THE SUPERIOR EXPRESS

April 30, 2015

 

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NEWS!

Council focuses on water issues

There's music in the air again

Board continues battle with moldy courthouse

Weed management area to receive NET grant

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The Superior Express & Jewell County News 30 April 2015

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Council focuses on water issues

Members of the Superior City Council continue to review and consider the possible adoption of regulations should an intensifying drought make it necessary to regulate water consumption.
Questions considered Monday evening included should the regulations be applied to businesses and industries as well as residential customers and what about the Village of Hardy that purchases water from the city system? If city residents are not allowed to water their lawns, shold the city be allowed to water the parks and ball fields? Should the swimming pool be filled or should it be shut down?
Larry Brittenham, city utility manager, was asked to consult with other communities in the Republican River Valley and ask what if any regulations they had in place to deal with water shortages.
Superior currently has a defined regulatory process should an emergency such as a line break shut down the water system but does not have a defined process to handle a longer-term water shortage.
Jay Dunker, representing Utilities Service Corporation, met with the council Monday evening to promote services offered by his company.
The company services include municipal water well maintenance and refurbishing. The company currently serves two Nebraska communities, Auburn and York and several towns in Kansas from a shop located in Pittsburg, Kan. It would like Superior to enter into a 10-year contract costing $40,000 per year.
Before making a decision, the council expressed an interest in visiting with other communities served by the company. Superior's wells are currently 45 years old and the city invested a considerable sum recently in reconditioning one of the wells.
A contract was awarded Monday evening for the replacement of a sanitary sewer line from Fifteenth Street near the water tower to the Oregon Trail Equipment Company shop on Idaho Street. Three companies submitted bids. The council accepted the low bid of $90,891.25 from Midland, a company that has previously worked for the utility department. The project has an October completion date. The new line will serve the Victorian Inn, Good Samaritian Society buildings, the Velvet Rose, Superior Paint and Body, Oregon Trail Equipment and two houses. The existing line has frequently had back up problems.
The owner of two houses at 317 and 321 Park Street met with the council to review his plans for the recently purchased property which has been on the city's abatement list.
Mr. Van Steenburg said he plans to convert one of the houses into a garage and storage building and rehabilitate the other for use as a residence. He said the structures would have new roofs and new siding. The windows in the house being converted into a storage building will be removed and a garage door added. Henceforth the two houses will be considered as one property by the county assessor. The address will be 321 Park. He anticipates having the exterior work completed yet this year. He has started cutting trees and cleaning the lots.
Members of the council unanimously approved his plan.
Before adjourning the council went into an executive session with John Hodge, the city attorney, Perry Freeman, police chief, and Sam Clark, city comptroller. Stated purpose was to consider a possible legal matter.

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There's music in the air again

There's music in the air again. The First United Methodist Church's carillon system located in the church building at the edge of the Superior business district has been returned to service after a silence of more than 5 years.
The date the first carillon system was installed at the church has apparently been lost to history but it is thought to have been before 1970. The system employed a reel-to-reel tape recorder and when it was found only one of the speakers mounted on the building's roof was in working condition,the decision was made to use memorial fund money to replace the entire system rather than attempt repairs.
A digital front end system now stores the music and feeds the signal according to a pre-programed schedule to new speakers located on top of the building. The digital system stores hundreds, perhaps thousands of songs and can be programed to play selected music for special occasions such as funerals, weddings and holidays.
Currently the system plays the Westminster chimes at 10 a.m. and from 1 to 5 p.m. Sundays and every hour on the hour from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. other days. The schedule, music selection and volume may be adjusted in the future as the community and members of the congregation become adjusted to the feature.

