin Orton

Boys Track & Field - Kolton Needham and Byron Pfister

Girls Track & Field - Caitlin Orton

 

Keya Paha County

Girls Track & Field - Miah Wiebelhaus

 

Stuart

Music - Peyton Alder and Lainey Paxton

Boys Track & Field - Wade Paxton

Girls Track & Field - Reaghan Engel and Lainey Paxton

 

West Holt

Boys Golf - Devon Dohrman and Mason Hale

Music - Mason Hale and Lindee Wentworth

Boys Track & Field - Jordan Tasler and Payton Williams

Girls Track & Field - Bailey Kraus and Jenae Osborne

 

Sandhills

Boys Golf - Bryan Zutavern

Music - Johannah Christie and Dylan Lister-McIntyre

Boys Track & Field - Nolan Marten

Girls Track & Field - Elizabeth Peterson

 

Valentine

Boys Golf - Jordan Kelber and Dillion Muirhead

Music - Jacob Hanshew and Anna Perrett

Boys Track & Field - Lane McGinley and Kooper Reece

Girls Track & Field - Allison Hitchcock and Isabelle Salters

* April is colder than the norm in Ainsworth, slightly higher in moisture

(Posted 4 p.m. May 1)

Ainsworth Weather Observer Gerry Osborn reported April was well below average in temperature, and the 2.42 inches of moisture was slightly above the monthly average.
To hear the report, click on the audio link below.

audio clips/Gerry Osborn 5-2-18.mp3

* Traffic Accident

(Posted noon May 1)

The Brown County Sheriff’s Department investigated a two-vehicle accident that occurred Monday, April 30, in Ainsworth.
According to the sheriff’s department report, at 11:40 a.m. on Main Street south of the Highway 20 intersection, a collision occurred between a 2007 Mercury sedan, driven by Diane Mangelsen, 83, of Ainsworth, which was backing from a parking space, and a southbound 2010 Nissan Murano, driven by Linda Strand, 62, of Ainsworth.
No injuries were reported. Damage to the Mercury was estimated at $500. The Nissan sustained approximately $1,000 damage.

* Monday fire burns hay south of Johnstown

(Posted 8 a.m. May 1)

A Monday afternoon fire south of Johnstown drew the response of two area fire departments.

According to Ainsworth Fire Chief Brad Fiala, at 3 p.m. Monday, a fire was reported in a hay pit on the O’Hare Ranch 4 miles south of Johnstown on Moon Lake Avenue.

An ember from trash being burned nearby ignited ground hay in a pit. Ainsworth assisted the Johnstown Volunteer Fire Department in extinguishing the fire. Fiala said the property owners used a tractor to spread out the hay, and firefighters extinguished it.

The fire was contained to the pit. Fiala said the Ainsworth firefighters departed the scene at approximately 4:30 p.m., with the Johnstown firefighters remaining on scene to mop up remaining hot spots.

Fiala said Monday was the first fire call for the Ainsworth Volunteer Fire Department since March 30.

* Areas students scheduled to graduate Friday from UNK

(Posted 7 a.m. May 1)

Graduate and undergraduate degrees for 681 will be conferred at University of Nebraska at Kearney commencement exercises at 10 a.m. Friday.

Daniel J. Kritenbrink, U.S. Ambassador to the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, is the featured speaker. Kritenbrink is a UNK alum and career member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor. He has served as an American diplomat since 1994. He was confirmed by the U.S. Senate to be the next U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam on Oct. 26, 2017, and presented his credentials to President Trân Đai Quang on Nov. 6, 2017, becoming the seventh U.S. ambassador to the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

University of Nebraska Board of Regents Chair Robert Schafer will address the graduates. Degrees will be conferred by UNK Chancellor Douglas Kristensen.

Area students scheduled to graduate Friday from the University of Nebraska at Kearney include:

 

Ainsworth

Cidnee Scholtes - Bachelor of Science degree in psychobiology

Hayley Murphy - Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology

 

Bassett

Jamie Turpin – Bachelor of Arts degree in elementary education

 

Springview

Kristie Mundorf – Masters of Science degree in instructional technology – school librarian

 

Atkinson

Halli Chramosta – Education Specialist degree in school psychology

 

Valentine

Gavin Higgins – Bachelor of Science degree in sports management

Michaela Petersen – Bachelor of Science degree in business administration

* Agenda for Tuesday meeting of the Brown County Commissioners

(Posted 6:45 a.m. May 1)

Brown County Commissioners

Meeting 5:15 p.m. May 1
Courthouse meeting room

Agenda

 
The Brown County Board of Commissioners meet the first and third Tuesday of each month in the Commissioner's Room in the Courthouse, Ainsworth, NE at 5:15 P.M., except when stated otherwise, to conduct the business of the County the Board of Commissioners may discuss, consider and take all necessary action on the agenda items listed. Any agenda item may be moved down at any time at the discretion of the Board Chairman.  The Board reserves the right to adjourn into closed session as per Section 84-1410 of the Nebraska Revised Statutes.

 

           

APPOINTMENTS

 

05:15 - 05:20             Roll Call;

Acknowledge posting of Open Meetings Law;

Pledge of Allegiance;

Approve minutes of the April 3, 2018 Emergency meeting;

Approve minutes of the April 17, 2018 Commissioner meeting;

 

05:20                          Brown County Highway Superintendent Kenneth Turpin -Update on Road department issues

 

05:30                          Ruth Trobee – Johnstown Snow removal

 

05:45                          Austin Cook – Field Service technician with Road Builders Machinery

 

                                    Claim submitted by Lancaster County for Reimbursement of General Assistance in amount of $721.74

 

                                    Blue Cross Blue Shield 2018-2019 Subgroup Ins. Application renewal rates, set employee contribution & Cash In Lieu for 2018-2019 plan year.

                                   

06:00                          Scott Erthum – Weed Control Superintendent update

 

                                    Letter from Douglas J Peterson, Nebraska Attorney Generals Office: Re: Opioid crisis

                                                                                   

                                    Approve Claims

 

                                    Public Comment

* Brewer discusses Nebraska legislative session

(Posted 4 p.m. April 30)

Nebraska 43rd District State Sen. Tom Brewer discussed the bills passed, and those that failed, during the recently completed session of the Legislature.
Brewer focused on another year of failure by the legislative body to enact meaningful property tax reform, and the lack of enough state senators agreeing to tackle the issue through a special session.
To hear the full report, click on the audio links below.

audio clips/State Sen Tom Brewer 4-30-18 pt 1.mp3

audio clips/State Sen Tom Brewer 4-30-18 pt 2.mp3

* Kozisek named a UN-L Chancellor's Scholar for perfect 4.0 throughout college

(Posted 7 a.m. April 27)

Thirty-four University of Nebraska–Lincoln students will be recognized as Chancellor's Scholars during the undergraduate commencement ceremony May 5 in Pinnacle Bank Arena.
Among those earning Chancellor’s Scholar recognition is Conner Kozisek of Ainsworth, who is scheduled to graduate with a degree in political science and Spanish from the College of Arts and Sciences.
Chancellor's Scholars are students who graduated in December or who will receive their degrees in May and have maintained 4.0 grade-point averages on all collegiate work at Nebraska and elsewhere.

* Recent cases from Brown County Court

(Posted 2 p.m. April 26)

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

Skyra L. Schwab, age 19, of Willmar, Minn., charged with possession of marijuana less than 1 ounce, fined $300; also charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, $100; speeding 16-20 mph over the limit, $125.

Logan Lee Rozinka, 19, of Eveleth, Minn., possession of marijuana less than 1 ounce, $300; possession of drug paraphernalia, $100.

Taneesha Sue Dupree, 21, of Tower, Minn., possession of marijuana less than 1 ounce, $300; possession of drug paraphernalia, $100.

Corbin A. Heimness, 23, of Ramsey, Minn., speeding 11-15 mph over the limit, $75.

Zion M. Alston Oberg, 18, of New London, Minn., possession of marijuana less than 1 ounce, $300; possession of drug paraphernalia, $100.

Sherri R. Turner, 19, of Ainsworth, dogs running at large, $25.

Stephen A. Kent, 24, of Valentine, driving under suspension, $100.

Philip D. Medcalf, 71, of Ainsworth, careless driving, $100.

Mohamed M. Ayoub, 20, of Brookings, S.D., speeding 11-15 mph over the limit, $75.

Jason C. Lefthandbull, 40, of Lakewood, Colo., speeding 36 miles or more over the limit, $300.

Gordon F. Glade, 47, of Grand Island, speeding 11-15 mph over the limit, $75.

Elijah C. Kalambokidis, 21, of Ainsworth, manufacturing or altering identification, $500.

Francisco P. Ramos, 22, of Ainsworth, licensing a vehicle without liability insurance, $100; no operator’s license, $75.

Brandon J. Kirby, 25, of Sweet Home, Ore., unauthorized use of a propelled vehicle, sentenced to five days in jail with credit for five days served.

Baily J. Holt, 20, of Bassett, speeding 6-10 mph over the limit, $25.

Joseph R. Zoss, 23, of Denver, Colo., speeding 6-10 mph over the limit, $25.

David E. Sherman, 54, of Johnstown, speeding 6-10 mph over the limit, $25.

Tiffany E. Decker, 35, of East Bethel, Minn., speeding 6-10 mph over the limit, $25.

Darin A. Rogness, 28, of Astoria, S.D., speeding 6-10 mph over the limit, $25.

Gary L. Benson, 59, of Marquette, Kan., speeding 6-10 mph over the limit, $25.

Victoria S. Bixler, 20, of Bailey, Colo., speeding 6-10 mph over the limit, $25.

Andie L. Hanson, 18, of Valentine, speeding 6-10 mph over the limit, $25.

Jose A. Cano, 29, of Thornton, Colo., speeding 6-10 mph over the limit, $25.

Rex M. Trahan, 24, of Springview, speeding 6-10 mph over the limit, $25.

Loren L. Appleman, 63, of Johnstown, speeding 6-10 mph over the limit, $25.

Diane F. Burress, 63, of Merriman, speeding 11-15 mph over the limit, $75.

Bronc N. Temple, 18, of Ainsworth, first degree criminal trespassing, sentenced to six months of probation and ordered to pay $135 in restitution; also charged with criminal mischief less than $500, sentenced to six months of probation.

Rachel L. Fuchs, 25, of Commerce City, Colo., possession of marijuana less than 1 ounce, $300; possession of drug paraphernalia, $100; speeding 6-10 mph over the limit, $25.

David L. Kee, 47, of Winnebago, speeding 6-10 mph over the limit, $25.

Gregory E. Laroche, 28, of Kennebeck, S.D., attempt of a Class 3 felony, $1,000; possession of marijuana less than 1 ounce, $300; possession of drug paraphernalia, $100.

Cody J. Esler, 23, of Bemidji, Minn., possession of marijuana less than 1 ounce, $300; possession of drug paraphernalia, $100; speeding 11-15 mph over the limit, $75.

Hudson J. Vandrunen, 23, of Sioux Falls, S.D., attempt of a Class 4 felony, $1,000; possession of marijuana less than 1 ounce, $300; possession of drug paraphernalia, $100; speeding 6-10 mph over the limit, $25.

Nathan D. Christensen, 23, of Pipestone, Minn., attempt of a Class 4 felony, $1,000; possession of marijuana less than 1 ounce, $300; possession of drug paraphernalia, $100.

Angel M. Batista Hernandez, 53, of Albuquerque, N.M., speeding 16-20 mph over the limit, $125.

Hannah R. Titus, 30, 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.

Adam J. Mittelstaedt, 40, of Norfolk, no hunting permit, $150, and ordered to pay $1,000 in liquidation damage.

Valerie C. Howard, 39, of Altamont, S.D., accessory to a Class 4 felony, $1,000; possession of drug paraphernalia, $100.

Vernon Lee Schafer, 62, of Altamont, S.D., accessory to a Class 4 felony, $1,000; possession of drug paraphernalia, $100.

Wayne A. Howard, 46, of Altamont, S.D., two counts of attempting a Class 4 felony, fined $1,000 on each count; possession of drug paraphernalia, $100.

Alexander D. Withrow, 20, of Yankton, S.D., speeding 21-35 mph over the limit, $200.

