Antelope County voters will have a recall election – possibly on Tuesday, Oct. 15 — to determine the fate of two commissioners.
Clerk Lisa Payne said the voter registration program verified the signatures submitted in the petition and has certified the numbers for Allan Bentley and Tom Borer. Payne said she was not involved in the verifying process.
In District 3, there were 233 signatures submitted to recall Bentley, and 213 were accepted. State statute required 135 signatures for a special election to move forward.
In District 5, there were 306 signatures submitted to recall Borer, and 279 were accepted. State statute required 203 signatures for a special election.
Among the reasons signatures were rejected were those who are not residents of the specified district, not registered voters or had their names crossed off the petition.
Payne said state statute dictates when the special election will occur, which is on the second Tuesday after the first Monday of the timeline, which appears to be Oct. 15. Commissioners will discuss and potentially approve a special election date at Thursday’s 8 a.m. special meeting.
Bethany Miller filed the recall affidavit against Borer, alleging “mismanagement of county funds; spending money on an outside attorney after a State Patrol investigation. Misappropriation of taxpayer dollars for unnecessary expenses, including poorly timed projects. Mistreatment of elected officials, including waging public wars, refusing to allow them to speak and making unethical comments towards other officials.”
Borer’s response was, “All accusations against me are false; brought about by people with questionable motives. One commissioner cannot make financial, policy or other decisions alone. There is discussion on the topics and majority vote rules. The chairman is responsible for running orderly meetings and following the open meeting laws, all elected officials need to follow this law.”
Jack Allemang filed the recall affidavit against Bentley, alleging “mismanagement of county funds; spending money on an outside attorney after a State Patrol investigation. Misappropriation of taxpayer dollars for unnecessary expenses, including poorly timed projects. Sending residents texts with false information and blaming those messages on alcohol consumption. Mistreatment of elected officials, including waging public wars, refusing to allow them to speak and making unethical comments toward other officials.”
Bentley’s response was, “All allegations against me are false. No single commissioner makes any policy or financial decision, must always be majority vote. Investigation uncovered several thefts by county official; actually saved county thousands in back wages. This recall appears to be an attempt to undo recent election results, so by law three people: county clerk, treasurer and attorney can handpick new commissioners.”
When Antelope Memorial Hospital needed new photos to display in their patients rooms, they knew the perfect way to get some great shots.
Merry Sprout, the director of nursing at AMH, said she remembered there was always great photography on display at the Antelope County Fair.
Antelope Memorial Hospital decided to conduct a photo contest, open only to 4-H members and hospital employees. The winners will get to have their photo enlarged and displayed in patients’ rooms at AMH for years to come.
“We knew the 4-H photography at the fair was always great, so we thought it would be a good way to showcase some of their work and get some nice photos for the hospital,” she said.
The entries were required to be a matted 8x10 photo that represented Nebraska. The eight 4-H winners were chosen by a selection committee and announced at the award ceremony on the last day of the fair: Kayton Zwingman of Elgin, Chloe Henn of Elgin, John Zwingman of Elgin, Kendra Carr of Neligh, Gracie Park of Ewing, Rachel Higgins of Neligh, Paxton Cleveland of Meadow Grove and Grady Drueke of Elgin.
AMH’s winning photos featured a variety of subjects, including boat docks, streams, Chimney Rock, a sunflower and wind towers, windmills and silhouetted trees at sunset.
A registered sex offender residing in Page was arrested over the weekend on charges of manslaughter and sexual assault that allegedly occurred at Grove Lake.
Joey Crooker, 37, was arrested on Sunday night for sexual assault in the first degree, a class II felony, and manslaughter of an unborn child, a class IIA felony. He is being held in the Antelope County Jail on 10 percent of $100,000 bond.
The arrest was made as part of a collaborative investigation between the Antelope County Sheriff’s Department and the Holt County Sheriff’s Department.
According to court records, Crooker admitted to a Holt County deputy that he raped a 25-year-old pregnant woman while camping at Grove Lake after they attended the Clearwater Rodeo concert. The deputy advised Sheriff Bob Moore of the situation.
The alleged victim was interviewed and told the officers that, prior to her sexual encounter with Crooker, she told him “they could not have sex because she had a high-risk pregnancy and she was on the 9th or 10th week of carrying the child.”
She said he complained that he hadn’t had sex for awhile and he “had been around a lot of pregnant women in his time and they still had sex.” The alleged victim advised that they may not have been high-risk pregnancies, “but he didn’t seem to care,” the record stated. She told officers that she began spotting blood the next day and it continued over the next couple weeks.
When she attempted to leave Crooker on July 3, he grabbed the suitcase she was carrying. As he pulled it away, “it gouged her stomach and left a bruise on the right lower side,” according to court documents. When she eventually saw her doctor, the ultrasound indicated that the baby had died.
According to court records, the victim’s family indicated “there has been a pattern of abuse going on this relationship” and she “was scared to come forward and to leave Joe Crooker and seek medical treatment.”
