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

* David C. Croghan, 63, of Bassett, 10:30 a.m. Nov. 20

* Robert J. Greenfield, 92, formerly of Stuart 10:30 a.m. Nov. 18

* Meeting reports located below for:

Nov. 14 Sandhills Care Center Board of Directors

Nov. 14 Ainsworth Community Schools Board of Education

Nov. 7 Brown County Commissioners

Oct. 17 Brown County Commissioners

* Brown County Hospital receives national award for overall excellence

(Posted 3 p.m. Nov. 17)

On National Rural Health Day, Brown County Hospital was recognized by The Chartis Center for Rural Health/iVantage Health Analytics and the National Organization of State Office of Rural Health for overall excellence in  MERGEFIELD "Awards1" Quality, reflecting top quartile performance among all rural hospitals in the nation.

“This recognition is truly an honor and a testament to the high-quality care and services that are provided to each and every patient, every day at Brown County Hospital,” Hospital Administrator Shannon Sorensen said. “Our entire team puts the patient first and with that focus, high quality is achieved.  We are so thankful for the opportunity to serve our community as an integral part of rural healthcare.”

The rankings are determined each year using iVantage Health Analytics’ Hospital Strength INDEX, the industry’s most comprehensive and objective assessment of rural hospital performance. iVantage Health Analytics has developed a data-driven program designed to identify excellence across a broad spectrum of indicators relevant to hospital performance and patient care. The Hospital Strength INDEX captures performance metrics for all rural and Critical Access Hospitals. Leveraging data from public data sources, INDEX aggregates data from more than 50 individual metrics into three major categories and eight pillars to derive a single strength overall rating for each facility.

“On this important day, as we celebrate the power of rural, it’s great to recognize these top performers who are excelling in managing risk, achieving higher quality, securing better outcomes, increasing patient satisfaction, or operating at a lower cost than their peers,” said Michael Topchik, National Leader of the Chartis Center for Rural Health. “These leaders serve as a benchmark for other rural facilities as they strive to achieve similar results and provide a blueprint for how to successfully run a hospital and serve their communities amidst today’s uncertainty and mounting pressures.”

* District Court for Brown County

(Posted Nov. 17 12:22 p.m.)

Craig Bernbeck, age 48, of Long Pine, appeared in the District Court of Brown County on Tuesday, Nov. 14.  Bernbeck had previously been convicted of Attempted Terroristic Threats, a Class IV felony, and Possession of a Controlled Substance, a Class IV felony.  Bernbeck was sentenced to concurrent counts of probation for 18 months. Bernbeck was also ordered to pay a fine of $1,000, court costs and also attend counseling.

* Traffic Accident

(Posted Nov. 16 4:03 p.m.)

A pickup-cow collision resulted in approximately $1,500 damage to a 2012 Ford driven by Thomas R. Schumacher of Ainsworth.  The accident happened about 8 p.m. Wednesday 5 miles north of Ainsworth.  Tom Schumacher was westbound on County Road 883 just east of Meadville Avenue when several head of black cows were crossing the road. The vehicle hit one cow near its head with the front of the pickup and the cow came along the driver side causing damage to both doors and the running board.  The cow got up and ran into an adjacent corn field.  The 2 to 3 year old Angus cow was owned by Michael D. Johnson of Ainsworth.  No injuries reported and the vehicle was driven away from the scene.

* Peterson discusses items from board meeting during Tuesday Open Line

(Posted 10:30 a.m. Nov. 14)

Ainsworth Community Schools Superintendent Darrell Peterson appeared on the school-day edition of Open Line Tuesday.
To hear the conversation, click on the audio link below.

audio clips/Open Line-ACS Mr Peterson 11-14-17.MP3

* Medicaid reimbursement arriving, but care center still currently operating in the red

(Posted 9:15 a.m. Nov. 14)

Though Medicaid is now reimbursing the facility for additional costs from its previous year’s operation, the Sandhills Care Center is still operating in the red due to a lower than anticipated number of residents currently utilizing the facility.

Walt Dye with Rural Health Development told the Care Center Board of Directors Monday the facility received more than $31,000 in Medicaid reimbursement in October, and should receive a total of $114,000 from the state.

Care Center Administrator Stephanie Rucker told the board the facility should receive another Medicaid reimbursement of $28,000 that will be processed this week.

Dye said the facility anticipated receiving an additional $65,000 to $70,000 from Medicare to reimburse the nursing home for its cost of care, but it would likely be April or May before those funds arrive.

Board Chairman Phil Fuchs said the facility would just have to be as tight as it could on the expense side until admissions reach the threshold needed to break even financially.

“We were expecting a census of around 19 or 20 at this stage, which would have put us close to being in the black,” Fuchs said. “We are just not seeing that census right now. If we can get to 21 or 22 residents, we can get close to cash flowing.”

Dye said an additional five or six residents in the facility each at $200 per day would make a huge difference.

“Historically, November and December are high admittance months,” Dye said. “We need to get between 22 to 25 residents to really have a chance in the long term.”

Board member Chuck Osborn said the care center has done a tremendous job in its first year changing the reputation of the facility from the previous management company.

“We are only a year into this,” Osborn said. “I am hearing very positive things in the community with how the care center is being operated. The open house you held recently just reiterates how important this facility is to the community.”

Dye said, after the first year audit report, in addition to the Medicaid reimbursement making up the gap between what the state paid and what it cost to house the Medicaid residents, the facility will receive approximately $7,000 more from Medicaid per month going forward based on the current census.

“Expenses are being held down,” Dye said. “Our focus needs to continue to be on getting the community behind the nursing home and getting the census built.”

Rucker reported there are currently 16 residents in the Sandhills Care Center. Eight of those are private-pay residents, seven receive Medicaid assistance, and one is a Medicare Part A resident.

She said three new residents were admitted during October, but two residents passed away during the past month.

“We are getting a lot of positive feedback from the community,” Rucker said. “We have had several community events, and it is great to see all the people coming out to visit us. Our relationship with the community is growing nicely.”

Rucker reported a new LPN started with the care center recently, taking advantage of the sign-on bonus offered by the community.

“We have another LPN potentially interested, but that person would not be available until February at the earliest,” Rucker said. “Having the new LPN will drop us down to one agency nurse at night.”

Fuchs said having the new LPN in-house instead of having to pay an agency for staffing will be a substantial savings to the facility.

It costs more than $11,000 per month to have one agency nurse in the facility, and the care center had previously needed two agency nurses.

Rucker said the new whirlpool tub has been installed in the facility, and the residents love it. She said it takes just 15 minutes to fill the new tub, instead of the 50 minutes it took to fill the previous tub. Donations from the community paid for the tub’s purchase and installation.

“We want to thank the capital campaign committee, the NCDC and everyone who donated,” Rucker said. “That tub is a life-changer for us.”

The board discussed replacing the shingles on the care center’s roof in the spring. The approximately 150 squares of shingles will be purchased soon, and the board will solicit bids for the labor involved to remove of the old shingles and install the new ones.

Fuchs said the capital campaign committee would also try and raise the funding needed for that project.

The next meeting of the Sandhills Care Center Board of Directors is scheduled for 4 p.m. Dec. 11.

* Ainsworth will continue to compete in 8-man football, likely eligible for playoffs

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

Ainsworth will remain in eight-man football for the next two years, as the Board of Education Monday approved certifying to the Nebraska School Activities Association that the school would compete in Class D-1 for the 2018 and 2019 seasons.

Superintendent Darrell Peterson said he was fairly certain the district had made the enrollment cut-off to be eligible for eight-man football and compete in the playoffs.

“We have been more competitive in eight-man, and we would have qualified for the playoffs this year if we would have been eligible,” Peterson said.

Ainsworth has participated in eight-man football for the past two years, but was ineligible for the postseason due to the school’s enrollment being above the threshold to compete in Class D.

For the next two-year period, the NSAA is counting only the number of boys enrolled as sophomores, juniors and seniors to determine eligibility for football.

Activities Director Scott Steinhauser said the school’s number of boys enrolled has apparently been confirmed, and the school will be eligible for the playoffs for the next two years.

“We would also have a two-year grace period after this two years, so even if our enrollment numbers would go back up, we should be good for the next four years,” Steinhauser said.

He said the number of boys in the current junior class is small, so that helped the school qualify for eight-man the next two years.

That class will be graduated the next time the enrollment is certified.

In other business Monday, Peterson said some of the school board members had recently toured ag and shop facilities at Minden and Grand Island to get ideas for the potential construction of a new ag and shop building for the district.

He said one method to build a new facility for those classes would be the design-build model approved by the state. To be able to use the design-build model, the district needed to adopt a policy outlining that process.

“I think this would be a good way to do this project, especially for a smaller project like this,” the superintendent said.

He said studies have shown the design-build model can save 6 percent compared to the cost of a typical design-bid-build model, and construction is 12 percent quicker.

He said the district would have to have at least two contractors participate in the design-build process to be eligible, or the district would have to go back to the design-bid-build model.

Board member Brad Wilkins said he believed it made sense to approach the ag and shop project this way.

“I think it could speed up the process and save on the cost,” Wilkins said.

The board unanimously approved the first reading of a policy developing the design-build contracts.

During his report, Peterson said the school’s health insurance premiums would not increase for the next year.

“That doesn’t happen often,” he said.

The district has a Blue Cross/Blue Shield group health plan.

Peterson reported the Educational Service Unit provided the district a report showing how schools within the ESU have taken advantage of a cooperative purchasing program negotiated by the ESU to drive down costs to schools.

Ainsworth has purchased $47,204 in supplies through the cooperative, saving $16,095 from the retail price for those supplies.

Secondary Principal Bill Lentz reported six of the 10 living World War II veterans in the county attended the school’s Veterans Day program Friday.

Elementary Principal Mike Wentz’s report indicated lunch times had changed for the elementary classes effective Nov. 1 due to overcrowding caused by middle school students coming in for lunch while three elementary grades were still eating.

Steinhauser reported there are around 30 girls participating in basketball as the practice season gets underway. However, he reported there were only 10 boys out for high school basketball. There are 10 boys out for wrestling.

He reported there are 17 girls participating in middle school basketball, with five boys competing in middle school wrestling. Middle school boys basketball follows the wrestling season.

The next meeting of the Ainsworth Community Schools Board of Education is scheduled for 5 p.m. Dec. 11.

* Firearm deer season opens Saturday, several check stations open in the area

(Posted 7 a.m. Nov. 9)

Deer hunters for the upcoming season have several places in the area where harvested deer can be checked in.

In Ainsworth, deer may be checked in this year at Roadrunner on Highway 20 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. during the nine-day firearm season.

The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission office at Bassett checks deer from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. From 5 until 8 p.m. and from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. on weekends, hunters may check deer at the Rock County Sheriff’s Department.

In Springview, hunters may check in deer at the Turbine Mart on Highway 183.