Angel H. Hutton, 43, of Huron, S.D., attempt of a Class 4 felony, $1,000; possession of marijuana more than 1 ounce but less than 1 pound, $500; possession of drug paraphernalia, $100.

Kenneth E. Jefferis, 63, of Long Pine, possession of marijuana less than 1 ounce, $300.

Ryan P. Crane, 27, of Ainsworth, disturbing the peace, $100; first offense resisting arrest, $500.

Shi Ann James, 29, of Ainsworth, third-degree assault, sentenced to three days in jail with credit for three days served, and ordered to pay $2,119 in restitution.

David L. Collins, 78, of Ainsworth, no valid registration, $25.

Justin C. Reed, 33, of Long Pine, possession of drug paraphernalia, $100.

Echo M. Welton, 20, of Bassett, speeding 6-10 mph over the limit, $25.

Edward D. Osborn, 62, of Brighton, Colo., speeding 6-10 mph over the limit, $25.

Lee A. Kohle, 49, of Westminster, Colo., speeding 6-10 mph over the limit, $25.

Michael A. Flesner, 22, of Kearney, possession of marijuana less than 1 ounce, $300.

Austen J. Welke, 28, of Kenesaw, first offense reckless driving, $500 and sentenced to six months of probation; refusal to submit to a pretest, $100; possession of marijuana less than 1 ounce, $300; possession of drug paraphernalia, $100.

Brandon L. Shaul, 20, of Ainsworth, minor in possession of alcohol, $300.

* Area FFA chapters land numerous awards during State Convention

(Posted 10:15 a.m. April 25)

The Nebraska FFA Association held its 90th annual Nebraska FFA Convention in the Pinnacle Bank Arena at Lincoln April 4-6.

More than 4,700 students attended the convention with over 2,500 industry partners, advisors, parents, and volunteers from nearly 190 Nebraska schools.

Students participated in an industry-based career fair, leadership workshops, industry workshops and tours, technical skill competitive events, and leadership skill competitive events. Students also engaged in interviews centered on research and work-based learning programs.

Many students, through their state-level performances, qualified to compete at the National FFA Convention to be held in Indianapolis, Ind., in October.

Results for area FFA chapters are listed below.

 

State FFA Convention Awards

Ainsworth

Gold Chapter Award (given to the top 18 programs in the state)

A gold medal in Conduct of Chapter Meetings

A silver medal in Senior Parliamentary Procedure

Sam Wilkins, Ben Arens, Trey Schlueter and Rebekah Arens – Fourth place in Farm and Agribusiness Management Career Development

Jacce Beck – First place in agricultural mechanics and repair placement proficiency

Sam Wilkins – Fourth place in extemporaneous speaking, second place in diversified crop production entrepreneurship proficiency, and second place in grain production entrepreneurship proficiency

Maria Harthoorn – First place in environmental science and natural resource management proficiency

Henry Beel – First place in forest management and products proficiency

Rebecca Taylor – Second place in swine production placement proficiency

Maren Arens – Third place in middle school agricultural literacy speaking

 

Rock County

Gold Chapter Award

Nebraska Chapter of Excellence – Growing Leaders Award

Nebraska Chapter of Excellence – Building Leaders Award

Nebraska Chapter of Excellence – Building Communities Award

Ben Bruns, Jillian Buell, Sailor Jewett, Jaya Nelson and Adam Turpin – First place in Ag Issues Career Development

Wyatt Olson – Second place in agricultural mechanics repair and maintenance entrepreneurship proficiency

Whitten Giles – First place in automotive technology proficiency

Rhegan Shankland – Third place in beef production placement proficiency

Megan Erickson – First place in food science and technology proficiency

Charlie Gale – Second place in forest management and products proficiency

Kolton Needham – Third place in forest management and products proficiency

Jillian Buell – A silver medal in junior public speaking

 

Keya Paha County

Silver Chapter Award

Kylin Munger – Star Award Finalist in production

Carter McCarthy – Third place in agricultural mechanics repair and maintenance placement proficiency

 

Stuart

Gold Chapter Award

Nebraska Chapter of Excellence – Growing Leaders Award

Nebraska Chapter of Excellence – Building Leaders Award

Nebraska Chapter of Excellence – Building Communities Award

Second place in the Conduct of Chapter Meetings

Second place in Senior Parliamentary Procedure

Reaghan Engel, Madison Stracke, Alex Jarecke and Wade Paxton – Fifth place in Junior Livestock Evaluation Career Development

Joshua Pacha – Star Award Finalist in placement

Austin Jarecke – Star Award Finalist in placement, second place in diversified livestock production proficiency, first place in poultry production proficiency

Brady Miksch – Third place in agricultural mechanics repair and maintenance entrepreneurship proficiency

Ariel Larsen – First place in ag sales entrepreneurship proficiency, and second place in fruit production proficiency

Breanna Fahrenholz – Third place in diversified crop production entrepreneurship proficiency

Morgan Wallinger – Third place in diversified horticulture proficiency

Madison Stracke – A silver medal in cooperative speaking, and second place in equine science entrepreneurship proficiency

 

West Holt

Gold Chapter Award

Nebraska Chapter of Excellence – Growing Leaders Award

Nebraska Chapter of Excellence – Building Leaders Award

Nebraska Chapter of Excellence – Building Communities

Lindee Wentworth, Bailey Kraus, Casey Coburn and Bryce Kerkman – First place in Nursery and Landscape Career Development

Leighton Mlady, Jenae Osborne, Carlie Wetzel and Brea Hostert – Second place in Floriculture Career Development

Emily Burk, Dani Laible, Devon Dohrman and Jenae Osborne – Second place in Ag Communications Career Development

Leighton Mlady – Second place in senior public speaking, third place in ag sales entrepreneurship proficiency and third place in ag sales placement proficiency

Dani Laible – First place in ag sales placement proficiency

Casey Coburn – First place in agriscience research animal systems proficiency

Brea Hostert – A gold medal in cooperative speaking, third place in diversified livestock production proficiency, and third place in goat production proficiency

Breydon Mlady – First place in forage production proficiency

Martin Wentworth – Third place in home and community development proficiency

Emily Burk – Second place in outdoor recreation proficiency

Jordyn Laible – A silver medal in creed speaking

Carlie Wetzel – Third place in employment skills

Jocelyn Hamilton – A silver medal in junior public speaking

Lindee Wentworth – A gold medal in natural resources speaking

* Ainsworth High School athletes recognized Tuesday during All-Sports Tailgate

(Posted 6:30 a.m. April 25)

In addition to being the two athletes to compete in three sports during all four years of their careers, Ainsworth High School seniors Payton Allen and Claire Steinhauser Tuesday received the John Nelson Sportsmanship Award during the All-Sports Tailgate Party in McAndrew Gymnasium.

Allen earned 11 letters in his four years of high school, lettering four times in football and track and three times in basketball, while Steinhauser picked up 10 letters during her four-year high school career, with three each in volleyball and basketball and four in track and field.

Allen was named both the offensive and defensive most valuable player in football by coach Jake Nelson. An all-district selection, Allen set a school record for career passing yards.

Allen was also presented Tuesday with the Bryant Wilkins Most Valuable Teammate Award in boys basketball, finishing his career with more than 775 points and 350 rebounds.

Steinhauser was named the most valuable player in volleyball.

Sophomore Rylee Rice cleaned up on the cross country, girls basketball and track and field awards Tuesday.

Rice, the two-time state cross country champion who won the all-class gold during the 2017 State Cross Country Championships, led Ainsworth to a Class D state team title for the first time since 2004.

Rice was named the girls cross country MVP by coach Jared Hansmeyer, who himself was named the Nebraska girls cross country coach of the year.

Rice has not lost a cross country race in two years of competition. Hansmeyer said Rice was the school record holder in every statistic the school tracks.

She earned the track and field girls MVP award after posting four gold medals at the 2017 Nebraska State Track and Field Championships.

Rice won the Class C 800 meters, 1600 meters, 100-meter hurdles and 300-meter hurdles, and set school records in all four events as a freshman. She led the Bulldogs to a second-place finish in the Class C team standings.

To top it off Tuesday, Rice was named the girls basketball most valuable player and outstanding defensive player, setting a school record with 103 steals as a sophomore.

Junior Ben Arens received the most valuable performer awards in both boys cross country and boys track and field. Arens finished second in the Class D State Cross Country Championships, with the state champion in Class D being the only runner to beat Arens during the entire season.

Arens picked up two top three medals at the 2017 State Track and Field Championships, finishing second in the 1600 meters and third in the 3200 meters as a sophomore.

In other awards Tuesday, girls golf coach Heather Lutter presented the MVP award to junior Rebecca Taylor.

Nelson announced that Allen and Blake Schipporeit had been selected to participate in the West Nebraska All-Star Football Game at Scottsbluff in June. Allen, Schipporeit, Oren Pozehl and Wyatt Martinsen were named to the all-district team in football.

Volleyball coach Misty Wroblewski presented the team’s hustle award to senior Jody Allen, the most improved award to Mila Pozehl, and the JV MVP to Mackenzie Kovar.

Wrestling coach Todd Pollock named senior state qualifier Ty Richardson as the team’s MVP.

Girls basketball coach Stephen Crile, in addition to naming Rice as the team’s MVP and defensive player of the year, presented junior Shelby Jones with the offensive MVP award, and named Mila Pozehl the most improved player.

Boys basketball coach Sean Sterkel, in addition to presenting the Bryant Wilkins Memorial Award to Allen, named junior Gage Delimont the team’s most valuable player.

Sterkel also presented the 2017 boys golf MVP award to junior Sam Wilkins.

Three athletes received Lifter of the Year awards for their work in the weight room during the year. Sloan Raymond and Conner Jackman shared the boys top lifter award, and Mila Pozehl was named the top girls lifter.

The Ainsworth Lions Club served a tailgate dinner of burgers, beans, chips, dessert and drinks free of charge to the athletes and coaches Tuesday.

 

* Ainsworth Middle School team wins Highway 20 Quiz Bowl

 

(Posted 6:30 a.m. April 25)

The Ainsworth Middle School team won the Highway 20 Junior High Quiz Bowl hosted by ESU 17 Monday.
The Ainsworth team was undefeated in all five of their pool play matches, and then won the championship match against Valentine.
Team members include Allison Arens, Cash Dailey, Camy Goochey, Haley Schroedl, Allison Taylor, and Grant Taylor.
Other teams participating include Chambers, Cody-Kilgore, O'Neill, Stuart, Keya Paha County and Rock County.

* Area NECC students inducted into Phi Theta Kappa chapter

(Posted 8:30 a.m. April 24)

Northeast Community College welcomed the newest members into its international honor society.

A total of 159 students were installed into Northeast’s Phi Theta Kappa, Tau Chi chapter during the spring 2018 induction ceremony held in the Lifelong Learning Center.

Since the installation of Northeast’s Tau Chi chapter in 1996, approximately 3,100 students have been inducted into the international academic honor society for two-year colleges. For more than 80 years, membership in Phi Theta Kappa has signified a singular honor and a willingness to embrace the Society’s shared commitment to academic excellence.  

To be eligible for PTK, students must have earned at least 12 credit hours and achieved a minimum grade point average of 3.5 or above out of a 4.0 system.

Elizabeth Goshorn of Ainsworth was among those inducted into Phi Theta Kappa for the spring semester.

For the fall semester, inductees included Melissa Franklin of Ainsworth, Sarah Hamik and Cody Wells of Atkinson, and Mason Poulsen of Valentine.

* Keya Paha County team finishes second in Nebraska Personal Finance Challenge

(Posted 9 a.m. April 23)

A team from the Millard Academy of Entrepreneurship at Millard South High School won first place today in the Nebraska Personal Finance Challenge, sponsored by the Nebraska Council on Economic Education.

The team members are Meghan Schuette, Ben Blumenthal, Ryan Nyffeler, and Ryan Mack. Their advisor is Seth Woodke. Each member of the team will each receive a $2,000 contribution to a Nebraska Educational Savings Trust (NEST 529) college savings account. The team’s advisor will receive an Apple iPad tablet.

The team advances to the National Personal Finance Challenge to be May 11 at the College of Business at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Second place went to Keya Paha County High School. Team members, who each will receive a $1,000 contribution to a NEST 529 college savings account, are Kristine Cronk, Kylin Munger, George Cook, and Ashley Connell. Their advisors are Alana Cardinal and Danielle Thornton.

