Category Archives: Regional News

Gage County Tourism and Beatrice Area Chamber Is Seeking Volunteers For HOOPLA

BEATRICE – Gage County Tourism and Beatrice Area Chamber is seeking volunteers for the 10th Annual HOOPLA Youth Basketball Tournament on Saturday, February 27th. Volunteers are needed to assist with score keeping, time clock and concessions.

The first game starts at 8am and the last at 9pm at several venues, including the Beatrice Auditorium, Southeast Community College, Wymore Southern High School and Freeman School.

Interested individuals should contact Gage County Tourism at 218 N. 5th Street in Beatrice, call 402-205-3292 or email aschademann@visitbeatrice.com by Monday, February 22nd.

Gage County Planning Commission Advances Wind Farm Revisions

(BEATRICE) – The Gage County Planning Commission has forwarded revised regulations governing wind farms, to the county’s board of supervisors.  Following a public hearing last night, the commission agreed to establish a sound limit on wind turbine noise affecting non-participating landowners in a project, at 47 decibels, with leeway for ambient sound.

The commission appeared to lean heavily on the testimony of Dr. Peter Goldberg, of Waltham, Massachusetts…..a senior principal at Tech Environmental.  He is an expert in sound consulting who has worked with developers of more than 80 wind farms across the U.S.  He supported the 47 decibel sound limit.

:32                  “residential areas”

Goldberg said the World Health Organization recommendation of a 40 decibel limit is based on an annual average, which the 47 decibel limit would meet.  He pointed out that wind turbines generally run at full power, about 20% of the time. Goldberg cited a Canadian study that looked at annoyance caused by wind farms.

:27                  “weak association”

The commission’s recommendation also sets a 5-decibel maximum over ambient noise, such as that when the wind is blowing hard, during a storm.

Several opponents of a Volkswind U.S.A. wind farm that was proposed for southern Lancaster and northern Gage Counties, attended Thursday night’s hearing.  One was Curtis Schwaninger.

:19                  “sell their house”

Gage County Extension Educator Paul Hay cautioned the commission about the setting of decibel limits….not taking a position on wind farms.  He said ambient noise that occurs now, is extremely variable.

:42                  “consider that”

It was alleged at the hearing that Volkswind instituted a gag order on property owners who had reached agreement to allow wind turbines on their property.  A Volkswind official denied that any gag order, exists.

Among other zoning revisions for wind farms in the commission’s recommendation….

  • A required pre-construction wind noise study
  • A 60 decibel limit for participating landowners in a wind farm
  • A minimum setback of wind towers from non-participating landowners of 1,650 feet, or three-times the height of a tower, whichever is greater
  • No setback for participating landowners
  • A non-participating landowner could waive the setback requirement at the time of application for a wind farm project.
  • A bond requirement for when a wind farm is de-commissioned….and…
  • A grandfather clause allowing the Steele Flats Wind farm to operate under regulations in place at the time that southern Gage County project was built.

The Gage County Board is planning to hold its’ public hearing on the wind farm regulations, March 17th, 6 p-m.  About 30 people attended the zoning commission’s public hearing, which lasted about 80 minutes.

Fillmore County Develpment Corporation Hosts Their Annual Meeting In Ohiowa

OHIOWA – The Fillmore County Development Corporation held their annual meeting Thursday night at the Lazy Horse Vineyard and Brewing Company’s Tasting Room, located in Ohiowa.

Special guests at the event included Sarah Skinner, Legislative Aid to Senator Deb Fischer, Rick Nelson of NPPD, and Collin Silas of Black Hills Energy.

According to Executive Director, Pat Lentfer, Fillmore County experience a total of 16 new, expanding or business transitions in 2015, including expansions at Heritage Crossings, the Behavioral Health Pavilion added to Fillmore County Hospital, building projects at Exeter-Milligan and Fillmore Central and street paving projects in Fairmont.

Fairbury City Officials Work To Develop Business Opportunities

FAIRBURY – Fairbury employers and community leaders held a round table In January to pinpoint key challenges the community faces regarding growth and development. According to City Administrator, Collin Bielser, four main points were discussed in detail; housing, education, technology and general promotion.

“The city’s been pretty aggressive the last three or four years addressing some of the vacant, dilapidated homes. The city will continue doing that with the program we have. And I think it was through all markets; low income, medium income and a little high income.”

Bielser also explained that the main focal point on technology was the need for fast internet within the community.

“There is kind of a push in order for rural towns to really promote that type of technology because then people can work remotely. Telemedicine. Telecommute.”

Bielser said he hopes to work with a nearby community college and also show youth that there are employment opportunities in Fairbury that do not require a college degree. Other meetings and initiatives are planned for the coming months.

Winners Announced at Nebraska Regional Braille Challenge

NEBRASKA CITY – Wednesday featured the Nebraska Regional Braille Challenge at the Nebraska Center for the Education of Children who are Blind or Visually Impaired (NCECBVI) and 15 winners were awarded following.

In the Apprentice Division, finishing in first was Frank Bomberger of Lincoln Public Schools, in second was Andrew Teidgen of Omaha Public Schools and in third was Abby Cool of Omaha Public Schools, as well.

In the Freshman Division, it was Dmitri Shaposhnikov that took first place from Millard Public Schools. In second was Damian Eby of Ashland-Greenwood Public Schools and in third was Pleh Meh of Omaha Public Schools.

