Visitors to the KBRB Web site may listen to live programming, with news broadcasts
from 5:55 until 11 a.m., and from noon to 1 p.m., plus all of our local sports broadcasts.

E-mail us at kbrb@sscg.net

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

* Sally Jo Hanson, 70, of Long Pine 1 p.m. July 23

* Veleria Jean (Jones) Hayes, 68, of Miamisburg, Ohio 10 a.m. July 21

* Erich A. "Hippy" Bussinger, 43, of Bassett 10:30 a.m. July 20

* W. Gerald "Jerry" O'Kief, 81, of Wood Lake 10 a.m. July 20

* Meeting reports located below for:

July 18 Brown County Commissioners

July 16 Ainsworth Community Schools Board of Education

July 11 Ainsworth City Council

July 10 Sandhills Care Center Board

July 6 Nebraska Department of Transportation 1- and 5-year plan

July 6 Long Pine City Council

July 4 Brown County Commissioners

* Armor coat and painting on Highway 183 from Springview south to begin Monday

(Posted 3:15 p.m. July 19)

Weather permitting, work will begin Monday on Highway 183 near Springview going south to the junction of Highway 20 between mileposts 194 and 218, according to the Nebraska Department of Transportation.
Sta-Bilt Construction Company of Harlan, Iowa, has the $672,019 contract.  Work includes resurfacing and paint striping. Traffic will be maintained with lane closures and one-lane work zones. The anticipated completion date is August.
The NDOT project manager is Darrell Lurz of Valentine.  Motorists can expect delays and are advised to use caution while driving through construction zones.

* Traffic Accident

(Posted 12:30 a.m. July 19)

The Brown County Sheriff’s Department investigated a two-vehicle accident that occurred Wednesday, July 18, in Ainsworth.
According to the sheriff’s department report, at 3:40 p.m. Wednesday on Highway 20 at the Ash Street intersection, a collision occurred between an eastbound 2016 Ford Focus, driven by Claire Steinhauser, 18, of Ainsworth, and an eastbound 1996 Chevy pickup, driven by Dustin Howell, 31, of Ainsworth.
No injuries were reported. Damage to the Ford was estimated at $1,000. The Chevy sustained approximately $500 damage.

* Road work on Highway 183 north of Springview to begin Monday

(Posted 9 a.m. July 19)

Weather permitting, work will begin Monday on Highway 183 north of Springview to the South Dakota state line, from milepost 218 to milepost 225, according to the Nebraska Department of Transportation.
Werner Construction of Hastings has the $2.62 million contract. Work includes milling, asphalt paving, bridge and guardrail repair, culverts, rumble strips and grading.  Traffic will be maintained with lane closures and one-lane work zones at the Holt Creek Bridge from July 30 to Aug. 31.  The anticipated completion date is early November.
The NDOT project manager is Michael Rudnick of Ainsworth. Motorists can expect delays and are advised to use caution while driving through construction zones.

* Recent cases from Brown County Court

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

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

Juan Carlos Torres Soto, age 29, of Huron, S.D., charged with possession of a controlled substance, fined $1,000; also charged with intent to distribute a controlled substance, $1,000; possession of drug paraphernalia, $100; driving on the shoulder of a highway, $25.

Jack A. Larsen, 27, of Omaha, speeding 6-10 mph over the limit, $25.

Faith S. Wilde, 47, of Huron, S.D., two counts of attempting a Class 4 felony, fined $1,000 for each count; possession of drug paraphernalia, $100.

Kenneth D. Voss, 71, of Long Pine, no registration in vehicle, $25; no proof of insurance, $50; driving left of center, $25.

Eswin F. Noj-Ollej, 33, of Tucson, Ariz., speeding 6-10 mph over the limit, $25.

Joshua D. Morey, 31, of St. Louis Park, Minn., speeding 6-10 mph over the limit, $25.

William W. Wolfe, 62, of Ainsworth, commercial vehicle brake violation, $50.

Cody L. Campbell, 27, of Evans, Colo., speeding 16-20 mph over the limit, $125.

Jorge A. Reyes-Martinez, 28, of Albuquerque, N.M., speeding 11-15 mph over the limit, $75.

Gene F. Denman, 66, of Williamsburg, Mich., possession or discharge of illegal fireworks, $50.

Steven L. Ulland, 56, of Moorhead, Minn., speeding 6-10 mph over the limit, $25.

Kayleen M. Wear, 24, of Omaha, possession of marijuana less than 1 ounce, $300; possession of drug paraphernalia, $100.

Sarah R. Tolle, 24, of Omaha, possession of marijuana less than 1 ounce, $300; possession of drug paraphernalia, $100; defective vehicle light, $25.

Kolton C. Salonen, 18, of Gregory, S.D., speeding 16-20 mph over the limit, $125.

Aaron L. Hacecky, 20, of Mitchell, S.D., possession of marijuana less than 1 ounce, $300; possession of drug paraphernalia, $100; defective vehicle light, $25.

Madison R. White, 25, of Ainsworth, no operator’s license, $75.

Lanny D. Billings, 80, of Long Pine, first offense reckless driving, $500, also sentenced to six months of probation, driver’s license revoked for 60 days, and ordered to install an ignition interlock device.

Timothy R. Chapman, 32, of Colorado Springs, Colo., possession marijuana less than 1 ounce, $300; possession of drug paraphernalia, $100.

Josiah J. Lamont Hill, 28, of Glenrock, Pa., speeding 11-15 mph over the limit, $75.

Kassidy R. Inghram, 19, of Sturgis, S.D., speeding 11-15 mph over the limit, $75.

Manuel A. Campos, 34, of Richmond Hill, Ga., speeding 11-15 mph over the limit, $75.

Russell L. Strand, 63, of Ainsworth, careless driving, $100.

Jacob R. Owens, 36, of O’Neill, speeding 11-15 mph over the limit, $75.

Faustino Boria Jr., 52, of Riverside, Calif., speeding 6-10 mph over the limit, $25.

Jody M. Allen, 18, of Ainsworth, careless driving, $100.

Christine L. Hallock, 62, of Springview, theft by unlawful taking less than $500, sentenced to six months of probation.

Daniel R. Cheeseman, 40, of Mitchell, S.D., speeding 6-10 mph over the limit, $25.

Winona Tahdooahnippah, 41, of Wahpeton, N.D., speeding 6-10 mph over the limit, $25.

Jorge Mora Jr., 21, of Omaha, speeding 11-15 mph over the limit, $75.

John T. Michael, 61, of Mebane, N.C., speeding 6-10 mph over the limit, $25.

Luis M. Cordoba Ortiz, 30, of Grand Island, speeding 6-10 mph over the limit, $25.

Todd C. Stevens, 57, of Merrifield, Minn., speeding 6-10 mph over the limit, $25.

Madison R. White, 25, of New Underwood, S.D., possession of an open alcohol container in a vehicle, $50.

William D. Jeffers III, 45, of Ainsworth, obstruct government operations, $1,000.

Wang Xiang, 61, of Colorado Springs, Colo., speeding 16-20 mph over the limit, $125.

Jorge A. Reyes Bonilla, 45, of Greeley, Colo., speeding 16-20 mph over the limit, $125.

Teisha L. Carnicle, 21, of Garretson, S.D., speeding 6-10 mph over the limit, $25.

Patrick J. Quinn, 39, of Sisseton, S.D., attempt of a Class 4 felony, $1,000; possession of marijuana less than 1 ounce, $300.

Andrew W. Wiebesek, 19, of Ainsworth, possession of marijuana less than 1 ounce, $300; possession of drug paraphernalia, $100; defective vehicle light, $25.

Jonathan L. Adams, 28, of Sisseton, S.D., attempt of a Class 4 felony, $1,000; possession of marijuana less than 1 ounce, $300.

* Traffic Accident

(Posted 1 p.m. July 18)

The Brown County Sheriff’s Department investigated a two-vehicle accident that occurred Tuesday, July 17, in Ainsworth.
According to the sheriff’s department report, at 2 p.m. Tuesday at the Dollar General parking lot, a 2014 Chevy pickup, driven by Roberta Denny, 42, of Ainsworth, was backing from a parking space and struck a parked 2017 Buick Envision, owned by Lila Pieper of Dodge.
No injuries were reported. Damage to the Chevy was estimated at $300. The Buick sustained approximately $1,000 damage.

* Commissioners review Sandhills Care Center 2018-19 budget

(Posted 7:30 a.m. July 18)

By Dan Kamppinen

During Tuesday’s meeting of the Brown County Commissioners, Sandhills Care Center Board Chairman Phil Fuchs presented the facility’s 2018-19 budget to the commissioners. Fuchs told the board the facility currently has a population of 19 residents. To be profitable, the facility needs approximately 22 residents on average. Fuchs said there would be a projected shortfall of $43,000 in the budget for the upcoming year.

He said the Sandhills Care Center did not receive a $70,000 payment it expected to receive in June because Medicaid resident days fell at 39.87 percent, just below the requirement of 40 percent.

The care center’s management company, Rural Health Development, is working with the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services to see if the funding can still be pursued from the federal government. RHD is going back over the numbers from last year because the numbers are so close to the cutoff point.

The budget was tabled until the next commissioner meeting to give RHD more time to negotiate with the Department of Health and Human Services.

Fuchs also reported the shingling project at the facility has been completed, and the contractors had to use 169 square of shingles versus the 160 projected.

The board met with representatives of the Brown County Agricultural Society regarding reimbursement to the Inheritance Tax Fund relating to the chute replacement project at the Brown County Fairgrounds.

From December 2017 to May 2018, the treasurer collected $11,000. Currently, the money goes from the Brown County Treasurer to the Ag Society and then to the inheritance tax fund every six months. The issue was cleared up during the meeting, as Ag Society representative Ken Eggers agreed the current pay schedule made sense.

The commissioners opted not to bid on a Philbrick property when it goes to a public tax sale.

Commissioner Buddy Small addressed the room on the road department. The Roads Department is still blading, spreading gravel and rock, and repairing potholes. Small reported Highway Superintendent Kenny Turpin approved a project to create an approach to a hayfield.

The commissioners discussed a bridge near Camp Witness. Turpin and John Witski of Niobrara Valley Consultants both came to the conclusion the bridge in question is not owned by the county. More research is being done on who has jurisdiction over the bridge.

An update was presented for things happening in the Region 24 Emergency Management Agency. On Aug. 25, firefighters and emergency responders will run a drill simulating a bus crash with a semi, with injuries to children. Region 24 Emergency Manager Doug Fox is currently applying for grants to acquire Go-Pro’s for Region 24. These would be used in county vehicles to map bridges and culverts.

The next meeting of the Brown County Commissioners is scheduled for 5:15 p.m. Aug. 7.

* April taxable sales decline for Brown and Keya Paha; rise for Rock County

(Posted 12:30 p.m. July 17)

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

County
or City

2018
Net Taxable
Sales

2017
Net Taxable
Sales

Percent
Change

2018
Sales Tax
5.5%

2017
Sales Tax
5.5%

Boyd

837,928

811,715

3.2

46,086.18

44,644.45

Brown

2,413,953

2,482,928

(2.8)

132,767.60

136,561.26

Ainsworth

2,311,882

2,318,244

(0.3)

127,153.69

127,503.62

Cherry

4,163,270

4,631,605

(10.1)

228,980.15

254,738.67

Valentine

4,047,095

4,435,269

(8.8)

222,590.49

243,940.10

Holt

8,321,379

8,217,278

1.3

457,676.50

451,950.79

Atkinson

1,373,371

1,382,651

(0.7)

75,535.58

76,045.96

O'Neill

5,882,321

5,662,670

3.9

323,527.94

311,447.12

Keya Paha

174,565

217,279

(19.7)

9,601.14

11,950.38

Rock

531,838

514,176

3.4

29,251.18

28,279.75

Valley

3,130,045

3,092,188

1.2

172,152.74

170,070.58

Ord

2,695,513

2,733,871

(1.4)

148,253.43

150,363.07

State Total

$2,438,475,452

$2,336,655,860

4.4

$134,319,099.88

$128,686,142.83

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

County
or City

2018
Net Taxable
Sales

2017
Net Taxable
Sales

Percent
Change

2018
Sales Tax
5.5%

2017
Sales Tax
5.5%

Blaine

178,377

161,312

10.6

9,780.80

8,817.97

Boyd

385,023

386,051

(0.3)

21,200.81

21,263.98

Brown

554,174

606,166

(8.6)

30,643.58

33,408.79

Cherry

870,908

912,691

(4.6)

48,146.17

50,668.44

Holt

1,962,816

2,076,788

(5.5)

108,506.52

115,121.42

Keya Paha

300,218

106,305

182.4

16,532.35

5,816.13

Rock

279,709

191,805

45.8

15,425.74

10,557.72

Valley

1,126,708

950,216

18.6

62,355.82

52,471.91

State Total

$375,740,719

$336,426,119

11.7

$20,840,566.72

$18,663,351.20

* School board forms leasing corporation to finance ag building construction

(Posted 9:30 p.m. July 16)

As a tool to finance the almost $3 million agriculture and industrial technology building addition, the Ainsworth Community Schools Board of Education Monday voted to establish the Ainsworth Educational Facilities Leasing Corporation and enter into a lease purchase agreement with First National Capital Markets.

Superintendent Darrell Peterson said establishing the leasing corporation was a better and cheaper way to go about financing the building addition project. He said forming the leasing corporation would give the district a better interest rate to finance the addition over a seven-year period.

Tobin Buchanan with First National Capital Markets told the board the district was still on pace to close the financing by July 25 and have the funds in place prior to construction.

“The leasing corporation will need to elect officers and sign two resolutions,” Buchanan said. “This is going to work out well for everyone. There will be a tremendous amount of sales tax savings, and we got the interest rate down as well.”

Buchanan said there was no pre-payment penalty, unlike a bond, should the district have the funding to pay off the note prior to the full seven-year period.

Peterson said the district signed a contract for the building addition project with Chief Construction for $2.875 million. With fees and closing costs, the district will finance $2.93 million with First National Capital Markets for the project.

“We are on track to have the shell completed sometime in December,” the superintendent said. “The goal is to have the building ready to use by the second semester. The wood shop is going to remain where it is for now. Then, we will move the equipment into the new building and change the current wood shop into a couple classrooms.”

The board approved the resolution creating the leasing corporation, and appointed Peterson and board members Jim Arens, Brad Wilkins and Mark Johnson to the corporation.

In other business Monday, the board accepted the resignation of Erin Rathe effective July 31. Rathe accepted a teaching position with the district for the 2018-19 year, and therefore had to resign her seat on the board. Peterson said he will put notice in the newspaper that there has been a resignation from the school board.

“Since we will only be appointing someone for a few months, it will probably be a past board member,” Peterson said.

Rathe’s four-year term on the school board is up for election in November.

The board approved an option enrollment request from Neil Dover to allow his son Reece to continue to attend Rock County Public Schools. Peterson said Dover will be a freshman at Rock County, and has previously attended school there. The family moved into the Ainsworth district, but would like him to continue to attend school in Rock County.

Peterson presented the board with a report on the mileage driven by the district’s fleet of vehicles during the 2017-18 year. Overall, the district’s fleet traveled 107,913 miles, which includes daily route buses, activities buses, vans and administration vehicles.

The 107,913 miles were slightly higher than the 2016-17 year’s mileage of 101,784, but were well below the more than 124,000 miles the district’s fleet traveled in both the 2014-15 and 2015-16 school years.

The superintendent said the old bus the district replaced was destroyed Friday, which was a requirement of a grant the district received to cover a portion of the cost of the replacement bus. He said the Ainsworth Volunteer Fire Department planned to use the old bus for a training exercise.

The board approved a purchase agreement with Duane and Geri Johnson for a 2-acre parcel near the Norden Road that was at one time country school District 38.

Peterson said the purchase agreement clears up the title on a piece of land that has not been used as a school for decades. He said the paperwork to dissolve the parcel was apparently never filed correctly.

When a parcel is no longer used by a school, the ownership of the land typically reverts back to the previous owner.

Peterson said the purchase agreement clears up the ownership of the parcel at no cost to the school district. The Johnsons own the land surrounding the 2-acre parcel.

During his report, Peterson said there have been a few fire alarms in the building recently. He said they believe a couple of the alarms were triggered by fumes from refinishing the gym floor.
“We apologize to the firemen,” Peterson said. “But, we appreciate the work they do to help us out.”

