With more rain in the forecast, rivers are swelling in Antelope County.
In western Antelope County, the Clearwater and Elkhorn Rivers are flowing full but not flooding as of Monday afternoon. However, there is 50 percent chance of thunderstorms tonight and another 40 percent on Tuesday. The same forecast rings true in Holt County, which will push the runoff east.
For weather updates, check back often to the Antelope County News.
The Clearwater-Orchard preschool class celebrated their graduation on Tuesday night in Clearwater.
Graduates were (from Clearwater) Gabby Ahlers, Grace Ahlers, Tony Ahlers, Taylon Bertschinger, Jackson Elsbury, Sloane Flenniken, Cooper Mueller, Lily Nolze, Max Shrader, (from Orchard) Brogan Billings, Ryder Jeffords, Jaden Robinett, Brittany Salas, Carson Sayers, Braxton Schwager and Efrain Verdin.
The Clearwater Advisory Board discussed entry access to the school during its monthly meeting on Monday.
The board discussed entrance with a key card for the use of the school and weight room instead of using a traditional key. The project was unanimously approved to use Fire Protection Services of Omaha, Neb. to move forward with the project with details to follow. The project is estimated to cost around $4,800 for the multipurpose door and weight room key access or $11,000 for all outside doors to have key card access.
Principal Mike Sanne said wiring and software are the biggest expense.
Brian King, vice president of the board, said, “One nice thing about this is if there’s a fire we know who’s not there and you know who to look for, that’s a big security thing.”
The proposed idea is to charge $100 per year for a key to receive access to the school and weight room where a liability waiver would be signed and some restrictions placed.
Amy Thiele, president of the board, said giving others access is another way to give back to the community.
“The thoughts behind this key system was to put a charge for the weight room for the key which makes people more responsible,” she said. “The money could then be used to upgrade some of the weight room equipment.”
Tom Thiele eventually voted in favor of the project but shared some concerns during the meeting.
“I’m not even sure I’m even in favor of charging people. Taxpayers already own the building. If we do this, let’s do this without a charge,” he said.
The board also agreed that there are enough people that would like to see this key access system as a benefit for the community and school. The next Clearwater Advisory Board meeting is set to be June 5.
The Clearwater-Orchard High School Class of 2017 turned their tassels and received their diplomas on Saturday afternoon in Clearwater.
Kylie Thiele and Alexis Pokorny were the valedictorian and salutatorian, respectively. Adrian Love gave the welcome and Pammela Maxwell the closing.
The class motto was "Chase your dreams, but always know the road that'll lead you home." Class flower was white rose with green tip and class colors were green and silver.
Seniors were Alyssa Beed, Grady Bellingtier, Jerod Bolling,Vanessa Carpenter, Peyton Clifton, Gerrett Erhardt, Travis Kerkman, Seth Lampert, Adrian Love, Kinzly Mache, Pammela Maxwell, Tiffany Peed, Alexis Pokorny, Mason Siems, Heaven Smith, Allee Snider, Jaiden Switzer, Kylie Thiele, Shane Van Ostrand, Erika Velasquez, Faith Woslagr and Alona Zermeno.
Welcome to the Gene Snodgrass Rodeo Arena in Clearwater.
The longtime rodeo chairman was surprised on Tuesday as the the area was officially named after him by the Clearwater Chamber of Commerce. The Clearwater Rodeo is celebrating its 50th anniversary this June.
The sign, created by Switzer Iron Creations & Country Crafts of Clearwater, was presented on Tuesday afternoon with about 50 people in attendance.
Lots of fun was to be had by children in Clearwater today as the annual Easter egg hunt was held in the Clearwater-Orchard High School Gym.
The children collected eggs and the children who collected the most won different prizes that ranged anywhere from candy to games.
Pictured in the front row is Trigg Kester, Emorie Bearinger, Adalyn Doll, Isaac Kester and Leah Kester. Pictured in the back row is Delaney Heppner, Kaylee Thiele, Lane Sanne and Katelyn Kester.
Just two months after asking the Unified District to allow Clearwater to be a stand-alone PK-12 school, the Clearwater Advisory Board now wants to look at options with other districts thanks in part to a potential $250,000 increase in operational costs due to the split.
This discussion came after six board members from Clearwater, Ewing and Neligh-Oakdale met recently in what was described as a “feel-out session” to gauge interest from one another on future endeavors.
Clearwater and Orchard held its final Joint Advisory meeting on Monday evening. The boards will meet individually moving forward since they will be stand-alone PK-12 schools and splitting at the end of the academic year.
Tension was evident several times during the meeting held in the Clearwater gym, including as the boards failed to agree on extra-duty assignments presented by their three administrators.
Following an hour-long executive session on the agenda item, Clearwater voted 3-1 against the extra duties with only Regina Krebs approving the administrators’ recommendations. Orchard voted unanimously to approve the duties as presented.
That means Orchard’s extra duties were approved, but both Clearwater’s assignments and the duties for those shared by Clearwater and Orchard were not approved. With the boards no longer meeting together, it’s unclear when the shared duties will be agreed upon.
The only extra duty publicly mentioned at the meeting was for athletic director when Clearwater Board President Amy Thiele asked about the Orchard athletic director and whether that individual could be a head coach. Orchard Board President Candice Hoke then asked if they wanted to go into executive session, and Clearwater Principal Mike Sanne replied, “We need to.”
