THE SUPERIOR EXPRESS

Dec. 14, 2017

 

 

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NEWS!

Students protest date picked for prom

Peterson elected to lead Superior Council

Downtown plan includes curb line bump-outs

NRC approves $2 million for Bostwick automation project

 

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The Superior Express & Jewell County News 14 December 2017

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Students protest date picked for prom

Students, staff and parents filled the available seating at the Superior Public School library for the December Board of Education regular meeting. Seven people signed up to speak during the public presentation portion of the meeting. Each was allotted three minutes.
Nearly 30 juniors and seniors were present. Four spoke related to the date selected for the junior-senior prom. The Red Caps calendar published last summer listed the tentative date as Friday, April 13, a day before the ACT tests in Superior. Jamy Sullivan, board member, had approached the administration representing a concerned parent and asked administration not to have the prom the night before the ACT. During discussion, later in the board meeting, she defended the position as a board member and parent. She said students who party the night before would not do as well on the ACT. Bob Cook, principal, said the ACT the day after the prom last year was canceled in Superior for lack of participation. Jamy Sullivan wanted to change the calendar to preserve the ACT test being offered in Superior for the convenience of students.
Students requested they retain the privilege of selecting the date of the prom. They reviewed Sullivan's request, the history of the prom and the problems with moving the prom to a different date. The prom has been held on Friday evening for the past 32 years. Juniors are required to take the ACT this year across the state as part of the state testing program. They will have taken the ACT this year before the prom. Seniors planning to attend college are required to have their ACT scores to the schools of their choice before the prom, thus only freshmen and sophomore would be interested in taking the ACT in Superior in mid-April. Most of them do not attend prom.
Students also reviewed the calendar and the facilities available. All but one cosmetologist plans to be out of town for continuing education on the best alternative date. There were conflicts with community events like the health fair that either limited decorating time or cleanup, plus they had reviewed schedules with the cater. When all their research was done, they had concluded the best date for the prom this school year is Friday, April 13, the day before the ACT test is given in Superior.
During discussion, board members seem to agree education should be top priority. Matt Bargen said, he thought it was too late in the school year calendar this year for the board to require a different prom date. Others commended the students on their research and agreed.
When all members had addressed the issue, Matt Sullivan president said, "The board of education does not set the prom date, the students do with the approval of the administration."
Supt. Isom asked if they could keep the prom on April 13 this year, and Matt Sullivan said, "If that is what you think is best."
Allison White, kindergarten through 12 music instructor, also addressed the board during the public presentation of the meeting. She reviewed high points from first semester. For example, in marching competition, the band was within one point of the top rated band. Next year she wants the band to focus on field competition instead of marching competition. This is the first year under her direction for a junior high choir. In addition to performance they are doing units using technology (Garage Band), the music industry and music history. Band students have also used technology to do some composing either using notation or adding to pre-composed pieces.
White said "Since an hour of my schedule includes junior high choir, my elementary classes are larger. That has gone well since we are using PBIS throughout the school and we use the same language. "
The elementary winter concert is scheduled for Thursday evening, Dec. 14 and the junior-senior high school concert for Tuesday, Dec. 19.
Jordan Martin, instructor, reviewed the accomplishments from one-act play competition. He said, "It has been a good year. We've seen a huge improvement since last year. I had lots of other school coaches come up and compliment us."
He then compared last year's placing to this year, recognized students who were honored for their acting and thanked his assistants.
Seth Going, instructor, reviewed progress on the career academy. The committee met Nov. 14. Five seniors have been placed for second semester. They will be part of a two hour block with a local industry Monday through Thursday for either a six week block or a 12 week block. Local businesses include Teresa Sullivan, CPA; Trent Siebecker - Tall Pine AG Supply; South Central Electric, Agrex, Delka Garage, Superior Outdoor Power;
Going said, "There is lots more to consider than one would at first think. Some of the concerns involve transportation, OSHA and insurance. In addition, some of the companies involved work out of town, so scheduling is a concern.
During the business portion of the meeting, board members approved $514,106 from the general fund for November claims.
They also approved funding early retirement with the right to limit the number of candidates. They accepted the 2016-17 audit.
In addition, they approved letting bids for a contract to renovate the school track. The track slope was originally one percent and needs to be one and half percent for better drainage. Asphalt track life expectancy is 25 to 30 years. The cost of the project is expected to be more than a half million dollars. Supt. Isom has planned the bidding process to correspond with when state asphalt contracts are finalized which should let a company working in the area summit competitive bids for the track.
Among the items included in the school board packet, but not publicly discussed was the annual report from the 2016-17 school year. It reviews the number of students, teachers, and administrators. It also reviews tax requests for the various funds and the proposed tax levy as well as transportation, American Disabilities Act, school improvement goals, high ability learner program, number of school days, buildings and campus.
However, of most interest is the data related to student achievement and how Superior student achievement compares to other school's student achievement across the state. For example, last year Superior's graduation rate was 100 percent compared to 89.11 percent across the state. Twenty seven percent of Superior students receive special education services compared to the state average of 15 percent.
MAPS test scores and NESA scores for Superior students are compared over a three year period for third through eleventh grade students.
The composite ACT score for the graduating class was 21.2 compared to a state average of 21.4.
All juniors are required to take the ACT. The local composite score was 17.3 compared to the state composite score of 18.6.
Several items were talked about during the discussion portion of the meeting: activity scheduling, social media, grade point average and what classes should count, bullying policy, responsibilities of the curriculum committee, and the 3000 series policies.
Board members are in the process of comparing the current policy manual which they have reviewed during the past year with a policy manual from legal council which administration is recommending adopting. The 3000 series policies address a host of items related to handling of school money: budget, deposits, bidding, general purchasing, gifts, grants, insurance and the audit. It also address building access, smoking, press releases, smoking, sex offenders, copy right, etc. Discussion related to the difference between the two policy manuals. The proposed policies can be found on the school web site, under the school board section and this month's school board meeting agenda.
Supt. Isom distributed a handout from the Nebraska Department of Education defining bullying. It listed four elements of bullying: unwanted aggressive behavior, intended to hurt someone physically, verbally, emotionally or electronically, imbalance of power socially, physically or emotionally, repeated over time. When those four elements are present it is considered bullying. Peggy Meyer and Jamy Sullivan, both board members, said imbalance of power socially, physically and emotionally is subjective.
Jamy Sullivan said maybe different vocabulary was needed. Perhaps her own children had been harassed instead of bullied. It appears the subject will be ongoing along with curriculum development related to digital citizenship and student safety.
Prior to adjournment, board members reported on the sessions they attended at the Nebraska Association of School Board fall conference. Matt Sullivan encourage the district to not conduct as many fire drills and instead focus more on active shooter training. "We need to teach our students to run and defend, not to hide," he said.
Peggy Meyer talked about Fillmore Central collaborating with local institutions to help students who need social and emotional support. "Individual Student Plans (IEPs) can have a mental health component," she said.
Jamy Sullivan focused on sessions related to the career academy.

