Wednesday, April 16, 2014
   
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Valentine Town Hall Meeting April 21st

The public is encouraged to attend a town hall meeting on April 21st, at 7pm CT, at the Valentine High School Auditorium to discuss community issues. This summer Valentine residents will have the opportunity to vote on renewing the city sales tax that began in 2007. During the town hall meeting, information will be presented on where the tax began, what it has accomplished and what it could mean to the future of the community. There will be information presented on the golf course project and expansion of Mid Plains Community College. There will be no tax increase. At this time the city property tax request is the lowest among our peer communities because of the sales tax collections half of which are paid by visitors to the Valentine communities. Attend the town hall meeting on April 21st to find out more.

 

Bessey Tours for Arbor Day

On Friday April 25th, the Discovery Loup Trail Kick-Off Celebration will welcome Arbor Day with a variety of events on the Bessey Ranger District.  This celebration is in honor of a new ADA compliant nature trail that loops through the Bessey Arboretum.  Events will include tours of the Charles E. Bessey Nursery, which produces over two million seedlings every year and is the oldest federal seedling nursery in the nation.  Participants in the Arbor Day event will have a rare opportunity to see the Nursery in full production; growing, packing and shipping hundreds of thousands of seedlings to the Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, conservation districts, and other government agencies.  The seedlings are used for reforestation following fire and insect infestations, wildlife/habitat plantings, wind breaks, conservation plantings, as well as for general planting.
Bessey Nursery tours will start at 10:00 am and 2:00 and will last between 30-45 minutes.  For more information on how you can help out with the trail, go to www.tourthomascountynebraska.com/discoveryloup.

 

Incident Causes Limited School Lockdown

Nothing new to report as of Monday morning about the incident on Friday that caused a limited lockdown of Valentine schools.  According to County Attorney Eric Scott, a limited lockdown of Valentine schools was issued on a recommendation of Law Enforcement as a result of a Friday morning incident near the Valentine Middle School, not directly related in any way to the schools.  According to Police Chief Ben McBride, an interaction between two vehicles allegedly resulted in one vehicle discharging a firearm in the direction of the other vehicle.  There were no injuries.  The Valentine Police Department is seeking information from the public about two pick-up trucks traveling at a high rate of speed on either Thatcher and/or 3rd Streets area Friday morning about 8:25.  At this time authorities are still investigating and are not releasing any further information about the alleged shooting. Anyone with any information is urged to contact local authorities at either 402-376-3055 or 402-376-1890.

   

Valentine City Council Meeting

The Valentine City Council met Thursday evening for a regular meeting at the Valentine Public Library.

A request from Mary Ellen Osnes for permission for the boy scouts to sell surplus tents in the city park on May 17th was approved. The scouts have replaced their camping tents and have extras to sell for a fund raiser for the group.

The council held a public hearing for comments regarding renewal of the city sales tax. The council reviewed the updated language on the proposed ballots which will be up for approval at the May council meeting. Councilmember Kyle Arganbright gave a power point presentation to compare where Valentine is in relationship with peer communities. Valentine property taxes are considerably lower, retail sales are higher but we have less public amenities. If the sales tax is approved by the voters this summer, there would be no tax increase. There would only be a change in the ½ cent that is currently being used to pay bonds on the new swimming pool, which could be used to help fund a new public golf course for the community and an expansion of the Mid Plains Community College campus in Valentine. Representatives from Mid Plains were in attendance to talk about the current facility and what they would expect to see with a new campus. Campuses have already been expanded in Imperial, Ogallala and Broken Bow. Experience has shown that the new expanded campuses have increased the number of students from both the host communities and from outside. New stand alone buildings seem to draw more awareness to the presence of a college campus. They would partner with other educational institutions to offer 4 year degrees in Valentine. Visibility, access and expandability is vitally important to the success of the venture. Mid Plains would fund approximately half the cost with grants and direct contribution from the college and would provide operation and maintenance for the facility in the future.

There was also discussion on the proposed golf course project. New topographical maps are being compiled so that more precise construction costs can be determined. They are also looking at possible grants for recycling water being discharged from the waste water treatment plant to be used for irrigation. Jerry Reynoldson presented financial reports showing that the course would not be a drain on taxpayers if operated correctly.

A liquor license application for Shopko was approved.

Lowell Nelson with Tisdale Nebraska LLC requested temporarily leasing space on the old water tanks for cellular phone radio equipment for ATT. The request was approved.

A request was approved to waive landfill fees for free dump days on May 2nd, 3rd and 4th. City residents can take items to the NK Waste recycling center to drop off items during those days.

Maureen Johnson was appointed to serve a three year term on the Library Board.

 

US Senate Dems Urging Obama To Approve Keystone XL

Eleven Senate Democrats are urging President Barack Obama to approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline by the end of May.

The senators say the five-year review of the Canada-to-Texas pipeline has been "exhaustive" and taken longer than reasonably justified. The letter sent Thursday says approval is needed to ensure the pipeline doesn't miss another construction season.

But politics is likely a larger factor. Six of the Democrats who signed the letter face challenges this year. They are Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Mark Begich of Alaska, Mark Pryor of Arkansas, John Walsh of Montana, Kay Hagan of North Carolina and Mark Warner of Virginia.

Democratic efforts to keep control of the Senate could hinge on those races.

   

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