* Funeral Service notes: (see more on the obituaries page)
* Darlene Jean Jauernig, 76, of Stuart 10:30 a.m.
* Harry K. Buoy, 91, of Bassett 1:30 p.m. Jan. 18
* Tom Osborne, 73, of Atkinson 10:30 a.m. Jan. 18
* Meeting reports located below for:
Jan. 14 Sandhills Care Center Board of Directors
Jan. 14 Ainsworth Community Schools Board of Education
Jan. 9 Ainsworth City Council
* Apartment fire causes damage Tuesday in Ainsworth
(Posted 7:45 a.m. Jan. 15)
playing with lighter fluid and a lighter caused a fire Tuesday in an Ainsworth
Ainsworth Fire Chief Brad Fiala, firefighters received a call of a fire just
prior to 11 a.m. in an apartment complex at 628 N. Main St. owned by Mick
Fiala said a
fire started in the bedroom of one of the four units, and caused smoke damage
throughout one of the four apartments. The apartment was being rented by Lisa
Fiala said a
3-year-old and 2-year-old were playing with lighter fluid and a lighter. Hensley
found the children with the items and took them away, but returned to the
bedroom shortly after and saw smoke.
which also included an infant, was able to safely evacuate the apartment, and
the Ainsworth Volunteer Fire Department had residents of the other apartments
who were home also evacuate while they extinguished the fire.
Fiala said the
Nebraska Public Power District cut power to the complex while the firefighters
extinguished the flames. The fire department was also assisted by the Brown
County Sheriff’s Department and Brown County Ambulance Association. The Nebraska
State Fire Marshal’s office also investigated the fire.
Fiala said the
apartment sustained fire damage in the bedroom and smoke damage throughout.
residents to make sure to install smoke detectors in their home, and to check
and replace batteries frequently in smoke detectors and carbon monoxide
returned to the Ainsworth Fire Hall around noon Tuesday.
* Care Center Board discusses long-range planning for
(Posted 12:15 p.m. Jan. 15)
Care Center Board of Directors discussed long-range plans for facility
improvements during Monday’s meeting.
Stephanie Kinzie prepared a five-year plan of proposed improvements to the
facility. In addition to replacing the window coverings, which the board has
already approved, the one-year plan calls for replacing the facility’s generator
as well as heating and air units in the kitchen and other main areas.
numerous businesses in the area had been contacted about supplying the care
center with a quote to replace the kitchen heating and air-conditioning unit, and
none have responded.
“We have not
been able to get anyone to give us an estimate,” Kinzie said. “Matt (Moody) has
been contacting businesses in Ainsworth, Bassett, Valentine, Springview and
Atkinson, and can't get any response.”
Drew Klatt said Nelson’s Furniture planned to begin replacing the window
coverings this week, and would be in the facility three to four days.
The second year
of the plan includes replacing the facility’s aging boiler, along with replacing
ceiling fans, bedding and privacy curtains.
Kinzie said she
presented some of the same information after receiving a request from the Brown
County Foundation. The foundation previously committed $50,000 over a five-year
period to support a new facility, but that funding was not provided since a new
facility was deemed not to be feasible when the care center was first reopened.
Phil Fuchs said the generator and the boiler were the two items that could shut
the facility down if they failed.
“If we can get
estimates and work with the foundation on those projects, then we can pay for
some of these other improvements as we can,” Fuchs said.
Leanne Maxwell, who also serves on the Brown County Foundation Board, said the
foundation was receptive to the idea of assisting the care center.
“We need to set
priorities on what we are going to fund and what we would like the foundation to
assist us with,” Maxwell said.
Kinzie to work on obtaining bids to replace the facility's generator and boiler,
and the board could begin to formulate a plan.
the Sandhills Care Center generated $167,731 in revenue, with expenses of
$151,443 for a net operating margin for the month of $16,287.
Kinzie said the
facility paid close to $17,000 in December for agency nursing, which is lower
than it had been. She reported two part-time night nurses have been hired, so
the facility would no longer have to use an agency for coverage there.
administrator said the only other agency employee being utilized was a Certified
Nursing Assistant. With 23 current residents, she said the facility should also
be able to cut that agency position as well.
“If we go back
up to 25 or 26 residents, we will need to have another CNA available,” Kinzie
She reported the
facility has a dietary aide position open, but she has received applications for
that position and will conduct interviews this week.
The next meeting
of the Sandhills Care Center Board is scheduled for 4 p.m. Feb. 10.
* School Board hears report on condition of facility,
recommendations for upgrades
(Posted 7 a.m. Jan. 14)
from Trane provided the Ainsworth Community Schools Board of Education Monday
with a preliminary assessment of the areas where the district’s facilities will
need addressed in the future.
told the board the district’s facilities were in better overall shape than most,
and with a few needed updates the facilities will be in excellent shape for
years to come.
free preliminary facilities assessments to school districts and assists those
schools in creating a strategic plan for improvements.
Jackson said the
biggest issue the district needs to address is water getting into the building.
“You need to
stop any intrusion of moisture into your buildings,” Jackson said. “Water is
getting in through the roof, windows and siding. That causes problems. The roof
and some windows in the 1922 building are in bad shape and need to be
Jackson said the
district’s top facilities priority moving forward should be replacing the roof
and creating a roof maintenance plan, replacing siding that is leaking, and
replacing metal-framed windows that are leaking.
think your facility is 75 to 80 percent of the way there,” Jackson said. “Most
schools we visit are only about 50 percent. If you fix the leaks and replace
some concrete, you will be in good shape.”
Dale Hafer said the district was under no obligation following the preliminary
report, and could choose whether or not to plan for any of the recommended
“It is good that
we don’t have an overwhelming number of things we wouldn’t be able to budget to
repair,” Hafer said. “The things Trane is recommending can be addressed in a
five- to seven-year plan.”
Hafer said the
board has the choice throughout the process on how to proceed, and the plan can
be adjusted as needed if other priorities arise.
In addition to
the priority of fixing leaks, Jackson’s report indicated the district should
consider updating the elementary building’s heating and air system, the heating
and air system in the Learning Center, and eventually replace the boilers in the
projects include replacing damaged concrete, replacing the gym floor in McAndrew
Gymnasium, replace the elementary ceilings, and replace water-damaged drywall.
Jackson said he
would put some numbers together on the proposed projects. He would begin working
with the board’s building and grounds committee to identify priority projects
and create a proposal.
business Monday, the board accepted the resignation of high school English
teacher Mary Rau, who indicated she planned to retire at the end of the 2019-20
year after more than 30 years of teaching at Ainsworth Community Schools. Rau
has also served as the school’s speech coach and Mock Trial coach.
approved a contract with Hafer to continue to serve as the district’s
superintendent for the 2020-21 year.
The board also
approved an early graduation request for Haley Hawkins. Hawkins, a current
junior, requested to graduate early following the first semester of her senior
Dike told the board early graduation requests are assessed on a case by case
situation, I think early graduation is appropriate,” Dike said.
The board also
adjourned for 2019 and elected officers for the 2020 year. Jim Arens was
reelected as the board’s president, with Mark Johnson selected as vice president
and Scott Erthum as the secretary-treasurer.
The board will
continue to meet on the second Monday of each month in the district office, with
meetings at 7 p.m. from November through March and 8 p.m. from April through
were filled, with Erthum, Jessica Pozehl and Frank Beel placed on the
curriculum, Americanism and multicultural committee. Johnson, Brad Wilkins and
Pozehl will serve on the transportation, building and grounds committee. Arens,
Pozehl and Beel will comprise the board’s activities and athletics committee.
Arens, Johnson and Wilkins will serve on the budget and finance committee.
Wilkins, Erthum and Beel will sit on the district’s negotiations and personnel
committee. Erthum, Johnson and Arens will comprise the policy committee.
represent the board on the North Central Development Center Board of Directors,
and Wilkins will serve as the board’s government relations network
report, Elementary Principal Curtis Childers praised the work of the elementary
teachers during the first semester. He said 55 percent of elementary students
met the DIBELS testing benchmarks during fall testing. During the winter test,
Childers said almost 80 percent of the elementary students reached the
phenomenal growth,” Childers said. “The kindergarten through sixth-grade
teachers have done a phenomenal job. A lot of that growth can be attributed to
what our teachers are doing. They are working hard with strategic intervention
report, Dike provided the board with information on the high school students’
Monday trip to Rock County to listen to speaker Tony Hoffman, who went from a
drug addict to an Olympic athlete and who now coaches Olympians. Hoffman’s
presentation was sponsored by the North Central District Health Department and
was made available to students from Ainsworth, Keya Paha County, Rock County and
report, Hafer told the board the transition to Conditioned Air Mechanical was
going well. The company recommended some small repairs to the district’s heating
and air system. He said the company plans to have the new chiller installed by
The next meeting
of the Ainsworth Community Schools Board of Education is scheduled for 7 p.m.
* FEMA denies state's appeal for disaster declaration
(Posted 12:15 p.m. Jan. 13)
Ricketts was notified the Federal Emergency Management Agency denied the state’s
appeal for disaster declarations from storms during the summer and fall.
appealed after the first decision to deny a federal disaster declaration for
severe storms, tornados, straight-line winds, and flooding which impacted the
state during the period of July 15 to September 17. Flooding in the north
central part of the state in September was a part of the original request. The
original declaration request identified 16 counties, including Brown County,
seeking federal assistance for ongoing damage to public infrastructure and three
counties that requested additional assistance for individuals.
“While we wish
the federal government was able to fulfill our request, there is a process in
place to assist counties that meet a certain threshold when FEMA denies a
request,” Ricketts said. “We are reviewing the assistance that can be provided
to counties through that process at this time.”
The denial from
FEMA cited the impact of the event was not of the severity and magnitude to
warrant a major disaster declaration.
authorities identified an additional $2 million in weather-related costs in 16
counties. While the overall fiscal impact associated with storms during this
period was relatively low, the on-going impact to local budgets and the need to
repair damages were cited by Ricketts in his request for federal assistance.
jurisdictions may be able to qualify for assistance under the state emergency
declaration issued for this event period,” Nebraska Emergency Management Agency
Assistant Director Bryan Tuma said. “NEMA staff members have initiated a review
of the data and will assess eligibility for reimbursement under the state
program. The state program can reimburse eligible applicants with a 50 percent
cost share for the amount of damages which exceed the designated threshold.”
The request for
a disaster declaration to FEMA was originally directed to FEMA Administrator
Pete Gaynor on October 23. Following the initial denial, the request was
subsequently appealed on December 4.
* Sheriff's department works overtime during "Drive
Sober or Get Pulled Over) enforcement
(Posted 6:30 a.m. Jan. 10)
The Brown County
Sheriff’s Department, through funding provided by the Nebraska Office of Highway
Safety, participated in the national “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” holiday
enforcement campaign that ran from Dec. 13 through Jan. 1.
nationwide joined in an effort to reduce the number of deaths and injuries on
roadways during the holiday season by removing intoxicated drivers.
worked a total of 23 hours of overtime during the campaign. The sheriff’s
department arrested three motorists on charges of driving under the influence
during the campaign. In addition, deputies issues nine citations, 14 warnings
and five vehicle defect cards during the campaign.
One motorist was
arrested on a felony probation violation and illegal firearms were seized. The
sheriff’s department used regular enforcement, saturation patrols and an
enforcement zone during the campaign.
The Brown County
Sheriff’s Department thanks everyone for doing their part to make roads safer by
always designating a sober driver.
* Area students named to UNK honor band and choir groups
(Posted 8 a.m. Jan. 9)
101 high schools in Nebraska and Kansas will participate in the annual Honor
Band and Choral Clinic hosted by the University of Nebraska at Kearney’s
Department of Music, Theatre and Dance.
scheduled for Jan. 27, includes 760 high school music students who will work
with UNK faculty and guest instructors before performing two public concerts at
UNK’s Health and Sports Center. The 5:30 p.m. performance will feature the
Festival Band and Honor Band, along with the UNK Wind Ensemble. The 7 p.m.
concert will showcase the Festival Choir, Honor Choir, Women’s Choir and UNK
The UNK Honor
Band and Choral Clinic includes high school sophomores, juniors and seniors
selected through auditions.
Ainsworth – Coy
Carson and Josie Ganser
Valentine – Sean
* City Council approves work to coincide with Highway 20
(Posted 7 a.m. Jan. 9)
City Council voted Wednesday to move forward with infrastructure upgrades to
coincide with the Nebraska Department of Transportation’s renovation of Highway
Hurlbert with Olsson Associates told the council the state’s bid letting for the
Highway 20 renovation work in Ainsworth actually moved forward, and the city’s
timeline to supply the NDOT with its plans has been moved up to the end of this
scheduled to let bids for the project in August, the state is now moving forward
with an April bid letting.
“We need to get
a plan together and get it to the NDOT so they can incorporate it into their
project,” Hurlbert said.
the city replace four old brick manholes that are in the Highway 20 right of
way. He said there was a chance the NDOT would work on a cost share for the
manholes if the city agreed to move them out of the state highway right of way.
“I don’t have an
answer from them one way or the other on that,” Hurlbert said.
replacement would cost approximately $6,400. City Administrator Lisa Schroedl
said the manholes would likely not survive the work to tear out the current
proposed the city replace older water service lines and install additional
valves while the highway is torn up. He said the city could also place casing
for a new water main line under the highway while it is torn up that is in the
city’s long-term plan. If the city, at a later point, decides to move forward
with the new water main line for the north side of the city, it would then not
have to bore under the highway because the casing would already be in place.
the total estimated cost for all the projects in the proposal was $100,000.
“I know it is an
expenditure, but these things have needed attention for several years and now is
the time,” Hurlbert said.
Soles said he believed the city needed to be proactive with these projects and
get them done while the highway is torn up.
Hurless agreed, saying the city could plan for the cost of the actual work in
its next budget year.
unanimously approved submitting a plan to the Nebraska Department of
Transportation that included all the recommended projects from Olsson
Highway 20 renovation project Wednesday, the council agreed to pay for the cost
of having the 57 new light poles that will be installed along the highway as
part of the renovation project outfitted with festoon outlets, flag brackets and
Having the light
poles built with the outlets allows the city to continue to place Christmas
lights on each light pole during the holiday season. The banner brackets would
allow the city to put decorative banners on each light pole.
the cost for each outlet is $250, while the cost for the banner brackets would
be between $5,000 and $10,000 total and the cost for all the flag brackets is
$926. She said the city had already budgeted $10,000 for light pole
agreed to submit an application to the Ainsworth Betterment Committee to cover
the remainder of the cost. The council also opted to have the light poles
colored bronze instead of the standard galvanized steel color.
infrastructure item, the council was told the city hit a snag in the planned
wastewater improvement project that is delaying the bid letting process.
the city and USDA Rural Development have to get the issue figured out before the
project can go out for bids.
the issue relates to the amount of cured in place pipe the city included in the
project. He said the city provided the USDA with an estimate for the amount of
cured in place pipe that would be installed with the project. However, the
actual survey showed the amount of pipe needed was 2,800 feet longer than what
was included in the initial estimate.
Development has a hang-up with that difference,” Hurlbert said. “We are going
back and forth with them now.”
Rural Development wants the city to decide which portion of the pipe project
would be of lower priority to the city since the 2,800-foot difference in the
estimate and the actual survey amounted to numerous blocks, while he said he is
proposing seeing how the bids for the project come in first and then adjusting
the project if the bids are higher than the amount approved by the USDA.
He said another
option might be to exclude the two generators that are included in the project
and allow those funds to cover the discrepancy in the cured in place pipe
portion of the project.
“It is kind of a
backwards system,” Hurlbert said. “They award the project based off the
estimate, not on the surveyed footage. The estimate submitted beforehand did not
match the numbers from our survey, which showed the exact footage.”