Jennifer Davidson, president of the Nebraska Council on Economic Education, said she was pleased with the participation in this year’s competition and the excitement generated by the fact that the national competition will take place in Lincoln this year. In past years, the national competition has been in Kansas City or St. Louis.

State Treasurer Don Stenberg said, “The Personal Finance Challenge is an excellent way for students to demonstrate their financial knowledge and skills to solve real-life problems facing families today. Students have the opportunity to apply what they have learned in financial literacy and economic courses, to think on their feet, and to practice leadership and speaking skills.

“As Trustee of NEST, I want to congratulate these students. I am happy to present each of them with a contribution to a NEST college savings account to be used at a four-year college, a community college, or a technical school.”

Stenberg also praised the teachers for encouraging their students to study important life-skill subjects like personal finance and economics. He thanked the teachers for helping their students prepare for the competition. The advisors of the three winning teams will each receive an iPad tablet, courtesy of NEST.

Davidson said each team at the regional competition – which took place Friday at Lincoln, Omaha, and Kearney – was given a hypothetical family scenario and two hours to come up with a financial plan based on the family’s goals. Students presented their plans to panels of judges.

A first-place winner was chosen at each of the three regional sites, and each first-place team’s composite online test score was used to determine first-, second-, and third-place winners statewide. The online tests were administered earlier at the schools.

A total of 281 teams took part in the high school division of the spring Personal Finance Challenge, and the top five finalists in each region were invited to the regional competition held Friday.

* Ainsworth band, choir receive superior ratings Friday during District Music

(Posted 6:30 a.m. April 23)

The Ainsworth band and choir each received superior ratings from all three judges Friday during the District Music Contest at Ainsworth. By receiving superior ratings from all three judges, the Ainsworth band and choir each earned a state medal.

Students from Ainsworth, Boyd County, Chambers, Ewing, Keya Paha, O’Neill, rock county, Stuart, Valentine and West Holt participated in the district contest.

Ainsworth results are:

Superior (I) rating

Clarinet Choir - Coy Carson, Marley Murphy, Jaycee Dillon, Faith Fuller and Jenny Bryant

Brass Ensemble - Tessa Lauer, Josie Ganser, Ellie Welke, Seth Anderson and Matt Jeffers

Seth Anderson, Solo

Seth Anderson and Coy Carson, Duet

Hanna Lindestam and Jodi Beach, Duet

Matt Jeffers, Solo

Marley Murphy, Solo

Marley Murphy and Brandt Murphy, Duet

Brandt Murphy, Solo

Male Sextet - Seth Anderson, Noah Kappelman, Luke Peters, Matt Jeffers, Brandt Murphy and Coy Carson

Excellent (II) rating

Women’s Group

Claire Steinhauser and Mila Pozehl, Snare Drum Duet

Cody Kronhofman, Oboe Solo

Courtney Lauer, Flute Solo

Jenny Bryant and Faith Fuller, Clarinet Duet

Marley Murphy and Jaycee Dillon, Clarinet Duet

Jodi Beach and Hanna Lindestam, Flute Duet

Matt Jeffers, Baritone Solo

Saxophone Trio - Cassidy Gilliland, Brandt Murphy and Cody Kronhofman

Danica Heinert, Solo

Faith Fuller and Amber Paulson, Duet

Faith Fuller, Solo

Mackenzie Kovar and Kiersten Higbee, Duet

Josie Ganser and Ellie Welke, Horn Duet

* Game & Parks plans fishing improvements for Pine Glen WMA

(Posted 2:30 p.m. April 20)

A project scheduled to start in June on Pine Glen Wildlife Management Area in Brown County will improve stream habitat on Long Pine Creek for fish and anglers alike.

As a continuation of the cool-water stream program, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission will build several in-stream habitat features that create a variety of current breaks for resting and feeding trout. Specific habitat features also will narrow the stream to increase flow velocities and add pool depth.

“Project designs are targeted at improving angler success by creating additional hiding spots and concentration areas for these trout species,” said Brett Roberg, Game and Parks fisheries biologist stationed at Kearney. “We are hopeful that these stream modifications will provide anglers the opportunity to catch more fish – and bigger fish.”

A service road on the WMA has been improved to allow contractors better access to the canyon bottom to build the stream features. Trees along the riparian corridor will be removed to give anglers better access to the stream, provide additional fire protection and create wildlife habitat.

The project should continue through the fall. Hunters and anglers accessing the area should be cautious of equipment and workers during construction.

Long Pine Creek at Pine Glen offers anglers opportunities mostly for brown trout but also rainbows, making it a good option for anglers seeking to complete a Trout Slam. Anglers who catch all four species of Nebraska trout – rainbow, brown, brook and cutthroat – can earn a Trout Slam certificate, pin and bragging rights. Visit outdoornebraska.gov/troutslam for more information.

Call Will Inselman, a Game and Parks wildlife biologist, at 402-684-2921 for more information about the Pine Glen WMA project.

* Werner hired as Brown County Hospital CEO

(Posted 11 a.m. April 20)

Brown County Hospital has hired John W. Werner to serve as the hospital’s chief executive officer.

Werner comes to Ainsworth after serving six years as CEO with Oakland Mercy Hospital and Clinics at Oakland.

Prior to that, Werner served for 14 years as the Chief Operations Officer for the Siouxland Medical Education Foundation at Sioux City.

Prior to joining SMEF in 1998, Werner worked for more than 20 years in the health care industry at Alegent Health, Immanuel Medical Center, and Creighton University School of Medicine, all at Omaha.

“John has 30 years of experience in a larger medical group, and has a depth of knowledge in many areas,” Hospital Board Chairman John Gross said. “He has experience with electronic health records, and is an effective manager of medical staff and hospital staff.”

Gross said Werner has an easy communication style.

"Fitting into the community is a huge part of this job, and he understands that,” Gross said. “He has a love of Nebraska and small communities, and understands the importance of a hospital in a community like Ainsworth.”
Werner earned a B.A. in Business Administration from Nebraska Wesleyan University and an M.B.A. from the University of Nebraska at Omaha.  He and his family currently reside at Oakland, and will make the transition to Ainsworth soon. He is scheduled to begin his new role by mid May.
Jeanne Goche will continue to serve as interim CEO until Werner’s arrival.

* Zwiebel, Sattler inducted into Wayne State College honor society

(Posted 7 a.m. April 19)

The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi, Chapter 299 at Wayne State College, inducted new initiates April 11, including Courteney Zwiebel of Ainsworth and Samantha Sattler of Stuart.
One alum, 14 seniors, and 23 juniors were initiated during the society's 12th annual ceremony. 
Founded in 1897 and headquartered at Baton Rouge, La., Phi Kappa Phi is the nation's oldest, largest and most selective all-discipline honor society. Having chapters on approximately 300 college and university campuses, membership in the society is by invitation only to the top 7.5 percent of juniors and the top 10 percent of seniors and graduate students.
Faculty, professional staff, and alumni who have achieved scholarly distinction also qualify. The society's mission is "To recognize and promote academic excellence in all fields of higher education and to engage the community of scholars in service to others."
The Wayne State chapter was chartered in 2006 with the intent being to recognize and promote the achievements of the college's most accomplished students and faculty.

* Ainsworth High School Prom is Saturday

(Posted 2:30 p.m. April 18)

Ainsworth High School’s Prom is scheduled for Saturday, with the banquet at 5:30 p.m. in the Ainsworth Conference Center. The Grand March is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. in McAndrew Gymnasium, followed by the crowning of this year’s king and queen.
Candidates for prom queen are Jaycee Dillon, Maria Harthoorn, Morgan Osborn, Claire Steinhauser and Rebekah Arens.
Candidates for prom king are Bo Painter, Blake Schipporeit, Payton Allen, Luke Peters and Caeleb Irwin.
The dance begins at 9:30 p.m. in the Conference Center, followed by post prom.

* January taxable sales increase from 2017 for most area counties

(Posted 2:15 p.m. April 18)

Nebraska Department of Revenue
Comparison of January 2018 and January 2017 Net Taxable Sales
for Nebraska Counties and Selected Cities

County
or City

2018
Net Taxable
Sales

2017
Net Taxable
Sales

Percent
Change

2018
Sales Tax
5.5%

2017
Sales Tax
5.5%

Boyd

777,970

770,349

1

42,788.46

42,369.29

Brown

2,591,384

2,474,425

4.7

142,526.36

136,093.55

Ainsworth

2,495,927

2,338,060

6.8

137,276.21

128,593.47

Cherry

4,977,895

5,000,360

(0.4)

273,784.54

275,020.13

Valentine

4,841,389

4,834,186

0.1

266,276.67

265,880.52

Holt

8,076,841

7,421,314

8.8

443,506.15

408,172.98

Atkinson

1,247,346

1,100,385

13.4

68,604.20

60,521.34

O'Neill

5,872,106

5,457,157

7.6

322,966.11

300,143.99

Keya Paha

120,734

123,471

(2.2)

6,640.39

6,790.93

Rock

493,256

435,812

13.2

27,129.13

23,969.73

State Total

$2,264,025,284

$2,130,018,326

6.3

$124,724,802.77

$117,244,692.53

Nebraska Department of Revenue
Comparison of January 2018 and January 2017
Motor Vehicle Sales Tax Collections by County

County
or City

2018
Net Taxable
Sales

2017
Net Taxable
Sales

Percent
Change

2018
Sales Tax
5.5%

2017
Sales Tax
5.5%

Blaine

117,098

85,066

37.7

6,396.96

4,632.75

Boyd

504,872

453,155

11.4

27,771.51

24,915.41

Brown

710,978

603,273

17.9

39,256.44

33,482.98

Cherry

2,194,546

1,566,301

40.1

121,002.61

86,624.27

Holt

2,188,331

2,238,612

(2.2)

121,323.45

123,737.59

Keya Paha

158,846

217,155

(26.9)

8,699.70

12,139.50

Rock

493,864

385,078

28.3

27,262.21

21,246.84

State Total

$342,207,159

$338,435,052

1.1

$18,968,943.58

$18,736,287.68

* Power has been restored to all KBR Rural Public Power residential customers

(Posted 8 a.m. April 18)

KBR Rural Public Power District Manager Bob Beatty reported Wednesday that power has been restored to all rural residential customers. He said there remains work to be done to restore power to center pivots and other non-residential power users. While a final damage assessment is not yet clear, Beatty estimated between 150 and 200 power poles were damaged during the Friday and Saturday blizzard.
To hear the report, click on the audio link below.

audio clips/KBR Power - Wednesday Update.mp3

* Commissioners hear request to assist with purchase of a van for transporting veterans

(Posted 7 a.m. April 18)

Brown County Veterans Services Officer Judy Walters asked the Board of Commissioners Tuesday if the county would be willing to share in the cost of the purchase of a van to transport veterans to medical appointments.

Walters said the Disabled American Veterans organization will pay for half of the cost of a new van, with partnering entities responsible for the other half of the cost. Once the van is purchased, the Veterans Administration pays for the fuel and maintenance to transport veterans to VA facilities.

“We need partners willing to go in on the other half of the cost,” Walters said. “The total would be $16,500 for half.”

Walters said she planned to talk with the Keya Paha County Commissioners and the Rock County Commissioners about sharing in the cost of the van purchase with Brown County, as veterans in those two counties would then also be able to utilize the van.

“I already have five people willing to serve as volunteer drivers,” Walters said. “The VA assumes all liability.”

Walters said she believed having a van would be good for the veterans of the area, helping to cut down costs when they need to be transported.

“I think it would be used at least three days per week,” Walters said. “I am excited about it.”

Audience member Denny Bauer asked Walters how often the van would be replaced.

Walters said the DAV has a process for replacing the vans, and when a new van was needed the DAV would again cover half the cost.

Commissioner Reagan Wiebelhaus said he believed the van purchase was a wonderful idea.

Walters said she was not looking for official action Tuesday, but she wanted to gauge the county’s support for the van purchase before speaking with the Rock County and Keya Paha County boards.

In other business Tuesday, Brad Miller with the Brown County Ambulance Association asked the commissioners to consider funding a portion of the cost of a bariatric cot for the ambulance association.