Valentine has two check stations, including the Fish Hatchery on the north end of town and Wright’s Bait on Highway 20.

Torpin’s Rodeo Market in O’Neill as well as O’Neill Tire and Supply will serve as check stations again this year.

In Butte, deer may be checked in at the Firehouse Caf on Main Street between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.

As of Thursday morning, all 1,450 permits in the Calamus West zone have been sold. There are 757 permits remaining in the Keya Paha Unit from the 2,300 that were issued. The Sandhills Unit has also sold out of its 1,500-permit allocation.
Hunters are invited to share their harvest by submitting photos to KBRB for our annual Hunting Gallery. Email high resolution, JPEG photos to kbrb@sscg.net along with information about your hunt.

 * Roads department continues to identify bridges for replacement with culverts

(Posted 10:45 a.m. Nov. 7)

Highway Superintendent Kenny Turpin discussed potential bridge replacement projects during Tuesday’s meeting of the Brown County Board of Commissioners.

The county has been replacing several older bridges with large culverts, and Turpin said the engineering work and the Army Corps of Engineers permit have been completed to replace a bridge on Road 881 west of Ainsworth with two 78-inch by 40-inch steel culverts.

The county received a quote of $36,800 from B’s Enterprises of Norfolk for the cost of the steel culverts, which the county will install.

Turpin said he would also like to get the ball rolling on replacing the Wilson Street bridge just north of Ainsworth with culverts.

The highway superintendent said bridge match program funds from the state are available to the county, but the Wilson Street project does not qualify for that program due to the bridge not being deemed as deficient. The issue with the Wilson Street bridge is its load capacity, as heavy commercial truck traffic uses the road and is too large for the bridge’s current load limits.

“The canal bridge on the Airport Road is eligible for the bridge match program,” Turpin said. “I would like to pursue replacing that bridge. The county would have to pay for the engineering costs, but the program would cover the rest.”

Turpin asked the board for permission to take the county’s excavator to Road Builders for some needed repair work, and received the go-ahead.

He said the roads department has been hauling clay onto the Moon Lake Road, and is putting up snow fence.

Royce Greder approached the commissioners with a complaint about a roads project near his property causing washouts and silting into his dam. He said it costs in excess of $1,000 to dredge out his dam each time it silts in.

The commissioners agreed to visit the site and determine if any upgrades were needed.

In other business Tuesday, the commissioners declared a 1994 GMC Sierra pickup and a 1998 Chevy Blazer as surplus equipment and will sell them to Clint Painter Iron as scrap since they have no resale value.

Rod Palmer asked the commissioners to provide a letter of support to the Nebraska Sandhills Cowboy Hall of Fame to allow the organization to place signs east and west of Ainsworth adjacent to Highway 20 advertising the site of the Hall of Fame Museum, currently located on Main Street.

Palmer said there would be no cost to the county, as donations have been collected for the cost of the signs. He said the letter of support from the county would suffice for the Nebraska Department of Transportation to allow the signs to be erected.

Following an executive session with Zoning Administrator Dean Jochem, the board indicated that all future meetings of the Brown County Planning Commission would be conducted at least two weeks prior to the item appearing on the Board of Commissioners agenda, and the zoning administrator would be required to notify the commissioners any time he receives a special-use permit application.

Commissioner Reagan Wiebelhaus said, at some point, he wants to go through the county’s comprehensive plan piece by piece.

“I think some of the guidelines are vague,” Wiebelhaus said.

The commissioners approved signing an amendment to the interlocal agreement with Ainsworth, Long Pine and Johnstown to reaffirm the county’s commitment to the KBR Solid Waste compact.

The board also approved a subdivision request submitted by Krotter Law Group to subdivide 6.69 acres of property in northern Brown County. The subdivided acreage will allow a property owner with a currently landlocked parcel to have access to the parcel from Highway 183.

In a budget item, the commissioners discussed how to address a potential budget shortfall in the newly created K-9 unit line item.

Wiebelhaus said the line item is separate from the sheriff’s department budget, and it was set up as an estimate for the cost of purchasing and training a drug-detecting dog for the department.

Wiebelhaus said the donation money the department received to purchase and train the dog was higher than the budgeted amount.

The board agreed to have any excess expenses covered through the county’s miscellaneous general fund budget and readdressed during the 2018-19 budget year using the donated funds.

Wiebelhaus said having “Dutch” on duty has already led to the seizure of 1 pound of marijuana during a traffic stop and the arrest of three motorists.

In a final agenda item, Commissioner Buddy Small reported the county received an additional $6,364 dividend for renewing a three-year membership to the Nebraska Intergovernmental Risk Management Association. A charter member of NIRMA, the county has now seen $194,146 returned as dividends since 1988.

Small said he had submitted funding requests to NIRMA for cost assistance on several safety-related items for the county, including wiring for panic buttons in the courthouse, a ladder for the roads department shop, stair treads in the courthouse, and five sets of steel-toed work boots for roads department employees.

Small said he also submitted a request for assistance on concrete work near the courthouse, though NIRMA had never previously approved funding assistance for concrete.

The Commissioners also established elected official's salaries for the 2019-2022 term. Elected official's salaries were set at $49,600, Sheriff's salary at $56,600, County Attorney salary set at $76,600.  Also official's will have a $1,500 increase on Jan. 1, 2020 and following years through 2022. County Board members salaries were set at $24,000 with the chairman's salary at $25,000 plus $750 per year annual increase starting Jan. 1, 2020 through 2022. 

The next meeting of the Brown County Commissioners is scheduled for 8:15 a.m. Nov. 21.

* Sheriff's Department advises residents to be aware of scam phone calls

(Posted 2:15 p.m. Nov. 6)

The Brown County Sheriff's Department received numerous calls Monday from residents who said they were receiving threatening phone calls from people claiming to be with the Internal Revenue Service.
The sheriff's department urges residents to hang up, as these are scam calls. Do not provide any personal information, and do not agree to send any form of payment. The IRS does not contact people by phone.
These calls are typically made by parties either out of the state, or most often, out of the country. Numerous area residents reported receiving calls threatening action by the IRS if money was not paid. Anyone with questions, or who believes they may have been a victim of a scam, may contact the sheriff's department at 402-387-1440.

* Weekly summary from the Brown County Sheriff's Department

(Posted 6:30 a.m. Nov. 6)

October 29

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

  • Received a report of cattle out on Hwy 20 in Rock County. The call was transferred to the Rock Co Sheriff’s Office.

  • Investigated a report of a vehicle / cattle accident on Hwy 20 East of the Long Pine spur.

  • Provided a civil standby for an individual, while gathering personal property from a Long Pine residence.

  • The Ainsworth and Long Pine Rural Fire Depts responded to a report of a fire North of Keller Park.

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

    October 30

  • Assisted an individual with a report of possible animal neglect or abuse.

  • Responded to a report of a possible stranded motorist, needing assistance, in the Long Pine hills.

  • Provided traffic control for a house being moved on Hwy 20, West of Ainsworth.

  • The Johnstown, Ainsworth, Long Pine Rural, and Wood Lake Fire Depts responded to a report of a house fire, North of Johnstown. The Brown Co Ambulance also responded.

  • Booked a subject into the Brown Co Jail on an arrest warrant for Burglary.

    October 31

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

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

  • Booked a subject into the Brown Co Jail on an arrest warrant, for Leaving an Accident – Failure to Furnish Information. The subject was later released on bond.

    November 1

  • Investigated a vehicle / deer accident without injury on Meadville Ave, North of  Ainsworth.

  • Investigated a report of shoplifting from an Ainsworth business.

  • Assisted an individual with a report of a possible violation of bond conditions.

  • Responded to a report of a reckless driver, West of Ainsworth.

  • The Brown Co Ambulance transported an individual from rural Brown Co to the Brown Co Hospital.

  • The Brown Co Ambulance transported a flight crew from the Ainsworth Airport to the Brown Co Hospital, then back to the Ainsworth Airport with crew and patient.

    November 2

  • Investigated a report of harassment in Ainsworth.

  • The Brown Co Ambulance transported an individual from an Ainsworth residence to the Brown Co Hospital.

  • The Ainsworth Fire Dept responded to a report of a business on fire, in Ainsworth.

  • Received a report of a vehicle being driven recklessly on Hwy 20 near Long Pine.

    November 3

  • Responded to a report of a reckless driver on Hwy 20 East of Ainsworth.

  • The Brown Co Ambulance transported an individual from the Ainsworth Schools to the Brown Co Hospital.

  • The Brown Co Ambulance transported a patient from the Brown Co Hospital to the Methodist Hospital in Omaha.

    November 4

  • Investigated a vehicle / deer accident without injury on Hwy 20 East of Ainsworth.

  • Investigated a vehicle / deer accident without injury on Hwy 20 East of Johnstown.

  • Investigated a vehicle / deer accident without injury on Hwy 20 West of Airport Rd.

  • Assisted an individual with a report of possible harassment in Ainsworth.

  • The Brown Co Ambulance transported an individual from the Ainsworth Schools to the Brown Co Hospital.

    Weekly Summary
    0 - Fix-It Tickets Were Issued.
    2 - Handgun Permits Applied For
    20 - Incidents Reports Were Taken.
    11 - Paper Service Was Served.
    189 - Phone Calls Were Received
    8 - 911 Emergency Calls Received 
    1 - Titles Were Inspected.
    1 - Traffic Citations Were Issued.
    4 - Verbal & Written Warnings Issued.

    October Summary
    11 - Arrests
    84 - Calls for Service 
    5 - Citations were issued
    4 - Defect Cards issued
    9 - Handgun permits issued
    31 - Paper Service served
    725 - Phone calls were received
    27 - 911 emergency calls received
    25 - Titles inspected
    4 - Verbal & Written Warnings issued

* October becomes eighth month with better than normal precipitation

(Posted 8:15 a.m. Nov. 3)

Ainsworth Weather Observer Gerry Osborn recorded 1.89 inches of moisture in October, which is .37 above the average for the month. October became the eighth month in 10 with better than normal moisture, bringing the precipitation total for the year to 28.64 inches, 7.06 above average.
To hear the complete report from Ainsworth's weather observer, click on the audio link below.

audio clips/Gerry Osborn October 2017 weather summary.mp3

* Social studies students collecting items for Grand Island Veterans Home

(Posted 7:30 a.m. Nov. 3)

The Ainsworth seventh- and eighth-grade social studies students will again collect items for the Grand Island Veterans Home during the Ainsworth Veterans Day program at 2 p.m. Friday, Nov. 10, in McAndrew Gymnasium.
The following items may be taken to the program and will be collected by the students:
Snacks, fishing equipment, DVDs and CDs, wheelchair pedal totes, shawls, body pillows, Husker items, word search books, gripper socks, diabetic socks, toiletries, magazines and new or gently used clothing.