Graig Kinzie asked Hurlbert, who has worked on numerous USDA wastewater projects
for other communities, if he had ever encountered this large a difference
between the estimated footage and the actual surveyed distance. Hurlbert said he
did not recall any instance where the difference was that pronounced.
his goal is still to get Rural Development to agree to let the project go out
for bidding, then adjust if those bids are higher than the $2.2 million awarded
in grants and loans for the work.
the city could also opt to fund the difference in the cost itself and still get
all the work done instead of cutting out portions of the project.
The council did
not take any official action.
The council did
vote to amend the pool filter replacement project to include the installation of
a sump pump to keep the pool basin dry during the offseason months.
the city to install a screen over the top of the line to help keep leaves from
collecting, freezing and blocking the entry to the pump.
Schroedl said if
something like the addition of the sump pump could extend the life of the pool’s
paint and caulking by even one additional year, it would save the city around
Adding the sump
pump raised the cost of the project by $1,408.
considered a request from Brown County to pay for half the cost of purchasing
fertilizer for the Courthouse and Library parks.
the county purchased $1,200 in fertilizer to apply to the block, and is asking
for the city to pay half.
She said there
is an agreement between the city and county that has been in place since 2007
that states the county will take care of the grounds at both the Courthouse and
Library parks, and in exchange, the city does not bill the county for water and
sewer service at the courthouse.
Soles said the
courthouse park has likely been fertilized previously since the agreement was
put in place, and the city had never before been asked to share that cost.
Fiala said it should be common courtesy that if the county wanted to bill the
city for something it should contact the city first before proceeding.
“I don’t think
we should pay it, and I would like to see us put a water meter there so we can
see how much water is being used that the county is not being billed for,” Fiala
Schroedl said a
meter would give the city and county an apples to apples comparison on what each
entity is contributing as part of the agreement.
since the city has not paid for fertilizer in the past, it should not pay in
“If the county
wants to change the contract, they need to visit with us before we would agree
to take on any more obligations,” Soles said.
By a 3-1 vote
with Fiala against, the council tabled taking any action on the claim.
accepted recommendations made by the LB 840 Citizen Advisory Review Committee
during its six-month report to the city.
recommended the city consolidate its LB 840 applications for façade improvements
and housing demolition into one generic application.
also recommended the city create a file log with each project to allow for the
CARC to sign off during its annual review and to allow for other notes with each
project to be made.
The CARC also
recommended the city obtain a new copy of insurance in March on the one active
LB 840 loan to insure the city remains listed in a first position on the note.
In a final
action item, the council approved the mayor’s recommended appointments of Dane
Sears to the LB 840 Loan Committee, David Spann and Mary Ritter to the Ainsworth
Betterment Committee, Gerry Osborn to the Cemetery Board, Harlin Welch to the
City Planning Commission, and Carolyn Schipporeit to the Sellors-Barton Cabin
Advisory Board all for three-year terms.
report, Schroedl said the Nebraska Department of Economic Development is asking
cities to return all Community Development Block Grant funding previously
awarded that is still possessed by the cities.
She said the
city has two CDBG funding pools, including $26,000 in the re-use business loan
program and $100,000 in the owner-occupied housing rehabilitation loan program.
most of the re-use business loan program funds were awarded as a forgivable loan
to Lyons Payroll Service as part of the city’s contribution to the Sandhills Care
She said the
city could allocate the remaining $26,000 to a public safety improvement instead
of sending it back to the state. She suggested replacing sidewalk near the
school and installing additional speed signs to help slow Highway 20 traffic at
the school crosswalks.
She said there
were still 15 loans out for the owner-occupied housing rehabilitation program.
She said that has been a successful program that has supplied people in the city
with zero interest or low interest loans to make improvements on their homes.
She said all 15
loans were current, none had fallen behind on repaying the loans.
“We might be
able to repurpose those CDBG funds so we can continue to use them,” Schroedl
said. She said she would attend training that would answer questions on
repurposing those CDBG funds.
the council on continued work between the city and Brown County Hospital to try
and find a solution that would allow the hospital to utilize LB 840 funding for
hospital is county-owned, the city’s LB 840 attorney has deemed the hospital
cannot qualify for LB 840 professional recruitment funding.
By a 3-1 vote
with Councilman Schuyler Schenk against, the council voted to write a letter to
43rd District State Sen. Tom Brewer to see if the LB 840 program
guidelines can be amended through legislation to allow governmental entities
like the Brown County Hospital and Sandhills Care Center to utilize LB 840
the Nebraska League of Municipalities was also working to see if the LB 840
guidelines can be amended through state legislation.
reported the city has been awarded $2.11 million from the Nebraska Emergency
Management Agency to repair damage from the 2019 flooding. She said street
improvement work would commence as soon as weather permitted.
entering into executive session to discuss personnel issues, Fiala thanked Steve
Warneke for allowing him to tour the city’s wastewater treatment plant.
need to go out there and view that place,” Fiala said.
Soles said he
thought it would be a great idea to work with the school and have students tour
the facility to see how clear the water is that exits the treatment facility.
The next meeting
of the Ainsworth City Council is scheduled for 5 p.m. Feb. 12.
* Drone sightings reported Monday night in Brown, Rock
and Keya Paha counties
(Posted 3:30 p.m. Jan. 7)
Add Brown, Rock
and Keya Paha counties to the growing list of the Midwest where suspicious
drones have been sighted. Area law enforcement agencies received more than a
dozen calls between 8 and 10 p.m. Monday from residents reporting drone
Sheriff Bruce Papstein said calls came in from southern Brown County to east of
Long Pine and into Keya Paha County near Burton, with area residents reporting
drones flying overhead.
some of the calls indicated groupings of 12 to 17 drones flying in a pattern
from east of Long Pine north into Keya Paha County near Burton.
Papstein said a
Nebraska State Patrolman confirmed a drone sighting in Springview late Monday
The Rock County
Sheriff’s Department received seven calls regarding drone sightings, with the
first coming just prior to 8 p.m. and the final call coming in around 10 p.m.
Those callers reported sightings west of Bassett, in Bassett, and southeast of
the sheriff’s department did not receive any reports of suspicious vehicles or
persons who may have transported the drones and engaged in their operation.
He said the
first call was reported in southern Brown County near Mule Deer Road, and the
sightings continued north across Brown County and into Keya Paha County, where
12 to 17 were sighted flying in a pattern near Burton.
sightings began in December in northeastern Colorado, and the sightings have
since spread into Nebraska. Numerous sightings were reported Sunday in the Grand
Island, Hastings and Kearney area, followed by the sightings Monday night in
north central Nebraska.
any area resident, for the time being, to report to law enforcement all drone
sightings as well as any vehicle that seems out of place for the area,
especially vans or vehicles pulling trailers.
U.S. Sen. Deb
Fischer, a member of the Senate Commerce Committee, which has jurisdiction over
the Federal Aviation Administration, said Tuesday she spoke with FAA
Administrator Steve Dickson regarding the recent sightings of unidentified
unmanned aircraft systems, commonly known as drones, in Nebraska.
rightly concerned about the recent drone activity,” Fischer said. “This morning,
I spoke with FAA Administrator Dickson directly who informed me that, as of now,
there are still no answers about who is using these drones. Yesterday, the FAA,
FBI, the Nebraska State Patrol, and local law enforcement officials from
Nebraska and Colorado met to discuss how to address this problem.
investigation is underway and the best thing Nebraskans can do right now is
continue to report any drone sightings to law enforcement. I will continue to
share information with the public as it becomes available.”
* Brewer discusses upcoming Nebraska Legislature session
(Posted 7 a.m. Jan. 7)
Nebraska 43rd District State Sen. Tom Brewer visited with
KBRB's Graig Kinzie to preview the upcoming session of the Nebraska Legislature.
In addition to discussing the bills he has in the works, Brewer also tackled
potential solutions to ease the property tax burden in rural Nebraska, and
several other topics.
To hear the conversation, click on the audio links below.
audio clips/State Sen Tom Brewer 1-6-20 bill introduction.mp3
audio clips/State Sen Tom Brewer 1-6-20 property tax bills.mp3
audio clips/State Sen Tom Brewer 1-6-20 Medicaid and red flag.mp3
* Motorists injured Saturday after striking cow on
Highway 20 near Johnstown
(Posted 3:30 p.m. Jan. 6)
were injured Saturday after their vehicle struck a cow on Highway 20 east of
Brown County Sheriff Bruce Papstein, at 6:15 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 4, on Highway
20 approximately 1 mile east of Johnstown, a 2001 Buick Sentry, driven by Connie
Mauch, 64, of Ainsworth, was traveling east when the vehicle struck a cow in the
roadway. The cow, owned by Robert Brawner of Wood Lake, was among a herd that
was being moved across Highway 20 at the Norden Avenue intersection.
Mauch and a
passenger in the Buick, Walter Mauch, 64, of Ainsworth, were transported by the
Brown County Ambulance Association to the Brown County Hospital for treatment of
injuries suffered during the accident.
The Buick was
considered a total loss. The cow was killed in the accident and had an estimated
value of more than $1,000.
* Kitchen fire causes smoke damage to Ainsworth home
(Posted 9 a.m. Jan. 6)
A kitchen fire
Saturday caused smoke damage to a home in Ainsworth.
Ainsworth Fire Chief Brad Fiala, at approximately 3:40 p.m. Saturday,
firefighters were called to a report of a stove fire at 546 N. Walnut St.
residents were able to evacuate safely and called in the fire. Upon arrival,
firefighters entered the smoke-filled house and used a fire extinguisher to stop
An infant in the
home was examined by Brown County Ambulance Association personnel and tested for
proper oxygen levels. No injuries were reported.
The home, owned
by Kolton Lurz of Ainsworth, sustained smoke damage, and the oven was a complete
returned to the Ainsworth Fire Hall at approximately 4:45 p.m. Saturday.
* Hoop shoot winners crowned Saturday
(Posted 9 a.m. Jan. 6)
shooters qualified for the District Hoop Shoot by winning their division
Saturday during the annual Ainsworth Elks Hoop Shoot in McAndrew Gymnasium.
attempted 25 free throws, with the top finisher in each division qualifying for
the District Hoop Shoot Jan. 12 at Cozad.
won the boys 12-13 age division, hitting 15 of 25 free throw attempts. Kelby
Rice finished second, with Sam Titus third.
Cierra Linse won
the girls 12-13 age division, hitting 17 of 25 attempts. Preselyn Goochey was
second, and Emma Kennedy placed third.
Jaxon Rucker won
the boys 10-11 age division, making 10 of 25 attempts. Gracyn Painter captured
the girls 10-11 bracket, making 11 of 25 shots. Willa Flynn placed second.
Zaine Evans won
the boys 8-9 division with five makes, and Payton Sears won the girls 8-9 age
division by going 7 for 25 at the line. Tinley Buechele was second and Ava Graff
third in the division.
a trophy and a basketball and the chance to compete Jan. 12 at the District Hoop
Shoot for a chance to advance to the state finals.
* Traffic Accident
(Posted 11 a.m. Jan. 3)
The Brown County
Sheriff’s Department investigated a two-vehicle accident that occurred Tuesday,
Dec. 31, in Ainsworth.
According to the
sheriff’s department report, at 10:05 a.m. Tuesday at the intersection of Main
and Second streets, a collision occurred between a 2004 Chevy Impala, driven
south on Main Street by Aliya Keezer, 17, of Ainsworth, and a northbound 2006
Chevy Equinox, driven by Madison Welch, 17, of Ainsworth.
department report indicated the Impala attempted to turn east from Main Street
onto Second Street when the collision occurred with the Equinox. Snow piled in
the middle of Main Street obstructed the view of the northbound lane and
contributed to the accident.
No injuries were
reported. Damage to the Impala was estimated at $2,000. The Equinox sustained
approximately $500 damage.
* Monday accident on Main Street injures 3 motorists
(Posted 3:15 p.m. Dec. 31)
accident at the intersection of Third and Main streets in Ainsworth Monday
injured three motorists.
At 2:40 p.m.
Monday, a 2001 Ford F-150, driven by Jesse Marshall, 24, of Ainsworth, was
traveling west on Third Street and crossing the Main Street intersection when a
collision occurred with a 2008 Chevy Impala, driven southbound on Main Street by
Aliya Keezer, 17, of Ainsworth.
With snow piled
in the middle of Main Street, the lack of visibility at the intersection was a
factor in the accident, according to Brown County Sheriff Bruce Papstein.
Both drivers and
one passenger in the Ford were transported by the Brown County Ambulance
Association to the Brown County Hospital for treatment of injuries suffered
during the accident.
Damage to the
Ford was estimated at $5,000. The Chevy was considered a total loss.
The accident prompted the civil defense siren to sound in Ainsworth. The
Ainsworth Volunteer Fire Department responded to the accident call to support
the Brown County Sheriff's Department and the Brown County Ambulance
* Highway 20 between Ainsworth and Bassett closed due to
(Posted 7 a.m. Dec. 30)
Highway 20 between Ainsworth and Bassett is closed due
to a semi getting stuck that is blocking both lanes of traffic. The Nebraska
Department of Transportation is working to get the semi unstuck and the lanes
cleared, but until further notice, Highway 20 is closed to traffic.
The Department of Transportation reports all other roads in the area are
impassable, and will likely remain so until the wind subsides. Travel is not
advised anywhere in the listening area until further notice.
Stay tuned to KBRB for additional updates.
* City asks residents not to park on streets to aid in
(Posted 4 p.m. Dec. 27)
The City of Ainsworth is asking residents to remove
vehicles and trailers from street parking throughout the duration of the
upcoming winter storm.
Moving vehicles off streets will assist the streets department with snow removal
Also a reminder, street parking is prohibited on emergency routes when there is
snowfall. Emergency routes include: Third Street from Walnut to Woodward
streets; Main Street from Highway 20 to South Street; Harrington Street from
Highway 20 to Zero Street; First Street from Main to Pine streets; Pine Street
from First to Zero streets; Zero Street from Pine to Harrington streets; Second
Street from Harrington to Fullerton streets; and Second Street from Walnut to
The city thanks everyone for their help and cooperation by keeping vehicles off
city streets, and especially keeping the above emergency routes clear.
* Chamber of Commerce awards another $250 in Holiday
Bucks to local shoppers
(Posted 3:30 p.m. Dec. 27)
The Ainsworth Area Chamber of Commerce awarded another
$250 in chamber gift certificates during its annual Holiday Bucks promotion.
Those shopping in chamber member businesses during the holiday season may enter
for a chance to win $50 in Holiday Bucks, redeemable in any chamber member
Week 4 Holiday Bucks winners were Tom Bower of Ainsworth, who made his winning
purchase in J’s Keggers; Eric Goochey of Johnstown, whose winning purchase came
from Plains Equipment; Clarabelle Kenner of Wood Lake, who made her winning
purchase in The Book Peddler; Laura Priest of Ainsworth, whose winning purchase
was made in the H&R Food Center; and Cameron Koch of Ainsworth, whose winning
purchase came from Bomgaar’s.
Winners may pick up their certificates from the chamber office on Main Street.
* Recent cases from Brown County Court
(Posted 2:45 p.m. Dec. 26)
In addition to
fines, each case carries $50 in court costs
Schultz, age 38, of St. Cloud, Minn., speeding 16-20 mph over the limit, fined
Wingrove, 36, of Valentine, speeding 11-15 mph over the limit, $75.
Williams, 47, of Castle Rock, Colo., speeding 11-15 mph over the limit, $75.
Austin S. Crane,
26, improper or defective vehicle light, $25.
Sivertson, 22, of Watertown, S.D., speeding 6-10 mph over the limit, $25.
Naprstek, 76, of Valparaiso, speeding 6-10 mph over the limit, $25.
Frank Collins of
Long Pine, unregistered vehicle, $50.
Stanislav, 58, of Elkhorn, violation of deer regulations, $100; failure to
display hunter orange material, $25.
Stanislav, 24, of Elkhorn, failure to display hunter orange material, $25.
