TodaysNews

 

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Service Information can be found on the Obituaries Page

* Helen L. Townsend, 96, of Bassett 11 a.m. May 28

* Lorraine Ballard, 93, of Ainsworth 10 a.m. May 28

* Mike Jefferson, 64, of Ainsworth 2:30 p.m. May 21

* Ryan Keogh, 43, of Atkinson 10:30 a.m. May 21

* Meeting reports located below for:

May 11 Ainsworth City Council

May 10 Nebraska Primary Election results

May 10 Ainsworth Community Schools Board of Education

May 10 Sandhills Care Center Board of Directors

May 5 Brown County Commissioners

* Area students named to Dean’s List at UNK

(Posted 8:45 a.m. May 20)

The University of Nebraska at Kearney announced students who earned a place on the Dean’s List for the spring 2022 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 at UNK for the spring include:

Ainsworth
Ben Arens, Liz Salzman, Raven Stewart and Tate Fernau

Johnstown
CeeAnna Beel

Wood Lake
Lauren Ferguson

Bassett
Aubrey Kroll

Newport
Braydon Caldwell

Stuart
Chris Schaaf and Jordyn Laible

Atkinson
Benjamin Slaymaker, Alexis Monasterio and Kelsi Jo Williams

Naper
Hannah Aiden

Butte
Heather Atkinson and Sydney Atkinson

Valentine
Elli Springer, Rhiannon Painter and Anna Perrett

* RC&D collects 11,000 pounds of electronics waste

(Posted 7 a.m. May 20)

The North Central RC&D held its annual electronics collections this spring, collecting 11,079 pounds of electronics waste. There were three satellite collections with electronics brought to either Valentine or O’Neill’s collection sites. The collections started April 29 at the Atkinson Community Center parking lot. Waste was collected April 30 at the O’Neill Community Center. The final collections were held May 10 at the Turbine Mart in Springview, the Bassett city office parking lot.

By weight, 7,427 pounds were captured for recycling at Valentine and 3,652 pounds at O’Neill.

All items containing data, such as hard drives, SSDs, tapes, disks, and CDs were removed and destroyed onsite. Everything else was then sorted into different recyclable categories & materials. Electronics contain raw materials such as gold, silver, copper, tin, zinc, palladium, iron, aluminum, cobalt and platinum, but also contain some hazardous materials such as mercury, lead, and arsenic that has to be disposed of properly. 

Once everything is disassembled, sorted, and packed into different categories, it is sent off to different recycling facilities to be turned into new products. The list of products made from recycled electronics includes bicycles, lawn chairs, car parts, dental appliances, new microchips, subway tiles, ammunition, plumbing and even the medals used in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. 

* Recent cases from Brown County District Court

(Posted 2:15 p.m. May 17)

During Brown County District Court proceedings May 10, Eric Daniel, age 24, of Ainsworth, entered a guilty plea to a Class IIA felony charge of violating the sex offender registration act.

As part of an enhancement hearing, the court determined Daniel was previously convicted of violating the sex offender registration act in October 2021. Daniel will be sentenced in District Court Aug. 9.

Allen “AJ” Privett Jr., 23, of Ainsworth, entered a guilty plea in District Court May 10 to a Class IIIA felony count of violating the sex offender registration act. Privett Jr. will be sentenced in District Court Aug. 9.

* Brown County Commissioners’ Tuesday agenda

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

Brown County Commissioners
Meeting 5:15 p.m. Tuesday, May 17
Brown County Courthouse
Agenda

5:15     Roll Call.

Approve minutes of the Special meeting 4-11-2022.

Approve minutes of the 5-3-2022 Commissioner meeting.

Kenneth Turpin – Road Department Update

Review one year job performance evaluations for Wyatt Cole and Kade Gracey and merit raises – Turpin

5:30     Jim Hoch Re: Indigent Funeral Contract – Hoch

5:45    Conference Call with Brown County Budget Preparer Caleb Johnson Re: Possible Hospital Budget Amendment – Johnson

Judy Peterson, Central Nebraska Economic Development District permission to assist with CDBG Grant application – Turpin

Clarification on Hwy Bond Payment – Treasurer

Blue Cross Blue Shield 2022-2023 Subgroup Insurance Application renewal – Hardy

Resolution to transfer $14,500.00 from Miscellaneous General Fund to Buildings & Grounds budget within the General Fund- Hardy

Resolution to transfer $965.25 from EM 911 Fund 2910 to Wireless 911 Fund 2913 – Hardy

* Worker killed Monday in explosion at new home site

(Posted 4 p.m. May 16)

A construction worker died Monday in an explosion east of Bassett that destroyed a new home under construction.

According to Bassett Fire Chief Jim Stout, at 8:33 a.m. Monday, firefighters were dispatched to a report of an explosion and smoke coming from the site of a new house under construction approximately 6 miles east and 2 miles south of Bassett.

Stout said, when firefighters arrived on scene, the home had been blown to pieces and was on fire. Firefighters extinguished the flames and initiated a search for survivors.

Stout said there was a victim found who had died at the scene. The man was believed to be a construction worker who was working on the house when the explosion occurred. Stout said the man was believed to be the only person at the site at the time.

Additional details on the victim have not yet been released pending notification of relatives.

While Stout said the exact cause of the explosion and fire is under investigation by the Nebraska State Fire Marshal’s office, construction on the new house, owned by Monte and Stacy Strelow, was nearly complete and the house was hooked up to propane.

Stout said the Newport Volunteer Fire Department assisted the Bassett department at the scene. He said responders arranged for a life flight helicopter to make its way to the scene until a search of the site revealed no survivors and the life flight was cancelled en route. The Rock County Ambulance Association also responded.

Stout said firefighters returned to their respective fire halls at approximately 2:30 p.m. Monday. Additional details on the cause of the explosion and the identity of the victim will be released at a later time.

* Firefighters respond to Friday fire near Johnstown

(Posted 10:15 a.m. May 16)

All six fire departments in Brown County were called to a grass fire Friday afternoon west of Johnstown that burned into the Plum Creek Wildlife Management Area.

According to Ainsworth Fire Chief Brad Fiala, at approximately 2:15 p.m. Friday, a fire was reported on the Beel Ranch southwest of Johnstown. Fiala said a UTV checking fence ignited dry grass. Gusting winds pushed the fire into the Plum Creek Wildlife Management Area.

Fiala said two of the Ainsworth department’s trucks were on the scene of an earlier grass fire southwest of Wood Lake, but that fire was under control by the time the call went out southwest of Johnstown and several of the units working near Wood Lake responded to assist.

In addition to the Ainsworth, Long Pine, South Pine, Johnstown, Calamus and Raven departments, the Wood Lake and Valentine fire departments also provided mutual aid.

With steep slopes in the Plum Creek valley, Fiala said the single engine air tanker stationed at Valentine provided assistance by dropping three loads of fire retardant.

“The SEAT plane was a great asset to have on that fire,” the fire chief said. “That plane is usually not available until July, but they brought it to Valentine early because of all the fires we have had this year already.”

Fiala said the fire burned a total of approximately 350 acres, and firefighters remained on scene until approximately 8 p.m. Friday. He said Nebraska Game and Parks Commission personnel were on scene Saturday working on tree removal in the wildlife management area.

* Area students graduate from UN-L

(Posted 8:15 a.m. May 16)

The University of Nebraska–Lincoln conferred a record 3,612 degrees during commencement exercises May 13 and 14.

The 3,523 graduates are from 58 countries; 45 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico; and more than 250 Nebraska communities.

Area students who received degrees from UN-L are:

Ainsworth
Maria Harthoorn, Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Economics.

Stuart
Dani Laible, Bachelor of Science in Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Communication.
Ariel Larsen, Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Economics.

Atkinson
Brandon Jelinek, Bachelor of Science in Grassland Ecology and Management.
Jenae Osborne, Bachelor of Journalism.

Butte
Riley Ellwanger, Bachelor of Science.

Dunning
Heidi Saner, Bachelor of Science in Animal Science.

Valentine
Caven Belville, Bachelor of Science in Education and Human Sciences.
Jordan Kelber, Bachelor of Science in Business Administration.

* Area students selected for Youth Institute

(Posted 8 a.m. May 16)

More than 200 high school juniors and seniors, sharing an interest in agriculture, will gather at Lincoln in July to develop leadership skills, explore career opportunities and learn more about the state’s number one industry. In its 51st year, the Nebraska Agricultural Youth Institute is the longest-running program of its kind in the nation.

Sponsored in part by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, the institute will be held July 11-15 at Lincoln on the University of Nebraska’s East Campus.

Area students chosen to participate in the annual youth institute are Elizabeth Wilkins of Ainsworth, Brooklyn Buell of Bassett, Hannah Linse of Springview, Samantha Connell of Newport, Sadie Jarecke of Stuart, and Landyn Mlady, Lana Hooey and Luke Olson all of Atkinson.

“NAYI provides a one-of-a-kind opportunity for Nebraska’s high school students to connect agriculture with people,” said NDA Director Steve Wellman. “NAYI has introduced delegates to the diversity of options available in Nebraska’s agriculture industry for years and will provide delegates with a chance to network with current and future agricultural leaders.”

This year’s theme is ‘Cultivating Connections’ and delegates will be able to participate in agriculture policy discussions, agricultural career explorations, and group discussions during the week-long event.

Motivational speakers, a farm management program, and a media experience will help delegates develop leadership potential, strengthen their pride in Nebraska’s agricultural industry and enable them to help tell the story of agriculture.

Since its inception in 1971, the institute has shared the importance of agriculture with more than 6,750 youth from across Nebraska. Delegates attend free of charge, thanks to donations from agricultural businesses, commodity groups and industry organizations.

* Apparent murder-suicide in Custer County investigated

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

The Nebraska State Patrol, with assistance from the Custer County Sheriff’s Department and Broken Bow Police Department, is investigating a suspected murder-suicide that occurred between Thursday night and Friday morning.

At approximately 1:45 a.m. Friday, the State Patrol was requested by local law enforcement to investigate a homicide at Broken Bow. The victim, Angie Miller, 45, was found dead inside her home in the 800 block of N. 13th Street at Broken Bow.

Investigators developed a suspect, identified as Ryan Miller, 47, who was the ex-husband of Angie Miller. Investigators learned of a location near Anselmo where Ryan Miller often went. At approximately 4:45 a.m. Friday, troopers located Miller in a pasture at that location near Anselmo. Miller was found dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

This incident remains an ongoing investigation.

* Brown County Sheriff’s Department weekly summary

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

May 8

  • Received a request for a welfare check on an individual in Ainsworth. The individual was reported safe.
  • Johnstown and Ainsworth Fire Departments were paged to a grass fire in the Fairfield Creek area, north of Johnstown near the Keya Paha county line.
  • Responded to a suspected burglary of an unoccupied building on Main St. in Ainsworth. The building was searched and no criminal activity was found at this time.

May 9

  • Received a motorist complaint from an Ainsworth resident. Deputies were unable to locate the suspected vehicle, but received an accurate vehicle description to monitor for future activity.
  • Hotel staff from an Ainsworth business reported an individual, occupying a room, to be unresponsive. Upon arrival, a deceased twenty-nine year old male from North Platte was found.  The male was found to be traveling alone and no foul play is suspected at this time.  An autopsy was completed.
  • Responded to a report of a dog attacking another dog. The owner of the dog was issued a citation for dog at large.

May 10

  • An inmate housed at Brown County Jail for Blaine county was released to Larimer County Sheriff’s Office, Fort Collins, Colorado for extradition on active felony warrants.
  • Received a report of a theft of a handgun that possibly occurred in Kearney, NE.

May 11

  • Received a report of cattle out on Meadville Ave. The owner was contacted and removed them from the roadway.
  • The Brown County Ambulance provided transportation to Norfolk, NE and picked up an aircrew from the Ainsworth airport to take to Brown County Hospital to pick up a patient and go back to the airport.

May 12

  • Responded to a disturbance in Long Pine. Both parties were able to reconcile their differences.
  • Received reports of two loose dogs in Ainsworth that had attacked another dog. The dogs were captured and returned to the owner.

May 13

  • During a traffic stop on Highway 20, near mile marker 236, a citation was issued for driving under the influence of alcohol, and speeding 11-15 mph over the posted speed limit. The individual was booked into the Brown County Jail where they later posted their bond and were released.
  • Initially Johnstown and Ainsworth Fire Departments were paged for mutual aid to a fire South West of Woodlake. Then Ainsworth, Johnstown, Long Pine, South Pine, Raven, Calamus Fire Departments were all paged for a grass fire near SouthWest road and Plum Creek area.  Woodlake and Valentine Fire Departments also provided mutual aid.

May 14

  • Received a motorist complaint regarding another vehicle following too closely on Highway 20 near mile marker 229. Deputies were able to make contact with the vehicle on South West Rd.  The individual was cited for driving under the influence of alcohol, criminal trespass, and disturbing the peace.  This suspect was booked into the Brown County Jail and waiting to receive their bond amount.

Weekly Summary:

2– Burn Permit Issued (by all Brown Co Fire Depts)

2– Handgun Permits Applied For

17– Incident Reports Were Taken

0-Paper Services Were Served

158– Phone Calls Were Received

6– 911 Emergency Calls Received

3– Titles Were Inspected

* Fernau, Jacobs discuss care center on Open Line

(Posted 10 a.m. May 13)

Sandhills Care Center Administrator Penny Jacobs and board member Shawn Fernau appeared on KBRB’s Open Line program Friday to discuss the Sandhills Care Center’s operations and finances.
To hear the conversation, use the audio link below.

* Council discusses separate legal entity for care center

(Posted 7 a.m. May 12)

The Ainsworth City Council Wednesday discussed the creation of a separate legal entity for the Sandhills Care Center that would allow its Board of Directors to place a property tax levy question to support care center operations on the General Election ballot.

Mayor Joel Klammer said the City Council met in April with the Brown County Commissioners and the Care Center Board, and creating the new legal entity was one of the topics discussed.

Currently, the city of Ainsworth and Brown County jointly own and operate the care center. In its current structure, both the city and the county would have to request separate initiatives be placed on the ballot, one creating a levy for owners of property in the entire county, and another creating a levy for owners of property only inside city limits.

Brown County Attorney Andy Taylor said the $80,000 annually pledged for the first five years of operation no longer met the care center’s financial needs. He said he had drafted an agreement as instructed in April to create a separate legal entity for the care center.

Commissioner Buddy Small told the council the commissioners tabled the matter last week due to concern that a new legal entity that received property tax would put 80 percent of the funding burden on rural property owners instead of the current 50-50 split between the city and county.

Small said the care center had spent $507,498 on agency staffing in just the past four months.

“That is not sustainable,” Small said. “If we have to continue hiring nurses through agencies, the care center will be broke in three months.”

Councilman Shawn Fernau said he believed the city and county needed to find a way to keep the care center afloat until the citizens of the county have the chance to vote on how they want to proceed.

Klammer said he understood that position, but the two groups may have missed the window to allow the issue to get in front of voters.

Fernau said the increased wages offered by the care center were already having an effect, as the facility had hired three CNAs in just three days since the increases were announced.

“Hiring three positions in three days tells me there is hope,” Fernau said. “We haven’t filled three positions out there in three months.”

Small said the Care Center Board wanted to make sure families of residents had enough time to make other arrangements if there was to be a closure.

“None of us want to do that, but I don’t know how we can continue,” Small said. “TO keep the care center open would cost the city and the county between $500,000 and $1 million per year. Agencies are killing nursing homes.”

City Administrator Lisa Schroedl asked how either entity could come up with that kind of funding.

“When we have not budgeted for these kind of expenses, we would potentially have to amend our budget and go through that process,” Schroedl said. “You would have to cut other services.”

Klammer suggested the city and county set up another special meeting with the Care Center Board to make a decision on how to proceed.

The council did not take any official action.

In other business Wednesday, Cory Griebel with Brahmer Construction addressed the council regarding the repairs that were made to the city street shop addition following its initial construction.

“We can all agree we had a water leak after I finished the building,” Griebel said. “I went back several times trying to find where it was coming from and I couldn’t find it. Brahmer Construction offered to replace the entire roofing system for free to take care of the problem.”

Griebel said the council tabled his offer to replace the roof, and then made a decision to have the building fixed by another contractor.

“That $112,354 repair cost decision was made by the council after I had offered to make the repairs for free,” Griebel said. “I want the citizens to know we stand by our work, but we were not given that opportunity. I’m dead in the water if the community thinks I don’t back up my work.”

Councilman Brad Fiala said an inspection from a Behlen Buildings representative indicated there were more problems with the building than just the roof.

“Behlen told us the walls also needed to be replaced,” Fiala said.

Klammer said the entire situation was tough.

“I hear what you are saying,” Klammer told Griebel. “The report we had showed there were several issues, but I appreciate you coming in.”

The council discussed making changes to the city ordinance that bans residents from raising poultry or other fowl inside city limits.

Councilman Vance Heyer said he placed the item on the agenda because numerous communities of similar size allow poultry.

“Even Lincoln and Omaha allow poultry, within reason,” Heyer said. “I am seeing people get into the police report over having chickens. Disregarding an ordinance is not the way to go about it, but I think we can come to some form of agreement that is palatable to everyone.”

Klammer said the council addressed the ordinance in 2014.

“At that time, a motion was made to allow for a small number of birds, but it died for lack of a second at the time,” the mayor said.

He said the main complaint eight years ago was the potential for disease issues with allowing poultry to be raised in town.

Klammer read a statement supporting changing the ordinance from Councilman Schyler Schenk, who was absent from Wednesday’s meeting. Klammer said the letter in favor of allowing poultry indicated Schenk was agreeable to allowing up to 30 birds if they did not create a nuisance or environmental issue.

Heyer said he was up to 30 birds in his small flock outside town, and said he believed 30 was way too many for town.

“I was thinking maybe six,” Heyer said.

Fiala said he was not opposed to residents having six to eight total birds.

“I would like to see people have to register with the city,” Fiala said.

Audience member Rod Worrell said, if he had to pay the city to license a dog, then there should be some fee to license and raise chickens.

Fiala asked why the current ordinance is not being enforced if people in town already have chickens.
“Our ordinances need to be enforced if we are going to have them,” Fiala said.

Heyer said the city has to finalize its ordinance books for printing in August. He said he would like to see the matter on the June agenda for the council to make a decision and then hold three readings of any changes to the ordinance so it could be completed by that August time frame.

The item will be placed on the council’s June agenda for consideration.

The council Wednesday cleaned up an item from its April agenda. Klammer said the city misplaced an additional bid that was received for the surplus metal from the streets shop. Two of the bids opened in April tied for the high bid at $1,200, and the city had contacted those two bidders about submitting a second bid to break the tie.

