News

Wed
22
Mar

Table Rock Consignment sale draws a crowd

By Sharla (Siztman) Cerra

About 1,000 people showed up for the annual consignment sale in Table Rock. It is a major fundraiser by the Table Rock Volunteer Fire Department in this town of less than 300 people.

There were 534 buyer numbers given out. It seemed that there were fewer consignments this year, but they must have been packed tighter, because it still took from 9 a.m. until about 7:00 p.m. before the last of the three auction rings closed down. The volunteer auctioneers this year Wes DeBuhr out of Auburn, Randy Speckmann of Tecumseh, Steve Kostal of Odell, and newcomer Lane Meyer.

 

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Wed
22
Mar

Chad Rinne in concert March 26

By Ray Kappel

After his first concert at age 13, Chad Rinne got some advice from one of the ladies listening to him play.

“Don’t forget where you started, playing in the back of a truck in Pawnee City.”

That truck had brought a piano from the old Methodist Church in Elk Creek, rescued by Chad’s father, Roger. (This piano was actually played on by my mother, Ruby Kappel, when she attended there.) They were tearing the church down but Roger wanted to save the piano.

They brought it by truck to the Pawnee Panorama. They left it on the truck for him to play for the crowd because they were taking the piano to a family of seven who wanted it for their children.

 

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Wed
22
Mar

City sales tax increases to 2 percent

By Ray Kappel

Starting April 1, the city sales tax goes up one-half of a percent. That will be a total of 2 percent.

Local option sales tax can only go up to 2 percent, so we won’t see any more raises.

According to City Clerk Tammy Stephens, the city is estimating that the .5 percent increase will bring in about $42,500 in revenue a year. That will go toward the Street Paving Project to assist in making the city’s USDA Street Paving Loan Payment for their half of the project. The city will use part of the Highway Allocation Fund to make up the rest of the USDA Street Paving loan payment.

 

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Wed
22
Mar

SENCA releases assessment report

On Tuesday, March 14, 2017 Community Action of Nebraska (CAN) and representatives from the nine Nebraska Community Action Agencies (CAA’s) throughout the state hosted a rollout event at the Marriott Cornhusker in Lincoln. Information regarding the 2016 State and Regional Community Assessment Report was presented to approximately fifty attendees which included Legislative staff, community partners, CAA staff, and local media.

CAN launched the 2016 Community Assessment Survey in August 2016, mailing 10,000 surveys to residents across the state of Nebraska. This year’s basic needs survey yielded an impressive 25% response rate overall, representing residents living in rural, micropolitan (populations of 10,000 – 50,000) and urban communities.

 

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Wed
15
Mar

Area towns have problems with their pools

By Ray Kappel

Extremes of heat and cold haven’t been good for the pools in our area. Three cities in the area, Pawnee City, Humboldt, and Tecumseh are all talking pool repair. Tecumseh is even talking about building a new one.

Wilber has the pool everyone envies in this area. They built a new pool through the kindness of two brothers who wanted to donate their money for something for the kids. They donated $1.7 million.

Wilber mayor Roger Chrans said they were very fortunate for the gift and just kind of lucked out getting it. He noted that a new fire hall was recently built with a gift of $450,000 from another family in their town.

 

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Wed
15
Mar

City Council discusses ATV/UTV use within city limits

By Ray Kappel

The Pawnee City City Council discussed ATV/UTV use on the city streets in Monday night’s meeting.

The Council is considering an ordinance to allow their use. Spearheading that effort is Councilman Mark Sunneberg, Jr.

Councilman Sunneberg argued that the vehicles are allowed on the streets in area towns, and that the vehicles are not overly dangerous. Councilman Sandi Corbitt-Sears argued that her research showed the vehicles are not meant for the road.

If passed, some of the new rules will be: 1. No one under 16 is allowed to ride on the vehicle; 2. It must be licensed and insured; 3. It must have lights; 4. It can only be operated between sun up and sun down; 5. Helmets must be worn.

 

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Wed
15
Mar

Professor talks on what Nebraska was like 150 years ago

By Ray Kappel

We will try to run a series of articles to help celebrate the 150th anniversary of statehood during 2017. This first one is an interview with Prof. Sara Crook of Peru St. College. She is serving on the Nebraska 150 Sesquicentennial Committee that is arranging and encouraging celebrations around the state.

We asked her one basic question, among others, what was Nebraska like 150 years ago?

At that time, the Native American tribes Pawnee, Otoe, Omaha, Lakota, and Ponca, being the main ones, were still in the area. As early as 1854, the Eastern and Southern areas of Nebraska were starting to fill with settlers. 1854 is the year the area was opened to white settlement through the Kansas-Nebraska Act.

 

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Wed
15
Mar

Vouchers for schools being proposed

By Ray Kappel

It’s called the Choices in Education Act of 2017.

Proposed in the House of Representatives, this bill repeals the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 and limits the authority of the Department of Education (ED) such that ED is authorized only to award block grants to qualified states.

“The bill establishes an education voucher program, through which each state shall distribute block grant funds among local educational agencies (LEAs) based on the number of eligible children within each LEA's geographical area. From these amounts, each LEA shall: (1) distribute a portion of funds to parents who elect to enroll their child in a private school or to home-school their child, and (2) do so in a manner that ensures that such payments will be used for appropriate educational expenses.

 

Wed
08
Mar

Two dead in incident at Tecumseh State Correctional Inst.

On Thursday afternoon, March 2 at approximately 1 p.m. staff members at the Tecumseh State Correctional Institution (TSCI) reported a fire on a mini-yard connected to one of the housing units. Staff reported to the area where there were approximately 40 inmates on the mini-yard and inside one half of the housing unit. These inmates were given directives to lock down, but refused. When it became clear it was unsafe, staff exited the dayroom and secured the door leading to the rest of the housing unit. It would be revealed later that two inmates died.

As a result, the incident was contained to only the one half of the housing unit and did not spread to any other area of the facility. Several altercations occurred between the inmates.

 

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Wed
08
Mar

Farm Service Agency director hired

By Ann Wickett

“I’m excited to get closer to home,” said Pat Lechner, who officially began his duties as co-director of the Farm Service Agency in Johnson and Pawnee Counties on Monday, February 27. His duties include making sure the office runs smoothly and to ensure that Johnson and Pawnee County farm producers are aware of all the farm programs and services FSA offers.

Lechner doesn’t have any set schedule for when he will be in the Johnson or Pawnee FSA offices. However, he plans to spend the same amount of hours in each office.

As a native of Unadilla and being from a rural community, Lechner said he wanted to give something back to the local community by working with local farmers and ranchers.

 

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