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The Superior Express
Superior, Nebraska
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February 13, 2014     The Superior Express
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February 13, 2014
 

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SM "*C005"0215'D** * .... sMALL TOWN pAPERS 217 W cOTA ST SHELTON WA 98584-2263 Midlands Edition 20 Pages Two Sections Plus Supplements I Our 115th Year, No. 7 J nc Superior Express Official Nuckolls County Newspaper Available on the web at superiorne.com I Superior hon00erwner nearly overcome by deadly sewer fumes The family pets, two cats and a dog, escaped without harm. Members of the SVFD aerated the house and flushed the drain according to hazmat instructions. Kevin was hospitalized overnight and is taking breathing treatments. Reagan was tested, but required not medical attention. Jennifer was at work at the Good Samaritan Center and Tyler, an eighth grade son, had been an overnight guest of a friend and was not home when the incident occurred. The family stayed with other fam- ily members Sunday night and returned home Monday. Sunday afternoon, members of the Superior Volunteer Fire Department (SVFD) and the medical rescue squad responded to a 911 call at the Kevin and Jennifer Simpkins residence at 836 N. Central Avenue, Superior. Reagan Simpkins, a fifth grade son, made the call when his father, Kevin, was adversely affected by toxic fumes and could not speak. Kevin had poured a drain cleaner down a clogged base- ment drain. The drain cleaner chemi- cally reacted with an unknown sub- stance in the drain. "Fortunately, Kevin got out of the basement," Carnie Kroeger, his sister, said. Weather Superior Temperature High this week .............................. 29 Low this week ........  .................... -8:6 Snowfall Feb. 4 Storm Superior ....................................... 4.8 Lawrence .................... ................. 4.5 Ruskin .......................................... 5.5 Ionia ............................................. 3.0 Burr Oak .................... .................. 4.6 Mankato ....................................... 5.0 Through Sunday it seemed like we had nearly daily snows though Sunday's was the only with enough depth to require shovel to clear the walks. Most days there was little to no accumulation. It has been dry since Sunday and the temperature has been climbing out of the hole. Should be relatively mild by the weekend. Markets Superior Grain Market Tuesday Close Cunent Price Last Week Corn .............................. 4.24 4.32 Milo .............................. 4.42 4.52 Wheat ............................ 6.60 6.39 Soybeans ..................... 13.05 12.91 Price 50 National Edition 20 Pages in Two Sections Member of Nebraska Press Association and National Newspaper Association II ISSN 0740-0969 2013 SuperiOrsuperior,PUblishingNebraskaCOmpanY,68978 Inc. All Rights Reserved E-mail address: tse@superlorne.com Thursday, February 13, 2014 I w Valentine Express "I?'  o 1o o v. m t/00ts tssue No injuries reported in 3-vehicle accident south of Nelson There were no injuries in a three- vehicle accident Monday evening on Highway 14 south of Nelson. Accord- ing to Jim Marc, Nuckolls County Sher- iff, the accident occurred at about 6:30 p.m. at the intersection of Highway 14 and County Road N. Marr said Gary Ostdiek, rural Nelson, was northbound in a 1991 Chevrolet pickup pulling a hay. trailer. When he started to pull over and slow down at the intersection, the vehicle following him, a 2014 Chevrolet Equi- nox driven by Stephanie Cobb of rural Glenvil, collided with the hay trailer. Marr said the trailer had no lights. A third northbound vehicle, a 2007 Chevrolet utility vehicle driven by Robert Stofer of Davenport, then col- lided with some hay bales that had fallen from the trailer onto the high- way. Matt said the pickup and utility vehicle were driven away from the scene, while the 2014 Chevrolet Equi- nox was totaled. Nelson Fire and Res- cue and the Nuckolls County Sheriff's Department responded. LeRoy and Joy Barnes celebrate 60th anniversary In honor of Valentine's Day to- When they left Sioux City, they morrow (Friday), we feature a Supe- rior couple who will celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary on Tues- day. LeRoy and Joy Barnes -- now 82 and 80, re- spectively- met at a roller skating rink in Sioux City, Iowa, when he was 21 and she was 19. To- gether, they took skating and roller dancing les- sons and joined a skat- ing club called the Floor Shiners, which traveled to other skating rinks within a 100-mile radius of Sioux City. He is from South Sioux City, Neb.; she is from Sioux City. On Feb. 18, 1954, about a year after they met, the two were married at Riverside Methodist Church in Sioux City. LeRoy worked for 37 years at the stockyards in Sioux City, first as a messenger boy, then i n purchasing, and eventually as director of public relations, traveling a five-state area. Joy worked