* Traffic Accident

(Posted 12:30 p.m. Oct. 31)

The Brown County Sheriff’s Department investigated a one-vehicle accident that occurred Sunday, Oct. 29, on Highway 20.
According to the sheriff’s department report, at 7:10 a.m. Sunday on Highway 20 approximately 1 mile east of the Long Pine Spur intersection, a 2003 Dodge Ram, driven by Ranell Porter, 49, of Long Pine, was traveling west when the vehicle struck a calf in the roadway.
No persons were injured during the accident. Damage to the Dodge was estimated at $2,000. The calf, owned by Keith Cosgrove of rural Long Pine, was valued at $1,000.

* Monday night fire severely damages home north of Johnstown

(Posted noon Oct. 31)

A fire Monday night severely damaged a rural home north of Johnstown and prompted the response of four fire departments.

Battling bitterly cold temperatures, firefighters from Ainsworth, Johnstown, Long Pine and Wood Lake were paged at 11:15 p.m. to a report of a structure on fire on Norden Avenue north of Johnstown.

Ainsworth Fire Chief Brad Fiala said, when firefighters arrived to the home owned by Tim and Nancy Klammer, flames were coming out of the home’s walk-in door that led to the basement.

Fiala said the fire spread through the walls and into the upper floors of the home.

The couple was able to exit the home safely, but a family pet was lost. The home and its contents sustained extensive damage from the flames and smoke.

Fiala said Ryan Sylvester from the Nebraska State Fire Marshal’s Office investigated the cause, and determined the fire started when a 220-volt wire in the basement shorted.

Firefighters returned to their respective fire halls at approximately 6 a.m. Tuesday, and were then called back to the scene at 9 a.m. Tuesday. Fiala said a few places were still smoldering, and the Ainsworth and Johnstown departments returned to apply additional water to those hot spots.

The Brown County Ambulance Association provided standby service while the firefighters were on scene through the night.

* Firefighters called out Friday morning, Sunday night

(Posted 9:15 a.m. Oct. 30)

The Ainsworth Volunteer Fire Department was called to a report of smoke northeast of Ainsworth just after 10 p.m. Sunday.

According to Ainsworth Fire Chief Brad Fiala, a fire was reported 9 miles north and 5 miles east of Ainsworth on property owned by Garry Denny.

Fiala said the property had previously received a burn permit Oct. 16, and the burn pile reignited in the wind Sunday night. The fire chief said the fire was contained to the burn pile, and firefighters returned to the fire hall by 11:30 p.m. The Long Pine Rural Volunteer Fire Department also responded to the fire call.

Fiala said smoke from a light ballast caused the fire alarms to activate Friday morning at Cottonwood Villa on the south side of Ainsworth.

He said the building was searched for any hot spots, and the alarm system was reset. None of the residents were forced to evacuate the building on a cold, windy Friday.

“We have not had a problem since the system was reset,” Fiala said.

The Brown County Ambulance Association and Brown County Sheriff’s Department also responded to that fire call at 10:45 a.m. Friday.

* Foundation to host follow-up town hall meeting Nov. 15

(Posted 7 a.m. Oct. 30)

The Brown County Community Foundation Fund is hosting a town hall meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 15, in the Ainsworth Conference Center as a follow-up to its Jan. 20, 2016, town hall meetings that established priority goals for the community.

During the 2016 town hall meeting, the Brown County Community Foundation Fund Advisory Committee, in partnership with the North Central Development Center, identified volunteer committees and/or organizations to address the target areas by developing action plans consisting of specific goals and objectives as suggested in the report. The action plans have become the basis for an update of the Ainsworth/Brown County Strategic Plan 2023 for Economic Development and Community Improvement, which was originally developed as a result of a town hall meeting in 2007. 

Based on numerous suggestions for goals and objectives, visionary concepts identified were improving recreational opportunities, health care, economic development, infrastructure, housing, adult education, multi-county services, and communications.

During the Nov. 15 meeting, representatives from the various committees/organizations will be present to share information on the status of action taken to address each of the concepts identified. 

Opportunities will be available for those in attendance to share their thoughts, opinions, and suggestions to assist the organizations and/or committees in the accomplishment of their respective objectives.

* Singing for Hope Karaoke competition raises $1,900 for Sandhills Cancer Fund

(Posted 7 a.m. Oct. 30)

The Pink Ladies Dart League raised more than $1,900 Saturday during their second annual Singing for Hope Karaoke competition.
With 15 singers competing in the Silver Circle during the finals, the winners were decided based on the number of dollars donated in the name of each singer. Winning the second annual contest was Cory Coutts, with the duet of Kendra Cleal and Penny Waits finishing second. Defending champion Jason Nelson tied for third with Cheri Coutts.

* Weekly summary from the Brown County Sheriff's Department

(Posted 6:30 a.m. Oct. 30)

October 22

  • Responded to a report of a possible suicidal subject in Ainsworth.

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

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

  • The Brown Co Ambulance transported an individual from a residence to the Brown Co Hospital.

  • Responded to a report of a possible accident without injury at the Ainsworth Conference Center.

  • Investigated a report of a possible intoxicated driver in Ainsworth area.

  • Responded to a report of a dog that was struck by a vehicle on Hwy 20 in Ainsworth.

    October 23

  • Received a request for an attempt to locate a missing person in Ainsworth. The subject was located.

  • Assisted an Ainsworth resident with a report of theft of an electronic item.

  • The Brown Co Ambulance transported an individual from a residence on North Maple St to the Brown Co Hospital.

  • The Brown Co Ambulance transported a flight crew from the Ainsworth Airport to the Brown Co Hospital and then back to the Airport for transfer.

    October 24

  • Investigated a report of a burglary at a building off of Main St Ainsworth.

  • The Ainsworth Fire Dept responded to a fire alarm going off at the Ainsworth Schools.

    October 25

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

  • Investigated a report of a vehicle accident with possible injury on Meadville Ave, Ainsworth. The Brown Co Ambulance also responded to this report and transported an individual to the Brown Co Hospital.

  • Received several reports of smoke South & West of Ainsworth and Johnstown areas. It was determined to be a controlled burn in Cherry Co.

  • Assisted an Ainsworth resident with a report of “IRS Scam Calls”.

    October 26

  • The Brown Co Ambulance transported an individual from a residence on North Maple to the Brown Co Hospital.

  • Responded to a report of transients passing through Brown Co area.

  • Investigated a report of a possible assault on a child in Ainsworth.

  • Assisted an individual with a report of suspicious activity in Long Pine.

    October 27

  • Investigated a two-vehicle accident at Road Runner.

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

  • Arrested a subject and booked them into the Brown Co Jail, for a Protection Order Violation. The subject was released later on bond.

  • Investigated a two-vehicle accident without injury at Shopko.

  • Arrested a subject for Driving Under the Influence. The subject was booked into the Brown Co Jail.

  • The Ainsworth Fire Dept responded to a fire alarm going off at the Cottonwood Villa. The Brown Co Ambulance also responded for standby.

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

    October 28

  • Assisted the NE State Patrol with a traffic stop on Meadville Ave. One subject was cited for Minor in Possession and Open Container. One subject was cited for Driving Under the Influence and Minor in Possession. One subject was cited for Minor in Possession and Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor and two other subjects for Minor in Possession. Later a subject involved was cited for Procuring.

  • Responded to a report of a possible assault on 3rd & Woodward, Ainsworth.

  • Provided a civil standby on South Main St Ainsworth.

  • Assisted an Ainsworth resident with a report of a possible Protection Order Violation.

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

  • Responded to a 911 hang up call in Ainsworth.

  • Provided a civil standby on North Walnut St., Ainsworth.

    Weekly Summary
    2 - Fix-It Tickets Were Issued.
    3 - Handgun Permits Applied For
    18 - Incidents Reports Were Taken.
    3 - Paper Service Was Served.
    183 - Phone Calls Were Received
    7 - 911 Emergency Calls Received 
    4 - Titles Were Inspected.
    4 - Traffic Citations Were Issued.
    1 - Verbal & Written Warnings Issued.

'DUTCH' ON PATROL - Brown County Deputy Sheriff Zach Welch completed
training with the newest member of the sheriff's department, "Dutch." The
German Malanois will be utilized to help officers detect the presence of illegal
drugs in the county.

* 'Dutch' is on patrol for the Brown County Sheriff's Department

(Posted 3:30 p.m. Oct. 27)

After six weeks of training in the Nebraska State Patrol academy at Grand Island, “Dutch” is the newest officer employed by the Brown County Sheriff’s Department.

A German Malinois bred in Holland, the canine unit is the responsibility of Sheriff’s Deputy Zach Welch.

Welch said Dutch was pretty green when he was purchased, so the first week and a half of training was mainly bonding between officer and canine, with the dog learning to memorize the scents he will need to know to work as a drug-detecting unit.

“They are really impressive dogs,” Welch said. “They can learn four odors at a time. We spent about a week and a half of them getting to learn all the odors. We incorporate those scents into different toys. Whenever they can detect the odor, they find their toy. That is essentially what he will be doing when he is working - finding his toy.”

Welch said Dutch was picked specifically because he showed the traits needed to be a good working canine unit.

“He was by far the most sociable dog at the training camp,” Welch said.

There were eight other dogs and handlers who went through the training with Welch. Some were new dogs. Others were dogs who had previously been through the training but were learning to work with different handlers.

“Each dog has something different that motivates him,” Welch said. “Dutch always wants to have his toy. It is amazing what they are able to detect.”

Welch said the training started with the dogs learning to find the scent-covered object when it is in the open, and eventually graduated to the dogs being able to detect the odor of illegal drugs emanating from vacuum-sealed packages and packages with other heavy scents meant to mask the scent of the drugs.

“During a vehicle stop, if the dog is down wind it will typically smell it before you even approach the vehicle,” Welch said.

Welch said Dutch only went through the detection training, not the aggressive dog training, and will be used only to help the sheriff’s department locate the presence of illegal substances. Welch is the only officer who will handle the canine unit, and Dutch will be on patrol any time Welch is on duty.

The community donated the money for the canine unit’s purchase and training prior to Dutch being purchased and sent with Welch to the training academy.

“There is never a day that he isn’t excited to go to work,” Welch said.

* Traffic Accident

(Posted 6:45 a.m. Oct. 27)

The Brown County Sheriff’s Department investigated a one-vehicle accident that occurred Wednesday, Oct. 25, north of Ainsworth.
According to the sheriff’s department report, at 10:50 p.m. Wednesday on Meadville Avenue approximately 11 miles north of Ainsworth, a 2006 Ford sedan, driven by Hannah Titus, 29, of Ainsworth, was traveling south when the vehicle left the roadway and rolled onto its top in the east ditch.
Titus was transported by the Brown County Ambulance Association to the Brown County Hospital for injuries suffered during the accident. The Ford was considered a total loss.

* Beck named to Nebraska Agricultural Youth Council

(Posted 6:45 a.m. Oct. 26)

Nebraska Department of Agriculture Director Greg Ibach congratulated a select group of college students for their commitment to serve the ag industry as members of the 2017-18 Nebraska Agricultural Youth Council. The Council is comprised of Nebraska students who have a passion for agriculture and who are committed to promoting the ag industry around the state.