Stanislav, 29, of Elkhorn, failure to display hunter orange material, $25.
Glen D. Boschen,
81, of Ainsworth, hunting/fishing/trapping without permission, $200 and ordered
to pay $1,000 in liquidation damage.
Boschen, 68, of Broken Bow, hunting/fishing/trapping without permission, $200.
Short, 43, of Lakewood, Colo., speeding 11-15 mph over the limit, $75.
McLeod, 46, of Ainsworth, failure to license a dog or cat, $25 and ordered to
pay $149 in restitution.
Monte S. Goshorn,
61, 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.
Lori A. Buoy,
54, of Long Pine, second offense driving under the influence, $500 and sentenced
to 30 days in jail; improper or defective vehicle light, $25.
Jose R. Sanchez,
36, of Ainsworth, violation of a stop or yield sign, $75.
Adam C. Schwab,
30, of Sioux Falls, S.D., attempting a Class 1 misdemeanor, $1,000; also charged
with possession of marijuana less than 1 ounce, $300; possession of drug
Anderson, 26, of Sioux Falls, S.D., attempting a Class 4 felony, $1,000;
possession of marijuana less than 1 ounce, $300; possession of drug
* Area students graduate from the University of
(Posted 7:30 a.m. Dec. 24)
and graduate degrees for 381 students were conferred during commencement
exercises Friday at the University of Nebraska at Kearney.
graduating from the University of Nebraska-Kearney included:
a Bachelor of Arts degree in art education. McBride graduated with honorable
a Bachelor of Arts degree in English writing. Albrecht graduated Magna Cum
a Bachelor of Science degree in exercise science.
Atkinson, a Bachelor of Arts degree in elementary education.
Bancroft, a Bachelor of Arts degree in business administration.
a Bachelor of Arts degree in business administration. Kelber graduated with
honorable mention recognition.
a Bachelor of Science degree in recreation management.
* Area students receive degrees from UN-L Saturday
(Posted 7 a.m. Dec. 23)
Kwame Dawes told
the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s December graduates to ask big questions, be
engaged and continually try in the face of a complex, ever-changing world.
award-winning poet and writer, Chancellor’s Professor of English and Glenna
Luschei Editor of Prairie Schooner, delivered the undergraduate commencement
address, “Only the Trying,” Saturday in Pinnacle Bank Arena.
of Nebraska-Lincoln conferred 1,428 degrees during its winter commencement
exercises. The 1,404 graduates are from 49 countries, 35 states and more than
150 Nebraska communities.
from UN-L include:
Elizabeth Nolles, College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources,
Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Education.
Bruns, College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, Bachelor of Arts
in Hospitality, Restaurant and Tourism Management.
Dexter, College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, Bachelor of
Science in Agribusiness.
Fritz, College of Engineering, Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering.
Miriam-Katherine Mathis, College of Education and Human Sciences, Bachelor of
Science in Education and Human Sciences with distinction.
Reiser, College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, Bachelor of
Science in Agronomy.
Dawes opened the
speech with a passage from T.S. Eliot’s epic poem “The Four Quarters.” The
phrase he wanted the graduates to reflect upon is: “For us, there is only the
trying. The rest is not our business.”
A few years ago,
Dawes set out to better understand the history of the American presidency. He
started with George Washington and made his way through about two dozen
presidents, reading biographies and autobiographies.
something else,” he said. “Even then, politics were raw, complicated, and the
actions and decisions of our leaders had a massive impact on the daily lives of
people. Much of it seemed remarkably familiar.”
despite how “ugly, brutal and sometimes despicable” the stories he discovered,
he found comfort in what he read. For every indication of brute acceptance of
bigotry and the demeaning of other people, whether Native people or
African-Americans, there existed those who wrestled with it, spoke out against
it, asked questions and tried to offer alternate views.
issues of conscience and morality were being discussed around the country, and
when unconscionable ideas prevailed, there were people who felt differently and
who understood that to be a part of their Americanness,” he said. “They tried.”
Dawes said he
began to realize that the emotional and moral compass of a society could be
tracked by what will always be found in letters, poems, songs, stories,
newspaper articles, sermons and essays, and, in modern times, emails, blogs,
social media posts and text messages.
“By this I mean,
there is a moral compass to a society that can be preserved in ordinary people
being willing to ask questions, to resist the easy answers and to try to do the
right thing and act in the right way,” he said.
the graduates that they will shape society and leave a legacy among their peers
and especially family members who follow them.
* Chamber awards $250 to Week 3 Holiday Bucks winners
(Posted 3:30 p.m. Dec. 20)
The Ainsworth Area Chamber of Commerce continued its
Holiday Bucks promotion with the awarding of $250 in Chamber Bucks to those
shopping in chamber member businesses during the holiday season.
Those making a purchase in a chamber member business during the holiday season
are eligible to win $50 in Chamber Bucks, which can be redeemed in any member
Week 3 winners are Judy Walters of Ainsworth, who made her winning purchase in
J’s Keggers; Mary Rau of Ainsworth, whose winning purchase was made in The Book
Peddler; Lacey Friedrich of Bassett, who made her winning purchase in Bomgaar’s;
and Eileen Sylvester and Mary Jo McCall, who both made their winning purchases
in the H&R Food Center.
Winners may pick up their $50 in Chamber Bucks from the chamber office on Main
* Area students named Academic All-State by the NSAA
(Posted 2 p.m. Dec. 20)
Each year the
Nebraska School Activities Association and the Nebraska Chiropractic Physicians
Association recognize students with Academic All-State Awards who have been
nominated by their schools, based on their individual academic excellence,
leadership and significant contributions made to their NSAA activity.
There were 2,554
students named Academic All-State during the fall seasons.
who received Academic All-State recognition from the NSAA are:
Ben Flynn and Ty
Schlueter in boys cross country, CeeAnna Beel and Rylee Rice in girls cross
country, Caleb Allen and Sloan Raymond in football, Allison Arens and Allison
Taylor in girls golf, Brandt Murphy and Rylee Rice in play production, and
Madelyn Goochey and Summer Richardson in volleyball.
Daisy Frick in
girls cross country, and Adyson Linse and Sidney Linse in volleyball.
Bussinger and Tommy Klemesrud in boys cross country, Mariah Ost in girls cross
country, Wyatt Olson and Dolan Pospichal in football, and Brooklyn Buell and
Carson Shaw in play production.
Katilynn Kaup in
girls cross country, Wade Paxton and Cameron Sattler in football, Colton Kaup
and Lainey Paxton in play production, and Reaghan Engel and Madison Stracke in
Butterfield and Aaron Kraus in boys cross country, Sophie Laeber and Brianna
Rentschler in girls cross country, Javin Klabenes and Joseph Seger in football,
Jordyn Laible and Lydia Stenka in girls golf, Haley Peek and Martin Wentworth in
play production, and Ellie Burkinshaw and Lindsey Jelinek in volleyball.
Dylan Lister and
Bryan Zutavern in football, and Madison Marten in volleyball.
in boys cross country, and Andrea Hipke in girls cross country.
and Cody Miller in boys cross country, MaKenzie Long in girls cross country, Jon
Keller and Christopher Williams in football, Shauna Radant and Ramsey
Ravenscroft in girls golf, Timothy Egelhoff and Elliana Springer in play
production, and Haley Hesse and Allison Hitchcock in volleyball.
* September taxable sales rise almost 50 percent in
(Posted 7 a.m. Dec. 19)
Comparison of September 2019 and
September 2018 Net Taxable Sales for Nebraska Counties and Selected Cities
Comparison of September 2019 and
September 2018 Motor Vehicle Sales Tax Collections by County
* Ainsworth Fire Department among those recognized
Tuesday for flood rescue efforts
(Posted 6:45 a.m. Dec. 18)
ceremony Tuesday in the State Capitol Rotunda, Gov. Pete Ricketts and First Lady
Susanne Shore recognized several dozen heroes who helped save lives during the
recipients was the Ainsworth Volunteer Fire Department, which was credited with
performing a life-saving rescue during September’s flooding.
additional fire departments recognized were the O’Neill, Spencer and Lynch
“As Susanne and
I traveled the state in the aftermath of the most widespread natural disaster in
our history, we heard heartwarming stories of ordinary Nebraskans doing
extraordinary work,” Ricketts said. “Nebraskans showed their strength, grit, and
compassion in countless ways. They rescued stranded neighbors and animals,
sandbagged wells, donated hay and supplies, delivered hot meals, and raised
funds for those who lost everything. This State Capitol ceremony is the first
of several ways we plan to honor heroes from the floods over the course of the
In June, the
governor and first lady asked Nebraskans to submit nominations for the Flood
Heroes honor. Hundreds of nominations were received, detailing Nebraskans’
extraordinary compassion and bravery in service of their communities. Among the
state’s many Flood Heroes, those who took direct action to save the lives of
others received their official honor at the Capitol.
floods, Nebraskans rose to the challenge to protect their families and assist
their neighbors,” Shore said. “Many worked overtime, risked their personal
safety, and generously contributed their time and money to give aid to their
communities. We have been inspired by the stories of these heroes in our
midst. I am grateful for the opportunity to give them official recognition for
their service to our state.”
blizzards and floods caused the most widespread natural disaster in Nebraska’s
history. The disaster claimed lives and caused billions of dollars in damages
across the state. Thousands of homes and businesses were lost. Disaster
declarations were issued in 84 counties, 104 cities and villages, and 5 tribes.
Nebraskans suffered losses from the flood, many more stepped up to help families
and neighbors. Across the state, Nebraskans immediately took action and
displayed great courage, in some cases risking their own lives to save others.
An army of individuals volunteered to feed flood victims, rebuild homes, and
help put lives back together.
James Wilke, a
farmer from Columbus, was the first Flood Hero recognized during Tuesday’s
ceremony. Wilke sacrificed his life while volunteering to save a stranded
motorist. When driving his tractor to aid a rescue attempt, the bridge he
traveled over could not withstand the powerful water. The bridge collapsed, and
Wilke perished. His mother Jan, wife Rachel, and children Julianne, Colton, and
Addie accepted the award on his behalf.
The Governor and
First Lady also presented an award to air crewmen and coordinators with the
Nebraska National Guard. From March 13 to April 13, the Guard rescued 112
people (66 by hoist rescues) and saved 13 pets. Many of these rescues took
place in severe weather. Pilots reported that the poor flying conditions during
the Nebraska floods were worse than some of the experiences they had conducting
missions in Iraq and Afghanistan.
A group of brave
men from the Fremont area were also recognized for their heroism. On Thursday,
March 14, these first responders sprang into action after receiving urgent calls
for help from a stranded family with a two-year-old girl living along the
Elkhorn River. With Highway 30 blocked by floodwaters, the seven rescuers
volunteered for a waterborne rescue—using two of their own airboats. Wind gusts
of 40-50 miles per hour resulted in massive whitecaps, and the huge waves
capsized the first boat. The second boat also overturned as its crew tried to
With their boats
sunk, the men contacted Fremont’s Fire Chief as they struggled to stay afloat in
the freezing water and choppy waves. In turn, he initiated a chain of
communication that resulted in the Nebraska Army National Guard sending a Black
Hawk helicopter from Columbus. The chopper airlifted the men to Fremont
Municipal Airport. Upon landing, they were rushed to Methodist Fremont Health
hospital to receive medical attention. Their body temperatures were dangerously
low from having been submerged in the icy water. Thankfully, all seven men
fully recovered, and—in true Nebraska fashion—they were soon back out performing
more rescue missions. Fremont’s Fire Chief nicknamed them “The Magnificent
Seven” for their heroism. The family they had initially tried to rescue was
eventually transported to safety by a Nebraska Game and Parks airboat.
* Portion of Cowboy Trail closed east of Valentine
(Posted 1:45 p.m. Dec. 16)
The Cowboy Trail between the Niobrara River and the
Highway 20 parking lot outside of Valentine is closed until further notice due
to user safety concerns. Significant hillside erosion has occurred near the
trail and will require repair.
The bridge over the Niobrara River is accessible from any trail access point in
Valentine but will no longer be accessible by the Highway 20 parking lot.
* Teachers recognized for impact on UN-L students
(Posted 9:15 a.m. Dec. 16)
Impacts made by
high school teachers were recently celebrated by the University of
A call for
nominations by first-year students resulted in more than 900 teachers being
honored for their work in positively shaping the Huskers’ high school
experiences and preparing them for college. Each nominated teacher received a
letter from Chancellor Ronnie Green.
helped (the students) earn acceptance to a Big Ten university where they’ll
discover and stretch their strengths, work one-on-one with peers and faculty and
prepare for a great career or advanced study,” Green said. “We are grateful for
the investment you make in your students, and I know your impact will continue
to resonate with them.”
Of the 900
teachers recognized, 600 are working across Nebraska. Among them were Ainsworth
High School agricultural education teacher Roger Lechtenberg and Valentine High
School teacher Ronelle Kilmer.
The project was
intended to recognize the investment teachers make with their students, helping
them earn a diploma and strive to attend college. The honor also reflects a
University of Nebraska belief that the path through college is just as important
as the journey that brought students to campus.
imperative for students to think about their future - choosing a major, building
relationships and developing skills for success - we also think it’s important
for students to reflect on the path that brought them to Nebraska,” said Amber
Williams, UN-L assistant vice chancellor.
* Area students slated to graduate Friday from UNK
(Posted 8:45 a.m. Dec. 16)
and graduate degrees for 381 students will be conferred during commencement
exercises at 10 a.m. Friday at the University of Nebraska at Kearney.
Snyder is the featured speaker. Vice president of student affairs emeritus from
the University of Utah, Snyder served as vice chancellor for student affairs at
UNK from 1988-99 and held various positions at Iowa State University from
scheduled to graduate Friday from UNK include:
Hailey McBride, a bachelor’s degree in art education.
Keesha Albrecht, a bachelor’s degree in English writing; and Tyler Guggenmos, a
bachelor of science degree in exercise science.
Butte – Mitchell
Atkinson, a bachelor’s degree in elementary education.
Cameron Bancroft, a bachelor’s degree in business administration; Madison Kelber,
a bachelor’s degree in business administration; and Cameron Perrett, a
bachelor’s degree in recreation management.
* Chamber draws Week 2 winners in Holiday Bucks
(Posted 2:45 p.m. Dec. 13)
Ainsworth Area Chamber of Commerce drew the second week of winners during its
annual Holiday Bucks promotion. Winners receive $50 in Chamber Bucks, which can
be redeemed in any chamber member business.
winners were Dale Hafer, Wendy Platt and Melissa Freudenberg, who all made their
winning purchases in Red & White Market; and Beth Kietzman and Hannah Schmitz,
who made their purchases in the H&R Food Center.
may pick up their Holiday Bucks from the chamber office on Main Street. Continue
shopping in chamber member businesses during the holiday season for a chance to
* Ainsworth finishes with 1-2 record at Nebraska State
Mock Trial Championships
(Posted 2:30 p.m. Dec. 13)
Ainsworth High School placed 10th in the recent Nebraska Mock Trial
Championships held at Lincoln on Dec. 9-10. Omaha Duchesne Academy defeated
Omaha Creighton Prep in the championship trial. Duchesne advances to the
National Championships in May.
the two days of competition, Ainsworth had trials with Columbus Scotus, Grand
Island Northwest, and York. The team defeated GINW but was bested by the teams
from Scotus and York.
very proud of how the team performed,” Aunsworth coach Mary Rau said. “Our team
is still relatively inexperienced, and many of the finer points of Mock Trial
come through years of competition. Next year will be even better than this year.
It’s all about building that initial foundation of knowledge. These students
have great potential.”
awards for best performances were as follows:
Scotus—Attorney Alyssa Erthum and Witness Coy Carson
Alyssa Erthum and Witness Brandt Murphy
York—Attorney Coy Carson and Witness Brandt Murphy
of the Blue Team include seniors Coy Carson and Raven Stewart; juniors Cody
Kronhofman, Brandt Murphy, Molly Salzman and Elizabeth Smith; and sophomore
* Highway 11 bridge south of Butte reopens to traffic
(Posted 2:30 p.m. Dec. 13)
Department of Transportation announced Friday the Highway 11 bridge south of
Butte is now open to traffic.