Miller said the ambulance association did not have the money in the current budget for the purchase, but a bariatric cot would give the association the ability to make patients more comfortable during transfers, and help emergency responders when they had a call to assist a larger patient.

“We have a lot of transfers, and some people are having to rest their hands on our legs,” Miller said. “This would give them room to lay their arms. It would make a much more comfortable ride for our transfers.”

Miller said he also approached the Ainsworth Betterment Committee about assisting with the cost of the $20,367 bariatric cot. He indicated the ABC Committee might be interested in assisting with the purchase if the county also provided funding.

Audience member John Gross told Miller he should also consider approaching the Brown County Hospital Auxiliary for funding, as the cot would fall under direct patient care.

Wiebelhaus said he has responded to emergency calls, and fitting bigger people on the cots the ambulance association currently uses is not easy. He asked Miller if the bariatric cot would be the normal cot carried by the emergency response ambulance.

Miller said the bariatric cot would be housed in the transfer ambulance, but could be utilized when the emergency crews knew they were going to pick up a bigger patient.

Commissioner Buddy Small said he was willing to have the county commit between $7,000 and $10,000 toward the cot, depending on how many partners the ambulance association could line up to assist in the purchase.

In other items, the commissioners discussed a letter from the Middle Niobrara Natural Resources District providing water testing results for two wells located at the GJW hog facility in north Brown County.

The county, as part of agreeing to provide GJW with a permit to expand its operations at the site, requested the wells be tested and the results provided to the commissioners on an ongoing basis.

Small said the test results showed nitrate levels at 2.8 parts per million. Anything under 10 parts per million was considered safe for human consumption.

The commissioners also discussed a letter from the Middle Niobrara NRD asking if the county was interested in being a stakeholder as the NRD works with the Department of Natural Resources to create a stakeholders board regarding the future use of water in the NRD.

Small said becoming a stakeholder does not cost the county anything, and the board agreed to reply that the county was interested in becoming a stakeholder.

In a final action item, the board approved a resolution giving newly hired Weed Superintendent Scott Erthum the authority to issue notices to landowners who fail to control noxious weeds on their property.

The next meeting of the Brown County Commissioners is scheduled for 5:15 p.m. May 1.

* Lions Club preparing for All-Sports Tailgate Party April 24

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

The Ainsworth Lions Club Board of Directors discussed the upcoming Ainsworth High School All-Sports Tailgate Party during its meeting Monday in Local House 20.

The annual event to recognize high school athletes and coaches is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 24. The Lions Club serves the meal of burgers, beans chips, dessert and drinks. Instead of the usual Monday setup prior to the Tuesday banquet, the setup will be held on the afternoon of the event due to the FFA banquet Monday.

The club also discussed assisting the school with the Community Betterment Day in May by grilling burgers for the students who will be out assisting with projects to better the community.

Adopt-a-Highway Chair Connie Lentz reported the spring cleanup of Highway 20 east of Ainsworth is scheduled for 3 p.m. April 29, with the weather date May 6.

Larry Rice reported the crumb rubber has been delivered to place under playground equipment, but the club is still searching for someone to install edging around several pieces of playground equipment at East City Park before spreading the crumb rubber material. 

Roland Paddock, the new chair of the alumni banquet committee, has started making plans for the Lions Club to again serve the banquet meal during the Ainsworth High School Alumni in June.

The next meeting of the Lions Club is scheduled for noon May 21 in Local House 20.

* Traffic Accident

(Posted 9 a.m. April 16)

The Brown County Sheriff’s Department investigated a one-vehicle accident that occurred Friday, April 13, on Highway 20.
According to the sheriff’s department report, at 4:15 p.m. Friday on Highway 20 approximately 3 miles west of Long Pine, a 2014 Volvo semi, driven by Ion Iliev, 24, of Tacoma, Wash., was traveling east when the semi jack-knifed into the westbound lane due to icy conditions.
No injuries were reported. Damage to the Volvo was estimated at more than $1,000.

* KBR Rural Public Power customers in southeast Rock County remain without power

(Posted 7:45 a.m. April 16)

About 40 KBR Rural Public Power District customers in southeast Rock County remained without power Monday morning after freezing rain and strong winds caused a substantial number of power poles to snap Friday night.
KBR Rural Public Power District Manager Bob Beatty spoke with KBRB's Graig Kinzie to provide an update on the damage caused by the blizzard Friday and Saturday.
To hear the report, click on the audio link below.

audio clips/Bob Beatty - KBR Power storm update.mp3

* Turpin provides update on county roads status following winter storm

(Posted 6:45 a.m. April 16)

As the area digs out from a winter storm Friday and Saturday that dropped more than a foot of snowfall, KBRB's Graig Kinzie visited with Brown County Highway Superintendent Kenny Turpin on the progress made by the county roads department to get rural roads reopened.
To hear the report, click on the audio link below.

audio clips/Kenny Turpin - Roads Update.mp3

* Power restored to Butte and Atkinson NPPD customers

(Posted 6:30 a.m. April 16)

Power has been restored in two Nebraska communities by crews from Nebraska Public Power District.

Power was restored in Butte for 240 customers at 2:45 p.m. Sunday after a mobile generator was put into operation and will remain operating until permanent repairs can be made. Power was lost Friday night.

Atkinson, where power was lost Friday, was re-energized at 5:50 p.m. Sunday for the 903 customers without power. NPPD used a mobile transformer to restore power.  That unit will remain in place until NPPD completes rebuilding a sub-transmission line between O’Neill and Atkinson, which feeds power to the community.

NPPD reported that 39 structures on the line were damaged Friday night during the storm. Work will begin to replace structures early this week.

Nine customers remained without power in Ogallala Sunday, where six structures need to be replaced. Crews will resume work Monday morning. Material had to be transported Sunday from York to Ogallala. Materials could not be moved until Sunday due to I-80 being closed to traffic on Saturday.

During the course of the spring storm, NPPD saw approximately 4,900 customers without power at various times. Poor road conditions combined with blizzard conditions kept NPPD crews from completing the work Friday night and most of Saturday.

* Area students receive scholarship offers from UN-L

(Posted 7 a.m. April 16)

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln has offered more than 6,000 scholarships to students graduating from Nebraska high schools. The total potential value of the scholarships is approximately $53.5 million.

The students offered scholarships include 28 Chancellor's Scholars, 866 Regents Scholars, 461 David Distinguished Scholars, 518 Nebraska Achievement Scholars, 272 Husker Living and Learning Scholars, 1,696 Husker Power Scholars, 973 Husker Traditions Scholars, 145 Chancellor's Leadership Scholars, 684 University Honors Program Scholars, 23 Health Sciences Scholars, 5 Davis Scholars, 17 Johnny Carson Scholars, 305 Nebraska Emerging Leader Scholars, 35 Nebraska Legends Scholars, and 76 Pepsi Scholars.


Ainsworth

  • Cassidy Gilliland, Husker Power, $1,500.

  • Maria Harthoorn, Husker Traditions, $1,500.

  • Marley Murphy, Husker Power, $1,500.

  • Morgan Osborn, Husker Power, $1,500.

  • Jacob Sinsel, Regents and University Honors, tuition and $500

Rock County

  • Rhegan Shankland, Husker Power, $1,500.

Stuart

  • Peyton Alder, Regents and University Honors, tuition and $500.

  • Ariel Larsen, David, $3,500.

West Holt

  • Dawson Borer, Husker Power, $1,500.

  • Devon Dohrman, Husker Traditions, $1,500.

  • Mason Hale, Husker Traditions, $1,500.

  • Brea Hostert, Husker Power, $1,500.

  • Brandon Jelinek, Husker Power, $1,500.

  • Jenae Osborne, Husker Power, $1,500.

  • Payton Williams, Husker Power, $1,500.

Valentine

  • Dylan Hathorn, Nebraska Achievement, $1,000.

  • Jordan Kelber, Husker Power, $1,500.

  • Kooper Reece, Husker Power, $1,500.

* Remove vehicles from city streets ahead of the winter storm if possible

(Posted 12:45 p.m. April 13)

Where possible, the Ainsworth Streets Department is asking residents to remove vehicles from city streets with the pending winter storm.
The streets department asks that all vehicles be removed from major streets such as Main Street, and, where possible, to remove vehicles from all streets to allow the city to remove snow without having to work around parked vehicles.

* Ainsworth Quiz Bowl team completes season at state

(Posted 8:45 a.m. April 13)

The Ainsworth High School Quiz Bowl team competed in the ESU 17 Quiz Bowl competition on Monday, finishing with a 2-1 record.
Ainsworth defeated Keya Paha and Rock County, then lost to Valentine on a tiebreaker question in the championship match.
Valentine and Ainsworth both qualified for the State Quiz Bowl competition Wednesday at Holdrege. 
Ainsworth defeated Omaha Nation to begin state competition. The Bulldogs then lost to Columbus Scotus Central, beat Medicine Valley before being eliminated by Hastings.  There were 29 teams at the state competition, with two teams from nearly every ESU in the state.  Gretna won the state quiz bowl competition. The Ainsworth High School Quiz Bowl team finished the season with nine wins and eight losses.
Ainsworth team members were Meg Laan, Bradi Scott, Jacob Sinsel, Tate Fernau, Chance Gustafson, Seth Anderson, Josie Ganser and Brandt Murphy.

(Photo by Coralene Kinzie)

A RARE SIGHT - A group of five whooping cranes were sighted Wednesday flying over a dam in Boyd County. Whooping crane populations have been rebounding since dropping to a population of less than 100 in the 1940s. Those studying the rare cranes believe 2017 was a record breeding year for the cranes in Canada, and their population climbed from an estimated 360 in 2016 to 420 in 2017.

* NWS meteorologist provides update on Friday storm, upgraded to blizzard warning

(Posted 1:15 p.m. April 12)

A meteorologist with the National Weather Service provided a detailed update on the major winter storm scheduled to hit the area on Friday.
Snowfall amounts in north central Nebraska are now project at between 12 and 15 inches, and the NWS has issued a blizzard warning from Friday morning through noon Saturday.
Whiteout conditions will be likely Friday into Saturday morning, with wind gusts of more than 50 mph anticipated.
To hear the report, click on the audio link below.

audio clips/NWS storm update 4-12-18.mp3

* Farm Bureau to host forum for commissioner candidates April 19

(Posted noon April 12)

The Brown County Farm Bureau will host a candidate forum for the upcoming Primary Election in Brown County at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 19, in the Ainsworth American Legion Post Home on Woodward Street.

The forum will allow residents to hear from candidates running for the Brown County Board of Commissioners.

“We are excited to hold a candidate forum for these highly contested primary races,” said Will Williams, treasurer of Brown County Farm Bureau. “It is vital that voters have as many opportunities as possible to make an informed decision before voting. This public forum will serve an invaluable role in supplying that information to constituents in Brown County.”

The forum will consist of a series of questions related to issues facing area farmers and ranchers. Each candidate will have the opportunity to respond to each question. There will be a moderator to facilitate the discussion during the forum.

Contact Williams at (402) 760-1477 or Tammy Fiechtner, north central regional manager, at (402) 302-9494, with any questions regarding the Thursday commissioner candidate forum.

* Rock County prom postponed to Sunday due to weather forecast

(Posted 9 a.m. April 12)

Due to the winter storm in the forecast, Rock County Public Schools has postponed its prom night from Saturday to Sunday.
Superintendent Tom Becker said the change was being made for the safety of the students and to minimize any extra costs that changing the date by several weeks would lead to.
The banquet begins at 5 p.m. Sunday, followed by pictures at 6 p.m., the grand march at 7 p.m., the dance from 8 until 11 p.m., and post prom beginning at 11 p.m.
Rock County High School will have a 10 a.m. late start on Monday due to prom. Bassett Grade School and Rock County Middle School will have a regular start time on Monday. The junior class will clean up from prom when they get to school Monday at 10 a.m.

* City Council approves bid to repaint west water tower

(Posted 9 a.m. April 12)

The Ainsworth City Council on Wednesday approved a $101,580 bid from Maguire Iron of Sioux Falls, S.D., to paint the interior and exterior of the city’s west water tower and install a mixing system.

The city received two bids for the work, with the other being a $109,230 bid from Utility Service Co. of Atlanta, Ga.

City Administrator Lisa Schroedl said the city had done business with both companies. A representative from Maguire Iron said it had been 18 years since the west tower was last painted.