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Board continues battle with moldy courthouse
The Nuckolls County Board and a handful of other county officials reviewed the report issued by Integrity Home Inspection and Testing in Kearney about the mold issues at the courthouse. Inspectors from Integrity collected mold samples from the courthouse last Monday.
The report divided the courthouse into seven areas. Several areas, including the virtually unused basement, tested extremely high for several different types of mold. Though the basement is mostly unused, unfortunately it is the source of the air pulled through the heating and cooling system and distributed throughout the rest of the building, which could help explain serious mold outbreaks in places like the duct work above the county court office.
The basement is also the location of the county's main server, the computer system that links the various county offices with the state.
The court office has been temporarily relocated to the commissioners room on the first floor, while the commissioners are meeting upstairs in the law library. The commissioners decided on two additional immediate steps Monday ­­ begin to remediate the existing mold and consult the county physician regarding potential health risks.
Commissioner Tim Zikmund suggested asking Dr. Timothy Blecha, the county physician, to review the report from Integrity Home Inspection and Testing and report to the board about any health risks associated with the various types of mold identified in the report.
Commissioner Doyle Christensen said he believes work should begin immediately to correct the situation and improve the working conditions, including cleaning the duct work at each end, as far as can be reached; inspecting and replacing ceiling tiles, installing larger, commercial grade dehumidifiers; even gutting the basement, because the wood paneling and lathe and plaster beneath it are likely covered with mold.
And a larger problem remains, though the commissioners are on the road to fixing it. The gutters are still leaking and allowing water to enter the building during heavy rains, but a roofing specialist and architect were hired to solve the problem. The contractor is scheduled to do the work next month. The historic building for years had a notoriously leaky roof, but that was corrected several years ago.
The commissioners met with Sharon Hueftle, executive director of the South Central Economic Development District (SCEDD). Hueftle introduced herself to the new commissioners ­­ Doyle Christensen and Tim Zikmund ­­ and updated the board on SCEDD's activities within the county during the past year, including the nuisance abatement project in Superior and several grants written for Superior and Nelson.
Established by state statute, SCEDD is one of eight economic development districts in Nebraska. It serves Nuckolls, Webster, Franklin, Harlan, Clay Adams, Kearney, Phelps, Hamilton, Hall, Buffalo, Merrick and Howard counties. Tim Zikmund now represents the county on SCEDD's board of directors.
In other business:
· The board met with Tim Schmidt, county attorney, and his secretary, Kate Brown, to ask if she had any time to help update the employee handbook. Both agreed she typically has time in the afternoons to help. A personnel committee was also established to recommend changes or additions to the handbook. Committee members are Tim Zikmund, Susan Rogers and Jim Bolte.
· John Hodge met with the board on behalf of the Nelson Community Club. With the board's approval, the club would like to continue to install and maintain Christmas lights on the large evergreens on the courthouse lawn. He said they plan to begin to replace damaged or worn strands this year. Community club officers are Royce Schott, president; Dawn Myers, vice president; Tina Albrecht, secretary; and Sandra Schendt, treasurer.
· The new, four-year law enforcement contract between Ruskin and the Nuckolls County Sheriff's Office was approved with the following rate schedule: $2,497 in FY2015, $2,522 in 2016, $2,547 in 2017 and $2,572 in 2018.
· The board agreed verbally to terms for offering a part-time, seasonal noxious weed position. The position will be for six months and pay $800 per month for five months and $1,000 for the busiest month, which is July. At least one individual has expressed interest in the position, and the board plans to meet with him.
· The board directed Carrie Miller, county clerk, to begin gathering a list of surplus items for the county to sell. There may be one or two vehicles on the list.
· A new contract was signed with Contryman Associates for the county audit in FY2015, 2016 and 2017.
· Meeting as the county board of equalization, the commissioners approved motor vehicle tax exemption applications from the Superior Good Samaritan Center for a 2005 Chevrolet Venture and Mid Nebraska Individual Services for a 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan.
· Renewal was approved of the annual web support and software contracts between the county assessor's office and GIS Workshop in Lincoln. The contractor offered to lock in a rate for three years and the board approved.
· The commissioners conducted their quarterly inspection of the county jail facilities, as required by state statute.

 

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Weed management area to receive NET grant
The Twin Valley Weed Management Area will receive $328,000 from the Nebraska Environmental Trust for the Eastern Republican and Little Blue Riparian Improvement Project. The trust board announced funding for the project at its meeting on April 2 in Lincoln. The project is one of the 113 projects receiving $19,491,958 in grant awards from the Nebraska Environmental Trust this year. Of these, 56 were new applications and 57 are carry-over projects.
The Eastern Republican and Little Blue Riparian improvement projects continue ongoing efforts to eradicate invasive species, control vegetation in stream channels, and improve riparian habitat along the Republican and Little Blue rivers and their tributaries within six of the Twin Valley Weed Management Area (TVWMA) counties. Control efforts are conducted in a holistic manner, utilizing a full range of mechanical, biological and chemical tools. TVWMA has undertaken this project over recent years to improve stream flow along the Republican and Little Blue rivers to help enable Nebraska to meet its water delivery obligations to Kansas, to restore and maintain into the future a healthy river system and prevent wasteful degradation of water resources, to improve riparian habitat including re-planting beneficial species, and to increase public awareness of the best practices that can be used to properly manage riparian lands.
The Nebraska Legislature created the Nebraska Environmental Trust in 1992. Using revenue from the Nebraska Lottery, the trust has provided more than $233 million in grants to more than 1,700 projects across the state. Anyone ­­ citizens, organizations, communities, farmers and businesses ­­ can apply for funding to protect habitat, improve water quality and establish recycling programs in Nebraska. The Nebraska Environmental Trust works to preserve, protect and restore our natural resources for future generations.

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