In action items Monday, the board approved the second readings of policies relating to:

* Reading instruction and improvement for kindergarten through third-grade students;

* Assessments and academic content standards;

* Anti-discrimination, anti-harassment and anti-retaliation;

* Homeless students;

* Student suspension, expulsion and grievance procedures;

* Child abuse and neglect, and;

* Student fees.

The board also approved the first reading of a policy relating to sick leave. Peterson said the board agreed during negotiations with the Ainsworth Education Association to allow certified staff and classified staff to use two sick days per year to attend funerals not already covered by district policy.

The board approved the first reading of a policy that will increase from $100 to $150 the contribution made by the district to students who qualify for national contests.

The board also approved the first reading of a policy adjusting the salary schedule for classified employees.

The next meeting of the Ainsworth Community Schools Board of Education is scheduled for 8 p.m. Aug. 13.

* Traffic Accident

(Posted 2:45 p.m. July 16)

The Brown County Sheriff’s Department investigated a two-vehicle accident that occurred Wednesday, July 11, south of Ainsworth.
According to the sheriff’s department report, at 1:12 p.m. Wednesday on Highway 7 near milepost 21 south of Ainsworth, a collision occurred between a northbound 1995 Plymouth Voyager van, driven by Wanda Huebner, 84, of Wood Lake, and a northbound 2017 Ford pickup, driven by Jeffrey Buerger, 43, of Denver, Colo.
Huebner was transported to the Brown County Hospital by the Brown County Ambulance Association for injuries suffered during the accident.
Damage to the Plymouth was estimated at $3,000. The Ford sustained approximately $1,500 damage.

* Motorcycle accident Sunday claims life of 43-year-old Bassett man

(Posted 2 p.m. July 16)

A 43-year-old Bassett man died Sunday in a motorcycle accident north of the city.
According to Rock County Sheriff James Anderson, the sheriff’s department responded to a report of a motorcycle accident at 2:45 p.m. Sunday on Highway 7 north of Bassett near milepost 71. Erich Bussinger of Bassett was driving a 2001 Harley Davison when he apparently lost control and went into the east ditch.
Bussinger was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident.
The Rock County Ambulance Association and the Bassett Volunteer Fire Department also responded to the accident call.

* NCDHD investigating potential Cyclospora cases from consuming McDonald's salads

(Posted noon July 13)

The North Central District Health Department is collaborating with the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services as well as the Centers for Disease Control in investigating an increase in people becoming sick from the parasite Cyclospora in the district.

NCDHD serves Antelope, Boyd, Brown, Cherry, Holt, Keya Paha, Knox, Pierce and Rock counties.

Two other nearby states have noticed a similar increase in Cyclospora associated with the possible consumption of salads from McDonald’s restaurants. McDonald’s is also investigating the issue and has been fully cooperating with health officials.

Symptoms of Cyclospora infection include frequent watery diarrhea, weight loss, loss of appetite, abdominal discomfort, nausea, fatigue and fever.

It may take a week or more for symptoms to start after consuming the contaminated food product with the illness lasting from a few days to a few months. People might feel better, then get worse again and, following diagnosis, can be treated with antibiotics.

The North Central District Health Department encourages anyone who has experienced the above symptoms and who may have eaten a salad at McDonald’s since early June and experienced diarrhea and fatigue to contact a health care provider to be tested and receive treatment. Additional information can be found on the CDC website.

* Comprehensive planning session addresses city's strengths, areas to improve

(Posted 6:30 a.m. July 13)

By Dan Kamppinen

 

Miller and Associates and the city of Ainsworth held the first of four planned meetings Thursday to discuss the comprehensive plan that Miller and Associates is putting together for the community.

Brenda Jensen of Miller and Associates said the company crafts comprehensive plans for communities based on factors like land use, public utilities, services and infrastructure, transportation, housing, economic development, community revitalization, historic preservation, environmental conservation, energy, rehabilitation, and redevelopment.

The comprehensive plan covers 10 years and is beneficial when applying for state and federal grants.

The process involves four community meetings, and community and housing surveys to determine what community members feel are the weaknesses and strengths of the community.

Community members pointed out positive aspects of Ainsworth, including locally owned businesses along Main Street, access to critical and senior care, the airport, schools, and the new developments around town.

Some areas where attendees felt Ainsworth struggled were in the lack of new home construction, the ability to balance keeping kids busy while at the same time having time for themselves.

Other issues that came up Thursday were the swimming pool and the theater. Following the discussion, Jensen indicated the major factors that need to be included in the early stages of planning are how to keep adults and kids engaged in the community, how to get more young professionals to move back to town and how to keep high school aged kids out of trouble. The next meeting will take place in September.

* Traffic Accident

(Posted 12:45 p.m. July 12)

The Brown County Sheriff’s Department investigated an accident that occurred Monday, July 9, on the east edge of Ainsworth.
According to the sheriff’s department report, at 4:25 p.m. Monday on Highway 20 at the Shopko parking lot turn, a 2006 Peterbilt semi, driven by Edward Duncan, 22, of Casa Grande, Ariz., was traveling west when the semi was forced to brake quickly to avoid striking a vehicle that pulled onto the highway from the Shopko driveway.
The sudden braking caused the semi’s payload, a 2018 Case combine, to shift and break loose from its restraints. The combine partially fell off the flatbed trailer, causing approximately $10,000 damage to the combine’s undercarriage.
The accident prompted the civil defense siren to sound in Ainsworth and emergency personnel to respond. However, no injuries were reported as the semi was able to stop before striking the other vehicle. The second motorist was cited on a charge of failing to yield the right of way.

* Mayor breaks deadlock, approving $50,000 in ABC funding for theater project

(Posted 7 p.m. July 11)

With Mayor Larry Rice casting the tie-breaking vote, the Ainsworth City Council on Wednesday narrowly approved a recommendation to provide $50,000 in Ainsworth Betterment Committee funding to the North Central Development Center to be used toward the Grand Theater project.

The NCDC submitted a funding request for $150,000 to the ABC Committee, stating in the application that the project was at a stand-still until additional funds are raised or received to complete the flooring and seating, and acquire furniture, fixtures and concession stand equipment.

The application stated the city is currently losing sales tax dollars to other communities, as many local residents are traveling to theaters at Valentine and Stuart.

The ABC Committee recommended to the City Council that $50,000 in funding be approved.

Committee member David Spann told the council the consensus of the committee was to have more accountability for the money.

“When that $50,000 gets used up, they can come back to us with another request,” Spann said. “We wanted another layer of accountability.”

The committee also recommended that the invoices for work done at the theater be presented to the city, with the city paying the invoices until the $50,000 is expended.

City Administrator Lisa Schroedl said having the city pay the invoices instead of the $50,000 being written to the NCDC was in line with recommendations made by the city’s auditor.

Councilwoman Deb Hurless said she believed completing the theater was a good fit for what the ABC funds are supposed to be used to support, and questioned why the entire request was not being funded.

Hurless and Councilman Greg Soles voted against the ABC Committee’s recommendation, with Councilmen Brian Williams and Chuck Osborn voting in favor of the committee’s recommended amount of $50,000.

With the council deadlocked, Rice cast the deciding vote to award $50,000 for the project.

In other business Wednesday, the council accepted a quote of $19,090 from Pfister Wrecker Service & Repair to replace a motor in the generator at the city’s wastewater treatment plant.

Schroedl said the generator is fairly old, and the wastewater plant operators have had major struggles with it this summer.

“It needs a new motor,” Schroedl said. “It is a critical piece of infrastructure.”

Water superintendent Brad Miller said the treatment plant would only be able to operate for about four hours without a working generator. Should the city have an extended power outage similar to what Atkinson experienced in the spring from severe weather, a working generator was a necessity.

Miller said the motor appeared to be the only issue. He said a completely new generator would cost upwards of $55,000. He recommended the council approve the $19,090 bid from Pfister Wrecker Service & Repair for the installation of a remanufactured engine.

The council received a second bid for the motor replacement from Road Builders at a cost of $36,337. The council approved the bid from Pfister.

Larry Steele with Miller and Associates presented the council with a quote to replace the filter and pump at the Ainsworth Swimming Pool.

Steele said the $98,660 quote he provided would likely have to be adjusted upward by 20 percent due to recently implemented tariffs on steel.

Schroedl said the quote was being provided to the council for informational purposes ahead of the city beginning its work on the 2018-19 budget.

Miller told the council the current filter is on life support, and something needed to be done.

Steele said to install the new filter system would also require the pumping system to be replaced, as the new filter would not work with the pool’s current pump.

Hurless asked if the new filter and pump could be transferred to a new swimming pool should the city eventually move forward with building a new pool.

Steele said both the filter system and pump could be transferred.

Rice asked Steele to provide a revised quote to the city prior to the first budget workshop.

Elaine Ginter with Bright Horizons presented the council with information on the services provided by the non-profit organization in the community.

Ginter said Bright Horizons, which is located in the Brown County Hospital Specialty Clinic building, is funded through grants and other government programs, so she was not asking for any funding from the council.

“Bright Horizons is dedicated to the elimination of domestic violence and sexual assault,” Ginter said.

She said the office was open from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday to provide services to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.

During his report, Rice said the city received a few calls regarding fireworks being discharged late at night. He said the city’s ordinances only follow state statutes.
“We don’t have a city ordinance on hours for fireworks,” the mayor said.

He also asked the council if there would be interest in installing solar-powered radar signs on the highway entrances to the city.

He said Gregory, S.D., uses radar signs and they have been quite effective in reducing the speeds of vehicles entering the community.

Osborn said there has been discussion about installing the radar signs in conjunction with the upcoming Highway 20 renovation in the city.

“I think it is a great idea,” Osborn said.

Rice said the signs cost approximately $2,000 each, with some additional installation expenses.

During her report, Schroedl said she had finished the application to the USDA for wastewater improvement project funding, and was working on the $350,000 Community Development Block Grant application for the projects.

She reported Steve Warnke has been officially hired as the city’s lead wastewater treatment plant operator. Warnke worked for the past 11 years under previous plant operator Jerry Clark, who recently retired.

The next meeting of the Ainsworth City Council is scheduled for 5 p.m. Aug. 8.

* Welch wins lottery drawing for Game and Parks super tag permit

(Posted 4:30 p.m. July 11)

Zachary Welch of Ainsworth and Oren Smith of Parsons, Kan., have been drawn as lottery winners of two Super Tag multi-species big game permits. The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission drew the names Tuesday.
Frank Nemeth of Chadron and Gary West of Ridge Spring, S.C., were drawn as winners of the Combo multi-species big game permits.
The Super Tag and Combo permits are valid in 2018 and 2019. The Super Tag bag limit is one elk, one antelope, one deer and two turkeys. The Combo bag limit is one antelope, one deer and two turkeys. The permits are valid in open seasons with appropriate equipment.
Welch had one of 1,536 Nebraska resident entries in the single-entry Super Tag lottery. Smith had five of 2,163 entries (1,127 residents and 1,036 nonresidents) in the multiple-entry Super Tag lottery.
In the multiple-entry Combo lottery, Nemeth had three of the 465 entries for the resident permit, and West had one of the 322 entries for the nonresident permit.

* Roadway paint striping continues in District 8

(Posted 7 a.m. July 11)

Roadway paint striping continues in District 8 in Boyd, Holt, Garfield and Wheeler counties, according to the Nebraska Department of Transportation.
Vogel Traffic Services of Orange City, Iowa, has the $641,384 contract for district-wide striping.
The work is occurring in Blaine, Boyd, Brown, Cherry, Garfield, Holt, Keya Paha, Loup, Rock and Wheeler counties. The anticipated completion date is July 2018.
The department’s project manager is Darrell Lurz of Valentine. Motorists are asked to drive cautiously through construction zones and to expect delays.

* Ainsworth City Council agenda for Wednesday meeting

(Posted 6:45 a.m. July 11)

Ainsworth City Council
Meeting
5 p.m. Wednesday, July 11
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 June 13, 2018 Regular Meeting

b.      Approval of Claims

c.       Treasurer’s Report

d.      Department Head Reports

*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

 

IV.                PUBLIC HEARINGS

a.      None

 

V.                  OLD BUSINESS

a.       None

 

VI.                REGULAR AGENDA

a.      Discussion on needed upgrades to the swimming pool filter pit – Larry Steele, Miller & Associates

b.      Presentation from Bright Horizons – Elaine Ginter

c.       Discuss and consider estimates for repairs to the backup generator at the waste water treatment plant

d.      Discuss and consider potential recommendations from the Ainsworth Betterment Committee regarding the Grand Theatre

e.      Consider possible dates for the 2018-19 budget workshop

f.        City Administrator/Clerk/Treasurer Report

* Sandhills Care Center Board approves $1.7 million 2018-19 budget

(Posted 7 a.m. July 10)

The Sandhills Care Center Board on Monday approved a 2018-19 operating budget of $1.7 million for the facility, with conservative estimates on resident population showing a shortfall for the upcoming year with projected revenue of $1.44 million.

Chairman Phil Fuchs said, in the previous fiscal year, the board estimated being at 22 to 23 residents.

“We were more conservative in our budget this year on projecting the number of residents,” Fuchs said. “Based on those projections, we will be about $98,000 short for the next year after the contributions from the city and the county.”

Fuchs said the budget did not include a potential payment from Medicare for the federal portion of the amount the facility is over its state caps for resident care.

Walt Dye with Rural Health Development, the company contracted to manage the Sandhills Care Center, said the Medicare payment would likely be around $55,000 to $60,000, and would be received in June 2019.

Those funds are the same as the $70,000 the facility expected to receive in June of this year before finding out its Medicaid resident days fell just shy of the 40 percent threshold the state requires before tracking down the federal funds for the facility.

Dye said attorney Dick Nelson is writing an opinion letter on that issue to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.

“He believes the federal regulations trump the state regulations since the two don’t match,” Dye said.

Fuchs said there was still a chance the facility could receive that funding, but the board would know more in a week or two.

Fuchs asked the board if it wanted to include in the 2018-19 budget the projected $55,000 from the same federal source as the $70,000 that the facility did not receive this year. Dye told the board the facility was currently at 44 percent Medicaid days, so it would meet the state’s 40 percent threshold for the payment in June 2019.

The $70,000 payment expected in June of this year was not received because the facility finished the year at 39.83 percent Medicaid days, just shy of the threshold the state requires before seeking out those federal funds.

The board agreed to include the anticipated $55,000 in the budget, which drops the projected shortfall for the fiscal year to approximately $44,000.

Board member Leanne Maxwell said, though the board’s budget is conservative and only shows a population of 20 residents for the year, she hoped the resident population would increase since the facility is gaining the community’s confidence.

“We are showing them that we aren’t going anywhere,” Maxwell said.

She said she received a call from a resident’s family member who was extremely complimentary of the nursing, the administration, the activities, and the overall excellent care their family member was receiving.

Fuchs said he visited with a family who said the same thing about the care their loved one was receiving.

Board member Chuck Osborn said the care center was now not losing any residents to facilities in other communities.

The breakeven point for the facility for the 2018-19 year is 21 residents. Administrator Stephanie Rucker said there are currently 19 residents in the care center, with two admissions in June and one resident death.

The board approved the 2018-19 operating budget, which will now be forwarded to the Brown County Commissioners and the Ainsworth City Council.

Looking at the June financial report, the facility experienced a net profit of $10,160 for the month, with expenses of $101,047 and revenue of $111,207.

Rucker said she was fully staffed with the exception of a maintenance person and a kitchen aide.

The board approved payment for the recently completed roofing project for the facility.

Fuchs said the facility now has a roof that should last for 20 years.

“There was quite a bit of sheeting that needed to be replaced, and they also had to build a support for the kitchen’s exhaust fan,” Fuchs said.

The project took an additional 19.3 square of shingles than the 150 square that were included in the original bid.

Board member Buddy Small said Shawn Fernau discussed the additional work with individual board members before moving forward.

Fuchs said building committee chair Dick Schipporeit reviewed the work completed and indicated it was acceptable.

The board approved payment of $16,788 to Shawn Fernau Construction, which included the $13,900 original bid and the extra work. The board also approved a payment of $4,029 to William Krotter Lumber for the additional square of shingles and the sheeting.

Fuchs said the total cost of the roofing project is $29,217. Between private donations and contributions from the county and the Ainsworth Betterment Committee, the board had the funding to cover the cost of the project.