Crooker is scheduled to appear for arraignment in Antelope County Court on Aug. 21.
Weather permitting, a chip seal project will begin on Wednesday, July 24 on Highway 14, according to the Nebraska Department of Transportation.
State road workers will be applying a chip seal from mile marker 136 to mile marker 145, from Petersburg to Elgin. Chip seal is an application of an asphalt binder to a roadway surface, followed by aggregate.
The work is anticipated to take two days. One-lane traffic will occur with the use of a pilot car and flaggers. Motorists should expect to see reduced speed, delays and are reminded to drive cautiously through highway work zones.
Teamwork and technology helped the Antelope County Sheriff’s Department reunite a missing elderly man with his family early Sunday morning.
It was around 4:45 a.m. that Sergeant John Shaver was notified by Antelope County dispatchers that a missing 89-year-old Madison County man was believed to be traveling west on Highway 275 toward Clearwater.
Although it was only about 30 minutes after Shaver went off duty, the deputy quickly responded from his home north of Orchard. He was north of the Summerland Road when he was notified the vehicle was through Clearwater. The driver then turned off Highway 275 at Ewing, took 45B north and was then headed east on Highway 20 when Shaver tracked him down, thanks to communication with OnStar.
An OnStar advisor was speaking with a dispatcher, who in turn relayed the location and vehicle speed to Shaver, who said the delay was only about 30 seconds, which allowed him to intercept the vehicle, despite it changing highways. Shaver said Antelope County was in contact with Holt County, who advised Shaver to proceed into Holt County since he was closing distance.
“OnStar was invaluable because with the original call to Clearwater. With just the vehicle description and plate number, I may have never had contact with him,” Shaver said. “If I would have stayed on Highway 275, I wouldn’t have caught up to him west of Orchard on Highway 20. Their live updates kept me from guessing and turned this into a positive outcome very quickly.”
Shaver said the department is often notified of missing and endangered individuals to watch for but very few are ever located in Antelope County. Having the technology available to tell them exactly where the vehicle is — as well as the speed it’s traveling — was key in helping this man be reunited with his family.
“From the time they notified law enforcement to when they were reunited in Orchard was only a couple of hours,” Shaver said. “That doesn’t normally happen that quickly. I’m sure it was a very stressful time for the family not knowing where he was at.”
Shaver said once he spotted the vehicle, he turned on his overhead lights and treated the situation like a typical traffic stop as to not alarm the driver, who agreed to accompany Shaver to Orchard and be picked up by his family. Shaver then took one of the family members back to retrieve the man’s vehicle.
“The No. 1 reason I do this job is to help people, so to see an outcome like this just reaffirms that,” he said. “The communication between dispatch and OnStar was key to being able to reunite this family.”
Planning for the upcoming consolidation vote in November continues to move forward.
Boards from Orchard, Clearwater and Ewing met Wednesday night during a joint meeting in Ewing and selected, as recommended by the construction committee, Hausmann Construction as the construction manager at-risk, should the bond be approved by the public.
Nebraska Unified District Superintendent Dale Martin said it's important for the boards to utilize local services as much as possible, and Hausmann Construction was a good fit, considering it has many local resources and can also work with the aggressive schedule.
Clearwater board member Steve Thiele, who is employed by Hausmann Construction, abstained from the vote. Orchard board member Terri Hergert and Kristi Schutt, along with Ewing's Mark Ramold, were not present at the meeting.
The special election will be Tuesday, Nov. 12, by mail-in ballot. If passed by voters in all three schools, the construction completion date is set for Aug. 2021.
If consolidation takes place, the three schools will officially merge on June 5, 2020. They would operate as they currently are through the end of the 2019-20 school year with Clearwater, Orchard and Verdigre as part of the Nebraska Unified District and Ewing on its own. Once consolidated — and until the new building is complete — each school would operate its own PK-12 building.
Board members approved a new board structure, pending passage of the bond. Each school would select two of its members for representation on the new board for two- and four-year terms. After the first cycle, Martin said board members would be voted on at-large.
Look for more details from Wednesday's joint board meeting in the Antelope County News newspaper.
Two Antelope County commissioners are facing a recall effort after allegations of mismanagement of funds, misappropriation of tax dollars and mistreatment of officials.
Recall affidavits were filed at 10:30 a.m. Monday at the courthouse in Neligh against newly elected Chairman Tom Borer and Commissioner Allan Bentley. Both took office in January.
Each commissioner has 20 days to respond to the recall after being notified, and then the petitioners may begin collecting signatures toward a potential recall election.
According to state statute, after the commissioners submit their response statement, petitioners have 30 days to collect signatures of registered voters in the specific districts. Petitioners must collect signatures of 35 percent of the number of votes cast for the person receiving the most votes for such office in the last general election, which is 203 signatures for Borer and 135 signatures for Bentley.