The Department of Agriculture sponsors the council and its activities throughout the year.

“As council members, these young men and women have the opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of Nebraska youth by telling the story of Nebraska agriculture and the many careers available in the industry,” NDA Director Greg Ibach said. “Council members are the future leaders of our agricultural industry. They bring with them outstanding experience, and I know they will work hard to represent Nebraska’s proud agricultural heritage.”

Among those selected as council members is Ainsworth graduate Jacce Beck.

NAYC is entering its 47th year with the installation of this group of council members. Throughout the year, the Council coordinates several agricultural learning experiences for Nebraska youth including: visiting elementary classrooms to discuss where food comes from; taking urban youth on farm tours to experience what a day in the life of a farmer is like; and visiting with high school students from across the state about career opportunities in the ag industry. The primary focus of the council is to coordinate the annual Nebraska Agricultural Youth Institute, a five-day summer conference for current high school juniors and seniors.

This year’s Council is comprised of 21 young men and women.

To learn more, visit www.nda.nebraska.gov/nayi/

* Traffic Accident

(Posted 1:15 p.m. Oct. 25)

The Brown County Sheriff’s Department investigated a two-vehicle accident that occurred Thursday, Oct. 19, in Ainsworth.
According to the sheriff’s department report, at 5:55 p.m. Thursday at the Pump and Pantry parking lot, a 2015 Volvo semi, driven by Jose Trevizo, 28, of Longmont, Colo., was turning into the parking lot when the semi’s trailer struck a parked 2013 GMC pickup, owned by Carol Jones of Ainsworth.
No injuries were reported. Damage to the Volvo, owned by Transco Inc. of Danville, Ill., was estimated at $500. The GMC sustained in excess of $1,000 damage.

* Four perfect cards submitted during final week of KBRB Football Contest

(Posted 1 p.m. Oct. 24)

It took until the final week, but the KBRB Football Contest prognosticators were dialed in for their last chance at $400 in prizes. Four perfect cards were turned in for the Week 8 contest after seven weeks of cards having at least one miss.

The perfect Week 8 cards belonged to Becky Schelm and Kenny Schelm both of Johnstown, Mike Rudnick of Ainsworth, and Kim Shaw of Bassett. Those four went a perfect 15 for 15 on this week’s high school and college games.

That sent us to the tie-breaker, and with the Huskers on a bye, the contestants had to choose between Penn State and Michigan. Penn State stayed unbeaten with a 42-13 victory over the Wolverines. All four contestants stayed perfect, picking the Nittany Lions to win at home. Mike Rudnick and Becky Schelm picked identical tie-breaker scores of 27-17 Penn State, missing the total by 19 points. Kenny Schelm had it 24-16 Penn State, missing by 21 points, and Kim Shaw picked Penn State by a 34-30 margin.

With Rudnick and Becky Schelm remaining tied, we went to our second tie-breaker, which was the card submitted earliest. Rudnick turned in his card to the KBRB Studios Wednesday, while Schelm’s card carried a Thursday postmark, so by the narrowest of margins, Mike Rudnick wins the $40 first-place prize, and Becky Schelm picks up the runner-up $10 certificate.

Winners may pick up their certificates in the KBRB Studios.

There were seven additional cards turned in that missed just one game. Those cards were submitted by Stan Pennington and Richard Fernau of Ainsworth, Jenny Beel and Adam Beel of Johnstown, and Mike Swan, Ruth Kennedy and Carl Chase of Springview,

KBRB thanks everyone who participated in this year’s football contest, and a huge thanks to Buckles Automotive, Roadrunner, and the Farmers-Ranchers Cooperative Ampride and Propane and Appliance stores in Ainsworth; the West Plains Bank of Springview, Circle B Livestock of Bassett; the Central Bar of Stuart; and the Atkinson Roadrunner for sponsoring this year’s KBRB Football Contest.

* Keya Paha, Rock counties buck area trend of declining taxable sales in July

(Posted 6:45 a.m. Oct. 24)

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

County
or City

2017
Net Taxable
Sales

2016
Net Taxable
Sales

Percent
Change

2017
Sales Tax
5.5%

2016
Sales Tax
5.5%

Boyd

869,061

975,945

(11.0)

47,798.46

53,677.08

Brown

2,862,147

3,107,905

(7.9)

157,418.34

170,934.93

Ainsworth

2,694,514

2,941,469

(8.4)

148,198.51

161,780.94

Cherry

7,099,567

7,303,995

(2.8)

390,476.52

401,720.05

Valentine

6,741,683

7,110,082

(5.2)

370,792.85

391,054.78

Holt

8,759,532

10,834,341

(19.2)

481,774.87

595,889.46

Atkinson

1,496,912

1,656,323

(9.6)

82,330.36

91,097.92

O'Neill

5,959,214

7,991,702

(25.4)

327,757.01

439,543.98

Keya Paha

261,404

207,133

26.2

14,377.26

11,392.35

Rock

837,489

683,595

22.5

46,061.96

37,597.81

State Total

$2,514,172,723

$2,438,040,677

3.1

$139,337,778.26

$134,653,415.07

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

County
or City

2017
Net Taxable
Sales

2016
Net Taxable
Sales

Percent
Change

2017
Sales Tax
5.5%

2016
Sales Tax
5.5%

Blaine

216,045

101,299

113.3

11,847.50

5,507.60

Boyd

451,529

230,596

95.8

24,870.88

12,669.42

Brown

546,210

755,493

(27.7)

30,327.00

41,727.95

Cherry

1,326,044

1,254,649

5.7

73,413.74

69,351.16

Holt

2,687,249

2,818,533

(4.7)

148,677.55

155,891.47

Keya Paha

93,205

147,189

(36.7)

5,064.20

8,072.75

Rock

390,140

283,545

37.6

21,464.69

15,601.16

State Total

$345,373,238

$353,624,599

(2.3)

$19,142,909.32

$19,611,800.06

* Weekly summary from the Brown County Sheriff's Department

(Posted 7 a.m. Oct. 23)

Oct. 15

        Responded to a report of a possible disturbance on North Woodward St Ainsworth.

        Investigated a report of a dog bite in Ainsworth.

 

Oct. 16

    Investigated a report of suspicious activity on Hwy 20 in Ainsworth.

    Responded to a report of a domestic disturbance on North Maple St Ainsworth. A subject was arrested and booked into the Brown Co Jail for Domestic Assault 3rd Degree.

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

    The Johnstown Fire Dept issued a burn permit for property located on Center St in Johnstown.

 

Oct. 17

    Assisted Ainsworth residents with a report of an abandoned bicycle located on private property. The bicycle was returned to the owner.

    Responded to a life line alert going off at an Ainsworth residence.

    Attempted to locate a missing person in Brown County.

 

Oct. 18

    Investigated a vehicle / deer accident on Hwy 7 South of Ainsworth.

    Investigated a report of possible fraudulent activity in Ainsworth

    Assisted an individual with a report of possible harassment involving a subject in Brown Co.

    Responded to a report of a possible suicidal subject in Ainsworth.

    Investigated a two-vehicle accident at Pump & Pantry, Ainsworth.

 

Oct. 19

    Investigated a report of a juvenile attempting to purchase alcohol in Ainsworth.

    The Brown Co Ambulance responded to an emergency call on South Main St Ainsworth.

 

Oct. 20

    The Brown Co Ambulance transported an individual from a residence on South Main St to the
Brown Co Hospital.

 

Oct. 21

    Provided a civil standby on North Walnut St, while subjects exchanged personal property.

    Assisted the NE State Patrol with an arrest for driving under suspension. The subject was booked into the Brown Co Jail and released later on bond.

    Provided a civil standby on North Woodward, while a subject removed personal property from a residence.

    Booked a subject into the Brown Co Jail on a court ordered commitment for violation of probation.

                       

Weekly Summary

1 - Fix-It Tickets Were Issued.

0 - Handgun Permits Applied For

16 - Incidents Reports Were Taken.

6 - Paper Service Was Served.

152 - Phone Calls Were Received

7 - 911 Emergency Calls Received 

11 - Titles Were Inspected.

0 - Traffic Citations Were Issued.

0 - Verbal & Written Warnings Issued.

{Photo by Jennifer Osborn)

CROSS COUNTRY TEAM WINS STATE - The Ainsworth girls cross country team won the 2017 Class D State Championship Friday at the Kearney Country Club. Pictured are, left to right: Coach Jared Hansmeyer, state individual champion Rylee Rice, CeeAnna Beel, Elizabeth Salzman, Madison Welch, Molly Salzman, Mikki Arens, and assistant coaches Kara Welch and Tami Jacobsen. This is the school's second girls cross country state championship, joining the 2004 team. State cross country results are located on the sports page of the KBRB web site.

* Recent cases from Brown County Court

(Posted 2:45 p.m. Oct. 19)

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

Tashina Marie Lavellie, age 35, of Valentine, charged with failing to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk, fined $25.

Shannon A. Shultis, 46, of Humbolt, S.D., speeding 16-20 mph over the limit, $125.

David J. Pennington, 50, of Mesa, Ariz., attempt of a Class 4 felony, $1,000; also charged with possession of marijuana less than 1 ounce, $300; and possession of drug paraphernalia, $100.

Ye Chen, 27, of West Fargo, N.D., speeding 11-15 mph over the limit, $75.

Lynn S. Mary, 57, of Boulder, Colo., speeding 6-10 mph over the limit, $25.

William F. Brant, 44, of Cedar, Minn., speeding 6-10 mph over the limit, $25.

Austin Blades, 21, of Long Pine, licensing a vehicle without liability insurance, $100; failure to use a turn signal, $25; nonresident violation of 30-day immunity, $25.

Bobby L. Hazelwood, 28, of Glenwood, Iowa, speeding 6-10 mph over the limit, $25; nonresident violation of 30-day immunity, $25.

Katherine Jane Pack, 20, of State College, Pa., minor in possession of alcohol, $300; possession of marijuana less than 1 ounce, $300; possession of drug paraphernalia, $100.

Daniel Zamarripa, 35, of Grand Island, speeding 11-15 mph over the limit, $75.

Gregory M. Caulfield, 46, of Ainsworth, speeding 16-20 mph over the limit, $125; possession of an open alcohol container in a vehicle, $50.

Emrah Karahodzic, 23, of Fargo, N.D., speeding 6-10 mph over the limit, $25.

SarahA. Haugrud, 26, of Colorado Springs, Colo., speeding 6-10 mph over the limit, $25.

Jon E. Anderson, 28, of Bryant, S.D., speeding 6-10 mph over the limit, $25.

James D. Eckhout, 74, of Amherst, speeding 6-10 mph over the limit, $25.

Conor A. Miller, 35, of Bend, Ore., speeding 6-10 mph over the limit, $25.