Clearwater, Ewing, Neligh-Oakdale
Much discussion has occurred throughout Antelope County following a recent meeting between board members from Clearwater, Ewing and Neligh-Oakdale, but very little has been said publicly.
Duane Liska, a former Verdigre board member, addressed the issue during public participation and reminded both boards that the Nebraska Open Meetings Act is not only for the public’s protection, but board members as well.
“I think there’s been some problems here with the perception of what’s going on with the boards. and part of that is transparency. You have to have transparency when you’re a board member. Every meeting you have needs to be transparent. The public has to know everything that you’re doing,” he said.
Later during the agenda item, Thiele explained that because there was not a quorum, there were no laws broken by the six members meeting. The agenda item was originally called a committee meeting with Clearwater, Ewing, Neligh-Oakdale, but after publication by both legal newspapers, the item was amended to discussion on interest in exploring future options with other districts.
Thiele said, “Myself and Marty Kerkman met with two Ewing and two Neligh board members. It was not illegal, did not have to be advertised. It was a feel-out session to see if all three parties would be interested in moving forward.”
She added, “We all came out of that meeting and said we need to go to our boards and see if there’s interest.”
The Neligh-Oakdale Board of Education also met Monday night but did not discuss building a new school. Instead the board voted to create a committee to begin communication with other districts.
The Ewing Board of Education will meet Wednesday, April 12, at 8 p.m. Ewing board members have openly discussed their desire to construct a new school and consolidate.
During the Monday’s meeting in Clearwater, Thiele did not ask for a motion on how to proceed, just consensus on whether there should be a meeting scheduled for the entire Clearwater Original Board, which includes the two members serving on the Unified Board.
“I’m here to ask the advisory board if you are interested in moving forward in exploring options with other districts, basically it would be an original board decision,” Thiele said. “We would be looking at scheduling an original board meeting to officially make that official. I said I would take that to my board to see if they are interested in moving forward and taking that next step.”
The Clearwater Advisory Board agreed to set a date in the near future for a Clearwater Original Board meeting. Advisory Board member Tom Thiele then asked the Orchard board if members wanted to share their thoughts.
Orchard member Nate Schwager said he would like to hear from the Unified Board before making public comment. The Unified Board was set to meet the following night - Tuesday, April 11.
Unified Board Role
The Orchard Advisory Board deferred to the Unified Board several times during the meeting, saying members wanted direction from the official governing body of the district on how to proceed. Four members of the Unified Board were present at the meeting as audience members only and did not interact as a board.
During public participation time, Mia Bergman cited costs presented by Regina Krebs during last month’s advisory board meeting, as well as recently published savings projections by Pete Funk of Ewing.
Bergman said she’s been reading in the newspaper about what Clearwater, Ewing and Neligh-Oakdale being willing to discuss building a new school and presented the Orchard board with several questions.
“Is Orchard interested in joining the discussions of building with the information that has been shared recently about the tax savings, as well as the information that was shared last week about the benefits curriculum-wise. If not why?”
Orchard board members said very little during the entire meeting but did offer the following prepared statement:
“If you recall in January, we made a motion to discontinue talks on constructing a new building at this time. In the midst of trying to solve our site location issue, we did not feel focusing on joint ventures with other districts was conducive to that topic. Since then the site location has been resolved with a split of our PK-12 systems, and our focus now needs to be on making that split as positive as it can be for our students, staff and community. With three years remaining on our current unification agreement, we feel there is ample time and strong need to use that time to regroup in light of this split to ensure its success. While we are now open to discussions within the feasibility study, we have several concerns regarding the loss of staff, teachers and support staff, accuracy of numbers to include all costs, consideration of all options within the study, determining if a community interest exist and first and foremost a successful consolidation effort. There is no timeline or urgency in the matter. As our interlocal agreement states, it is important that the advisory boards advise only and do not attempt to micromanage the responsibility of the Unified Board. The feasibility study needs direction and discussion for the unified level as they are governing board involving all three of our communities affected by such major decisions.”
Discussion that followed indicated that the Clearwater and Orchard Advisory Boards have different expectations of their roles.
When asked specifically if Orchard was open to discussion on new construction, Nate Schwager immediately answered yes. He then added, “From a Unified level. They’re the ones that voted to approve the feasibility study and any committees moving forward should start from there.”
Regina Krebs disagreed.
“What we’re looking at doesn’t include the entire Unified District necessarily. We’re not consolidating as three Unified District members for a building site. What it really comes back to is each community's original boards are going to have to make that decision, especially from a consolidation standpoint and from a bond-vote standpoint,” Krebs said. “No offense to Verdigre - and not that they’re being left out - but they don’t have a vote on the bond or consolidation moving forward.”
Superintendent Dale Martin said the feasibility study was on the Unified District’s agenda for Tuesday and those board members would be discussing roles.
Krebs openly said she was not in favor of the two schools splitting from an educational standpoint. She said Clearwater is looking at potentially $250,000 in additional operating costs, which limits the classes being offered.
Educational opportunities, Krebs said, is why Clearwater needs to look at what options are available if other districts work together, whether that be with shared teachers, classes or other situations.
“I haven’t been shy….about the fact that I’m not overly pleased with the split and the lack of classes we’re going to be able to offer students. We are taking away from their educational curriculum, and I’m not being shy about saying that. I’m not being shy about going to look at other options that are going to offer our children better education and options they have available with classes. That’s the discussion I want moving forward.”