However, Klammer said an additional bid had been submitted that had slipped through the cracks and was not opened during April’s meeting.

Prior to opening the two additional bids submitted by the April high bidders, the council opened the bid that had been overlooked, which was a $2,552 bid from Walter Larson of Springview.

Klammer said the other two bidders had been notified that the city had misplaced an additional bid prior to the April bid opening. With that bid coming in higher, the council approved the bid from Larson.

Schroedl said the city office was going to implement a different process for accepting future sealed bids.

The council approved using South Street to Ulrich Street as the detour route for the upcoming Middle of Nowhere Days carnival in June. With the carnival closing Main Street for three days, the council creates a detour route for Highway 7 traffic.

With construction underway on Highway 20, Klammer said the Nebraska Department of Transportation and the city streets department agreed the South Street route to Ulrich Street was the best route to use for the detour. Ulrich Street intersects with Highway 20 west of the construction.

Audience member Chris Osterman, who lives along Ulrich Street, asked the council to place additional speed limit signs on Ulrich Street during the detour.

“No one drives 25 mph on that street,” Osterman said.

Klammer said the city could also talk to the sheriff’s department about additional patrols on the route during the detour.

By a 2-1 vote with Fernau against, the council approved the suggested route.

The council opted to table an agenda item that would have placed stop signs on streets intersecting with Fifth Street for the duration of the Highway 20 construction project. Klammer said the sheriff’s department received a couple calls early in construction due to added traffic on Fifth Street.

“There have been no calls since,” the mayor said.

Klammer, Fiala and Fernau each indicated they have traveled Fifth Street and there did not appear to be any increased traffic from people avoiding Highway 20. Fiala suggested the council table the item and could address it again if more calls are received.

The council heard a recommendation from the LB 840 Loan Committee to award a $4,761 façade grant to H&R Food Center to replace windows on its building.

Schroedl said the application shows the building’s front windows would be replaced along with two additional windows in the back of the building.

Fiala said the council had been consistent that façade included the front of a building only. The council approved the project without including the two back windows, providing a façade grant to the business in the amount of $3,783, which represents 50 percent of the cost of the improvement.

The council approved a subdivision requested by Casey Jones for a portion of property he owns just east of the city on the north side of Highway 20.

Jones said, when he bought the property for his business, a survey wasn’t done. He said 14 feet of the property on the east side was actually on Wolfe ground, and 11 feet on the opposite side was actually on Lutte ground. Jones said he had worked with the other two property owners after a survey was completed to purchase those few feet.

Klammer asked if the neighbors were all happy with the result of the survey.
Jones said they were, as it cleaned everything up.

The council approved a land lease agreement with Three River Telco, providing the company with a lease of land for $1 annually, with the company agreeing to supply free internet to the city offices, the Ainsworth Public Library, the Ainsworth Fire Hall, the city streets shop, the water department building and the wastewater treatment plant.

The council also discussed a tower lease ground proposal from Tower Alliance requesting seven additional five-year terms on the current lease the company has for approximately 1 acre of city-owned ground where a tower stood.

The company currently pays the city a lease of $450 per month, with the current agreement running through 2040. Schroedl said the $450 monthly payment had been in place since 2010 or prior.

Fiala said $700 per month seemed reasonable going forward since there had not been an annual increase in the lease. Heyer said that would equate to about a 3 percent increase per year since the contract was started.

Schroedl said the company was offering a $7,500 sign-on bonus if the city extended the current agreement for the additional seven five-year terms at $450 per month.

The council approved making a counter offer of two additional five-year terms that would extend the lease to 2050 at a monthly rate of $700 per month with a 3 percent annual increase beginning the month after the new agreement is signed.

In a final action item Wednesday, the council authorized Schroedl to proceed with a pre-application for Public Assistance funding through the Community Development Block Grant program. Schroedl said the CDBG funds were being made available in the aftermath of the 2019 flooding, and could potentially help the city pay for the 5 percent of the flood repair costs it had to cover.

During her report, Schroedl said the tire amnesty offered by the city was successful, netting just shy of 200 tons of scrap tires, which was the quota for the event.

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

* Pillen, Blood to contend for governor in November

(Posted 7 a.m. May 11)

November’s race for Nebraska governor will pit Republican Jim Pillen against Democrat Carol Blood after Pillen survived an expensive Republican Primary Tuesday and Blood cruised to the Democratic nomination.

Pillen, an agribusiness owner from Columbus, edged Charles Herbster by about 7,000 votes to capture the Republican nomination. Pillen received just over 33 percent of the vote in the nine-deep Republican ticket, finishing with 85,076 votes. Herbster captured about 30.5 percent of the Republican vote Tuesday and carried Brown, Rock and Keya Paha counties. Herbster collected 78,031 votes. Brett Lindstrom picked up 26 percent with 66,743 votes cast in his favor. Theresa Thibodeau finished a distant fourth with 6 percent of the vote.

Blood meanwhile had no trouble in the Democratic primary, scoring 88.5 percent of the vote to 11.5 percent for Roy Harris. Looking at the uphill climb the state senator has ahead of her, there were 255,996 votes cast in the Republican Primary for governor, and 92,667 cast by Democrats in the governor’s race.

In other state races, incumbent Secretary of State Bob Evnen survived a challenge from two fellow Republicans Tuesday. Evnen earned just shy of 44 percent of the vote. Robert Borer secured 32 percent of the Primary votes, about 25,000 fewer than Evnen, while Rex Schroder picked up 24 percent of the vote.

In a somewhat closer race, incumbent State Treasurer John Murante secured the Republican Primary with 56.8 percent of the vote compared to 43.2 percent for challenger Paul Anderson. Murante’s margin was about 28,000 votes.

Mike Hilgers cruised in the Republican Primary race to replace Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson. Hilgers, who served as the speaker of the Legislature, nabbed 67 percent of the Primary vote compared to 33 percent for Jennifer Hicks.

Current Lt. Gov. Mike Foley scored more than 73 percent of the vote in his effort to get his former job back as state auditor. Foley served as auditor prior to running as Pete Ricketts’ lieutenant governor in 2014. Larry Anderson received 26.5 percent of the Republican vote in the auditor’s race.

None of the victorious Republicans for those state offices will face a Democratic Party candidate in November.

Incumbent Republican Adrian Smith beat back a Primary challenge from Mike Calhoun as he attempts to retain his Nebraska Third District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. Smith scored 76 percent of the vote Tuesday.

Smith will face Democrat David Else in November, as Else edged Daniel Wik by a 52 percent to 48 percent margin in the Democratic Party Primary. There were 16,627 votes cast by Democrats in the Third District, with 116,776 votes cast in the Republican Party.

Second District Rep. Don Bacon cruised in the Republican Primary Tuesday, winning more than 77 percent of the vote. In November, Bacon will face State Sen. Tony Vargas, who earned 70 percent of the Democratic Party vote compared to 30 percent for Alisha Shelton.

Republicans cast 64,223 votes in the Second District Primary, compared to 41,191 Democratic Party votes in the district.

State Sen. Mike Flood grabbed almost 74 percent of the Republican votes in the First District Congressional race Tuesday. Incumbent Jeff Fortenberry, who resigned from Congress after he was convicted of lying to the FBI over an illegal campaign contribution, was still on Tuesday’s ballot and finished second in the five-Republican field with 12 percent of the vote.

Flood will face fellow State Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks in November. Pansing-Brooks piled up about 87 percent of the Democratic Party vote in the First District Tuesday in her race against Jazari Kual Zakaria. There were more than double the votes cast in the Republican Primary, with 79,467, compared to 34,828 Democratic Party votes in the First District.

In other races, Kevin Stocker edged incumbent Republican Mary Ridder Tuesday in a three-way Primary race for Nebraska Public Service Commissioner for District 5. Stocker received 43.5 percent of the vote, winning the race by fewer than 1,500 votes over Ridder, who garnered 40.6 percent of the vote. Dakota Delka picked up 15.8 percent of the Republican vote.

Elizabeth Tegtmeier was the leading vote-getter in the non-partisan race for Nebraska State Board of Education for District 7. Tegtmeier advanced to the November General Election with 62.4 percent of the vote, with incumbent Robin Stevens advancing to November with 20.3 percent of the vote. Pat Moore was eliminated from the race Tuesday, finishing third with 17 percent of the vote.

Matt Williams and Kathy Wilmot will advance to the General Election in the race for University of Nebraska Board of Regents for District 7. Williams, a state senator, received 46 percent of the non-partisan vote for Board of Regents, while Wilmot picked up 41.5 percent of the vote. Nolan Gurnsey was eliminated from the Regents race Tuesday with 12.5 percent of the vote.

With four of the 1,323 precincts in the state yet to fully report results, a total of 395,450 votes were cast in the Primary Election. That represents 32 percent of the 1,237,672 registered voters in the state.

Brown, Rock and Keya Paha counties were well above the state turnout average, with 61 percent of registered Brown County voters casting a ballot, 63 percent of Rock County voters, and 70 percent of Keya Paha County voters.

* Sybrant, Smith take Rock County Commissioner spots

(Posted 10 p.m. May 10)

Colby Sybrant and write-in candidate Faye Smith emerged from a crowded field Tuesday in the race for two seats on the Rock County Board of Commissioners.

Sybrant led the six Republican candidates running for the two seats with 293 votes, and Smith captured 288 write-in votes to finish second in the field. With no Democrats running, Sybrant and Smith will be seated in January barring a write-in campaign during the General Election.

Incumbent Commissioner Glen May finished third in the commissioner race with 261 write-in votes, followed by Douglas Fox with 122 votes, 121 for John Arrowsmith and 65 for JW Ogier.

Republican voters also chose Benjamin Shelbourn to be the next Rock County Sheriff, again barring a write-in campaign during the General Election. Shelbourn received 446 votes in his effort to replace retiring sheriff James Anderson. Joshua Severin finished second in the sheriff’s race with 103 votes, and Matt McHale earned 58 votes for third.

In statewide races, Rock County Republicans sided with Charles Herbster in the race for governor. Herbster picked up 277 votes in Rock County compared to 155 for Jim Pillen, 89 votes for Brett Lindstrom and 62 for Theresa Thibodeau.

Rock County Democrats gave Carol Blood the nod in the governor’s race by an 18-11 margin over Roy Harris.

Rock County Republicans sided with incumbent Secretary of State Bob Evnen. Evnen received 185 votes compared to 141 for challenger Rex Schroder and 126 for Robert Borer.

Incumbent Republican State Treasurer John Murante earned 250 votes in Rock County, compared to 188 for challenger Paul Anderson.

Mike Hilgers scored 261 votes among Rock County Republicans compared to 183 for Jennifer Hicks in the race for Nebraska attorney general.

Mike Foley scored a more than 3 to 1 margin in Rock County for state auditor, 344 to 105 for challenger Larry Anderson.

Republican Third District Rep. Adrian Smith cruised in Rock County Tuesday, earning 462 votes compared to 99 for Primary challenger Mike Calhoun. Daniel Wik edged David Else on the Democratic U.S. House of Representatives ticket in Rock County, 14-10.

Incumbent Mary Ridder won Rock County in her bid for another term on the Public Service Commission for District 5. Ridder received 233 votes in Rock County, compared to 123 for Kevin Stoker and 38 for Dakota Delka.

Voter turnout in Rock County was 63 percent, with 673 total ballots cast among the 1,056 registered voters in the county.

* Dailey, Bauer win Brown County Commissioner seats

(Posted 9:45 p.m. May 10)

Jeremiah Dailey and incumbent Dennis Bauer were the top vote-earners in a six-way Republican race for Brown County Commissioner during Tuesday’s Primary Election.

Dailey led the Republican field with 601 votes, while Bauer retained his seat with 485 votes. Retiring Sheriff Bruce Papstein and Tom Bejot finished a close third and fourth in the six-way Republican race. Papstein received 438 votes, with Bejot earning 428 votes. Rick Irwin finished fifth in the Primary with 186 votes, followed by William Welke with 57 votes.

Brent Deibler scored 633 votes in the Republican Primary in the race to succeed Papstein. Deibler earned 633 votes to 515 for Zach Welch.

In another race to succeed a retiring county official, Bruce Mitchell won a three-way race in the Republican Primary to replace longtime Brown County Treasurer Deb Vonheeder. Mitchell picked up 476 votes, with Jeanie Norton receiving 352 votes and 317 Republicans opting for third-place finisher Amber Happold. Just 159 votes separated first from third in the county treasurer race.

In the Republican Primary race for Brown County Assessor, Peggy Gross unseated incumbent Assessor Terri Van Houten. Gross received 718 votes among Republicans, with 432 cast in favor of Van Houten.

In another local race, Long Pine voters narrowed the field from five candidates to four for two seats on the Long Pine City Council. Linda Alberts, Kelsey Carroll, Mike Collatos and Gayle Buoy advanced to the November General Election. Alberts and Carroll led the race, with Alberts edging Carroll 62 to 61. Collatos earned 52 votes to advance, and Buoy finished fourth with 23 votes to move on to the General Election. Gloria Husarek received 10 votes among Long Pine voters and was eliminated from the race Tuesday.

In statewide races, Brown County Republicans sided with Charles Herbster in the race to succeed term-limited Gov. Pete Ricketts. Herbster picked up 510 votes among Brown County Republicans, compared to 298 for Jim Pillen, 208 for Brett Lindstrom and 79 for Theresa Thibodeau.

Incumbent Bob Evnen edged both Robert Borer and Rex Schroder among Brown County Republicans in the race for secretary of state. Evnen received 323 votes in the county, compared to 306 for Borer and 305 for Schroder.

Incumbent John Murante edged Paul Anderson in the Republican Primary race for state treasurer. Murante picked up 472 votes to 435 for Anderson.

Mike Hilgers won Brown County Republicans for attorney general to succeed Doug Peterson. Hilgers picked up 550 votes in the county, compared to 384 for Jennifer Hicks.

Mike Foley handily defeated Larry Anderson, 706 to 222, in the Repubican race for state auditor.  

Adrian Smith had no trouble in Brown County in his bid for re-election to the Third District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. Smith picked up 799 votes to 278 for challenger Mike Calhoun.

In the race for Public Service Commissioner, incumbent Mary Ridder won Brown County with 512 votes, compared to 236 for Kevin Stocker and 131 for Dakota Delka.

In the race for a seat on the University of Nebraska Board of Regents, Nolan Gurnsey won Brown County with 410 votes, compared to 333 for Matt Williams and 278 for Kathy Wilmot.

On the Democratic side, David Else edged Daniel Wik among Brown County Democrats, 18 to 16, to represent the party in the General Election for the third district seat on the U.S. House of Representatives.

Carol Blood picked up 33 votes among county Democrats for governor, with Roy Harris receiving just eight votes in the county.

A total of 1252 votes were cast during Tuesday’s Primary Election in Brown County, representing 61 percent of registered voters in the county. There were 1,159 votes cast by Republicans, 43 by Democrats, 48 non-partisan ballots and two from the Libertarian Party.

* Nilson, Frederick win Keya Paha County Commissioner races

(Posted 9:15 p.m. May 10)

A solid 70 percent of registered voters cast a ballot during the Primary Election in Keya Paha County.

In contested county races, incumbent Corey Nilson won the Republican Primary for Center District Commissioner. Nilson received 59 votes, compared to 37 for Joe Caulfield and 35 for Keith Mizner. Barring a write-in campaign in the fall, Nilson will run unopposed in the General Election for an additional term.

In the East District race for Keya Paha County Commissioner, John Frederick unseated incumbent Bruce Ritterbush. Frederick earned 97 votes from Republicans in the East District, while Ritterbush picked up 47 votes. Frederick will run unopposed in November barring a write-in candidate.

Republican Clerk/Assessor Suzy Wentworth was reelected by party voters, garnering 235 votes in Keya Paha County to 190 votes for challenger Paula Larsen.

Keya Paha County Republican voters preferred Charles Herbster in the race for governor. Herbster picked up 239 votes from Keya Paha County, compared to 89 for Jim Pillen and 47 from Brett Lindstrom. Theresa Thibodeau garnered 24 votes in Keya Paha County.

In the Secretary of State race, Robert Borer outgained incumbent Bob Evnen among Keya Paha County Republicans, 132 votes to 110. Rex Schroder received 77 votes in that race.

Incumbent Republican State Treasurer John Murante won Keya Paha County Tuesday, with 169 votes compared to 144 for challenger Paul Anderson.

Mike Hilgers outgained Jennifer Hicks in Keya Paha County in the Republican race for Nebraska Attorney General to replace Doug Peterson. Hilgers earned 201 votes to Hicks’ 120 votes.

Mike Foley handily won Keya Paha County for the Republican State Auditor nomination, receiving 229 votes to 92 for Larry Anderson.

Third District Rep. Adrian Smith cruised in Keya Paha County, winning 292 votes from Republicans compared to 93 for challenger Mike Calhoun.

Incumbent Mary Ridder edged challenger Kevin Stocker in Keya Paha County for Public Service Commissioner. Ridder received 140 votes among Keya Paha County Republicans to 123 for Stocker and 38 for Dakota Delka.

Only 11 ballots were cast on the Democratic side in Keya Paha County Tuesday, with Carol Blood earning 10 of those 11 votes for the Democratic nomination for governor. David Else edged Daniel Wik among Keya Paha County Democrats, six to five, for the Third District nomination for the House of Representatives.