He said Maguire Iron sandblasted the old paint off the west tower before painting it back in 1999, so this painting would not require the tower to be sandblasted first. He said his company typically recommends towers be painted every 15 years.

The council approved the low bid from Maguire Iron.

The council also approved a bid submitted during its March meeting by Dan Osborne with Topkote of Yankton, S.D. for armor coating work. Topkote bid $1.09 per square yard for armor coating, with the city responsible for supplying the gravel needed for the armor coat. The company also bid 42 cents per square foot for crack seal work. Both bids were approved.

The council approved one bid received for surplus equipment that had been advertised for sale. The city received a bid of $25,000 from GJW for a 1986 sewer truck, and approved selling the truck. The city did not receive any bids for its surplus 2002 sewer machine, or its 2003 Vector vacuum.

In other business Wednesday, the council approved a recommendation from the Ainsworth Betterment Committee to award $12,500 in ABC funding to the Sandhills Care Center to help with the facility’s shingling project and with the purchase and installation of a new industrial washing machine.

The council agreed with an ABC Committee recommendation to deny a $2,500 funding request from the Diamond E Bucking Bulls.

Mayor Larry Rice said the group wanted assistance in advertising for its event, and will instead approach the Brown County Visitors Committee for promotional funds.

The council discussed whether to award a contract for street sweeping. Nebraska Sweeping submitted a bid of $22,359 to sweep the city’s streets six times this year.

Councilman Chuck Osborn said when the city previously contracted for street sweeping, the work was not being done well, which was why the council approved the purchase of its own street sweeper.

Streets Foreman Monte Goshorn said he does not have the manpower to properly sweep the streets as much as they need to be swept.

“We have put 270 hours on this sweeper in about 3-1/2 years,” Goshorn said. “If we don’t do a contract, I suggest we find some part-time help to run the sweeper.”

The council determined it would be much more cost effective to try and hire a part-time worker to run the city’s street sweeper than pay more than $22,000 for the work to be contracted. The council directed Schroedl to look for a person interested in operating the street sweeper.

Snow removal on Main Street was again discussed by the council and streets department.

“The guys clearing the snow on Main Street have done a good job,” Goshorn said. “They just want some direction, and the stumps remaining from the trees that have been cut down are still an issue for them.”

Councilman Greg Soles said he and Osborn had met with two individuals who remove a majority of the snow from the sidewalks on Main Street.

“They try to get the snow removed by 5:30 a.m.,” Soles said. “On the small snows, they are clearing the whole block. On large snows, they are only removing the snow for paying customers.”

If the snow is not all removed prior to the city crews then moving it to the middle of Main Street, then the city has to go back a second and third time after more vehicles are parked on Main Street.

Soles asked what the process was for businesses on Main Street that do not remove snow from the sidewalk.

There is a requirement that all snow be removed from sidewalks within 24 hours of the end of the snow event.

Schroedl said she would work with Goshorn on a potential ordinance for the council to consider for having snow removed by a certain time on Main Street following a snow event.

In another ongoing issue, the council again discussed the process for moving forward with its nuisance abatement procedures.

Soles said the council members had been out and reported back on nuisance properties from 2014-16 that have still not been cleaned up.

“What is the process now when the property owner has done nothing?” Soles asked.

Schroedl said Brown County Sheriff Bruce Papstein had been out and taken some photos of the identified properties.

“He indicated it will be a priority for the sheriff’s department to issue notices once it stops snowing,” Schroedl said.

She said, after the sheriff’s department issues a notice, it then goes back and issues a citation for violating the city’s nuisance abatement ordinance if the nuisance is not abated by the property owner.

City Attorney Rod Palmer said the sheriff’s department could issue a new citation for each day the property is not cleaned up.

Soles said he believed the city needed to submit a written request to the sheriff’s department to have the notices issued by a certain time.

“I think we have waited long enough,” Soles said. “I think we need to request that the sheriff’s department gets the notices issued within a certain time frame.”

Osborn said he wanted to see the sheriff’s department on the council agenda every few months to provide the city with updates.

Ann Hoch approached the council about a lack of movement on returning the Conference Center’s wellness room back for public use.

“It has been two months of nothing,” Hoch said. “There has been no committee meeting, no emails. I am disappointed there has been no communication in two months.”

Schroedl said she has been putting together some estimates for different options before meeting as a committee.

“We have had a contractor and an electrician in,” Schroedl said. “It takes some time. Some people have also contacted us about placing some working exercise equipment in there like there used to be, so we are looking into some options.”

Hoch said she appreciated the council allowing the exercise group use the meeting room, but she is being questioned by members of the group and others in the community on why nothing has been accomplished.

Rice said a committee meeting would be scheduled as soon as Schroedl finishes getting some estimates put together.

In an old business item regarding the placement of wireless Internet equipment on a city tower, Schroedl reported she had visited with the sheriff’s department and Netcom regarding a repeater on the city’s north tower used for city radios.

She said, for the city’s radios to work, Warp Networks’ antennas would have to be placed 20 to 30 feet away from where the repeater is located on the north tower.

“I am still waiting to see if that is going to work for Cal,” Schroedl said.

In a final action item, the council approved an amended agreement with Central Nebraska Economic Development District for administration of a CDBG planning grant.

Schroedl said the city had already signed an agreement, but CNEDD Administrator Judy Peterson indicated she made an error on one section, and forgot to delete some wording.

The council approved the mayor’s recommendations to reappoint Pat Brudigan and Reg Pischel to three-year terms on the city’s committee on housing, and the reappointment of Phyllis Leach and the appointment of Pedro Borales to the Library Board for four-year terms.

The consent agenda included approval of closing Third Street in front of the Ainsworth Fire Hall on July 21 for the annual firemen’s dance.

Councilwoman Deb Hurless requested the city’s March 12 meeting minutes be amended before being approved as part of the consent agenda.

“The minutes read, ‘After lengthy discussion, it was determined that installation of antennas on the water tower would not be allowed.’

“That was not voted on by the council,” Hurless said. “Cal was going to check and see if the other tower would meet his needs. If not, he would come back and discuss with us. The minutes need to be corrected.”

The council approved the correction, removing the sentence in question from the minutes before approving them as part of the consent agenda.

The next meeting of the Ainsworth City Council is scheduled for 5 p.m. May 9. The meeting was moved up by two hours for May.

* Brown County District Court proceedings

(Posted 8:15 a.m. April 11)

During Brown County District Court proceedings Tuesday, Bo James Burkel, 26, of South Dakota, appeared for sentencing after having been previously convicted of possession of marijuana more than 1 ounce, a Class IV felony; obstructing a peace officer, a Class I misdemeanor; and speeding.

Burkel was fined $2,000 on the marijuana possession charge, $1,000 on the obstruction charge, and $75 for speeding. He also had previously spent 34 days in the Brown County Jail.

Burkel ran from a traffic stop Dec. 29, 2016. A search of the vehicle he fled led to the discovery of more than 2 pounds of marijuana.

Burkel is currently serving a sentence of four years in prison in South Dakota on unrelated charges.

Also in District Court Tuesday, Kaleb Boon-Lauer, 20, of Ainsworth, appeared after being previously found guilty of violating his probation.

Lauer was sentenced to an additional two years of probation with terms including finding and maintaining suitable employment, undergoing outpatient counseling, obtaining a psychiatric evaluation, initiating in-house alcohol treatment, and attending two Alcoholics Anonymous meetings per week.

Also in District Court, Lynda Michelle Smith, 48, of Appleton, Minn., appeared for sentencing following a conviction on charges of possession of a controlled substance, a Class IV felony; and possession of marijuana more than 1 pound, a Class IV felony.

Smith was fined $1,500 on the controlled substance charge, and $2,000 on the marijuana possession charge. She was also ordered to pay $167.50 in court costs.

* After months in the black, resident decline results in small SCC loss in March

(Posted 10 a.m. April 10)

After reaching a high population of 22 residents in February, the Sandhills Care Center Board learned Monday the facility was back down to 16 residents due to residents passing away and one who was discharged home.

Despite the census going back down to 16 residents, the facility was in the red by less than $5,000 during the month of March, as revenue for the month reached $110,601 with expenses of $115,577.

Administrator Stephanie Rucker did report a 17th resident would be admitted to the care center on Tuesday, and the board discussed the potential for the facility to gain residents with 21 nursing homes in the state, including facilities at O’Neill and Broken Bow, going into receivership due to the failure of a large management company.

Walt Dye with Rural Health Development, the care center’s management company, told the board not to expect all 21 of the those facilities to close, as Golden Living still owns the buildings and would likely not want to see many of those locations close.

“Some of those facilities will be attractive for new leases,” Dye said. “Some of the smaller ones may close. It just doesn’t make sense for Golden Living to have 21 empty buildings.”

Rucker said she had contacted the administrators of the nearby facilities in receivership, and all are aware that the Sandhills Care Center has room for residents.

Following the financial report, the board voted to take out a $70,000 loan from First National Bank to help with claims for the next few months, with the loan to be repaid when the facility receives its Medicaid reimbursement, which Dye said would likely come in late May or early June.

Board Chairman Phil Fuchs said he had talked to both the Brown County Commissioners and the Ainsworth City Council about potentially receiving the fifth year $80,000 commitment from both entities early, but the facility had not moved forward with making that request.

Dye said the facility is doing a wonderful job managing its expenses.

“A lot of nursing homes I visit are losing more each month than you are, and they have 25 to 32 residents, so you are keeping your expenses down well,” Dye said. “We are still over the expense cap, so we shouldn’t have to make up any difference with Medicaid.”

Dye said the board needed to consider a 5 percent increase in its private pay rate, as the care center is currently charging $10 less per day for private pay residents than it is receiving per day for residents on Medicaid.

“We need to be charging private pay at least the same amount as Medicaid reimburses,” Dye said.

He suggested a 5 percent increase in the private pay rate, which would bring the rate up to the Medicaid reimbursement rate. That item was placed on the board’s May agenda for a vote. If approved, private pay residents would be given a 60-day notice of the rate increase, which would then take effect Aug. 1.

Fuchs reported he went to both the commissioners and Ainsworth Betterment Committee to request funds for the roofing project and replacement of the facility’s industrial washing machine.

The capital campaign committee raised $15,700 in donations for the two projects. With the roofing project at an estimated $28,350 and the washing machine replacement at $12,780, that left a balance of $25,430.

Fuchs reported the commissioners approved $12,500 for the projects, and the ABC Committee had recommended approval of $12,500, which would be voted on Wednesday by the City Council.

The board approved payment of $8,400 to William Krotter Co. for 160 square of shingles for the roofing project.

The next meeting of the Sandhills Care Center Board is scheduled for 4 p.m. May 14.

* Both Ainsworth Community Schools principals submit resignations

(Posted 7 a.m. April 10)

Ainsworth Community Schools is in search of two new principals following the resignation Monday of both Elementary Principal Mike Wentz and Secondary Principal Bill Lentz.

Wentz told the board he had accepted a principal position closer to his home area, and Lentz cited health concerns for his resignation and told the board he and his wife planned to remain in the community.

Both thanked the board for the opportunity to serve as principals for the district.

Superintendent Darrell Peterson said he had started advertising for the elementary principal position and had received some early interest.

The board also accepted the resignation of longtime English teacher and coach Jeff Carr. Carr reported he was retiring from teaching in Nebraska and had accepted a teaching job in a neighboring state.

Activities Director Jared Hansmeyer spoke to the board about the eventual need to replace the gym floor in McAndrew Gymnasium.

“We have some concerns with the gym floor,” Hansmeyer said. “Some boards are cracking and breaking off. In the near future, something needs to happen.”

Hansmeyer said the board could opt for a short term fix by plating the gym in some of the problem areas. That, he said, would buy the district some time. The other options are putting a new floor on top of the current floor, or tearing up the old floor and replacing it with a new floor.

He said the gym floor was the original from the early 1950s.

“It was well made, and it has been a good floor,” Hansmeyer said.

He said replacing the gym floor would likely cost somewhere between $100,000 and $150,000.

