Monday, May 02, 2016
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City Council Meets

The Valentine City Council met for a regular meeting Thursday evening at the Valentine libraray meeting room. Mike Burge reported on the progress of the golf course development committee. He reported that the committee is reviewing a second design by the architect and starting some debris removal from the site. The lease agreement with the Nebraska Game and Parks is proceeding and Ross Buckendahl has been nominated to fill the position now held by Robert Joseph on the board.

There was discussion on the LARM Interlocal agreement for insurance purposes. It was recommended by administration to approve the agreement. The council voted to approve.

The discussion on the potential of constructing sewer service on Development Street was also on agenda. Don Pettigrew presented options to the council that might accomplish what some area property owners want. Two viable options were both over $90,000. Property owners that want service would have to pay to tap into the sewer line of if a sewer district is formed it would cost all property owner about $5,400 per lot. The issue was tabled until the next meeting.

New council members Dave Dent and Neil Wescott were sworn in to replace Don Nelsen and Gari Sadi who did not seek reelection. Don Nelsen thanked the council and administration for their help during his twelve years on the council. Councilman Andrew Ward presented the two outgoing members with a plaque. Dent and Wescott were the top two vote getters in the November election.

The first item of business for the new council was to elect a new council president to act as ex officio mayor for Valentine. Kallie Nominated Kyle, Andrew nominated Neil Wescott. Kyle Arganbright was elected on a 3 to 2 vote. Kallie was elected as vice president of the council.

Valentine Police Chief Dana Miller requested to purchase a new cruiser to replace a nine year old vehicle with over 125,000 miles which is requiring numerous repairs. A replacement car could cost about $25,000. Another $5,000 would need to be added for equipment. Neil made a motion to table until next month. The motion failed. Kyle then moved to seek further information on a local bid before going to state bid. The motion carried.

Don Pettigrew made a request to renew the street superintendent and surveyor contracts for another 2 years with no monetary increase. Kyle made a motion to approve the contract which was approved on a 3 to 2 vote.

The council voted to give city employees the day after Christmas the day off.

Officer Jim McCormick addressed the council about acquiring Ranger, the city’s drug dog. There is no intention to retire the dog and Chief Dana Miller stated that as long the city has a dog and a handler, the dog will remain active. Officer McCormick wanted to know what it would cost to acquire the dog if he were to leave the force. No action was taken.

Ross Buckendahl was appointed to the golf course development board to replace Robert Joseph who stepped down due to business commitments.


Wreaths Across America Ceremony on Saturday, Dec. 13th

The Wreath Across America ceremony is set for this Saturday at Mount Hope Cemetery in Valentine. The program begins at 11 AM on Saturday. Everyone is welcome to attend.


Nebraska employment record expected in 2015

The governor says Nebraska employment is expected to top 1.1 million next year, a record high.

Gov. Dave Heineman said in making the announcement Wednesday that the state has had continued growth in a number of industries. The record projection is based on growth patterns and current economic trends.

A news release from the governor's office says jobs in high demand projected through 2015 include registered nurses, truck drivers, accountants, market research analysts, carpenters, electricians and software developers.

The Nebraska unemployment rate for October was 3.4 percent, the lowest since 2008. The November rate hasn't been released yet.


Lawmakers say federal spending bill benefits SD

South Dakota's congressional delegation says the massive $1.1 trillion federal spending bill under debate in Washington contains key provisions beneficial to the state.

Federal lawmakers on Thursday will take up the measure to fund government through Sept. 30, 2015.

Republican Sen. John Thune says he's pleased the legislation contains provisions barring the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating lead in ammunition and fishing gear and prohibiting a federal agency from listing the sage grouse as endangered.

GOP Rep. Kristi Noem says she's happy the Sanford Underground Research Facility will maintain its $15 million federal funding level.

Outgoing Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson has lauded the $2.4 million in funding for the Lewis and Clark Regional Water System, with an added potential share of a $31 million pot for rural water projects.


State Senators Davis and Schilz to Discuss the Upcoming Legislative Session

On December 16, Senator Al Davis, whom represents District 43, and Senator Ken Schilz, whom represents District 47, will be in Alliance to share their thoughts on the upcoming legislative session which begins January 7, 2015. The meeting, hosted by the Middle Niobrara, North Platte, South Platte and Upper Niobrara White Natural Resources Districts, will start at 4 pm at the Alliance  Library Learning Center located at 1705 Sweetwater Avenue.

“Nebraska’s Natural Resources Districts have a healthy and open relationship with Senators Davis and Schilz and look forward to meeting with them outside of Lincoln to hear their opinions regarding what to expect during the 90 day session” said Patrick O’Brien, General Manager of the Upper Niobrara White NRD.

Senator Schilz, a cattle feeder from Ogallala, is beginning his seventh year in the legislature and is the chairman of the Agriculture Committee and serves on the Natural Resources, General Affairs and Tax Modernization Committees.  Senator Davis ranches north of Hyannis, is beginning his third year in the legislature and has multiple committee assignments including Building Maintenance, Committee on Committees, Education, Judiciary, Tax Incentive Evaluation, Nebraska Retirement and State-Tribal Relations Committees.  Both gentlemen served on the Water Sustainability Task Force that worked on water project funding issues during the summer and fall of 2013 eventually leading to the water sustainability funds that were part of LB1098 passed this year.

The senators will see 18 new faces in the legislature this year, as well as a new governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general.

“With so many changes in the system, it is important for local and state elected leaders to continue to communicate both during the session and throughout the year.  We are fortunate to have representatives who are accessible and willing to discuss the issues that could impact natural resources” stated Rod Horn, South Platte NRD Manager.

The meeting will be open to the public. For more information, contact the Upper Niobrara White NRD at 308-432-6190.


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