The bridge had
been closed since March 13 when it was severely damaged by ice and flooding.
The repair work
included replacing the concrete deck, repairing and/or replacing damaged
girders, and shifting the bridge back into the correct position. Kiewit
Infrastructure Company of Omaha was the contractor for the repairs, estimated at
$8 million, and began work on June 24.
While other work
continues at the site, traffic may be reduced to one-lane and controlled by
advised to use caution while driving through construction zones and always wear
a seat belt.
NDOT thanked all
its partners for their tireless work to open these critical corridors for the
people of Nebraska. Work continues to restore normal operations in other areas
of the state. The NDOT will continue to update the public as it completes
projects and normal traffic operations resume.
* NPPD customers will see a rebate and no rate increase
(Posted 6:30 a.m. Dec. 13)
Power District customers will not only have no base increases in their power
rates for 2020, but customers will receive a credit on their account after
action taken by the NPPD Board of Directors.
For NPPD retail
customers the approval of no rate increase for 2020 marks the seventh year in a
row with no increase, while wholesale customers (public power districts and
municipalities) that purchase electricity from NPPD will see a third consecutive
year with no base rate increase.
“No increase in
our electric rates is good for the economy of Nebraska and the people who live
and work here. It’s especially good for the agriculture economy of the state
which has had some tough times recently,” said NPPD President and CEO Pat Pope.
“Cost control has been important to NPPD and we have seen increased efficiencies
and are operating very well. But at no time have we impacted service,
reliability, or jeopardized the safety of our employees and customers.”
On the wholesale side, rural public power
districts and municipalities will see a production cost adjustment credit
averaging 6.2% on their monthly bill for the next year. NPPD’s Board voted to
return $46.1 million in rate stabilization funds back to its wholesale
customers, 46 municipalities and 24 rural public power districts and rural
cooperatives, through the PCA which will run from February 2020 to January 2021.
NPPD will enter
a seventh year without a base rate increase for its retail customers which
includes residential, commercial and industrial customers in 79 communities in
NPPD’s service territory. Those NPPD retail customers who receive a bill
directly from NPPD will see a PCA credit on their monthly bill between February
2020 through January 2021, ranging from 2% to 4% depending on the customer class
and electrical usage.
electric rates continue to be very competitive when compared to more than 800
other power suppliers we benchmark against,” Pope said. “On the retail side,
NPPD has kept its electric rates stable for end-use customers for six years
straight and 2020 will make it seven years.”
its wholesale rate with the National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance
Corporation’s wholesale power cost. Several years ago, NPPD established a goal
of being in CFC’s lowest quartile (below the 25 percentile mark) and was at the
26.9-percentile mark in the most recent benchmarking conducted in 2018.
* City Council discusses snow removal following
(Posted 6:45 a.m. Dec. 12)
official action was taken, snow removal was again a major topic of discussion
during Wednesday’s Ainsworth City Council meeting.
Hurless said she believes the city needs to work on its removal plan.
“We have had
four people stuck in front of our house on the street,” Hurless said. “It is not
just on our street, either. I think the guys know the problem areas, and they
should move the snow when it is still soft. It is not good to have to have
four-wheel drive on city streets.”
Rich Hurless said there had to be at least an 8-inch drop from the hard-pack
snow on East First Street down into a dip, and then back up to more snow.
“It was like
that for a week and a half,” he said. “Some cars even got high-centered. And
that isn’t the only place where there was a problem.”
said the city can issue him a ticket if he doesn’t remove snow from his sidewalk
in a timely manner.
“I can’t write
the city a ticket for not getting the snow off the street,” he said.
Sullivan said he understood snow removal issues have also been brought up in the
“The city crews
are out there working,” Sullivan said. “If we are informed there are situations
out there like that, we can address it. This happens on the north side of town
Soles said the weather did not cooperate with this storm, as it warmed up enough
to turn the snow into slush, then froze hard and made it difficult if not
impossible to get the ice off the streets.
“We have been
talking about this issue before this snow,” Soles said. “We are trying to be
vehicles parked on Main Street and on emergency routes continue to be an issue
when the city tries to remove snow. He said people aren’t going to be happy, but
there is going to be some enforcement when people leave vehicles parked on
designated snow removal routes.
business Wednesday, the council heard a report from Ainsworth Golf Course Board
member Chris Osterman.
Osterman said it
was a difficult weather year, but the course was surviving.
the city’s contributions,” Osterman said. “We are looking at ways to pull in
some additional revenue. We are hosting some Christmas parties and trying to
pull in some winter revenue.”
the course was also considering amending its liquor license to allow for
“We thought we
might try that, but we will have to come back to the council for approval on
that,” Osterman said.
reported he believed the course’s clubhouse manager would return for 2020, but
he didn’t believe the groundskeeper would be back for the next year.
Rod Worrell said it would be great if the course superintendent could somehow
get onto the city’s health insurance plan. He said it would help the course
tremendously in finding and keeping a course superintendent if he or she could
get onto the city’s plan.
Soles asked if
the course had to pay rent to the Ainsworth Airport each year.
the course paid about $1,800 annually to lease the ground from the airport.
Soles said the
city actually owns the ground, and is helping to support the course.
understand why we are having to pay rent on ground we own,” Soles said.
that didn’t make sense to her either.
Rod Palmer said the city gave the rights to the ground to the airport authority,
which is an entity to itself.
“It would be
their decision,” Palmer said.
Fiala asked if the course sustained damage from the 2019 flooding.
the course lost a couple large trees during the September flooding, and had some
bridge damage as well as other minor problems due to all the water.
action item, the council approved additional amendments to the city’s economic
development program policy and procedure manual as recommended by the Citizen
Advisory Review Committee.
Administrator Lisa Schroedl said there were some additional typos found that
needed to be cleaned up.
The vote to
approve the recommended amendments was 3-0, with Councilman Schyler Schenk
The council also
discussed installing a sump pump at the Ainsworth Swimming Pool to remove
standing water from the pool basin in the off-season. Schroedl said the sump
pump would add $1,408 to the filter replacement project currently underway at
“The sump pump
would keep water from sitting in the pool basin all winter,” Schroedl said. “It
might help us get another year or two out of the caulking and painting.”
Schroedl said it
cost the city about $28,000 every time it had to repaint and caulk the swimming
“This would be
an easy change order to add while they are here doing the larger project,” she
said. “It is an auto pump, so it doesn’t have to be turned on manually.”
Worrell said the
sump pumps installed at the Shopko loading dock didn’t work, and only lasted a
month before they froze up.
Soles shared the
same concern, and said he would be in favor of installing a pump if there were
no issues with it freezing.
“If it isn’t
going to work, I don’t want to spend the money,” Soles said.
tabled the item to seek additional information.
In old business,
Schroedl updated the council on garbage service options as the city explores
whether to provide in-house garbage removal service or whether it will contract
for the service with a private company in the future.
she has a meeting next week with a sales representative to look at the cost to
purchase a new or used garbage truck.
“I will try and
put a price tag together if we choose to keep the service in-house,” she said.
questioned the city potentially going with a service that required residents to
use a large container for garbage pickup.
“People have a
hard time finding their trash cans now when the wind blows,” Hurless said. “They
sometimes get blown several blocks away.”
the containers provided by the private service would be much heavier than
standard garbage cans, and would be harder for the wind to blow them away.
Soles said the
injury factor to employees was the biggest risk to the city in continuing to
provide the service.
something we have to consider,” Soles said. “No decision has been made yet.”
report, Schroedl said the North Central Development Center did provide a check
to the city in the amount of $73,123 from its housing demolition funds as
requested during November’s meeting by the council. The council requested the
NCDC return $72,997 previously awarded in general funds and ABC funds for
She reported the
street shop building project is now about 80 percent complete, with the steel
building erected. She said the overhead doors were scheduled to be installed
this week, followed by the electrical work.
expressed disappointment in how the city handled the repair of Herrington Street
following the spring flood damage.
“It is now nine
months after the street broke up,” Worrell said. “Now it is frozen. As soon as
it starts thawing, that street will be impassable. It is a travesty nothing was
done. The ambulance will have to avoid that street.”
Fiala said he
hit rough spots on the street with the ambulance recently, and it was rough.
“It needs to be
fixed properly,” Fiala said.
the plan is to have a contractor come in next spring and fix Herrington Street
and others damaged by the March flooding.
“We were trying
to get mitigation dollars to put concrete in,” Schroedl said.
She said the
city’s request for mitigation dollars to change the damaged streets from asphalt
to concrete was denied.
Worrell said it
was a pipe dream to think the city would receive funding to put in concrete
reported she continues to work with Scottsbluff attorney Rick Ediger and Brown
County Hospital CEO John Werner on a solution for professional recruitment
funding through the city’s LB 840 program. She said there were a few options the
group was considering to meet the legal requirements of the LB 840 plan.
She said she was
also working on a vacant housing ordinance to allow the city to potentially fine
property owners for having vacant property in city limits with no plans to sell
or rent the vacant property. She said that bill was passed by the Nebraska
Legislature, and could help the city with some of the housing and commercial
property issues it is facing.
The next meeting
of the Ainsworth City Council is scheduled for 5 p.m. Jan. 13.
* Braun's IGA of Atkinson receives grant for freezer
(Posted 3:30 p.m. Dec. 11)
Development Nebraska State Director Karl Elmshaeuser announced nearly $925,000
will be utilized for energy efficiencies and renewable energy that will help a
total of 14 ag producers and rural-based businesses.
dollars through energy efficiency improvements means an increase in bottom-line
revenue and supports economic growth,” Elmshaeuser said. “USDA’s Rural Energy
for America Program has assisted 37 ag producers and rural small businesses in
Fiscal Year 2019 through $1,128,108 which makes Rural Development a key funding
source to help rural Nebraska prosper.”
Nebraska recipients include
Braun's IGA Inc. of Atkinson, which is
receiving $2,421 for the purchase and installation of a new 34 door Zero-Zone
freezer system. The project will realize $6,910 per year in energy savings and
will save 81,658 kilowatts of electricity per year (55%), enough to power seven
Recipients can use REAP funding for energy audits,
and to increase energy efficiency by making improvements to heating, ventilation
and cooling systems; insulation; and lighting and refrigeration. Funding may
also be used to install renewable energy systems such as biomass, geothermal,
hydropower and solar.
* Several sentenced Tuesday in Brown County District
(Posted 7:30 a.m. Dec. 11)
County District Court proceedings Tuesday, Andrew Roepke, age 20, of North
Platte, was sentenced to 18 months of prison in the Nebraska Department of
Corrections and 18 months of post-release supervision after pleading guilty to a
charge of attempted theft by unlawful taking, a Class IIIA felony.
31, of Kansas, was sentenced to 270 days in jail and one year of post-release
supervision after pleading guilty to a charge of attempted theft by unlawful
taking, a Class IIIA felony.
26, of Kansas, was sentenced to 270 days incarceration with one year of
post-release supervision after pleading guilty to attempted theft by unlawful
taking, a Class IIIA felony.
32, of Bassett, was sentenced to 30 months of probation, seven days in jail and
$700 in fines after pleading guilty to charges of making terroristic threats, a
Class IIIA felony; resisting arrest, a Class I misdemeanor; and second offense
driving under the influence, a Class W misdemeanor.
Eric Daniel, 22,
of Valentine, entered a plea of guilty to a charge of first degree sexual
assault of a minor, a Class II felony. Daniel was sentenced to 90 days in jail
and one year of probation.
41, of Ainsworth, pleaded guilty to a charge of attempted distribution of a
controlled substance, a Class IIIA felony. Paulsen will be sentenced in District
Court Feb. 11.
Gutierrez, 43, of Ainsworth, entered guilty pleas to charges of assaulting an
officer, a Class IIIA felony; and attempted domestic assault, a Class II
misdemeanor. Gutierrez will be sentenced Feb. 11 in District Court.
* Care Center Board approves bid from Nelson's Furniture
to install window coverings
(Posted 1 p.m. Dec. 10)
Care Center Board on Monday approved a bid from Nelson’s Furniture of Valentine
for the purchase and installation of new window coverings in the facility.
Stephanie Kinzie told the board she inquired with several companies about
providing bids. She said several declined to bid.
In addition to a
bid she presented to the board during November’s meeting from an Iowa company,
she said Nelson’s Furniture had provided a quote.
“Dave gave us a
discount, and also is providing financing at zero interest for 12 months if we
would like,” Kinzie told the board.
the board approve the bid from Nelson’s Furniture since the company would also
install the window coverings, while the care center’s maintenance employee would
have had to handle the installation if the board chose the other bid.
“They are local
and would be available if something ever went wrong,” Kinzie said. “If we
approve the bid, they said they would have them installed within three weeks.”
unanimously approved the $14,762 quote from Nelson’s Furniture to supply new
window coverings for the entire facility.
business Monday, Kinzie told the board the care center was hosting a family
appreciation night at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 10. She said the meal was a thank you
to those families for entrusting the care of their loved ones to the Sandhills
the facility generated $156,991 in revenue during November, with expenses of
$131,356 for an operating margin of $25,634 for the month. She said the care
center admitted three residents in November, while two residents passed away.
There are currently 25 residents in the Sandhills Care Center.
two additional part-time registered nurses had recently been hired for night
shifts, which should further reduce the facility’s use of agency nursing. She
reported the workman’s compensation audit had been recently completed, and the
care center would receive a rebate of $6,800 from its insurance policy.
The next meeting
of the Sandhills Care Center Board of Directors is scheduled for 4 p.m. Jan. 13.
* Elsmere Road to close again Wednesday for culvert
(Posted 7:30 a.m. Dec. 10)
Brown County Highway Superintendent Kenny Turpin
reported the Elsmere Road will again be closed Wednesday starting at 8:30 a.m.
to allow the roads department to finish culvert installation work in areas where
water went across the road in 2019.
Turpin said the county installed one culvert Friday, and has two additional
culverts to install Wednesday. The roads department will begin work Wednesday
between Moon Lake Avenue and West Calamus Road.
* McAndrew Gymnasium roof project completed
(Posted 7 a.m. Dec. 10)
meeting, Ainsworth Community Schools Superintendent Dale Hafer told the Board of
Education the gym roof replacement project has been completed.
Hafer said the
total cost of $82,521 was $3,100 more than the original bid due to drain issues
that were discovered after the old roof was removed.
reported the district’s audit report was completed and forwarded to the Nebraska
Department of Education. The superintendent said the district ran up against the
deadline for submission due to the school’s auditor at Dana F Cole having health
issues that caused a delay in the completion of the audit.
“We ran into
some deadlines that were beyond our control, but the NDE was not sympathetic,”
Hafer said. “Even though we had done our part, it is the NDE’s position that it
is our responsibility the auditor get the work completed on time.”
Brad Wilkins asked if the district needed to include assurances when it gets
quotes for future audits that someone will take over and handle the district’s
audit were this type of situation to arise again.
“Dana F Cole is
a big enough firm,” Wilkins said.
Hafer said he
was inclined to include something along those lines in the next contract.
“It is our
obligation to have the audit done by the deadline,” Hafer said. “We need to make
sure help is available in those instances.”
Jim Arens asked what kind of ramifications the district could face if the audit
was not completed by the deadline.
Hafer said the
Nebraska Department of Education could put a hold on the district’s funding.
was beyond this person’s control, and we are certainly sympathetic,” Hafer said.
