Land values in Antelope County dipped almost 3.5 percent in the last year, leading to a two-year slide of 6.59 percent.
At $2,459,406,353, Antelope County’s land values fell from $2,545,073,947 in 2017. The peak value was in 2016 when they topped the $2.6 billion mark.
Antelope County Assessor Kelly Mueller released the certified valuations last week and said most of the changes were due to ag values decreasing.
“Anytime ag land goes down, you’re going to see everything go down because there’s nothing to offset it,” she said. “I predict it’s going to flatten out.”
Although the general county value continues to decrease, nearly every city or village in the county increased, including Brunswick, which saw the largest spike in the county at 19 percent. Mueller credited that growth in valuation to the new commercial buildings at Meuret Grain.
“That’s based on commercial growth,” Mueller said. “Brunswick saw the growth because Meurets put up a really nice commercial building. It’s usually a housing boom, a major construction project or there was a six-year review to see what was missed that accounts for the growth.”
Clearwater also saw a significant increase in valuation, going up 13.6 percent in the last year. Although new The Bank of Tilden brought more commercial value to the community, Mueller said Clearwater’s increase was actually due to the housing values increasing by 15 percent.
“I reassessed all of Clearwater last year, and because of market sales, all of the houses went up,” she said. “That’s why there was such a big increase. Sales have gone back up in Clearwater.”
Mueller said a similar situation occurred in the Village of Orchard in 2016 when its land increased from $12.3 million to $14.4 million. Royal saw a 3.79 percent increase and Tilden went up 3.84 percent. Neligh’s valuation also increased slightly at 2.57 percent.
“Some of the value that went up in Neligh is because we did a total commercial revaluation this year,” she said. “We weren’t that far off of the commercial values, but that is some of the reason it went up.”
Mueller said most of the villages and cities are seeing valuation increases due to housing and increased market value.
“There’s a shortage in housing right now, especially with the wind towers going up, so I think that’s caused a lot of sales,” she said.
Although nearly every community saw an increase, the Village of Oakdale decreased 15.9 percent. However, Mueller was quick to say that the percentage may appear to be dramatic, but the actual value decrease isn’t as significant since land values in Oakdale only decreased about a half-million dollars.
More than half of that value change was actually due to changing the assessment of a tank at the Ag Agronomy Center, which Mueller said had been valued incorrectly. Mueller said much of Oakdale will be reassessed soon and may see an increase in valuation in the near future.
As for school districts, all of the districts saw a decrease in valuation thanks to ag land, which may affect their upcoming budget hearings where boards will begin changing the levies to make up for the loss in valuation.
Will Clearwater, Orchard and Verdigre continue their unification? March will tell.
Unification was one of the main topics at the Nebraska Unified School District meeting on Monday night.
“We thought it was important to have the original boards all get together and have some discussion on the unification piece there as far as that topic and what people are interested in with unification and anything else there that might be an option besides that,” Superintendent Dale Martin said.
After Verdigre, Orchard and Clearwater board members spoke, it was clear that not everyone had the same thoughts of renewing the unification.
Peggy Liska and Marty Konopasek of Verdigre both said their advisory board members were satisfied with the unification and wanted to continue for another seven years.
The Orchard board members agreed.
“We make a motion to recommend unification for another seven years,” Terra Williby said.
Terri Hergert said their board talked very little about consolidation or other options.
“We’d like it to stay just the way it is for another seven years,” Hergert said. “It was a pretty cut and dried conversation for us.”
“Ours was not quite so cut and dried,” Marty Kerkman of Clearwater said.
Joe Thiele said Clearwater board members gave him “definitely a sense of still keeping some options open, maybe talking to Ewing.”
“ I know I’ve heard a little bit in the rumor mill that Ewing might be out asking some schools what’s out there for them, which obviously, could include Orchard easy enough, and obviously Clearwater too,” Thiele said. “So I don’t know where that’s going to go, but unification is not definite. But it is on the table.”
