On Monday morning, November 5th the Box Butte County Commissioners held a meeting. One of the items on the agenda was the Audit Report from Jim Gardner of Gardner, Loutzenhiser, and Ryan, P.C. Gardner said, “We encountered no significant difficulties in dealing with management in performing and completing our audit.” When Gardner discussed taxes collected for all entities including the cities, schools, counties, colleges, etc. he noted, “You can see through the years that the tax revenues have increased, from $16 million in 2011 to over $20 million in this past year”. Gardner says, “We are seeing that in all the entities, especially school districts, they are a big part of that property tax call; we are seeing the state aid decreasing every year and more reliance on local property tax.”
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — A Nebraska lawmaker says he’s disappointed by a recently-released state auditor’s report about Department of Correctional Services’ failed attempt to purchase execution drugs from overseas last year.
The report released Monday by state Auditor Charlie Janssen details corrections officials’ efforts to buy more than $54,000 worth of drugs from a provider in India. The state didn’t receive them because federal agencies didn’t approve them for import.
The audit doesn’t answer all of the questions posed by Independent state Sen. Ernie Chambers and Democratic state Sen. Burke Harr.
Chambers says the report doesn’t measure up to the standards of an audit and that it amounts to Republicans closing ranks. Harr says he was pleased with the report and that it demonstrates the benefits of openness and transparency about executions.
Janssen defended the report, saying everything his office does is nonpartisan.
Beginning Dec. 6 a new double-ended pool will be established along the Lincoln/Alliance, Neb. corridor to further control costs and increase efficiencies as BNSF makes adjustments to remain competitive in a tight freight rail business environment.
This change reflects the continued decline of the coal industry, including reduced coal traffic between Lincoln, and Alliance, as well as capital investments that drive greater efficiencies including reducing the operating time between the two cities.
New Alliance/Lincoln Double-Ended Pool
Currently, two separate pools operate between Lincoln and Alliance. One pool has crews headquartered at Lincoln and operates to Ravenna. A second pool has crews stationed at Alliance and operating to Ravenna.
On Oct. 7, BNSF served notice to initiate the new double-ended pool with crews operating between Lincoln and Alliance – approximately 367 miles. Crews will be headquartered at both Lincoln and Alliance – a so-called “double-ended” pool. This new crew district will be implemented on Dec. 6th, 2016.
With the new Lincoln/Alliance pool, no BNSF employees will be required to move.
While BNSF has the ability to implement this new crew district, discussions continue with the BLET and SMART-TD about this operational change.
From Friday morning December 9th through Sunday evening December 11th, the Chadron Police Department will be cooperating with the Nebraska State Patrol by conducting a sobriety checkpoint in Chadron. December is National Impaired Driving Prevention Month. Driving while impaired poses a significant threat to other drivers, passengers and pedestrians on the road. Statistic show, incidents of impaired driving happen more often during the holiday season. In 2015, over 20% of drivers involved in fatal crashes had been drinking. The Chadron Police Department will also take part in the nationwide “You Drink You Drive You Lose” campaign over the upcoming holiday season; December 15th through January 1st 2017. “Don’t drink and drive. Find a designated driver, arrive alive and enjoy the holiday season” says Chief Tim Lordino.
During last night’s Alliance City Council meeting Alliance City Clerk Linda Jines announced the results of the November 8th general election, and newly elected council members Brian Mischnick and Ryan Reynolds were sworn in. Alliance’s current Mayor Ralph Yeager conducted the election of the President of the Council. The results from the ballots showed Yeager remaining as Mayor, with Pasha Korber-Gonzalez as Vice-Mayor. Edward Tjaden is now the Alliance Police Lieutenant.
There were eleven items on the agenda Tuesday night including the rezoning request of Dale Jeske; a provision for the purchase of a front-end loader and Zoll X-Series Defibulator; and a donation from the Jesse Family for an illuminated sign at the entrance of the Sallows Military Museum. The full audio from the meeting is posted below.