as a nurses' aide for many years -- caring for polio pa- tients and those in iron lungs in the 1950s -- and also with psychiatric patients. She also worked as a tailor and seamstress, both for Sears and for Tully's, a men's clothing store in Omaha. moved to Abilene, Kan., where they owned and operated a Dairy Queen until 1994, when LeRoy was offered a job at the Hardy Co-op. Their daughter, Rhonda Edwards, was living in Hardy and still does. They have another daugh- ter, Linda Jones, who lives in Hastings. They lived in Hardy until 2002, when they moved to Superior. His last job was as a driver for Zoltenko Farms, which he did for two years. They still enjoy traveling and have taken many bus tours. LeRoy said he takes a 10t of pic- tures when they travel. Until a few years ago when a car accident forced him to give up golf,, they enjoyed playing together. They enjoy attend- ing their grandchildren's events, but LeRoy said this was the first year he didn't have a grandson playing foot- ball in a long time. "I've slowed down a little," he said. *'I' m pretty good at doing noth- ing. Ask anyone." When asked about the secret to a long marriage, LeRoy said, "There are no magical words. You have to get good at adjusting to the things that happen." This newspaper's web page may Se[LI'I1 ILwtiststrike be found at superiorne.com, in NuckollSCounty Board approves nearly $30,000 courthouse technology upgrade need. Without those options, the JCB machineis less expensive than the John Deere-- at $4,973 -- however it also lacks the Capability of having tracks installed, which Warren said is im- perative and the John Deere has. In other business: . The board approved a contract for the first phase of work to be done by Berggren Architects, which includes preparing detailed floor plans of the courthouse and discovering why the gutter system appears to still be caus- ing leaks in the building. The work may cost up to but not exceed $9,000. Tim Schmidt, county attorney, had previously reviewed the contract and was present for the discussion. Gary Warren requested an execu- tive session to discuss a personnel is- sue. Included initially were Warren, Cindy Buescher, road department sec- retary, county clerk Jackie Kassebaum and the three commissioners. After approximately 10 minutes, Jim Bolte, road department foreman, and Mike Mousel, a road department employee, were asked to join the closed session. No formal action was taken as a result of the executive Session. year extended warranty, will be pur- chased from Associated Computer Systems in Des Moines, Iowa, at a cost of $858.17. The technology and security up- grade for the courtroom will be done by Communications Engineering, Inc., in Hastings and will cost $9,959.46, $5,609.46 for equipment and $4,350 for installation. The total cost of the three phases will be $29,940.47. Royce Gonzales, clerk of the district court and the county's unofficial information tech- nologist, is overseeing the purchases and installations. The commissioners and Gary War- ren, county highway superintendent, reviewed proposals for trading in the road department's skid steer loader. The board approved trading the cur- rent 2013 John Deere 320D with 160 hours for a new John Deere 320E for a difference of $5,847 with Oregon Trail in Superior. A proposal was also received from Superior Implement for a JCB skid steer, however the unit they have on hand includes more than $5,500 in options Warren said he doesn' t wantor The Nuckolls County Board at Monday's regular meeting approved an expenditure of nearly $30,000 for technology upgrades and updates throughout the courthouse and road department shop. The hardware will include new com- puters, printers and related equipment for various courthouse offices; a new network power backup system for the entire courthouse; and a technology and security upgrade for the court- room. Equipment upgrades for courthouse offices include nine new computers, kits to upgrade memory on eight exist- ing computers to 4 GB, kits to upgrade memory on six existing computers to 8 GB, four printers, one wireless router, one laptop computer, one flatbed scan- ner and new wireless keyboards and mice throughout the building. This equipment will be purchased from Multi-County Information and Pro- gramming Services (MIPS), the tech- nology division of NACO (the Ne- braska Association of County Offi- cials), at a cost of $19,122.84. The network power backup system for the courthouse, including a three- At least two Nuckolls County resi- dents, probably more have been ap- proached by what appears to be a band of scum artists driving a red pickup truck. According to Deputy Sheriff Brad Baker, the scammers appear to be con- centrating on older residents. They contact the residents and con- vince them they need to get on the roof of the home to make an inspection. After completing at least one inspec- tion, they showed the home owner an aluminum cable supposedly removed from the roof which they said was in need of immediate replacement and