Nebraska Senators Begin Review of School Aid, Property Taxes

school-fundingLINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska lawmakers have kicked off a review of school funding and its impact on local property taxes, an issue that has divided the Legislature in years past.

The Revenue and Education committees convened Thursday along with mediators who will try to help senators reach an agreement.

Nebraska’s public schools rely heavily on property taxes, and rural senators have argued that farmers and ranchers are paying more than their share because of high property values. Some urban senators say the state needs to focus on diversifying the economy beyond agriculture to grow the cities while encouraging people to live in rural areas.

Sen. Kate Sullivan, chairwoman of the Education Committee, says the meetings are intended to generate ideas for a Nov. 12 public hearing. Lawmakers are set to reconvene in January.

Federal Appeals Court Upholds Lexington Plant’s $2.3M Fine

ne-supreme-court-gavelOMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A federal appeals court has affirmed a $2.3 million penalty against a company that operated a rendering plant in Lexington and violated the federal Clean Water Act and the Nebraska Environmental Protection Act.

STABL Inc. had appealed the penalty, ordered by a federal judge last year. Federal officials said STABL had violated terms of its wastewater discharge limits hundreds of times between August 2006 and May 2010, resulting in an economic benefit to the company of more than $1.1 million. The pollutants included ammonia, oil and grease.

In its appeal, STABL argued — among other things — that discharge monitoring reports used against it were unreliable and should not have been allowed into evidence. On Thursday, the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected that and other arguments by STABL.

Health Officials: States Should Post Local Vaccination Info

vaccinationNEW YORK (AP) — How many kids are vaccinated at your child’s school? Federal health officials think you should be able to easily find out.

Last school year, only 21 states posted vaccination rates for individual schools, school districts, counties or areas of the state. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been quietly prodding more states to make the information available online.

CDC officials made the push more public during a press conference Thursday. They said parents could use the information to weigh their child’s risk vaccine-preventable illnesses at specific schools or school districts. And it could help health officials identify pockets of unvaccinated children.

Nationally, vaccination rates for both toddlers and kindergartners appear to be high and steady in recent years, at above 90 percent.

Sriracha-Scented Tickets Spice Up New Nebraska Lottery Game

nebraska-lotteryLINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — The Nebraska Lottery says it will be selling Sriracha-scented scratch tickets as part of a new $2 scratch game.

It’s called Hot Sriracha, and each ticket contains a scent replicating that of the famous Asian sauce. The game offers three $15,000 top prizes and a total of more than $468,000 in cash prizes.

Acting Nebraska Lottery director Jill Marshall says in a news release that lottery officials think the new game “is the first Sriracha-scented scratch game ever made.”

Lottery spokesman Neil Watson said Thursday that tickets are being distributed and may be purchased wherever they’re offered.

Nebraska National Guard Leaving HQ in Test of Disaster Plan

nebraska-national-guardLINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska National Guard officials say they’re leaving their Lincoln headquarters as part of a disaster exercise that will continue through Sunday.

The Guard says routine personnel and support services will be suspended during the exercise.

The state’s adjutant general, Maj. Gen. Daryl Bohac (BOH’-hahk), said in a news release that Guard leaders are testing their plans for operating elsewhere if a disaster were to force them out of the headquarters.

A similar previous test only involved a portion of the headquarters workforce. The Guard says all headquarters staffers for the Army and Air National Guards and the Nebraska Emergency Agency will work from alternate sites during this test.

Work to Begin on Hershey Viaduct

road-workWeather permitting, construction will begin on L-56C September 8.

Construction will include grading, mse wall, concrete pavement, culverts, seeding, bridges, pedestrian structure, guardrail, lighting and general items. All work is anticipated to be completed in the fall of 2017.

Starting September 8, work will begin on the South Platte River Bridge on L-56C south of Hershey with traffic reduced to one lane and controlled by traffic signals with a 12′ maximum width restriction.

The South Platte River Bridge is anticipated to be completed in November of 2015.

During the winter months of 2015/2016, the contractor will be working on culverts and grading.

Concrete pavement and the new viaduct will be constructed in 2016 and the new pedestrian structure will be constructed during 2017.

Motorists are reminded to drive cautiously through highway construction zones.