Mandy S. Haney, 40, of Dallas, S.D., speeding 6-10 mph over the limit, $25.

Lindale R. Koehn, 52, of Charlo, Mont., speeding 11-15 mph over the limit, $75.

Nicholas Von Blackwood, 36, of Sterling, Va., speeding 6-10 mph over the limit, $25.

Jeffrey R. Backemeyer, 36, of Murdock, speeding 6-10 mph over the limit, $25.

Matthew A. Trotter, 28, of Becker, Minn., speeding 6-10 mph over the limit, $25.

Caryle M. Wilsonanger, 76, of Santa Monica, Calif., speeding 6-10 mph over the limit, $25.

Pedro Chavez Jimenez, 55, of Harvard, no operator’s license, $75; speeding 6-10 mph over the limit, $25.

Ronny R. Collins, 20, of Englewood, Colo., speeding 16-20 mph over the limit, $125.

Hsae Reh, 18, of Omaha, speeding 6-10 mph over the limit, $25.

Matthew W. Hardesty, 38, of Lincoln, speeding 6-10 mph over the limit, $25.

Dylan C. McCracken, 24, of Glendale, Ariz., speeding 6-10 mph over the limit, $25.

Ashley R. Kristjanson, 32, of West Fargo, N.D., speeding 11-15 mph over the limit, $75.

Jeannette M. Brown, 54, of North Platte, speeding 11-15 mph over the limit, $75.

Cheryl H. Toenyan, 53, of Bayfield, Colo., speeding 16-20 mph over the limit, $125.

Dustin G. Pearson, 37, of Centennial, Colo., speeding 6-10 mph over the limit, $25.

Paige M. Bruns, 19, of Springview, speeding 6-10 mph over the limit, $25.

Lori A. Buoy, 51, of Long Pine, second offense driving under the influence, $500, sentenced to 10 days in jail with credit for two days served, six months of probation, driver’s license revoked for 18 months, and ordered to install an ignition interlock device.

Jacob Nelson, 20, of Ainsworth, third-degree assault, sentenced to six months of probation.

Matthew S. O’Nele, 30, of Lincoln, attempt of a Class 4 felony, $1,000.

Ashleigh J. Mientkewicz, 25, of Arvada, Colo., speeding 6-10 mph over the limit, $25; no operator’s license, $75.

Amy E. Pitts, 34, of Morrison, Colo., speeding 6-10 mph over the limit, $25.

* Week 7 KBRB Football Contest goes to a tie-breaker as 6 contestants miss just 1 game

(Posted 2:45 p.m. Oct. 17)

There has still not been a perfect card submitted through seven weeks of the KBRB Football Contest, though Week 7 did come close. Six contestants missed just one game of the 15 on this week’s card.

Those missing just one game included Mary Beel of Johnstown, Jhett Hollenbeck of Long Pine, Rob Dawkins of Atkinson, and Ruth Kennedy, Carl Chase and Jacque Richey all of Springview.

That sent us to our tie-breaker game, Ohio State’s 56-14 domination of the Huskers.

All six contestants picked the Buckeyes to triumph, so that sent us to the contestants closest to the actual score. Chase picked the Buckeyes, 56-17, missing the total by just three points. That scores Carl Chase the first place, $40 prize.

Jhett Hollenbeck had Ohio State picked by a 48-16, score, missing the final by 10 total points. Hollenbeck edged Rob Dawkins by a single point for the second-place $10 prize, as Dawkins missed it by 11 points with a 48-17 final. Kennedy missed the total by 12 with a 61-21 score. Richey had Ohio State winning, 41-24, missing the total by 25 points, and Beel picked the Buckeyes, 35-21, to miss the final by 28.

Congratulations to Carl Chase of Springview and Jhett Hollenbeck of Long Pine, this week’s winners of the KBRB Football Contest. Winners may pick up their certificates from the KBRB Studios.

Week 8 cards are available from Buckles Automotive, Roadrunner, and the Farmers-Ranchers Cooperative Ampride and Propane and Appliance stores in Ainsworth; from the West Plains Bank of Springview; Circle B Livestock of Bassett; the Central Bar of Stuart; and from the Atkinson Roadrunner.

There is an early deadline for the Week 8 cards, as all of the high school games are scheduled for Thursday. Submit cards to the KBRB Studios by 4 p.m. Thursday. Cards must carry a Thursday postmark this week if mailed.

* Commissioners approve permit for swine farrowing facility, with conditions

(Posted 2 p.m. Oct. 17)

Following weeks of, at times, heated debate on a special-use permit application to construct a sow farrowing facility north of Ainsworth, the Brown County Commissioners Tuesday unanimously approved the permit requested by Jones Finish LLC with several conditions.

Commissioner Reagan Wiebelhaus told those gathered in the Brown County Courtroom this was the toughest decision he has faced during his time as a board member.

“I see both sides,” Wiebelhaus said. “I don’t want to stand in the way of progress, but I don’t want this to turn into a free-for-all. There are ambiguities in the permit, so I want to add conditions.”

Wiebelhaus said he asked Greg Wilke of GJW LLC to meet with Scott Erthum, who resides near the site of the proposed facility, to discuss potential middle ground.

“Their meeting was productive,” Wiebelhaus said.

Among the items agreed to were to invite the neighboring property owners to view the proposed site of the farrowing facility, to have the monitoring wells tested four times annually and notify the neighboring property owners of the test results, and to knife-in all manure applications to farm ground as fertilizer and notify the residents in the area in advance of applying the manure to the fields.

In addition to those items agreed upon, Wiebelhaus said there were additional conditions he wanted included with the permit for it to be approved.

Those included:
* The permit was authorized only to Jones Finish LLC, and could not be reassigned to another operator without going through the application process again.

* The permit authorized only 6,700 head of breeding sows.

* The permit does not allow for any variance of the county’s zoning requirements that any housing units constructed have to include a minimum of 5 acres.

* Test results from the monitoring wells will be submitted to the Brown County Clerk’s office.

* The new permit will rescind the previous special-use permit held by Thad Jones.

* All employees shall be U.S. citizens or have authorization allowing them to work in the U.S.

* The sole purpose of the facility shall be for breeding and farrowing, and not finishing.

* The permit is conditional on the facility receiving approval from the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality.

* All conditions set forth by the Brown County Planning Commission in their recommendation for approval be adhered to as well.

Wilke told the commissioners those conditions were acceptable to him. He said it is federal law that requires all employees to be legal to work in the U.S.

Wiebelhaus again went through the seven factors the commissioners looked at when determining whether to approve a special-use permit.

Those factors included:

* The permit is compatible with similar uses in the district.

* Not require rezoning of the land.

* Not be detrimental to adjacent property.

* Not depreciate surrounding property value.

* Be compatible with the stated use of the district.

* Not change the character of the district.

* Be in accordance with the county’s comprehensive plan.

Wiebelhaus said some of the factors favored approval of the project. He said the project would negatively affect the value of the structures in the area, but would also likely increase the value of the cropland in the area due to the availability of the manure as fertilizer.

“We try and balance all of these factors,” Wiebelhaus said. “If the conditions are included, these seven factors support putting it in.”
Commissioner Buddy Small said, “No matter what we do, people are going to be unhappy. But, we have to make a decision and deal with the fallout.”

By a 3-0 vote, the board approved the special-use permit application for Jones Finish LLC with the aforementioned conditions included in the approval.

In other business Tuesday, the commissioners approved a request by Brad Arens to subdivide 6.7 acres of ground to allow Twin Circle Farms to transfer those acres from the corporation Arens controls to Brad and Mashell Arens personally.

Wiebelhaus said the request satisfied the requirement that the subdivision include at least 5 acres.

The commissioners approved the purchase of a 2008 Chevy pickup with 155,000 miles from First Class Auto at a cost of $10,500 for use by the assessor’s office .

The board received quotes for three vehicles from First Class Auto, and two from Ainsworth Motors.

Assessor Charleen Fox said her department’s first choice was the 2008 Chevy from First Class Auto.

“It sits up high and will help reduce the chance of the vehicle starting a fire with some of the places we have to go,” Fox said.

The commissioners approved renewing membership to the Nebraska Intergovernmental Risk Management Association for an additional three years. Small said the county received a dividend check of $10,601, and would receive an additional $6,364 dividend by renewing its membership for an additional three years.

The dividend serves as a return of a portion of the county’s NIRMA premium when claims submitted to the organization run lower than anticipated.

County Attorney David Streich asked the board to consider allowing him to appoint a deputy county attorney to assist his office for the next 90 days while he handles some medical issues.

“We have three jury trials scheduled back to back for Nov. 9-10, and three more for Nov. 16-17,” Streich said. “My voice is going to be an issue for those upcoming jury trials.”

Streich said he has put some feelers out to attorneys who may be willing to handle a 90-day stint as a deputy county attorney for a rate of $100 per hour, which is equal to the typical rate paid to a public defender. He offered to help cover some of the cost if necessary.

Wiebelhaus said he had worked with numerous county attorneys through his employment with the Nebraska State Patrol, and Streich was among the best he had worked with, as well as one of the most underpaid.

He said some area counties are paying their county attorneys more than $100,000, and Streich is providing the county that service for a little more than $40,000.

The board authorized Streich to find someone willing to assist him for the next 90 days, and declined to have him contribute toward the cost.

The commissioners also approved a revised bid for prisoner meals from Big John’s Restaurant. Big John’s offered to supply a sack lunch for the evening prisoner meal at a cost of $7 in addition to the $9 per meal cost for a hot lunch delivered to the jail.

The next meeting of the Brown County Commissioners is scheduled for 8:15 a.m. Nov. 7.

* Lions Club welcomes new member

(Posted 7 a.m. Oct. 17)

The Ainsworth Lions Club held its regular monthly meeting Monday, and welcomed new member John Pierce to the club. Pierce was sponsored by Jim Arens.
Recent community activities include picking up trash along Highway 20, spreading new mulch under equipment at the East City Park, and taking tickets at the recent Ainsworth High School football games.
Treasurer Phil Fuchs provided a report on the Brown County Fair concession stand project. Net profits were comparable to profits made in 2016. The Brown County Fair concession stand is one of the major fundraisers for the club. Members expressed appreciation not only to the Lions and volunteers who work the concession stand, but also to the community members who support the stand each year during the Brown County Fair.
Discussion was held about the annual Lions Club Christmas party, which will be held Monday, Dec. 18.
The next regular meeting of the Lions Club is scheduled for noon Monday, Nov. 20, in Local House 20.

* Wednesday traffic stop leads to seizure of 10 pounds of marijuana

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

The Nebraska State Patrol and Brown County Sheriff’s Department confiscated approximately 10 pounds of marijuana during a traffic stop Wednesday south of Ainsworth.
According to the Nebraska State Patrol, a vehicle was stopped on a speeding charge Wednesday 5 miles south of Ainsworth on Highway 7.
A canine unit from Valentine was brought onto the scene, and gave a positive indication that led to the search of the vehicle.
Troopers uncovered approximately 10 pounds of high-grade marijuana with an estimated value of $50,000. The two occupants of the vehicle, both from Minnesota, were arrested on charges of possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and were taken to the Brown County Jail.