asked for $800 to do the work. The resident didn't fall for the scum and sent them packing. A Lawrence area resident was not so fortunate. After listening to the inspection re- port, the resident agreed to pay $5,000 for the supposedly needed repairs. When the scammers took the check to the bank, bank employees were suspi- cious and called the resident who re- ported having written the check for much needed repairs and approved its cashing. It wasn't until later, the resident realized the repairs were a scum and spoke with the sheriff's office. Deputy Baker, advised there is little the sheriff's office can do after the work is ordered and the check written. He said it is better to contact law en- forcement first. Pictured are representatives from each of the Superior elementary classes participating in the "Valentines for Veterans" project this year: (From left) Owen Perrie, Jacob Meyer, Kendall Brenneman, Cora Schnakenberg, Caden Roberts, Cassidy Frey, Jetta Sun'day, Shayla Meyer, Cayce Barry, Jenna Combs and Colby Smith. Superior students participating in 'Valentines for Veterans' are grateful to Doug Hoins, Superior elementary principal, the teachers and students at Superior Elementary School for their continued participation in the project. Because of their continued sup- port, more than 1,000 Valentines will be delivered to veterans this year. Superior elementary students have Diller-Odell, Fairbury, Geneva, joined other area students in making Hebron and Meridian. "Valentines for Veterans." This is the Valentines were delivered to the third year Superior has participated in V.A. Hospital in Omaha. Staff there the project and this year students ere- will distribute them to the patients in ated more than 200 Valentines. Other the hospital and also to inpatients at the area schools participating include . V.A. clinics served by the Omaha io- Council approves street plan; holds firm on abatement date Following a public hearing, mem- bers of the Superior City Council ap- proved the 2014 version of the one and six-year street improvement plan for the City of Superior. However several changes were made in the plan after hearing comments from residents of Superior and the council. Items currently scheduled to be completed in 2014 include the Sunrise Street cul-de-sac started in 2013, re- pairs to the asphalt surface applied in 2013 to Fifteenth Street between Cali- fornia and North Park, repairs to the asphalt surface of First Street west of Hartley and concrete paving of Thir- teenth Street between Idaho and Da- kota. At the suggestion of the council, the proposed repair of the intersection at Second and National was moved to the six-year plan. Instead the Fourth and National intersection will be repaired this year. Both are in need of work, but the Fourth Street intersection was origi- nally delayed to 2015 as it will be necessary to close the intersection for the work and the intersection was closed for several weeks in 2013. The council decided because of its heavier use, it should be the first to be repaired. Donald Tyler asked the council to add a drainage project at the intersec- tion of Second and Converse, Mem- bers of the council agreed the work was needed and asked to have a cost estimate developed. If funding and time. are available, the work may also be done in 2014. The council asked if concrete surfacin of Fifteenth Street was still planned. The answer was no. Previously the county board had indicated a willingness to share in the cost of such a project. However, the board is not interested at this time. It was noted the asphalt surface applied last year has improved the street which is expected to carry more traffic when Eighth Street is closed for the replacement of the Lost Creek Bridge.' While not part of the one-year plan, that bridge work is expected to begin this spring. The council approved preliminary plans for a Brodstone Memorial Hos- pital sponsored foot race on May 9. Unlike other races that begin in the early morning, this race is slated to begin at 8 p.m. and may included a dance on the Lincoln Park basketball court. Council members expressed safety concerns with regard to the race route utilizing public streets near sun- set. (Continued to Page 3A) PALLS program change may save district $124,600 Monday evening during regular ses- sion, members of the Superior School board reviewed several items which will impact future expenditures. Supt. Isom distributed a work sheet project- ing itemized district costs of operating the preschool (PALLS) which to date has been managed by the educational service unit. Preliminary figures indi- cate the school district may save $124,600 by operating PALLS. This includes hiring staff, purchasing sup- plies and supportive services, staffben- efits and a summer school program. However, Supt. Isom projected it would cost the district $20,000 more than the ESU charges to hire a speech language pathologist and provide the required support services. A letter from Harding and Schultz, the district's legal