By Tena L. Cook, Marketing Coordinator
CHADRON – Four officials affiliated with the Nebraska Business Development Center’s (NBDC) main office in Omaha met with Chadron State College NBDC staff, CSC Business Academy faculty and local business and economic development leaders Tuesday, Nov. 29. The contingent of professionals also toured six NBDC clients in Chadron, Hemingford and Alliance.
The Omaha NBDC group included Dr. Lou Pol, dean of business administration at the University of Nebraska-Omaha, Bob Bernier, outgoing NBDC state director, Cathy Lang, incoming NBDC state director, and Jean Waters, NBDC deputy state director.
The NBDC located at CSC helps businesses with developing business plans, applying for loans and other assistance. Staff include Dr. Gary Dusek, head business consultant, Jennifer Wittrock, office assistant, and Erika Royal, graduate assistant.
The tour featured stops White River Feed, Engraver’s Fryday’s 120 Bar and Grill and the Bean Broker in Chadron, Greenhouse in the Snow in Alliance and Table Top Meats in Hemingford.
Cody Brooks, co-owner of White River Feed with his wife Chrystal since 2015, employs three college students on a part-time basis. NBDC consultants worked with Brooks to refine merchandising and leverage resources, according to Wittrock.
“I rent and loan out some equipment because when my customer see how well it works, I know they’ll buy it. I use everything I sell so I know it works,” Brooks said.
At Engravers, owner Shelli Cope explained her challenges finding reliable suppliers and affordable equipment. She explained how her business has transformed and expanded its base over time and praised NBDC consultant Chuck Beck at the University of Nebraska-Kearney for his help explaining federal government programs.
Sharon Fry at Fryday’s 120 Bar and Grill shared with the group how much work it was to obtain a liquor license last year and how much she has learned through the process of opening a bar and grill and hiring employees. She said the location has been approved to bring in keno and she is planning to make room for it in the bar.
Andi Rising, owner of the Bean Broker since 2008, she always wanted a coffee shop. She provided the background of the historic building on the corner of Second and Chadron Avenue and explained how she addressed heating, cooling, air conditioning and ventilation challenges and what she learned about qualifying for grants. Rising said she is planning to develop a conference room and a study on the second floor of the building which has occupied office space and private living quarters.
Waters also commended the afternoon tour stops at Greenhouse in the Snow in Alliance and Table Top Meats in Hemingford.
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska officials are taking steps to eliminate some of the factors that can drive up a property’s value and tax liability.
The directive announced Tuesday targets premiums that are paid on land due to special circumstances, such as tax advantages or agricultural land that’s used for recreational purchases. Because values are set based on comparable sales of nearby property, the premiums can affect how surrounding land is valued and the taxes owed.
Gov. Pete Ricketts says the directive from the Department of Revenue will clarify how county assessors should handle such property to ensure the market isn’t distorted.
State officials say it’s difficult to know how exactly the directive will affect assessments, but it’s designed to prevent improper increases caused by quirks in the marketplace.
According to Nebraska’s Official Government Website and Office of Gov. Pete Ricketts, “our country’s national conversation about the much-debated medicinal virtues of marijuana has found its way to the Nebraska Legislature. Before the end of this session, senators will likely consider legislation that would legalize marijuana for medical purposes in Nebraska. During the committee hearing process, my administration expressed concerns about the legislation, and those concerns have only grown with the Judiciary Committee’s decision to move it to the floor.
As the use of marijuana has been legalized in some states, including our neighbor Colorado, we have been able to observe the impact the legalization of marijuana has had not only in their state, but as well as our own. Legalization of marijuana for any purpose has proven to be a risky proposition because the controls placed on its use in other states have fallen short. Sheriffs I visit with along the Colorado-Nebraska border tell me that the Colorado law has led to increased criminal activity, placing a greater burden on law enforcement in our state. While Colorado legalized recreational use of marijuana, states like California, who attempted to limit marijuana use to a medical purpose, have seen their system abused by marijuana users who access dispensaries for recreational use.
In spite of efforts to legalize marijuana for recreational or medicinal use in other states, marijuana remains a federally banned controlled substance whose medicinal value has not been tested. While parents and advocates have made their case at the state level here in Nebraska and elsewhere for marijuana’s medical use, our country already has a process in place through the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to determine whether a drug constitutes safe and effective medical treatment. Because of the tested and trusted regulatory framework of the FDA, Americans enjoy the highest-quality and safest pharmaceutical drugs in the world.