* Weekly summary from the Brown County Sheriff's Department

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

Oct. 8

Responded to a traffic complaint on South Woodward St, Ainsworth.

Investigated a report of suspicious activity on North Wilson St, Ainsworth.

Provided a welfare check on a Long Pine resident.

Responded to a disturbance on North Walnut St, Long Pine.

Oct. 9

Responded to a noise complaint on North Oak St, Ainsworth.

Assisted Ainsworth residents with a report of possible criminal activity on the internet.

Investigated a report of vandalism to a mailbox in rural Ainsworth area.

Responded to a parking complaint at a residence on East 1st St, Ainsworth.

Attempted to locate a possible suicidal subject in Brown County. The NE State Patrol also assisted with this report.

Responded to a report of cattle out on Hwy 183 South of Keller Park.

The Brown Co Ambulance transported two individual patients from the Brown Co Hospital to the Faith Regional Hospital in Norfolk.

Oct. 10

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

Took an individual into Emergency Protective Custody and transported them to Bryan Young in Kearney.

Oct. 11

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

Responded to a report of a dog at large on North Osborne St, Ainsworth.

Attempted to locate a missing juvenile in Ainsworth. The Ainsworth Fire Dept also assisted with this search.

The Brown Co Ambulance transported an individual from a residence in Ainsworth to the Brown Co Hospital.

The Brown Co Ambulance transported a patient from the Brown Co Hospital to the Great Plains Hospital in North Platte.

Booked a subject into the Brown Co Jail for Possession of Marijuana more than a pound and Possession with Intent to Deliver

 

Oct. 12

Released a subject from the Brown Co Jail on bond.

Oct. 13

Provided traffic control for 180 cow/calf pairs crossing Hwy 20 at Moon Lake Rd.

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

Investigated a two-vehicle accident at the East City Park.

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

Released a subject from the Brown Co Jail on bond

 

Oct. 14

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

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

Investigated a report of suspicious activity on Court St, Ainsworth.

Assisted Long Pine residents with reports of a loud noise.

Weekly Summary
1 - Fix-It Tickets Were Issued.
3 - Handgun Permits Applied For
16 - Incidents Reports Were Taken.
0 - Paper Service Was Served.
154 - Phone Calls Were Received
2 - 911 Emergency Calls Received 
5 - Titles Were Inspected.
0 - Traffic Citations Were Issued.
2 - Verbal & Written Warnings Issued.

* Gentele wins Week 6 KBRB Football Contest

(Posted 11:30 a.m. Oct. 11)

Six weeks into the KBRB Football Contest, and the elusive perfect card has still not been submitted. In fact, there was only one card turned in this week that missed two games, and that belonged to Marc Gentele of Ainsworth.

Gentele missed just one game on the high school side, which was Clearwater-Orchard’s 14-12 win over Burwell. His only college miss was Michigan State’s 14-10 upset in the Big House against rival Michigan. That game was the most widely missed on this week’s contest as the Top 10 rated Wolverines were beaten for the first time.

Gentele wins the $40 first-place prize for Week 6.

Figuring out second place was a little trickier, as there were six cards submitted that missed three games. Those cards belonged to Hannah Beel of Johnstown, Darlene Gantt of Stuart, Hazel Chase of Springview, and Ryan Salzman, Brent Goeken and Patty Finley of Ainsworth.

Heading to the tie-breaker, Wisconsin’s 38-17 victory over the Huskers, Goeken, Beel and Chase each correctly picked the Badgers to win, while Gantt, Finley and Salzman had faith in the Huskers.

Beel picked the Badgers to win, 70-14, missing the total by 35 points. Chase and Goeken were extremely close to the 38-17 final, with Chase picking the Badgers, 35-18, and Goeken taking Wisconsin, 35-16. With the two missing the Badgers’ score by three and the Huskers each by one, on the low and high sides respectively, that sent us to our second tie-breaker, which is the card submitted earliest.

Both cards carried a Thursday postmark, so by judge’s ruling, Goeken and Chase will each receive $10 prizes for tying for second place.

Winners may pick up their prizes from the KBRB Studios.

Week 7 cards are available now from Buckles Automotive, Roadrunner, and the Farmers-Ranchers Cooperative Ampride and Propane and Appliance stores in Ainsworth; from the West Plains Bank of Springview; Circle B Livestock of Bassett; the Central Bar of Stuart; and from the Atkinson Roadrunner.

Week 7 cards must be submitted to the KBRB Studios by 4 p.m. Friday, or carry a Friday postmark if mailed.

* Peterson discusses upcoming school activities during Open Line Tuesday

(Posted 10:15 a.m. Oct. 10)

Ainsworth Community Schools Superintendent Darrell Peterson appeared on KBRB's Open Line program Tuesday to discuss notes from Monday's Board of Education meeting and go through upcoming activities on the school calendar.
To hear the report, click on the audio link below.

audio clips/Open Line-ACS Mr Peterson 10-10-17.mp3

* Ainsworth graduates score higher than average on ACT

(Posted 7 a.m. Oct. 10)

The 2017 graduating class at Ainsworth High School who took the ACT scored well above the state and national averages, according to a report presented to the Board of Education Monday.

Superintendent Darrell Peterson reported 26 seniors from the 2017 graduating class took the ACT during their senior year, and finished with an average composite score of 22.1. That is above the state average score of 21.4 and the national average of 21.0.

“Nebraska has one of the highest state average scores, and we were better than the state average,” Peterson said.

The 22.1 average score equaled 2014-15 for the highest in the past five years, and the best average score since the 2010-11 graduating class scored an average of 22.6, which was a 15-year high.

Secondary Principal Bill Lentz said the Ainsworth seniors were equal to the state average in math, and were well above the average in the English, reading and science categories.

For the first time, due to state legislation, all juniors took the ACT during the 2016-17 year, with Ainsworth’s 35 juniors scoring an average of 19.4. That average was just above the state average of 19.3 in the first year all juniors were required to take the test.

Peterson said everybody expected the scores to go down with every student now taking the test, which they did.

Lentz said Ainsworth’s scores did not fall off a lot, even with all students required to take the test.

“We were not disappointed in the scores,” Lentz said.

In other business Monday, Peterson reported lunch participation through the first stage of the school year is pacing 10 percent ahead of the 2016-17 year.

“Breakfast participation is also ahead of last year, and last year was the best breakfast participation we have had,” the superintendent said.

He reported a design company has been contacted to provide options for an ag building, and board members were planning a trip Oct. 26 to view agricultural education facilities built by other schools.

In the only action item on Monday’s agenda, the board approved the annual Multicultural Education Report, which certified to the state the school was providing a multicultural education program to its students. Peterson said there were no real changes from the previous year’s report.

Elementary Principal Mike Wentz reported 90 percent of elementary parents attended the recent parent-teacher conferences, and the teachers made contact with the parents who could not attend.

Lentz reported Mark Adler, the superintendent at Ralston Public Schools, would be in Ainsworth Oct. 24. Adler lost a son to suicide, and Lentz said he does a good job speaking to students on a difficult topic.

Lentz said John Baylor would be in Ainsworth in November for an ACT prep program. Baylor provides an ACT prep program throughout the Midwest.

The secondary principal reported he has started a new intervention program to help students who are struggling. The Student Success Team meets every other Wednesday morning to create interventions to help students struggling in the classroom.

Peterson reported it looked like the school would make the cut line on the number to be eligible to participate in eight-man football for the 2018 and 2019 seasons. He said 47 boys in the three class years was the maximum allowed to participate in eight-man football, and that is the exact number for those three Ainsworth grades. He said the enrollment was submitted to the Nebraska School Activities Association Sept. 29.

The Board of Education will hold a work session at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 10, for a follow-up community engagement session with representatives from the Nebraska Association of School Boards. The Tuesday session will be held in the school cafeteria.

The next regular meeting of the Ainsworth Community Schools Board of Education is set for Nov. 13. The board meetings will move to 7 p.m. beginning in November and continuing through March.

* Fischer's constituent services rep will host office hours in area Oct. 16

(Posted 7 a.m. Oct. 9)

U.S. Sen. Deb Fischer announced her staff will hold local office hours in Brown, Rock, and Holt counties on Monday, Oct. 16. The office hours serve as an opportunity for constituents to meet personally with Fischer’s staff to receive help with casework and other issues at the federal level.
Tiffany Settles, Fischer’s constituent services representative and outreach coordinator, will hold local office hours at from 10:30 until 11:30 a.m. in the Long Pine City Office, from noon until 1 p.m. in the Rock County Library, and from 2 until 3 p.m. in the Atkinson City Office.

* Work to begin next week on Highway 281 north of O'Neill

(Posted 7 a.m. Oct. 9)

Weather permitting, work is scheduled to begin the week of Oct. 16 on Highway 281 at Eagle Creek, 18 miles north of O’Neill, according to the Nebraska Department of Transportation.
A&R Construction Co., of Plainview has the $217,487 contract. Work will consist of concrete pavement repair. Traffic will be controlled with reduced speeds and traffic signals.
The anticipated completion date for this project is November. The Department of Transportation’s project manager is Carl Hart of Ainsworth.
Motorists are asked to drive cautiously through construction zones.

* Traffic Accident

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

The Brown County Sheriff’s Department investigated a one-vehicle accident that occurred Friday, Oct. 6, in western Brown County.
According to the sheriff’s department report, at 9:44 p.m. Friday on Highway 20 approximately 2 miles west of Johnstown, a 2012 Ford sport-utility vehicle, driven by Jessica Bartak, 23, of Long Pine, was traveling east when the vehicle struck a deer in the roadway.
No persons were injured during the accident. Damage to the Ford was estimated at $5,000.

* Sheriff's department seeks information regarding burglaries in Ainsworth, Long Pine

(Posted 12:45 p.m. Oct. 5)

The Brown County Sheriff’s Department is seeking information from the public regarding a burglary that occurred early Tuesday morning in Long Pine.

According to the sheriff’s department, sometime between 1 and 8 a.m. Tuesday, someone broke into the Sandhills Lounge by forcibly gaining entry through the building’s south door. The suspect removed several bottles of alcohol and numerous packs of Marlboro Light cigarettes.

The suspect was wearing dark clothing and a back pack.

The sheriff’s department is also seeking information regarding an attempted burglary in Ainsworth that occurred during the overnight hours Wednesday.

Someone attempted to gain entry into the Ainsworth Star-Journal through a back door. The suspect injured himself during the attempt.

Anyone with information regarding either of these matters is encouraged to call the Brown County Sheriff’s Department at 402-387-1440 or Crime Stoppers at 402-382-3121. All callers remain anonymous, and information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for these crimes could result in a cash reward of up to $1,000.