consultants, regard- ing the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and related worksheets were distfi'buted. Jim Miller, beard member, questioned if the board needed to address Obamacare because of the one year reprieve announced earlier in the day for small business employers (those with 50 to 100 employees) Those present were uncertain when the employer mandate will be enforced and it was thought the school might be considered as having more than 100 employees. They are certain the school will be affected within the next two years. The school employs more than 100 people, 21 of whom work 30 or more hours a week and are not currently covered under the school health insurance plan. To provide the insurance package cur- rently provided to certified (teachers) and full-time classified staff to the 21 employees would have cost the district an additional $250,770 this year. The cost of the current coverage ranges from approximately $750 per month to $1,135 per month, or more than $10,000 per year per employee. If they school should choose to not comply with the new law, the fine is $3,000 oer vear for each employee (more than $300,000). One of the recommended options is to let qualifying employees sign-up for "unaffordable coverage." The school would be required to pay 50 percent of the premium (projected to cost $56,354). For each employee who chooses to go to the exchange for health care coverage, the school would be f'med $2,000. This is currently thought to be the less expensive option for the school. Another option is for the district to comply with the new law by providing a special subgroup of employees with different benefits than provided by the current insurance package. The school would be required to pay 100 percent of the costs. This year, that would have cost the district $106,122. Another option being chosen by some school districts is to reduce em- ployee hours to less than 30 hours per week. Harding and Schultz warned districts to be extremely diligent in tracking hours. Otherwise they could be exposed to $2,000 fine per em- ployee, minus the first 30 employees. For the Superior district the fine would be approximately $140,000. No action related to the Affordable Care Act was taken Monday evening. During reports, it was noted that Tom Blackburn, industrial arts instruc- tor, has returned part-time and cur- rently is at the school during lunch and teaching three periods in the afteinoon. Supt. Isom said, "Mr. Blackburn has gained some weight and is regaining his health. He hopes to be back in the classroom full-time by the first week of April." Supt. Isom reviewed six legislative bills: LB 464, related to truancy; LB 470, related to the public having access to superintendent contracts; LB 682, Allied Schools; LB 725, related to Lo- cal Effort Rate; LB 952, school im- provement; and LB 670, ag land valu- ation. Action items included approving expenditures of $472,507.42 from the general fund. The board also approved membership dues of $3,877 .for the. Nebraska Association of School Boards. To utilize ALICAP the school must be a member. ALICAP is self- insurance program set up by member schools. The school board unanimously voted to require all high school stu- dents to take semester tests starting with the 2014-15 year. The issue had been debated annually for several years and rejected because students have earned the privilege to choose whether or not to take semester test by attend- ing school regularly (not more than three unexcused absences per semes- ter). In recent years, some board mem- bers have argued that students need to learn how to comprehensively review and take tests to be prepared for col- lege. This year the decision was made with little public discussion. Semester tests will count as 15 percent of a student's grade and be required for all classes. Discussion indicated all classes will include art and music. Darrell Kile, a board member, asked specifically that tests be comprehensive and not just a chapter test. The 2014-15 school calendar was approved as presented. During discus- sion, Matt Sullivan asked if any other board members had been contactdd concerning the inconvenience late Wednesday morning starts create for single and working parents with young children in Superior. There were no responses. However, Jim Miller said, "If it's a hardship on parents, why don't we meet earlier? We are here for students. Meeting earlier would affect fewer people, 50 or so as opposed to the whole Student body. I know it would not be a popular with staff, but I serve on boards that meet early." Each month, the Wednesday after the monthly school board meeting .school starts two hours late for stu- dents. Staff have inservice training during the time related to the school improvement goals. Eight late start staff inservice Wednesdays are sched- uled for next school year. Doug Hoins, elementary principal,' said, "One of the areas we were dinged because our approach to school im- provement was not consistent." Administrators seemed in agree- ment