Milla Krainak from Omaha Public Schools finished in first place for the Sophomore Division. Second place was awarded to Brady Gilfillan of Falls City Public Schools and NCECBVI. The third place finisher was  Summer Eby from Ashland-Greenwood Public Schools.

In the Junior Varsity Division, Dannielle Schutz from Syracuse-Dunbar-Avoca Public Schools finished in first, Maura Loberg of Wayne Public Schools took second and Samantha Bomberger from Lincoln Public Schools finished in third.

The Varsity Division was won by Brandon Peters of Lincoln Public Schools, with Alek Balaberda from Bellevue Public Schools in second and Emily Kozisek from NCECBVI in third.

Winter Musical ‘Pinkalicious’ To Debut At The Community Players Theatre

BEATRICE – This weekend will be the debut of the Community Players Theatre’s winter musical Pinkalicious.

Based on the children’s book series of the same name, Pinkalicious follows the story of a cupcake loving little girl with a joy for any and everything pink.

You can catch the play Friday, Saturday and Sunday over the next two weekends, with shows starting at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and an afternoon show at 2 p.m. on Sunday.

Relay for Life ‘Jail and Bail’ Scheduled for February 19th

FAIRBURY- The Relay for Life Jail and Bail, sponsored by the local group, Caped Cancer Crusaders, will be held at the Stagecoach Mall Antiques and Tasting Room on February 19th from 9am – 2pm. According to team captain and event organizer, Diane Schutt, funds raised will go to Jefferson Country’s Relay for Life that will be held on June 17th at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds.

“We have several community members who agreed to be kidnapped and arrested by some local law enforcement people and they’ll have a set amount of bail they have to raise and we’ll have goodies down here for them.”

Interested parties can also have friends or family members arrested for a 20 dollar fee paid by Wednesday, February 17th. Relay for Life is a fundraising event for the American Cancer Society.

Beatrice BPW Discusses Rebate Program

(BEATRICE) – The Beatrice Board of Public Works has a decision to make, over whether to continue a form of the NPPD Energy Wise Rebate program that will be phased out.   The board and Beatrice City Council opted last year to seek wholesale electric power from another supplier at the end of the current contract with NPPD.

The district has capped the amount of funds Beatrice can use in the form of energy rebates, this year.   A large industrial application by Exmark Manufacturing for an LED lighting renovation will take all of the city’s rebate funds for this year.   BPW Manager Tobias Tempelmeyer says administration can put together a plan for the board to consider.

:21                  “for next year”

NPPD Energy Efficiency Manager Chad Podolak says the Energy Wise program begun nearly ten years ago, was designed to save energy and delay the need for additional power generation facilities.

Those who obtained the incentive in the past, see it as a rebate on their power bill.  In some years the city of Beatrice has exceeded the rebate amount budgeted.  In other years, not all of the funds have been used.  The past year, the city’s budgeted amount was $36,500.

Public works board member, Darrin Baehr, feels an effort should be made by the board to continue a similar program.

:12                  “some way, shape or form”

It’s expected the BPW would have to budget around $35,000 to $40,000 to continue a similar program.

BPW Board Chairman Dave Eskra says it make some sense to continue the program, for energy improvements such as LED replacement lighting.

:33                  “utilized for”

At least ten applications for the rebate program have been turned away since the start of the year, because of the cap on funds.   One of the decisions for the BPW is whether to honor applications through use of local budget funds, for the remainder of this budget year.

Homestead National Monument To Continue Speaker Series, Public Meeting

BEATRICE – Homestead National Monument of America will continue their speaker series in February by commemorating African-American history month.

UNL PhD student in history Christy Hyman will present at 2 p.m. on Monday, February 15.

“She worked at George Washington Carver National Monument, and so she is going to come out and tell us about George Washington Carver and his homesteading years.”

Bornemeier thinks the topic is interesting because of Carver’s prominence.

“George Washington Carver did a lot of amazing things during his life, and probably not very many people know that Carver also was a homesteader.”

Also coming up at Homestead National Monument is a public meeting to gain input from the community about changes or additions to the grounds or programs.

“Then to look further, is what we are already doing going to be viable into the future. Is it going to be attractive to the future generations. How can we build up that next generation of National Parks Service supporters.”

Bornemeier says surrounding communities have always supported Homestead National Monument.

“So the local community around here is very supportive of Homestead National Monument, and has helped us and had a lot of good ideas.”

That meeting will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Education Center on February 25.

Maintaining and Repairing Fairbury’s Historical District’s Brick Streets

FAIRBURY –  The brick streets that pave the way for motorists in Fairbury have been used for many years and according to Laura Bedlan, Assistant Street Superintendent, maintaining and repairing these unique roadways, both downtown and elsewhere, differ from concrete and blacktop roads in many ways.

“Under the brick is actually concrete and sand so when you see the brick streets start to buckle, a lot of the times it’s because the concrete underneath is starting to collapse, so what you have to do is physically remove the brick, set it aside, then get underneath and repair the concrete and place sand and brick back in on top of that,” said Bedlan.

Bedlan also stated that salvaged brick is used to repair the roadways, especially the historic district, but that supply is running low.

“There have been some brick streets removed in the past and we do save that brick. It’s not your standard brick that we use in the streets. We save the historic brick and if we have an issue that we need to replace brick, we can go back to that pile.”