“But, they are a big company. We ended up having to scramble the day the report
was due to get it done.”
there were no deficient findings with the audit report other than the lack of
segregation of duties over financial controls all smaller districts receive due
to smaller staffing.
superintendent also reported the district will make the transition to the new
heating and air company Jan. 1. He said the district had a heating issue coming
out of Thanksgiving break, and a motor on one of the boiler pumps had to be
In action items
Monday, the board approved the resignation of fourth-grade teacher Jennifer Parr
effective Dec. 20. Hafer said Parr was resigning for personal reasons.
He said the
district has advertised for an anticipated opening.
would be to find a graduate who could come in for the second semester,” Hafer
said. “If we find a good candidate, that is what we will do. Otherwise, we will
utilize one of our long-term subs.”
The board also
approved having Trane Climate Solutions perform a preliminary audit of the
district’s facilities. Hafer said the district was only picking a company to
help the school get started in creating a long-term plan and prioritize needs
for the facility.
commit us to anything,” Hafer said. “We are only picking someone to help us get
approved opening a Nebraska Federal Investment Trust Account through Union Bank
and Trust to handle the district’s meal program account. Hafer said the trust
account serves as a checking account for the district’s meal program, and there
was no major change from the former NPAIT account.
The next meeting
of the Ainsworth Community Schools Board of Education is scheduled for 7 p.m.
* Chamber draws Week 1 winners in Holiday Bucks
(Posted 2 p.m. Dec. 6)
The Ainsworth Area
Chamber of Commerce drew its Week 1 Holiday Bucks winners Friday. Anyone
shopping in a chamber member business during the holiday season can enter for a
chance to win $50 in Holiday Bucks, which can be redeemed in any member
H&R Food Center was the hot spot for Week 1 winners, as four of the five names
drawn made their purchases in H&R. Those winners are Kristen Johnson, Katie
Winters, Kristy Beard and Julie Ruhter. Lori Voss made her winning purchase at
Winners may pick up their $50 in Holiday Bucks from the chamber office on Main
* Recent cases from Brown County Court
(Posted 2 p.m. Dec. 5)
In addition to
fines, each case carries $50 in court costs
age 38, of Huron, S.D., charged with speeding 11-15 mph over the limit, fined
Tyler W. Cress,
30, of Long Pine, second offense driving under the influence, $500, also
sentenced to 10 days in jail with credit for one day served, six months of
probation, driver’s license revoked for 18 months, and ordered to install an
ignition interlock device.
Jakob E. Tech,
19, of Ainsworth, improper or defective vehicle light, $25.
Jose A. Saucedo,
25, of Aurora, Colo., speeding 11-15 mph over the limit, $75.
Duane L. Reposa,
77, of McCook, speeding 6-10 mph over the limit, $25.
Shockley, 59, of Elk City, Okla., speeding 11-15 mph over the limit, $75.
Santistevan, 47, of Pueblo, Colo., speeding 16-20 mph over the limit, $125.
Busskohl, 22, of Atwater, Minn., attempt of a Class 4 felony, $1,000; also
charged with possession of marijuana less than 1 ounce, $300; possession of drug
Marriott, 49, of Longmont, Colo., speeding 16-20 mph over the limit, $125.
Allen R. Privett
Jr., 21, of Ainsworth, first offense littering, $50.
Wilson, 49, of Ainsworth, speeding 6-10 mph over the limit, $25.
Justin B. Baier,
40, of Mount Vernon, Ind., speeding 6-10 mph over the limit, $25.
Joseph H. Spiro,
58, of Alma, Colo., speeding 6-10 mph over the limit, $25.
37, of Ainsworth, issuing a no-account check, $50 and ordered to pay $247 in
Cody E. Jackson,
27, of Hastings, first offense driving under the influence, $500, sentenced to
six months of probation, driver’s license revoked for 60 days, and ordered to
install an ignition interlock device.
Ausborn, 29, of Huntington, Texas, speeding 21-35 mph over the limit, $200.
Thomas D. Troxel,
20, of Ainsworth, speeding 6-10 mph over the limit, $25; also charged with
having a barking dog, $50.
Brandon, 16, of Ainsworth, failure to yield the right of way to an emergency
Myron T. Nilson,
52, of Ainsworth, speeding 6-10 mph over the limit, $25.
Kenneth D. Voss,
73, of Long Pine, no valid registration; no proof of insurance, driving during
revocation, bald or improper use of tires, unlawful or fictitious display of
plates, sentenced to 51 days of jail with credit for 51 days served, and fined a
total of $50.
Trinity J. Arpan,
23, of Ainsworth, possession of marijuana less than 1 ounce, $300; possession of
drug paraphernalia, $100.
Jeffery L. Curry
III, 18, of Mission, S.D., speeding 16-20 mph over the limit, $125.
Beawers, 43, of Sterling, Colo., speeding 11-15 mph over the limit, $75.
Petersek, 59, of Colome, S.D., speeding 11-15 mph over the limit, $75.
John D. Lilley,
15, of Council Bluffs, Iowa, speeding 6-10 mph over the limit, $25.
McKeone, 55, of Omaha, speeding 6-10 mph over the limit, $25.
Peterson, 27, of Denver, Colo., speeding 16-20 mph over the limit, $125.
Baker, 50, of Whispering Pines, N.C., speeding 6-10 mph over the limit, $25; no
operator’s license, $75.
Sara L. Kruse,
46, of Springfield, Mo., speeding 6-10 mph over the limit, $25.
Pitrucha, 43, of Sioux Falls, S.D., speeding 6-10 mph over the limit, $25.
Titiena E. Liben,
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.
Wyatt A. Wall,
34, of Prairie Du Chien, Wis., speeding 6-10 mph over the limit, $25.
Taylor M. Plendl,
27, of Merrill, Iowa, speeding 6-10 mph over the limit, $25.
Eve N. Fraser,
43, of Colorado Springs, Colo., speeding 11-15 mph over the limit, $75.
* Elsmere Road to close Friday for culvert installation
(Posted 8:45 a.m. Dec. 5)
The Brown County Roads Department will close the Elsmere
Road Friday while culverts are installed in three areas where water has run over
the road in 2019.
Highway Superintendent Kenny Turpin said the roads department will begin the
culvert work at 8:30 a.m. Friday and each of the three sites should take the
crews between one and two hours to install the culverts.
The first site will be just west of the Highway 7 junction west of the Raven
Fire Hall. The roads department will notify KBRB when the work is completed and
the Elsmere Road is reopened to traffic.
* Sheriff's department seeks information in the killing
of a dog in Ainsworth
(Posted 6:45 a.m. Dec. 5)
The Brown County Sheriff’s Department is seeking
information regarding the killing of a dog in Ainsworth Nov. 30.
According to the sheriff’s department, sometime between 4 and 6:30 p.m. on Nov.
30, someone used a shotgun to shoot and kill a dog that was in a kennel at 540
E. First St. while the dog’s owners were away.
Anyone with information on who may be responsible for shooting this dog is asked
to contact the Brown County Sheriff’s Department at 402-387-1440 or call Crime
Stoppers at 402-382-3121. All callers remain anonymous, and information leading
to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for this, or any, crime could
result in a cash reward.
* Commissioners set Jan. 7 hearing date to vacate road
and bridge in northeast Brown County
(Posted 6:45 a.m.
The Brown County
Commissioners on Tuesday set a public hearing for Jan. 7 to potentially vacate a
road and bridge in northeastern Brown County.
Superintendent Kenny Turpin recommended to the board the bridge and road leading
to it be vacated. The bridge was destroyed during the September flooding. The
bridge served only one property owner, and the county plans to provide access to
that person’s property from another direction.
Andy Taylor said the public hearing would need to be published in advance for
three consecutive weeks.
In another roads
item Tuesday, the commissioners reviewed the county’s snow removal policy.
Turpin said he was updating the policy to include that the county would plow
gravel roads after 5 inches of snow was received instead of the previous 4
inches, while the threshold to plow asphalt roads in the county would remain at
2 inches of snow.
plowing gravel roads led to gravel being removed from the road surface, so the
roads department tried to avoid plowing snow on gravel unless absolutely
necessary to allow for the roads to be navigable.
the roads department has been placing millings on the Elsmere Road, and would
try to get that project wrapped up in the next few days. He said he hoped to get
culverts installed on the Elsmere Road soon.
superintendent said crews have been out plowing snow on two different occasions.
nothing too bad, but some of the roads were blocked by drifts,” Turpin said.
Turpin told the
commissioners it appeared the county would only receive 80 percent of the cost
to raise the Elsmere Road following the flooding instead of receiving 100
Buddy Small said the county was delayed on the project by the Nebraska Game and
Parks Commission, and that delay was going to cost the county money.
“It took Sen.
Fischer’s office to get things moving,” Small said.
Emergency Manager Doug Fox told the commissioners FEMA denied the disaster
declaration application submitted for the four area counties following the
September flooding. Fox said the application did not meet the damage threshold
required by FEMA for a disaster declaration, which unlocks federal funding to
assist with repairing damage from a natural disaster.
Fox said Brown
County experienced more damage from the September flooding than it did from the
floods in March. He said the application was going to be amended with a request
for FEMA to reconsider the application.
declaration is not approved, the county will not be eligible for any
reimbursement on the cost to repair the bridge approaches washed out in
September and other culvert and road damage the county sustained.
“I don’t know
why the application was denied,” Fox said.
Fox told the
commissioners he was planning to retire, and was training Glenn May to be his
replacement as the emergency manager for Region 24, which includes, Brown, Rock,
Keya Paha, Cherry and Boyd counties.
May told the
board he had taken some of the classes necessary to be certified as an emergency
manager, but he still had more classes to take.
commissioners questioned whether the emergency manager position would need to be
advertised before a replacement could be named.
reported the state would like to construct a communications tower in either
southern Brown County or southern Rock County. He said the county where the
tower is constructed would be responsible for one-third of the cost if it agreed
Denny Bauer suggested a tower could be constructed on the University of Nebraska
Barta Ranch in the southern portion of Brown and Rock counties. Fox said, if the
tower were constructed on the county line, both Brown and Rock counties could
split the cost.
one-third of the total cost would amount to about $55,000, which the two
counties could potentially split. He said the counties would realize some
savings by reducing fees for the 911 connectivity system, and the tower would
provide better radio communications for the roads department and emergency
responders in the southern portion of the two counties.
In other action
items Tuesday, the commissioners approved a one-year contract with Paulsen Lawn
Service for lawn care and tree trimming on the courthouse grounds at a cost of
Educator Chandra Giles asked the board to appoint Gary Luther to the BKR
Extension Board for a three-year term. Giles said Luther filled in the remaining
term of Greg Jochem and was eligible to be appointed to a full term. He would
join Brent Bartak and Rachel Williams as Brown County’s representatives on the
commissioners agreed to create a resolution appointing Luther to the position.
The next meeting
of the Brown County Commissioners is scheduled for 5:15 p.m. Dec. 17.
* Boyd County to receive $1 million FEMA grant for water
(Posted 3:15 p.m. Dec. 2)
The Boyd County
Rural Water District will receive $1 million in FEMA grant funding to repair a
water line under the Niobrara River that was destroyed during the March floods.
of the new water main was completed in September, nearly six months after the
damage occurred. The damage to the water line under the Niobrara River affected
water service to several portions of Boyd County, including the community of
FEMA announced $2.2 million in disaster relief grants Monday, the other a $1.2
million grant award to the Loup Power District after the Loup Power Canal was
breached between March 12-14.
The Loup Power
District's Board President Neal Suess said the flooding caused significant
damage to the St. Edward substation and transformer, and required a mobile
substation to maintain power to the community of St. Edward. The board indicated
the district was looking for a new substation site for use in the future.
cover 75 percent of the respective project costs.
U.S. Sen. Deb
Fischer said, “In the wake of this year’s bomb cyclone and major flooding, I am
pleased that FEMA is providing this assistance to Nebraskans. This funding will
help repair critical utilities so that our communities can continue on the road
to full recovery.”
* Area schools receive AQuESTT classification from
Nebraska Department of Education
(Posted 7 a.m. Nov. 29)
Department of Education announced 50 Nebraska schools have improved their 2019
for a Quality Education System Today and Tomorrow, or AQuESTT, helps to ensure
all students across backgrounds and circumstances have access and opportunities
for success. AQuESTT annually classifies schools and districts as Excellent,
Great, Good, or Needs Improvement.
growth, improvement, and best practices in schools and districts – not just
assessment scores. One of the ways the NDE recognizes broader educational
experiences is through the Evidence-based Analysis. Eighty-four schools were
eligible for an EBA review this year with the possibility of an upward
adjustment to their AQuESTT classification. The EBA is a survey used to
determine practices, policies, and procedures in place aligned to the six
AQuESTT tenets of Positive Partnerships, Relationships, and Success;
Transitions; Educational Opportunities and Access; College, Career, and Civic
Readiness; Assessment; and Educator Effectiveness.
To be eligible
for an EBA review, schools must have one of the top total EBA scores in their
classification level. All eligible schools may submit evidence to a panel for
review and determination. Sixty-four schools submitted evidence for review and
fifty schools received the upward adjustment to their AQuESTT classification.
AQuESTT classifications included 135 schools (12 percent) classified as
Excellent, 484 schools (44 percent) as Great, 371 schools (34 percent) as Good,
and 116 schools (10 percent) are designated as Needs Improvement.
Community Schools District was listed in the Good category, with the district
scoring in the 74th percentile in science, the 48th
percentile in English and the 44th percentile in math. Ainsworth has
a 95 percent graduation rate, with 76 percent of graduates going on to college.
Keya Paha County
Public Schools was classified in the Great category. Keya Paha County scored in
the 47th percentile in science, the 27th percentile in
English and the 24th percentile in math.
Public Schools was listed in the Good category. Rock County scored in the 74th
percentile in science, the 46th percentile in English and the 41st
percentile in math. Rock County has an 86 percent graduation rate, with 100
percent of those graduates going on to attend college.
School received a Great classification. Stuart students scored in the 79th
percentile in science, the 60th percentile in English and the 67th
percentile in math. Stuart enjoyed a graduation rate of 100 percent, with 82
percent of graduates attending college.
West Holt was
among the 12 percent of schools statewide to receive the top rating of
Excellent. West Holt scored in the 76th percentile in science
testing, the 68th percentile in English and the 73rd
percentile in math, all well above the state average. West Holt had a graduation
rate of 79 percent, with 88 percent of those graduates going on to college.
Community Schools was listed in the Great category. Valentine scored in the 80th
percentile in science, the 67th percentile in English, and the 62nd
percentile in math, well above the state average in all three areas. Valentine
graduated 85 percent of its students, with 76 percent of those
graduates attending college.
Schools received a classification of Great. Science data was withheld due to the
number of students. Sandhills scored in the 45th percentile in
English and 47th percentile in math.
None of the
schools in the area were among the 10 percent in the state classified in the
Needs Improvement category.
* One-vehicle accident on Highway 183 injures Ainsworth
(Posted 1:45 p.m. Nov. 26)
The Brown County
Sheriff’s Department and Ainsworth Volunteer Fire Department responded Monday
afternoon to a report of a one-vehicle rollover accident on Highway 183
northeast of Ainsworth.
Brown County Sheriff Bruce Papstein, at 3:47 p.m. Monday on Highway 183
approximately 1-1/2 miles north of the Niobrara River bridge in Keya Paha
County, a pickup driven by Bill Cole of Ainsworth was southbound pulling a
trailer. The trailer left the roadway, causing the pickup to roll in the west
transported by the Brown County Ambulance Association to the Brown County
Hospital for treatment of injuries suffered during the accident.
* Schipporeit discusses $6.5 million grant for Ainsworth
(Posted 7:45 a.m. Nov. 25)
Ainsworth Airport Manager Lance Schipporeit visited with
Larry Rice Thursday after word was received that the Ainsworth Regional Airport
was the recipient of a $6.5 million federal grant for runway rehabilitation.
To hear the report, click on the audio link below.
audio clips/Ainsworth Airport Grant - Lance Schipporeit.mp3
* Ehlers presented Melvin Jones Fellowship Award from
Lions Club district governor
(Posted 6:45 a.m. Nov. 25)
District 38-I Gov. Wayne Hinerman from Hastings addressed the Ainsworth
Lions Club during the board’s monthly meeting.