* Ainsworth City Council Wednesday agenda

(Posted 8:30 p.m. May 10)

Ainsworth City Council
Meeting 5 p.m. Wednesday, May 10
Ainsworth Conference Center
Agenda

  • I. Routine Business
    • Announcement of Open Meetings Act
    • Roll Call
    • Pledge of Allegiance
  • II. Consent Agenda – All items approved with the passage of one motion
    • Approve minutes from the April 13, 2022 regular meeting
    • Approval of claims
    • Treasurer’s report
    • Department head reports
  • III. Mayor’s Appointments and Report
    • Mayor’s Report
    • Mayor’s Appointments
  • IV. Public Hearings
    • None
  • V. Old Business
    • Open and consider sealed bids received for surplus metal siding and roofing
    • Discuss and consider the request by Tower Alliance, LLC to extend the American Tower Site Lease
  • VI. Regular Agenda
    • Consider the recommendation by the LB840 Loan Committee regarding application #22-01 – Façade grant in the amount of $4,761.00
    • Consider an Administrative Subdivision of part of the S ½ SE ¼ of Section 24, Township 30 North, Range 22, West of the 6th P.M. in Brown County, Nebraska of a tract of .70 acres – Casey Jones
    • Discuss and consider amending the interlocal agreement between Ainsworth and Brown County, forming the Care Center to create a separate legal entity – Andy Taylor, Brown County Attorney
    • Discuss and consider the Land Lease Agreement with Three River Digital Cable, LLC
    • Consider Resolution #22-04 providing for the designation of a detour route for the closing of Main Street for the Chamber of Commerce’s annual carnival days event and setting aside portions of streets for the prohibition of vehicle parking during the detour and designating a time limit for such detour and parking prohibition
    • Consider Resolution #22-05 providing for the placement of temporary stop signs along 5th Street during the Highway 20 construction
    • Discuss and consider the street shop building repairs – Brahmer Contracting and Construction, LLC
    • Discuss and consider the CDBG-DR Infrastructure match for Public Assistance (PA) Pre-Application
    • Discuss potential amendments to ordinance(s) regarding poultry
    • City Administrator/Clerk/Treasurer Report
  • VII. Adjourn

* Erthum named Fine Arts Student of the Year

(Posted 9:30 a.m. May 10)

Ainsworth Community Schools held its annual Fine Arts Awards Night Monday. Alyssa Erthum was named the Harriet Hughes Fine Arts Student of the Year.

Erthum also received the David Streich Mock Trial Award, and in speech received the Senior Oratory Award and the Jess Duden Speech Team Member of the Year Award.

Gavin Olinger won three major awards Monday, receiving the John Phillip Sousa Award in band and the National Choral Award. Olinger was also named the Thespian of the Year.

Allison Taylor received the Patrick S. Gilmore Award in band.

* Hafer recaps ACS Board of Education meeting

(Posted 8:15 a.m. May 10)

Ainsworth Community Schools Superintendent Dale Hafer visited with KBRB’s Graig Kinzie Tuesday to recap action taken during Monday’s Board of Education meeting, which took place concurrently with the Sandhills Care Center Board meeting.
To hear the report, click on the audio link below.

* Care Center Board votes to raise nursing wages 30 percent

(Posted 7:15 a.m. May 10)

In an effort to draw more interest in vacant nursing positions, the Sandhills Care Center Board of Directors Monday unanimously voted to increase wages for registered nurses, LPNs and CNAs by 30 percent across the board.

Administrator Penny Jacobs told the board having an in-house CNA on staff costs the care center 35 percent of what it has to pay an agency for one of its CNAs to fill open shifts. She said the agencies only pay their CNAs about $10 per hour, but with the incentives they provide such as stipends for food and housing, the CNA makes about $35 per hour with an agency.

Jacobs said the care center pays its in-house CNAs between $18 and $23 per hour, depending on their experience and time with the facility. The facility also offers insurance benefits, though only four current employees are taking advantage of that benefit. She said the care center pays agencies $55 to $60 per hour for CNAs.

Board member Shawn Fernau said increasing wages by 30 percent many be enticing enough to get some people to apply, especially on the CNA side.

“Adding 30 percent would make it about $26 per hour for a CNA,” Fernau said. “I know it may still be tough even if we raise wages with the uncertainty.”

Jacobs said the facility also offers a $3,000 sign-on bonus for new employees. She recommended the care center also offer a $3,000 referral bonus for employees who recruit new workers to the care center.

“We have a CNA class starting this month,” Jacobs said. “I am not sure how many are signed up for it and how many might be interested in coming to work for us.”

Fernau said he liked the idea of offering a referral bonus and giving an incentive for current employees to potentially recruit people they know.
Jacobs said the health care industry has been hit hard with additional regulations and mandates since the pandemic.

“We have to do all these extra things to keep our license,” the administrator said.

Board Chairman Phil Fuchs said he believed the care center needed to try and increase wages, add the referral bonus, and also increase the pay differentials for staff working night and weekend shifts.

Jacobs said she would increase the shift differential from 75 cents per hour to $1 per hour in extra wages for working a weeknight shift from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. The differential for working a weekend day shift would move from $1.50 per hour extra to $2, and working a weekend night shift would go from an extra $2.25 per hour to $3.

Board member Dr. Mel Campbell said attracting more staff is the only real solution to solving the care center’s current financial problems.

“Raising wages is probably the best way to try and do that,” Campbell said. “We need to be as aggressive as we can, take the risk and hope for the best – that we can attract new staff.”

Fuchs said, with the current finances, the care center has about three months of operating expenses available.

“We don’t have a lot of time,” Fuchs said. “If we can’t recruit new staff, we will likely have to close in three months. That’s how much operating expense we have left.”

Audience member and former board member Leanne Maxwell asked how the board planned to keep operating until November when a property tax levy could be requested of voters?

“You can’t raise pay if you are out of money,” Maxwell said. “You have to be able to assure people that you can stay afloat. No amount of money will draw people if you can’t answer that.”

Fuchs said, based on current revenue and expenses, the care center would not have enough funding to get to the November election.

“Do we move up that election?” Fuchs asked. “We have to make sure we stay open long enough for residents to make other arrangements.”

Board member Buddy Small said, while everyone would like to be as optimistic as possible that the current staffing situation improves, he said the board also has to look at it realistically.

“I think we have to try one more time to raise pay rates and see if we get any results,” Small said.

He asked Jacobs for information regarding where the 20 current residents of the facility resided before moving into the nursing home.

Jacobs said seven residents were from Ainsworth, two were from Long Pine, four were from rural Brown County, and seven residents lived outside the county before moving in to the facility.

Following the discussion, the board voted to increase wages for all RNs, LPNs and CNAs by 30 percent, continue with the $3,000 sign-on bonus and offer current employees a $3,000 referral bonus.

In a related item, Small said the Brown County Commissioners voted to table a resolution that would have created a separate legal entity for the care center and would allow that entity to place a property tax levy question on the November election ballot.

Small said his motion to approve the resolution did not receive a second. He said board members were concerned that if a separate entity was created, a property tax levy would fall disproportionately on rural property owners, whereas the current structure has the city and the county paying an equal amount to support the care center’s operations.

“The commissioners did not take action because they did not want to put an extra burden on rural property owners,” Small said.

In its current structure, both the commissioners and the Ainsworth City Council would have to request the property tax question, which runs the risk that one group of voters could approve the levy while one could vote against it.

Looking at April’s operating revenue and expenses Monday, the care center generated $161,484 in revenue. Expenses for the month were $247,059 for an operating loss of $85,574. The facility paid $156,054 in agency staffing costs during April, an amount just shy of the facility’s total revenue for the month. Office manager Dawn Pierce said approximately $20,000 of that agency staffing total were previous invoices from January and February, but she said all the agency billing was now current.

The board voted to transfer $113,710 from its interlocal backup account to its operations account, leaving the board with just over $6,000 remaining in its backup account. The care center is anticipating $80,000 in funding from the county and an additional $80,000 from the city, which had previously been allocated by both entities but had not yet been requested by the board.

The next meeting of the Sandhills Care Center Board of Directors is scheduled for 5 p.m. June 13.

* Hughes service attendees asked to monitor

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

Hoch Funeral Home was informed that a family member who attended the visitation, funeral and meal following Doris Hughes’ funeral has tested positive for COVID-19.

Those who attended Dorie Hughes’ visitation, service and meal and especially those who had close interactions with members of the family, are encouraged to monitor for any symptoms.

Anyone with questions may contact Hoch Funeral Home.

* Brown County Sheriff’s Department weekly summary

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

May 1

  • During traffic stops on Highway 7, one written warning was issued for driving left of center and no operator’s license. Two written warnings were issued for speeding.  One citation was issued for speeding 105 mph in a 65 mph speed zone as well.
  • Released an inmate from the Brown County Jail for time served for a district and county court commitment.
  • Received a report of an individual receiving lewd messages on their cell phone.

May 2

  • During a traffic stop near the 4th St and Richardson Drive intersection, a citation was issued for speeding 11-15 mph over the posted speed limit and no operator’s license.

May 3

  • The Brown County Ambulance was paged to an Ainsworth facility and transferred one individual to the Brown County Hospital.
  • Provided traffic control on Highway 20 near mile marker 243 for a semi with a load of hay that was stuck on the shoulder of the road in a construction zone.
  • The Brown County Ambulance responded to a 911 call in Ainsworth and transferred one individual to the Brown County Hospital.

May 4

  • During a traffic stop on Highway 20 near mile marker 245, a citation was issued for speeding 92 mph in a 65 mph speed zone.
  • Booked an inmate into the Brown County Jail for a court commitment.

May 5

  • Provided traffic control for a cattle crossing on Highway 7, near mile marker 36.
  • Provided traffic control for a funeral procession.
  • The Brown County Sheriff’s Office in South Dakota served a Brown County Nebraska bench warrant for possession of a controlled substance and possession of one ounce to one pound of marijuana. The subject posted bond and received a court date.

May 6

  • Responded to a report of animal neglect in Long Pine. The owner was contacted and ownership was transferred to another individual.
  • The Brown County Ambulance were paged for a 911 call at an Ainsworth business. One individual was transported to the Brown County Hospital.

May 7

  • The Brown County Ambulance were paged for response to an Ainsworth home. One individual was transported to the Brown County Hospital.
  • Received reports of water running over the road near the intersection of 880th rd and Meadville Ave. The county road department was contacted and barriers were put into place.
  • Received reports of a grass fire in Southwest Brown County. The Ainsworth, Raven, and Calamus Fire departments were paged.  The Long Pine and South Pine Fire Departments responded to a fire Southwest of Rose as well.  Fortunately the rain greatly helped in extinguishing these fires.
  • During a traffic stop in Ainsworth at the intersection of Main St and Highway 20, the driver of the vehicle was issued a citation for speeding 11-15 mph over the posted speed limit and procuring alcohol to a minor. A passenger in the vehicle was issued a citation for minor in possession of alcohol.

Weekly Summary:

10– Burn Permit Issued (by all Brown Co Fire Depts)

2– Handgun Permits Applied For

14– Incident Reports Were Taken

7-Paper Services Were Served

153– Phone Calls Were Received

8– 911 Emergency Calls Received

3– Titles Were Inspected

* Area students set to graduate May 13 from NECC

(Posted 8:30 p.m. May 7)

Northeast Community College will celebrate the success of its graduates next week. The College will hold three commencement ceremonies on Friday, May 13, in the Cox Activities Center on the Norfolk campus.

Ceremonies will be held at 9 a.m., noon, and 3 p.m. At 9 a.m., nursing graduates will receive their nurse pins and participate in commencement. The ceremony at noon will award credentials to graduates in Applied Technology and Health and Public Services programs, while graduates in Science, Technology, Agriculture and Math and Business and Humanities will receive their degrees, diplomas and certificates at 3 p.m.

As of May 5, some 840 graduates, including those earning more than one degree, and those who completed their studies this past summer and fall, are to be listed in the commencement program.

Area students scheduled to graduate from Northeast Community College are:

Ainsworth
James Polen with an Associate of Science degree, and Weston Haskell with an Associate of Applied Science degree in building construction

Springview
Miah Wiebelhaus with Associate of Nursing and Associate of Science degrees

Bassett
Brendan Bussinger with an Associate of Science degree

Newport
Ty Thurlow with a diploma in welding

Stuart
Caetlin Krysl with an Associate of Arts degree, Tyler Steinhauser with an Associate of Applied Science degree in agribusiness, and Alissa Gubbels with an Associate of Applied Science degree in administrative professional, and Austin Nachtman with a diploma in welding

Atkinson
Lily Fischer with an Associate of Arts degree, Nyah Kellner with an Associate of Arts degree, Ellie Burkinshaw with an Associate of Science degree, Taylor Schaaf with an Associate of Science degree, Daniel Clemens with an Associate of Applied Science degree in auto body repair technology, Hannah Brotsky with an Associate of Applied Science degree in business and a certificate in banking, and Ellie Burkinshaw with a diploma in practical nursing

Valentine
Bethany Sharpfish-Bader with an Associated of Applied Science degree in early childhood education, Brayden Fowler with an Associate of Applied Science degree in HVAC, Chase Olson with an Associate of Applied Science degree in HVAC, and Geoffrey Fisbeck with a certificate in information technology

Butte
Kelsey Sextro with an Associate of Science degree

* Sheriff’s department investigating theft of pressure washer

(Posted 3:15 p.m. May 6)

The Brown County Sheriff’s Department is seeking information from the public regarding a recent theft. According to the sheriff’s department, sometime between the night of Friday, April 24, and the morning of Saturday, April 25, an Alkota pressure washer was stolen from a residence 4 miles south of Johnstown.

The pressure washer was a larger model with four flat tires and an orange tank on the bottom. Access was gained through a window into the shop and storage shed.

A tractor at the shop was used to load the pressure washer onto a vehicle. Pictures of the tracks left by the thieves have been fired. The pressure washer was valued at approximately $1,500.

Anyone who may have seen the type of pressure washer described above being hauled by a vehicle is asked to contact the sheriff’s department at 402-387-1440 or call Crime Stoppers at 402-382-3121. All callers can choose to remain anonymous.

Information leading to the recovery of the pressure washer could result in a cash reward.

* Several Highway 20 south side intersections closing

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

Several intersections on the south side of Highway 20 in Ainsworth will be closed beginning today (Friday) as construction work on the south lane of the highway continues.

According to Carl Hart with the Nebraska Department of Transportation, those accessing the Brown County Hospital from Highway 20 will need to use Pine Street, as the Harrington Street intersection is closed.

Other streets intersecting with Highway 20 from the south that will be closed for the first phase of construction are, from west to east, Wilson Street, Woodward Street, Walnut Street, Elm Street, Cedar Street, and Harrington Street.

Motorists entering Highway 20 from the south can use Osborne Street, Main Street, Oak Street, Ash Street, Pine Street and Richardson Drive.

A&R Construction will put in a temporary drive for the weekend to access Big John’s, Pizza Hut and Dollar General. Next week, customers wanting to access those businesses will need to come in from the south on Plainsman Drive.

After the new concrete is poured and has time to cure, those intersections will open to traffic and the intersections that are currently open will close.

Hart said the NDOT plans to keep the Highway 20 intersection with Main Street open during the entirety of the construction, with concrete at that intersection poured in sections to keep a portion open at all times.

The NDOT will continue to provide information to the public as work progresses on the Highway 20 rehabilitation project.

* Recent cases from Brown County Court

(Posted 10:45 a.m. May 5)

In addition to fines, each case carries $50 in court costs
Jessica Serrano, age 26, of Gainesville, Ga., charged with attempting a Class 4 felony, fined $1,000; also charged with no proof of insurance, $300; no valid registration, $300.
Lysa B. Henson, 24, of Ainsworth, speeding 1-5 mph over the limit, $10; also charged with no operator’s license, $75.
Norman Alley, 20, of Plattsmouth, disturbing the peace, $100.
Cara J. Unruh, 35, of Pierre, S.D., no operator’s license, $100.
Jodi M. Polacek, 19, of Butte, speeding 6-10 mph over the limit, $25.
Joe McBride, 57, of Ainsworth, first degree criminal trespassing, $1,000 and sentenced to one year of probation.
Bryson K. Mazur, 20, of South Range, Wis., two counts of attempting a Class 4 felony, fined $1,000 on each count; possession of marijuana more than 1 ounce but less than 1 pound, $500; possession of drug paraphernalia, $100.
Justice J. Noel, 19, of Fargo, N.D., two counts of attempting a Class 4 felony, fined $1,000 on each count; possession of marijuana more than 1 ounce but less than 1 pound, $500; possession of drug paraphernalia, $100; minor in possession, $300.
James A. Ferguson, 56, of Johnstown, first offense driving under the influence, $500, six months of probation, driver’s license revoked for 60 days, ordered to install an ignition interlock device.
Paul T. Roberts, 36, of Lakewood, Colo., attempting a Class 4 felony, $1,000; possession of marijuana less than 1 ounce, $300; possession of drug paraphernalia, $100.
Bo A. Slingsby, 25, of Arcadia, driving under suspension, $100; speeding 6-10 mph over the limit, $25.
Elizabeth A. Devine, 42, of Long Pine, first offense refusing to submit to a test, $500, six months of probation, driver’s license revoked for 60 days, ordered to install an ignition interlock device.
Gregory C. Irwin, 40, of Ainsworth, domestic assault, sentenced to 30 days in jail.
Brett L. Johnston, 25, of Ainsworth, third-degree assault, sentenced to 30 days in jail with credit for two days served; first offense resisting arrest, sentenced to 10 days in jail.
Dillon R. Bacon, 21, of Ainsworth, domestic assault, sentenced to six months of probation.
Joshua L. Zeigler, 27, of Ainsworth, no valid registration, $25.
Michaela N. Goins, 28, of Sterling, Colo., speeding 16-20 mph over the limit, $125.
Geoffrey W. Meyer, 21, of Winner, S.D., failure to have or carry a fuel permit, $100; no registration, $100.

* Area students set to graduate from UNK

(Posted 9:15 a.m. May 5)

Graduate and undergraduate degrees will be conferred for 682 spring graduates at University of Nebraska at Kearney commencement exercises 10 a.m. May 13 in UNK’s Health and Sports Center.

Area students scheduled to graduate from UNK are:

Ainsworth – Seth Taylor, a Master of Business Administration degree

Long Pine – Jezrae Peacock, a Bachelor of Education degree in early childhood education, graduating Summa Cum Laude

Springview – Lucas Wroblewski, an Education Specialist degree – school superintendent, and Alanna Hoover, a Master of Science in Education degree in school counseling pre-kindergarten through eighth grade

Bassett – Aubrey Kroll, a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration, and Aaron Sybrant, a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration, graduating with honorable mention distinction

Newport – Braydon Caldwell, a Bachelor of Science degree in exercise science, graduating with honorable mention distinction

Brewster – Paige Martindale, a Bachelor of Science degree in agribusiness

Stuart – Christopher Schaaf, a Bachelor of Science degree in cyber security operations, graduating summa cum laude

Atkinson – Chase Harrison, a Bachelor’s degree in general studies

Valentine – Macey Mathis, a Master of Science in Education degree in speech language pathology; Anna Perrett, a Bachelor of Science degree in social work; Shirley Turgeon, a Bachelor’s degree in general studies; and Carolyn Bullock-Moore, a Master of Business Administration degree in business administration – human resources

* NDOT provides update on Highway 20 work

(Posted 6:45 a.m. May 5)

The Nebraska Department of Transportation provided a weekly update on the Highway 20 construction project in Ainsworth. Barricades have been set up for the first phase of the project, with traffic diverted to the northernmost two temporary lanes of Highway 20 while work commences on the south portion of the project.

