Central Plains Satelite

Heithoff Wins Gold at State Wrestling Tournament, Henn Earns Sixth Place Medal

February 27, 2009 by lmorgan · Comments Off 

OMAHA — Five wrestlers from Elgin area schools went to the State Wrestling Tournament in Omaha. Of that number, two came home with medals, one a state champion.

Dylan Heithoff, a junior at Pope John Central Catholic, brought home a gold medal, winning the Class D 189-pound class.

Making an impressive run through the tournament, the final match was anti-climactic as opponent Riley Santin of Palmer was forced to concede the match due to an injury. Santin went down with an apparent shoulder injury in the first period as Heithoff had a near pin. After an injury timeout, it wasn’t much later when Santin again was down on the mat with an injury.

The two had just met one week earlier in the district finals where Santin edged Heithoff.

Both wrestlers are juniors and will likely wrestle again next year.

Heithoff won by every conceivable way. He opened the tournament with a pin, won a match in overtime, then outscored another opponent by a 13 to 9 margin.

Winning a sixth-place medal was Beau Henn. A junior, Henn put together a string of good matches in his march to the medal stand.

Henn won two matches by one-point margins.

For the rest of the story, subscribe to The Elgin Review.

Dates Set For Vetch Days Celebration

February 27, 2009 by lmorgan · Comments Off 

Dates for the annual Vetch Days celebration have been finalized.

Greg Tharnish, president of the Elgin Chamber/Community Club, said Monday night a contract has been signed with Richard’s Amusements to provide a carnival for Vetch Days. The only dates available were Monday through Wednesday, June 22-24. As a result, those will be the dates for this year’s celebration.

Tharnish said the community of Petersburg will be holding their annual celebration on Tuesday through Thursday, June 23-25.

Discussions are now underway with representatives from Petersburg to have some joint event during the week to bring the two communities together. 

However, nothing yet has been finalized.

Crop Disaster Program Signup Ends Feb. 27

February 27, 2009 by lmorgan · Comments Off 

The USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) Acting State Director, Dan Steinkruger reminds producers that the sign-up period for 2005-2007 Crop Disaster Program (CDP) will end Feb. 27, 2009.  This program provides benefits for crop losses due to quantity or quality losses that occurred in 2005, 2006 or 2007 crop years.

Sign-up for this program began October 15, 2007 for quantity losses and applications for associated quality losses began in June of 2008.  Producers with eligible losses could receive benefits for one of the years 2005 through 2007.

“With the length of the application period, it is important that producers suffering losses have not forgotten to apply for these benefits by the February 27, deadline” said Steinkruger.  Late filed applications will not be approved after the deadline.  Applications and supporting documents must be on file at your county FSA office by this date.  

For further questions about CDP and the sign-up deadline, producers may contact their county FSA office or visit FSA’s website at http://www.fsa.usda.gov.

St. Mary’s Defeats Crusaders

February 27, 2009 by lmorgan · Comments Off 

ELGIN — Cold shooting in the third quarter proved costly to the Crusaders Friday night as O’Neill St. Mary’s defeated Pope John 64 to 47.

After playing a very competitive first half, Pope John came out for the third quarter and managed just six points. 

At the other end of the court, the Cardinals put up 17 points, boosting their lead to 53 to 35.

The first half was a different story as the Crusaders played solid basketball against the 19-1 Cardinals. Pope John fell behind 19 to 9, then ran off 12 straight points to take a 21 to 19 lead. Leading the way were Jake Schindler and Josh Beckman who were hitting the mark from three-point range.

To read the rest of the story, subscribe to The Elgin Review.

From the Legislature

February 27, 2009 by lmorgan · Comments Off 

By Kate Sullivan

District #41 State Senator

It’s been a hectic two weeks since I last wrote this column.  I presented two of my bills before committees, both of which were well-received at the hearings and address issues of need and concern to District 41.  

LB 531 raises the net worth threshold for farmers and ranchers to qualify for a tax credit under the Nebraska Advantage Microenterprise Tax Credit Act.  I stressed to the committee that agriculture should not be held to different standard than other businesses as we encourage entrepreneurial and value-added enterprises on existing farms and ranches.