Last summer, the
Ainsworth Lions Club decided to provide a contribution to the Lions Club
International Foundation to establish a Melvin Jones Fellowship to be awarded to
a member of the Ainsworth Lions Club. The Melvin Jones Fellowship is named for
Melvin Jones, the founder of Lions Club International. It is largely due to the
growth of the fellowship program that LCIF has been able to meet humanitarian
needs in communities around the world.
presented the Melvin Jones Fellowship Award to Lions Club Secretary Jerry
Ehlers. Previous Lions Club award recipients of the Melvin Jones Fellowship
were Jerry Allen, Wayne Bower, Evert Copes, Warren Wolfe and Donovan Anderson.
presented membership awards to Harlan Welch for 20 years of membership; James
Hoch, Vergil Heyer and Roger Lechtenberg for 30 years; and Gary Kinzie for 45
years of membership.
to the club about the Lion Club Mobile Screening Unit, the Kidsight Camera, the
District 38-I Individual Assistance Fund, the Nebraska Hearing Aid Bank, the
Youth Leadership Camp, the Lions Club Youth Golf Tournament, Youth Buddy Bags;
and open District 38-I First and Second Vice-President positions.
International Foundation representative John Stark presented information
regarding the work of LCIF, which over the last 50 years has provided over $1
billion in emergency disaster aid world-wide.
LCIF did provide
financial assistance to match the Ainsworth Lions Club’s effort to provide
assistance to some of those impacted by the spring flooding.
Four new members
were welcomed into the club: Christi and Dale Hafer, and Dianah and Mike Schrad.
Dr. Christi Hafer is a practicing veterinarian and her husband, Dale, is the
superintendent of Ainsworth Community Schools. Dianah and Mike Schrad own and
operate State Farm Insurance Agency.
Heyer informed the club plans continue for an informational meeting to be held
in January with area medical personnel regarding financial assistance that is
available through the Lions Club District 38-I Individual Assistance Fund for
eligible area residents.
meeting has been changed to an evening meeting to accommodate the guests to be
invited to the informational meeting. In recognition of the Christmas season,
the club decided to provide a $300 Christmas donation to the Ainsworth Food
Pantry, as it has done in previous years.
reviewed issues regarding the Brown County Fair Concessions Project. A
discussion was held regarding the length of time (the longest time being 7.5
hours) for each Lions Club Member to serve in the concessions booth once during
the weekend. A plan to provide for two 4-hour shifts as an option will be
assessed. Twenty-two club members and non-member volunteers assisted with the
concessions project this past September.
Arens said the
club would consider providing a continental breakfast all three days of the fair
next year, instead of just on Saturday.
The next meeting
of the Ainsworth Lions Club is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Dec. 16 in Canyon Creek.
* Traffic Accident
(Posted 6:30 a.m. Nov. 25)
The Brown County Sheriff’s Department investigated a
two-vehicle accident that occurred Nov. 16 south of Ainsworth.
According to the sheriff’s department report, at 2:23 p.m. Nov. 16 on Highway 7
approximately 2 miles south of Ainsworth, a collision occurred between a
northbound 2005 Chevy Silverado, driven by Thomas Troxel, 20, of Ainsworth, and
a northbound 1999 Peterbilt semi, driven by John Lemmon, 66, of Valentine.
No injuries were reported. Damage to the Chevy was estimated at $500. The
Peterbilt, owned by Stec Farms of Valentine, sustained approximately $1,000
* AHS Mock Trial team advances to State Championships
(Posted 12:30 p.m. Nov. 22)
The Ainsworth Blue mock trial team prevailed over Valentine
in a hard fought regional competition on Wednesday, November 20, at the Rock
County Courthouse in Bassett. The first trial had Valentine portraying the
plaintiff and Ainsworth, the defense. Valentine won that trial in a split
decision by the judges. In the afternoon, the teams switched sides, and
Ainsworth won in a split decision by the judges. Because Ainsworth had
previously defeated Valentine, Ainsworth claimed the championship with a 3-1
record, and Valentine finished 2-2. Selected as the Outstanding Attorney and
Outstanding Witness in the first trial were Coy Carson and Alyssa Erthum,
respectively. Winning the awards for the second trial were Attorney Raven
Stewart and Witness Coy Carson. The Blue team will represent Region 4 at the
State Mock Trial Championships in Lincoln on December 9-10. Members of the Blue
team are Seniors Raven Stewart and Coy Carson; Juniors Cody Kronhofman, Brandt
Murphy, Molly Salzman, and Elizabeth Smith; and Sophomore Alyssa Erthum. The
team is coached by Mary Rau.
* Ainsworth Airport to receive $6.5 Million in DOT
grants for runway rehabilitation
(Posted 10 a.m. Nov. 21)
U.S. Sen. Deb Fischer released this statement after the
U.S. Department of Transportation announced the Ainsworth Regional Airport will
receive $6.5 million through the Federal Aviation Administration's Airport
Improvement Program for runway and taxiway rehabilitation:
and businesses rely on our state's regional airports every day to stay connected
with the rest of the country," Fischer said. "This grant for runway rehabilitation at Ainsworth
Regional Airport represents another important infrastructure investment in rural
* Commissioners vote to place 9-month moratorium on wind
(Posted 8:30 p.m. Nov. 19)
public hearing Tuesday, the Brown County Commissioners unanimously voted to
place a nine-month moratorium on the issuance of special-use permits for
erecting wind turbines generating more than 100 kilowatts in Brown County.
Administrator Tom Jones told the board the Planning Commission was working to
update the county’s comprehensive plan, and wind turbines would be one of the
areas that the commission planned to address in its update.
“We should have
something to present to the public by the spring,” Jones said. “That should give
us enough time.”
The only member
of the public to speak during the hearing was Dave Hutchinson, who said he owned
2,200 acres in Brown County. He urged the commissioners not to allow any
additional wind turbines to be built in the county.
potential harm to bats, migratory birds and cattle among his reasons for
opposing wind farms.
is a fragile ecosystem,” Hutchinson said. “People want to come here to see the
Sandhills, not wind turbines.”
dams for hydroelectric power production as an alternative to wind power, in
addition to the flood control benefit constructing dams would provide.
Dennis Bauer said the era of constructing dams was likely over due to
“A lot of things
get killed with coal powered plants as well,” Bauer said.
Reagan Wiebelhaus said the county would likely not be able to implement a
straight ban on wind power generation in its comprehensive plan, but the county
could put guidelines in place in its plan that would make it difficult to
construct wind towers.
“We rant into
similar problems in the past with perpetual easements,” Wiebelhaus said. “The
previous zoning administrator was against them, and we banned them in the
comprehensive plan. The court ruled that was unreasonable. We need to do this
the right way.”
Graig Kinzie asked if the commissioners knew of any potential wind power
projects that have been proposed in the county since the original wind farm was
built by the Nebraska Public Power District south of Ainsworth. The
commissioners said, to their knowledge, there had been no planned developments
in the years following the NPPD project.
hearing, the board voted to place a nine-month moratorium on special-use permits
for wind turbines to allow time for the county’s comprehensive plan to be
updated with new guidelines.
business Tuesday, the commissioners voted to publish notice and conduct a public
hearing at 6 p.m. Dec. 17 to vacate a bridge structure across Bone Creek in
northeastern Brown County near property owned by Leon Bracker.
across the creek was damaged during the March flooding, and was destroyed during
the flooding in September. The board discussed the alternative of creating a
road coming from the north side of Bracker’s property to provide him access to
his residence instead of replacing a bridge that could cost upward of $500,000.
public hearing Dec. 17, the board would make a decision on whether to vacate the
commissioners gave Board Chairman Buddy Small the go-ahead to transfer a
previously approved $200,000 from the county’s inheritance tax fund to the
disaster recovery fund. The board’s intention is to continue to use inheritance
tax funding to make needed repairs to flood-damaged infrastructure and replenish
the inheritance tax fund when either FEMA money is received or budget over time
to replenish the fund through general fund budget contributions.
Superintendent Kenny Turpin reported the roads department has been hauling
millings to the Elsmere Road to place in two locations where Perrett
Construction had completed road elevation work.
Turpin said the
Elsmere Road remains closed, as Perrett Construction was working to elevate the
third area that has had standing water over the road. He said a 24-inch culvert
was installed at one site, and a 36-inch culvert was placed at a second site
after the road level was raised.
“As soon as they
are done, we will haul millings in and get the road opened back up,” Turpin
He reported Road
877 west of Ainsworth south of Highway 20 remains closed, but the water level
there is dropping. The only other roads that remain closed are due to bridges
that are out.
In addition to
the flood recovery work, Turpin said the roads department is blading roads that
are getting rough due to harvest and heavy equipment using them.
approved the year-end certification to the Nebraska Department of Transportation
affirming the county has an in-house highway superintendent to receive annual
funding from the NDOT.
the county received $743 for the purchase of traffic cones, $351 to purchase a
ladder, and $20 to assist in the purchase of safety boots from the NIRMA Assist
Vonheeder and Assessor Terri Van Houten told the board the courthouse computers
would need updated since the Windows 7 operating system will no longer be
the offices thought they would have more time and could include the computer
replacements in the next budget, but the support for Windows 7 expires in
January, and it would be a security risk for the county’s computers and servers
to operate on an unsupported system.
Van Houten said
it would cost $1,058 to replace each computer. The board agreed to fund the
replacements through the county’s miscellaneous general fund.
The next meeting
of the Brown County Commissioners is scheduled for 5:15 p.m. Dec. 3.
* Rock County Commissioners approve guidelines for
(Posted 3:30 p.m. Nov. 19)
During its meeting Tuesday, the Rock County
Commissioners approved a resolution that all future culverts installed by the
Rock County Roads Department or private contractors will conform to state code
and standards unless it is not feasible due to ground level or drainage.
The county has been dealing with questions
recently from property owners about where and how culverts are installed.
Chandra Giles visited with the board Tuesday regarding a culvert issue and
In other business Tuesday, the commissioners
approved a proposal from Norfolk Contracting in the amount of $328,763 to
replace the bridge on Short Pine Creek in northwestern Rock County. The board
declared the bridge replacement an emergency issue, waiving bidding
The commissioners approved an application
submitted by the Nebraska Board of Educational Lands and Funds for a road
crossing and parallel occupancy permit to bury 1-1/2 inch PVC electric line on
county road right of way in Section 16, Township 31 North, Range 19.
Region 24 Emergency Manager Doug Fox discussed
with the commissioners an invoice for a civil defense siren in the community of
Fox reported a grant had been written for the
siren, but the siren would be initially paid from the emergency management fund.
When the grant dollars are received, they would replenish the emergency
management funds used initially.
The next meeting of the Rock County Commissioners
is scheduled for 9 a.m. Dec. 3.
* Informational meeting Dec. 3 on Highway 20 bridge
project near Long Pine
(Posted 9 a.m. Nov. 19)
Department of Transportation will hold a public information open house regarding
proposed improvements to a Highway 20 bridge over Long Pine Creek in Brown
The meeting is
scheduled from 4 until 6 p.m. Dec. 3 in the Long Pine Palace.
project would repair the Highway 20 bridge located near milepost 250
approximately 1.70 miles west of the Brown/Rock county line. The improvements
would consist of reconstructing the bridge abutments and the abutment spread
footings. A portion of the bridge deck on each end would be removed and replaced
to accommodate the work. The bridge approach sections would be reconstructed,
and the guardrail would also be replaced with surfacing underneath.
tentatively scheduled to begin as early as summer 2021 and could be completed by
fall 2021. The proposed project would not be constructed under traffic and would
require detouring Highway 20 traffic for the duration of the project to
accommodate the proposed work. A designated detour would be provided and would
utilize Highway 183 and Highway 7.
the Nebraska Department of Transportation will be present Dec. 3 to answer
questions and receive comments.
* Sunday collision west of Bassett injures one motorist
(Posted 6:30 a.m. Nov. 19)
One motorist was
injured Sunday in a two-vehicle accident on Highway 20 west of Bassett.
Rock County Sheriff James Anderson, at 3:57 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 17, on Highway 20
approximately 5 miles west of Bassett, a 2002 Chevy Trailblazer, driven by
Caitlyn Soloman, 29, of Kearney, was traveling east on Highway 20. A 2012
Peterbilt semi, driven by Christopher Sease, 35, of Ainsworth, was crossing
Highway 20 at the 442nd Avenue intersection. The Chevy and the
Peterbilt collided at the intersection.
transported by the Rock County Ambulance to the Rock County Hospital for
injuries suffered during the accident.
Both the Chevy,
owned by Evelyn Jones of Ainsworth, and the Peterbilt, owned by Daniel Hladky of
Long Pine, were considered total losses.
Volunteer Fire Department assisted the Rock County Sheriff’s Department at the
scene. The accident forced the closure of Highway 20 for approximately 15
* Greenwell selected for Nebraska Cattlemen Young
(Posted 2 p.m. Nov. 18)
Nebraska Cattlemen announced the 2020 class of the Young
Cattlemen's Conference. Conference nominees were accepted from throughout the
state and selected by a committee to participate in the two-year leadership
The Class of 2020 includes Hannah Greenwell of Bassett.
"We had another year of a truly outstanding group of applicants for the NE
Cattlemen YCC class of 2020, Nebraska Cattlemen President-Elect Ken Herz said.
“Nebraska Cattlemen leadership and staff is looking forward to meeting and
interacting with the class, hopefully providing them with extensive industry
knowledge and many networking opportunities. Our goal is to spark interest
within the participants, giving them the desire to come back and serve as board
members to our state and national organization."
The goal of the Young Cattlemen's Conference is to expose young and emerging
leaders to a variety of areas of the beef industry and provide them with
necessary leadership tools. During the two-year program, conference members are
provided training on professional communication, given the opportunity to tour
multiple Nebraska-based agriculture production facilities and learn to navigate
state agencies and legislative processes.
* August taxable sales trend downward for area counties
(Posted 9:15 a.m. Nov. 18)
Comparison of August 2019 and August 2018 Net Taxable Sales
for Nebraska Counties and Selected Cities
Comparison of August 2019 and August 2018
Motor Vehicle Sales Tax Collections by County
* Traffic Accident
(Posted 6:45 a.m. Nov. 18)
The Brown County Sheriff’s Department investigated a
vehicle-deer accident that occurred Nov. 8 on Highway 20.
According to the sheriff’s department report, at 6:20 p.m. Nov. 8 on Highway 20
approximately 3 miles west of Ainsworth, a 2012 Chevy Sonic, driven by Michael
Harms, 29, of Monroe, was traveling west when the vehicle struck a deer in the
No persons were injured during the accident. Damage to the Chevy was estimated
at more than $1,000.
* Dickau awarded New Century Workforce Pathway
(Posted 6:30 a.m. Nov. 18)
A graduate of
Northeast Community College has been recognized nationally for his work in the
of Atkinson, a 2019 New Century Workforce Pathway Scholar, has been awarded
$1,250 in scholarship funding. He was recognized with other New Century scholars
during the Association of Community College Trustees’ 50th Annual Congress at
is the first of its kind to support students at associate degree-granting
institutions who plan to enter the workforce upon the completion of a degree or
certificate on a national scale. The program is sponsored by The Coca-Cola
Foundation and Phi Theta Kappa.
from Northeast in May with a degree in auto body repair technology. He is
employed by Ernie’s Auto Body at Atkinson.
ensure that young people can realize their full potential,” said Helen Smith
Price, president of The Coca-Cola Foundation. “The Coca-Cola Foundation places a
high priority on supporting education to help build strong communities.”
Workforce Pathway Scholars were selected based on their academic
accomplishments, leadership, activities, and how they extend their intellectual
talents beyond the classroom. Over 2,000 students were nominated from more than
1,200 college campuses across the country. Only one New Century Workforce
Pathway Scholar was selected from each state.