“I’d say right now, it’s probably not our number one choice, but also, at this time, it might be our only option,” Kerkman said. “If that makes any sense at all. We’ve advised our administrator to make some phone calls and talk to a couple neighbors to just kind of see where that goes.”
Thiele said that Clearwater board members had concerns about dwindling class sizes.
“Class size, if we don’t look at some changes, is a concern,” he said. “We might likely have a class of maybe just one boy and all girls coming up. Is it a big deal? No, but if it’s kind of a sign of what’s coming, it could be. Cause we had that happen several years ago and the boy ended up leaving, so then it was a class of all girls.”
Martin said Clearwater is talking with both Elgin and Ewing about options.
“So we might know more next meeting and we might not,” Thiele said.
Williby expressed concerns about a timeline for their decision.
“We talked about the 2020, you know June-July, when the unification is up so we did visit at least a little bit about where we’re at time-wise, keeping this thing moving a little bit because there will be people wanting to know,” Thiele said. “Probably no real direct urgency today, but it probably won’t be too long and there will be.”
Williby questioned whether discussions should go on.
“Does Orchard and Verdigre at this point continue discussions on the new agreement?” she asked. “In my mind, I think we should start discussions on a new agreement, but that’s just my opinion.”
Hergert was also concerned about delaying a decision.
“I mean, how long do we sit here and wait?” she said. “We can’t wait until even eight months down the road for an answer because we’ve got to get a plan into the state board of education by November. That’s more of a deadline than June of 2020. November of 2019 is more of a deadline.”
Martin agreed that November would be the “bare minimum” timeline to agree on unification.
“This will automatically dissolve if all three do not reup on it,” he said.
Liska said she is not absolutely set on a seven year unification and would consider three years, if that suits Clearwater better.
“Well, I appreciate that, I do think, it looks like it would be better off to have Clearwater for three years than go with two districts for seven and not have a third partner,” Thiele said. “And then at the end of three years, maybe things will be in a situation that everybody will vote for seven again and continue on.”
Martin said what it boils down to is how much time they should allow Clearwater “to sort things out to come to that point.”
It was decided that March of 2019 was a reasonable amount of time for Clearwater to reach a decision.
“We’ll keep it on the agenda every month,” Martin said. “If there’s new information to report from anybody we’ll be able to do that.”
The next unified meeting was set for Monday, Sept. 17 in Clearwater, starting at 6:30 p.m. with the budget hearing.
The quality of roads in Antelope County, specifically those in the area northeast of Royal, were a hot topic as almost 50 people attended the Antelope County Commissioners meeting Tuesday morning in Neligh.
Randall Pedersen spoke before the crowd and the commissioners about the roads near his house north of Royal. According to Pedersen, after a rainstorm, the roads near his house one mile north and one mile east of Royal became washed out at the intersections and could be dangerous to travelers. Pedersen said he voiced concerns originally when a tractor parade had planned to go down that road, as well as when a party for the Osmond softball team was being hosted nearby.
“I called Jerry Schwager and explained to him the dangers of the road and the conditions, and that there was a tractor tour and a party going on,” Pedersen said. “And Jerry’s response was this: ‘Why did you call me?’ The next thing he said was ‘Who’s in charge of the tractor tour?’ I said that it was Gary Ober, and he said ‘Call him and tell not to come down this road.’”
Schwager denied the claim and said that the statement was false. “Now that’s not true,” Schwager said.” You never called me.”
Pedersen said he then contacted road boss Casey Dittrich and explained his concern. “(Dittrich) said he would handle it. Nothing happened,” Pedersen said.
On Monday, July 23, Pedersen said he called Dittrich a second time to tell him that nothing had been done to fix the road. After that phone call, he said that they came out and fixed the intersection to the south. According to Pedersen, they came back on Wednesday to fix the intersection to the north.
With the gaps in the work times, Pedersen questioned why it couldn’t have been coordinated within the same day.