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Peterson elected to lead Superior Council

The request was for a simple curb cut but for a time Monday evening members of the Superior City Council got bogged down over whether or not trucks should be allowed to park in residential areas.
It wasn't until being reminded the request was for a curb cut, not permission to park a semi-truck that the question at hand moved toward conclusion.
B. J. Carpenter was present to explain the reason for the request. She asked for permission lengthen a cut on the west side of North Park Street. Current cuts in that area serve a garage in the Coaches Inn trailer park and the driveway that connects the Kent Jensby home's driveway with the street. The address is 851 N Park, Lot 17.
While the request for the curb cut was made by the Carpenters, the council was told cutting the curb was Jensby's idea.
Questioned about why the cut was needed, Carpenter said it would make it easier for trucks to access the driveway and she told of her plans to widened the rock driveway and park her truck near her residence.
Mayor Sonia Schmidt said she was concerned about allowing semi-trailer trucks to park in residential areas and the disturbance caused by idling semi-trucks.
The mayor asked Derek Clark, the city's zoning enforcement officer, about city regulations governing the parking of trucks within residential areas. Clark replied the question was not currently addressed by the city code. Current regulations were primarily written to address recreational vehicle parking.
When the question came for a vote, permission was unanimously granted by the council
Troy Scott also asked for permission to cut a curb in association with the construction of a garage near his home. Scott said he had gotten a building permit for the garage but didn't then realize he also needed a permit to cut the curb. The two existing drives served a previous garage. He received permission remove the curb which separated the two drives.
As Monday's meeting was the first December meeting, it was also time for the annual reorganization of the city. The only change from the previous year is in the office of council president. That position has in recent years been held by Carrie Lemke. However, Monday night Lemke nominated Chris Peterson and he was elected.
Council action set into motion a process for the city to resume control of the city's allocation of power provided by the Western Area Power Administration.
As part of the Republican River flood control and irrigation project completed in the 1950s, the diversion dam west of town was removed and the hydro power generation station in South Superior shut down. Since that time the city has been allocated 522 KW of firm, fixed electrical power plus 17 KW of seasonal power from May through October from the Western Area Power Administration. That power is generated by hydroelectric projects in other states.
In recent years administration of that power has been the responsibility of the Nebraska Public Power District.
Agreements signed Monday night will extend the contract to Dec. 31, 2050 and transfer administration to the Superior Utility Department.
It was reported to the council that the panels for the solar array that will be constructed east of the water treatment plant are expected to be delivered to Superior before Christmas. This week the city is advertising for a contractor to upgrade the power line which extends along the east side of Hartley Street from Second south to meet the needs of the solar farm. The upgrade is to be completed by May 1.
As part of the proposed downtown improvement project, the utility department will have the city engineers inspect the water main which runs along the west side of Central Avenue between Second and Fifth streets. If the main will need to be replaced in the near future, or if there are any service lines constructed with lead pipe, Larry Brittenham, utility department manager, said that work should be done before the curbs and sidewalks are replaced.