While attempts to circumvent the FDA review process may be driven by good will, any legalization effort outside this process puts Nebraskans at risk. For this reason, marijuana should not receive special treatment. Just like any other dangerous drug, marijuana should be subject to the same thorough examination by the FDA to study any potential adverse effects, appropriate treatment schedules, drug interactions, and long-term effects among other topics. Legalization by legislation is no substitute for rigorous FDA review. Major medical associations, including the American Academy of Neurology and the American Academy of Pediatrics, continue to oppose legalization of marijuana for medicinal or recreational use because of the lack of hard scientific research and potential health consequences. While senators have the best interests of Nebraskans in mind, scientific and pharmaceutical experts should fully study marijuana’s merits.
In the absence of an FDA review, expert medical research shows that marijuana is dangerous. A 2014 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine concluded that marijuana use “impairs critical cognitive functions.” Another study conducted by Northwestern Medicine in conjunction with Harvard Medical School found that even semi-regular marijuana use altered parts of the human brain that control for “emotion and motivation.” These are troubling findings, and only mark the beginning to understanding the impact of long-term marijuana use on the human brain and body.
We are already witnessing the results of an informal medical experiment play out here in our state. In recent years, the use of K2, a synthetic form of marijuana, has spread in Nebraska and the consequences of its use have been increasingly dire in spite of attempts by the Legislature to ban its use. Since April 12th, K2 has resulted in over 100 overdoses just in the Lincoln area alone. This is yet another reminder of how dangerous marijuana can be and why any medicinal use needs FDA oversight.
As the debate over medical marijuana takes center stage in the Unicameral, we must be cautious before we follow the lead of other states. Legalizing marijuana legislatively not only gives marijuana a pass on the important FDA review process, but it also puts the well-being of Nebraskans at risk. If you feel strongly about this issue, please take a moment to contact your state senator. You can find all the information you need to reach them at www.NebraskaLegislature.gov.”
For the past 33 years, Kathy Lybarger has been a dominant role model in our community, teaching and mentoring dance students of all ages. When she first moved to Alliance, Kathy began teaching dance for Community Education and since has grown her passion into a full time business. 7th Street Dance Studio is located at 636 East 7th Street. When the building went up for sale, Kathy and her husband Larry, took advantage of the opportunity, purchased it and has renovated it to business it is today. Kathy has 200 students enrolled into classes, a part time office manager, and 3 part time teachers. There are five high school students that assist with the classes and help run the retail store in exchange for their own dance classes.
The 7th Street Dance Studio enjoys performing at different locations in the community as well as the local nursing homes throughout the year. On November 19th and the 20th, several students attended the LA Dance Magic Convention in Denver Colorado. The students participated in a total of ten classes in two days from top notch choreographers and performers. This great experience and continued education is important to keep up on the latest techniques in the dance world. The 7th Street Dancers had a performance every evening during the Knight Museum and Knight Center Tree and Wreath Festival. On Saturday, December 10, 2016, the 7th Street dancers will be performing at the Newberry. The dancers will be highlighting the dances performed during Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite Act II. There will be two performances at the Newberry, the first show will be at 2:00 pm and the second show will begin at 7:00 pm. Tickets may be purchased at the 7th Street Dance Studio or at the door the night of the performance. 7th Street Studio uses the Alliance Chamber of Commerce’s advertising resources to promote upcoming shows and events during various times of the year and appreciates all the chamber does for the community.
Alliance, NE – The Park and Tree Board is seeking nominations for the Park Volunteer of the Year award from the public. Each year, the Park and Tree Board honor an individual from our community who has donated their time and talents to improving our Parks System. The City of Alliance maintains 115 acres of park ground and an additional 38 acres at the City Cemetery. Volunteers are extremely important in the success of the Parks System and the Volunteer of the Year award allows the Park and Tree Board an opportunity to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of those that lend a helping hand. Nominations and information regarding the service provided may be sent to Cultural and Leisure Services Director Shana Brown.