NSP to Participate in Border to Border Traffic Safety Initiative

NSPThe Nebraska State Patrol (NSP) joins its state law enforcement partners along the I-80/I-35 corridors in a multi-state, multi-agency high visibility traffic enforcement operation in an effort to achieve zero fatalities for the period August 28-30.

The special enforcement effort coincides with the You Drink You Drive You Lose nationwide enforcement campaign and encompasses 455 miles of Interstate 80 in Nebraska.

As part of its involvement in the I-80/1-35 Border-to-Border Traffic Safety Initiative, the Nebraska State Patrol will conduct special enforcement activities along the I-80 corridor to include high visibility patrols and vehicle checks. A $12,530 grant from the Nebraska Office of Highway Safety will help to pay for the special enforcement efforts.

Five years of crash data (2009-2013) from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) determined August to be the deadliest month on I-80 and one of the deadliest on I-35. From 2009-2013, 92 people were killed on I-80 during the month of August, while 73 people lost their lives on I-35.

To-date during the month of August 2015, Nebraska has recorded two traffic deaths on Interstate 80.

Colonel Rice said, “We are asking the motoring public to partner with us during this special enforcement as we strive for zero fatalities by wearing your seat belt, obeying the posted speed limit and never driving impaired or distracted.”

Hot Sheets (8/27): Grrrrrrr


Thomas Gerard Brownell: Felony Possession of Stolen Property (Firearm)

Thomas Gerard Brownell: Felony Possession of Stolen Property (Firearm)

Kenneth Eugene Cassell: Failure to Appear (x2)

Kenneth Eugene Cassell: Failure to Appear (x2)

Madison Kaylynn McKinzie: Truancy (Juvenile)

Madison Kaylynn McKinzie: Truancy (Juvenile)

Click Here To See Past Hot Sheets

This information is not a criminal history. Criminal charges are often dropped or reduced. All individuals included in this post are presumed innocent of crimes until proven guilty in a court of law. The North Platte Post assumes no legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, or completeness, of this information. Any person who believes information provided is not accurate may submit a complaint to admin@northplattepost.com.

North Platte Weather-August 27

Forecast Graphic August 27 2015Today
A 40 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms, mainly after 3pm. Partly sunny, with a high near 89. South wind 7 to 12 mph increasing to 13 to 18 mph in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 28 mph.
Tonight
A 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms, mainly before 7pm. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 61. Northwest wind 10 to 14 mph.
Friday
Mostly sunny, with a high near 85. North wind 10 to 14 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph.
Friday Night
Mostly clear, with a low around 56. North northeast wind 5 to 10 mph becoming light and variable.
Saturday
Sunny, with a high near 87. West southwest wind 5 to 10 mph becoming south in the afternoon.
Saturday Night
Mostly clear, with a low around 59.
Sunday
Sunny, with a high near 90.
Sunday Night
Mostly clear, with a low around 61.

MPCC Releases Proposed 2015-2016 Budget

MPCCMid-Plains Community College will decrease its local property tax asking for 2015-2016 by 4.88 percent. At Wednesday night’s MPCC Board of Governors meeting, Mike Steele, the College’s Vice-President of Administrative Services presented a potential budget to be advertised before the upcoming Sept.16 Board of Governors meeting.

MPCC’s overall valuation for the the 18-county service area went up 16.55 percent. The proposed budget for publication will be as follows: The general budget will increase from $24,626,880 in 2014-15 to $25,622,727 in 2015-16 with the associated general fund levy decreasing from 6.5000 cents to 5.950 cents.  The college’s capital fund will increase from 1.50 cents to 1.65 cents.

The overall college’s tax asking will be down from 8.2000 in 2014-15 to 7.8000 cents per $100 or a 4.88 percent decrease for FY 2015-16.  The college’s ADA tax levy is proposed to remain unchanged at 0.2000 cents. Total expenditures for all funds is $41,997,869.

According to Ryan Purdy, president of MPCC, the Mid-Plains Levy is the second lowest in the state behind Southeast Community College with campuses in Lincoln, Milford and Beatrice and their anticipated levy projected to at 7.57 cents per $100 of assessed value.

In taking action, Jo Brown moved and Mathew Broz seconded to publish a proposed budget in local newspapers.

A final budget will be presented at the Public Hearing currently scheduled for Sept. 16. A formal announcement to time and location of the public hearings will be released in the near future.