Friday, October 24, 2014
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Cherry County Land Could be Sold to State

According to a Monday article in the Omaha World Herald, a slice of land on the Niobrara River in Cherry County could be a living laboratory on Nebraska woodlands and grasslands.

The 460-acre site southwest of Valentine would be the state's first Forestry and Wildlife Management Area. The Nebraska Forest Service and the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission would manage the land to demonstrate how the Niobrara forests and grasslands could be operated for the maximized benefit of ranchers, hunters, the timber industry and others — all while dampening the chances of a wildfire.

The owner of the proposed forestry and wildlife area, who was not identified, is selling the property to see it protected from development and preserved in its natural state, officials said. The tract is nine miles south of Nenzel, Neb., and less than a mile north of McKelvie National Forest. The parcel contains more than two miles of Niobrara frontage and straddles the river in places.

The tract features mostly grassland and meadows on the north side of the river. The south parcel includes hardwoods, cottonwoods and willows on the river bottom. Pines and invasive cedars crowd the bluff slopes.

The property would be purchased at appraised value, officials said. Game and Parks will continue to pay all taxes on the property.

Funds for the tract would come from a first-ever $500,000 grant to the Nebraska Forest Service from the U.S. Forest Legacy Program. The Nebraska Environmental Trust would provide a $240,000 grant. The National Wild Turkey Federation also is contributing money.

The Game and Parks Commission would own the tract and operate it as one of its 283 wildlife management areas. Wildlife management areas are open for fishing, seasonal hunting and trapping and other activities

A public hearing on the plan was held in Valentine last week.

The Environmental Trust board is scheduled to discuss and vote on the project at its July 19 meeting in Holdrege, Neb. Game and Parks commissioners are expected to consider the project at their July 26 meeting in Lincoln.



Valentine New Comprehensive Plan


The City of Valentine Continues to work on the comprehensive plan which will guide the decision making process over the next ten year period. The last plan was done in 1999 and plans are usually thought to be adequate for about ten years. RDG Associates has been work with community members since spring to gather information about the community and what the citizens would like to see. There have been previous public meetings for residents to express thoughts on what is important to them in the coming years. Tuesday night a group of people met with the consultants to go over issues faced by the city. The discussion began around more utilization of the Cowboy Trail and its Corridor and covered housing, signage and business development. Another public input session will be held Wednesday evening from 5 to 7pm at the library for anyone interested. Anyone who would like to find out more before tonight's meeting, can go to for more information.


Save the Golf Course Effort


A group of local sportsman are asking for a show of community support for the Deer Park Golf Course that has served the Valentine area for over 40 years but was not opened by the owner this year. It is still unclear what the future holds for the old course or construction of a new course at a different location. The group will be circulating petitions throughout the community to allow people to show support for a golf course in the community. Petitions are available at the studios of KVSH, Isom Insurance office and will be at Youngs Western Wear this Saturday. The show of support will be used in future planning efforts for a golf course to serve the community. Area residents are encouraged to stop and sign a petition or contact Steve Isom, Jerry Reynoldson or Doctor Dick Jeffers.


Economic Development Board Meets


The Valentine Economic Development Board met Monday evening for a regular monthly meeting. The board met with Amy Haase from RDG Associates to discuss the City of Valentine Comprehensive Plan and how it could affect economic development. They also met with four young journalists involved in the “fly over me, Valentine” project. The journalists will soon launch a web site featuring stories about the Valentine area. The web site will be Residents are encouraged to watch the site in the next week or so for new developments. The economic development board also discussed a new golf course, housing needs, business expansions and reviewed the new web site. The boards web site recently received an overhaul and new look. For more information about the revolving business loan fund or other economic development information contact Mike Burge at 402-376-6842.


Two South Dakota Men in Federal Court


United States Attorney Brendan V. Johnson announced that a St. Francis, man has been indicted by a federal grand jury for Sexual Abuse. Joseph R. Blue Bird, age 26, was indicted on September 19, 2012, and appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark A. Moreno on June 19, 2013 and pled not guilty to the Indictment. The charge is merely an accusation and Blue Bird is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

Blue Bird was remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service. A trial date has not been set.


Johnson also announced that on June 20, Alex Lee Salway, age 54, of Martin, South Dakota was found guilty by a federal jury in U.S. District Court on two counts of Distribution of a Controlled Substance. Each charge carries a maximum sentence of 40 years’ imprisonment, a $2,000,000 fine, or both. Salway was indicted by a federal grand jury on June 19, 2012 as part of Operation Prairie Pharm, a controlled substance investigation that resulted in 12 individuals being indicted for drug distribution offenses in Bennett County.

The charges against Salway stem from him selling and distributing morphine pills, within 1,000 feet of a public school in Martin, on two separate occasions on January 27, 2012.

Salway remains in the custody of the U.S. Marshal. A sentencing date has not been set.


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