In the only other action item Monday, the board approved extending its line of credit with the First National Bank for 30 days to allow the board time to see whether or not the state would grant the facility’s appeal and pursue the $70,000 federal portion of the cost of care overages.

The next meeting of the Sandhills Care Center Board is scheduled for 4 p.m. Aug. 13.

* Osborn reports June as warmer, wetter than normal

(Posted 4:15 p.m. July 6)

Ainsworth Weather Observer Gerry Osborn recorded 4.27 inches of precipitation in June, which is more than one-half inch above normal and comes a year after Ainsworth experienced the driest June in its 113-year history in 2017.
Ainsworth has received almost 4 inches more precipitation through the first six months than the average year, as the 4.27 inches in June pushed the year-to-date total to 15.36 inches.
Temperatures were also above normal during June, with a high mark of 97 degrees recorded on June 5.
To hear the complete June weather summary, click on the audio link below.

audio clips/Gerry Osborn June 2018 weather summary.mp3

* DOT schedules more than $40 million in District 8 road work in one-year plan

(Posted 3:45 p.m. July 6)

Gov. Pete Ricketts and the Nebraska Department of Transportation announced a record-setting $600 million in projects slated for construction across the state. 

The announcement came with the release of the DOT’s Program Book for Fiscal Years 2019-2024, which details transportation projects scheduled for funding in the next one and five-year programs.

There are 11 projects in the District 8 one-year plan that total more than $40 million. District 8 encompasses the north central region of Nebraska.

Among those projects are:

* Highway 137 in Keya Paha County, milling and resurfacing work on an 8-mile stretch from the Keya Paha River to the South Dakota state line at a cost of $4.5 million.

* Highway 137 in Rock County, milling and resurfacing on a 13.6-mile stretch from Newport north at a cost of $5.2 million.

* Highway 20 from Long Pine to Atkinson, 34.9 miles of microsurfacing at a cost of $2.3 million.

* Highway 20 in Cherry County from Eli to Nenzel, 20.8 miles of microsurfacing at a cost of $1.42 million.

* Highway 11 in Holt County from Atkinson south, 6.1 miles of milling and resurfacing at a cost of $2.78 million.

There are numerous projects included in the five-year DOT plan for District 8. Those are projects the DOT plans to address sometime between 2020 and 2024.

Include are:

Highway 20 projects

* 1.4 miles of concrete paving in the city of Ainsworth at a cost of $5.65 million.

* Rehabilitation of a bridge near Long Pine at a cost of $1.4 million.

* Culvert repair on Willow Creek west of the Long Pine State Recreation Area at a cost of $570,000.

* 70 miles of microsurfacing in Cherry County at a cost of $4.98 million.

* 50 miles of microsurfacing east and west of O’Neill in Holt County at a cost of $3.56 million.

Highway 7

* Milling and resurfacing of 7.2 miles in Ainsworth and south at a cost of $3.86 million.

* 40 miles of microsurfacing from Ainsworth to Brewster at a cost of $5.46 million.

* Resurfacing and reconstruction of 7.8 miles in Rock County from the border with Keya Paha County south at a cost of $9 million.

* Resurfacing of 5.1 miles in Rock County from the Niobrara River south at a cost of $1.34 million.

* Resurfacing of 4.3 miles in Keya Paha County from the Rock County line north at a cost of $2.81 million.

Highway 12

* Resurfacing of 11.2 miles in Keya Paha County from Norden east at a cost of $6 million.

* Resurfacing of 12.7 miles in Keya Paha County from Burton east at a cost of $7.47 million.

* Resurfacing of 3.5 miles in Cherry County from Sparks east at a cost of $1.66 million.

* Bridge work in Cherry County on the Minnechaduza Creek at a cost of $2.29 million.

Highway 183

* Resurfacing of 10.1 miles in Rock County from Bassett south at a cost of $3.77 million.

* Resurfacing of 6.4 miles in Rock County from Rose south at a cost of $2.63 million.

* Microsurfacing of 17.6 miles in Rock County from Rose north at a cost of $1.65 million.

* Resurfacing and bridge work on 4.3 miles in Keya Paha County from the Niobrara River north at a cost of $3.46 million.

All of the projects in the five-year plan in District 8 carry a cost of more than $135 million.

“It’s an exciting time for Nebraska as we continue to make historic levels of investment in our roads and bridges,” said DOT Director Kyle Schneweis.  “Gov. Ricketts along with state and local leaders have made funding for infrastructure a priority, and we’re putting every dollar to work in the most efficient and effective way possible to build a safe and modern transportation system.”

DOT is responsible for nearly 10,000 miles of roads and 3,500 bridges. In the coming Fiscal Year 2019, the agency will focus on protecting prior investments that have been made in Nebraska’s statewide transportation network. 

The DOT Program Book is published annually and reflects projects that have been selected for construction based on need and projected funding availability.  Funding for DOT projects comes from the State Highway Trust Fund, Build Nebraska Act, Transportation Innovation Act, and federal funds.

* Long Pine Council approves additional summer hours for city dump

(Posted 7 a.m. July 6)

By Dan Kamppinen

The Long Pine City Council on Thursday approved extending the city’s dump hours during the summer.

Currently, the dump is open on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The council approved expanding the schedule to Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday and on-call on Sunday.

Additionally, the council approved hiring Gary Hutcheson to clean up the dump for $175 per hour. The council indicated it would likely take Hutcheson a half a day to do the cleanup.

In other business Thursday, the council approved having Municipal Code Services of Neligh revise the city’s ordinance book.

The council received a report that the North Central District Health Department is undergoing mosquito surveillance in Holt and Cherry counties and as of June 25 there have been no West Nile Virus positive mosquitoes.

During a report from the board of health, the council heard a nuisance violation update on a residence in the 400 block of North Ash Street. The property owner removed a partial deck, but still has to do some more cleaning and yard work, and a partial structure on the property is still standing.

The council discussed concerns regarding the abandoned grain bins near the Cowboy Trail. They are run down and the first call to the owner did not yield any results. There is also concern in town about standing water around town attracting mosquitoes.

The council tabled taking any action on raising the water turn on and turn off fees from $25.

The council gave the go-ahead to Paul Carpenter to build an addition to his home. The addition is 40 by 23, and would not impede the alley.

Mayor Ed Brown reported Lesa Dillion bought and fixed a new bike rack that is now at the tennis courts. The tennis courts also got a new net this past week. The only piece that needed to be repaired was the crank.

Travis Electric completed its portion of the lagoon electrical project. It passed inspection Tuesday.

Brown reported the rainy weather has been tough on drainage and dirt road maintenance. The streets department plans to add gravel when the streets dry out.

The recycling trailers are available at the old city shop, and Brown reminded residents to break down boxes because space is limited.

The next meeting of the Long Pine City Council is scheduled for 7 p.m. Aug. 2.

* Liquor license holders in Brown County 100 percent compliant in State Patrol checks

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

Through the Region 4 Substance Abuse Prevention Block Grant, the North Central District Health Department and the Area Substance Abuse Prevention coalition contracted with the Nebraska State Patrol to conduct alcohol compliance checks in Cherry, Brown, Keya Paha and Rock counties.

The checks are designed to increase retail compliance with Nebraska alcohol laws and reduce underage access to alcohol.

The Ainsworth Golf Association, Ampride, J's Keggers, Roadrunner, Pump n' Pantry 26, Silver Circle Bar, Longhorn Bar, Shopko Hometown, Pizza Hut, Local House 20, L-Bow Room, Anderson Market and the Sandhills Lounge in Long Pine all passed, resulting in 100 percent compliance for Brown County.

Cody's Husker Hub, Kilgore Bar, Sparks Store, Sharp Outfitters, Prairie Club, Waters Edge and Merritt Dam Trading Post, Casey's General Store #2731, Conoco, Corner Pub, Henderson's IGA, Wright's Bait Shop, Sandhill Oil, Scotty's Ranchland, Sharp Liquor, Speedee Mart, Plains Trading Company, Shopko Hometown, Pizza Hut of Valentine, Valentine Veteran's Club, Berry Bridge Resort, Brewer's Canoers , Coachlight Inn, The Bunkhouse, Peppermill, Crazy George, and Frederick Peak Golf all passed resulting in a 92.86% compliance rate for Cherry County.

In Keya Paha County, all five licensees were checked; however, only one was open at that time. Turbine Mart passed its inspection resulting in a 100% compliance rate for Keya Paha County.  Four of the six alcohol licenses in Rock County were open for the inspection. G & V's Market, Scott's Con., Inc., The Corral Bar, and Bassett Country Club all passed their checks, resulting in 100% compliance for Rock County.

* Traffic Accidents

(Posted 9:15 a.m. July 4)

The Brown County Sheriff’s Department investigated a pair of recent motor vehicle accidents in Ainsworth.

The first occurred sometime between 6 p.m. June 23 and 6:30 a.m. June 24 on Fullerton Street in Ainsworth. An unknown vehicle struck a parked 2009 Ford Explorer, owned by Teresa Crocker of Ainsworth.

Damage to the Ford was estimated at $1,000.

The second accident occurred at 1:08 p.m. June 28 on South Pine Street. A 1988 Chevy sport-utility vehicle, driven by James Newport, 83, of Long Pine, was traveling south when the vehicle left the roadway, struck a fence, a corner post, mailbox and a second fence before coming to rest in the east ditch.

Newport was transported to the Brown County Hospital by the Brown County Ambulance Association.

Damage to the Chevy was estimated at $700.

* Commissioners accept Streich's resignation; appoint Herzog county attorney

(Posted 5:45 a.m. July 4)

By Dan Kamppinen
The Brown County Commissioners on Tuesday accepted, with reluctance, David Streich’s resignation as Brown County Attorney effective at 5 p.m. July 12.

The board moved to appoint Tom Herzog as the new county attorney effective at 5:01 p.m. July 12 for an indefinite period of time. The board approved to pay Herzog the standing salary for Brown County attorney and mileage compensation of 55 cents per mile.

Streich will be hired and appointed as Deputy Brown County Attorney under Herzog at a rate of $55 per hour. The commissioners voted to hire Kim Schweers as a part time legal secretary for Brown County at $15 per hour.

Brown County Hospital Administrator John Werner presented the 2018-19 budget for the hospital. One version of the budget projected $11 million in revenue and $10.5 million in expenditures. The other version, which the Brown County Hospital Trustees approved, projected total revenue of $9.1 million and expenditures of $9.7 million. The hospital currently has $516,000 coming in through their current bond measure which puts them in the black by $423,000.

The commissioners discussed the interlocal agreement between Brown, Rock and Keya Paha counties regarding the BKR Extension office. Brown County was contacted by another county about having to pay the Extension. It was suggested the Brown County pays the lump sum and the other counties pay them back.

The percentage of the Extension budget paid by each county is based on the land area and population. The board discussed raising the other counties’ contributions by 1 or 2 percent and drop Brown County’s accordingly. Brown County would add a line item for a processing fee. The new agreement could be ready in about a month and would be presented during the Aug. 7 board meeting.

The board authorized having Commissioner Buddy Small sign to opt into the class action lawsuit on collection of payments in lieu of taxes from the federal government.

Highway Superintendent Kenny Turpin updated the commissioners on road department issues. With the rain, Turpin said road crews have been blading and clearing gravel.

Turpin said the roads department is running reminders in the newspaper and on KBRB to make landowners aware of their responsibility to mow road ditches.

Discussion on making repairs to a bridge at Camp Witness was tabled until the next meeting.

The Commissioners also approved the 2018 Under Water Bridge Inspection agreement with the Nebraska Department of Transportation.

In a final action item, the commissioners voted to keep the safety committee the same and re-elect members after Jan. 1.

The next meeting of the Brown County Commissioners is scheduled for 5:15 p.m. Aug. 7.

* West Holt Memorial Hospital receives $3.2 million USDA loan for improvements

(Posted 9:15 a.m. July 2)

Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture is investing $237 million in 119 rural community service facilities in 29 states.  Nebraska has five recipients totaling more than $11 million.
Among the Nebraska projects, the West Holt Memorial Hospital at Atkinson was awarded a $3.2 million loan that will make improvements to the 17-bed critical access hospital. Improvements will include the construction of a specialty clinic that will allow patients to obtain services in a more confidential manner.
The hospital can provide epidural steroid injections, which can decrease the need for opioid medications. These services will assist in the hospital’s ability to recruit pain management providers. The surgical suite and lab will be enlarged, and the waiting room and multipurpose areas renovated. The enhancements will better serve comprehensive health care to more than 10,000 people in a medically underserved area in north central Nebraska.
“At USDA, we believe in rural America and in the promise of small towns and the people who call them home,” Hazlett said. “Under Secretary Perdue’s leadership, we are committed to being a strong partner to local leaders in building healthy, prosperous futures for their communities.”

* 4.2 magnitude earthquake measured Friday night in Custer County

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

The U.S. Geological Survey measured a 4.2 magnitude earthquake Friday that was centered in Custer County.
The USGS reported the quake occurred at 11:20 p.m. Friday and was centered 23 miles west of Broken Bow.
The quake was reportedly felt as far east as Grand Island, and as far west as Ogallala.

* KBR Solid Waste, NCDC among tire recycling grant recipients

(Posted 6:45 a.m. June 28)

Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality Director Jim Macy announced the state is awarding $1.59 million to support 106 tire recycling and cleanup projects across the state. The department received nearly $2.2 million in eligible grant requests.
"The agency received many outstanding applications from across the state,” Macy said. “These funds will provide needed support to local efforts which effectively deal with scrap tires in Nebraska.”
The grants support local efforts to clean up tire piles and conduct community scrap tire collections. In addition, funds will be used by schools and organizations across the state to provide partial reimbursement for playground mulch, synthetic turf fields, running tracks, and other recycled rubber projects that were made from scrap tires.
The grants are part of NDEQ’s Waste Reduction and Recycling Grants program, and are funded by a $1 fee on new tires purchased in Nebraska.
There were two grant projects awarded locally. KBR Solid Waste received a $29,644 grant to host a 200-ton scrap tire cleanup for residents of Brown, Rock and Keya Paha counties.
The North Central Development Center was awarded a $3,750 grant for reimbursement of 50 percent of the cost of purchasing 19,500 pounds of rubber playground mulch.

* Traffic Accident

(Posted 2 p.m. June 26)

The Brown County Sheriff’s Department investigated a one-vehicle accident that occurred Saturday, June 23, on Highway 20.
According to the sheriff’s department report, at 7:50 a.m. Saturday on Highway 20 approximately 6 miles east of Ainsworth, a 2002 Mitsubishi Eclipse, driven by Taylor Alcorn, 21, of Lincoln, was traveling east when the vehicle crossed the center line and struck a sign and guard rail in the north ditch.
No injuries were reported. The Mitsubishi, owned by Cichoracki Motor Company of Lincoln, was considered a total loss. Damage to the Nebraska Department of Transportation guard rail was estimated at $2,000.

* March taxable sales rise in Brown and Rock counties, decline in Keya Paha County

(Posted 2 p.m. June 26)

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

County
or City

2018
Net Taxable
Sales

2017
Net Taxable
Sales

Percent
Change

2018
Sales Tax
5.5%

2017
Sales Tax
5.5%

Blaine

40,773

50,073

(18.6)

2,242.54

2,754.03

Boyd

914,279

924,397

(1.1)

50,285.47

50,841.98

Brown

2,649,074

2,622,975

1

145,699.28

144,263.85

Ainsworth

2,462,609

2,466,472

(0.2)

135,443.68

135,656.15

Cherry

4,763,720

5,155,850

(7.6)

263,528.98

283,572.14

Valentine

4,584,663

4,951,434

(7.4)

253,680.81

272,329.22

Holt

9,367,436

8,710,104

7.5

515,209.82

479,056.51

Atkinson

1,312,751

1,606,987

(18.3)

72,201.50

88,384.52

O'Neill

6,774,621

5,884,916

15.1

372,604.52

323,670.75

Keya Paha

165,877

194,448

(14.7)

9,123.28

10,694.69

Rock

619,000

535,746

15.5

34,045.06

29,466.09

Valley

3,218,465

3,134,774

2.7

177,015.87

172,412.88

Ord

2,935,426

2,850,236

3

161,448.66

156,763.23

State Total

$2,574,500,116

$2,485,540,448

3.6

$141,745,127.15

$137,647,583.91

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

County
or City

2018
Net Taxable
Sales

2017
Net Taxable
Sales

Percent
Change

2018
Sales Tax
5.5%

2017
Sales Tax
5.5%

Blaine

144,483

135,236

6.8

7,937.15

7,385.50

Boyd

293,608

314,798

(6.7)

16,158.67

17,307.61

Brown

741,446

673,435

10.1

41,014.50

37,219.42

Cherry

1,263,857

1,340,414

(5.7)

69,870.54

74,155.16

Holt

2,551,404

2,295,689

11.1

141,298.14

127,120.11

Keya Paha

205,557

202,772

1.4

11,274.51

11,150.54

Rock

324,861

246,786

31.6

17,860.48

13,573.38

Valley

1,017,231

1,072,101

(5.1)

56,202.84

59,268.36

State Total

$371,610,583

$388,342,316

(4.3)

$20,617,901.44

$21,545,526.21

* Hospital Board approves 2018-19 budget

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

During a recent meeting of the Brown County Hospital Board of Trustees, the board approved the 2018-19 hospital budget.