“Shouldn't both of these problems all been done in the same day? Why so much duplication? Lack of coordination of employees and equipment. Look at the costs to the county. Isn’t there any fear of neglect and litigation?” he asked.
Pedersen also said that he sees no pride by the workers in clearing the trees on the roads they are working on.
“The county trims the trees with payloaders. We try to keep our place kind of nice down there, but when they come through, it looks like a tornado. The employees or supervisors apparently have no pride in the job they do or the job that gets done...I know from employees only work as hard as their employers,” he said.
Pedersen was met with a roar of applause by the audience after speaking. Dittrich explained that he had an employee examine the intersection after hours and said that the repair could wait until Monday. He said that he trusted their judgment.
“I relied on my employee’s judgement to let it go until Monday. I called the operator who normally maintains the intersection and let him go out on Monday, to which he fixed the intersection and continued east and blew out a tire on his maintainer...Lichtenberg Tire does all of our tire repairs, and the couldn’t come out Monday. They got out there Tuesday, and they worked the east/west road north of you, but did not work the north/south road,” he said.
Dittrich admitted that he felt that he should have double checked his employee’s judgement.
In discussion about the trees along the road, Dittrich pointed out that it is not the county’s job to take care of them.
“The county is not a tree removal company,” Dittrich said. “The landowners are responsible for removing trees. If we have to do it because the landowner won’t do it, we sure as hell won’t spend all day out there making it look nice. We are going to control the trees that don’t allow us to do what we are doing and we are going to leave them there.”
Dittrich said that after discussing with the board and Pedersen and seeing the amount of support in the audience at the meeting, he plans to implement changes in how he does his job.
“I am not going to walk out of here today and continue doing things the way I was doing before. I want you to know that. That’s not the kind person I am, I can’t blow things like this stuff off,” he said. “I just want to explain where I’m coming from because I don’t like doing a bad job at something.”
Other items discussed during the meeting included reports from the Zoning Administrator and Road Boss, courthouse security upgrades and township claims.
As schools start across Nebraska and the summer driving season comes to an end, the Nebraska State Patrol (NSP) will join agencies all over the country in the national “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign.
Troopers and dispatchers will be working throughout the enforcement, which runs from Friday, August 17 through Monday, September 3, in an effort to reduce the risk of alcohol-related crashes. The national campaign focuses on removing impaired drivers from the road.
“As summer comes to a close, our troopers will continue their hard work to keep Nebraska roads safe,” said Colonel John Bolduc, Superintendent of the Nebraska State Patrol. “In addition to the outstanding work to take impaired drivers off the road, our troopers have also used this summer to educated young drivers on the importance of safe driving.”
Troopers across the state have arrested more than 300 impaired drivers since Memorial Day weekend, which marked the start of NSP’s annual “100 Days of Summer” initiative. The summer-long initiative, which involves at least one selective enforcement operation every day, comes to a close on Labor Day weekend.
The “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign is made possible thanks in part to a grant for $26,795 from the Nebraska Department of Transportation – Highway Safety Office.
A true sign that summer is winding down, area swimming pools have scheduled their closing dates.
On Saturday, Aug. 11, the end-of-the-year swimming party is planned at the Neligh swimming pool from 1 to 4 p.m. However, the pool will be open until 8 p.m. that day. Sunday, Aug. 12 is scheduled to be the last day. Sunday's pool hours will be 1 to 8 p.m.
The Orchard swimming pool's last day of the season will be Sunday, August 19. Upcoming hours for the pool are Monday, Aug, 13 from 1-5 p.m. and 6-8 p.m.; Tuesday, Aug. 14 from 1-5 p.m., then closed to the public for Orchard Public’s Back to School Bash; Wednesday, Aug. 15 from 2-8 p.m.; Thursday, Aug. 16 from 4-8 p.m.; Friday, Aug. 17 closed; and Saturday, Aug. 18 & Sunday, Aug. 19 from 1-5 p.m.