Traffic will remain on the north side of the highway through mid-summer. A&R Construction has started saw cutting the roadway and intersections for removal of the existing surfacing. Removal of the south side of Highway 20 began Wednesday. 

Alternating intersections throughout phase 1 will be open with either crushed rock, crushed concrete, or asphalt millings placed as temporary surfacing for access to city streets. Most driveways and alleys will be closed and access will be maintained through access to city streets. If alternate access is not possible a temporary surface will be installed.

Rutjens Construction is scheduled to be on site beginning Monday to install the new storm sewer system starting on the west side of the city.

Drivers are reminded to use caution while in the construction zone. Use of cell phones is prohibited in all state highway construction zones.

* Commissioners table action on care center legal entity

(Posted 6:45 a.m. May 5)

The Brown County Commissioners Tuesday discussed creating a separate legal entity for the Sandhills Care Center.

Since it was reopened in 2016, the Sandhills Care Center has been operated as a joint venture between the city of Ainsworth and the Brown County Commissioners. The care center is planning to ask voters for a property tax levy to support operations. In its current structure, both the commissioners and the city council would have to approve placing the tax levy question on an upcoming ballot. That opens up the possibility of the measure being approved by one set of voters but not approved by the other. That form would also place two levies on property inside the Ainsworth city limits.

By creating a separate legal entity for the care center, the care center board could vote to place one tax levy question on an upcoming ballot.

After discussion Tuesday, the commissioners voted to table the matter.

In other business Tuesday, Highway Superintendent Kenny Turpin asked the board to declare a 2006 Freightliner truck and a 1982 Caterpillar motor grader as surplus equipment. The board approved the surplus item declaration and will auction the two pieces of equipment through Big Iron.

The commissioners approved leaving deductibles and employee contributions unchanged for the county’s Blue Cross/Blue Shield health insurance policy for the 2022-23 plan year.

The board approved a pair of resolutions, transferring $200,000 from the county’s miscellaneous general fund to the county highway fund and transferring $5,000 from the miscellaneous general fund to the election fund.

In a final action item Tuesday, the board conducted the highway superintendent’s annual evaluation and voted to provide Turpin a 6.5 percent salary increase effective April 29.

The next meeting of the Brown County Commissioners is scheduled for 5:15 p.m. May 17.

* Area students named Academic All-State by NSAA

(Posted 3:45 p.m. May 4)

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

Since its inception, the Academic All-State program has grown at a steady pace with 2,838 students earning the award in 2006-07 when the program began to 6,813 students recognized during the 2020-21 season. A total of 2,325 students were recognized for their academic excellence and contribution to a spring activity.

Area students named Academic All-State by the NSAA are:

Ainsworth
Gavin Olinger and Allison Taylor in music, Caleb Allen and Ty Schlueter in boys track and field, and Maia Flynn and Eden Raymond in girls track and field

Keya Paha County
Ryan Painter in boys track and field, and Marly Gross in girls track and field

Rock County
Ben Klemesrud in boys golf, Brooklyn Buell and Carson Shaw in music, Dolan Pospichal in boys track and field, and Brooklyn Buell in girls track and field

Stuart
Anthony Heiser and Schuyler Mustin in boys golf, Cameron Sattler and Taya Schmaderer in music, Luke Ludwig and Hunter Tubbs in boys track and field, and Cadence Kramer and Lexi Schroder in girls track and field

West Holt
Lucas Olson in boys golf, Landyn Mlady and Maci Nemetz in music, Isaac Pistulka and Nate Wallinger in boys track and field, and Landyn Mlady and Maci Nemetz in girls track and field

Sandhills
Lindsay Cody and Miriam Ganoung in music, Reece Zutavern in boys track and field, and Taylor Weber in girls track and field

Valentine
Logan Muirhead and Sean Springer in boys golf, Gunnar Battershaw and Dylan Haase in boys track and field, and MaKenzie Long and Becca McGinley in girls track and field

Boyd County
Haylie Carson in music, Adrien Baer and Carson Haun in boys track and field, and Amelia Hoffman and Natasha Zeisler in girls track and field

* Ainsworth school to offer summer meals to kids

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

As part of an effort to ensure kids have access to healthy meals during the summer months, Ainsworth Community Schools announced its summer meals site will serve children. Starting May 31 and continuing through June 30, all kids ages 1 to 18 can receive lunches free of charge. No application, registration or proof of residency is required.

Lunch will be served Monday through Thursday from 11:45 a.m. until 12:30 p.m.  Adult meals will also be available for $4.50. Due to changes at the federal level, grab and go meals are no longer available.

The Summer Meals program is funded by the USDA and run by school districts and local organizations. Stopping by a summer meal site with your family not only saves you time and money spent grocery shopping and meal prepping; it also helps support the school and the community.

* Brown County Commissioners agenda for Tuesday

(Posted 6:45 a.m. May 3)

Brown County Commissioners
Meeting 5:15 p.m. Tuesday, May 3
Brown County Courthouse
Agenda

Approve minutes of the 4-19-2022 Commissioner meeting.

Kenneth Turpin – Road Department Update

Modify Interlocal Agreement regarding Ainsworth/Brown County Care Center to create a separate Legal Entity – Taylor

Declare 2006 Freightliner Columbia truck surplus equipment to be sold on Big Iron – Turpin

Declare 1982 caterpillar 140G Motorgrader serial #72V05547 surplus equipment to be sold on Big Iron – Turpin

Blue Cross Blue Shield Renewal rates for 2022-2023; Set employee contributions & Cash in Lieu for 2022-2023 Plan year – Hardy

Budgeted Transfer $200,000 from Miscellaneous General in General Fund to County Highway Fund – Hardy

Transfer $5,000 from Miscellaneous General within the General Fund to Election – Hardy

Highway Superintendent Job Performance evaluation and merit raise – Small

* Burn ban temporarily lifted in Brown County

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

Ainsworth Fire Chief Brad Fiala reported Monday that, due to the amount of moisture the area received over the weekend, the burn ban in effect for Brown County has been temporarily lifted.

A burn permit is still needed for open burning in the county, but those permits will be reviewed and approved on a case-by-base basis while conditions allow.

Brown County received more than 2 inches of rain over Friday and Saturday, with Ainsworth Weather Observer Jim Baker recording 3.45 inches.

With the burn ban lifted, the Ainsworth Irrigation District plans to conduct a controlled burn Tuesday on the canal from 5 miles east of Ainsworth to just west of Johnstown.

* Ainsworth April weather summary

(Posted 7:45 a.m. May 2)

Ainsworth Weather Observer Jim Baker provided a report on April’s weather. The audio is located below.

* Brown County Sheriff’s Department weekly summary

(Posted 6:15 a.m. May 2)

April 24

  • A written warning was issued for improper or defective vehicle lighting on Highway 20 near mile marker 243.
  • Received reports of a cow on the roadway of Meadville Ave. The owner was contacted and removed the cow from the roadway.
  • Responded to a request for agency assistance from Blaine County in pursuit of a Colorado plated vehicle traveling in excess speeds of 100 mph. On Highway 7, near mile marker 38, Brown County Deputies were able to stop the vehicle.  One male subject from Colorado was issued a citation from Blaine County for possession of a stolen vehicle, and flight to avoid arrest.  This subject was booked into the Brown County Jail and is currently being housed for Blaine County and has received a $25,000 cash bond.

April 25

  • Responded to a one vehicle accident collision with a gate on 881st rd. No injuries were reported and the vehicle was not able to drive away from the scene.

April 26

  • Released an inmate from the Brown County Jail for time served on a court commitment.
  • Received reports of two seperate homes in Ainsworth having chickens within the city limits. Both individuals were contacted and asked to remove them or citations could be issued for city ordinance violation.
  • Responded to a report of an unauthorized vehicle on a property in Long Pine. A vehicle description and pictures of the tire tracks were obtained but no criminal activity was found at this time.

April 27

  • The Brown County Ambulance responded to a page for a 911 call in Ainsworth. One individual was transported to the Brown County Hospital.
  • Responded to a request for a welfare check at a Long Pine address. The Brown County Ambulance also responded and transported one individual to the Brown County Hospital.
  • Issued a written warning for speeding 11-15 mph over the posted speed limit on Highway 20 near mile marker 240.
  • Issued a citation for speeding 6-10 mph over the posted speed limit on Highway 20 near mile marker 248.

April 28

  • Brown County Dispatchers made calls to remind dog owners from 2021 to register their dogs for the 2022 year. Deputies will be performing dog license checks soon.
  • Received reports of stolen pressure washer valued at $1500, south of Johnstown. This is an ongoing investigation.

April 29

  • Issued a citation for speeding 93 mph in a 65 mph zone on Highway 7 near mile marker 38.
  • Provided civil standby for a tenant to remove personal property from a dwelling.
  • Issued a citation for speeding 11-15 mph over the posted speed limit at the intersection of Highway 20 and 430th Ave.

April 30

  • Responded to an alarm at an apartment complex in Ainsworth. The alarm was found to be accidental and the individual was reported safe.
  • Provided traffic control for a funeral escort.
  • Received a request for increased security watches for a rural Brown County agricultural business.
  • Issued a citation for speeding 11-15 mph over the posted speed limit on Highway 183 near mile marker 201.

Weekly Summary:
0– Burn Permit Issued (by all Brown Co Fire Depts)
3– Handgun Permits Applied For
8– Incident Reports Were Taken
9-Paper Services Were Served
106– Phone Calls Were Received
3 – 911 Emergency Calls Received
1– Titles Were Inspected

APRIL Monthly Summary:
3– Accidents                             
5– Arrests
59 – Calls for Service
11 – Citations were issued
8– Verbal & Written Warnings issued
3– Defect Cards issued
27– Paper Service served
502– Phone calls were received
22– 911 emergency calls received
18– Titles inspected
10– Handgun permits issued

* Music department participates in District Music Contest

(Posted 2 p.m. April 28) 

On April 22, the Ainsworth High School music department participated in district music at West Holt High School.

Ainsworth entered 23 entries for the day. Entries are scored on a 1-5 scale. A superior, or a 1, being the best and a 5 being the lowest score that can be received.

The high school choir received a superior rating (1) and received a state medal for their large ensemble performance. This can be achieved when a large ensemble receives a superior rating by all three judges. The band received a rating of excellent (2) for their large ensemble performance.

Music students participated in solo and small ensemble performances. Students receiving a superior (1) rating on their vocal solos were Cameryn Goochey, Gavin Olinger, Breanna McLeod, Makenna Pierce, Preselyn Goochey and Jasmine Porter. Students receiving a superior (1) rating on their instrumental solos were Gavin Olinger-trumpet, Chloe DeBusk-cello, and Ian Finley-tuba.

Students receiving superior (1) ratings for ensemble performances were the women’s ensemble, Gavin Olinger and Kyla Pyle, Cameryn Goochey and Makenna Pierce, Gavin Olinger and Makenna Pierce, and Jasmine Porter, Kaitlynn Inbody, and Breanna McLeod. Ian Finley and Allison Taylor received a superior rating on their tuba and euphonium instrumental duet.

Students receiving an excellent (2) rating on their vocal or instrumental solos or small ensembles were Preselyn Goochey and Kyla Pyle; Breanna McLeod-Flute; Kyla Pyle, Jasmine Porter and Breanna McLeod; and Kaitlynn Inbody and Ian Finley.

* Ainsworth finishes 3-2 at State Quiz Bowl

(Posted 6:30 a.m. April 28) 

The Ainsworth High School Quiz Bowl team competed in the State Quiz Bowl Wednesday at Hastings.

Two teams represented each Educational Service Unit across the state, with a total of 30 teams in the competition. Ainsworth was defeated by Mead in its first match, putting the Bulldogs in the consolation bracket.

In that bracket, Ainsworth defeated Minden, Nebraska City Lourdes and Kearney High to reach the quarterfinals.

Their quarterfinal match paired the Bulldogs against Lutheran High Northeast. The score was tied at the end of the round, forcing a tiebreaker question. Ainsworth lost the tiebreaker and was eliminated, ending the day with three wins and two losses. Elkhorn South won the State Quiz Bowl Championship with Bellevue East placing second and Nebraska Lutheran third.

Ainsworth’s season included winning the ESU 17 Quiz Bowl, tying for third at the Northeast Community College Quiz Bowl, and placing fourth in the Southwest Conference. The team’s season concluded with a record of 16 wins and 9 losses.

Competing for Ainsworth at state were Caleb Allen, Ben Barrow, Ben Flynn, Ty Schlueter, Libby Wilkins, Ian Finley, Cole Bodeman and Mason Titus. Other team members were Alyssa Erthum, Haley Schroedl, Dakota Stutzman, Morgan Kinney, Logan Schroedl and Ethan Fernau.

* Nebraska’s unemployment rate lowest in state history

(Posted 1:15 p.m. April 27)

The Nebraska Department of Labor announced Nebraska’s unemployment rate for March is 2.0 percent. The rate is down 0.1 percentage points from the February rate of 2.1 percent and down 0.6 percentage points from the March 2021 rate of 2.6 percent. Unemployment data goes back to 1976, and the rate is the lowest on record for Nebraska. Nebraska’s March rate is tied for lowest rate in the country.

“The number of people employed statewide has reached another record high,” said Commissioner of Labor John H. Albin. “Both the statewide labor force employment of 1,037,823 and the Lincoln metro’s employment of 186,996 are record highs.”

Nonfarm employment, a count of filled jobs, was 1,017,795 in March, up 4,546 over the month and up 24,891 over the year. Private industries with the most growth month to month were mining and construction (up 1,842); leisure and hospitality (up 1,484); and trade, transportation, and utilities (up 1,364).  Private industries with the most growth year to year were leisure and hospitality (up 6,763); trade, transportation, and utilities (up 6,419); and education and health services (up 3,434).

Brown County’s March unemployment rate was above the state average at 2.7 percent. Blaine County had the highest rate in the area with 3.1 percent of the labor force receiving unemployment benefits.

Keya Paha County had the lowest March unemployment rate in the area at 1.6 percent. Cherry County, at 1.7 percent, Rock County at 1.8 percent and Holt County at 1.8 percent also had unemployment rates lower than the state average. Boyd County’s March unemployment rate of 2.1 percent was just above the state average.

“Nebraskans roll up their sleeves and get the job done,” Gov. Pete Ricketts said. “Nebraskans’ determination to grow our communities has resulted in state revenues far exceeding projections over the past year. With these stronger-than-expected revenues, we were able to deliver historic tax relief this legislative session. We’re successfully creating jobs, cutting taxes, and growing opportunities for the next generation here in Nebraska.”

Nebraska has 69.8 percent of its labor-age population employed, which is the highest percentage of labor force participation in the country. The state’s employment to population ratio at 68.5 percent is also the best in the nation.

The national seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for March was 3.6 percent, down 0.2 percentage points from the February rate of 3.8 percent and down 2.4 percentage points from the March 2021 rate of 6.0 percent.

* FFA awards members during annual banquet Monday

(Posted 8:45 a.m. April 27)

During its annual banquet, the Ainsworth FFA program recognized chapter members for awards and accomplishments.

Ty Schlueter and Thomas Ortner were named the FFA members of the year by advisor Emily Whipple.

Chapters Stars included Ty Schlueter in Ag Production, Thomas Ortner in Agribusiness, and Elizabeth Wilkins in Ag Placement.

Zoe Shankland and Deann Haley were bestowed with honorary FFA degrees.

Hannah Beel was named the chapter’s Star Greenhand.

* Four AHS athletes earn rare 12 sports letters during careers

(Posted 7 a.m. April 27)

Six seniors were recognized Tuesday with 12-sport athlete awards during the annual Ainsworth High School All-Sports Tailgate Party, meaning they participated in three sports during all four years of their high school career.

Caleb Allen, Gabe Allen, Madelyn Goochey, Kaitlyn Nelson, Cash Reynolds and Ty Schlueter earned the 12-sport athlete awards Tuesday. Four of those athletes – Caleb Allen, Goochey, Nelson and Reynolds – pulled off the extremely rare feat of earning letters in those three sports during all four years. Allen earned four letters in football, basketball and track; Reynolds in football, basketball and golf; and Goochey and Nelson both earned four letters in volleyball, basketball and track. Schlueter and Gabe Allen were both one basketball letter shy of earning 12 letters, finishing their careers with 11 letters.

Cross country coach Jared Hansmeyer kicked off the awards event by naming senior Ty Schlueter the boys Most Valuable Player and sophomore Katherine Kerrigan the girls MVP. Schlueter capped his undefeated senior season with the 2021 Class D State Championship and was named to the Super State Team, while Kerrigan won her second straight district championship, won a state medal, and was named to the Class D All-State Team.

Four-year letter winners in cross country were Schlueter, Ben Flynn, Tommy Ortner and Alyssa Erthum.

Hansmeyer recognized Schlueter and Erthum as the Team Player Award winners.

Girls golf coach Heather Lutter named senior Haley Schroedl as the team’s MVP. Senior Allison Taylor earned four letters in girls golf.

Coach Jessi Owen named senior Cash Reynolds as the football team’s MVP. Reynolds was also named the defensive MVP and the Teammate of the Year. He set the school record with 87 tackles during his senior season.

Owen named Caleb Allen the team’s offensive and special teams MVP. During his career, Allen set the school record in total rushing yards with 2,516 and total passing yards with 3,461. Allen was the team’s starting quarterback during all four years of his career.

Caleb Allen, Gabe Allen and Reynolds were four-year football letter winners.

Volleyball coach Jeri Graff named senior Madelyn Goochey the team’s MVP. Senior Summer Richardson earned the team’s Hustle Award, and junior Cameryn Goochey received the team’s Heart Award. The most improved volleyball player was freshman Braxton Fletcher.

Graff reported Madelyn Goochey set the school record in career points from the service line. Kaitlyn Nelson set the school’s career kills record, and Summer Richardson set the Ainsworth High School career set assists record. Senior Maia Flynn set the school’s single-season record for digs.

Four-year letter winners in volleyball were Kaitlyn Nelson, Madelyn Goochey, Summer Richardson and Libby Wilkins.

Turning to winter sports, wrestling coach Todd Pollock named junior Landon Holloway the boys wrestling MVP, and freshman district champion and state medal winner Jolynn Pozehl the girls wrestling MVP. Pollock jokingly said his two girls wrestlers set all the school wrestling records this year, as this was the first year for girls wrestling as an NSAA sport.

Girls basketball coach Julie Micheel named sophomore Kendyl Delimont as the team’s MVP. She was also named the team’s offensive MVP. Madelyn Goochey was named the defensive MVP, and Libby Wilkins received the team’s Heart Award. Most improved girls basketball players were freshman Preselyn Goochey and senior Evelyn Sanchez Arellano.