Prepared by the administration team, the board reviewed the budget and discussed projections for revenue and expenditures. The budget will be presented to the Brown County Commissioners for inclusion in the county’s 2018-19 fiscal year budget.

In the only other action item, the board approved a recommendation from the hospital’s medical staff to provide consulting privileges to Dr. Christopher Balwanz.

Hospital Administrator John Werner reported 10 students completed the certified nursing assistant program course that was held in the Brown County Hospital.

He thanked those who participated in any way with the annual Brown County Hospital Foundation Golf Tournament. Werner said the tournament raised more than $6,000 for the hospital’s endowment fund.

Lisa Fischer told the board the hospital’s workers compensation insurance policy is up for renewal, and she is waiting to receive two bids for the policy.

Prior to adjourning, the board entered into executive session to discuss workforce. No action was taken following the executive session.

The next meeting of the Brown County Hospital Board of Trustees is scheduled for 4 p.m. July 23.

* Roadway striping begins this week in Brown, Rock and Keya Paha counties

(Posted 9:30 a.m. June 25)

Roadway paint striping continues in District 8 in Brown, Keya Paha and Rock counties, according to the Nebraska Department of Transportation.
Vogel Traffic Services, Inc., of Orange City, Iowa has the $641,384 contract for district-wide striping.
After striping is completed in those counties, work will progress to Blaine, Garfield, Loup, Holt, Boyd and Wheeler counties.  The anticipated completion date is July.
The department’s project manager is Darrell Lurz of Valentine.  Motorists are asked to drive cautiously through construction zones and to expect delays.

* Turpin completes bridge inspector certification

(Posted 7 a.m. June 22)

The Brown County Commissioners on Tuesday approved a $4,000 salary increase for Highway Superintendent Kenny Turpin after Turpin recently completed the process to become a certified bridge inspector.

With Turpin now able to handle routine bridge inspections, the county will no longer have to contract that work. Becoming certified as a bridge inspector is a lengthy process, including the applicant having to train under a certified inspector for several years.

The commissioners approved a professional services agreement with Oak Creek Engineering in the amount of $6,600. The company will provide the engineering and hydrology studies necessary for the county to move forward with replacing a bridge on 430th Avenue with a culvert.

The next meeting of the Brown County Commissioners is scheduled for 5:15 p.m. July 3.

* State Trooper administers NARCAN to unresponsive Blaine County resident

(Posted 2:15 p.m. June 20)

A trooper with the Nebraska State Patrol, working with the Blaine County Sheriff’s Department, was able to revive a subject suffering from an opioid overdose by administering a dose of NARCAN Tuesday evening near Dunning.

Late Tuesday afternoon, the Blaine County Sheriff’s Department received a report of a suicidal person and requested assistance from the State Patrol. Upon arrival at the scene, the subject was discovered to be unconscious and appeared to be suffering from an opioid overdose.

The trooper administered a single dose of NARCAN (naloxone) nasal spray. The subject immediately regained consciousness.

“This is exactly why our troopers all carry NARCAN,” Col. John Bolduc, superintendent of the Nebraska State Patrol, said. “With a quick assessment of the situation, they have that valuable tool with them that can save a life, which is just what happened in this case.”

The trooper and sheriff were able to keep the subject awake until an ambulance arrived. The subject was transported to the Jennie Melham Memorial Hospital at Broken Bow for further treatment.

* Traffic Accidents

(Posted 2 p.m. June 20)

The Brown County Sheriff’s Department investigated a pair of motor vehicle accidents that occurred during the past week in Ainsworth.

At 12:05 p.m. Sunday, June 17, at the Parkside Berean Church parking lot, a 2003 Dodge pickup, driven by Gerry Graham, 78, of Ainsworth, was backing from a parking space and struck a parked 2005 Dodge minivan, owned by Randolph Voss, 62, of Long Pine.

No injuries were reported. Damage to the Dodge pickup was estimated at $1,000. The Dodge minivan also sustained approximately $1,000 damage.

At 3 p.m. Tuesday, June 19, at the Dollar General parking lot, a 2002 Ford pickup, driven by Joshua McGee, 25, of Gregory, S.D., was backing from a parking space and struck a parked 2008 Chrysler minivan, owned by Kevin Scheer of Elsmere.

No injuries were reported. Damage to the Chrysler was estimated at $1,000. The Ford did not sustain any damage.

* Lions Club hosts District Governor during Monday meeting

(Posted 6:45 a.m. June 20)

The Ainsworth Lions Club hosted District Gov. Wayne Hinerman and past District Gov. John Stark during its meeting Monday.

The district governor shared information about activities and opportunities through the Lions Club Foundation. Hinerman also presented membership awards to Darrell Peterson (10 years), Jim Arens (20 years), Todd Mundhenke (40 years), Larry Rice (50 years), and Jerry Allen (60 years).

The club was also recognized for recent service projects. The Ainsworth Lions Club also learned they were recent winners in the district’s raffle.  The club voted to donate the monetary prize to the Ainsworth Food Pantry.

Club Secretary Sarah Williams reminded the club membership dues for 2018-19 are needed by the end of the month. Larry Rice was presented with a Diamond Centennial pin for sponsoring a new club member during this past Lions Club Centennial year.

Plans for serving the meal at the Ainsworth High School Alumni Banquet are progressing. The club worksheet is available, and members are asked to check for their work assignments. A work night is scheduled for Friday, June 29, with the banquet on Saturday, June 30.

A thank you note for financial donations was received from the Ainsworth TeamMates chapter.  Later in the meeting, Lisa Schlueter, Lisa Chohon, and Libby Wilkins presented information to the club about TeamMates and invited members to consider being a mentor.

The annual Lions Club Family Picnic will be held July 16 at East City Park, with the installation of Officers and Directors for 2018-19.  

* Agenda for Tuesday's meeting of the Brown County Commissioners

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

Brown County Commissioners
Meeting 5:15 p.m. Tuesday, June 19
Brown County Courthouse
Agenda

5:15 - 5:20 p.m.          Approve minutes of the June 5, 2018 Commissioner meeting;

Budgeted Transfer of $350,000.00 from Miscellaneous General within the General Fund to County Highway Fund

Approve Claims

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

                                    Adjust Salary for Highway Superintendent Kenneth Turpin based upon him becoming a Bridge Inspection Team Leader in the performance of NBIS Routine Bridge Inspection

                                    Agreement for Professional Services for structure No. C000903515 replacement with culverts

                                    2018 Under Water Bridge Inspection Agreement between Brown County and The State of Nebraska, Project No. STP-NBIS(113)

                                    Letter from Nebraska Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) RE: Local Emergency Operations Plan (LEOP)

5:30                            Ann Fiala RE: 2017-2018 Fiscal Year Ambulance Budget

* Area competitors qualify for National High School Finals Rodeo in July

(Posted 1 p.m. June 18)

The National High School Finals Rodeo will be held July 16-21 at Rock Springs, Wyo. Those who finished in the top four in each event following the Nebraska High School Finals Rodeo qualify for nationals. Area qualifiers include:

 

Girls Cutting

Alexis Rutar of Springview

 

Saddle Bronc Riding

Sage Miller of Springview

Garrett Long of Valentine is the alternate

 

Pole Bending

Jaylee Simonson of Dunning

Halli Haskell of Ainsworth

 

Boys Cutting:

Ty Bass of Brewster

 

Goat Tying

Emily Knust of Verdigre

Bailey Witt of Valentine is the alternate

 

Breakaway Roping

Emily Knust of Verdigre

Maddie Stump of Elsmere is the alternate

 

Steer Wrestling

Talon Mathis of Atkinson

 

Team Roping

Team of Cauy Pokorny of Stapleton and Clay Holz of Niobrara

 

Barrel Racing

Bailey Witt of Valentine

Sydney Adamson of Cody

* Area students graduate from Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture

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

Seventy degrees or one-year certificates from the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture at Curtis were awarded in agriculture and veterinary technology for the NCTA Aggie Class of 2018.

Associate of applied science or associate of science degrees were conferred in May to 68 students, and two certificates were presented in Agriculture Production Systems, said Ron Rosati, NCTA dean.

With a single ceremony at the campus each year, the May event included students who completed their academic courses and required internships in December.

“We had an outstanding commencement and recognition for the Class of 2018 with the largest number of honor students, 27, for the May ceremony,” Rosati said.

Class of 2018 NCTA graduates from the area include:

Agriculture Production Systems degrees

Bassett –Jentrie Maurer (summa cum laude) and Joseph Calvo

Brewster - Alan Rooney (magna cum laude)

Long Pine - Katrina Clay (summa cum laude)

Valentine – Daniel Cox

Veterinary Technology Systems degree

Bassett - Bridget Jackson (summa cum laude)

* City Council awards Ambulance Association $6,567 in ABC funds for cot purchase

(Posted 9 a.m. June 14)

The Brown County Ambulance Association will have the funding to purchase a new power cot for the ambulance after the Ainsworth City Council Wednesday approved a recommendation from the Ainsworth Betterment Committee to provide $6,567 toward the cot purchase.

The association had previously secured commitments of $7,000 from the Brown County Commissioners and $6,800 from the Brown County Hospital Auxiliary for the cot’s purchase. The power cot is longer and wider than the current transfer ambulance cot, and will offer a more comfortable ride for patients being transferred by the association.

In other notes from Wednesday’s meeting, City Administrator Lisa Schroedl said Jerry Clark has retired as the city’s wastewater treatment manager after 35 years.

“Jerry has done a very nice job,” Schroedl said. “We have one of the better functioning treatment plants in the state.”

She said Steve Warnke has worked with Clark for the past 11 years, and is certified.

Schroedl said a replacement for Clark would be named soon. She said the city hired Matt Goshorn a year ago anticipating that Clark may retire. Mayor Larry Rice said Goshorn is still working to obtain his wastewater treatment plant certification.

Schroedl also reported that the city’s Coventry group health insurance plan would no longer be available. She said she would work with Benefit Management as well as local insurance providers on finding options for the city’s group health insurance.

“We are going to be starting from scratch with our group plan,” the city administrator said.

She also reported the city’s union agreement expires in September, and the city would need to renegotiate a new contract with the union before Aug. 1.

Schroedl said she would be updating the city’s property insurance coverage with LARM to reflect the actual value of property owned by the city. She said while most buildings are insured for close to their actual value, the building with the large discrepancy is the library.

“I am not sure our insurance coverage was changed to reflect the library addition,” Schroedl said.

She said she would try to have all the information put together for the council by the July meeting. She reported the city’s workers compensation insurance premium would increase by 3.5 percent for the next fiscal year.

In action items Wednesday, the council approved a resolution authorizing the mayor and city clerk to execute documents for the USDA Rural Development application for wastewater project funding. Schroedl said the city did receive an invitation to apply for a $350,000 Community Development Block Grant for the wastewater project.

Jess Hurlbert, an engineer with Olsson Associates who is working with the city on the water and wastewater project, said things are getting put into place to allow the project to get underway this year.

Schroedl said the application for the USDA Rural Development financing is complete, and the funds might be released to the city by July.

“The USDA would like the council’s authorization to submit the application,” she said.

The council approved a change to city ordinance Wednesday, moving future council meetings from 7 p.m. on the second Wednesday of each month to 5 p.m. The council approved the ordinance and waived the three separate readings.

The council also approved a recommendation from the city’s housing committee to provide an additional $5,000 loan to an applicant for a housing rehabilitation project.

Schroedl said the funds for the housing rehabilitation loan program come from a revolving loan fund the city has had since the 1990s. The council had previously approved a $20,000 loan for the project. She said the additional amount came from a re-bid that required some lead removal work.

The council heard an update on the city’s nuisance abatement program. Schroedl said the Brown County Sheriff’s Department has been issuing notices for nuisance abatement and weed notices.

She said some property owners have called the city office asking for timeline extensions to get things cleaned up.

Council President Chuck Osborn said he had talked to Sheriff Bruce Papstein, who indicated many of the notices being issued are going to property owners who do not live in the community.

The council voted to reappoint Osborn to the Ainsworth-Brown County Care Center Board until the end of his current council term, which is in December.

“One board position has to be an elected city official,” Osborn said. “When I go off the council in December, are you going to reappoint someone else to the board or are you wanting to change the bylaws?”

After initially planning to appoint Osborn for a full-year term expiring July 1, 2019, the council opted instead to appoint Osborn to the board until his council term expires in December.

Prior to adjourning, the council discussed an audit request posed by the city’s auditors for 10 years of data from the North Central Development Center relating to the LB 840 program.

Councilwoman Deb Hurless questioned why the city would have the same company that has audited the city’s finances for the past nine years now perform an audit of the past 10 years of the LB 840 program.

Councilman Greg Soles agreed, asking why the council would have a company audit again what they have already audited?

Schroedl said the question is not what they have already audited, it is what happens to the LB 840 funds after the money is approved so the council has an accounting for how the money was actually spent.

Osborn said the city is ultimately the keeper of that taxpayer money.

“When people come in and ask, where did that $20,000 go, I don’t have an answer,” Osborn said.

Rice said he wanted to see Dana F Cole get the information and get the audit completed so the information can go to the state.

Without a completed audit, the Nebraska Department of Transportation withholds the city’s highway allocation funding.

Hurless said she would provide a copy of the NCDC’s Quickbooks that has an accounting on each LB 840 project the NCDC has, including workforce development and recruiting, housing and housing demolition, and Main Street business district restoration. She said it would take some time to put together the files from the past 10 years on all LB 840 projects.

The next meeting of the Ainsworth City Council is scheduled for 5 p.m. July 11.

* Area students named to University of Nebraska-Lincoln Deans' List

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

More than 4,900 students have been named to the Deans' List for the spring semester of the 2017-18 academic year.

Qualification for the Deans' List varies among the eight undergraduate colleges. All qualifying grade-point averages are based on a four-point scale and a minimum of 12 graded semester hours. Students can be on the Deans' List for more than one college.

Area students named to the Deans’ List are:

Ainsworth

Jack Arens, freshman, College of Engineering, computer engineering.

Austin Harthoorn, junior, College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, agricultural economics.

Ethan Johnson, senior, College of Engineering, mechanical engineering.

Conner Kozisek, senior, College of Arts and Sciences, political science.

Jacob Wilkins, junior, College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, agricultural education.

Springview

Kara Bruns, senior, College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, agricultural education.

Paige Bruns, junior, College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, hospitality, restaurant and tourism management.

Bassett

Victoria Davis, junior, College of Education and Human Sciences, child, youth and family studies.

Katherine Nolles, senior, College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, agricultural education.

Newport

Katherine Osbon, sophomore, College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, hospitality, restaurant and tourism management.

Stuart

Evan Laible, junior, College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, grassland ecology and management.

Atkinson

Alex Fritz, senior, College of Engineering, electrical engineering.

Wood Lake

Kaylee Wheeler, sophomore, College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, animal science.

Butte

Kristen Mohr, senior, College of Business, management.

Kelsey Sextro, junior, College of Education and Human Sciences, textiles, merchandising and fashion design (textile and apparel design).

Valentine

Eric Arnold, senior, College of Journalism and Mass Communications, broadcasting.

Macey Mathis, junior, College of Education and Human Sciences, communication sciences and disorders.

