Two Elkhorn Valley elementary teachers earned their master's degrees from Doane University at the December commencement ceremony on Sunday.
Among those recognized as graduates from the College of Professional Studies and College of Education at Doane were first grade teacher Megan Eggers of Tilden and kindergarten teacher Marla Smith of Neligh. Both received their Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction.
Approximately 300 undergraduate and graduate degrees were awarded during the university's commencement celebration held inside the George & Sally Haddix Recreation Center on the Crete campus.
Graduate students from the College of Education in the following programs were recognized: Doctorate of Education, Education Specialist, and Master of Education in Curriculum & Instruction. In the College of Professional Studies, graduate students from the Master of Arts in Management, Master of Business Administration, and Master of Arts in Counseling programs were recognized. Undergraduate students in the College of Professional Studies were honored as well.
Sunday marked the first group of graduates to complete Doane's Master of Business Administration program, which was launched in the spring of 2017. Sunday also marked the 25th anniversary of graduates in the Master of Arts in Management (MAM) program. Thirty-three students graduated with their MAM degree on Sunday. One of the 33 students was Jessica Shultis, who is currently serving as Miss Nebraska. Shultis placed in the top 10 in the Miss America pageant in September.
Dr. Kristi Gibbs, Head of School at Brownell Talbot, served as the commencement speaker with her address titled, "Lessons Learned as a Non-Traditional Student."
Sunday's commencement ceremony honored students who graduated in August as well. In total, 304 students that finished their program in August, October, or December were recognized.
All of the Antelope County schools are planning to host holiday concerts soon.
Here is the list of concerts for each school:
Neligh-Oakdale - PK-12 grade concert - Thursday, Dec. 13 at 7 p.m.
Elgin Public - elementary concert - Thursday, Dec. 13 at 7 p.m. and high school - Tuesday, Dec. 18 at 7 p.m.
Orchard - K-12 concert - Tuesday, Dec. 18 at 7 p.m.
St. Boniface and Pope John - Tuesday, Dec. 18 at 7 p.m.
Elkhorn Valley - elementary concert - Tuesday, Dec. 18 at 7 p.m.
Clearwater - K-12 concert - Monday, Dec. 10 at 7 pm. The K-6 will be performing "It's Christmas, Carol!" by John Jacobson and Roger Emerson. The evening will continue with the 5-12 portion of the concert, featuring elementary, junior high, and high school choirs, elementary band, and 7-12 band.
A large crowd packed the commissioner’s room and spilled into the hallway as the Antelope County commissioners approved a conditional use permit for the Thunderhead Wind Farm.
On a motion by Charlie Henery and a second by Eli Jacob, the permit was approved by Eddie Schindler, Jerald Schwager, Henery and Jacob. Chairman LeRoy Kerkman abstained. It was passed on the conditions that the planning commission set forth as well as the addition of a letter of credit — a $2,500 per mile per day special assessment for undue road closures associated with the wind farm.
Nearly 75 people attended the public hearing to discuss the permit for the county’s fifth wind farm. The county’s planning commission recommended its approval on a 6-2 vote in October.
The 171-turbine Thunderhead Wind Farm, which will include up to 134 turbines in Antelope County, will be located northwest of Elgin, south of Clearwater and west into Wheeler County. More than 65,000 acres will be under lease for the project in Antelope and Wheeler counties.
Josh Framel, senior manager of renewable development for Invenergy, said the turbines on the Thunderhead Wind Farm would range from 2.3 to 3.8 MWs with the total height not exceeding 500 feet and will connect at the Holt County substation.
Zoning Administrator Liz Doerr said although 134 turbines have been proposed, “Keep in mind, they won’t all be built. Some probably won’t meet the clustering.” As one of conditions, she said all sites will be reviewed by the planning commission before construction.
During the opposition portion of the hearing, Doerr read nine letters which included complaints of the wind towers’ red flashing lights in their homes, “unsightly views” devaluing their property and health and environmental concerns.
A handful of people also spoke in person at the meeting. Shelly Bode showed the commissioners a video depicting the “red strobe light” effect in someone’s home due to the lights on the wind towers. Others questioned what will be done about decommissioning the towers and “icing” from the towers which is dropping ice on the roadways.
For those in favor, Doerr read four letters of support and a list 34 names supporting of the wind farm project. Nine people in attendance spoke in favor of the project as well.
Norfolk Mayor Josh Moenning said there aren’t many companies out there developing this many jobs and bringing in this much money in this area. He said wind farms have paid $17 million to farmers in the area since 2009.
“You can’t deny the local economic benefits,” Moenning said.
