THE SUPERIOR EXPRESS

April 17, 2014

 

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NEWS!

City Council speeds up nuisance abatement program

School Board puts focus on budget goals

City-wide garage sale a week away

Construction to start soon on Highways 78 and 4

The Cyber Express-Record

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The Superior Express 17 April 2014

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Several new videos were added recently. If you're anxious for spring to arrive, check out this video recorded in Edgar last summer. That should get you in the mood for warmer weather! If you let the video continue after it ends, the other new ones will play automatically.

City Council speeds up nuisance abatement program

Members of the Superior City Council agreed this week to continue the nuisance abatement program operated jointly with the South Central Economic Development District (SCEDD) for another year and to speed up the process. At the inspection rate followed in 2013, it would have taken nine additional years to inspect the entire town.
Monday evening the council decided to speed up the process and cover the town within five years.
In 2014 SCEDD will inspect perhaps as many as 189 properties for a cost of $16,500.
Council members voted unanimously to continue the program but devoted a significant portion of the council meeting to discussing the program.
Mayor Sonia Schmidt said she had misgivings about expanding the program at this time because of the added cost. Councilman Kent Jensby counter that speeding up the program would save money by getting the work done sooner. Councilman Steve Fox agreed and said, "Let's get it over and not drag out the process."
As part of the nuisance abatement program, the city has provided dumpsters for the citizens of the community to use at no cost. The mayor and members of the council have repeatedly expressed concerns that the dumpsters are taking business away from the commercial haulers operating within the city, causing people who pay for trash collection service to also pay for the dumpsters via their taxes, and encouraging people to save trash for disposal in the dumpsters which is considered to be counter productive.
Prior to 2012 the city provided dumpsters for two days and spent 8 to 13 thousand dollars for the service. In 2012 the dumpsters were provided for several months and the cost to the city was $33,468. Last year they were provided for 60 days at a cost of $16,386.
Councilman Jensby strongly stated he believed every business and household should be required to have trash service.
Jan Diehl, the city clerk, proposed the dumpsters should be available for a maximum of 30 days, they should be located in a fenced area, supervised and a fee be charged for their use. And she said citizens should not allowed to remove items left in the dumpsters.
The dumpster question was given to the solid waste committee. The committee was asked to return to the council with a recommendation on April 28.
As part of the nuisance abatement program, the council awarded a contract to the J.L. Hopken Company for the removal of six houses and a garage,
The city originally sought bids for the removal of eight residential structures, one commercial building and a garage. For that work, Hopken bid $43,932.75. However, the scope of work was reduced before the contract was awarded. The commercial building, the former water shop, was awarded to a different contractor because of the asbestos in the building. And it appears the owners of two properties will bring their property into compliance before the Hopken company arrives to do the work.

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School Board puts focus on budget goals