* Ricketts says school aid formula needs adjusted to help bring down property tax

(Posted 3:15 p.m. June 13)

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts visited with KBRB's Graig Kinzie Wednesday, discussing topics from the failure to pass property tax relief bills in the Legislature during the 2018 session to adjusting the school aid formula to return some form of state aid to rural districts.
Ricketts also discussed measures to address school safety, and his administration's efforts to strengthen trade partnerships in the face of potential tariffs and trade wars at the national level.
To hear the conversation with the governor, click on the audio links below.

audio clips/Gov Pete Ricketts 6-13-18 property tax and school aid.mp3

audio clips/Gov Pete Ricketts 6-13-18 school safety and trade.mp3

* Ainsworth man arrested on first-degree assault charge early Monday

(Posted 10:30 a.m. June 13)

A 32-year-old Ainsworth man was arrested early Monday morning on a first-degree assault charge that hospitalized a 27-year-old Ainsworth man.

According to Brown County Sheriff Bruce Papstein, at 12:45 a.m. Monday, June 11, the sheriff’s department received a call of an assault that occurred in Ainsworth. Upon arrival, deputies located a man, Jon Clark, 27, of Ainsworth, who had been the likely victim of an assault.

Clark was transported by the Brown County Ambulance Association to the Brown County Hospital, then transported to a medical facility at Kearney.

Deputies arrested Scott Burkinshaw, 32, of Ainsworth, on a charge of first degree assault. He was transported to the Brown County Jail and was later released after posting bond.

* Area students named to UNMC Dean's List for nursing

(Posted 3:15 p.m. June 12)

The University of Nebraska Medical Center has announced its spring 2018 Dean’s List for students enrolled in nursing, dentistry, pharmacy and the allied health professions of medical resonance imaging, medical laboratory science and radiography.

To qualify for the Dean’s List, nursing and the allied health program students must be enrolled for 12 or more hours during the semester and have a grade point average of 3.75 or above.

Area students named to the Dean’s List are:
 

UNMC College of Nursing Lincoln Division

Ainsworth -- Shea Sinsel

Dunning -- Cassidy Hafer

 

UNMC College of Nursing Northern Division (Norfolk)

Bassett -- Kenady Stanton

* School Board approves contract with Chief Construction for building addition

(Posted 10:45 a.m. June 12)

The Ainsworth Community Schools Board of Education Monday voted to sign a contract with Chief Construction for the agriculture and industrial technology building addition.

Though Superintendent Darrell Peterson said there are still some small details to finish on the contract, and a final dollar amount is not included, the contract will fall below the $3 million estimate the district included in its request for proposals.

Chief Construction was voted by the board to have presented the best of four proposals the district received for the project. Using the design-build format for construction, the board then began negotiations with Chief Construction on the project. Those negotiations are now essentially completed, and the board voted to sign the contract.

“I think we are pretty close to having everything nailed down,” Peterson said. “We need to fill in a few of the fine details, but our attorneys said it was fine to approve.”

The superintendent said Frontier Diesel would begin the demolition of the existing ag and shop building soon, now that the asbestos in the building has been removed.

He said Nate Johnson provided the only bid for the current storage shed. Johnson’s bid of $100 was accepted, and Peterson said Johnson has already removed the shed from the site. He said the district saved quite a bit by not having to pay to have the shed taken down and hauled away.

In other business Monday, the board accepted the lowest of two bids received to replace a 2010 Ford van.

First Class Auto submitted a bid of $25,900 for a 2017 Chevy Express 10-passenger van with fewer than 19,000 miles. First Class also provided the school with a trade-in credit of $7,400 for its current van for a total cost to the district of $18,500.

Ainsworth Motors provided a bid of $32,200 for a 2016 Ford Transit 10-passenger van with 27,500 miles. Ainsworth Motors gave the district a trade-in credit of $6,500 for its current van for a total cost to the district of $25,700.

Board member Brad Wilkins said, for the price difference, he believed the district should approve the bid from First Class. Board member Mark Johnson agreed, saying he liked the heavier van because it was more stable.

District employee Joey Finley said both vans would likely be fine, but he preferred the lighter weight Ford van because it is a smoother ride and doesn’t wear tires as fast as the heavier Chevy van.

The board, with member Scott Erthum absent, approved the low bid from First Class Auto.

The district will continue to contract with Educational Service Unit 17 for special education services, including speech and occupational therapy, early childhood services and school nursing.

Peterson said the contract with ESU 17 would increase by 4 percent from the prior year to $656,042. The school nursing portion of the contract is $31,850, which is an increase of 6.1 percent.

The superintendent said school nurse Leanne Maxwell was moving from full time to part time employment, and Candy Fernau would provide the nursing services to the district two days each week.

The board approved a request from Sheryl Maxwell to allow her son Richard to attend kindergarten at Ainsworth Community Schools for the 2018-19 year. Peterson said the Maxwells reside in the Keya Paha County Public School district, and Richard Maxwell already has siblings who attend school in Ainsworth.

Annual public hearings regarding the district’s student fee policy and parent involvement policy were held at the meeting’s outset Monday, with no public comment received during either hearing.

Peterson said the only change to either policy was an increase from $25 to $35 for student season activity passes.

That change was part of an overall change to attend district activities. Adult season activities passes will also increase from $65 to $75, and single admission to varsity events will go up $1 to $6, with student admission at $5 per event and those younger than school age still admitted free of charge.

Waivers of the student activity fees are given to students who qualify for free and reduced lunches, and Golden Age passes are available to those age 65 and older.

During his report, Peterson said Angie Welke has been hired to replace Kelli Kral in the high school office. With board member Erin Rathe accepting a teaching position with the district, Peterson said she would have to resign from the board in July. He said there were some official steps that would need to be taken care of prior to the board appointing a replacement to Rathe’s board seat.

Rathe’s term was expiring at the end of the year, and there are candidates running in the fall for three four-year seats on the board.

The board on Monday approved the first reading of several policies, including:

* A reading and instructional improvement policy.

* An assessments and academic content standards policy.

* An Every Student Succeeds Act policy.

* An anti-discrimination, anti-harassment and anti-retaliation policy.

* A homeless student policy.

* A student suspension, expulsion and grievance policy.

* A child abuse and neglect reporting policy.

* And, the district’s student fee policy.

The next meeting of the Ainsworth Community Schools Board of Education is scheduled for 8 p.m. July 16.

* Sandhills Care Center will not receive anticipated $70,000 in federal funds

(Posted 5:30 p.m. June 11)

The Sandhills Care Center Board of Directors learned Monday the facility would not receive approximately $70,000 in federal reimbursement due to the facility falling just shy of a Medicaid resident threshold.

Walt Dye with Rural Health Development, the company contracted to manage the local facility, said the state requires a facility to have 40 percent overall Medicaid occupancy to receive the federal portion of the costs of operation above the state caps.

Dye said the Sandhills Care Center waited until after it received its state certification before admitting its first Medicaid residents. With private pay residents outpacing those who receive Medicaid assistance, Dye said the facility had an overall rate of 39.87 percent Medicaid days, which amounts to six Medicaid resident days shy of reaching the 40 percent threshold.

“I am afraid I am the bearer of bad news today,” Dye told the board. "The money we expected from the intergovernmental transfer will not be forthcoming.”

Dye said Ron Ross, the owner of Rural Health Development, planned to schedule a meeting with Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services Director Courtney Phillips to see if the ruling could be changed.

“This is a state rule, not a federal rule,” Dye said. “But there are no state dollars involved. They are all federal dollars. I hope the state will be willing to work with us, but unless we pull that rabbit out of our hat, we won’t receive that $70,000.”

Dye said this threshold has never been an issue with any facility RHD has managed, as most fall between 55 percent and 60 percent Medicaid days.

“Should we have known about it? Yes,” Dye said. “But, there is nothing we could have done about it.”

Dye said, when the cost for facilities to operate exceeds the state cap, the state agrees to go after the 60 percent federal share of the excess cost amount, but only for facilities that have 40 percent of their overall resident days spent by those receiving Medicaid assistance, and the Sandhills Care Center fell six days shy of the 40 percent threshold.

The care center had received a $70,000 line of credit from First National Bank toward its cost of operation, with the collateral on that line of credit being the anticipated $70,000 in federal funds that now will not arrive.

With Board Chairman Phil Fuchs absent Monday, Vice Chair Chuck Osborn said this would be an issue the board would have to address during its July meeting.

“This is something we will have to tackle at the next meeting on how we will plan to repay that note,” Osborn said. “We were preparing to get an advance on the commitment from the county and the city, but we have not had to do that yet. That might be an avenue we have to pursue to repay that note.”

Administrator Stephanie Rucker said the facility admitted two residents in May. One resident passed away, and one was discharged home. She said there are currently 18 residents in the Sandhills Care Center, with 10 paying privately and eight receiving Medicaid assistance. She said the facility’s 19th resident may arrive by the end of this week.

The care center operated at a deficit of $6,694 in May, with revenue of $109,244 and operating expenses of $115,939. The facility also received $1,609 in donations.

The board approved paying the claims, and utilizing an additional $9,716 from its line of credit to cover operating expenses for the month.

Osborn reported the contractor has not yet started on replacing the facility’s roof.
“He told me he had a snafu with some of his help,” Osborn said. “He wanted paid each week during the project. I told him bills have to be paid through a claim approved by the board, so we wouldn’t do that.”

The board voted to reappoint Fuchs as its chair, with Osborn appointed as the vice chair and board member Leanne Maxwell as the board’s secretary.

The board also approved a $12,000 contract with Lutz Accounting of Grand Island to have Steve Placke again handle the facility’s annual audit.

Capital Campaign Committee Chair Roland Paddock said an individual had agreed to pay for the cost to remove the tree stumps on the care center property that remained after a few dead trees had been cut down.

The next meeting of the Sandhills Care Center Board is scheduled for 4 p.m. July 9.

* USDA providing free meals to children in June at Ainsworth, Valentine and O'Neill

(Posted noon June 11)

Free meals are available to all children attending programs this summer at specific sites across Nebraska. Meals are available through the Summer Food Service Program for Children, a U.S. Department of Agriculture program.
The summer meal program is free to all children 18 years of age and younger. Meals are served Monday through Friday at Ainsworth Community Schools, Valentine Community Schools and O’Neill Public Schools.

* Steckel and Nilson win annual Ribfest cook-off

(Posted 8 a.m. June 11)

The Maple Street Smokers were judged to have the top ribs Saturday during the Ainsworth Volunteer Fire Department Ribfest.
With the ribs donated by GJW, the top smokers in the area tested their recipes for a chance to be judged the top smoker in the area. The Maple Street team of Cody Steckel and Aaron Nilson won the vote of the judges to earn the added cash and bragging rights for the year.
The Polish Smoker, Anthony Wisnieski, finished second by a vote of the judges, followed by the Up in Smoke team of Lyle and Teresa Descombaz in third, and the Second Hand Smoke team, Amy Cook, in fourth.
The community was then invited to a meal of ribs, fries and beans Saturday, with hundreds attending during the carnival.

* Ricketts to hold town hall at Bassett Thursday

(Posted 8 a.m. June 11)

Gov. Pete Ricketts announced he would hold a town hall in Bassett on Thursday.  The Governor invites the public to attend the town hall from 9:30 until 10:30 a.m. Thursday in the Big Red Barn at the intersection of Highway 20 and the Cemetery Road.
Ricketts will make opening remarks, then take questions from the public.

* Several area students will participate in Agricultural Youth Institute

(Posted 1:30 p.m. June 7)

The Nebraska Agricultural Youth Institute is a unique experience for students interested in agriculture to learn about leadership, personal growth and ag-related career opportunities. More than 200 Nebraska high school juniors and seniors will serve as delegates at this year’s 47th annual NAYI July 9-13 at Lincoln.

Area participants include:

Ainsworth

Maria Harthoorn, Rebecca Taylor and Sam Wilkins

Bassett

Josie Kuchera and Rhegan Shankland

Stuart

Dani Laible

Atkinson

Casey Coburn

Brewster

Paige Martindale

Valentine

Brody Benson and Laura Bergman

 

* Beck named to Nebraska Agricultural Youth Council

(Posted 7 a.m. June 7)

The Nebraska Agricultural Youth Institute is a unique experience for students interested in agriculture to learn about leadership, personal growth and ag-related career opportunities. More than 200 Nebraska high school juniors and seniors will serve as delegates at this year’s 47th annual NAYI July 9-13 at Lincoln.

"NAYI is an excellent way for Nebraska's youth to explore agricultural career opportunities and increase their knowledge and passion for agriculture,” Nebraska Department of Agriculture Director Steve Wellman said. “NAYI is the longest running program of its kind in the nation, helping to ensure that there are enough young professionals interested in ag-related careers to meet the growing needs of agriculture in the future.”

During the five-day institute held on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s East Campus, delegates participate in agriculture policy and group discussions as well as career development activities. Motivational speakers and a farm management program help delegates grow their leadership potential and strengthen their pride in Nebraska agriculture. The week also provides delegates an opportunity to network with industry leaders, top-notch speakers and ag representatives.

Since its start, the institute has shared the importance of agriculture with nearly 6,200 youth from across the state. Delegates apply for and are selected to attend the Institute free of charge due to numerous donations from agricultural businesses, commodity groups and industry organizations.

“I thank all of our sponsors for their investment in Nebraska youth and agriculture and for their continued support of NAYI,” Wellman said. “Their generous contributions have helped make NAYI a strong foundation for the youth of Nebraska and the future of our farming, ranching and ag-related industries.”

Institute events and additional youth learning opportunities throughout the year are organized by the Nebraska Agricultural Youth Council. NDA selects Council members who are passionate about agriculture and who want to teach young Nebraskans about the state’s leading industry. This year’s council is comprised of 21 college-age men and women from across the state, including Ainsworth graduate Jacce Beck.

To learn more about the institute, visit the website at nda.nebraska.gov/nayi/.

* Streich submits letter of resignation as Brown County attorney

(Posted 1 p.m. June 6)

Longtime Brown County Attorney David Streich submitted a letter of resignation to the Board of Commissioners during Tuesday’s meeting.

Streich has served as the Brown County attorney for more than 30 years. He had filed for re-election in February for another four-year term in office.

The board entered into executive session, then opted to table taking any action on Streich’s resignation until the July 3 meeting.

In other business Tuesday, the commissioners approved a proposal from Norfolk Contracting to replace a bridge across the Ainsworth Irrigation District canal on 423rd Avenue. Norfolk Contracting, a company that has replaced several bridges in Brown County, submitted a plan to replace the bridge superstructure at a cost of $113,829.

Highway Superintendent Kenny Turpin discussed the underwater bridge inspection agreement between the county and the Nebraska Department of Transportation. Due to a bridge being listed on the agreement that is not owned by Brown County, the commissioners tabled action on the agreement to the June 19 meeting.

BKR Extension Educator Chandra Murray presented the board with the Extension office’s proposed budget for the 2018-19 fiscal year. The proposed budget is $78,000, which is paid for proportionately between Brown, Rock and Keya Paha counties. Brown County’s portion of the budget would be $32,760, an increase of $1,417 from the current budget. The University of Nebraska pays the salaries of the Extension educators.

The board approved a bid from the Nebraska Intergovernmental Risk Management Association for its liability and property insurance for the 2018-19 fiscal year. The NIRMA quote of $66,301 represents a decrease of 5.2 percent from the current year.

Fred Pitcher was reappointed to a five-year term on the Brown County Veterans Service Committee. Pitcher’s new term expires June 30, 2023.

The board discussed options for storing the weed control superintendent’s chemicals for noxious weed abatement. Board Chairman Buddy Small will look into purchasing a small shipping container through the state surplus equipment network and report back to the board during its next meeting.

The next meeting of the Brown County Commissioners is scheduled for 5:15 p.m. June 19.

* Atkinson becomes state's 23rd DED Leadership Certified Community

(Posted 10:30 a.m. June 5)

The city of Atkinson has earned state recognition for leaders’ efforts to grow and market economic development opportunities within their community.

The Nebraska Department of Economic Development announced the city has qualified for membership in the State of Nebraska’s Leadership Certified Community program. DED Business Development Consultant and LCC Program Coordinator Kelly Gewecke recognized local leaders during Monday’s Atkinson City Council meeting.

Atkinson is Nebraska’s 23rd community to qualify for DED’s LCC program, created in 2011 to help Nebraska communities adapt to ongoing changes and opportunities in economic development. Qualifying communities must demonstrate an understanding for and preparedness in strategic and community planning, as well as display readiness in technological development to help new and existing businesses grow. Certified communities earn designation in the program for five years and are required to update and maintain information and websites.

