Monday, December 22, 2014
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Lawmakers look to new approach for property taxes

As they prepare for a debate on taxes, Nebraska lawmakers are trying to find new ways to reduce what property-owners pay without robbing local school districts of revenue.

Property taxes will again surface as an issue in the legislative session that begins next month with 18 new senators and Gov.-elect Pete Ricketts.

During a hearing Tuesday at the Capitol, the Revenue Committee will look at how other states have lowered property taxes.

Sen. Galen Hadley of Kearney, the committee chairman, says lawmakers want to hear different options, but each one has trade-offs.

The discussion could include reducing the taxable value of farm- and ranchland, putting caps on property taxes, or taxing land by the profit it generates rather than its market value.


Fewer Christmas tree farms in Nebraska

The number of Christmas tree farms has dwindled in Nebraska and elsewhere across the nation.

The Lincoln Journal Star reports fewer people are establishing new Christmas tree farms, while current owners are retiring and selling their property to land developers.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Census of Agriculture, the number of Nebraska acres for Christmas tree production decreased from nearly 1,100 in 2002 to almost 650 in 2012.

National numbers also have seen a similar decrease. In 2002, the federal agency reported about 14,700 producers harvesting almost 21 million trees. In 2012, almost 13,000 producers harvested about 17 million trees.


Gov. Heineman Reminds Nebraskans to Fly Flags at Half-Staff on Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, Dec 7th

Gov. Dave Heineman  is reminding Nebraskans to fly flags at half-staff in observance of Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day on Sunday, Dec. 7.

"Lowering the flag is a way to remember the victims and honor the heroes of Pearl Harbor," Gov. Heineman said. "We must always remember their efforts and the sacrifices of all those who served in World War II. Many American service men and women lost their lives or were injured on December 7, 1941, and Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day is an annual reminder of America's commitment to a free and just world."

Congress has designated Dec. 7 as National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, and each year the President signs a proclamation ordering flags to be flown at half-staff


Fishing proposal worries some South Dakota anglers

A proposal to allow statewide spearing and bowfishing of most game fish year-round in South Dakota has riled some anglers who fear damage to trout fisheries in shallow streams and small lakes in the Black Hills.

Angler Ev Hoyt tells the Rapid City Journal that spearfishing could deplete larger fish and spawning fish in those waters, and hurt efforts to establish self-sustaining fisheries.

Proposal author Bill Donovan says spearfishing is just another way to take fish, and is subject to regulations in place to protect fisheries.

The Game, Fish & Parks Commission will decide the proposal's fate later this month. It would allow use of legal spear and bowfishing equipment on all game fish species, with the exception of paddlefish and sturgeon, in all inland waters starting next year.


Chamber Activities in December


The Valentine Chamber of Commerce has scheduled Santa Claus and his reindeer for this Saturday from 1-4pm in the parking lot of Security First Bank on Main Street in Valentine. Also, Kenners will be in to do horse drawn trailer rides courtesy of Youngs Western Wear and Security First Bank.

The Chamber will also be giving away beef for Christmas. $500 in beef drafts will be awarded through the month of December. Shoppers need to stop by at participating stores and sign up for the weekly drawings.




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