Hansmeyer also reported the school’s community betterment day scheduled for Friday had been postponed to May 7. Fifteen different groups of students have identified numerous betterment projects to undertake May 7, including cleaning up Main Street in Long Pine, the Long Pine State Recreation Area Mundorf Trails, the Grand Theater, the Brown County Fairgrounds, the Ainsworth parks and pool, the Ainsworth Golf Course, the horseshoe pits, painting at the Ainsworth Senior Center, painting park benches on Main Street, and several projects at the school.

In additional action items Monday, the board approved a bid of $14,100 from Environmental Services of Norfolk to remove asbestos found in the school’s ag building as the district prepares to tear it down and replace it with a new ag and industrial technology building.

Peterson reported asbestos material was found in pipe wrapping, window glazing, caulk, ceiling material and roof flashings.

The board also approved a bid from ALICAP Public Risk Management for the district’s property, casualty and liability insurance. ALICAP bid $41,197 to handle the district’s insurance, with current provider EMC Insurance through North Central Insurance of Ainsworth bid $60,171.

Peterson said, three years ago, ALICAP’s bid came in a lot higher than EMC, and now that had reversed.

Board member Brad Wilkins said ALICAP, which is a pool of school districts throughout the state, represents about two-thirds of school districts in Nebraska. Wilkins said, if the pool of districts has money remaining after the year, ALICAP provides a dividend back to each district.

Peterson said the deductible for claims with ALICAP was $500, while the bid from EMC Insurance had a deductible of $5,000 for each claim.

The board also approved the second reading of a policy regarding pregnant and parenting students.

During his report, Wentz said the elementary would begin utilizing a new reading program series called Reading Street.

“We have watched our reading scores over the past several years, and they have not come up like we wanted,” Wentz said.

Though the reading program carries an initial cost of $60,000, it is good for six years with no additional expenses. He said Reading Street includes programming for reading, language, phonemic awareness, vocabulary, comprehension, fluency, spelling and writing. It also has an English Language Learner component, and intense intervention portions for students reading below grade level.

Wentz reported kindergarten roundup is scheduled for April 19, with a morning session from 8:30 until 11 a.m. and an afternoon session from noon until 2:30 p.m. He reported there will likely be between 25 and 30 children participate in kindergarten roundup. Current kindergarten students will not have class that day.

During his report, Peterson said nine companies have sent letters of interest for the district’s construction of a new ag and shop building.

A board work session will be scheduled for 1 p.m. April 17 to meet with the companies. The board will select the proposals for three or four of the companies and begin negotiations with its top choice, followed by the second choice if necessary and so on.

The superintendent also reported the district received two proposals for its new school meal contract. The two proposals will be discussed and a food service company selected during the board’s May meeting, which is scheduled for 8 p.m. May 14.

* Six Ainsworth Middle School students win National History Day state titles

(Posted 6:45 a.m. April 9)

Eight Ainsworth Middle School students participated at the state level of the National History Day contest Saturday, and six qualified for the national contest.

Seventh-grader Savannah Holmes won the state title for her junior individual exhibit titled “Conflict of Conscience: World War II Objectors and Mental Health Care.”

Also, sixth-graders Katherine Kerrigan, Taylor Allen, Karli Kral, Nathan Bryant and Airyan Goochey won a state title for their junior group performance titled, “The Orphan Trains: A Life Changing Compromise.”

The Orphan Train group also won two additional awards: the Nebraska State Historical Society Award, and the Nebraska Land Foundation Honorable Mention Award.

All topics fit the 2018 theme for National History Day, which is “Conflict and Compromise in History.”

The national contest will be held in June at College Park, Md.

* Ainsworth Area Chamber of Commerce Radio Takeover Day winning bidders

(Posted 3:30 p.m. April 6)

The Ainsworth Area Chamber of Commerce sends out a huge thanks to those who participated in Friday's takeover of KBRB Radio. From the businesses and individuals who donated items for the annual auction, to those who called in, to those who served as guest announcers and front office workers, the annual event was again a huge success and serves as the largest fund-raiser for the chamber during the year.
Listed below are the items that were donated, and the winning bidders and prices paid. Those who won bids are asked to pick up and pay for their items beginning Monday in the Ainsworth Area Chamber of Commerce Office.
 

AACC 2018 Radio Takeover Day 7 A.M. Hour

 

Items donated for the chamber auction                              Winning Bidder/Price

 

A $25 beef draft from Madison’s Great Western – Brandi Connell - $23.

 

Ainsworth Motors – A gift certificate for                              Scott Nelson, $40
a front-end alignment.

 

Husker Meats – One box of frog legs                                     Loralea Frank, $250

 

Middle Niobrara NRD – 10 starter-size burr oak trees           Linnea Steinhauser, $40

 

Ainsworth Senior Center – One dozen cinnamon rolls          Plains Equipment, $26

 

Bomgaars – 10 broiler chicks and 10 pounds of feed                Frank Beel, $20

 

Ainsworth Community Schools – One 2018-19                     Stacie Goochey, $50
Activities Pass

 

Fitness First – A one-month membership                               Caren Fernau, $20

 

Gross Seed Co. – A 5-pound tub of Omega                          Brian Krentz, $15
Gopher Grain Bait

 

O’Hare Ranch – A quart of Linda’s fresh Gotcha salsa         Gina Keller, $12

 

Hills & Trails FCE Club – 10 dozen cream cheese mints       Tammy Cline, $33

 

A $25 certificate to Simple Solutions – Becky Schelm - $23.

 

A $25 Farmers-Ranchers Cooperative gift certificate – Becky Schelm - $23.

 

AACC 2018 Radio Takeover Day – 8 A.M. Hour

 

Items donated for the chamber auction                              Winning Bidder/Price          

 

Plains Equipment – One full tractor inspection                      Wil Williams, $250

 

Ainsworth Motors – One dozen Bonnie Finley baked           Naomi Denny, $31
cinnamon rolls

 

Travis Electric – A 10-pack of 60-watt LED                                     Bart Waits, $30
light bulbs

 

Daniels Manufacturing – A Daniels boxed sprinkler              Tiffany Barthel, $35

 

Office Products of Winner – An office chair.                                    Connie Kelly, $110

 

Ranchland Western Store – A Montana Silversmith Bracelet            George Spanel, $55

 

The Book Peddler – A Gooseberry cookbook “Weekend Dinners”  Carolyn Schipporeit, $13

 

Gross Seed Co. – A 5-pound bag of Kentucky Bluegrass seed         Chris Johnson, $28

 

Keller’s Custom Embroidery - A Bulldog Stadium Seat.      Jayme Kinney, $45

 

A $25 gift certificate to Red & White Market – Brandi Connell - $23.

 

Husker Meats – 10 pounds of 85-15 Sandhills                       Shelly McKimmey, $33
raised hamburger

 

Pizza Hut – Family meal deal, with 2 large pizzas                 Logan Barager, $30
an order of breadsticks and a 2-liter bottle of soda

 

Century Lumber – Four gallons of Deck Correct                   Jim Welke, $135
paint-on protection that makes old decks look new

 

Brown County Ag Society – A weekend pass to the county fair      Dedra Stoner, $50

 

Middle Niobrara NRD – 10 starter size burr oak trees           Brian Frick, $25

 

Ainsworth Senior Center – One dozen cinnamon rolls          Plains Equipment, $27

 

First Class Auto – A certificate for a vehicle service             Rod Worrell, $50

 

O’Hare Ranch – A quart of Linda’s fresh Gotcha salsa         Carolyn Schipporeit, $15

 

A $25 beef draft from the Rolling Stone Feed Yard – Brandi Connell - $23.
 

AACC 2018 Radio Takeover Day – 9 A.M. Hour


Items donated for the chamber auction
                             Winning Bidder/Price


GJW – A half a hog, processed and packaged.                   Blaine Finney, $290

 

Ainsworth Motors – One dozen Bonnie Finley baked           Joel Carpenter, $40
cinnamon rolls

 

Plains Equipment – A riding lawnmower full inspection       Doug O’Hare, $75

 

Husker Meats – One box of frog legs.                                    Jeremiah Sullivan, $41

 

Devine Health Care – A certificate for a Meyers Cocktail     Amber McNally, $60
(a 10-minute infusion of Vitamin C and several B vitamins

 

Pine Valley Resort – Certificate to stay one night free          Steve Gann, $26
when purchasing one night’s stay

 

Daniels Manufacturing – A gate package, includes               Todd Kicken, $40
a GL-2 latch with 2 barb wire gate fence closers

 

Ainsworth Lions Club – 2 tickets to the All-Sports Tailgate Party    Danetta Rice, $18

 

A $25 Ainsworth Elks Club gift certificate – Sonja Schurter - $23.

 

A $25 beef draft from Rolling Stone Feed Yard  - Deb Vonheeder - $23.

 

Gross Seed Co. – A 10-pound bag of Turf Type                   Austin Painter, $30
Tall Fescue-Bluegrass mixed grass seed

 

Middle Niobrara NRD – 10 starter-size burr oak trees           Brad Keller, $35

 

The Mundhenke Agency – A portable Coleman Sportster     Phyllis Harlan, $101
Grill, has wheels and runs on propane

 

Ainsworth Motors – One dozen Bonnie Finley baked           Stephanie Rucker, $40
cinnamon rolls

 

Big Red Vending – A box of 48 Snickers bars                      Rick Buoy, $50

 

Phoebe McDaniel Thirty-One Bags – A thermal tote bag      Amanda Brown, $25

 

H&R Food Center – A large fruit tray                                   Jenny Beel, $30

 

O’Hare Ranch – A quart of Linda’s fresh Gotcha salsa         Sara Schipporeit, $20

 

A $25 beef draft from Madison’s Great Western – Brandi Connell - $23.
 

AACC 2018 Radio Takeover Day – 10 A.M. Hour

 

Items donated for the chamber auction                              Winning Bidder/Price

 

Denny and Pam Bauer – A rib-eye dinner for six with all     Brad Waits, $130
the trimmings at the Bauer residence

 

Ainsworth Motors – One dozen Bonnie Finley baked           Jeremiah Sullivan, $35
cinnamon rolls

 

Gross Seed Co. – A 5-pound bag of Kentucky                      Logan Barager, $20
Bluegrass Blend grass seed

 

Simple Solutions – A Logitech wireless keyboard and mouse           Logan Barager, $20

 

Husker Meats – A 5-pound bag of crawdads                         Shep Gibbs, $35

 

Brown County Hospital – Entry into the Hospital                 Bret Younkin, $200
4-Person Scramble Golf Tournament June 15

 

Silver Lining – A desk clock.                                                 Deb Weiss, $20

 

Travis Electric – A 10-pack of 60-watt LED bulbs                Bart Waits, $20

 

A $25 gift certificate to Red & White Market – Brandi Connell - $23.

 

A $100 gift card to KC Collison for a windshield replacement – Todd Kicken - $90.

 

Fitness First – A one-month membership                               Betsy Saner, $20

 

Middle Niobrara NRD – 10 starter-size burr oak trees           Jessica Pozehl, $23

 

Daniels Manufacturing – A small red heavy duty sprinkler   Jayme Kinney, $50

 

Local House 20 – A full pan of their famous homemade       Mike Depko, $40
bread pudding (ice cream not included)

 

Brown County Ag Society – A weekend pass to the county fair      Don Graham, $40

 

Ainsworth Motors – A certificate for an oil change               Rod Worrell, $50

 

Subway – Six coupons for regular 6-inch sub sandwiches     Sonja Schurter, $25

 

Lovinity Health & Wellness – A gluten-free wellness basket            Betsy Saner, $40

 

A $25 beef draft from Rolling Stone Feed Yard – Deb Vonheeder - $23.
 

AACC 2018 Radio Takeover Day – 11 A.M. Hour

 

Items donated for the chamber auction                              Winning Bidder/Price

 

H&R Food Center – A large vegetable tray                           Stacey Gilliland, $35

 

Ainsworth Golf Course – A certificate for Friday night        Kade Gracey, $35
steaks for two people

 

Viaero Wireless – Two tickets to the Alabama                       Bill Sanger, $110
concert June 24 at Divots in Norfolk

 

Husker Meats – A box of frog legs                                        Byron Burdick, $100

 

Fernau Construction – A Dewalt mobile storage box on wheels       Mike Baxter, $40

 

First Class Auto – A certificate for a vehicle service             Rod Worrell, $50

 

Buckles Automotive – A Carlyle American Made 14-piece              Rod Worrell, $60
3/8-inch 12 point standard  Ratchet and socket set

 

Daniels Manufacturing – A gate package, includes               Craig Smith, $35
a GL-2 latch and two barb wire gate fence closers

 

A $25 beef draft from Madison’s Great Western – Janice Devall - $23.