The Elgin swimming pool is set to close for the season on Sunday, Aug. 12. Pool hours will be 1 to 7 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Two hours of free swimming will be hosted by the Antelope County Does Care organization on Monday, Aug. 13 from 5 to 7 p.m. for the National Night Out. The event, which will be held at the Elgin swimming pool, is open to all ages and encourages positive relationships between the community and those who serve and protect them. Attendees will have the opportunity to experience drunk googles will be available. Brownie sundaes will be served.
The Tilden swimming pool will be open from 1 to 5 p.m. until Thursday, Aug. 16, which is slated to be the last day of the season. The pool will not be open in the evenings.
The Antelope County courthouse saw some special guests Thursday, as part of Chief Justice Mike Heavican’s annual summer tour.
Each summer, Chief Justice Heavican dedicates several days to traveling to courts outside of the Lincoln area to meet with judicial branch staff, tour courtrooms and learn about special projects. This year, five associate judges joined him on the tour.
The group toured 15 courthouses and had two educational sessions in South Sioux City within the five-day tour. This year, the group came to northeast Nebraska.
“We use this week in the summertime to always go around and visit courthouses and bar associations and other associated parts of the legal profession and folks who support the courts around the state,” Heavican said. “Part of that is to thank all of you folks from the clerk’s office and so forth who support the courts, and most especially, to thank the county commissioners because we know the courts are the responsibility of both the state and each of our local counties.”
“We can’t do our court system without you,” he said. “You provide the courthouses, the courtrooms, security for our courts and the supplies for our local judges and for the probation offices. We are very appreciative of what you do for us.”
Traveling with the Chief Justice were Nebraska Supreme Court Justices Stephanie Stacy, William Cassel, Jonathan Papik, Jeffrey Funke and John Freudenberg.
“This is part of my judicial district as a supreme court judge,” said Hon. William Cassel. “I’m very happy to be out here in greater Nebraska. My colleagues have heard me say this many times, not only today but previously, ‘I’m stationed in Lincoln, but my heart is in greater Nebraska,’ so I really enjoy being out here again.”
Three of the Antelope County commissioners were also in attendance during the tour: LeRoy Kerkman, Eli Jacob and Ed Schindler, all of who said they were very appreciative of the Chief Justice and associate judges for coming to tour the courthouse.
“It’s good for people to come out and put a face to what we work with. It’s something that I had no idea what you did or who you are or anything, but it’s just good to communicate with the people you work for,” Commissioner Schindler said.
Judge Donna Taylor was also in attendance. “We just appreciate you coming out to our community and giving our commissioners and other people…a chance to meet you so that everyone isn’t a faceless name that’s mentioned in the newspaper when they read about the Supreme Court making some kind of decision. Now they can associate those decisions with at least six faces, so thank you,” she said.
Heavican spoke highly of Judge Taylor, saying, “She is one of our favorite judges because Judge Taylor does not shy away from work. She volunteers to do all kinds of extra things, and we are really appreciative of that.”
The Chief Justice explained that the principle responsibility of the Nebraska Supreme Court is to be the court of last resort for the state. Another responsibility is for supervising the administrative leadership for the entire court system in the state.
“That leads to why we are on this particular tour,” Heavican said. “We like to come out during one week of the summer, meet as many people as we can who work in the courthouses and in our courts and support our courts. That’s why we love to see the county commissioners here, because we know it’s a joint project in Nebraska between state government and local governments to make sure that the courts run and run well.”
“We want to thank the people in the clerks’ offices, thank the local probation officers, thank the sheriffs and the people who provide security for the courts, and again thank those county commissioners for their help in funding the courts,” he said.
Heavican also had nothing but good things to say about the Antelope County courthouse.
“Almost every community sees the courthouse as a point of pride for the community, and you can see that here in Antelope County, the way the lawn is kept up and so forth,” he said. “This is a wonderful courtroom with a lot of space, and you can tell that the county wants to make sure that there is adequate space and attention given to the justice system.”