Local leaders’ commitment to economic growth has capitalized on development opportunities through the community’s LB840 program. The locally administered program, enacted by Atkinson voters, collects sales tax dollars specifically dedicated to economic development.

In 2017, the program assisted with the creation of one start-up company and two business expansion projects. Atkinson’s LB840 funding also contributed to efforts in workforce development, as well as a successful business transition project. Since its enactment in 2003, the program has provided funding for 49 development projects within the community.

“The Department of Economic Development is proud to recognize Atkinson leaders and their efforts to create and retain jobs in northeast Nebraska,” Gewecke said. “Rural communities like Atkinson thrive on new and growing businesses that expand the local tax base and build momentum for future developmental progress, which encourage Nebraskans to continue to work and raise their families in our state.”

Efforts to expand housing have also gained traction through the city of Atkinson and the Atkinson Housing Authority. Within the past year, the programs assisted with a rehabilitation project and a down-payment assistance project, made possible through a Community Development Block Grant awarded to the city of Atkinson. At the conclusion of 2017, city leaders implemented an additional program to assist residents with the demolition of sub-standard housing. The ongoing program contributes up to 75 percent of local demolition project costs.

The city also is leading efforts in the current construction of a housing duplex project for low to moderate-income families. The Atkinson Housing Authority has partnered with independent living facility, Elkhorn Meadows, to create additional housing opportunities for seniors and disabled citizens.

Long-term goals among local leaders, formulated in part from community participation in a 2015 Comprehensive Survey and Plan, include the development of shovel-ready sites for commercial development. The survey and plan followed the city’s nine-acre purchase in 2009 designated for economic development projects. The Atkinson Community Development Authority purchased the site and have since sold and developed four of the nine lots on the property.

Efforts to market social and recreational opportunities are ongoing within the community. Recent grant funding awarded to the Atkinson Senior Center recently assisted with managerial and infrastructure improvements, as well as the implementation of educational and healthy living events. In addition, the city received funding from the Holt County Visitor’s Bureau for a new bathhouse facility at Mill Race Park and Campground.

Atkinson Mayor Paul Corkle said, “Community pride is growing in Atkinson, and our city’s LCC certification is another example of our residents’ willingness to step up and be involved. Whether it’s the construction of a local housing project or the recruitment of a new business to our community, our people are invested in economic development opportunities. Atkinson continues to prove that we are a progressive community, and our leaders are living up to our slogan that we are ‘Getting Things Done.’”

* Area students named to Northeast Community College Spring Dean's List

(Posted 8:45 a.m. June 5)

Northeast Community College in Norfolk has released the President’s Honor List and Deans’ Honor List for both full and part-time students for the Spring 2018 semester.

To be named to the President’s Honor List, students must earn a perfect grade point average of 4.0 and be enrolled for at least 12 credit hours. Some 176 students made the President’s Full-time Honor List this spring semester. Students named to the Deans’ Honor List must have earned a grade point average of 3.75 or above and be enrolled for at least 12 credit hours. Two hundred twenty-nine students were named to the Deans’ Honor List.

Another 226 students named to the President’s Part-Time list attained a 4.0 grade point average while taking at least six credit hours, and 54 students named to the Deans’ Part-Time list earned a grade point average of 3.75 or above while taking at least six credit hours.

 

PRESIDENT’S HONOR LIST - Full-Time Students

Ainsworth - Sydney Fling, Elizabeth Goshorn, Breanna Schwindt and Ashley Titus

Long Pine - Sabrina Hempel

Bassett - Megan Erickson

Stuart - Monique Schafer
Atkinson - Blake Butterfield, Preston Dickau and Jacob Tunender

Valentine - Nicholas Fisbeck and Walker Wolff

 

DEANS’ HONOR LIST-Full-time Students

Ainsworth - Lane Clapper and Melissa Franklin

Bassett - Ty Jackson and Hollie Morton

Newport - Brook Doke

Atkinson - Linda Shaw

Valentine - Caven Belville

Butte - Vanessa Reiser

 

PRESIDENT’S HONOR LIST—Part-time Students

Ainsworth - Payton Allen, Maria Harthoorn, Luke Peters, Elizabeth Salzman and Claire Steinhauser

Long Pine - Skylar Cosgrove
Bassett - Jadyn Bussinger, Jenna Hansen and Kelsey Venenga

Mills - Caitlin Orton
Atkinson - Cheyenne Akes, Christopher Hasskarl, Brea Hostert, Shaely Thiele and Cody Wells

Butte - Kelsey Reiman and Rhiannan Smalley

 

DEAN’S HONOR LIST Part-Time Students

Ainsworth - Heather Painter
Bassett - Emma Teel

Newport - Jayden Stewart

Butte - Casey Kuhl

* Fire early Saturday destroys 2 businesses in Valentine

(Posted 7 a.m. June 4)

Early Saturday morning, a fire broke out in downtown Valentine, destroying two local businesses. At 1:15 a.m., firefighters responded to a fire in The Bull Market and The Old Mill at the intersection of First and Main streets.
No injuries were reported in the fire, but both buildings were severely damaged. The Ainsworth Volunteer Fire Department was among the numerous departments assisting the Valentine Volunteer Fire Department.
Ainsworth Fire Chief Brad Fiala said the Ainsworth and Johnstown departments were paged immediately at 1:30 a.m. to provide mutual aid. He said 11 Ainsworth firefighters responded, with the department sending its rural pumper, rescue truck and command pickup. Johnstown also provided two vehicles with firefighters.
"We were staged in the back alley and worked on The Old Mill," Fiala said of the Ainsworth and Johnstown departments' efforts. "We entered through the northeast doorway and then also sprayed water in the back of The Bull Market."
He said the Ainsworth and Johnstown firefighters stayed on scene until 6 a.m. Saturday.
The cause of the fire has not yet been determined, but is under investigation by the Nebraska State Fire Marshal’s Office.

(photo courtesy of Shane Kinnick)
HAIL IMPACTS AREA - Hail up to the size of tennis balls was reported in
the Ainsworth area late Friday afternoon as a line of severe storms that stretched
from Blaine County into  Tripp County, S.D., dropped large amounts of rain
and substantial hail.

* Werner discusses role as new Brown County Hospital CEO

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

The new chief executive officer of the Brown County Hospital, John Werner, spoke with KBRB's Graig Kinzie Friday about what he sees as the facility's strengths and its future outlook.
To hear the report, click on the audio link below.

audio clips/BC Hospital CEO John Werner 6-1.mp3

* Traffic Accident

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

The Brown County Sheriff’s Department investigated a two-vehicle accident that occurred Tuesday, May 29, south of Ainsworth.
According to the sheriff’s department report, at 8:13 p.m. Tuesday on Highway 7 approximately 5 miles south of Ainsworth, a collision occurred between a northbound 2017 Chevy Impala, driven by Marna Hapner, 39, of Denver, Colo., and a northbound 2001 GMC pickup, driven by Val Fletcher, 67, of Ainsworth.
No injuries were reported. Damage to the Chevy was estimated at more than $1,000. The GMC sustained approximately $300 damage.

* Osborn reports May well above average in both temperature, precipitation

(Posted noon June 1)

Ainsworth Weather Observer Gerry Osborn recorded 5.52 inches of moisture in May, the 14th wettest May in the more than 110 years of observations.
The wet May brought the year-to-date precipitation total to 11.09 inches, a full 3 inches above normal. May also saw warmer than normal temperatures, with several days climbing into the 90s.
To hear Osborn's complete report, click on the audio link below.

audio clips/Gerry Osborn May 2018 weather.mp3

* Recent cases from Brown County Court

(Posted 3 p.m. May 31)

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

Thomas A. Ward Jr., age 37, of Hastings, first offense driving under the influence, fined $500 and sentenced to seven days in jail with credit for five days served, driver’s license revoked for six months, and ordered to install an ignition interlock device; also charged with possession of marijuana less than 1 ounce, $300; and driving under suspension, driver’s license revoked for one year.

Ryan P. Crane, 27, of Ainsworth, careless driving, $100.

Robert J. McLeod, 44, of Ainsworth, two counts of disturbing the peace, sentenced to one year of probation.

Eric G. Kayser, 28, of Mitchell, S.D., charged with speeding 6-10 mph over the limit, $25.

Colyn J. Wietfeld, 23, speeding 6-10 mph over the limit, $25.

Colton T. Troxel, 16, of Ainsworth, speeding 6-10 mph over the limit, $25.

Dennis D. Swanson, 63, of Bassett, speeding 6-10 mph over the limit, $25.

Matthew F. Pozehl, 42, of Long Pine, commercial vehicle brake violation, $50.

Tina M. Tech, 46, of Ainsworth, failure to license a dog or cat, $25.

Katherine E. Osbon, 19, of Bassett, first offense driving under the influence, $500 and sentenced to six months of probation, driver’s license revoked for 60 days, and ordered to install an ignition interlock device.

Travis R. Mozena, 19, of Alexandria, Minn., minor in possession of alcohol, $300; possession of marijuana less than 1 ounce, $300; possession of drug paraphernalia, $100.

Luke A. Lofquist, 20, of Alexandria, Minn., minor in possession of alcohol, $300; possession of marijuana less than 1 ounce, $300; possession of drug paraphernalia, $100.

Brandon L. Shaul, 20, of Ainsworth, operation of a motor vehicle to avoid arrest, $300; failure to use a turn signal, $25; violation of a stop or yield sign, $75.

Rachel M. Stewart, 19, of Newport, minor in possession of alcohol, $300.

Melissa R. May, 23, of Sioux Falls, S.D., attempt of a Class IV felony, $1,000; possession of marijuana more than 1 ounce but less than 1 pound, $500; possession of drug paraphernalia, $100.

Seth D. Glover, 28, of Sioux Falls, S.D., attempt of a Class IV felony, $1,000; possession of marijuana more than 1 ounce but less than 1 pound, $500; possession of drug paraphernalia, $100.

Jesse R. Abfalter, 24, of Waite Park, Minn., possession of marijuana less than 1 ounce, $300.

Jeffery D. Brooks, 38, of Indianola, issuing a bad check, ordered to pay $31,113 in restitution.

Darby R. Cook, 47, of Johnstown, obstruction of government operations, $1,000; first offense driving under the influence, $500 and sentenced to seven days in jail with credit for one day served, driver’s license revoked for one year, and ordered to install an ignition interlock device.

Adric D. Ryan, 32, of Holcomb, Kan., speeding 11-15 mph over the limit, $75; no registration, $25.

Theresa A. Nesemeier, 52, of Craig, no operator’s license, $75.

Cassandra J. Aleckson, 26, of Becker, Minn., possession of marijuana less than 1 ounce, $300; speeding 6-10 mph over the limit, $25.

ATHLETE OF THE YEAR - Payton Allen (right) was named the KBRB Athlete of the Year
by a vote of the school's coaches and staff. He received a $500 scholarship to Wayne
State College from KBRB owner Graig Kinzie.

* Allen named KBRB Athlete of the Year

(Posted 9 a.m. May 30)

By a vote of coaches and staff members at Ainsworth Community Schools, Payton Allen has been selected as the 2017-18 KBRB Athlete of the Year.

Each head coach at AHS receives a vote, with the high school faculty combining for one overall vote and the A Club receiving one overall vote. The Athlete of the Year is chosen for participation in multiple sports, lettering in two varsity sports for at least two years, coach-ability, character, leadership, classroom work, and personal conduct.

Allen was a 12-sport athlete at Ainsworth High School, participating in football, basketball and track and field during each of his four years. He received 11 varsity letters out of a possible 12, with the only varsity letter evading him being in basketball his freshman year.

Allen was a four-year starting quarterback and defensive back for the Bulldog football team, setting a school record for career passing yards. He was named to the All-District Team in football three times, and was selected to participate in the West Nebraska All-Star Game at Scottsbluff in June.

Allen was a starter as a sophomore for a Bulldog basketball team that qualified for the state tournament, and finished his basketball career as a three-year starter, scoring 775 career points and grabbing 372 career rebounds. He was recently selected to play in the West All-Star Basketball Classic June 2 at Minden.

In track and field, Allen was a four-year letter winner, and qualified for state in the 110-meter high hurdles and 300-meter intermediate hurdles during all four years. He finished with a fifth-place state medal in Class C in the 110-meter hurdles in 2016. He was a three-time district champion in both sets of hurdles.

In addition to having his name included on a plaque at Ainsworth High School, Allen receives a $500 scholarship from KBRB for being named the Athlete of the Year. Allen has been selected to the RHOP program through Wayne State College and the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

 

Allen spoke with KBRB's Graig Kinzie about his high school athletic career and future plans. To hear the conversation, click on the audio link below.

 

audio clips/Payton Allen - KBRB Athlete of the Year.mp3

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

(Posted 2:30 p.m. May 29)

Wayne State College included almost 1,000 students on the dean's list for exemplary academic achievement during the spring semester.

Students listed on the dean's list are full-time undergraduate students who achieved a GPA of 3.5 or above for the semester. An asterisk (*) denotes a 4.0 GPA for the term.

Area students named to the Dean’s List include:

Ainsworth - Lauren Allen, Macey VonHeeder and  Courteney Zwiebel*

Bassett - Tristen Sell*

Newport - Tabitha Belmont*

Stuart - Connor Jarman, Courtni Kunz, Samantha Sattler*, and Jaden Schafer

Atkinson - Jacey Kozisek and Ashley Randolph

* Shaw wins NAIA national discus championship Saturday

(Posted 6:45 a.m. May 29)

Rock County High School graduate Addie Shaw, a sophomore at Concordia University, won the NAIA Outdoor National Track and Field discus championship Saturday.
Shaw had a top throw of 47.04 meters to win the discus at Gulf Shores, Ala. Shaw has now received three All-America awards in track and field. She was the shot put national runner-up during last year’s indoor season, and now adds a national outdoor title in the discus.

* Fire early Friday destroys business on Springview's Main Street

(Posted 10:45 a.m. May 25)

A fire in the overnight hours Friday destroyed a Main Street business in Springview.

According to Springview Fire Chief Scott Hallock, at approximately 3:40 a.m. Friday, May 25, a fire was reported in Dachota’s Café on Main Street.

Hallock said the fire appeared to start in the back of the building, and spread through the rest of the business.

“It looks possibly to be electrical,” Hallock said of the cause. He said an investigator from the Nebraska State Fire Marshal’s Office was on scene Friday morning to help determine where and how the fire started.

Hallock said the building and the contents are likely total losses.

The building on Main Street is owned by Dennis Bammerlin, and the business is owned and operated by Gena Alvarez.

Firefighters from the Springview Volunteer Fire Department remained on scene mopping up hot spots Friday morning.

* Traffic Accident

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

The Brown County Sheriff’s Department investigated a one-vehicle accident that occurred Tuesday, May 22, northwest of Ainsworth.
According to the sheriff’s department report, at 11 p.m. Tuesday on Road 882, a 2008 Chevy pickup, driven by Scott Fuelberth, 22, of Ainsworth, was traveling west when the vehicle left the roadway and struck a power pole in the north ditch.
No injuries were reported. Damage to the Chevy was estimated at $1,200. The power pole, owned by KBR Rural Public Power, did not sustain any damage.

* Connie Lentz elected as Lions Club president for 2018-19

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

During its regular meeting Monday, Connie Lentz was elected as the 2018-19 Lions Club president.

Members held a vote via email, and the new slate of officers were seated Monday.

Roland Paddock moved from the president position to the past-president post. Vergil Heyer was elected vice-president, with Jerry Ehlers named the club secretary and Phil Fuchs the club treasurer.

Dwain Grunke is the club’s tail twister and Dave Spann was appointed to the lion tamer position.

Board members for 2018-19 are Larry Rice, Vergil Heyer, Pat Jones and Bob Beatty.

Bill Lentz was selected as the club’s membership chairman. 

Spann provided a report on the Ainsworth High School All-Sports Tailgate Party held April 24.  As has been done in the past few years, the Lions Club will donate $300 to the local chapter of TeamMates from the proceeds of serving the meal during the tailgate party.

The Adopt-A-Highway Cleanup Project along Highway 20 was held April 29, as arranged by project chair Connie Lentz. Thirteen Lions Club members participated and 15 bags of trash were collected. 

Plans were discussed for serving the meal during the Ainsworth High School Alumni Banquet to be held June 30. A worksheet will be provided prior to the event for club members. Lions Club dues statements will be sent via e-mail, with the due date being June 19. The dues will continue to be $65, with a spouse’s dues set at $40.