* City Council to revisit properties flagged for nuisance violation abatement

(Posted 12:30 p.m. Oct. 5)

The Ainsworth City Council plans to tour the community and revisit the properties that were scheduled for nuisance violation abatement during the past three years and make a determination on which of those properties will need to have the nuisances abated by the city.

City Administrator Lisa Schroedl told the council Wednesday a few of the nuisance violations flagged for abatement had been addressed by the Board of Health. She suggested the council form a subcommittee to view the properties, with the council opting instead to have Greg Soles and Chuck Osborn view the nuisance properties flagged in 2016, and Deb Hurless and Brian Williams view the nuisance properties identified in 2015.

Hurless said, “Most of it should just be cleanup, and I think the city guys can probably clean some of the places up and bill it back to the property owners. We just need to get it done before the snow hits.”

Williams said, as long as the council members were driving around the city to view the properties flagged for abatement, they may as well check for any new nuisance violations as well.

Mayor Larry Rice asked Schroedl when the sheriff’s department would begin issuing tickets for observed violations to the city’s nuisance ordinances.

Schroedl said the ticket books would be distributed to the deputies as soon as they are finished printing. She suggested that the sheriff’s department issue nuisance citations to the properties now that the city has that option available, in addition to the nuisance abatement orders that were previously issued.

The council gave preliminary approval to rezone four lots in the Woodward’s addition to the city from an R-1 residential zone to an M-1 light industrial zone.

Schroedl said Frontier Diesel owns the four lots and plans to expand its business to the west.

“Frontier Diesel wants to put up a new shop, and right now it is zoned as residential,” Schroedl said.

The Ainsworth Planning Commission recommended the council approve the rezoning. There was a question as to whether the city needed to hold a public hearing on the rezoning, as it was listed on Wednesday’s agenda as a regular business item.

The council approved the rezoning pending the city attorney’s opinion on whether the council needed to hold a public hearing on the rezoning matter.

The council also granted a conditional-use permit for a new building in Hall’s Second Addition, Block 3, Lots 4 and 5. Schroedl said the building will be built for use by a contractor and repair service shop.

The council reappointed Evan Evans and RoseMary Saner to additional three-year terms on the Ainsworth Betterment Committee.

The consent agenda approved Wednesday included approval of a special designated liquor license application for the Sandhills Lounge to serve alcohol during the Sandhills Chapter Pheasants Forever banquet Nov. 3 in the Ainsworth Conference Center.

During her report, Schroedl said she has received several excellent applications for the administrative assistant position the city has advertised to hire. She said she and Rice are starting to conduct interviews and hoped to make a decision by next week.

She reported the city also hired a part-time sanitation worker to fill in temporarily until parks manager JC Clopton can complete his park duties and begin assisting with the sanitation department.

The next meeting of the Ainsworth City Council is scheduled for 7 p.m. Nov. 8.

* Commissioners again postpone decision on permit for swine farrowing facility

(Posted 10 a.m. Oct. 4)

The Brown County Commissioners Tuesday listened to more than three hours of debate on the merits of a special-use permit application to construct swine farrowing barns north of Ainsworth.

Commissioner Buddy Small said he received an email from County Attorney David Streich indicating Streich was waiting to receive opinions from attorneys with the Nebraska Association of County Officials and the Nebraska Intergovernmental Risk Management Association before providing a legal opinion to the board on the permit.

Commissioner Reagan Wiebelhaus said he called the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality in the past week.

“I was under the assumption the permit had already been approved there,” Wiebelhaus said. “I was told a decision will not be made until 10 to 14 days after the public comment period ends, which was yesterday. Dave Streich has recommended we wait to make a decision.”

Commissioner Les Waits said, until he saw the permit approved by the DEQ, he was not prepared to make a decision on the special-use permit.

After stating during a public hearing Sept. 19 that no additional public comment would be allowed, Small Tuesday said he had reversed that decision and would allow additional testimony.

Opening the floor to discussion, Kim Snyder told the commissioners the public’s rights had been violated. Snyder said the Brown County zoning office states that all records for the office are to be kept in the county attorney’s office.

“Those public records may not be kept at a private home or in a vehicle,” Snyder said. “The records must be available to the public for review. It is a depravation of my rights to review and copy these public documents, and has put me at a disadvantage to make comments during the hearings.”

Snyder said, due to the violation, the only remedy for the county was to start the process over.

“Those records were not in the county attorney’s office, and I formally request the current application be thrown out and resubmitted,” Snyder said.

Cheryl Mizner told the commissioners almost 100 percent of the homeowners in the area near the facility are opposed to its expansion.

“I have problems with the special-use permit application not being specific enough,” Mizner said. “The number of additional swine is not included.”

Mizner accused the zoning administrator and Planning Commission of deliberately setting its hearing date the night prior to the commissioners’ meeting to keep people from being able to research the application and speak.

“Planning Commission meetings are set arbitrarily by the zoning administrator,” Mizner said. “Their ethical duties to conduct business have been violated.”

Chris Stewart told the commissioners she visited the Brown County Courthouse Friday and asked for a copy of the permit application. Stewart claimed she was asked by the zoning administrator why she wanted a copy, and then claimed the zoning administrator stated he didn’t have a copy of the permit because it was in his home.

“I asked him to get the permit, and he told us no,” Stewart claimed. “I told him that was a violation of our rights.”

Stewart said a copy of the application was then produced.

“I have video of this interaction,” she said.

Danny Bennett, who has a home one mile south of the proposed expansion site, said it was a mystery to him why the few people with something to gain from this expansion have no compassion for the people who have everything to lose.

“The people in northern Brown County are being asked to bend over and take one for the team for the benefit of a few people,” Bennett said.

Kathy Bennett said, right now, the smell is tolerable.
“When it gets bad, we go inside,” she said. “I am all for improvements in the county, but my heart’s cry is, I don’t want this. We love it out there, and we don’t want to be forced to leave.”

Gene Snyder told the commissioners he believed the entire process was set up so it could slide through as quietly as possible.

“That didn’t happen, and it has caused a lot of hard feelings,” Snyder said. “This has divided the county. We are the collateral damage when we hear that the benefits outweigh the damage. That is not true for the people who live out there.”

Planning Commissioner Pat Schumacher said he had been a member of the commission for more than 20 years, and he was disappointed to hear that people believe something underhanded had gone on.

“That is not the case, I assure you,” Schumacher said.

Schumacher said accusations that he had a business relationship with GJW, creating a conflict of interest that should have kept him from voting on the permit, were unfounded.

Attorney Dave Jarecke, representing GJW, said he disagreed with many of the comments made to the commissioners Tuesday.

“Everybody is here because they want what is best for this county,” Jarecke said. “They want to see something positive for the county, and they want the county to grow.”

Jarecke said the numerous GJW employees in attendance Tuesday were there because they wanted to be there, not because they were told to be.

“They are here because they know their boss does things the right way,” Jarecke said.

He told the commissioners the application has followed the proper procedure, going to a hearing in front of the Planning Commission.

“The application received unanimous support from the Planning Commission,” Jarecke said. “Your job is to take that recommendation and review it on its merits. Your job is to review it to see if it meets the zoning criteria. There is an application process here, and we are following the rules within that process.”

GJW employee Kelsey Evans said, when she moved back to the community, she had difficulty finding employment.

“I didn’t necessarily want to work at the hog farm, but they were hiring,” Evans said. “I love it out there. They provide great benefits, and as a single mom I was able to buy a house, and buy a vehicle. I am contributing to this county. I pay property tax too. I came here to support a good man, and a good company.”

GJW employee Mark Snover said he has heard many different claims about the economics of the proposed expansion.

“I come to this town at least twice a week,” Snover said. “I don’t live here, but I eat here often, I pick up groceries here, I stop at Bomgaars, at Shopko, at Keller’s. If I didn’t work here, I wouldn’t spend any money in your community. I have heard people say that people who don’t live here won’t spend money here, and I want to tell you that is not true.”

Dean Settje with Settje Engineering of Raymond told the commissioners his firm has 31 staff members who handle the construction, engineering and environmental compliance on these facilities.

“We have permitted more than 1,300 facilities,” Settje said. “I want to shed some light on some of the misinformation out there.”

Settje said the application process for these facilities through the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality is well-established.

“The first step covers information about the design of the facility and how it will protect groundwater and surface water,” Settje said. “The facilities are designed to meet the standards, and then inspected to ensure the facilities are meeting the specifications.”

He said the facilities are constructed to ensure there is no run-off.

“This will be a closed facility, with a lagoon,” Settje said. “It is almost impossible to have run-off. We put in a synthetic liner to ensure the holding pond does not leech into the groundwater. We have built more than 100 of these facilities across the state, and we have not had any problems.”

Settje said his company also serves as a third-party groundwater monitor.

“GJW is required to test the monitoring wells through a third party,” Settje said. “The county is not required to test, and the Natural Resources District is not required to test. The wells are tested twice each year to make sure the facility is not having an influence on the groundwater.”

Wiebelhaus asked what the remedy would be if a groundwater violation was detected.

Settje said, “We had this in Kearny County several years ago with a 30-year-old pond that did not have a liner. The DEQ contacted the owner, and a plan was designed to remove the old pond and put in a new pond with a liner. That was done in 2012, and the problem is now gone.”

Settje said the system planned for construction at this site was the best available, and was one of the most costly.

“Greg Wilke has never had an environmental violation,” Settje said. “His track record is spotless. He is as good as it gets when it comes to his track record.”

Jarecke told the commissioners, in terms of the special-use permit that was recommended for approval by the Planning Commission, it was important to note there were conditions included with that recommendation.

Those conditions, Jarecke said, include that the facility comply with all DEQ rules, comply with all state and federal rules, and comply with all NRD rules.

He encouraged the commissioners to consider the permit on its merits.

Wiebelhaus said he has received more than 100 phone calls regarding the permit, with the opinion divided right down the middle.

“Would the sides that are so strongly for this and so strongly against this be willing to sit down and try to work something out?” Wiebelhaus asked. “I think there is some middle ground somewhere. I would love to see that happen, and it would probably be better to try that first instead of both sides putting all their eggs in one basket with a decision from us.”

GJW owner Greg Wilke said he would be willing to meet with homeowners in the area, but he stressed to the commissioners there was a timetable for the project, and if a decision was not rendered soon he would have to look at constructing the facility in another county.

“With the genetics we have and the export opportunity, there is a timetable here,” Wilke said. “If the commissioners would agree to make a decision at your next meeting, I am willing to meet with people every day until then. Let’s work on finding a solution. I wish the county would have specific rules in place instead of regulating based on emotion.”

Small said the county attorney wants to seek additional information, and he intended to wait until the county attorney receives those answers before voting on the permit application.