“Preston was a
great student with an exceptional work ethic and a genuine desire to learn new
things,” said Dave Beaduette, Northeast auto body technology instructor. “He is
a true leader who presents himself well and always has a good attitude - making
him a great addition to any business. I certainly enjoyed having him in the auto
* Traffic Accidents
(Posted 1:30 p.m. Nov. 15)
The Brown County
Sheriff’s Department investigated a pair of motor vehicle accidents that
occurred Nov. 7.
At 1:12 p.m.
Nov. 7 at the Ainsworth Community Schools parking lot, an unknown vehicle struck
a parked 2003 Ford pickup, owned by Britt Hollenbeck of Long Pine.
Damage to the
Ford was estimated at more than $1,000. Anyone with information on who may have
struck the vehicle is asked to contact the Brown County Sheriff’s Department.
At 6:39 p.m.
Nov. 7 on Highway 20 one-half mile east of Long Pine, a 2018 Subaru Outback,
driven by Brandi Weinrich, 48, of Pierce, was traveling east when the vehicle
struck a deer in the roadway.
No persons were
injured during the accident. Damage to the Subaru, owned by the Region 4
Behavioral Health System of Norfolk, was estimated at more than $1,000.
* Ainsworth Red mock trial team falls to Valentine
(Posted 1:30 p.m. Nov. 15)
Red Mock Trial team’s season came to an end with a loss to Valentine Wednesday
in the Brown County Courtroom.
The Red team
portrayed the defendant, Rabona Foods, and Valentine played the part of the
plaintiff, Kelly Panenka. The trial was judged by attorneys Jim Gotschall,
Rodney Palmer, and Andy Hoffman.
award as Ainsworth’s outstanding witness was Tatum Nickless, and the outstanding
attorney award on the Ainsworth team went to Dakota Stutzman.
“The Red team
performed very well this year,” coach Mary Rau said. “I wish we had more teams
in the area so the students could get more competitions. But, the JV team held
their own against both the Ainsworth and Valentine varsity squads.”
The result of
this trial pits Ainsworth Blue against Valentine for the regional championship.
The final trial will be held in the Rock County Courthouse at Bassett Nov. 20,
with the first trial beginning at 10 a.m. Since the Blue team has already
defeated Valentine once, it will only have to defeat Valentine one more time to
capture the state championship berth. If Valentine wins the first trial, the
teams will flip sides and perform a tie-breaker trial at 1 p.m.
All trials are
open to the public.
* Brown County Hospital receives deficiency-free state
(Posted 6:15 a.m. Nov. 15)
the state of Nebraska arrived last week to conduct a three-day, unannounced
survey of the Brown County Hospital. The scope of review ensures the hospital is
compliant with Medicare/Medicaid and State Licensure regulations, and occurs
approximately once every three years.
The State Fire
Marshall survey was also conducted at the same time. The surveyors focused on a
broad range of regulatory requirements, including but not limited to, quality,
safety, patient rights, HIPAA, and staff competencies.
Upon an exit
interview, hospital leaders were informed that no deficiencies were discovered
during the survey.
Hospital CEO John Werner said the results confirm the staff members are working
diligently to live up to the facility’s mission, “Brown County Hospital is
dedicated to provide our patients and communities with the highest quality of
comprehensive and compassionate healthcare.”
“I want to thank
the surveyors for their kind words and also applaud the consistent high quality
of care our providers and staff produce 24 hours a day, 365 days a year,” Werner
said. “We are passionate about what we do and who we do it for. Recognition
isn’t what drives us, but having an outside agency validate our program is
* Sedlacek appointed to Northeast Community College
(Posted 6:15 a.m. Nov. 15)
An O’Neill woman
is the newest member of the Northeast Community College Board of Governors. The
board voted unanimously during its monthly meeting Thursday at Norfolk to
appoint Nicole Sedlacek to an open District Two seat.
economic development consultant with the Nebraska Public Power District,
succeeds Keith Harvey of Creighton, who resigned in September. District Two
covers Boyd, Brown, Holt, Keya Paha, Knox and Rock counties in their entirety
and a portion of Cedar County.
she applied for the board position because she believes in the mission of
Northeast Community College as it continues to meet the needs of students and
the region. She said, as an alumna and a longtime advocate of the institution,
she wants to ensure it continues to be one of the top community colleges in
Nebraska and the nation.
in economic development over the last 12-years has helped make me aware of what
our strengths are as a region; what needs businesses and industries have; and
how education, economic development and business and industry all need to be
working together to solve some of the challenges we face in northeast Nebraska,
such as workforce shortages and a declining population,” she said. “I believe it
is important to demonstrate how Northeast Community College is providing
outreach to the entire 20-county service area.”
chair of the board of governors, said he is pleased Sedlacek will be joining the
has had a long association with Northeast Community College and has a great
perspective on the needs of the college’s 20 county service area, with
particular knowledge of the far western service area. She will make an excellent
addition to our board.”
an associate of arts degree from Northeast Community College, a bachelor of
science degree in management from Bellevue University and is a graduate of the
University of Oklahoma Economic Development Institute.
Prior to her
role with NPPD, she served as economic development director of the Holt County
Economic Development Agency for nine years. She has assisted in previous
Northeast Community College projects including the College of Nursing capital
campaign in the O’Neill area and was co-chair of the College’s O’Neill Extended
Campus fundraising campaign.
She has served
as president of the Northeast Community College Foundation Board of Directors.
In addition, Sedlacek was presented Northeast’s Distinguished Service Award in
has said she will run for the seat when it comes up for election in 2020, will
be sworn in during the board’s December meeting.
Community College Board of Governors is made up of 11 members, with two members
representing each of five districts. There is one at-large member who represents
the college’s entire 20-county service area.
* NDOT pumps water off Highway 83, and Highway 97 also
(Posted 2 p.m. Nov. 14)
Department of Transportation on Thursday announced the return of normal two way
traffic to Highway 83 between Thedford and Valentine.
The area of
Highway 83 had been covered with water since May as the result of abnormally
high rainfall. Traffic had been limited to one-way traffic, controlled by
stoplights, for several months.
of Transportation was able to successfully pump enough water out of the
low-lying area to get the water off the road and remove the temporary surfacing,
allowing traffic to return to normal.
NDOT announced the opening of Highway 97, which had been closed as the result of
water over the road since the summer. There is still a small amount of water
covering a portion of the northbound lane. Motorists should use caution while
traveling through the area.
installed a culvert at Alkali Pond, providing drainage to allow the roadway to
weather permitting, NDOT plans to raise a portion of the roadbed on Highway 61
between Hyannis and Merriman, which has had water over the road most of the
NDOT thanks its
partners for their tireless work to resume these critical corridors to the
people of Nebraska.
to restore normal operations in other areas of the state. The NDOT will
continue to update the public as it completes projects and normal traffic
* Deer season opens Saturday; hunters reminded of
(Posted 9 a.m. Nov. 14)
annual firearm deer season opens Saturday and runs through Nov. 24. Shooting
hours are one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset. Hunters
are reminded to make sure they follow all requirements, including wearing orange
clothing and checking in any harvested deer.
Deer must be
checked in by 1 p.m. on Nov. 25. Check stations in this area include Speedee
Mart in Ainsworth, the Turbine Mart in Springview, the Nebraska Game and Parks
Commission office and the Rock County Sheriff’s Department in Bassett, O’Neill
Tire Supply and Torpin’s Rodeo Market in O’Neill, the Valentine Fish Hatchery
and Wright’s Bait in Valentine, and The Firehouse Café in Butte.
hunters to email photos from their hunt for inclusion in the annual KBRB Hunting
Gallery, sponsored by Tall Tails Taxidermy. High resolution JPEG photos may be
email@example.com. KBRB requests the hunter appear in the photo with the
harvested animal, and the information include the hunter’s name, the date and
county where the animal was harvested, and any additional description including
whitetail or mule deer, number of points or B&C score for bucks, and especially
if it is a hunter’s first harvest.
samples to be tested for chronic wasting disease will be collected from select
harvested mule deer at check stations in the Pine Ridge and Plains management
units, and from whitetails in the Missouri, Loup East, Calamus East and Elkhorn
units. Learn more about CWD at
want to donate or receive harvested deer can participate in the Deer Exchange,
which is designed to accommodate the additional harvest of deer. It brings
together hunters who have a surplus of deer with recipients willing to accept
the deer meat. To join, visit
keep safety the top priority in the field by always keeping their rifle muzzle
pointed in a safe direction, with safety on, and finger off the trigger, until
they are ready to fire. They also should identify their target and what lies
beyond it before firing. In addition, all deer hunters are required to wear 400
square inches of blaze orange on their head, chest and back during the November
firearm season, regardless if they are hunting with a firearm or archery tackle.
Hunters also are
reminded that permission is required to hunt on private land. Those who have
permission to hunt should show the landowner and land respect.
Public Access Atlas identifies and consolidates the nearly 1 million acres of
publicly accessible lands that benefit Nebraska’s hunters, trappers and anglers.
Printed copies are available where permits are sold; it also is available online
* Water service to be shut off for West Second Street
residents Thursday morning
(Posted 8 a.m. Nov. 14)
The city of Ainsworth water department plans to shut off
water service to customers on West Second Street between Ulrich Street and Bone
Creek today. Water service will be interrupted beginning at 8 a.m. and lasting
until noon at the latest while crews tie in a water line near Bone Creek that
washed out during flooding in September.
* Council votes to request return of housing demolition
funding from NCDC
(Posted 7 a.m. Nov. 14)
By a 2-1 vote
Wednesday with one abstention, the Ainsworth City Council requested the return
of $72,997 in housing demolition money previously provided to the North Central
Development Center through Ainsworth Betterment Committee funds and city general
The latest issue
between the city and NCDC stemmed from a state auditor report that showed the
NCDC potentially returned LB 840 funds the city had provided by using funding
from its housing demolition account, which had also been money provided by the
Rod Palmer said the state auditor’s office believed there was an attempt by the
NCDC to hide how the LB 840 funds were repaid to the city.
Administrator Lisa Schroedl said Scottsbluff Attorney Rick Ediger had reviewed
the report and recommended the city terminate its agreement with the NCDC at the
end of the current year subject to the NCDC assuring accountability.
Palmer said the
information was forwarded to the Brown County Attorney’s office, but County
Attorney Andy Taylor had recused himself from the case due to his wife receiving
LB 840 funding. He said a special prosecutor would be appointed.
The only NCDC
Board member in attendance Wednesday, Graig Kinzie, told the city he wasn’t sure
where the auditor received its information. He said he could not speak for the
entire board, but he had not been contacted by the auditor’s office to provide
any information and there had been no discussion during recent NCDC board
meetings that any board members were aware further issues existed. NCDC
Executive Director Kristin Olson, also in attendance Wednesday, said she had not
been contacted by the auditor’s office.
Kinzie said city
representatives were in attendance during the NCDC meeting when the housing
demolition funding was discussed. He said 25 percent of the housing demolition
funds came from the LB 840 program, which the board voted to return to the city.
funding was placed into a separate housing demolition account, and is sitting in
the West Plains Bank.
“There is a
little more than $73,000 in that account,” Kinzie told the council. “You are
welcome to it.”
Kinzie said he
found the continued insinuation insulting that there was somehow money missing.
He said the NCDC Board is a group of volunteers who work to help improve the
community, and do so without any personal benefit.
Schyler Schenk made a motion for the city to recover all funding it had provided
to the NCDC. That motion died for lack of a second.
Deb Hurless and Brad Fiala both questioned why the NCDC had not been given a
chance to respond to the state auditor’s office before the report was completed.
Sullivan said he wanted the NCDC and the city to move on.
“This has been a
long fight,” Sullivan said.
Soles made a motion for the city to recall $72,997 in ABC funds and city general
funds previously given to the NCDC for its housing demolition program. That
motion passed by a 2-1 vote, with Soles and Fiala in favor, Schenk against and
Kinzie said the
NCDC Board would likely have no issue voting to return those funds, which he
said would be a little more than $73,000 after interest on the account had
development item Wednesday, the council unanimously approved amendments to the
city’s economic development program policy and procedure manual as recommended
by the LB 840 Citizen Advisory Review Committee.
Chris Raymond said the group had worked on the policies and procedures manual
for the past 60 days, and the document was reviewed by Attorney Rick Ediger’s
associate, who made suggestions for revisions that were incorporated into the
questioned having a committee address any LB 840 loan defaults instead of that
issue being handled by the City Council.
that was one of the suggestions made by the attorney from Ediger’s office. He
said, if you ask three attorneys about anything regarding LB 840, you seem to
get three different answers.
Palmer said he
would also like to see the checklist for applicants include supplying a
certificate of good standing from the secretary of state’s office. That
suggestion, along with a clarification that a city-appointed attorney as opposed
to the city attorney would review all LB 840 loan applications, were
incorporated as additional amendments Wednesday prior to the council unanimously
voting to approve the policies and procedures manual.
business Wednesday, Terry Flick with J&J Sanitation presented the council with a
proposal for the company to handle the city’s garbage pickup. Flick said J&J
Sanitation had 31 municipal contracts, and would love to bring its service to
Flick said J&J
Sanitation would bill the city $11 monthly per residential household, $27 for
light commercial, and $54 for heavy commercial. If the city wanted J&J
Sanitation to also handle transporting the waste to a licensed landfill, the
cost would increase to $21.84 monthly for residences, $35 for light commercial
and $75 for heavy commercial.
He said those
increases were due to J&J Sanitation having to haul the waste to its transfer
facility at O’Neill before it is transported to a landfill near David City. He
said the tipping fees J&J Sanitation paid to the landfill near David City were
$61 per ton, which was substantially lower than the $72 per ton the city is
charged by Lexington Area Solid Waste.
the city currently charges residents $14.30 per month, with light commercial
charged $27.30 per month and heavy commercial $54.60 per month. In addition,
those with dumpsters paid an additional $13 per month in rent.
She said those
fees would likely have to increase by at least 10 percent for the city to stay
in the black, which didn’t factor in potentially having to replace the city’s
Fiala asked if
J&J Sanitation could use the KBR Solid Waste Transfer Station instead of having
to go to O’Neill with the trash, which Flick said was a possibility.
agreed to have J&J Sanitation continue to research options, and meet with the
KBR Solid Waste Committee regarding the use of the transfer station.
public hearing Wednesday, the council unanimously approved recommending to the
Nebraska Liquor Control Commission that a Class I license be approved for 1700
Ventures LLC doing business as The (402) Bar.
Stephanie Kinzie told the council they had purchased the former Silver Lining
building on Main Street to open a sports bar.
Kinzie said the
only issue the couple ran into was the distance between the building and the
United Methodist Church, as a liquor license application requires a building to
be either more than 150 feet away from a church or have the church provide a
letter that it did not object to the license.
Kinzie said he
had been in contact with church leaders to discuss the project. He said the
Nebraska State Patrol employee in charge of liquor license applications for the
area based out of North Platte visited the site Wednesday and measured the
distance between the buildings at 171 feet.
There were no
objections to the license application raised during the public hearing, and the
council voted unanimously to recommend the application be approved.
In final action
items Wednesday, the council approved a recommendation from Schroedl to ratify
the election of members to the League Association of Risk Management Board of
Directors. She said recent litigation regarding the makeup of the LARM Board,
which handles the city’s liability insurance, had ended, and members of LARM
were being asked to ratify the current board composition following the lawsuit’s
Palmer said he
did not see anything wrong with the council ratifying the election of the LARM
The council also
approved a subdivision for a parcel of real estate west of Highway 7 and south
of South Street into three parcels. Schroedl said, while the parcel was outside
city limits, it was inside the city’s 1-mile zoning jurisdiction. That required
a vote on the subdivision, which the council unanimously approved as presented
by attorney Todd Flynn.
report, Schroedl said she continued to work with FEMA on disaster relief
efforts. She reported she was working with the NCDC into the possibility of
obtaining USDA grant funding to assist with paving work.