 

Ainsworth Motors – One dozen Bonnie Finley baked           Angela Hempel, $40
cinnamon rolls

 

Pizza Hut – A family meal including 2 large pizzas,              Levi Gum, $30

Breadsticks and a 2-liter bottle of soda

 

Ainsworth Dental Clinic – 50 percent off exams, cleaning,               Mike Baxter, $130
& routine bite-wing X-rays for the entire immediate family

 

Mr. Pollock’s High School Metals Class – A ranch                Sonja Schurter, $100
scene metal laser sign cut by student Raven Stewart

 

Brown County Ag Society – A weekend pass to the county fair      Amanda Brown, $40

 

Travis Electric – A 10-pack of 60-watt LED bulbs                Rosa Kepler, $30

 

The First Class Auto Gun Corner – A box of 500                  Brenda Connell, $45
Remington .22 Thunderbolt Shells

 

A $25 beef draft from Rolling Stone Feed Yard – Loreece Thornton - $23.
 

AACC 2018 Radio Takeover Day – Noon Hour

 

Items donated for the chamber auction                              Winning Bidder/Price


Longhorn Bar – A cribbage board hand-made by                  Jan Buoy, $105
Phil Zweibel

 

Fitness First – A one-month membership                               Logan Barager, $15

 

Middle Niobrara NRD – 10 starter-size burr oak trees           Jim Debolt, $25

 

Husker Meats – 10 pounds of 85-15 Sandhills raised                        Brian Krentz, $40
hamburger

 

Brown County Ag Society – A weekend pass to the county fair      Ken Smith, $40

 

Ainsworth Flowers & Gifts – A 9x12” Cornhusker print      Ben Shaw, $110
“The Last Tunnel Walk” Sam Foltz and Brook Berringer

 

Ainsworth Motors – A gift certificate for                              Arlen Uhlig, $30       
a front-end alignment.

 

Sandhills Care Center – A summer fun gift basket, includes Adirondak      Jim Hoch, $41
chair, sand bucket and toys, beach ball and towel, bubbles & water gun

 

A $25 certificate to Local House 20 – Rosa Kepler - $23.

 

Ainsworth Golf Course – A certificate for 9 holes of                        Shelly McKimmey, $49
golf with a cart for two people

 

Daniels Manufacturing – A boxed sprinkler                           Shep Gibbs, $48

 

Ainsworth Motors – One dozen Bonnie Finley baked           Peg Gross, $42
cinnamon rolls

 

Devine Health Care – Certificate for a 20-minute clinic        Sheri Gann, $55

visit (labs/testing not included)

 

Home Health – A first-aid kid                                                Brenda Connell, $15

 

Travis Electric – A 10-pack of 60-watt LED bulbs                Bart Waits, $25

 

Keller’s Custom Embroidery – A Bulldog stadium seat        Crystal Sell, $35

 

A $25 certificate to Simple Solutions – Cammie Waits - $23.

 

A $25 Ainsworth Elks Club certificate – Amanda Brown - $23.
 

AACC 2018 Radio Takeover Day 1 P.M. Hour

 

Items donated for the chamber auction                              Winning Bidder/Price

 

Lovinity Health and Wellness – An organic                           Brad Johnson, $45
wellness basket

 

Ranchland Western Store – A bottle of 1879 Justin              Tony Stahl, $25

Cologne

 

Ainsworth Community Schools – A 2018-19                                    Angie Hood, $55
season activities pass

 

William Krotter Co. – A Vantage Infrared Action                Todd Kicken, $90
camera, with 5 megapixels & 720I HD video capability

 

Pine Valley Resort – Certificate to stay one night free          Chester Smith, $50
when purchasing one night’s stay

 

Rangeland Rehab – A recovery pack, includes a foam          Danetta Rice, $45
roller, stretch strap, lacrosse ball, rock sauce, kinesotape
and instructions on how to use the equipment

 

O’Hare Ranch – A quart of Linda’s fresh Gotcha salsa         Tiff Naprstak, $15

 

Ainsworth Senior Center – A certificate for 5 noon meals    Glen Baker, $25

 

A $25 beef draft from Madison’s Great Western – Crystal Summers - $23.

 

A $50 Shopko gift card – Amanda Brown - $47.

 

All-Day Items

 

Buckley Steel equipment rental                                              Tom Theis, $240

 

Frontier Diesel 8-foot rubber tire watering tank                     Jeremiah Dailey, $450

 

KBRB Radio Sandhills raised beef bundle                            Ben Shaw, $600

 

Frontier Diesel 10-foot rubber tire watering tank                   Jason Appelt, $750

 

State Farm Insurance, Union Bank & Trust, Ainsworth        Jeremiah Sullivan, $560
Vision Clinic, West Plains Bank, Rodeway Inn, First
National Bank, Home Again Flowers, and April Good
with Lashley Land & Recreational Brokers – A Traeger
Tailgater and barbecue package

FM 106.3 IS ON THE AIR! - A tower crew installed  equipment to  place KBRB FM 106.3
on the air. The FM translator takes  programming from KBRB AM 1400 and places
it in stereo on the FM band. KBRB already received reports of the 106.3 signal reaching
as far east as Stuart on Wednesday night. KBRB AM 1400 only carries about 15 miles
at night, so the 106.3 FM option will greatly enhance the ability of listeners to hear Husker
sports and country music offered by KBRB AM 1400.

* School Board hears from community members on new ag and industrial tech building

(Posted 7 a.m. March 13)

During a Monday work session, the Ainsworth Community Schools Board of Education and Superintendent Darrell Peterson discussed the proposed construction of a 90-by-150-foot agriculture and industrial technology building with more than 20 members of the public.

Peterson said the board was just getting started on the process, with a design-build format chosen. The superintendent said that method for construction would be quicker and a little cheaper than the traditional design-bid-build process.

The current building, constructed in 1949, has had major issues with the roof.

Board member Jim Arens said, during a community meeting more than a year ago, there was extensive discussion of preparing students for a trade who do not plan to attend a four-year college.

“This is a way we can help spark their interest in something they can then do at a vocational school,” Arens said.

Board member Brad Wilkins said a committee toured facilities at Minden and Grand Island.

“A big thing right now is career academies,” Wilkins said. “Grand Island is looking at having every one of their students go through a career academy. That is a little larger in scope than what we are envisioning, but they worked with employers to figure out the career opportunities available in their area and the skills needed for those careers.”

Wilkins said the board wants to see how it could adjust its curriculum to meet the needs of both the students and the community’s employers.

Agricultural education teacher Roger Lechtenberg said a new facility, from a student’s perspective, would lead to much more pride for the students to walk into the room and have the hands-on ability to develop interest in respectable jobs that allow them to stay in the area.

Lechtenberg said the current building gets smoky when the machines are used, as there is little to no ventilation. He said the building is extremely humid, and when it rains the students would be just as dry standing outside as they are in the building.

“We are to the point we need something to happen,” Lechtenberg said.

Audience member Jessica Pozehl asked if the board planned to coordinate its class offerings with Northeast Community College.

“That is where a majority of these kids will end up going for training,” Pozehl said.

Wilkins said many schools with career academies work with their community colleges.

“Some have had a positive experience, some negative,” Wilkins said.

Jim Duval with Design Build Procure, the company selected to handle the design process for the new addition, said the district sent out letters of intent, and received its first letter of interest on Monday for the construction.

“You will select three companies to interview, and then choose your first, second and third options,” Duval said. “A 150 by 90 building is 13,000 square feet. It typically costs about $200 to $250 per square foot to build.”

Peterson said the best case scenario would have construction on the addition begin in the summer, and students able to utilize the new building by January.

The board asked the audience, which included several local business owners, the skills they would like to see taught from the new facility.

Bill Worden with the Farmers-Ranchers Cooperative said basic mechanics and truck driving are skills needed in the area. He said the coop feed mill is using a robot in its facility, so an understanding of technology is also important for students to learn.

Board member Erin Rathe said robotics is playing a larger role in agriculture.

“In 10 to 20 years, we may not even be driving tractors anymore,” Rathe said. “I agree we should focus on the general use of technology in farming.”

Tonny Beck, the owner of Beck’s Well and Irrigation, said a 90 by 150 foot building would likely not be large enough to be able to teach the different skills needed, especially if the district plans to include two classrooms as part of the addition.

Bret Younkin, the owner of Ainsworth Motors, said the school should give the kids a taste of the careers they may be interested in pursuing.

“Let them work on small engines, experiment with things and see if they like it,” Younkin said.

He encouraged the district to send businesses a questionnaire on the top five skills needed for the careers available.

James Worden, who recently completed training through Southeast Community College and is employed at Ainsworth Motors, said teaching students basic skills was also important. He said students at college would have to wait while basic industrial skills were taught to a few students.

Dave Sherman said students will need classes that focus on electronics, as about all diagnostics now are being done with a laptop.

Ainsworth graduates Vance Heyer and Haley Harthoorn, who recently returned to the area, said they were looking to establish a local FFA Alumni chapter to work with current students interested in careers in agriculture.

Heyer said there is a lot of science and math involved in agriculture.

“Being able to have ag sciences classes in the ag room would be nice,” Heyer said.

Harthoorn said the agricultural education programs also teach students leadership skills, and she said she would like to see the school’s COE program expanded.

Tate Schipporeit told the board careers where people who can use their hands are in high demand, such as construction, plumbing, electrical and electronics.

Chris Raymond of Plains Equipment said the technology changes so quickly, it would be difficult for the school to try and teach students specialized technology.

“We need to go beyond that, and think ahead of the curve,” Raymond said.

Pozehl said, for her family’s construction business, students need a general knowledge.

“We can train them on the specifics of how we do things, but they need to have basic skills,” Pozehl said.

The group toured the current ag and industrial technology building as part of the work session. The board thanked those in attendance for their input.

During the regular meeting Monday following the work session, the board approved a contract with Erin Rathe for a half-time music position with the district for the 2018-19 school year. Kim Bejot requested going from full time to half time in music, and Rathe will fill the other half of Bejot’s current classes.

The board also approved the resignation of social studies teacher David Hellman. Hellman is completing his first year with the district.

The board approved the 2018-19 school calendar, which has classes beginning Aug. 13 and graduation set for Mother’s Day, May 12, 2019. The final day of class for students will be May 16, 2019.

The board approved the first reading of a policy required by the state to address pregnant or parenting students.

Following an executive session, the board approved contracts for 2018-19 for Elementary Principal Mike Wentz and Secondary Principal Bill Lentz.

Peterson reported to the board the new bus arrived Friday, and will be phased in to the district’s route with the old bus being removed from service. He reported the Ainsworth Volunteer Fire Department will use the bus to conduct rescue drills before it is destroyed. The old bus has to be destroyed for the district to receive the $21,000 grant for the new bus.

He also reported, while the district will remain in partnership with the Central Nebraska Community Action Partnership for the operation of Little Paws Preschool, the preschool teacher will now be a CNCAP employee instead of an employee of the school district.

Peterson said current Little Paws teacher Amanda Evans would likely step into the kindergarten teaching position currently held by Sue Wragge, who is retiring.

The superintendent reported the district’s meal program had realized a profit of $12,940 for the school year. He said participation in both the breakfast and lunch programs remains strong.

The next meeting of the Ainsworth Community Schools Board of Education is scheduled for 8 p.m. April 9.

 

* Most state, federal races for May 15 Primary Election contested in both parties

(Posted 9:45 a.m. March 6)

The May Primary Election will feature several contested state and federal races for both the Republican and Democratic ballots.

Numerous candidates filed for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Republican Deb Fischer of Valentine.

Fischer has filed to defend her seat, and will face Jack Heidel of Omaha, Dennis Frank Macek of Lincoln, Jeffrey Lynn Stein of Omaha and Todd Watson of Lincoln in the Republican Party Primary.

The winner of that five-person Republican Primary will advance to November to face the winner of a four-way race on the Democratic ticket between Jane Raybould of Lincoln, Frank Svoboda of Lincoln, Larry Marvin of Fremont and Chris Janicek of Omaha.