Nebraska Supreme Court Justice Mike Heavican and several associate justices will visit the Antelope County Courthouse on Thursday.
The visit, which includes a tour and talk, will run from 3:30 to 4 p.m. on Thursday, August 2.
Each summer, Chief Justice Mike Heavican dedicates several days to traveling to courts outside of the Lincoln area to meet with judicial branch staff, tour courtrooms and learn about special projects. This year, several associate judges of the Supreme Court are joining in on the tour, which will include two education sessions in South Sioux City and stops at 15 courthouses in northeast Nebraska.
The educational meetings include a day-long tristate meeting regarding juvenile justice with Chief Justices from Nebraska, Iowa and South Dakota and a morning meeting with Nebraska tribal courts and tribal representatives. During the 15 courthouse tours, the Chief Justice and fellow justices will meet with various state senators, county board members, lawyers and community leaders.
In discussing the purpose of the summer tours, Heavican noted, "It is really important for us to get feedback from our local court staff, from judges, from community members and from lawyers as to how certain programs are working and what we might be able to do better for a particular community or for a larger statewide program. We use that feedback to help make the system better."
The Endangered Missing Advisory activated to determine the whereabouts of Terrese Tressler, has been cancelled.
"The alert has been cancelled due to Missing Person Located," the Nebraska State Patrol reported.
The previous alert stated that an Endangered Missing Advisory has been issued for eastern Nebraska. The Nebraska State Patrol was attempting to locate, Terrese A. Tressler, who is a 63 year old, white female, approximately 5'6" tall, approximately 200 lbs, with blonde/grey long hair, and blue eyes. Tressler has a tattoo on her right wrist of infinity and a tattoo on her right big toe of a flower. Tressler wears glasses and has a scar on her forehead. Tressler is missing from the Meadow Grove area and was last seen in the Nebraska City area at about 2:30 AM, July 30, 2018. Tressler is known to drive a silver, 2012 Toyota Corolla, bearing Nebraska license plate number 7C5071. If you have any information, please call 911 or contact the Nebraska State Patrol at 402-331-3333.
This advisory was for the following State Patrol Troop Areas: Troop A, Troop B and Troop H.
An Endangered Missing Advisory has been activated to determine the whereabouts of Terrese Tressler.
The Nebraska State Patrol's Twitter post mentioned that Tressler suffers from dementia.
An Endangered Missing Advisory has been issued for eastern Nebraska. The Nebraska State Patrol is attempting to locate, Terrese A. Tressler, who is a 63 year old, white female, approximately 5'6" tall, approximately 200 lbs, with blonde/grey long hair, and blue eyes. Tressler has a tattoo on her right wrist of infinity and a tattoo on her right big toe of a flower. Tressler wears glasses and has a scar on her forehead. Tressler is missing from the Meadow Grove area and was last seen in the Nebraska City area at about 2:30 AM, July 30, 2018. Tressler is known to drive a silver, 2012 Toyota Corolla, bearing Nebraska license plate number 7C5071. If you have any information, please call 911 or contact the Nebraska State Patrol at 402-331-3333.
This advisory is for the following State Patrol Troop Areas: Troop A, Troop B and Troop H.
An Endangered Missing Advisory has been activated to determine the whereabouts of Terrese Tressler.
An Endangered Missing Advisory has been issued for eastern Nebraska. The Nebraska State Patrol is attempting to locate, Terrese A. Tressler, who is a 63 year old, white female, approximately 5'6" tall, approximately 200 lbs, with blonde/grey long hair, and blue eyes. Tressler has a tattoo on her right wrist of infinity and a tattoo on her right big toe of a flower. Tressler wears glasses and has a scar on her forehead. Tressler is missing from the Meadow Grove area and was last seen in the Nebraska City area at about 2:30 AM, July 30, 2018. Tressler is known to drive a silver, 2012 Toyota Corolla, bearing Nebraska license plate number 7C5071.
If you have any information, please call 911 or contact the Nebraska State Patrol at 402-331-3333.
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