Bethany Miller filed the recall affidavit against Borer, alleging "mismanagement of county funds; spending money on an outside attorney after a State Patrol investigation. Misappropriation of taxpayer dollars for unnecessary expenses, including poorly timed projects. Mistreatment of elected officials, including waging public wars, refusing to allow them to speak and making unethical comments towards other officials."
Jack Allemang filed the recall affidavit against Bentley, alleging "mismanagement of county funds; spending money on an outside attorney after a State Patrol investigation. Misappropriation of taxpayer dollars for unnecessary expenses, including poorly timed projects. Sending residents texts with false information and blaming those messages on alcohol consumption. Mistreatment of elected officials, including waging public wars, refusing to allow them to speak and making unethical comments toward other officials."
UPDATE: Two individuals have been arrested.
The Nebraska State Patrol and the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office are seeking information regarding the whereabouts of two people as part of an ongoing investigation into a possible homicide. These subjects may be armed and dangerous.
Neither a victim nor remains have been located, although law enforcement have located a crime scene and collected evidence, according to the Nebraska State Patrol.
According to the NSP, Justin Crenshaw is believed to be a shooter in the possible homicide in Fairbury. He could be in a 2013 Silver Honda with Texas license plate number CVZ4221. Crenshaw is a 31-year-old white male, 6’2”, 240 pounds, with hazel eyes, brown hair, and a tattoo of a cross on his right shoulder.
Crenshaw may be accompanied by a female Caitlyn Grable, 21-years-old, 5’2”, 198 pounds, with blue eyes, brown or pink hair.
According to the NSP, at approximately 7:42 p.m, on July 4, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office was given information of a possible homicide that took place on July 1 at Crystal Springs Park in Fairbury.
An officer with the Beatrice Police Department had been given information that a shooting had occurred at Crystal Springs. We were given names of possible suspects and description of a vehicle that was involved. An investigation was initiated and a search for a victim, crime scene and vehicle began.
On July 6, shortly after midnight the suspect vehicle was located by a Trooper with the Nebraska State Patrol, the driver Trey Saathoff, 23, of Diller, NE was arrested for possession of a controlled substance and lodged in the Jefferson County Jail.
The vehicle was seized and showed signs that confirmed information from Beatrice Police Department. A search warrant was issued for the vehicle to locate and recover evidence of the crime. The crime scene was also located and evidence was collected.
As of Sunday morning, July 7, a victim has NOT been located. An identity of the shooter was developed as a subject with the nickname of “Crash,” with his real name being Justin Crenshaw.
According to the NSP, Crenshaw and Grable should be considered armed and dangerous. If they are observed do not approach them and immediately contact local law enforcement via 911.
Anyone with information on these subjects is encouraged to call the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office 402-729-2284 or the Nebraska State Patrol 402-422-1494.
Sheriff Bob Moore doesn’t usually become emotional while responding to a call from dispatch, but then again, he isn’t usually tricked into responding.
Due to a little teamwork between those from the Antelope County Courthouse, the sheriff’s department and Bright Horizons, Moore was surprised on Monday morning with the inaugural Community Partnership of the Year Award.
“Our award goes to someone in our community that goes above and beyond their call of duty and who has partnered with Bright Horizons to help survivors of abuse,” said Tracy Baker, criminal justice liaison and shelter manager with Bright Horizons in O’Neill. “This person saw there was a need for inmates to sit down and talk with an advocate about their past and/or present. This man has changed the lives of many people. He is the reason that Bright Horizons started this award.”
Moore, who received a standing ovation from the nearly 100 people crowded into the courthouse’s basement meeting room, said he usually has time to prepare a speech. Instead, he simply spoke from the heart.
“All I know is, at the end of this journey, when I stand before my Lord and there are two things you can hear, ‘Depart from me, for I did not know you,’ or ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.’ I want to be the ‘Well done, good and faithful servant,’ ” Moore said. “That’s why I do what I do and it’s not possible without people like you, like Tracy, Marlon, my friends, my coworkers and especially the other elected officials. There are so many in this room that have been very supportive and I just thank everybody. That’s my hope, to just keep looking at people the way God would look at people, and that’s why I do what I do.”
Moore said there are many challenges in life occurring with those he works with from that as an officer of the law to being an elected official. He said it’s important to treat everyone with respect.
Several Antelope County inmates said they owe a great deal to Moore.
“I know I would never have changed or reached out for help, let alone actually received (and probably would’ve ended up dead),” wrote one inmate. “His compassion just flows down through everything and everyone around him. And for that, I am so very thankful.”
Three other inmates currently serving in a female dorm wrote, “Sheriff Moore has helped in so many ways. I believe the way he runs his jail has even saved some people’s lives. Bob treats us as humans and knows that we are humans who’ve only made mistakes.”
The letter went on to say, “When I told Bob that I had a desire to change, he baptized me and showed me how to live with Christ. He also is all about getting inmates the help they need. He invites so many people in for us. Though he is often busy, he will always make time to help anyone who needs it. All of us inmates cherish Bob Moore.”
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