As part of the regular April Superior Board of Education meeting, Superintendent Charles Isom distributed an information sheet entitled "School Board Goals." The action is part of an ongoing procedure started several months ago, designed to give administrators direction. When Isom was hired, the highest priority was to address buildings. Setting goals was part of the financial workshop members of the board and interested citizens have worked through in recent months.
Supt. Isom summarized his understanding of the goals discussion to date on the school board goals sheet which read as follows:
· Budget- the superintendent will work to maintain the district cash reserves. Target amount is three months of expenditures. Presently the amount would be roughly $1,500,000 at the end of the fiscal period.
· Student achievement ­ The administrative team will help grow the board's working knowledge of the assessment process. The annual report will be reviewed each February. The administrative team will review the assessment process and provide the time line of when assessments are given.
The board will continue to encourage the superintendent to provide the staff with opportunities to increase their knowledge of the assessment process. The board will encourage staff members to attend workshops. The board will receive a school improvement update each May.
· Personnel - The administrative team will continue to evaluate teaching positions, as openings occur the questions "Can we provide the education needed if the open position is not filled?" and "Can we expand areas of the curriculum without decreasing our offering?" will be addressed.
· Communications - The board and administration will continue communication with key stakeholders with monthly newsletters, monthly newspaper school page, school web page, JMC (student management software system which lets parents and students access to internet for schedules, grades, assignments and general communication), beginning of the school year newsletter, annual report published in the newspaper and the telephone system.
The district will look for ways to highlight the successes of the district by presenting a plaque to the top 15 percent of the senior class, posting honor roll members and recognizing students of the month.
With each goal will be recorded a date, action taken and who was involved.
Darren Willett, Matt Sullivan and Peggy Meyer, all board members, volunteered to work with administrators to develop action items to accomplish the goals. Several members verbally requested action items be developed by administrators and presented to the board to accomplish stated goals especially in relation to the budgetary goal.
During the public presentation portion of the meeting, Allison Brady, music instructor, reviewed the spring's musical events and reported her first year as an instructor is being wonderful. She announced plans to take the band to St. Louis during the spring of 2015 for a non-performing trip. Included in the trip itinerary is a symphony, musical and touring several museums.
Brady also reported the staff school improvement family and community committee plans to work through two items related to reading. The first are flyers which encourage students to read at least 20 minutes a day during the summer and the second is a survey for parents, teachers and students.
During action items, the board approved March expenditures of $481,645 from the general fund. In addition they approved offering contracts to the following preschool personnel for the 2014-15 school years: Mary Tietjen and Kara Smith ­ early childhood educators and Pat Boyles ­ early childhood para-educator.
A bid of $82,650 was accepted for a 2014 bus from Cornhusker International Trucks. Supt. Isom said, "The bus will be used as an activity bus. A current activity bus will become a route bus and one of the route buses will be retired."
Classified staff wages were increased up to 25 cents per hour and bus driver route pay was increased 50 cents for the 2014-15 school year. The board also agreed to pay cooks, para-educators and bus drivers for unused vacation days. Supt. Isom said the history behind the request started when Kevin Knoell, transportation director, had asked if there was a way to get rid of vacation days.
"Currently unused days are lost," Supt. Isom said. "We hire a substitute when they are gone, so we will not be spending more money. We are hoping this will take some pressure off transportation. We are down two school bus drivers from the beginning of the year."
Doug Hoins , elementary principal, salary was increased $1,000 for the 2014-15 school years. Supt Isom said the increase was approximately at 1.2 percent increase on the base salary. The salary will rank fourth in the conference for an elementary principal.
Bob Cook, secondary principal, salary was also increased by $1,000 or approximately 1.3 percent of base. However, his salary is at the bottom of the conference secondary principals salaries. Cook also is paid for other duties. Supt. Isom reported Cook is comfortable with his duties and related salary.
After action items, considerable discussion once again focused on the school's policy related to home schooled junior high students participating in the school athletic program. Supt. Isom reported policies vary widely across the state. Some schools have no eligibility requirements at the junior high level. Others require students to be enrolled in some classes (numbers vary ) and be in good academic standing. The board can set policy for junior high students., however, high school students must attend public school to participate in athletic competition in Nebraska.
Steve Renz, president, at the urging Sullivan and Meyer, directed administrators to continue discussion and consider changing the current policy to allow a junior high student to participate in athletics if they attend a designated number (to be determined) of classes.
Hoins, elementary principal, reported preschool children from the PALLS program, Happy Time preschool and Head Start visit kindergarten in the spring to ease the transition into school. PALLS students visite April 1 and 2.
The Nebraska State Accountability testing window runs between March 24 and May 9. It has been extended because of testing problems related to computer connections. Hoins reported students have repeatedly been electronically dropped during the test.
A mock tornado drill was held March 26. All kindergarten through sixth grade students and staff reported to the tornado shelter by the gymnasium. There is enough room in the shelter for the entire kindergarten through sixth grade population and staff. The elementary office has a weather radio. Hoins said, "Severe weather watches are announced over the intercom, so if a warning is issued teachers will know it is the real thing."
Cook, secondary principal, reviewed outstanding students of the month, talked about preregistration held March 25 and state testing.
The Red Cap athletic banquet is scheduled for May 5. The fine arts night for May 13 and graduation for May 17.

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City-wide garage sale a week away

Advertising orders have started rolling into The Express office for first city-wide garage sale of 2014 which will be held on the fourth Saturday of April.
Advance advertising stated a April 19 deadline for placing the ads but the newspaper staff has since advised it will be helpful to promote the sales event in next week's Leader section if the ads are ordered by 9 a.m. Friday.
Those ordering ads will receive a description of what they are selling and the items to be sold in the next issue of this newspaper and a sign to mark their location as a registered participant in the sales event.
The city-wide garage sale was started by this newspaper in the 1970s and has become an annual event that many area residents look forward to.

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Construction to start soon on Highways 78 and 4
Construction is to begin this month on two highway projects serving Nuckolls County motorists.
Vontz Paving, Inc., Hastings has the $4.1 million contract for a 10-mile long Highway 4 projectfrom the junction of U.S. 281east to Lawrence. Work will include culverts, grading, asphalt overlay and seeding.
At Reference Posts 68.3 to 69.6 and 71.6 to 72.9, phased culvert work will be done with traffic rerouted to a temporary gravel surfaced single lane road and controlled with traffic signals. The remainder of the project will be constructed under traffic with the use of flaggers and a pilot vehicle. Work is anticipated to be completed by late September. The NDOR project manager is Steve Meyer of Hastings.
Work is also scheduled to begin next week on a project near Guide Rock. Werner Construction of Hastings has the $4.2 million contract which starts in Guide Rock and continues south six miles to the Kansas-Nebraska stateline. Major items of work include grading, culvert work, bridge repair, milling and recycling the existing asphalt, and asphalt overlay.
Bridge traffic will be reduced to one lane during repair with a 10-foot width restriction.
Traffic will be controlled by signs and temporary signals. The remaining work will be done with lane closures that will be controlled by flaggers and a pilot vehicle. The anticipated completion date is November, 2014.
The NDOR project manager is Lyle Kohmetscher of Hastings.

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