that the Wednesday meeting time had worked well for staff. The 2014'- 15 calendar sets Wednes- day, Aug. 13, as the fwst day of school and concludes with required semester exams on May 19, 2015. In other business, the board ap- proved a contract with Grand Island Physical Therapy to provide physical therapy services to the district for next year. They also approved an enroll- ment option policy. The second read- ing was waived. Doug Hoins reported elementary magazines sales began Jan. 22 and ended Feb. 5. Profits from the sales purchase recess equipment and other items for students to use at school. The project typically raises between $3,000 and $4,000. Fourth grade students participated in statewide writing assessment Jan. 21 and 22. Hoins said the test is still a paper and pencil test because fourth grade students do not have efficient keyboarding skills. Students had two 40 minute sessions on consecutive days to complete the writing assignment which is a narrative essay on a given topic. Results will be available later in the spring.. Bob Cook,junior-senior high school principal, said the state is updating the on-line writing test for eighth and elev- enth grade students. This yearcomput- ers shut down during the test. Superior - students' essays were intact when they were able to get online again to finish the tests. However, in some districts student writing was lost and they were required to start over. Wednesday, Feb. 26, the board will meet again at the Superior High School library to continue the finance work- shop. The public is invited. Bostwick manager views water plans differently Editor's Note: This week we began year would be a"compact calF' year. A a multi-week series of articles written by Mike Delka, manager of the Bostwick Irrigation District. On Jan. 8, I had the opportunity to hear Governor Heineman address the water round table in Lincoln. The gov- ernor mentioned several issues includ- ing taxes and water. He also gave a brief history of some of the accom- plishments of his tenure. When the Governor addressed any potential fund- ing to address problems, he empha- sized the need for people to get their message out. First, I can't believe anyone in the media has not asked the simple ques- tion, "Why is the State taking the po- tential water supply from approxi- mately 100,000 surface irrigated acres in the Republican River Basin?" The common answer is compact compli- ance. But, why is this action necessary for compact compliance? The asic reason is that Nebraska does not have sufficient management of wells on an annual basis. Giving a field a five year:,water allocation based on "normal" or !,'aver- age" years and the ability to carry for- ward unused allocation only means that it will be difficult to have a water balance in dry years, in the Republican basin, when water supplies get short, the state must maintain compliance on a two year average instead of a five year average. The state will tell you the Natural Resource Districts control wells, so they can not reduce pumping. The state does control the NRD allocations and has some very sophis- ticated water models to help them pre- dict and estimate. In November of2012, tb , y, .... ....... :ted the 2013 water compact call year means reservoirs may be required to bypass water (not store) and surface irrigators may not be allowed to divert water from the river. These actions are in the NRD inte- grated management plans (IMPs). The issue here is the IMPs were drafted between the state and the NRDs with- out the concurrence or approval of the surface users that are to be sacrificed. Some believe that because they had a public hearing (some testimonies opposed the IMP) that everyone was in favor of these actions. I am sure if the roles were reversed and the irrigation districts had IMPs, they would say to shut off wells even if the NRDs op- posed them and it would be called a consensus. The preliminary basin fore- cast given by the state in November 2013 for the 2014 water year projected the Lower Republican Natural Re- source District would have a -13,100 ad'e-feet balance, the Middle Republi- can NRD would have a -3,850 acre- feet balance and the Upper Republican NRD would have a -15,450 acre-feet balance. I realize 'that nothing has been pumped yet and there is still time to avoid the damages producers will face. There is no will or desire to do so. Those in charge must believe it is bet: ter to devastate the few than to incon- venience the many. This philosophy appears to contradict the IMPs, which have a goal to "ensure that ground water and surface water users within ihe Basin assume their share, but only their share, of the responsibility to keep Nebraska in compliance with the Compacf." It is understandable why lawsuits have been filed and more are contemplated. cation. They also distribute them through the hospital's pharmacy mail orderprogram. This allows for a wider distribution of the Valentines so more veterans can enjoy the students' cre- ations. Organizers of the program say they