* Work to begin May 29 on Highway 11 south of Atkinson

(Posted 1:30 p.m. May 22)

Weather permitting, work will begin May 29 on Highway 11 approximately 15 miles south of Atkinson, between mileposts 133 and 142, according to the Nebraska Department of Transportation.
Werner Construction Hastings has the $2.495 million contract for this project. Work will include bridge repair, milling, asphalt paving, draining structures, and grading. Traffic will be maintained during construction with lane closures as well as flaggers with a pilot vehicle.
A 12-foot width restriction will be in place. The project is anticipated to be completed in late October. The Department’s project manager is Dan Ziska of O’Neill. Motorists are advised to use caution when encountering construction zones and to expect delays.

* Rock County Community Foundation to award grants

(Posted 12:45 p.m. May 22)

Homer Buell with the Rock County Community Foundation appeared on KBRB's Open Line program Tuesday to discuss the foundation's plan to award grants to non-profit, governmental and youth-oriented groups in the county.
To hear the details of the foundation grant program, click on the audio link below.

audio clips/RC Comm Fund-open line Homer Buell.mp3

* Area nursing students receive pins from Northeast Community College

(Posted 7 p.m. May 18)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jason Seger of Atkinson received the Practical Nursing pin.

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

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

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

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

Superintendent Darrell Peterson said the district had four great interviews.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Area students named to the Dean’s List were:

 

Ainsworth

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

 

Long Pine

Vanessa Taylor

 

Bassett

Bailey DeVall and Aaron Sybrant

 

Newport

Braydon Caldwell

 

Stuart

Brittany Hanzlik, Kelsey Kaup and Hailey Paxton

 

Atkinson

Megan Bilstein and Chase Harrison

 

Brewster

Leah Pickering

 

Wood Lake

Makayla Hogenson, Brittney O’Kief and Britley Schlueter

 

Valentine

Madison Kelber

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

(Posted 7 a.m. May 16)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* Bauer and Wiebelhaus elected to Brown County Commissioner seats

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Rock County

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Keya Paha County

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

Ritterbush received 48 votes, to 27 for Kienke.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* Allen accepted into Wayne State RHOP program

(Posted 1 p.m. May 15)

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

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

(Posted 7 a.m. May 15)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* Agenda for Tuesday Brown County Commissioner meeting

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

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

05:15 - 05:20             Roll Call

 

05:20                          Brown County Assessor – GIS Workshop Contract Renewals

 

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

 

                                    Review Brown County Road Department Job Performance evaluations

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

                                    Region 24 Fiscal Year 2018-2019 Budget

 

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

 

                                    Choose an AFLAC value added service for enrollees

 

                                    Sign renewal letter with Madison National Insurance LTD

 

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

 

                                    FSA Annual Limit Increase to $2650

 

                                    App Café Highly Compensated Questionnaire

 

                                    App Café Key Employees Questionnaire

 

                                    Designate road to Craig Smith ranch a County road

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

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

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

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

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

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

The board unanimously approved the 5 percent rate increase.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Posted 7 a.m. May 14)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* Ainsworth Power Lifting team finishes third at Orchard competition

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Posted 7 a.m. May 10)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* Area students scheduled to graduate from NECC May 12

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

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

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

Area students slated to graduate include:

Associate of Arts Degree

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

Stuart - Tessa Fox, Brooke Jarman, Monique Schafer

Atkinson - Sarah Hamik

 

Associate Degree in Nursing

Bassett - Hollie Morton, Kelsey Venenga

Springview - Sophia Sawle

 

Associate of Science Degree

Ainsworth - Melissa Franklin, Amanda Pike

 

Associate of Applied Science Degree in Agriculture

Stuart - Jacob Pacha

 

Associate of Applied Science Degree in Agriculture – Diversified Agriculture

Stuart - Grant Wallinger

 

Associate of Applied Science Degree in Banking Services

Atkinson - Cheye Shaw

 

Associate of Applied Science Degree in Building Construction

Valentine - Nicholas Fisbeck

 

Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business

Atkinson - Lukas Laible

 

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

Ainsworth - Cody Luther

 

Associate of Applied Science Degree in Horticulture and Golf Course Management

Ainsworth - Sydney Fling

 

Associate of Applied Science Degree in Physical Therapist Assistant

Stuart - Brandi Kaup

 

Associate of Applied Science Degree in Veterinary Technology

Springview - Makaleigh Nilson

 

Diploma in Practical Nursing

Atkinson  - Jason Seger

Dunning - Michaela Goedeke

 

Diploma in Welding

Bassett - Ty Jackson, Dalton Schmidt

 

Certificate in Media Production

Ainsworth - Brendon Carson

* Area agricultural land valuations mostly unchanged from 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Area recipients include:

 

Ainsworth

Boys Golf - Samuel Wilkins

Music - Mackenzie Kovar and Claire Steinhauser

Boys Track & Field - Payton Allen and Jacob Sinsel

Girls Track & Field - Megan Appelt and Claire Steinhauser

 

Rock County

Boys Golf - Gunnar Bussinger

Music - Josie Kuchera and Caitlin Orton

Boys Track & Field - Kolton Needham and Byron Pfister

Girls Track & Field - Caitlin Orton

 

Keya Paha County

Girls Track & Field - Miah Wiebelhaus

 

Stuart

Music - Peyton Alder and Lainey Paxton

Boys Track & Field - Wade Paxton

Girls Track & Field - Reaghan Engel and Lainey Paxton

 

West Holt

Boys Golf - Devon Dohrman and Mason Hale

Music - Mason Hale and Lindee Wentworth

Boys Track & Field - Jordan Tasler and Payton Williams

Girls Track & Field - Bailey Kraus and Jenae Osborne

 

Sandhills

Boys Golf - Bryan Zutavern

Music - Johannah Christie and Dylan Lister-McIntyre

Boys Track & Field - Nolan Marten

Girls Track & Field - Elizabeth Peterson

 

Valentine

Boys Golf - Jordan Kelber and Dillion Muirhead

Music - Jacob Hanshew and Anna Perrett

Boys Track & Field - Lane McGinley and Kooper Reece

Girls Track & Field - Allison Hitchcock and Isabelle Salters

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

(Posted 4 p.m. May 1)

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

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

* Traffic Accident

(Posted noon May 1)

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

* Monday fire burns hay south of Johnstown

(Posted 8 a.m. May 1)

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

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

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

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

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

* Areas students scheduled to graduate Friday from UNK

(Posted 7 a.m. May 1)

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

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

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

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

 

Ainsworth

Cidnee Scholtes - Bachelor of Science degree in psychobiology

Hayley Murphy - Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology

 

Bassett

Jamie Turpin – Bachelor of Arts degree in elementary education

 

Springview

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

 

Atkinson

Halli Chramosta – Education Specialist degree in school psychology

 

Valentine

Gavin Higgins – Bachelor of Science degree in sports management

Michaela Petersen – Bachelor of Science degree in business administration

* Agenda for Tuesday meeting of the Brown County Commissioners

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

Brown County Commissioners

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

Agenda

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

 

           

APPOINTMENTS

 

05:15 - 05:20             Roll Call;

Acknowledge posting of Open Meetings Law;

Pledge of Allegiance;

Approve minutes of the April 3, 2018 Emergency meeting;

Approve minutes of the April 17, 2018 Commissioner meeting;

 

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

 

05:30                          Ruth Trobee – Johnstown Snow removal

 

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

 

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

 

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

                                   

06:00                          Scott Erthum – Weed Control Superintendent update

 

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

                                                                                   

                                    Approve Claims

 

                                    Public Comment

* Brewer discusses Nebraska legislative session

(Posted 4 p.m. April 30)

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

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

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

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

(Posted 7 a.m. April 27)

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

* Recent cases from Brown County Court

(Posted 2 p.m. April 26)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hannah R. Titus, 30, of Ainsworth, first offense driving under the influence, $500, also sentenced to six months of probation, driver’s license revoked for 60 days, and ordered to install an ignition interlock device.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* Area FFA chapters land numerous awards during State Convention

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

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

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

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

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

Results for area FFA chapters are listed below.

 

State FFA Convention Awards

Ainsworth

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

A gold medal in Conduct of Chapter Meetings

A silver medal in Senior Parliamentary Procedure

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

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

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

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

Henry Beel – First place in forest management and products proficiency

Rebecca Taylor – Second place in swine production placement proficiency

Maren Arens – Third place in middle school agricultural literacy speaking

 

Rock County

Gold Chapter Award

Nebraska Chapter of Excellence – Growing Leaders Award

Nebraska Chapter of Excellence – Building Leaders Award

Nebraska Chapter of Excellence – Building Communities Award

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

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

Whitten Giles – First place in automotive technology proficiency

Rhegan Shankland – Third place in beef production placement proficiency

Megan Erickson – First place in food science and technology proficiency

Charlie Gale – Second place in forest management and products proficiency

Kolton Needham – Third place in forest management and products proficiency

Jillian Buell – A silver medal in junior public speaking

 

Keya Paha County

Silver Chapter Award

Kylin Munger – Star Award Finalist in production

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

 

Stuart

Gold Chapter Award

Nebraska Chapter of Excellence – Growing Leaders Award

Nebraska Chapter of Excellence – Building Leaders Award

Nebraska Chapter of Excellence – Building Communities Award

Second place in the Conduct of Chapter Meetings

Second place in Senior Parliamentary Procedure

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

Joshua Pacha – Star Award Finalist in placement

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

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

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

Breanna Fahrenholz – Third place in diversified crop production entrepreneurship proficiency

Morgan Wallinger – Third place in diversified horticulture proficiency

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

 

West Holt

Gold Chapter Award

Nebraska Chapter of Excellence – Growing Leaders Award

Nebraska Chapter of Excellence – Building Leaders Award

Nebraska Chapter of Excellence – Building Communities

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

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

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

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

Dani Laible – First place in ag sales placement proficiency

Casey Coburn – First place in agriscience research animal systems proficiency

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

Breydon Mlady – First place in forage production proficiency

Martin Wentworth – Third place in home and community development proficiency

Emily Burk – Second place in outdoor recreation proficiency

Jordyn Laible – A silver medal in creed speaking

Carlie Wetzel – Third place in employment skills

Jocelyn Hamilton – A silver medal in junior public speaking

Lindee Wentworth – A gold medal in natural resources speaking

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

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

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

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

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

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

Steinhauser was named the most valuable player in volleyball.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

* Ainsworth Middle School team wins Highway 20 Quiz Bowl

 

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

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

* Area NECC students inducted into Phi Theta Kappa chapter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Posted 9 a.m. April 23)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ainsworth results are:

Superior (I) rating

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

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

Seth Anderson, Solo

Seth Anderson and Coy Carson, Duet

Hanna Lindestam and Jodi Beach, Duet

Matt Jeffers, Solo

Marley Murphy, Solo

Marley Murphy and Brandt Murphy, Duet

Brandt Murphy, Solo

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

Excellent (II) rating

Women’s Group

Claire Steinhauser and Mila Pozehl, Snare Drum Duet

Cody Kronhofman, Oboe Solo

Courtney Lauer, Flute Solo

Jenny Bryant and Faith Fuller, Clarinet Duet

Marley Murphy and Jaycee Dillon, Clarinet Duet

Jodi Beach and Hanna Lindestam, Flute Duet

Matt Jeffers, Baritone Solo

Saxophone Trio - Cassidy Gilliland, Brandt Murphy and Cody Kronhofman

Danica Heinert, Solo

Faith Fuller and Amber Paulson, Duet

Faith Fuller, Solo

Mackenzie Kovar and Kiersten Higbee, Duet

Josie Ganser and Ellie Welke, Horn Duet

* Game & Parks plans fishing improvements for Pine Glen WMA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* Werner hired as Brown County Hospital CEO

(Posted 11 a.m. April 20)

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

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

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

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

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

Gross said Werner has an easy communication style.

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

* Zwiebel, Sattler inducted into Wayne State College honor society

(Posted 7 a.m. April 19)

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

* Ainsworth High School Prom is Saturday

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

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

* January taxable sales increase from 2017 for most area counties

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

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

County
or City

2018
Net Taxable
Sales

2017
Net Taxable
Sales

Percent
Change

2018
Sales Tax
5.5%

2017
Sales Tax
5.5%

Boyd

777,970

770,349

1

42,788.46

42,369.29

Brown

2,591,384

2,474,425

4.7

142,526.36

136,093.55

Ainsworth

2,495,927

2,338,060

6.8

137,276.21

128,593.47

Cherry

4,977,895

5,000,360

(0.4)

273,784.54

275,020.13

Valentine

4,841,389

4,834,186

0.1

266,276.67

265,880.52

Holt

8,076,841

7,421,314

8.8

443,506.15

408,172.98

Atkinson

1,247,346

1,100,385

13.4

68,604.20

60,521.34

O'Neill

5,872,106

5,457,157

7.6

322,966.11

300,143.99

Keya Paha

120,734

123,471

(2.2)

6,640.39

6,790.93

Rock

493,256

435,812

13.2

27,129.13

23,969.73

State Total

$2,264,025,284

$2,130,018,326

6.3

$124,724,802.77

$117,244,692.53

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

County
or City

2018
Net Taxable
Sales

2017
Net Taxable
Sales

Percent
Change

2018
Sales Tax
5.5%

2017
Sales Tax
5.5%

Blaine

117,098

85,066

37.7

6,396.96

4,632.75

Boyd

504,872

453,155

11.4

27,771.51

24,915.41

Brown

710,978

603,273

17.9

39,256.44

33,482.98

Cherry

2,194,546

1,566,301

40.1

121,002.61

86,624.27

Holt

2,188,331

2,238,612

(2.2)

121,323.45

123,737.59

Keya Paha

158,846

217,155

(26.9)

8,699.70

12,139.50

Rock

493,864

385,078

28.3

27,262.21

21,246.84

State Total

$342,207,159

$338,435,052

1.1

$18,968,943.58

$18,736,287.68

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

(Posted 8 a.m. April 18)

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

audio clips/KBR Power - Wednesday Update.mp3

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

(Posted 7 a.m. April 18)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* Traffic Accident

(Posted 9 a.m. April 16)

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

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

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

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

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

* Turpin provides update on county roads status following winter storm

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

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

audio clips/Kenny Turpin - Roads Update.mp3

* Power restored to Butte and Atkinson NPPD customers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* Area students receive scholarship offers from UN-L

(Posted 7 a.m. April 16)

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

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


Ainsworth

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

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

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

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

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

Rock County

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

Stuart

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

  • Ariel Larsen, David, $3,500.

West Holt

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Valentine

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

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

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

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

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

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

* Ainsworth Quiz Bowl team completes season at state

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

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

(Photo by Coralene Kinzie)

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

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

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

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

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

* Farm Bureau to host forum for commissioner candidates April 19

(Posted noon April 12)

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

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

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

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

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

* Rock County prom postponed to Sunday due to weather forecast

(Posted 9 a.m. April 12)

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

* City Council approves bid to repaint west water tower

(Posted 9 a.m. April 12)

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

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

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

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

The council approved the low bid from Maguire Iron.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* Brown County District Court proceedings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Posted 10 a.m. April 10)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* Both Ainsworth Community Schools principals submit resignations

(Posted 7 a.m. April 10)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* Ainsworth Area Chamber of Commerce Radio Takeover Day winning bidders

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

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

AACC 2018 Radio Takeover Day 7 A.M. Hour

 

Items donated for the chamber auction                              Winning Bidder/Price

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Items donated for the chamber auction                              Winning Bidder/Price          

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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


Items donated for the chamber auction
                             Winning Bidder/Price


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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

Items donated for the chamber auction                              Winning Bidder/Price

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

Items donated for the chamber auction                              Winning Bidder/Price

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Breadsticks and a 2-liter bottle of soda

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

AACC 2018 Radio Takeover Day – Noon Hour

 

Items donated for the chamber auction                              Winning Bidder/Price


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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Daniels Manufacturing – A boxed sprinkler                           Shep Gibbs, $48

 

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

 

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

visit (labs/testing not included)

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

AACC 2018 Radio Takeover Day 1 P.M. Hour

 

Items donated for the chamber auction                              Winning Bidder/Price

 

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

 

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

Cologne

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

All-Day Items

 

Buckley Steel equipment rental                                              Tom Theis, $240

 

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

 

KBRB Radio Sandhills raised beef bundle                            Ben Shaw, $600

 

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

 

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

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

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

(Posted 7 a.m. March 13)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tonny Beck, the owner of Beck’s Well and Irrigation, said a 90 by 150 foot building would likely not be large enough to be able to teach the different skills needed, especially if the district plans to include two classrooms as part of the addition.