Jim Schultz of Lincoln and Mark Elworth Jr. filed for U.S. Senate from the Libertarian Party.

Current 3rd District Rep. Adrian Smith of Gering will also face a challenge in the Republican Primary and in the General Election in his bid for another term in the House of Representatives.

Kirk Penner of Aurora, Larry Lee Scott Bolinger of Alliance and Arron Kowalski of Grand Island are challenging Smith in the Republican Primary, and the winner of that race will face Democrat Paul Theobald of Osmond in the General Election. Theobald is the lone Democrat in the 3rd District House race.

Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts of Omaha is being challenged by fellow Republican Krystal Gabel of Omaha in the Primary Election. The winner of that race May 15 will take on whoever emerges from a three-way race in the Democratic Party Primary between Vanessa Gayle Ward of Omaha, Tyler Davis of Omaha, and Bob Krist of Omaha.

With current Secretary of State John Gale retiring, two Republicans and one Democrat have filed to be his replacement. Bob Evnen of Lincoln and Debra Perrell of Hershey will square off in the Republican Party Primary, with the winner meeting lone Democratic candidate Spencer Danner of Omaha in the November General Election.

State Treasurer Don Stenberg did not file for another term. Republicans John Murante of Gretna and Taylor Royal of Omaha will face off May 15 to see who becomes the next state treasurer. The Democratic Party did not field a candidate in that race.

Republican Doug Peterson of Waterloo is seeking another term as the state’s attorney general. He does not face an opponent May 15, but will go up against Democrat Evangelos Argyrakis of Omaha in the General Election.

Republican Charlie Janssen is running for another term as the state auditor of public accounts. He will advance to November against the lone Democrat, Jane Skinner of Omaha.

For Rock County voters, six candidates are vying for the 40th District seat on the Nebraska Legislature. Current State Sen. Tyson Larson cannot seek another four years due to term limits.

Filing for the 40th District seat are Keith Kube of Crofton, Shane Greckel of Bloomfield, Timothy Gragert of Creighton, Thomas Ferry of Ponca, Michael Sobotka of Inman and Julie Thomsen of Wakefield. The top two vote-getters May 15 advance to the November General Election.

Carol Sibbel of O’Neill is running unopposed in District 2 for a four-year term on the Northeast Community College Board of Governors.

Three are running unopposed for seats on the Middle Niobrara Natural Resources District Board of Directors. Cherryl Lovejoy of Valentine is unopposed in Subdistrict 4. Martin Graff of Ainsworth is running unopposed in Subdistrict 6, and Dean Jochem of Ainsworth is the only candidate for an at-large seat on the Middle Niobrara NRD board.

There are numerous seats expiring on the Lower Niobrara NRD Board. Thomas Higgins of Newport is unopposed in Subdistrict 1. Marvin Liewer is unopposed in Subdistrict 2. Dwain Marcellus of Atkinson is unopposed in Subdistrict 7, and Larry Baumeister of Stuart is unopposed in Subdistrict 8.

Shaun Higgins of Newport and Jeffery Uhlir of Verdigre are vying for an at-large seat on the Lower Niobrara NRD Board.

To register to vote for the May 15 Primary Election if not already registered, to change party affiliation, or if you have changed your permanent residence recently from another county, visit the county clerk’s office in the county where your permanent residence is located.

* Brown County Hospital named among top 100 Critical Access facilities in nation

(Posted 9 a.m. March 6)

The Brown County Hospital was recently named one of the Top 100 Critical Access Hospitals in the United States by The Chartis Center for Rural Health.

“This achievement is very gratifying and validates our daily commitment to providing the best healthcare possible to our community, while maintaining an efficient and effective facility,” Jeanne Goche, Interim Hospital CEO, said.

Brown County Hospital scored in the top 100 of Critical Access Hospitals on iVantage Health Analytics’ Hospital Strength INDEX®. The INDEX is the industry’s most comprehensive and objective assessment of rural provider performance and its results are the basis for many of rural healthcare’s most prominent awards, advocacy efforts and legislative initiatives. The list of the Top 100 Critical Access Hospitals can be found at www.ivantageindex.com/top-performing-hospitals.

The Top 100 Critical Access Hospitals play a key role in providing a safety net to communities across America – and the INDEX measures these facilities across eight pillars of hospital strength: Inpatient Share Ranking, Outpatient Share Ranking, Cost, Charge, Quality, Outcomes, Patient Perspective, and Financial Stability.

Michael Topchik, National Leader of The Chartis Center for Rural Health, said, “The Hospital Strength INDEX provides a true benchmark for helping rural providers to better understand performance levels and identify areas of improvement. When we look across the spectrum of rural-relevant INDEX indicators, the Top 100 Critical Access Hospitals are establishing a new standard for how to deliver higher quality care to their communities despite an unpredictable healthcare environment.”

Brown County Hospital Board member Ann Fiala said, “The Board of Trustees is thankful for everyone’s contributions in achieving this award. This demonstrates years of commitment and quality on behalf of all involved in providing care at Brown County Hospital.”

* North Central coach, players discuss state championship

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

With the North Central girls basketball players and coaches cutting down nets and receiving gold medals following Saturday's state championship win over Bruning-Davenport-Shickley, KBRB was not able to hear the thoughts of the players and coaches during its postgame show.
That changed Monday, as KBRB's Graig Kinzie caught up with coach Alex McCleary and the Knight players to discuss winning the first state title in the history of the Keya Paha County and Rock County girls programs.
Three players - seniors Jadyn Bussinger and Caitlin Orton, and sophomore Miah Wiebelhaus - were named to the Class D-1 All-Tournament Team by both the Omaha World-Herald and the Lincoln Journal-Star.
North Central averaged just shy of 62 points per game during its state title run, and gave up an average of 50 points per game. That included holding BDS to just 35 points in a 19-point win Saturday in Pinnacle Bank Arena.
To listen to the coach and players talk about their state title, click on the audio links below.

audio clips/North Central Coach Alex McCleary - State Title.mp3

audio clips/North Central Players - State Title.mp3

* Fields set for May 15 Primary Election

(Posted 9:15 a.m. March 5)

Now that the non-incumbent deadline has passed for candidates seeking public office in races appearing on the May 15 Primary Election ballot, the races for each elected office are set.

There will be a highly contested race for two seats on the Brown County Board of Commissioners. Incumbents Les Waits and Reagan Wiebelhaus will try and retain their board seats against six challengers in the Republican Primary.

Iree McNally, Dennis Bauer, Jim Walz, Cherie Priest, Mark Johnson and Marvin Schenk have filed to unseat Waits and Wiebelhaus in the Republican Primary. No one filed for commissioner from the Democratic Party, so the two board seats will be determined May 15.

Incumbent Clerk Travee Hobbs, Treasurer Deb Vonheeder, Sheriff Bruce Papstein and Attorney David Streich filed for re-election on the Republican ticket and will not face any opposition. Longtime Brown County Assessor Charleen Fox did not file for another term. Fox has been the assessor since 2000, and has worked in the assessor’s office since 1984.

Terri VanHouten filed for the Brown County Assessor position to replace Fox.

Schyler Schenk and Brad Fiala filed for seats on the Ainsworth City Council. Incumbent Councilmen Brian Williams and Chuck Osborn did not file for additional terms. With just two filing for two seats on the council, that race will not appear on the Primary Ballot.

Four candidates are running for three seats on the Ainsworth Community Schools Board of Education. Incumbent Jim Arens filed to retain his seat, and Erin Rathe initially filed to retain her school board seat but then withdrew from the race. Dan Dailey did not file for another term.

Frank C. Beel, Jessica Pozehl and Tate Schipporeit filed for seats on the School Board. With only four candidates for three seats, the school board race will not appear on the Primary Election ballot. All four candidates advance to the General Election, where three of the four will be elected.

Doug Pankowski, Robert Maxwell and William Lentz filed for terms on the Ainsworth Airport Authority.

Jeremiah Sullivan, John Mead and Cody Goochey filed to become the next mayor of Ainsworth. Current Mayor Larry Rice did not file for re-election. Two of the three between Sullivan, Mead and Goochey will advance to the General Election in the non-partisan mayoral race.

In Long Pine, Mayor Ed Brown will run unopposed for another four-year term. Dave Cheatum re-filed for Long Pine City Council. Cheri Painter, Linda Alberts and Katherine Papstein filed for Long Pine City Council seats. All four candidates advance to the General Election, where two will be elected. Jo Dailey did not file to retain her seat on the council.

In Keya Paha County, incumbent Commissioners Corey Nilson in the Center District and Bruce Ritterbush in the East District filed for re-election in the Republican Primary. Ritterbush will be challenged in the East District Republican Primary by Bryan Kienke.

Keya Paha County Republican incumbents filing for re-election include Clerk/Assessor Suzy Wentworth and Sheriff Jeff Kirsch.

Kaye Thiede, the current deputy treasurer, filed for the treasurer position up for election and will appear on the Democratic Party Primary ballot. Current Treasurer Sandy McCoy did not refile for another term.

In Rock County, seven candidates from the Republican Party are running for two seats on the Board of Commissioners. Jimmy Stout filed for re-election, and will be challenged by newcomers Glen May, Duane Pfister, TJ Ellermeier, Cliff Heyden, Jeff Maloun and JW Ogier. Republican Stan Larsen did not file to retain his expiring seat on the board.

Incumbent Treasurer Mona Davis, Assessor Monica Turpin, and Attorney Avery Gurnsey have filed for re-election in the Republican Primary, and Sheriff James Anderson filed for another term in the Democratic Primary. Garrett Weidner filed for sheriff on the Republican side.

Deputy clerk Daunitta Buoy filed for Rock County Clerk, a seat currently held by Joyce Stahl, who did not file. Stahl has worked in the clerk’s office for 49 years, and is retiring.

Bonnie Emerson, Kathy Maloun, Lana Arrowsmith and Mike LeZotte filed for two open seats on the Bassett City Council. Rick Foxworthy and Cheryl Arrowsmith did not file for another term. All four candidates will advance to the General Election.

Incumbents Kristy Beard and Larry Ebert II filed for additional terms on the Rock County Public Schools Board of Education. Tonya Larson filed as a non-incumbent. Rebecca LeZotte did not file for re-election to the School Board. With three candidates for three seats, the school board race will not appear on the Primary Election ballot.

Incumbent James Nelson has filed for another six-year term on the Rock County Airport Authority.

All candidates for county offices are reminded they must file an accountability and disclosure form with the Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission by March 7 or their names will not appear on the ballot.

The forms are available in county clerk’s offices or online.

* February finishes colder, wetter than average

(Posted 8:30 a.m. March 5)

Ainsworth Weather Observer Gerry Osborn reported February finished as the coldest since 2007, with temperatures several degrees below the average.
February finished with .85 of an inch of snow, more than one-quarter inch above the statistical average.
To hear the full report, click on the audio link below.

audio clips/Gerry Osborn February 2018 weather.mp3

* North Central wins first girls state hoops title for Keya Paha, Rock counties

(Posted 7 p.m. March 3)

The North Central Lady Knights led by as many as 20 points Saturday in Lincoln's Pinnacle Bank Arena, winning the first state girls basketball championship in the history of Rock County and Keya Paha County public schools.
The Knights cruised to a 54-35 victory over No. 2 seed Bruning-Davenport-Shickley in the Class D-1 state championship game.
The fifth-seeded Knights finished the season with a 25-3 record, winning over No. 4 Humphrey-Lindsay Holy Family in Thursday's opening round, 67-64, then topping top-seeded Pleasanton Friday, 64-52, in the Bob Devaney Sports Center before the lopsided championship game win.

* Ainsworth records almost 29 inches of moisture in 2017

(Posted noon Jan. 3)

Ainsworth Weather Observer Gerry Osborn reported 2017 was warmer and wetter than the normal, with several months well above average for moisture. June and November, however, were among the driest in the city's history, and Ainsworth suffered through an extreme heat wave in July when the highest temperature of the year, 107 degrees, was recorded on July 19.
The final day of 2017 was the coldest for the year, when the mercury dropped to 15 below. That represents a 122-degree difference between the warmest and coldest readings of 2017.
To hear Osborn's complete report, click on the audio link below.

audio clips/Gerry Osborn 2017 Weather Summary.mp3

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Sunday - 11 a.m. until 4 p.m.

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