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Downtown plan includes curb line bump-outs
Downtown Superior business and property owners were invited to attend on Thursday a public presentation of plans for a proposed downtown revitalization project. Back in 2016 the City of Superior applied for a block grant administered by the Nebraska economic development department. Last spring the grant was approved. In August a firm was hired to prepare a design.
That plan was presented Thursday and received a mixed response. Some people liked the plan, others objected to at least portions of the plan. The proposed project area is from Fifth Street south to mid-way between Second and Third Street and the intersection of Fourth and Commercial streets.
Depending upon how far the available funds will go, the project will include sidewalk and curb replacement, the placement of conduit underneath the sidewalk which at a future date could be used to carry electrical cable for new street lights, and the creation of mid-block pedestrian crossings and pedestrian bump outs.
According to the planners, Superior's Central Avenue is wider than what is found in most business districts making it more hazardous for pedestrians. The crosswalk and bump-outs will supposedly address these safety concerns by shortening the distance pedestrians will be in the street. It was stated an added benefit would be the slowing of traffic in the business district.
The bump outs will move the sidewalks into the street about the distance a parked automobile extends from the curb.
The bump-outs have several options. The bump-outs may be defined with curbs, planters, decorative furniture or a decorative pole. Adjoining property owners would most likely be responsible for removing snow, treating for ice and maintaining the planters.
Several people attending Thursday's meeting objected to the bump outs and indicated they would hinder the flow of traffic. There were also objections to the possible loss of downtown parking spaces.
Less controversial was the addition of a colored concrete strip on the sidewalk near the curb.
The consultants seemed determined the bump-out feature had to be included in the plan. However written comments, concerns and questions were requested and are to be submitted to Derek Clark at the City of Superior Office at 135 West Fourth Street.
Though she did not attend Thursday's meeting, Mayor Sonia Schmidt previously said the comments would be considered before the council finalizes the plans and advertises for bids. The plan is expected to come before the council for a vote in January.
At earlier council meetings, Kent Jensby, then a member of the council, had objected to the bump-out plan saying they would impede the movement of trucks in the downtown area and increase the cost of snow removal. He has since left the council.

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NRC approves $2 million for Bostwick automation project
The Natural Resources Commission (NRC) approved the funding of more than $10 million for 12 projects whose sponsors submitted applications for funding assistance from the Water Sustainability Fund (WSF), bringing the total WSF commitments to more than $41.7 million since it was created by the Nebraska Legislature through LB1098 in 2014.
The largest project approved is $2,269,194 and was submitted by the Lower Platte North Natural Resources District for two dams within the Wahoo Creek Watershed Plan to aid in flood control.
Two million dollars was also approved for the Nebraska Bostwick Storage Enhancement and Retiming Project submitted by the Nebraska Bostwick Irrigation District. This project will help the district with water savings as well as work as a retiming tool during wet years. This project will fully automate all of the check structures on the irrigation district's Franklin Canal. The project is being helped out by an additional investment from the Lower Republican Natural Resource District. It is aimed at saving water for future use and for complying with the RRCA Compact.
According to Tracy Smith, Bostwick Irrigation District general manager, the project will save the district a lot of water by helping to reduce waste. The Franklin Canal is approximately 45 miles in length and features a total of 38 check structures.
The Water Sustainability Fund is a source of financial support to help the state achieve the goals adopted by the NRC which oversees fund operations, including selecting successful applications, and the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources, which oversees administration. Of the funding appropriated by the Nebraska Legislature each year, 10 percent is designated to projects addressing combined storm and sewer water overflow, and 10 percent to projects requesting $250,000 or less.
WSF applications are filed electronically between July 16 and July 31 each year. Once filed, the applications are reviewed and those found to be "satisfactory and qualified" are forwarded to the NRC for scoring. Scores assigned by the NRC determine which applications are funded.

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