The other proponents agreed, stating benefits such as the widening of the tax base, keeping kids from moving away and improving the roads.
Antelope County landowners challenged a July decision that sided with TransCanada by Judge Donna Taylor last week in district court.
Brian Jorde represented local landowners and argued to Judge James Kube that Taylor’s July 31 order was plain error by not allowing the case to be reheard.
Jorde said the Antelope County case had been mandated from district court back to county court but was not reheard because Taylor thought the evidence would be the same as the Holt County lawsuit that also involved payment of attorney fees. The Nebraska Supreme Court ruled in favor of TransCanada in that case last March.
That suit was triggered after TransCanada dropped eminent domain lawsuits against 71 Nebraska landowners in 2015. The high court ruled in favor of TransCanada despite attorney Dave Domina arguing his firm was owed about $350,000. Antelope County’s case is also an argument for attorney fees.
In Antelope County District Court on Wednesday afternoon, Jorde told Judge Kube that Antelope County landowners were not included in the Supreme Court case and should have had the opportunity to have their case reheard since it would have contained new evidence, along with live testimony from the landowners.
“Our point really is that this is actually quite simple,” Jorde said. “It’s plain error that we were not allowed to have the rehearing, which was specifically mandated.”
Jorde said Taylor took “a few leaps” by assuming the evidence would be the same as presented in the Holt County case and requested the district court reverse and remand the case back to county court for the rehearing that Judge Mark Johnson ordered last year.
TransCanada’s attorney James Powers disagreed and said no statement of error was filed. He said the only review the district court can do is whether there was plain error. Judge Kube reminded Powers that the landowners were indeed arguing plain error, but Powers said they “skipped why Judge Taylor made that decision.”
Powers said Judge Taylor had the ability to look at evidence and would not allow evidence beyond what was in the affidavits.
“She said it wouldn’t do any good to have a hearing if they would testify because she would limit the evidence to what they already testified in the affidavits. They don’t get another bite at the apple,” he said.
Kube asked Powers if Taylor was making assumptions, and Powers said Taylor based her ruling on other decisions and factors.
“She didn’t assume. She made a very conscious well-thought-out decision on that. She wasn’t going to allow a trial situation or hearing where they put on new evidence that’s different from what was already submitted,” he said.
Kube asked Powers if Taylor had the ability to limit what evidence would be allowed, and he said Taylor did have the power to not allow new evidence after the Supreme Court made its decision on a similar case.
“Of the 59 landowners that are involved in this litigation throughout this area, 42 were denied fees. And the ones who waited to see the outcome of that shouldn’t be allowed to come back and present new evidence,” Powers said.
Jorde rebutted and said the landowners were refused their day in court by Judge Taylor, despite a specific district court ruling mandating it by Judge Johnson.
“I don’t know how error gets much more plain that this when the county court judgment was entered without a thorough authority, without jurisdiction,” he said.
After oral arguments, Jorde requested to Kube the ability to submit more case example. Kube set Dec. 12 as the deadline for the case examples with TransCanada to offer rebuttal by Dec. 28.
Central Valley Ag Cooperative (CVA) recently hosted their Annual Meeting at the Holthus Convention Center in York on Nov. 19, for member-owners to review the fiscal year. CVA reported $28 Million in total profit for their fiscal year 2018, ending on August 31, 2018.
“Despite the challenges of the current agriculture market, we are pleased to report substantial and significant savings, with $16.8 million of those savings being earned from local savings,” said Carl Dickinson, CEO/President of Central Valley Ag. “These results could not have been obtained without an outstanding group of employees and the support of our member-owners. We are very proud of the team we have assembled to serve the customer.”
This year, CVA will disperse $12.0 Million in patronage to member-owners with 33% paid in cash and the remaining balance in Non-Qualified Equity. Based on the results of the 2018 fiscal year, $4.0 Million will be paid out in cash. The balance of the patronage ($8.0 million) will be distributed in the form of non-qualified patronage. Not only is the cash received as a benefit for member-owners; $29.9 Million was reinvested in assets to improve speed, space, and efficiency in 2018.