Kaitlyn Nelson set the school record in career rebounds with 696. Four-year letter winners in girls basketball were Bria Delimont, Madelyn Goochey, Kaitlyn Nelson and Libby Wilkins.

Boys basketball coach Jake Nelson named sophomore Carter Nelson as the team’s MVP. Sophomore Traegan McNally earned the offensive MVP award, and Caleb Allen was pegged as the defensive MVP. Sophomore Trey Appelt received the most improved player award.

Ty Schlueter was presented the Bryent Wilkins Teammate Award.

Four-year letter winners in boys basketball were Caleb Allen, Ben Barrow and Cash Reynolds.

Both the girls basketball and boys basketball teams won their sub-district tournaments and were district runners-up.

In spring sports, coaches present the previous year’s awards since the seasons are still in progress.

Track and field coach Jake Nelson named Carter Nelson the boys MVP. Nelson won the all-class gold medal in the high jump at the 2021 Nebraska State Track and Field Championships. Kaitlyn Nelson, a state runner-up in the discus, was named the girls MVP.

The Ashley Ford and Andrew Ford Track and Field Teammate of the Year awards were presented to seniors Eden Raymond and Ty Schlueter.

Nelson named Carter Nelson the 2021 boys jumper of the year. Caleb Allen was the sprinter of the year, Ty Schlueter the distance runner of the year and Carter Nelson the thrower of the year. On the girls side, Eden Raymond was the jumper of the year, Cameryn Goochey the sprinter of the year, graduate Cee Anna Beel the 2021 distance runner of the year, and Kaitlyn Nelson the thrower of the year.

Boys golf coach Julie Micheel named Cash Reynolds the team’s 2021 MVP.

In the final awards presented, senior Bria Delimont was named the school’s female lifter of the year. Freshman Aidan Jackman and sophomore Traegan McNally shared the male lifter of the year award.

The John Nelson Sportsmanship Awards were presented to seniors Cash Reynolds and Kaitlyn Nelson.

* Nearly 20,000 acres burn Friday in largest of several fires

(Posted 10 a.m. April 25)

Lightning Friday evening ignited several fires in the listening area, the largest of which burned nearly 20,000 acres in southwestern Brown County, northern Blaine County, northeastern Thomas County and southeastern Cherry County.

According to Raven Volunteer Fire Department Chief JW Bowen, the fire Friday evening originated from a lightning strike near the Loup River in Blaine County and was pushed quickly north by winds gusting at more than 50 mph.

Bowen said the fire burned between 18,000 and 20,000 acres but was primarily contained to Sandhills pasture ground. Bowen said no damage to structures was reported, and landowners were still trying to assess if any cattle were lost.

While a couple fire rigs had mechanical issues, no firefighting equipment was damaged during the response. Numerous departments from several counties provided mutual aid as the fire moved through the West Calamus Road and Moon Lake Avenue areas in southwestern Brown County.

Bowen said Willow Lake helped to stop the fire’s northward progress, and firefighters were able to contain it and get the head end stopped at that location. Firefighters remained on scene until approximately 6 a.m. Saturday.

“I want to thank all of the agencies that responded to these fires,” Bowen said. “Everyone deserves praise for getting them out as quickly and safely as possible. At the end of the day, everyone came home.”

Several fires also ignited in Rock County due to lightning strikes Friday, including one that burned approximately 3,000 acres southwest of Rose.

According to Bassett Volunteer Fire Department Chief Jim Stout, firefighters received the first call of smoke and flames at 6:30 p.m. Friday 3 miles south and 7 miles west of Rose.

Stout said that fire moved quickly to the north-northwest pushed by gusting southeast winds.

“We called in enough trucks and departments that we were able to get it stopped,” Stout said. “We caught it at a spot where the terrain wasn’t as difficult and we were able to stop it. We got lucky. Unfortunately, we didn’t get much rain with it.”

Stout said about a dozen departments provided mutual aid assistance in responding to the fire, and the fire was contained by about midnight Saturday. Firefighters were back mopping up remaining hot spots at 5:30 a.m. Saturday.

“We didn’t have any large shelterbelts that it got into, so we lucked out there,” Stout said.

The Bassett fire chief said three additional fires ignited Friday evening from lightning strikes, burning a total of about 600 acres northwest of Rose. No structures or equipment were reported damaged by any of the fires in Rock County Friday.

Despite a little rain over the weekend, the area remains extremely dry. Burn bans continue for both Brown and Rock counties, and residents are urged to be mindful of the fire danger.

* Brown County Sheriff’s Department weekly summary

(Posted 8:30 a.m. April 25)

April 17

  • Received a report of cattle on the roadway near 888th Rd and 434th Ave intersection. Owners were contacted and removed them from the roadway.
  • A male South Dakota driver was issued a warning for speeding on Highway 7 near mile marker 42.

April 18

  • Received a report of cattle on the road way near Highway 20 and mile marker 244. The owners were contacted and Nebraska State Patrol assisted with traffic control as they were removed from the roadway.

April 19

  • Ainsworth City Offices has advised the gym floor will be resurfaced starting Sat April 23rd and closed thru Tue May 10th. City Office hours will remain the same at 9am-12pm & 12:30pm-4:30pm M-F.
  • Released an inmate from the Brown County Jail after they posted bond.
  • Received a complaint regarding blowing dust from an Ainsworth business.
  • Assisted new residents to Ainsworth with 2 VIN inspections.
  • Received a report of a dog attacking another dog near the Elm St and 6th intersection.

April 20

  • Transported an inmate to Cherry County for holding.
  • Released 2 inmates from the Brown County Jail after they posted bond.
  • Assisted an individual with an unwanted family member on their property. Family member agreed to leave.
  • A juvenile transported to another facility after a DHHS intake.
  • Received a report of a dog attacking another dog near the Cowboy Trail.
  • Assisted an individual with a VIN inspection.
  • Provided civil standby for an individual to recover personal belongings from local residence.
  • Provided civil standby at rural Brown County residence.

April 21

  • Assisted an individual with a VIN inspection.
  • Provided traffic control for a funeral procession.
  • Assisted an owner catch their escaped dog near East City Park.
  • Responded to a report of individuals harassing others as they drove by them multiple times on Main St.

April 22

  • Assisted rural Brown County resident to find the owner for dogs that showed up at his farm.
  • Assisted Ainsworth resident with loose dog on Cedar St.
  • Responded to a report of a pickup driving on the Cowboy Trail south of the Brown County Hospital.
  • Received a complaint regarding blowing dust from an Ainsworth business. The business was contacted.
  • Assisted an individual with a VIN inspection.
  • South Pine Fire Dept, Long Pine Rural Fire Dept, Raven Fire Dept and Ainsworth Fire Dept all provided mutual aid to a fire in southeastern Rock Co.
  • Calamus Fire Dept provided mutual aid to a fire which started in Blaine Co.
  • Calamus Fire Dept & Johnstown Fire Dept responded to fire in southwestern Brown County. Later mutual aid was provided by Raven Fire Dept, South Pine Fire Dept, Long Pine Rural Fire Dept, Ainsworth Fire Dept, and many more departments from as far as Broken Bow and Cody Kilgore fire districts.
  • Responded to a report of individuals hanging out at the Ainsworth Community Schools parking lot.
  • An Ainsworth male driver was issued a warning for speeding.
  • Relayed a message to Rock Co Sheriff office of a reported tree on fire near MM 254 on Hwy 20.
  • Responded to a report of a speeding driver through town on Hwy 20.
  • Officers dispatched to patrol north Brown Co for signs of smoke and fire due to lightning.
  • Brown Co Ambulance Association dispatched to standby at Raven Firehall due to south Brown Co fires.

April 23

  • Southwestern Brown Co fires continued into the early morning hours before it was contained by multiple fire departments along with a decrease in wind and some light rain.
  • Assisted an individual with found dogs on Hwy 20. The owner was contacted and picked them up.
  • Assisted an individual with a scam call. Provided the 800# for Atty General.
  • Assisted an individual with unauthorized credit card use.
  • Provided welfare check on a juvenile in Ainsworth. All was found to be just fine.
  • Dispatched Raven Fire Dept to mop up a smoldering spot in southwestern Brown Co from the previous night’s fire.
  • A female driver was issued a warning for no valid operator’s license with her in Ainsworth.
  • Responded to noise complaint at north Main St. No excessive noise was found.

Weekly Summary:

0 – Burn Permit Issued (by all Brown Co Fire Depts)

          4 – Handgun Permits Applied For

15 – Incident Reports Were Taken

7 -Paper Services Were Served

185 – Phone Calls Were Received

6 – 911 Emergency Calls Received

7 – Titles Were Inspected

* Numerous fires ignite Friday, fanned by gusting winds

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

The Nebraska Emergency Management Agency provided updates on numerous fires that were started by lightning Friday and fanned by gusting winds.

Purdum fire in Blaine, Cherry, Brown and Thomas Counties

Five fires of unknown sizes were reported in this region. The Wildland Incident Response Assistance Team responded as well as 20 volunteer fire departments were on scene. There are reports of two or three damaged fire trucks. Most mutual aid has been sent home and a small crew is doing mop up and the fire was considered out as of 1 p.m. on Saturday.

The largest of the fires Friday burned in southwest Nebraska. The Road 702 Fire is estimated at 50,000 acres. A Multi-Mission Aircraft from Colorado is currently flying the fire and will be able to provide a more accurate size as well as identify locations within the fire area where hot spots exist. This will allow firefighters to focus on areas that still pose a risk to life and property. 

As a fire gets larger and additional resources are brought in, the fire is broken into geographic areas called Branches and Divisions to help focus suppression efforts and to help with supervisory span of control. We will use these terms in our updates to provide specific information about each part of the fire perimeter. Branches and Divisions will be shown on the fire maps.

Branch I (West side)-  Branch I encompasses the area from Cambridge west along the fire edge and south to Lebanon. Firefighters in this area are continuing to secure existing firelines by mopping up any hotspots that remain.  Primary areas of concern are timbered draws especially in the Republican River breaks.

Branch III (East side)- Branch III encompasses east and south perimeters of the fire from Cambridge south to Wilsonville and into Kansas.  Firefighters in this area are continuing to mop up and secure the fireline along the Republican River and US-6 working south towards Wilsonville. Areas of concern are timbered draws and hay bales near the fire edge.  Additional operations personnel are scouting the fire edge south of Wilsonville and coordinating with resources in Kansas.

Evacuations and Fire Restrictions: All evacuations have been lifted at the time of this update.

Elsie Fire, Perkins and Dundy counties

Four fires on farm grounds and cattle grazing land near the Lincoln County line and highway 23 burned nearly 5,000 acres and is 90 percent contained. Four firefighters suffered non-life-threatening injuries while fighting the fire. The Elsie Fire Department is demobilizing.

Burt County Fire

The Burt County Fire started near Lyons and continued to Macy. Several houses were threatened and there has been loss of structures. Eighteen volunteer fire departments responded. Winds were blowing 60 mph. Macy was evacuated and a shelter in set up at the Walthill School, but the evacuation has now been lifted. The fire is 75% contained. Four injuries (one hospitalization) were reported all non-life-threatening and one fire truck was destroyed.

Scotts Bluff County

The Scotts Bluff fire was out as of 1 p.m. on Saturday. One non-residential structure was lost and eight power poles were down resulting in three to four residents without power.

Cheyenne and Deuel counties fires

Three fires that started between Sunol and Lodgepole (between Ogallala and Sidney) resulted in the evacuation of some rural residents. The fire was three miles from the Colorado boarder. Northwest wind gusts of 65 mph helped spread the fire. There was some power and communications losses as a result with the fire which was reported extinguished as of midnight.

Rising City Fire

A fire at 2670 D Road in Rising City started Saturday when a frontend loader bucket sparked on a concrete pad next to a hay facility. The fire spread to calving sheds rapidly. Two firefighters were sent to the hospital for smoke inhalation and a few firefighters were treated for eye irritation. The fire was believed to be extinguished around 2 a.m. Sunday but flared up late Sunday morning due to wind changes. Approximately 100 calves were lost. There was damage to the hay facility and several calving sheds.

* Commissioners approve bid for Sand Draw Creek bridge

(Posted 7:15 a.m. April 20)

The Brown County Commissioners approved a resolution Tuesday accepting a more than $2 million low bid to place a bridge at the Sand Draw Creek crossing on Meadville Avenue.

The box culvert at the site was damaged during flooding in March 2019 and then completely destroyed by September flooding that year. Meadville Avenue has been closed for that stretch since that time with traffic detoured a mile west to cross Sand Draw Creek.

The Nebraska Department of Transportation, which bid the project, opened three bids for a bridge at the site. The low bid of $2,122,910 was submitted by Dickson Construction of Correctionville, Iowa.

Midwest Infrastructure of Lincoln placed a bid of $2,443,108, and Simon Contractors of Cheyenne, Wyo., bid $2,498,000 for the project.

The commissioners approved the low bid from Dickson Construction. Federal dollars will cover 80 percent of the cost of construction, leaving the county responsible for $424,580.

Work on the bridge and approaches is slated to begin between June and October, depending on the availability of materials.

In other roads items Tuesday, Highway Superintendent Kenny Turpin reported the roads department has been working on several regrading projects, and raised up a portion of West Calamus Road.

Turpin reported ditch work was completed on 429th Avenue, and the department planned to replace a culvert on 430th Avenue in the next week. He reported he received permission from a property owner to obtain material to widen Road 877 just south of Ainsworth that had previously been used as the main detour route for Highway 7 when Main Street is closed.

The commissioners, with Reagan Wiebelhaus absent, discussed the county’s allocation of American Rescue Plan Act funds and how those funds should be spent.

Clerk Travee Hobbs reported the county is scheduled to receive a total of $573,000 in ARPA money, and Treasurer Deb Vonheeder said the first half of the funding has been received.

Both Hobbs and Vonheeder advocated for at least some of the funding to be used to make repairs to the courthouse. Commissioner Buddy Small agreed the roof work needed at the courthouse could be covered using the funds, as well as work to try and keep water out of the basement of the building.

Hobbs said the funds can be used for infrastructure projects and other general expenditures. The ARPA money cannot be used for debt service.

Emergency Manager Traci Booth asked the commissioners to use some of the leftover funding after completing larger projects with the ARPA money to purchase new radios for the county’s fire departments and emergency responders.

The board did not take any official action on how to use the federal funds.

The commissioners approved the state evaluation of Weed Superintendent Scott Erthum. Erthum said he narrowly missed a perfect evaluation score because there was one open weed mitigation file at the state that pre-dated his time as weed superintendent.

Erthum said there was potential for the area weed management group to receive substantial grant funding for mitigation projects this year, as the Legislature allocated $3 million in COVID funding for noxious weed projects.

He said the area weed management group planned to apply for funding to purchase drones to conduct aerial surveys.

“There are 27 different weed management groups in the state,” Erthum said. “I don’t think they would bat an eye if we applied for $100,000 of that $3 million.”

Erthum said the drones would substantially reduce the cost of aerial surveying, as using a helicopter for surveys currently costs $2,500 per hour.

During the Board of Equalization meeting that preceded the regular meeting, the commissioners heard from landowners questioning the way their rural properties were valued, citing a report from the Nebraska Property Tax Administrator that questioned the way the county assessor arrived at some valuations.

The report and opinions of the state property tax administrator are prepared annually and presented to both the county and to the Nebraska Tax Equalization Review Committee, which settles disputes between property owners and counties related to property valuation.

Property owners Bob Hunt and Tim Iverson questioned why parcels they owned were classified as recreational after that class of property increased by more than 300 percent.

They cited portions of the state tax administrator’s report that said the methods used in reclassifying some parcels as either rural residential, recreational or agricultural were unclear.

Assessor Terri Van Houten said each classification of property is valued based on how similar properties are selling.

“Some had major changes,” Van Houten said. “Some of those properties had not changed in value for 30 years.”

She said it is natural for counties that have properties change classification to have findings from the state administrator.

“There are a few counties that have this every year,” Van Houten said.

Audience member John Gross said there were only two counties in the state that have this kind of finding from the tax administrator, with Brown County being one of the two.

Hunt said the report showed the county was not meeting standard practices. He said he was concerned some properties were being taxed more than they should be.

“I think it is a sorry state that we have reached this point,” Hunt said.

Iverson questioned why some smaller parcels in the county were reclassified as recreational instead of agricultural. He said he owned a smaller parcel that has been used for agriculture forever that was reclassified.

The state administrator’s report cited concerns on how some residential and agricultural parcels were classified and indicated it would work with the county assessor to clarify the valuations for the next assessment year.

Small, citing advice from the Brown County attorney, said the commissioners did not plan to make a decision regarding the report until after the Tax Equalization Review Committee had made a decision on the findings from the tax administrator.

“TERC is going to make a decision on this report,” Small said. “They are an entity unto themselves. They can either agree with Ruth Sorensen’s report or not.”

Commissioner Denny Bauer said TERC serves basically as a third-party arbitrator.

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

* Lions Club finalizes list of directors, officers

(Posted 1:45 p.m. April 19)

During its meeting Monday, the Ainsworth Lions Club Board of Directors voted to finalize the ballot for 2022-23 officers and directors. Lions Club members will vote up or down on the proposed slate of candidates.

Dale Hafer was nominated as the Club President for the upcoming year, succeeding Bob Beatty, who will transition to the past president post.

Steve Dike has been nominated as the president-elect. Club members nominated to continue in their current posts include secretary Jerry Ehlers, recording secretary Kim Bejot, treasurer Phil Fuchs, lion tamer Steve Salzman and membership chair Bill Lentz.

Vance Heyer was nominated to succeed Dwain Grunke as the club’s tail twister.

Members nominated to the club’s board of directors for two-year terms are Rolland Paddock and Roger Lechtenberg. If elected, they would join Larry Rice and Amy Dike on the club’s board.

In other business Monday, the club continued to make plans for the annual Ainsworth High School Tailgate Party April 26. Event assignments have been given to members. All lions are asked to help set up for the event at 2 p.m. Tuesday, with serving to begin at 6 p.m. in McAndrew Gymnasium.

Representatives from the Ainsworth Child Development Center provided the club with an update on the group’s efforts to raise funding for the planned center. The group has currently raised $320,000 toward its $1 million goal. When fund-raising is complete, the group can use the funds to secure additional grant dollars for the project.

The next meeting of the Ainsworth Lions Club Board of Directors is scheduled for noon May 17.