Bret Younkin, the owner of Ainsworth Motors, said the school should give the kids a taste of the careers they may be interested in pursuing.

“Let them work on small engines, experiment with things and see if they like it,” Younkin said.

He encouraged the district to send businesses a questionnaire on the top five skills needed for the careers available.

James Worden, who recently completed training through Southeast Community College and is employed at Ainsworth Motors, said teaching students basic skills was also important. He said students at college would have to wait while basic industrial skills were taught to a few students.

Dave Sherman said students will need classes that focus on electronics, as about all diagnostics now are being done with a laptop.

Ainsworth graduates Vance Heyer and Haley Harthoorn, who recently returned to the area, said they were looking to establish a local FFA Alumni chapter to work with current students interested in careers in agriculture.

Heyer said there is a lot of science and math involved in agriculture.

“Being able to have ag sciences classes in the ag room would be nice,” Heyer said.

Harthoorn said the agricultural education programs also teach students leadership skills, and she said she would like to see the school’s COE program expanded.

Tate Schipporeit told the board careers where people who can use their hands are in high demand, such as construction, plumbing, electrical and electronics.

Chris Raymond of Plains Equipment said the technology changes so quickly, it would be difficult for the school to try and teach students specialized technology.

“We need to go beyond that, and think ahead of the curve,” Raymond said.

Pozehl said, for her family’s construction business, students need a general knowledge.

“We can train them on the specifics of how we do things, but they need to have basic skills,” Pozehl said.

The group toured the current ag and industrial technology building as part of the work session. The board thanked those in attendance for their input.

During the regular meeting Monday following the work session, the board approved a contract with Erin Rathe for a half-time music position with the district for the 2018-19 school year. Kim Bejot requested going from full time to half time in music, and Rathe will fill the other half of Bejot’s current classes.

The board also approved the resignation of social studies teacher David Hellman. Hellman is completing his first year with the district.

The board approved the 2018-19 school calendar, which has classes beginning Aug. 13 and graduation set for Mother’s Day, May 12, 2019. The final day of class for students will be May 16, 2019.

The board approved the first reading of a policy required by the state to address pregnant or parenting students.

Following an executive session, the board approved contracts for 2018-19 for Elementary Principal Mike Wentz and Secondary Principal Bill Lentz.

Peterson reported to the board the new bus arrived Friday, and will be phased in to the district’s route with the old bus being removed from service. He reported the Ainsworth Volunteer Fire Department will use the bus to conduct rescue drills before it is destroyed. The old bus has to be destroyed for the district to receive the $21,000 grant for the new bus.

He also reported, while the district will remain in partnership with the Central Nebraska Community Action Partnership for the operation of Little Paws Preschool, the preschool teacher will now be a CNCAP employee instead of an employee of the school district.

Peterson said current Little Paws teacher Amanda Evans would likely step into the kindergarten teaching position currently held by Sue Wragge, who is retiring.

The superintendent reported the district’s meal program had realized a profit of $12,940 for the school year. He said participation in both the breakfast and lunch programs remains strong.

The next meeting of the Ainsworth Community Schools Board of Education is scheduled for 8 p.m. April 9.

 

* Most state, federal races for May 15 Primary Election contested in both parties

(Posted 9:45 a.m. March 6)

The May Primary Election will feature several contested state and federal races for both the Republican and Democratic ballots.

Numerous candidates filed for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Republican Deb Fischer of Valentine.

Fischer has filed to defend her seat, and will face Jack Heidel of Omaha, Dennis Frank Macek of Lincoln, Jeffrey Lynn Stein of Omaha and Todd Watson of Lincoln in the Republican Party Primary.

The winner of that five-person Republican Primary will advance to November to face the winner of a four-way race on the Democratic ticket between Jane Raybould of Lincoln, Frank Svoboda of Lincoln, Larry Marvin of Fremont and Chris Janicek of Omaha.

Jim Schultz of Lincoln and Mark Elworth Jr. filed for U.S. Senate from the Libertarian Party.

Current 3rd District Rep. Adrian Smith of Gering will also face a challenge in the Republican Primary and in the General Election in his bid for another term in the House of Representatives.

Kirk Penner of Aurora, Larry Lee Scott Bolinger of Alliance and Arron Kowalski of Grand Island are challenging Smith in the Republican Primary, and the winner of that race will face Democrat Paul Theobald of Osmond in the General Election. Theobald is the lone Democrat in the 3rd District House race.

Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts of Omaha is being challenged by fellow Republican Krystal Gabel of Omaha in the Primary Election. The winner of that race May 15 will take on whoever emerges from a three-way race in the Democratic Party Primary between Vanessa Gayle Ward of Omaha, Tyler Davis of Omaha, and Bob Krist of Omaha.

With current Secretary of State John Gale retiring, two Republicans and one Democrat have filed to be his replacement. Bob Evnen of Lincoln and Debra Perrell of Hershey will square off in the Republican Party Primary, with the winner meeting lone Democratic candidate Spencer Danner of Omaha in the November General Election.

State Treasurer Don Stenberg did not file for another term. Republicans John Murante of Gretna and Taylor Royal of Omaha will face off May 15 to see who becomes the next state treasurer. The Democratic Party did not field a candidate in that race.

Republican Doug Peterson of Waterloo is seeking another term as the state’s attorney general. He does not face an opponent May 15, but will go up against Democrat Evangelos Argyrakis of Omaha in the General Election.

Republican Charlie Janssen is running for another term as the state auditor of public accounts. He will advance to November against the lone Democrat, Jane Skinner of Omaha.

For Rock County voters, six candidates are vying for the 40th District seat on the Nebraska Legislature. Current State Sen. Tyson Larson cannot seek another four years due to term limits.

Filing for the 40th District seat are Keith Kube of Crofton, Shane Greckel of Bloomfield, Timothy Gragert of Creighton, Thomas Ferry of Ponca, Michael Sobotka of Inman and Julie Thomsen of Wakefield. The top two vote-getters May 15 advance to the November General Election.

Carol Sibbel of O’Neill is running unopposed in District 2 for a four-year term on the Northeast Community College Board of Governors.

Three are running unopposed for seats on the Middle Niobrara Natural Resources District Board of Directors. Cherryl Lovejoy of Valentine is unopposed in Subdistrict 4. Martin Graff of Ainsworth is running unopposed in Subdistrict 6, and Dean Jochem of Ainsworth is the only candidate for an at-large seat on the Middle Niobrara NRD board.

There are numerous seats expiring on the Lower Niobrara NRD Board. Thomas Higgins of Newport is unopposed in Subdistrict 1. Marvin Liewer is unopposed in Subdistrict 2. Dwain Marcellus of Atkinson is unopposed in Subdistrict 7, and Larry Baumeister of Stuart is unopposed in Subdistrict 8.

Shaun Higgins of Newport and Jeffery Uhlir of Verdigre are vying for an at-large seat on the Lower Niobrara NRD Board.

To register to vote for the May 15 Primary Election if not already registered, to change party affiliation, or if you have changed your permanent residence recently from another county, visit the county clerk’s office in the county where your permanent residence is located.

* Brown County Hospital named among top 100 Critical Access facilities in nation

(Posted 9 a.m. March 6)

The Brown County Hospital was recently named one of the Top 100 Critical Access Hospitals in the United States by The Chartis Center for Rural Health.

“This achievement is very gratifying and validates our daily commitment to providing the best healthcare possible to our community, while maintaining an efficient and effective facility,” Jeanne Goche, Interim Hospital CEO, said.

Brown County Hospital scored in the top 100 of Critical Access Hospitals on iVantage Health Analytics’ Hospital Strength INDEX®. The INDEX is the industry’s most comprehensive and objective assessment of rural provider performance and its results are the basis for many of rural healthcare’s most prominent awards, advocacy efforts and legislative initiatives. The list of the Top 100 Critical Access Hospitals can be found at www.ivantageindex.com/top-performing-hospitals.

The Top 100 Critical Access Hospitals play a key role in providing a safety net to communities across America – and the INDEX measures these facilities across eight pillars of hospital strength: Inpatient Share Ranking, Outpatient Share Ranking, Cost, Charge, Quality, Outcomes, Patient Perspective, and Financial Stability.

Michael Topchik, National Leader of The Chartis Center for Rural Health, said, “The Hospital Strength INDEX provides a true benchmark for helping rural providers to better understand performance levels and identify areas of improvement. When we look across the spectrum of rural-relevant INDEX indicators, the Top 100 Critical Access Hospitals are establishing a new standard for how to deliver higher quality care to their communities despite an unpredictable healthcare environment.”

Brown County Hospital Board member Ann Fiala said, “The Board of Trustees is thankful for everyone’s contributions in achieving this award. This demonstrates years of commitment and quality on behalf of all involved in providing care at Brown County Hospital.”

* North Central coach, players discuss state championship

(Posted 6:45 a.m. March 6)

With the North Central girls basketball players and coaches cutting down nets and receiving gold medals following Saturday's state championship win over Bruning-Davenport-Shickley, KBRB was not able to hear the thoughts of the players and coaches during its postgame show.
That changed Monday, as KBRB's Graig Kinzie caught up with coach Alex McCleary and the Knight players to discuss winning the first state title in the history of the Keya Paha County and Rock County girls programs.
Three players - seniors Jadyn Bussinger and Caitlin Orton, and sophomore Miah Wiebelhaus - were named to the Class D-1 All-Tournament Team by both the Omaha World-Herald and the Lincoln Journal-Star.
North Central averaged just shy of 62 points per game during its state title run, and gave up an average of 50 points per game. That included holding BDS to just 35 points in a 19-point win Saturday in Pinnacle Bank Arena.
To listen to the coach and players talk about their state title, click on the audio links below.

audio clips/North Central Coach Alex McCleary - State Title.mp3

audio clips/North Central Players - State Title.mp3

* Fields set for May 15 Primary Election

(Posted 9:15 a.m. March 5)

Now that the non-incumbent deadline has passed for candidates seeking public office in races appearing on the May 15 Primary Election ballot, the races for each elected office are set.

There will be a highly contested race for two seats on the Brown County Board of Commissioners. Incumbents Les Waits and Reagan Wiebelhaus will try and retain their board seats against six challengers in the Republican Primary.

Iree McNally, Dennis Bauer, Jim Walz, Cherie Priest, Mark Johnson and Marvin Schenk have filed to unseat Waits and Wiebelhaus in the Republican Primary. No one filed for commissioner from the Democratic Party, so the two board seats will be determined May 15.

Incumbent Clerk Travee Hobbs, Treasurer Deb Vonheeder, Sheriff Bruce Papstein and Attorney David Streich filed for re-election on the Republican ticket and will not face any opposition. Longtime Brown County Assessor Charleen Fox did not file for another term. Fox has been the assessor since 2000, and has worked in the assessor’s office since 1984.

Terri VanHouten filed for the Brown County Assessor position to replace Fox.

Schyler Schenk and Brad Fiala filed for seats on the Ainsworth City Council. Incumbent Councilmen Brian Williams and Chuck Osborn did not file for additional terms. With just two filing for two seats on the council, that race will not appear on the Primary Ballot.

Four candidates are running for three seats on the Ainsworth Community Schools Board of Education. Incumbent Jim Arens filed to retain his seat, and Erin Rathe initially filed to retain her school board seat but then withdrew from the race. Dan Dailey did not file for another term.

Frank C. Beel, Jessica Pozehl and Tate Schipporeit filed for seats on the School Board. With only four candidates for three seats, the school board race will not appear on the Primary Election ballot. All four candidates advance to the General Election, where three of the four will be elected.

Doug Pankowski, Robert Maxwell and William Lentz filed for terms on the Ainsworth Airport Authority.

Jeremiah Sullivan, John Mead and Cody Goochey filed to become the next mayor of Ainsworth. Current Mayor Larry Rice did not file for re-election. Two of the three between Sullivan, Mead and Goochey will advance to the General Election in the non-partisan mayoral race.

In Long Pine, Mayor Ed Brown will run unopposed for another four-year term. Dave Cheatum re-filed for Long Pine City Council. Cheri Painter, Linda Alberts and Katherine Papstein filed for Long Pine City Council seats. All four candidates advance to the General Election, where two will be elected. Jo Dailey did not file to retain her seat on the council.

In Keya Paha County, incumbent Commissioners Corey Nilson in the Center District and Bruce Ritterbush in the East District filed for re-election in the Republican Primary. Ritterbush will be challenged in the East District Republican Primary by Bryan Kienke.

Keya Paha County Republican incumbents filing for re-election include Clerk/Assessor Suzy Wentworth and Sheriff Jeff Kirsch.

Kaye Thiede, the current deputy treasurer, filed for the treasurer position up for election and will appear on the Democratic Party Primary ballot. Current Treasurer Sandy McCoy did not refile for another term.

In Rock County, seven candidates from the Republican Party are running for two seats on the Board of Commissioners. Jimmy Stout filed for re-election, and will be challenged by newcomers Glen May, Duane Pfister, TJ Ellermeier, Cliff Heyden, Jeff Maloun and JW Ogier. Republican Stan Larsen did not file to retain his expiring seat on the board.

Incumbent Treasurer Mona Davis, Assessor Monica Turpin, and Attorney Avery Gurnsey have filed for re-election in the Republican Primary, and Sheriff James Anderson filed for another term in the Democratic Primary. Garrett Weidner filed for sheriff on the Republican side.

Deputy clerk Daunitta Buoy filed for Rock County Clerk, a seat currently held by Joyce Stahl, who did not file. Stahl has worked in the clerk’s office for 49 years, and is retiring.

Bonnie Emerson, Kathy Maloun, Lana Arrowsmith and Mike LeZotte filed for two open seats on the Bassett City Council. Rick Foxworthy and Cheryl Arrowsmith did not file for another term. All four candidates will advance to the General Election.

Incumbents Kristy Beard and Larry Ebert II filed for additional terms on the Rock County Public Schools Board of Education. Tonya Larson filed as a non-incumbent. Rebecca LeZotte did not file for re-election to the School Board. With three candidates for three seats, the school board race will not appear on the Primary Election ballot.

Incumbent James Nelson has filed for another six-year term on the Rock County Airport Authority.

All candidates for county offices are reminded they must file an accountability and disclosure form with the Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission by March 7 or their names will not appear on the ballot.

The forms are available in county clerk’s offices or online.

* February finishes colder, wetter than average

(Posted 8:30 a.m. March 5)

Ainsworth Weather Observer Gerry Osborn reported February finished as the coldest since 2007, with temperatures several degrees below the average.
February finished with .85 of an inch of snow, more than one-quarter inch above the statistical average.
To hear the full report, click on the audio link below.

audio clips/Gerry Osborn February 2018 weather.mp3

* North Central wins first girls state hoops title for Keya Paha, Rock counties

(Posted 7 p.m. March 3)

The North Central Lady Knights led by as many as 20 points Saturday in Lincoln's Pinnacle Bank Arena, winning the first state girls basketball championship in the history of Rock County and Keya Paha County public schools.
The Knights cruised to a 54-35 victory over No. 2 seed Bruning-Davenport-Shickley in the Class D-1 state championship game.
The fifth-seeded Knights finished the season with a 25-3 record, winning over No. 4 Humphrey-Lindsay Holy Family in Thursday's opening round, 67-64, then topping top-seeded Pleasanton Friday, 64-52, in the Bob Devaney Sports Center before the lopsided championship game win.

* Ainsworth records almost 29 inches of moisture in 2017

(Posted noon Jan. 3)

Ainsworth Weather Observer Gerry Osborn reported 2017 was warmer and wetter than the normal, with several months well above average for moisture. June and November, however, were among the driest in the city's history, and Ainsworth suffered through an extreme heat wave in July when the highest temperature of the year, 107 degrees, was recorded on July 19.
The final day of 2017 was the coldest for the year, when the mercury dropped to 15 below. That represents a 122-degree difference between the warmest and coldest readings of 2017.
To hear Osborn's complete report, click on the audio link below.

audio clips/Gerry Osborn 2017 Weather Summary.mp3

************************************

************************************

Mon-Sat - 8 a.m. until 7 p.m.
Sunday - 11 a.m. until 4 p.m.

***********************************

*********************************

*********************************

 

 

 

 
 
 
   

 

Hit Counter