At the meeting, CVA also announced the newly elected members of their Board of Directors. CVA relies on its Board of Directors to position CVA for future success and profitability for member-owners. Leading up to the meeting the Board of Directors voted in favor of reformatting the size of the Board. Now, Central Valley Ag will be working under the direction of an 18-member board with two associate board members. CVA’s Board of Directors is made up of local, agricultural producers who are recognized for their industry expertise, as well as economic and community development skills. CVA member-owners elected the following individuals to represent their voice on the board:
· Dave Beckman (Elgin, NE) and Alex Brookhouser (Brunswick, NE) – Region 1
· Duane Schumacker (Bloomfield, NE) and Kurt Thoene (Hartington, NE) – Region 2
· Paul Jarecke (Clarks, NE) and Pat Wemhoff (Humphrey, NE) – Region 3
· Jay Uehling (Oakland, NE) and Robert Chatt (Tekamah, NE) – Region 4
· Luke Carlson (York, NE) and Randy Johnson (Osceola, NE) – Region 5
· Larry Naber (Utica, NE) and Tom Vodicka (Surprise, NE) – Region 6
· Mark Philips (Akron, IA) and Adam Schroeder (Le Mars, IA) – Region 8
· Ron Benson (Clay Center, KS), Mark Koss (Haddam, KS), Raymond Larson (Green, KS) and Jacob Porter (Mankato, KS) – Region 7 & 9
· Gordan Luebbe (Utica, NE) and Carmen Schlickbernd (West Point, NE) - 2 associate board members
“It is our goal to focus on our customers and what their operation needs are. We want to focus on their experience and the relationships we have with them and if we emphasize on those key parts to deliver value to their operations, we will achieve success,” said Dave Beckman, CVA Board Chairman. “Our Board of Directors play a visionary role in helping us achieve this success. I want to thank our departing board of director members: Andrew Klug, John Moore, Doug Moon, Eric Eilert, Luke Shamburg, Jeff Berggren, Neal Bracht, Ryan Crumly, Tim Johnson, and Tim Porter for their service and dedication to CVA over the years.”
A Brunswick man was named the "2018 Outstanding Fair Supporter" at the annual meeting of the Antelope County Ag Society on Monday night.
Greg Todd was recognized by the ag society for his years of dedication to the fair. Board president Kenny Reinke presented the award.
“I would’ve done it whether I got the plaque or not,” Todd said with a grin.
He keeps very busy during the fair as co-superintendent of the beef division, a position he has held for more than a decade. His father, Jack, was the previous beef superintendent for many years and he helped him with many aspects.
Coming from a family of beef showmen, Todd said he “started showing big steers” in 4-H when he was 7 years old and four of his children were active in the beef show as well.
The ag society also held their board member election at the annual meeting. Ed Pellatz, Don Carr and Kenny Oelsligle were all re-elected to the board.
Clearwater-Orchard and Elkhorn Valley gave their final performances of the season at the D1-3 district contest in Bloomfield on Tuesday.
OC's performance of "Bedtime Stories (As Told by Our Dad) (Who Messed Them Up)" earned them a fifth place finish and EV's "The Middle School Dating Game" placed sixth.
Nine earned district acting awards:
Clearwater-Orchard: James Kester, Jaqueline Olivan, Nalleli Zermeno and Donaven Nolze
Elkhorn Valley: Angel Qualset, Carney Black, Amber Miller, Parker Klein and Mitchell Petersen
Overall district results:
6. Elkhorn Valley
7. Rock County
A federal judge in Montana temporarily blocked construction Thursday of the Keystone XL pipeline, which is set to go through Antelope County.
Judge Brian Morris of the U.S. District Court in Montana said the State Department ignored issues of climate change to move forward with the 1,179-mile pipeline that would stretch from Canada to the Gulf Coast.
Much of the pipeline has already been complete, but still in the thick of debate is the leg from Steele City, Neb., through Montana to Canada.
President Donald Trump, who signed an executive order just two days into his presidency to set the pipeline into motion, told reporters on Friday the ruling was a disgrace.
“It was a political decision made by a judge,” Trump said.
Despite the ruling, TransCanada officials said they remain committed to the project.
“It’s important to remember our commercial model on XL has not changed materially,” Paul Miller, liquids pipeline president, said at TransCanada’s investor day in Toronto on Tuesday.
“All historical costs, plus (cost of construction), since 2009 are captured for toll determination. The write-down we took in 2015 does not remove these costs from rate-making purposes. We share capital cost variances equally with our shippers,” he said.
Construction in Antelope County was expected to begin in spring 2020 and end in the fall, according to Robert Latimer, Keystone XL facility land and permitting manager.
The pipeline was to enter Antelope County six miles east of Page and be bored beneath Highway 20 near Ashfall between
Orchard and Royal.
From there, the pipeline would run southeast until it crossed Highway 16 about 7 1/2 miles north of Neligh. Continuing southeast, the route would enter Madison County, one mile north of Tilden.
A pump station would be built northeast of Oakdale near 529th Road and 850th Ave.
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