She reported the
cement has been poured for the street shop expansion project. Fiala said the
steel building was to be delivered to the site by Nov. 22.
reported the NPPD solar power project continues, with NPPD receiving five
proposals from developers. She said she hoped to have a presentation on the
project during the December council meeting.
That meeting is
scheduled for 5 p.m. Dec. 11.
* Traffic Accidents
(Posted 12:30 p.m. Nov. 13)
The Brown County
Sheriff’s Department investigated a pair of motor vehicle accidents during the
At 10:52 a.m.
Friday, Nov. 8, at the Bomgaars parking lot, a 2005 Chevy Silverado, driven by
Glenna Abbott, 92, of Long Pine, was turning into a parking stall and struck a
parked 2009 Chevy Silverado, owned by Darian Jones of Ainsworth.
No injuries were
reported. Damage to the Jones Chevy was estimated at more than $1,000. The
Abbott Chevy did not sustain any damage.
At 5:45 a.m.
Monday, Nov. 11, on Highway 7 approximately 5 miles south of Ainsworth, a 1999
Ford Explorer, driven by James Lind, 20, of Ainsworth, was traveling north when
the vehicle slid due to icy conditions, left the roadway and turned onto its
driver’s side in the east ditch.
No injuries were
reported. Damage to the Ford was estimated at $1,000.
* Care Center Board approves establishing scholarship
(Posted 7 a.m. Nov. 13)
Care Center Board of Directors Tuesday approved a scholarship program that
encourages high school students to volunteer with the nursing home.
Director Brianna Lawrenz presented the details to the board Tuesday, and said
she will work with Ainsworth Community Schools to implement the program.
agree to volunteer for 1-1/2 hours per month with the residents. Activities
staff will educate the students before they enter the building on the different
needs of residents.
prepare a paper regarding their experience, and the things they learned by
volunteering. Staff members will vote on the top volunteer, who will receive a
Lawrenz said it
would be a great volunteer opportunity for students and would give them a new
Leanne Maxwell asked if any student could volunteer or if the student needed to
be planning to study a health care related field. Lawrenz said any student would
be welcome to volunteer.
Phil Fuchs urged Lawrenz to work with the school and start the program in
“There is no
reason we couldn’t change the parameters as we go if needed,” Fuchs said.
The board, with
Buddy Small absent, voted to establish the $300 scholarship and begin the
program in January.
business Tuesday, Administrator Stephanie Kinzie presented the board with a
quote to replace the window coverings in the care center.
Kinzie said the
window coverings in the building were outdated. She said she tried to procure
three bids for the project, but two of the companies refused to send someone out
to even measure the windows and provide the care center with a quote.
Inc. of Iowa submitted a bid for 66 window shades for resident rooms and four
shades for the dining room. The company provided two quotes, one for its premium
patterned fabric with blackout material, which the staff recommended, and a
quote for standard pattern material with 1 percent openness. The quote for the
premium fabric was $14,360, with the standard pattern quoted at $10,469.
Kinzie said Matt
Moody could handle the installation of the window coverings.
Fuchs asked what
additional updates to the building’s interior the board would also need to plan
to modernize after the window coverings.
Kinzie said the
next items would include bed spreads, wall hangings, bedside furniture, dining
room furniture and flooring. She said families of some potential residents
comment about the building’s interior being outdated when they initially visit
“I think this
would add a lot to the facility to start, and then work on the bedding next,”
Henry Beel said he would like to see at least one other bid for the project
before voting on it, and encouraged Kinzie to check with Stuart Furniture on the
window coverings since Moody could handle the installation.
The item was
tabled to the board’s December meeting.
she recently received a bill from KBR Solid Waste for $1,100 related to dump
fees for the shingling project that was completed during the spring. She said
the quote from the contractor the board hired for the shingling project included
the cost of disposing of the old shingles.
Fuchs said the
disposal fees were part of the contract.
“He should have
taken care of that,” Fuchs said. “That was part of the deal.”
Fuchs said he
would contact the contractor about paying the disposal fees, since it was not
the care center’s responsibility.
In a final
action item Tuesday, the board approved removing former board member Kent Taylor
from the Union Bank & Trust account signature card, and keeping board members
Maxwell and Buddy Small on the card along with Kinzie.
report, Kinzie said the care center admitted four new residents during October,
but also discharged four residents. She said three residents went back home
after rehabilitating, and one moved to another facility closer to family.
The care center
currently has 23 residents, with 11 paying privately, 11 receiving Medicaid
assistance and one receiving Medicare assistance. She said she received an
additional referral Tuesday for another potential resident, and she had a nurse
apply for night shift work, so the facility may be able to cut back on some
agency nursing hours.
She said she
knew of people interested in taking a Certified Nursing Assistant class if one
were to be offered in the area. Maxwell, who teaches the class through Northeast
Community College, said she might be able to offer a CNA class in January or
The care center
generated $174,586 in revenue during October, with expenses for $136,181 for a
profit of $38,404.
committee chair Roland Paddock told the board, unless another major funding
drive were needed, there was likely no longer a need to have the committee. He
said the committee has not met for a couple years.
the community for its generosity in support of the Sandhills Care Center. He
said a total of $209,460 had been donated to the facility, including more than
$10,000 to employees who worked without pay when the previous management company
closed the facility.
the committee members for all their work.
The next meeting
of the Sandhills Care Center Board is scheduled for 4 p.m. Dec. 9.
* Teammates chapter tells board it needs additional
(Posted 7 a.m. Nov. 12)
Teammates Chapter board members provided an overview of the local mentoring
program to the Ainsworth Community Schools Board of Education Monday, telling
the board they are in need of additional mentors.
Lisa Chohon told
the board the local chapter has 28 current matches between mentors and students
between grades five and 12.
“We have kids
waiting,” Chohon said.
Mentors agree to
visit with their mentee at least once per week. Meetings are conducted in the
school, and typically occur either during lunch or prior to school. Meetings
usually last 20 to 45 minutes.
coordinator Lisa Schlueter said students with a mentor displayed many positive
changes, including 78 percent of students improving their grades and 65 percent
improving school attendance. In addition, the students in the program had 96
percent fewer disciplinary referrals.
Scott Steinhauser said parents or school staff members nominate students for
mentors, and Teammates is not a needs-based program. Any student could
potentially enter the program.
Connie Lentz said the goal of the mentor is to build a relationship with the
student through the one-on-one mentoring.
there are currently 10 students on the waiting list for mentors, and anyone
willing to volunteer to serve as a mentor may either contact Schlueter at the
school or go online to
goal is to increase students’ engagement in school, improve their well-being,
and give them hope,” Schlueter said.
members thanked the Teammates members for their work with the program.
business Monday, the board approved a recommendation from Activities Directors
Jared Hansmeyer and Steinhauser to have Ainsworth remain a participant in
eight-man football for the next two-year cycle.
the school has been eligible for the playoffs the past two seasons due to
enrollment numbers. While it appears the district will be above the current
cut-off number, the school can opt to remain in Class D-1 and still be eligible
for the playoffs for the next two years.
the board are hurting for football numbers,” Steinhauser said. “It would be hard
to play 11-man football with our current numbers.”
unanimously approved the recommendation to keep Ainsworth participating in
eight-man football for the next two years.
approved the resignation of part-time English Language Learner teacher Mitzi
Randall, who submitted a resignation letter to the board.
Dale Hafer thanked Randall for her work with ELL students, and said the district
would now work with Educational Service Unit 10 out of Kearney to provide
service to those students.
“The ESU 10
coordinator is really good, and will be a wonderful resource for us,” Hafer
In other action
items, the board approved allowing Hafer and the activities directors to
identify and sell surplus equipment, ranging from old uniforms to rubber mats
that were recently removed from the school playground.
Hafer said some
people had already expressed interest in the rubber mats, and he said the
district just needed to go through some things that are piled in corners of the
building and see if anyone wants them. If not, some things needed to be thrown
The board also
approved using an evaluation tool provided free of charge by the Nebraska
Association of School Boards to perform Hafer’s six-month evaluation.
Jim Arens said, while the two evaluation tools the board considered are similar,
the NASB tool allows board members to fill out their initial evaluation online,
and the results are compiled and organized for the full board’s review.
The board will
complete the individual evaluation, and will go through the results with Hafer
during the board’s December meeting.
report, Hafer said the replacement of the McAndrew Gymnasium roof is nearing
completion. Metal flashing around the edge of the roof should be installed
within the next week. He said there were a few rotten boards that needed to be
replaced in addition to some drain work that would add between $2,500 and $3,500
to the total cost.
superintendent also reported Rasmussen is completing some minor repair work to
the school’s heating and air system. He said, after that work is completed, the
district will make the transition to Conditioned Air Mechanical, whose bid to
replace and maintain the district’s chiller was approved during October’s board
Hafer told the
board the rubber mats under school playground equipment had been removed, and
have been replaced with new borders and gravel. The Brown County Community
Foundation provided the school with a $5,000 grant for the playground
improvement work, and Hafer thanked Joey Finley, Todd Pollock and his students,
and other community volunteers for their work to help remove the old rubber
The next meeting
of the Ainsworth Community Schools Board of Education is scheduled for 7 p.m.
* Sunday evening accident injures 4 motorists south of
(Posted 6:30 a.m. Nov. 12)
played a factor in a Sunday evening one-vehicle accident south of Ainsworth that
injured four motorists.
According to the
Brown County Sheriff’s Department, at 7:11 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 10, a Dodge Ram
pickup, driven by Emily Seidel, 34, of rural Ainsworth, was traveling south on
Highway 7 approximately 12 miles south of Ainsworth when the vehicle encountered
black ice on the highway.
The Ram slid
into the east ditch, where it rolled. Seidel and three passengers in the Dodge,
all children, were transported by the Brown County Ambulance Association to the
Brown County Hospital for treatment of injuries suffered during the accident.
The Dodge was
considered a total loss. The Ainsworth Volunteer Fire Department assisted with
the call Sunday.
* Brown County Hospital receives performance award
(Posted 6:30 a.m. Nov. 11)
Hospital has been recognized by The Chartis Center of Rural Health and the
National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health for overall excellence in
Performance Leadership. Based on the results of the
Hospital Strength INDEX
from iVantage Health Analytics, the Performance Leadership Award reflects top
quartile performance among all rural hospitals in the United States in quality,
outcomes or patient perspective.
Strength INDEX is the industry’s most comprehensive and objective assessment of
rural hospital performance.
John Werner, CEO
of Brown County Hospital, said, “As a community, we have much to be thankful
for. Being recognized by the Chartis Center for Rural Health for Performance
Leadership reflects well on the work our staff, providers and board are engaged
in. It also speaks well of the support we receive from the community.”
Chief Executive Officer of the National Organization of State Offices of Rural
Health, said, “National Rural Health Day has come to symbolize not just the
vital role healthcare providers play in rural communities, but the dedication
and hard work that goes into overcoming the unique healthcare challenges that
exist across rural America. We are proud of the work of the State Offices of
Rural Health, their partners and rural hospitals do to improve care across the
national leader of The Chartis Center for Rural Health, said, “Each year,
National Rural Health Day serves as a terrific backdrop for celebrating the
power of rural and recognizing rural providers who continue to demonstrate an
unwavering commitment to delivering quality care within their communities. We
are delighted to be recognizing these top quartile performers.”
* Blue defeats Red in Ainsworth Mock Trial showdown
(Posted 3:30 p.m. Nov. 7)
The second round
of Region 4 Mock Trial competition took place in the Rock County Courthouse at
Bassett Wednesday, with the Ainsworth Blue team defeating the Ainsworth Red team
in a unanimous decision.
The Blue team
portrayed the defense in the trial and the Red team the plaintiff. Judges for
the round were attorneys Forrest Peetz, Rodney Smith and Avery Gurnsey.
and Mila Pozehl were selected as Outstanding Witness and Outstanding Attorney
for the Red team. Winning the awards for the Blue team were Witness Alyssa
Erthum and Attorney Coy Carson.
The next Mock
Trial competition will take place at 9 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 13, in the Brown
County Courtroom. Valentine will portray the plaintiff and Ainsworth Red, the
defendant. The winner of that trial will advance to compete against undefeated
Ainsworth Blue Nov. 20 for a chance to compete in the state championships at
Lincoln Dec. 9-10.
* Commissioners cancel upcoming hearing on Camp Witness
(Posted 12:30 p.m. Nov. 7)
The Brown County
Commissioners Tuesday cancelled an upcoming public hearing Nov. 19 relating to
the abandonment of a road and bridge at Camp Witness.
The bridge was
destroyed during flooding in March, and Camp Witness representatives had
previously urged the board not to abandon the road and bridge until the county
could determine if it could first receive disaster funding to replace the
The board had
scheduled a hearing for Nov. 19, but cancelled the hearing during Tuesday’s
Don Fling met
with the commissioners regarding a drainage issue east of Ainsworth affecting
property he owned, along with property owned by the Ainsworth Evangelical Free
Church and the city of Ainsworth.
commissioners requested Brown County Attorney Andy Taylor look into statutes to
determine the best way to proceed with addressing the drainage issues.
Leon Bracker also visited with the commissioners regarding a bridge leading to
his property that was damaged during this year’s flooding. No action was taken
following the discussion.
beef systems educator Hannah Greenwell introduced herself to the board as the
newest University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension educator for the area. She
provided the commissioners with a description of her job responsibilities as she
joins the BKR staff.
commissioners approved a resolution for a food service contract between the
county and Big John’s Restaurant to provide daily noon and evening meals to
Brown County Jail inmates. The board previously approved the bid submitted by
Big John’s, as it was the only bid the county received to provide the meal
Hobbs discussed information regarding cybersecurity for the courthouse she
learned by attending a recent meeting. Hobbs discussed potential vulnerabilities
to the county’s computer networks and possible preventive action that could be
taken. No action was taken.
discussed a payment the clerk’s office recently made to the Nebraska State
Treasurer’s Unclaimed Property Division.
Weed Superintendent Scott Erthum requested the county implement a government
employee cell phone plan through Verizon for his official phone. The county was
previously paying Erthum $50 to partially reimburse costs for using his cell
phone for county weed department business. By going with a government employee
plan, the county will only have a cost of $39 per month.
Association of County Officials Blue Cross Blue Shield representative Judd Allen
provided the commissioners with an update on the county’s current wellness and
The next meeting
of the Brown County Commissioners is scheduled for 5:15 p.m. Nov. 19.
* Rock County Commissioners approve engineering study
for Road 854
(Posted 7 a.m. Nov. 7)
The Rock County
Commissioners Tuesday met with a landowner regarding a culvert the county
installed on Road 854 that drained additional water onto his property.
Frank Taylor and
Ben Andrews representing the Spring Valley Ranch requested the county dig out
the ditches on Road 854 and the culverts to allow the excess water to drain
naturally to Bloody Creek.
Attorney Avery Gurnsey discussed with the board conducting an engineering study
for Road 854 and the surrounding area, which includes Sections 22, 25 and 36 of
Township 26 North, Range 20, and Sections 19, 30 and 31 of Township 26 North,
discussion, the commissioners approved a contract with JEO Engineering to
conduct a study of Road 854 and those accompanying sections.
business Tuesday, the commissioners approved a license renewal application
request from Rock County Hospital Administrator Stacey Knox for the hospital and
long term care. The board reviewed the final reports from both the hospital
audit and the county audit. Those audit reports are on file in the clerk’s
office and available for public inspection.
of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension beef specialist for the BKR office Hannah
Greenwell introduced herself to the commissioners.
Ed Hall and Les
Hall visited with the commissioners about progress on replacing the Carnes
Bridge across the Niobrara River that was damaged during the March flooding.
The next meeting
of the Rock County Commissioners is scheduled for 9 a.m. Nov. 19.