* Ainsworth fire chief discusses burn ban

(Posted 9:30 a.m. April 19)

Ainsworth Volunteer Fire Department Chief Brad Fiala appeared on KBRB to discuss the burn ban that has been issued for the county.
The burn ban will remain in effect until conditions improve. The ban includes all open burning, such as campfires, fire pits and trash burning.
The conversation is located in the audio link below.

* Brown County Commissioners to meet Tuesday

(Posted 6:30 a.m. April 19)

5:15   Roll Call.

Approve minutes of the 4-5-2022 Commissioner meeting.

Kenneth Turpin – Road Department Update

Resolution regarding accept/reject Bid for Federal Aid Project No. ER-1787(5)

5:30   Chelsey Riha – Re: Aflac Enrollment – Riha

5:45   Scott Erthum, Brown County Weed Superintendent, Approval of Weed Superintendent State Evaluation – Erthum

ARPA Funds – Small

Review Road Dept Job Performance evaluations & merit raises – Turpin

* Brown County Sheriff’s Department weekly summary

(Posted 6:30 a.m. April 18)

April 10

  • Responded to a report of a missing hay trailer, West of Ainsworth along Highway 20. The trailer was taken without permission but later returned in the week and the owner was reimbursed for its rental fee.
  • Responded to a request for a welfare check on a suspected unattended infant near the 500 block of Walnut St in Ainsworth. Deputies found the infant to be safe and with their family.
  • Responded to a neighbor dispute near North Main St in Ainsworth. Deputies spoke with both parties and advised them to avoid contact with each other at this time.

April 11

  • The Brown County Ambulance Association were paged to an Ainsworth facility. No transport was made.
  • Received a request for a security check on a rural residence near Long Pine.
  • K9 Handler Deputy Calder and K9 Dutch went to Cherry County for agency assistance.
  • The Brown County Ambulance Association was paged after a lifeline button was activated for a Long Pine home. One individual was transported to the Rock County Hospital.
  • Responded to a one vehicle accident in Ainsworth in the alley between Maple and Walnut. As the vehicle was driving, a construction company that is currently working near the Highway 20 and Highway 7 intersection unintentionally dropped a tree onto the vehicle.  No injuries were reported.  While the vehicle did obtain body damage, it was able to drive away from the scene.
  • Received a parking complaint from the 100 block of Elm St in Ainsworth. The vehicle was blocking access to the mailbox.  The caller was advised there is not currently a city ordinance for obstructing access to a mailbox, but if it becomes an issue for the United States Postal Service to be able to deliver mail to advise the Sheriff’s office.

April 12

  • One male Brown County Jail inmate was sentenced to the Nebraska State Penitentiary and transferred.  Another male inmate received a time served sentence for theft by unlawful taking.  This subject is currently being held for Stevens Point, Wisconsin Police Department for active arrest warrants, awaiting extradition.
  • Provided traffic control for a funeral procession.

April 13

  • Received a report of lost property along Highway 20 of a gray bag containing drills and saws. Please contact the Sheriff’s office if located.
  • The Brown County Ambulance Association were paged to an Ainsworth facility and transferred one individual to the Brown County Hospital.

April 14

  • Responded to a request for a welfare check on an Ainsworth resident believed to be in Cherry Co. The individual was located and reported safe.

April 15

  • A male subject was booked into the Brown County Jail and released on a $1000 personal recognizance bond for a Brown County arrest warrant.
  • Responded to a report of domestic assault at a South Main St address in Ainsworth. One male subject was booked into the Brown County Jail for strangulation.

April 16

  • On Highway 183, near mile marker 197, a Deputy completed a traffic stop on a South Dakota plated vehicle. One male subject, the driver of the vehicle, was issued a citation for speeding 11-15 mph over the posted speed limit, possession of drug paraphernalia, and the driver and one female passenger were both cited for possession of marijuana 1 oz or less.
  • On Highway 7, near mile marker 41, a Deputy completed a traffic stop on a South Dakota plated vehicle. Deputies seized over 3 lbs of marijuana from the vehicle.  One male subject and one female subject from South Dakota were booked into the Brown County Jail for possession of marijuana over 1 lb.
  • A male subject from Battle Creek, NE was issued a citation for careless driving near the intersection of 4th and Main St in Ainsworth.

Weekly Summary:

0– Burn Permit Issued (by all Brown Co Fire Depts)

0– Handgun Permits Applied For

17– Incident Reports Were Taken

4-Paper Services Were Served

90– Phone Calls Were Received

5– 911 Emergency Calls Received

3– Titles Were Inspected

* Area students earn scholarship offers from UN-L

(Posted 7:15 a.m. April 15)

The University of Nebraska–Lincoln has set a record in offering more than 6,800 university-wide scholarships to the 2022 graduating class from Nebraska high schools and other first-year admits. Nearly two out of three first-year admitted resident students have been offered an academic scholarship for the upcoming school year.

“We see these awards as an investment in their future and in our communities they will serve after graduating,” said Patrick Winter, associate vice chancellor for academic services and enrollment management. “We are proud of everything these students have accomplished and know they will do big things here at Nebraska.”

As part of a broad academic scholarship and need-based aid strategy for recruiting highly qualified students, President Ted Carter recently announced the University of Nebraska is permanently extending the deadline to file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid to June 1.

“We want students and families to know Nebraska is here to help make a distinctive Big Ten college education affordable and accessible,” said Justin Chase Brown, director of Scholarships and Financial Aid and interim director of Husker Hub.

Area students receiving scholarship offers from UN-L are:

Ainsworth
Maren Arens, Husker Power.
Bria Delimont, Husker Power.
Alyssa Erthum, Regents.
Shawna Fernau, Husker Traditions and Pepsi.
Benjamin Flynn, Regents.
Gavin Olinger, Husker Power.Thomas Ortner, Husker Power.
Eden Raymond, Regents.
Summer Richardson, Husker Traditions.
Shelly Saner, Husker Power.
Tylan Schlueter, Regents.
Haley Schroedl, Regents.
Allison Taylor, Husker Traditions.
Elizabeth Wilkins, Regents.

Rock County
Mackinzie Arnholt, Husker Power.
Hannah Keller, Husker Power.
Carson Shaw, Husker Power.

Stuart
Emma Alder, Nebraska Career and Regents.
Grace Alder, Regents.
Katilynn Kaup, Regents.
Cameron Sattler, Regents.
Abigail Tubbs, Regents.

West Holt
Sadie Jarecke, Regents.
Courtney Kellner, Husker Power.
Caid McCart, Husker Traditions.
Lucas Olson, Regents.

Sandhills
Brea Branic, Husker Power.
Lindsay Cody, Husker Traditions.
Rebecca Smith, Husker Power.
Courtney Swisher, Husker Traditions.
Reece Zutavern, David.

Valentine
Benjamin Butcher, Husker Power.
Sarah Butler, Husker Power.
Renee Fisbeck, Husker Power.
Conner Fowler, Husker Power.
Matthew Gibson, Husker Power.
Tessa Krolikowski, Husker Power.
Becca McGinley, Husker Power.|Cody Miller, Husker Power.
Holden Mundorf, Husker Power.
Madelyn Pilakowski, David.
Sean Springer, David.
Kaylee Wenig, Husker Power and Nebraska Achievement.

* Recent cases from Brown County District Court

(Posted 12:30 p.m. April 14)

During Brown County District Court proceedings Tuesday, El Paso Jimmy One Feather, 26, of Ainsworth, was sentenced to decades in prison after previously being found guilty on four felony counts.

One Feather was sentenced to 30 to 40 years in the Nebraska Department of Corrections on a Class II felony count of first degree sexual assault. In addition, One Feather was sentenced to between 10 and 16 years in prison on a Class IIA felony count of incest, and three years in prison on a Class IIIA felony count of child abuse.

One Feather received 10 to 20 years in the state penitentiary consecutive to the other sentences for a Class II felony count of attempted visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct. One Feather was remanded to the custody of state corrections to begin serving the sentences.

Also in District Court Tuesday, Josiah D. Harvath, 32, of Stevens Point, Wis., entered a guilty plea to an amended count of attempted theft by unlawful taking, a Class IIIA felony. Harvath was sentenced to 108 days in jail, a $50 fine and was ordered to pay $1,828 in restitution to Ainsworth Motors.

Harvath was not released from custody Tuesday due to an outstanding warrant from the state of Wisconsin.

James Wilson-Parker, 27, of Long Pine, entered a guilty plea to a count of second offense driving under the influence with a blood-alcohol content of 0.15 or greater. Wilson-Parker will be sentenced in District Court June 14.

* Fire chief announces burn ban during council meeting

(Posted 7 a.m. April 14)

During Wednesday’s meeting of the Ainsworth City Council, Councilman Brad Fiala, who also serves as the chief of the Ainsworth Volunteer Fire Department, announced the fire department has implemented a countywide burn ban.

Due to the extremely dry conditions and strong winds seemingly daily, no burning of any kind will be permitted until conditions improve and the spring green-up occurs.

The burn bans means no campfires, fire pits, trash burning or open burning of any kind will be permitted.

Anyone who violates the burn ban could be held liable for any damage if a fire were to spread.

In other business Wednesday, the council discussed a proposal from Tower Alliance to extend a lease on city property on the north side of Ainsworth near the wastewater treatment plant where a cellular tower is located.

Since 2006, the city has received $450 per month to lease the approximately 3 acres of city ground that hosts the tower site.

City Administrator Lisa Schroedl said Tower Alliance wants to extend the current lease for seven additional five-year terms. The city does not own the tower itself, only the ground where the tower is located.

The company offered a one-time $7,500 signing bonus in addition to the continued monthly lease payments to extend the agreement, or Mayor Joel Klammer said the company offered a one-time payment of $50,000 for a perpetual lease without the city receiving monthly payments.

“That doesn’t sound like a very good option,” Klammer said.

City Attorney Rod Palmer said the initial lease signed in 2006 had a term of five years and gave Tower Alliance the right to extend the lease for five additional five-year terms. Palmer said Tower Alliance indicated Verizon wireless wanted a guarantee that the site would be available through at least 2040 in order to invest in placing 5G equipment at the site.

Following discussion of potential counter offers and having future lease payments increase by 2 percent annually, the council opted to table the item to obtain more information on any similar lease agreements that other communities may have.

The council Wednesday received five bids on surplus metal it advertised for sale. The metal came off of the city’s streets shop addition on First Street that had to be removed and replaced.

Of the five bids received, two actually shared the highest bid of $1,200. Both Spencer Schenk and Gary Jones submitted identical bids of $1,200 for the metal. The other three bids ranged from $517 to $1,098.

The council discussed how to proceed with two bidders sharing the top bid. Instead of opting to flip a coin to see which of the two bidders would receive the metal, the council, by a 3-0 vote with Councilman Schyler Schenk abstaining, opted to contact the two top bidders and give just those two bidders the opportunity to submit another sealed bid starting at $1,200. Any additional bids received from Jones or Spencer Schenk would be opened during the council’s May meeting.

In a related item, the council again entered into executive session to discuss the repair work that had to be done to fix the streets shop addition. Prior to entering into executive session, Fiala said the council directed Palmer to send the original contractor a letter following the March council meeting requesting a response within 15 days.

Palmer said the city did not receive a response from that letter.

Following the executive session, the council directed Palmer to pursue legal action against Brahmer Contracting and Construction to recoup the cost of repairing the city street shop addition.

In a final action item, the council approved a well permit for Don Painter to replace a well west of Ainsworth within the city’s 1-mile zoning jurisdiction.

Painter said the original well at the site was destroyed during the 2019 flooding. He said Beck’s Well and Irrigation recommended moving the new well to higher ground, and would also handle removing the old well.

During her report, Schroedl said the city had hired Doug Petty for the open assistant operator position at the wastewater treatment plant. Petty began work Monday.

Schroedl reported the city’s Board of Health met recently and would be sending letters to owners of property where violations of city code were found.

She reported the city has already approved building permits in the amount of $154,000 in estimated improvements for 2022. She said the city has several additional building permit applications that are under review.

Schroedl reported traffic on Fifth Street has increased due to Highway 20 construction beginning. The added traffic has caused some issues since there are no stop or yield signs for traffic on Fifth Street or the intersecting north-south streets. The council will address potential solutions during its May meeting, which is scheduled for 5 p.m. May 11.

* Groups meet to discuss care center funding options

(Posted noon April 12)

With staffing a continued struggle and agency costs impacting its financial outlook, the Sandhills Care Center Board held a joint meeting Monday with the Brown County Commissioners and the Ainsworth City Council to discuss the 2022-23 budget and the potential to ask voters for funding to support ongoing operations.

“We have to discuss the financial crisis we currently have at the care center,” Board Chair Phil Fuchs said. “We have come a long way since the care center closed.”

Fuchs said there have been countless hours donated by community members to rehabilitating the nursing home and getting it reopened for residents after it closed several years ago, as well as monetary donations and financial commitments from the city and county.

“Agency staffing has ballooned nationwide due to facilities facing a shortage of nurses,” Fuchs said. “Several nursing homes have already closed this year, and several more could close by the end of the year.”

Fuchs said the COVID pandemic and government mandates have been difficult, and Medicaid reimbursement has not kept up with rising costs nursing homes are incurring. He said each position filled by an agency costs the nursing home more than double an in-house employee, and costs to operate a nursing home have risen substantially.

“We are going to need additional funding to operate past July,” Fuchs said. “If we had 24 residents instead of our current 20 and 40 percent less agency staffing, we wouldn’t be here. Things can change quickly.”

Prior to the current fiscal year, Fuchs said the care center had been operating at break-even or better, and the facility had not requested funding from the city or the county since 2018.

When agreeing to jointly own and operate the nursing home, the city and county each agreed to provide $80,000 annually in funding to support the nursing home’s operations for a five-year period. The nursing home has been in operation for five years, but the two entities have only had to provide the $80,000 on three occasions.

Fuchs said the 2022-23 budget projects a shortfall of $371,000, based on current residency and costs to operate.

“We do expect additional COVID relief money, but we have no idea how much or when it might come,” Fuchs said. “Several nursing homes are holding on by a thread right now.”

Administrator Penny Jacobs said Medicaid began providing an additional $20 in reimbursement per resident per day in January, and the facility increased rates for residents paying privately by $75 per day. The Legislature also overrode a veto from Gov. Pete Ricketts and the state is scheduled to provide an additional 15 percent reimbursement rate increase to facilities.

Brown County Commissioner Buddy Small said the county did include $80,000 for the nursing home in its current 2021-22 budget, and could also provide its fifth-year funding commitment of an additional $80,000 beginning with the new budget year in July.

“We also have $125,000 in discretionary funds that are available to the commissioners,” Small said. “About $25,000 of that has been allocated to other projects. It would take two of three commissioners to vote in favor of using those funds.”

Mayor Joel Klammer said the city also budgeted $80,000 for the current fiscal year to support the nursing home, which could be made available. The city’s 2022-23 fiscal year does not begin until October.

Councilman Vance Heyer said the initial agreement between the city and county got the nursing home reopened and to this point.

“Now we can decide if and how we want to fund it in the future,” Heyer said.

Commissioner Reagan Wiebelhaus asked what percentage of the facility’s nursing shifts are currently being covered by agency staffing. Jacobs said about 95 percent of nursing shifts were filled through agency staffing.

Wiebelhaus said, “Would it make sense to increase what you pay nurses to try and compete and get your own staff?”

Jacob said the nursing home has increased pay and benefits, but the bottom line is the facility is not even getting any applications for nursing positions.

Councilman Schyler Schenk asked why the Bassett Long Term Care Center is getting applicants and the Sandhills Care Center is not.

Small said he had been asked several times about having the hospital operate the nursing home, similar to how it was structured in Rock County. He asked Brown County Hospital Chief Financial Officer Tad Stearns to address the issues it creates for the hospital if it were to take on the care center.

Stearns said, with two buildings, not much would be gained by combining operations.

“The cost is the main factor,” Stearns said. “Long-term care reimbursement from the state does not pencil out.”

Having a nursing home also would affect the reimbursement rates the hospital receives for several of its services, which would cost hospital operations several hundred thousand dollars annually.

Stearns said the hospital’s interim administrator talked to a couple administrators elsewhere in the state that also operate nursing homes, and both indicated they were losing money. One of those hospitals was contemplating closing its long term care.

“If you don’t have 40 residents, it just doesn’t work at all,” Stearns said.

Audience member Randall Rathe asked if the nursing home was out recruiting new potential residents since several other facilities had closed.

“Do you have someone out talking to hospitals and telling them that you have room to accept new residents?” Rathe asked.

Jacobs said she visits with hospitals, but the care center was not out actively recruiting for new residents because the facility doesn’t have enough staffing. She said some residents require a level of care that would make it difficult on the staff the care center does have available were those residents to be admitted.

Audience member John Gross, a Brown County Hospital Board member, said the area was churning out local students into the medical field, those students just aren’t returning to the area to work when they finish school.

“We can’t compete with the per diem that the agencies offer,” Gross said. “That is all tax-free money.”

Councilman and Care Center Board member Shawn Fernau said the care center could increase wages by $5 to $8 per hour and it would still be much cheaper than what the facility has to pay for agency staffing.

“If we raised the wages for every position, wouldn’t that make it more competitive?” Fernau asked.

Fuchs said the care center had already raised its wages and was also now offering health insurance for full-time employees.

“We may need to keep doing more,” Fuchs said. “I hope we can get to the point where we can reduce agency staff, but we aren’t there. It is very attractive to work for an agency.”

Audience member Susan Stec said the group did not realize the draw for nurses to work for an agency. Nurses can work a seven-day week and make enough during that week they don’t have to work the rest of the month. She questioned why nurses would ever want to work a standard 40-hour work week when they can work somewhere for seven days and make enough to stay home with their kids the rest of the month.

Fuchs said the groups needed to decide if they wanted a nursing home to remain in the community.

“I feel like this is important for us to have in the community, just like a school or a hospital,” Fuchs said. “A commitment from the county and the city also provides the stability we need.”

Discussion turned to placing a question on the upcoming General Election ballot and letting voters decide whether to provide continued support to the care center through a property tax levy.

County Attorney Andy Taylor said, the way the care center is currently structured, both the city and the county would have to request a ballot question.

“There could be issues if one subdivision has it pass and the other does not,” Taylor said.

He said the council and the county could opt to create a new legal entity for the care center and that entity would then be able to put a question on the ballot.

“Then it would just be one request,” Taylor said.

Clerk Travee Hobbs said the most cost-effective way to have a ballot initiative would be to place the question on the General Election ballot in November. The groups could opt to hold a special election prior to or after the General Election, but there would be added costs to go that route.

Following the discussion, Fuchs said he would work with the city and the county to request the funding that the two entities had already budgeted for the nursing home.