Wiebelhaus said he wanted the two sides to meet and try to work something out to minimize the harm to area property owners. He encouraged Wilke to meet with Scott Erthum to try and find some middle ground.

“Scott seems to be the most reasonable person here who is opposed to this,” Wiebelhaus said.

Wilke and Erthum agreed to meet and discuss the project.

The commissioners took no action, and the item will be placed on the board’s Oct. 17 agenda.

* Commissioners approve seeking bids to replace assessor's pickup

(Posted 7 a.m. Oct. 4)

For the second time in as many meetings, the Brown County Commissioners Tuesday spent more than three hours listening to people’s opinions regarding a proposed swine farrowing facility north of Ainsworth, but again opted to take no action on the special-use permit application submitted by Thad Jones.

KBRB will have a complete rundown of the testimony given to the commissioners during Thursday’s newscast.

In other items Tuesday prior to the board moving to the courtroom to handle the overflow crowd for the special-use permit discussion, the commissioners discussed purchasing a pickup for the county assessor’s office after Deputy Assessor Peggy Gross said their current pickup was experiencing major problems.

Gross said the 1994 GMC pickup was leaking oil and red transmission fluid.

“It has some major problems,” Gross said.

Assessor Charleen Fox said her office needed a reliable, four-wheel drive vehicle as it took numerous trips into the countryside this time of year to assess rural houses and outbuildings.

Commissioner Reagan Wiebelhaus said it didn’t make sense to put $3,000 worth of repairs into a $500 pickup.

The board agreed to advertise for a used pickup, and Wiebelhaus said he would visit with both local vehicle dealers to get informal bids on used pickups or SUVs.

The commissioners met with Brown County Rural Fire Chief Doug Rau, and gave the go-ahead for the rural fire district to purchase 1 acre of property in the northwest corner of the Highway 7 and Elsmere Road intersection for the construction of a new Raven Fire Hall.

Rau said the fire hall would be set back 25 feet from the property line. The board discussed whether any kind of zoning approval was needed, but since the building was not a residence, the typical 5 acres of property required for a subdivision was not required.

The commissioners accepted the resignation of Brown County Weed Control Superintendent Matt Wambold after one season in the position. Wambold also submitted his resignation as a deputy sheriff effective Oct. 10.

The board discussed advertising for the weed superintendent position, but opted to wait until January as a superintendent would not be needed again until the spring.

Treasurer Deb Vonheeder presented the commissioners with the annual distress warrant report and delinquent tax report.

Vonheeder said, for the first time since she has been treasurer, all distress warrants were collected. She said there was a total of $20,584 in delinquent property tax from the 2015 year and prior.

The board acknowledged both reports.

Highway Superintendent Kenny Turpin provided the board with an annual report of Brown County Roads Department activity that was to be submitted to the Nebraska Department of Transportation.

Turpin said the report was required for the county to receive its highway allocation funding from the Department of Transportation, which amounted to $581,624 for the 2016-17 year, with an additional $57,301 in federal highway street buyback program funding and $34,917 in bridge buyback funds.

The board approved having Turpin submit the report.

Turpin said the roads department has been blading roads and repairing small washouts after the recent moisture the county received.

“A lot of culvert problems have been showing up with all the rain,” Turpin said. “We have beavers plugging some culverts. We will apply for a permit and try to get them trapped.”

Commissioner Buddy Small discussed purchasing a 55-gallon drum of mineral oil to place onto the new concrete at the Brown County Courthouse to help protect against any damage from spreading salt on the concrete to remove ice.

Small said the drum of mineral oil would cost $550, but he did not mind spending that to protect the $28,000 of new concrete the county recently had poured at the courthouse. The board approved the purchase.

The next meeting of the Brown County Commissioners is scheduled for 8:15 a.m. Oct. 17. Again, KBRB will have a report from the three hours of discussion on the swine farrowing facility permit application north of Ainsworth during Thursday’s newscast.

* Estill, Beel win KBRB Football Contest for Week 5

(Posted 10:30 p.m. Oct. 3)

Through five weeks, KBRB continues to stump the best football prognosticators in the area, as three misses were good enough to be in the running for the prizes in the Week 5 Football Contest.

Seven cards had three incorrect games chosen. Those cards belonged to Marc Gentele and Brent Goeken of Ainsworth, Jenny Beel of Johnstown, Carl Chase of Springview, Richard Cleary and Jim Slaymaker of Atkinson, and Jean Estill of Amelia. Slaymaker missed one high school game and two on the college side, while the other six contestants had two incorrect picks on the high school side and one miss on the college side.

That sent us to the tie-breaker, Nebraska’s 28-6 victory over Illinois. All seven had Nebraska picked to win. Picking a score of 31-17 Huskers to miss the total by 14 points was Jean Estill of Amelia. Jean wins the $40 first-place prize for the week.

Picking a Husker victory by a 27-21 score to miss the total by 16 points, Jenny Beel of Johnstown takes the second-place, $10 prize.

Brent Goeken and Carl Chase each missed the total score by 18 points, Richard Cleary missed by 25 points, Jim Slaymaker by 28, and Marc Gentele missed the total by 31 points.

Thanks to everyone for playing, as there have been a huge number of cards turned in each week.

Winners may pick up their certificates from the KBRB Studios.

Week 6 KBRB Football Contest Cards are available from Buckles Automotive, Roadrunner, and the Farmers-Ranchers Cooperative Ampride and Propane and Appliance stores in Ainsworth, the West Plains Bank of Springview, Circle B Livestock of Bassett, the Central Bar of Stuart, and from the Atkinson Roadrunner.

Cards must be returned to the KBRB Studios by 4 p.m. Friday, Oct. 6, or carry a Friday postmark if mailed.

* Agenda for Wednesday's Ainsworth City Council meeting

(Posted 10 p.m. Oct. 3)

Ainsworth City Council agenda
Meeting 5 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 4
Ainsworth Conference Center

I.                    ROUTINE BUSINESS

a.       Announcement of Open Meetings Act

b.      Roll Call

c.       Pledge of Allegiance

 

II.                  CONSENT AGENDA – All items approved with the passage of one motion.

a.       Approve minutes from the September 13, 2017 City Council Meetings

b.      Approval of Claims

c.       Approval of end of fiscal year 2016-17 claims

d.      Treasurer’s Report

e.      Department Head Reports

f.        Application for special designated liquor license for Sandhills Lounge to serve alcohol at the Ainsworth Conference Center for the Pheasant Forever Banquet on November 3, 2016 from 3:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.

 

*Any item listed on the Consent Agenda may, by the request of any single Council member, be considered as a separate item under the Regular Agenda section of the Agenda.

 

III.                MAYOR’S APPOINTMENTS AND REPORT

a.       Mayor’s Report

b.      Ainsworth Betterment Committee (3-year term) – Reappointment of Evan Evans and RoseMary Saner with terms ending 10/14/2020

 

IV.                PUBLIC HEARINGS

a.       None

 

V.                  OLD BUSINESS

a.       Review of abated properties from 2014, 2015 and 2016

 

VI.                REGULAR AGENDA

a.       Consider the recommendation by the Planning Commission regarding:

                                                             i.      Rezoning of Woodward’s Block 1, Lots 6, 7, 8 and 9 from an R-1 to an M-1

                                                           ii.      Granting of a conditional use permit for contractor and repair services on Hall’s 2nd Addition, Block 3, Lots 4 and 5

b.      City Administrator/Clerk/Treasurer Report

* September is seventh wettest in city's history

(Posted 11 a.m. Oct. 2)

Ainsworth Weather Observer Gerry Osborn recorded 4.85 inches of moisture in September, making the month the seventh wettest September in the city's history.
The year-to-date moisture total rose to 26.75 inches, which is 6.59 inches above the average through the first nine months of the year.
To hear the complete September weather summary, click on the audio link below.

audio clips/Weather Observer Gerry Osborne September 2017 summary.mp3

* Weekly summary from the Brown County Sheriff's Department

(Posted 6:45 a.m. Oct. 2)

Sept. 24

  • Assisted an individual with a report of the possible violation of a protection order.

    Sept. 25

  • Received a report of a Long Pine resident possibly needing assistance from Adult Protective Services.

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

    Sept. 26

  • Assisted an individual with a report of threats in Brown County.

  • Responded to a report of two dogs running at large on North Main St Ainsworth.

  • Responded to a report of a stray dog on East 1st St Ainsworth.

    Sept. 27

  • Provided traffic control for 100 head of cattle crossing Hwy 20, West of Ainsworth.

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

    Sept. 28

  • Responded to a report of a possible abandoned vehicle on Hwy 20 East of Hwy 183.

  • Investigated a report of suspicious activity on Hwy 20 in Ainsworth.

  • Assisted the US Marshall’s Office with the service of a federal warrant.

  • Arrested a subject on a Buffalo Co Warrant and booked them into the Brown Co Jail, on hold.

  • Assisted an elderly Ainsworth resident with a faulty fire alarm.

    Sept. 29

  • Investigated a two-vehicle accident without injury on 2nd & Oak St in Ainsworth.

  • Responded to a disturbance at the courthouse.

  • Responded to a report of a vehicle that was broken down on Hwy 20 near Johnstown.

    Sept. 30

  • Provided a civil standby while subjects collected personal property from a residence on Oak St Ainsworth.

  • Investigated a hit and run accident on 3rd & Pine in Ainsworth. A citation was issued for leaving the scene of an accident.

  • Investigated a report of juveniles without proper supervision in Long Pine.

  • Investigated a report of property damage in Long Pine.

  • Responded to a report of a reckless driver, West of Ainsworth.

  • Assisted an out of county resident with a report of a disturbance in Ainsworth

    Weekly Summary
    0 - Fix-It Tickets Were Issued.
    2 - Handgun Permits Applied For
    20 - Incidents Reports Were Taken.
    4 - Paper Service Was Served.
    133 - Phone Calls Were Received
    2 - 911 Emergency Calls Received 
    3 - Titles Were Inspected.
    1 - Traffic Citations Were Issued.
    5 - Verbal & Written Warnings Issued.

    October Summary
    7 - Arrests
    88 - Calls for Service 
    16 - Citations were issued
    3 - Defect Cards issued
    8 - Handgun permits issued
    18 - Paper Service served
    700 - Phone calls were received
    24 - 911 emergency calls received
    13 - Titles inspected
    31 - Verbal & Written Warnings issued

* Traffic Accident

(Posted 6:45 a.m. Oct. 2)

The Brown County Sheriff’s Department investigated a two-vehicle accident that occurred Saturday, Sept. 30, in Ainsworth.
According to the sheriff’s department report, at 1 a.m. Saturday on East Second Street east of the Pine Street intersection, a 2003 Ford sedan, driven by Thomas Ward, 37, of Ainsworth, was traveling west and struck a parked 2009 Freightliner semi, owned by GBH Trucking of Ainsworth.
No injuries were reported. Damage to the Ford was estimated at $2,500. The Freightliner sustained approximately $1,500 damage.

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