“That funding will get us through to getting a question on the ballot,” Fuchs said.

He asked Taylor if he would be willing to start the process of forming a separate legal entity for the nursing home for the city and the county to consider. That entity, if formed, could then request a property tax levy question be placed on an upcoming ballot.

Following the joint meeting between with the council and the commissioners, the Care Center Board Monday reviewed the March financials, approved claims for the month and a transfer of $84,384 from its interlocal account to the care center operating account. The care center has approximately $120,000 remaining in its reserve fund after making the $84,384 transfer.

Fuchs said the budget had estimated a loss of $103,000 for the month so the money the board needed to transfer was a little lower than what it had anticipated.

The board also approved adding Business Manager Dawn Pierce to the care center’s operating checking account.

Jacobs reported the care center has 19 current residents, with eight paying privately and 11 receiving Medicaid assistance. There were no admissions and one death since the March board meeting.

The care center generated $145,559 in revenue during March. Agency staffing expenses alone during the month totaled $149,039. Total expenses in March of $238,526 led to a loss of $92,966 for the month.

Jacobs said the contract for the previous agency director of nursing had expired, and a new agency director of nursing would start April 25. A current agency nurse agreed to serve as the director of nursing for the two-week period until the new agency director of nursing arrives.

She said the facility needs a permanent director of nursing, as well as RNs, LPNs and CNAs. She said she did have some new employees hired for the dietary department once background checks are completed.

The administrator said the facility would have a new nurse and CNA from Mullen who will start after the Mullen facility closes later this month. She said a current member of the housekeeping staff was taking the course to become a CNA.

Jacobs said the facility was anticipating a new resident April 19 who would arrive from the Mullen facility that is closing.

The next meeting of the Sandhills Care Center Board of Directors is scheduled for 5 p.m. May 9.

* School Board tables action on roof repair

(Posted 7 a.m. April 12)

The Ainsworth Community Schools Board of Education on Monday discussed repairing a section of the elementary building’s roofing but ultimately tabled action until the board’s May meeting.

Superintendent Dale Hafer told the board a report from Heartland Roofing showed a seam on the elementary roof had deteriorated. While a new roof for the building would run between $400,000 and $500,000, Hafer said Heartland Roofing suggested a smaller project to repair and reinforce the seams.

Hafer said the repair would likely extend the life of the roof between five and 10 years, with Heartland Roofing providing a five-year warranty on the work.

The superintendent said a representative from Guarantee Roofing was going to be at the school looking at another portion of the roof, and agreed to provide an additional opinion on potential options for the board to consider on the elementary roof.

“I would like to see if he agrees with the solution of doing the seam work to extend the life of the roof before we decide,” Hafer said. “I would recommend tabling this to next month so I can have some additional information for you.”

Board President Jim Arens said he agreed it was likely a good idea to wait for a second opinion before acting.

Board member Brad Wilkins said, one way or another, the roof needed to be fixed.

“A second opinion will probably indicate that as well,” Wilkins said. “We could authorize it in May, but I don’t want to ignore it for too long.”

The board voted to place the item on its May 9 meeting agenda.

In the only other action item on Monday’s agenda, the board made an adjustment to its committee assignments. Board member Jessica Pozehl agreed to replace board member Frank Beel on the negotiations and personnel committee.

With Beel’s wife being hired as a member of the district’s staff, the committee assignment was changed to avoid any potential conflict of interest that may arise.

During his report Monday, Hafer said the new video scoreboard in McAndrew Gymnasium had been installed and was used during the Grand March at prom. He thanked the Booster Club and the businesses who assisted in purchasing the video board.

The superintendent reported Todd Pollock and some of his students would help build 4×5-foot closets in the elementary classrooms to house the new furnace units that would be installed this summer, with assistance from custodian Joe McMurtrey. Building the closets in-house would save the district several thousand dollars compared to hiring a contractor to build the closets to house the units.

Hafer said he was waiting for bids from two local concrete businesses to replace the concrete on the south side of the building. The district completed several concrete projects last year, and Hafer said the south side was the final portion slated for replacement. He said the estimate for that portion of the concrete replacement last year was between $12,000 and $15,000.

Elementary Principal Ben Wright said the school would conduct kindergarten roundup differently this year, with parents of potential incoming kindergarten students invited to a meeting at 6:30 p.m. May 2 in the school cafeteria. Wright said incoming kindergarten students would come in with their parents in August to familiarize themselves with the classrooms before school started.

Wright said the change was made to focus on getting the parents the information they needed before the summer, but to get the kids in the school a week or so before class started to get them excited and meet their teacher.

During his report, Secondary Principal Steve Dike reported Jaylee Good was the winner of the Americanism Essay Contest for junior high students sponsored by the Ainsworth American Legion and Homestead Bank. Good qualified for the state contest.

Activities Director Scott Steinhauser reported senior Libby Wilkins had been voted in as the Nebraska State FFA vice president for the 2022-23 year, and Wilkins and Maren Arens were state champions in swine production and employment skills respective at the State FFA Conference.

Steinhauser also reported the Ainsworth High School Quiz Bowl team won the Educational Service Unit 17 competition to qualify for the State Quiz Bowl contest April 27 at Hastings. The team competes in the Southwest Conference Quiz Bowl April 13 at Cozad ahead of the state competition.

The next meeting of the Ainsworth Community Schools Board of Education is scheduled for 8 p.m. May 9, with an American Civics and Americanism Committee meeting being held just prior to the regular meeting.

* Firefighters respond to hay fire Friday

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

Ainsworth and Long Pine firefighters responded to a hay fire Friday at Rolling Stone Feed Yard.

According to Ainsworth Volunteer Fire Department Assistant Chief Randy Johnson, at approximately 11:50 a.m. Friday, firefighters received a report of fire starting in a grinded hay pile.

Johnson said Rolling Stone Feed Yard employees were grinding hay when the fire started. The grinder was moved from the scene and saved.

With strong wind and low relative humidity, fire conditions were extreme, and Johnson said the Long Pine Volunteer Fire Department was called in to assist Ainsworth firefighters.

Johnson said the fire was contained to the concrete Quonset that contained the hay pile. He said firefighters were able to save some of the grinded hay.

Firefighters remained on scene until approximately 5 p.m. Friday, and returned to the site several more times to work on remaining hot spots.

* Brown County Sheriff’s Department weekly summary

(Posted 6:30 a.m. April 11)

April 3

  • Responded to a request for a welfare check for an Ainsworth resident. The individual was contacted and reported safe.
  • During a traffic stop, on Highway 7 near mile marker 43, a written warning was issued for speeding 6-10 mph over the posted speed limit.

April 4

  • Responded to a noise complaint near Fullerton St in Ainsworth. Deputies were unable to locate any noise violation.
  • The Brown County Ambulance Association transferred a patient from the Brown County Hospital to Yankton, SD.
  • An Ainsworth resident brought a loose dog to the Sheriff’s Office. The dog had no tag identification and was taken to the Ainsworth Vet Clinic where it was later reunited with its owner with the help of Live Love Wag.
  • Received information of loose dogs that were suspected of killing chickens just outside the Ainsworth city limits. The owners of the dogs were issued a citation for dogs at large and failure to license.

April 5

  • The Brown County Ambulance Association was paged to a 911 response for an Ainsworth resident. One individual was transported to the Brown County Hospital.
  • A transient was picked up at the Rock/Brown County line on Highway 20 and brought back to the Sheriff’s office and was provided with ministerial aid services.
  • The Brown County Ambulance Association transferred a flight crew from the Airport to the Brown County Hospital to pick up a patient.
  • Responded to a report of a runaway juvenile in Ainsworth. The juvenile was located and returned to their home.
  • Responded to a domestic disturbance at an Ainsworth business. Deputies were able to resolve the issue for both parties to leave the business amicably.

April 6

  • Received a report of smoke coming from the basement at an Ainsworth home. The Ainsworth Fire Chief responded and no further action was needed.
  • Received a report of a power line that had blown down and was now on top of an Ainsworth resident’s home. All information was forwarded to Nebraska Public Power for further assistance.
  • The Brown County Ambulance responded to a 911 call for an Ainsworth residence. One individual was transported to the Brown County Hospital.
  • Booked an individual into the Brown County Jail to serve time for a court commitment.

April 7

  • Responded to a report of an uncontrollable juvenile in Ainsworth. Deputies responded and provided assistance to a mother with the juvenile.
  • Received a report of bank fraud. The individual was encouraged to contact the Attorney General Fraud line for further assistance.

April 8

  • The Ainsworth Fire Department was paged for a hay pile on fire North of Ainsworth. The Long Pine Fire Department was paged later for additional assistance.
  • Received a report of suspected animal abuse/neglect in Long Pine. Deputies responded to the location and found the animal to be in good health. 
  • During three separate traffic stops, two individuals were issued warnings for speeding, and one issued a citation for no valid registration.
  • Responded to a motorist in need of assistance at the Highway 20 and 7 junction.

April 9

  • Responded to a domestic dispute in Long Pine. Both individuals were separated for the night.
  • Responded to a 911 call for assistance of an elderly individual in Rock County. The individual was located and reported safe.

Weekly Summary:

0– Burn Permit Issued (by all Brown Co Fire Depts)

        2– Handgun Permits Applied For

14– Incident Reports Were Taken

1-Paper Services Were Served

95– Phone Calls Were Received

7– 911 Emergency Calls Received

5– Titles Were Inspected

* Reports received of counterfeit bills being passed in area

(Posted 3:30 p.m. April 7)

The Valentine Police Department encourages businesses to be vigilant and inspect cash thoroughly to look for potential fake currency after several counterfeit bills have been passed in the area.

On March 27, two fake $20 bills were passed at Dollar General in Valentine and three fake $20 bills were passed at a business in Kilgore. On April 1, a fake $50 bill was passed at Speedee Mart in Valentine.

Both the Chadron Police Department and the Tripp County, S.D., Sheriff’s Department have also reported instances of counterfeit bills being passed. Some fake bills in those locations were $100 bills.

Anyone who suspects someone of attempting to use a counterfeit bill is encouraged to contact law enforcement immediately.

* Rock County to host Missoula Children’s Theater

(Posted 3 p.m. April 7)

The Bassett Arts Council is again sponsoring the Missoula Children’s Theater and its production of “Red Riding Hood” with Rock County Public Schools students portraying characters in the play.

Rock County kindergarten through high school students may try out for parts at 4 p.m. Monday, April 18, in the elementary gym. There are parts available for 50 students.

Students are asked to register through the Bassett Arts Council Facebook page. Questions may be directed to Susan Stibor.

Volunteers are also needed to help students practice their parts Monday through Friday.

The public performance of “Red Riding Hood” is scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday, April 23, in the high school.

* Recent cases from Brown County Court

(Posted 2:45 p.m. April 7)

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

Nathaniel R. Clark, age 49, of Somerset, Ky., charged with speeding 21-35 mph over the limit, fined $200.

Michael Holt, 51, of Highlands Ranch, Colo., speeding 21-35 mph over the limit, $200.

Michael K. Keck, 35, of Ainsworth, no valid registration, $25.

Matthew S. Moody, 55, of Ainsworth, speeding 6-10 mph over the limit, $25; also charged with failure to use a seat belt, $25.

Skylar B. Gallegos, 19, of Springview, attempting a Class 4 felony, sentenced to 18 months of probation; no operator’s license, $100; speeding 16-20 mph over the limit, $125.

Roman Rostocki, 68, of Chicago, Ill., speeding 16-20 mph over the limit, $125.

Arthur S. Olive, 23, of Montevideo, Minn., attempting a Class 4 felony, $1,000; possession of marijuana more than 1 ounce but less than 1 pound, $500.

Janell K. Stoeger, 50, of Valentine, speeding 6-10 mph over the limit, $25.

Bobby Belt, 30, of Valentine, speeding 6-10 mph over the limit, $25.

Victor W. Hedlund, 61, of Omaha, 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.

Kenneth D. Voss, 75, of Long Pine, first offense refusal to submit to a test, $500 and sentenced to seven days in jail with credit for seven days served.

Wytama S. Fault, 35, of Webster, Fla., speeding 6-10 mph over the limit, $25; possession of marijuana less than 1 ounce, $300.

Olivia R. Diedrichsen, 21, of Malcolm, speeding 11-15 mph over the limit, $75; possession of marijuana more than 1 ounce but less than 1 pound, $500; possession of drug paraphernalia, $100.

Juan A. Delacruz Rodriguez, 31, of West Fargo, N.D., speeding 6-10 mph over the limit, $25.

Grant E. Stahla, 29, of Lincoln, speeding 11-15 mph over the limit, $75.

Charles E. Dickau, 78, of Brewster, speeding 6-10 mph over the limit, $25; no valid registration, $25.

Steven K. Syzmonski, 65, of Littleton, Colo., speeding 11-15 mph over the limit, $75.

David P. Renfrew, 54, of West Fargo, N.D., speeding 11-15 mph over the limit, $75.

Marc J. Eckart, 56, of Stevens Point, Wis., theft by receiving stolen property more than $500, sentenced to 54 days in jail with credit for 55 days served.

Jason Hoctor, 39, of Plattsmouth, criminal mischief more than $500 but less than $1,500, ordered to pay $1,034 in restitution; disturbing the peace, sentenced to six months of probation.

Gregory C. Irwin, 40, of Ainsworth, disturbing the peace, $250.

Randell L. Swett, 36, of Long Pine, no valid registration, $25.

Trust N. Tripp, 41, of Ainsworth, false reporting, sentenced to 60 days in jail with credit for four days served.

Houston L. Oleary, 22, of Roseau, Minn., speeding 11-15 mph over the limit, $75.

Courtney K. McLeod, 35, of Ainsworth, three counts of having a dog running at large, $50 on one count and costs only on the other two counts; three counts of no rabies vaccine, costs only judgment on each of the three counts.

Amber S. Kruger, 37, of Springview, taking or possessing fish without a permit, $100.

Trinity J. Arpan, 26, of Sioux Falls, S.D., driving under the influence with a blood-alcohol content of 0.15 or greater, $500, also sentenced to 30 days in jail with credit for 30 days served, driver’s license revoked for one year, and ordered to install an ignition interlock device.

* Eleven to be inducted into  Sandhills Cowboy Hall of Fame

(Posted 7 a.m. April 7)

The 2022 class of the Sandhills Cowboy Hall of Fame has been chosen, and 11 Sandhillers will be inducted June 11.

Inductees for 2022 include three living residents and eight who have passed away. Bill Manning of Cherry County is among the living inductees, as are Dave Knight of Keith County and Mick Phillips of Garfield County.

Inductees who have passed away include the late Mike Welker and Bill Gallino of Cherry County, the late Lowell Minert of Blaine County, the late Bill White and Rita White of Grant County, the late Dave Cambell of Wheeler County, the late Walter Gibbons Sr. of Custer County, and the late George Winters of McPherson County.

The Hall of Fame induction banquet is scheduled for 6 p.m. June 11 in the Cherry County Fairgrounds 4-H building at Valentine.

* Rock County Board approves jail window replacement

(Posted 7 a.m. April 7)

During Tuesday’s meeting of the Rock County Commissioners, the board approved a quote from Sandhills Glass to replace three windows in the Rock County Jail.

A prisoner recently broke three windows in the jail. The commissioners received several bids to replace the windows, one from Town & Country Construction for $6,407, six proposals from Bartak Glass ranging from $3,010 to $8,500, and three bids from Sandhills Glass ranging in cost from $4,900 to $7,500.

The board approved the $7,500 bid from Sandhills Glass, which is an upgrade from the window varieties that were broken. The Nebraska Intergovernmental Risk Management Association provided the county with $5,890 toward the cost of the window replacement.

In other business Tuesday, the commissioners approved a 2-acre subdivision located in Section 16, Township 30 North, Range 18 West in Rock County.

After discussing potential options to repair Twin Lakes Road, the board approved having Miller & Associates conduct a cost-analysis report for the different repair options.

The commissioners approved the Rock County Hospital Long Term Care license renewal after meeting with Hospital Administrator Stacey Knox.

The board approved an agreement with the Nebraska Department of Transportation for tie-out work and monument establishment. The NDOT will pay the county $1,100 for the tie-out work and $1,100 to reestablish the monument.

Pam Bourne from NIRMA met with county officials regarding the employee handbook. Bourne explained the handbook provided guidelines for county employees, but each office was responsible for establishing its own procedures. Following the discussion, the board approved having the county dispatchers clock sheriff’s department deputies in and out when on duty or when called out.

The board approved a special designated liquor license request for the Bassett Country Club June 14-16 during the Sandhills Ranch Expo. The commissioners approved having ACE as the county’s natural gas supplier.

Acting as the Board of Equalization, the commissioners approved a motor vehicle tax exemption for a vehicle owned by the Rock County Senior Center.

The next meeting of the Rock County Commissioners is scheduled for 9 a.m. April 19.

* Commissioners approve purchase of International semi

(Posted 7 a.m. April 6)

The Brown County Commissioners on Tuesday approved the purchase of a 2023 International semi for the roads department.

After tabling the bid provided by Cornhusker International Trucks of Norfolk during its previous meeting, the board approved the $140,420 bid Tuesday.

Highway Superintendent Kenny Turpin said he and roads department employee Dustin Craven traveled to Boone County to view a similar semi and talk with the roads department employee there who was the primary driver. Turpin said the Boone County employee indicated he had not had any problems with that model of semi. Turpin recommended the board approve the bid from Cornhusker International Trucks, which was the only bid the county received for a semi.

The initial price quoted was $138,957, but Turpin said the quote had to be adjusted upward from the time it was originally provided due to the rising price of steel.

In other roads department items Tuesday, the board, with Commissioner Denny Bauer absent, approved having Chairman Buddy Small sign a reimbursement agreement with the Nebraska Department of Transportation for emergency projects performed on federal aid routes. While the agreement provides the county with several hundred thousand dollars in reimbursement for costs to repair damage from 2019 flooding, Turpin said the county did not receive full reimbursement for the South Pine Avenue and Moon Lake Avenue repair work.

Turpin reported reimbursement on those two projects was more than $200,000 shy of the costs to perform the repairs. He said the reasoning was the timeframe for completing repairs, but he said the repairs could not be completed in the state’s designated time because water remained over the roadways on both routes.

The commissioners also discussed a potential detour route for Highway 20 and Highway 7 traffic on Road 877 south of Ainsworth that would then connect with Pine Street. County Attorney Andy Taylor said Sheriff Bruce Papstein felt Road 877 was currently too narrow for detour traffic after the county made improvements to raise the roadway. Turpin said he planned to visit with a nearby property owner to see if the roads department could obtain material to try and widen Road 877 so it would work as a detour route.

In other business Tuesday, Nancy Steinhauser and Karen O’Hare representing the Ainsworth Child Development Center provided the commissioners with an update on the non-profit group’s work to establish a childcare center in the community.

Steinhauser said the group was currently visiting with business owners to obtain donations for the project and would soon begin an area-wide capital campaign to raise money for the project.

The group has secured the Technologent building on Main Street, and plans to trade that building to the Ainsworth Nazarene Church in exchange for The Connection building on Main Street.

Steinhauser estimated it would take a total of $1 million for the purchase and required renovation, and the group had currently raised $283,000, including a $200,000 grant from the Scott Foundation. A portion of that grant was used to purchase the Technologent building.

The childcare center would include an in-house preschool as well as childcare, and at capacity would have room for 46 children with 10 full-time staff members.

Steinhauser said having a childcare center was a huge need for the community to be able to recruit professionals with families to the area, and there was currently a shortage of in-home childcare providers in the community.

O’Hare said there is already a wait list of 35 children for the center, but that could change depending on when the funds are raised and the facility opens. O’Hare said the group was working with Ainsworth Community Schools and Lunchtime Solutions to provide meal service to the facility, which would save a substantial amount from the center having to install a commercial kitchen and hire a cook.

Small and Commissioner Reagan Wiebelhaus thanked the group for the update on the project.

In final action items Tuesday, the board approved renewing a sign permit with the Nebraska Department of Transportation for a sign adjacent to Highway 20 in eastern Brown County.

Treasurer Deb Vonheeder reported a recent public tax sale of delinquent property taxes raised $36,141 for the county. Purchasers of delinquent property taxes either receive 14 percent interest when the property owner pays the delinquent tax, or a lien can be filed on the property. Vonheeder reported 29 parcels with delinquent taxes had those delinquent taxes purchased.

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

* Highway 20 renovation in Ainsworth begins Thursday

(Posted 4:15 p.m. April 5)

Weather permitting, work is scheduled to begin Thursday on Highway 20 in Ainsworth, according to the Department of Transportation.

A & R Construction Co. of Plainview is the contractor. The project will be constructed in

three phases and will include pavement repair, culvert work, ADA compliant curb ramps, sidewalks, gutters and shoulder replacement. A sewer collection system will be constructed. Surfaced drives and intersections will be removed, combined, or relocated with new surfacing. The three-lane section of Highway 20 will be extended on the west side of Ainsworth, to approximately 500 feet west of Wilson Street, and on the east side of Ainsworth, to approximately 1,800 feet east of Richardson Drive.

Traffic will be maintained with lane closures and traffic control devices. Temporary intersection and driveway closures will be required. Work is scheduled to be complete by the fall of 2023.

Motorists are reminded to drive cautiously in and near work zones, to buckle up, and to put phones down.

* Brown County Commissioners agenda for Tuesday

(Posted 6:15 a.m. April 5)

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

5:15             Roll Call.

Acknowledge posting of Open Meetings Law.

Pledge of Allegiance.

Approve minutes of the 3-15-2022 Commissioner meeting.

Kenneth Turpin – Road Department Update

Accept/Reject bids for truck – Turpin

Public Tax Sale Report – Treasurer

5:30    Ainsworth Child Development Center – Update – Nancy Steinhauser & Karen O’Hare

Sign Permit 802002518NB renewal, “Ainsworth” sign located near Long Pine – Hobbs

Authorize Chairman to sign Reimbursement for 2019 March ER projects & Resolutions for Federal Aide routes damage – Turpin

Review Road Dept Job Performance evaluations & merit raises – Turpin

Attend Nebraska Department of Transportation at Ainsworth Conference Center – Small

* Goochey, Flynn crowned prom royalty Saturday

(Posted 6:45 a.m. April 4)

During Saturday’s Ainsworth High School Prom, Madelyn Goochey and Ben Flynn were crowned the prom queen and king following the Grand March in McAndrew Elementary.

The candidates for prom queen were Goochey, Alyssa Erthum, Maia Flynn, Eden Raymond, Haley Schroedl and Elizabeth Wilkins. King candidates were Flynn, Caleb Allen, Ben Barrow, Tommy Ortner, Cash Reynolds and Ty Schlueter.

* Brown County Sheriff’s Department weekly summary

(Posted 6:30 a.m. April 4)

March 27

  • The Minden Police Department served a Brown County bench warrant for driving under suspension. The individual posted their $500 cash bond and received a court date.
  • The Brown County Ambulance Association transferred a flight crew from the airport to the Brown County Hospital to pick up a patient and take back to the airport.
  • Responded to a report of juveniles that had accessed an unutilized building in Ainsworth. The juveniles were issued a verbal warning to stay off of the property.
  • Responded to an agency assist for Blaine County Sheriff’s office. Blaine County received a traffic complaint involving a suspected impaired driver and conducted a traffic stop on Highway 7 near mile marker 10.  During the traffic stop Blaine County issued the driver a citation for driving under the influence of alcohol.  Brown County then transported the suspect to the Brown County jail for holding.

March 28

  • Received a report of a property damage occurring to an unoccupied home in Ainsworth. This is an ongoing investigation.
  • Received a report of a stolen item of small monetary value from an Ainsworth home.

March 29

  • Custer County Sheriff’s Office served a bench warrant issued from Brown County. The individual posted their $500 cash bond and received a court date.
  • Released an inmate from the Brown County Jail on a personal recognizance bond of $1000 and received a court date.
  • Received a report of a one vehicle deer collision on Highway 20 near mile marker 225. The vehicle was unable to drive away from the scene.  No injuries were reported.

March 30

  • Responded to a report of a hit and run accident that occurred to mailboxes, on Highway 20 near mile marker 249.

March 31

  • Responded to a report of burglary and theft occurring on a property in Southern Brown County. Deputies were unable to make contact with one person of interest.  This is an ongoing investigation.

April 1

  • Provided traffic control for a cattle crossing at the Highway 20 and 426th Ave intersection.

April 2

  • Responded to a report of a two vehicle accident that occured in Long Pine. Both vehicles had visible damage but were able to drive away from the scene. No injuries were reported.
  • During a traffic stop on Highway 20 near mile marker 236, a Nebraska State Patrol trooper issued a citation for speeding and driving during revocation. The individual was booked into the Brown County Jail then released after posting 10% of their $10,000 bond and received a court date.
  • Received a report involving an elderly individual suspected of living in unfit conditions. This is an ongoing investigation.
  • Responded to a request for a welfare check on an Ainsworth individual.  The individual was located and reported safe.
  • Responded to a traffic complaint, on Highway 20, near the 9A spur. Deputies were unable to make contact with the reported reckless driver before they entered Rock County.  All information was forwarded to the Rock County Sheriff’s office for further investigation.
  • Responded to a complaint of wildlife cruelty in Ainsworth. Four juveniles received a verbal warning to not interfere with the wildlife.
  • During a traffic stop on Highway 20 near mile marker 246, a citation was issued for speeding 6-10 mph over the posted speed limit.
  • The Brown County Ambulance Association was paged for a 911 call near Meadville Ave. One individual was transported to the Brown County Hospital.
  • Responded to a noise complaint on Wilson St in Ainsworth. One person of interest was located and issued a verbal warning.
  • Responded to a two vehicle accident that occurred at the Community Center in Ainsworth. No injuries were reported and both vehicles were able to drive away from the scene.

Weekly Summary:

1– Burn Permit Issued (by all Brown Co Fire Depts)

        2– Handgun Permits Applied For

11– Incident Reports Were Taken

8-Paper Services Were Served

93– Phone Calls Were Received

3– 911 Emergency Calls Received

6– Titles Were Inspected

March Monthly Summary

2– Accidents

0– Arrests

51– Calls for Service

7– Citations were issued

0– Defect Cards issued

14– Handgun permits issued

14– Paper Service served

556– Phone calls were received

32– 911 emergency calls received

28– Titles inspected

5– Verbal & Written Warnings issued

* Takeover day winning bidders

(Updated 2 p.m. April 1)

Winning bidders are asked to pick up and pay for their items in the Chamber of Commerce office in the Cassel Building on Main Street all day today (Friday), and from noon until 4 p.m. on Monday or Tuesday. The baked goods are available for pickup at KBRB Friday.

Winning bidders from the All-Day Items
Buckley Steel – One day rental of a skid steer, excavator, telehandler or lift – Trevor Wilson $250

Buckles Automotive – A NAPA Carlyle 3-1/2 ton floor jack – Ethan Shaw $210

State Farm Insurance, Union Bank & Trust, Ainsworth Vision Clinic, West Plains Bank, April Good with Lashley Land & Recreational Brokers, Jeep & Lynn Cozad, and Homestead Bank – Two full-size kayaks, oars, Nebraska State Park pass, a 12-pack cooler with ice packs and metal koozies – Kelsey Dailey $530

Frontier Diesel – A portable rolling tote bag with an eight-piece screwdriver set, a four-piece plier set, a hammer, a hacksaw, LED cap light, metric and standard wrench & socket set, regular and needle-nose vise grips, 16-foot tape measure, utility knife and blades, a 10-inch crescent wrench, and two Frontier Diesel tee shirts and caps – Sherm Goochey $500

Husker Meats, Bomgaars and KBRB Radio – A full-size Pit Boss pellet grill, rib-eye steaks, Kansas City strip steaks, pork chops, smoked brisket, boneless smoked pork butt, cheddar brats, plain brats, bacon ranch brats, Dutch Country bologna, Red Barn bologna, cheese summer sausage, cheddar snack sticks, pepper snack sticks and honey siracha snack sticks – Penny Waits $1,200

First Class Auto – An emergency kit, includes a 1,000-amp jump starter, 4-ton bottle jack, tow rope, first aid kit, ice ripper, Nebo light, Carlyle wrench, 9-in-1 screwdriver, whisk broom, tarp straps, car scents, gorilla tape, cable ties, glass cleaner all packed into a 60-liter tote, plus an oil change and a wash job from First Class, plus a $100 gift card to Pump & Pantry, $100 to J’s Keggers and $100 to Conoco, and a First Class cup, cap and gloves – Sherm Goochey $800

Winning bidders from the 1 p.m. hour
Husker Meats – 10 pounds of hamburger – Glenn Johnson $45
Subway – Six certificates for 6-inch sub sandwiches – Glenn Johnson $45
KBRB – Two tickets to the Husker Spring Game – Jeep Cozad $50
Sandhills Lounge – A homemade cheesesteak – Erin Lambrecht $25
Middle Niobrara NRD – 10 starter size trees – Susan Hoover $45
Ainsworth Motors – A front-end vehicle alignment – Glenn Johnson $60
Mimi’s Sweets (Amanda Koch) – Two dozen cookies – Steph Kinzie $65
Devine Health Care – A 15-minute clinic visit – Andrew Paddock $35
J Dean’s Gallery – A $20 gift certificate – Megan Cleal $18

Winning bidders from the noon hour
Gross Seed Co. – A 5-pound bag of Super Turf II grass seed – Marlin Reed $15
Canyon Creek Bar & Grill – A pan of homemade bread pudding – Rhonda Theis $40
State Farm Insurance, Union Bank & Trust, Ainsworth Vision Clinic, West Plains Bank, April Good with Lashley Land & Recreational Brokers, Jeep & Lynn Cozad, and Homestead Bank – An Ainsworth Swimming Pool family pass, floaties, cooler, popsicles and koozies – Ashley Wright $95
KBRB – Two tickets to the Husker Spring Game – Jeep Cozad $50
Hills & Trails FCE Club – 10 dozen cream cheese mints – Tiff Naprstak $30
J Deans Gallery – A $20 gift certificate – Sheri Gann $18
Simple Solutions – A wireless mouse and keyboard and a $25 gift certificate – Joyce Stahl $40
Ainsworth Lions Club – Two tickets to the All-Sports Tailgate Party – Connie Goochey $20
H&R Food Center – A large vegetable tray – Pam Schmitz $37
Kelsey Carroll Custom Wood – Hand-craft wood art piece – Nicole Johnson $60
Travis Electric – A rechargeable LED work light – Glenn Johnson $30
O’Hare Ranch – A pint of homemade salsa and chips – Clint Painter $50
Rolling Stone Feed Yard – A $25 beef draft – Becky O’Hare $23
O’Hare Ranch – A pint of homemade salsa and chips – DJ Hladky $50

Winning bidders from the 11 a.m. hour
Bayer Crop Science – Two mini mag flashlights – Ben Crane $50
Ainsworth Lions Club – Two tickets to the Tailgate Party – Robert Wright $20
Bonnie Finley – A lemon pie and a pecan pie – Coralene Kinzie $50
Brown County Ag Society – Weekend pass to the Brown County Fair – Kathy Modaff $35
The Mundhenke Agency – Ninja air fryer package – Jami Haskell $161
One-half dozen of Vicki Schipporeit’s chubbies – Roger Magary $65
Daniels Manufacturing – Two metal gate closures – Dave Clark $40
Ainsworth Elks Club – A $25 gift certificate – Doug O’Hare $23
J’s Keggers – Wine basket – Tracy Sklenicka $26
Simple Solutions – A $25 gift certificate and wireless mouse – Dave Clark $33
Husker Meats – 5 pounds of pork sausage – Pat Gibbs $50
Red & White – A 16-piece bucket of deli chicken – Amber Happold $25
Ainsworth Motors – A front-end alignment – Craig Smith $65
Madison’s Great Western – A $25 beef draft – Erin Lambrecht $23

Winning bidders from the 10 a.m. hour
Elm Street Ambitions – Two graphic tee shirts, corduroy shacket and a brimmed hat – Sherm Goochey $75
One-half dozen Vicki Schipporeit homemade chubbies – Todd Schermeier $75
Husker Meats – 5-pound box of frog legs – Dwain Grunke $60
Devine Healthcare – 15-minute clinic appointment – Becky Magill $35
Ainsworth Motors – Front-end vehicle alignment – Sherm Goochey $60
Home Health – All-purpose first aid kit – Karen O’Hare $10
Gross Seed Co. – 5-pound bag of Super Turf II grass seed – Tracy Sklenicka $30
Madison’s Great Western – $25 beef draft – Steve Gann $23
Employees of the Sandhills Care Center – Mini chocolate lava and strawberry lemonade bunt cakes – Traci Booth $40
Middle Niobrara NRD – 10 starter-size trees – Tracy Nelson $75
KBRB – Two tickets to the Husker Spring Game – Jeep Cozad $20
Bonnie Finley – A dozen homemade cinnamon rolls – Karen O’Hare $55
Cross Fire Forge – A forged outdoor cooking tool set – Ryan Fowler $125
Rangeland Rehab – Tens 7000 unit and consultation – Glenn Johnson $50
Husker Meats – 5-pound box of crawfish – Jami Haskell $65
Rolling Stone Feed Yard – $25 beef draft – Mike Pepper $23

Winning bidders from the 9 a.m. hour
GJW – A half hog, fully processed – Roger Magary $400
Ainsworth Family Dental – kid’s electric toothbrush – Karen O’Hare $62
Husker Meats – 10 pounds of mountain oysters – Clint Painter $80
Brown County Ag Society – Weekend pass to the county fair – Ryan Fowler $30
H&R Food Center – A large fruit tray – Clint Painter $50
Dawn Family Practice – A fasting wellness package – Tracy Nelson $45
O’Hare Ranch – A pint of homemade salsa and chips – Ashley Wright – $51
Bonnie Finley – A dozen homemade cinnamon rolls – Dianah Schrad $80
Rolling Stone Feed Yard – A $25 beef draft – Jeanne Smith $23
Middle Niobrara NRD – 10 starter-size trees – Robert Wright $65
Brown County Hospital – Entry into the Hospital Golf Tournament June 17 – The Mundhenke Agency $250
Travis Electric – Rechargeable LED work light – Todd Stahl $45
Red Apron (Kate Ortner) – A dozen jumbo chocolate chip cookies – Rhonda Theis $55
KBRB – Two tickets to the Husker Spring Game – Jeep Cozad $20
Bonnie Finley – Homemade coconut pie and sour cream raisin pie – Greg Nahrstedt $50
Office Products – Callaway golf bag – Cory Brodbeck $135
Season’s Restaurant – A $50 gift certificate – Ainsworth Flowers & Gifts $46

Winning bidders from the 8 a.m. hour
AKRS Equipment – Riding lawn mower inspection & kit – Chara Sisson $230
Bonnie Finley – One dozen cinnamon rolls – Kurt Johnson $105
Fitness First – One month membership – Sherm Goochey $10
Red & White Market – 16-piece bucket of deli chicken – Dorothy Kinney $15
Brown County Emergency Management – Road kit – Glenn Johnson $30
Century Lumber – Two sawhorses – Sherm Goochey $30
Husker Meats – A 5-pound box of frog legs – Karen O’Hare $25
Rolling Stone Feed Yard – $25 beef draft – Tyler Johnson $23
Ainsworth Grand Theater – $25 in gift certificates – Lacey Marbry $23
Middle Niobrara NRD – 10 starter-size trees – Trevor Modaff $60
Pam and Denny Bauer – Two Husker volleyball tickets – Tracy Sklenicka – $225
William Krotter Co. – Bushnell Range Finder – Kurt Starkey $120
Daniels Manufacturing – A Daniels sprinkler – Glenn Johnson $45
A half dozen Vicki Schipporeit chubbies – Chelsey Lane – $50
The Book Peddler – Pioneer Women cookbook – Jo Dailey $15
Ainsworth Community Schools – 2022-23 activities pass – Karen O’Hare $40
Madison’s Great Western – $25 beef draft – Mary Lou Hughes – $23

Winning bidders from the 7 a.m. hour
Daniels Manufacturing – Two metal gate closures – Dr. Marty Moravec $46
KBRB Radio – Two tickets to the Husker spring game – Jeep Cozad $20
Ainsworth Motors – Front-end alignment – Glenn Johnson $80
Middle Niobrara NRD – Certificate for 10 trees – Jo Swanson $55
One half dozen Chubbies from Vicki Schipporeit – Casey Johnson $45
Devine Healthcare – 15-minute clinic visit – Lindsey Fernau $40
Bomgaars – 10 broiler chicks and chick feed – Larry Ziegler $15
Husker Meats – 5-pound box of crawfish – Jeremey O’Hare $20
Madison’s Great Western $25 beef draft – Beverly Smith $23
Sandhills Sage $25 gift certificate – Karen O’Hare $23
Elks Club $25 gift certificate – Wilma Andrews $23

          Mon-Sat – 8 a.m. until 7 p.m.
          Sunday – 11 a.m. until 4 p.m.