In LB 489, I’m asking the state to provide funding to Nebraska’s Area Health Education Centers (AHECs).  AHECs help strengthen the health care workforce and infrastructure.  We must address the shortage of health care workers.  Recruiting students into health care careers and retaining them as practioners in Nebraska once they’ve completed their education is vital to our quality of life in rural areas.  AHECs are already doing this work across the state.

Out and About in the District

On Presidents’ Day, February 16, I had the great pleasure of speaking to a large group of students at Burwell Senior High School.  My visit was arranged by Social Sciences teacher Melissa Konicek.  The students were well-informed, attentive and very interested in the legislative process.  I spent part of the afternoon talking with the students about the Nebraska Legislature and my experiences in my first six weeks.  I really enjoyed the give and take and the sharp questions they posed on different issues.  As my visit came to end, I was surprised to see that nearly two hours had passed –what fun!  

If you’re a teacher and would like me to visit your classroom, please contact Anna Wolf in my legislative office at (402) 471-2631 to make arrangements.  My schedule allows me to make school visits only on recess days when the Legislature is in session.  Recess days always fall on a Friday or a Monday.  There’s at least one recess day per week through the end of the session on June 4.

Federal Funds for Nebraska

With passage and signing of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), President Obama’s federal stimulus plan, Nebraska will be receiving a portion of the federal stimulus funds allocated to states.  

After an in-depth review of the Nebraska Constitution, state statutes and case law, Speaker Flood and the members of the Appropriations Committee have agreed that the stimulus funds must be allocated through the Legislature’s appropriations process and approved by the full Legislature. As a result, the Appropriations Committee has developed guidelines for ARRA stimulus funds as part of the budget process and will issue a preliminary report on how the funds will be used in the next few weeks.  Once the preliminary report is issued, the Appropriations Committee will hold agency and bill hearings to gather public input.  

Plans are also in the works for a dedicated page on the legislative website which will allow citizens to track the use of federal stimulus funds in our state.

States are restricted in how they can use stimulus funds. The funds can’t be used to supplant existing or ongoing state budgetary obligations.  They must be utilized for improvement of education and educational infrastructure; to save and create quality jobs through public works and infrastructure investments; and to preserve critical human service programs designed to protect Nebraska’s vulnerable citizens during the economic downturn.  ARRA requires compliance monitoring, reporting and public access to information about how states are using the stimulus funds.

Legislative rules require the Appropriations Committee to send their budget recommendation to the full Legislature for consideration by April 29 this year, the 70th legislative day.  I will continue to monitor plans for the stimulus funds as we move through the budget process and provide updates to you when available.

Disaster Relief 

I want all local political subdivisions in District 41 to be aware of the availability of $5.5 million in Community Development Block Grant public assistance funding approved in 2008.  The funding is for long-term disaster recovery efforts due to damage caused by severe storms, tornadoes and flooding across Nebraska from May 22 to June 24, 2008.  Boone, Garfield, Greeley, Hall, Howard, Sherman, Valley and Wheeler Counties were included in FEMA’s disaster declaration 1770-DR issued in July 2008.  

The funds will be administered by the Nebraska Department of Economic Development, Community and Rural Development Division based on an action plan that will be adopted in the next few weeks.

Public assistance is targeted to local governments for repair of roads, bridges, public buildings and other facilities damaged by nature during specific time periods.  It may also be used for costs such as police, fire and public works employee salaries.  The federal government pays 75% of all eligible public costs.  State and local governments split the remaining 25%.

Federal disaster relief funding requires compliance with fair housing, nondiscrimination, labor standards and environmental assessment and review requirements applicable to the Community Development Block Grant program and must be used for disaster relief, long-term recovery and restoration of public infrastructure.

Counties, cities and villages in the designated disaster area may submit applications for funds beginning later this spring.  Priority categories are public infrastructure and hazard mitigation planning.  The public infrastructure category funding will be 70-85% of the $5.5 million.  Applications will be accepted beginning June 1, 2009 and will cease when all funds are awarded.  Ten percent of the funds will be allocated for hazard mitigation planning with a June 1, 2009 application acceptance date and will cease when all funds are awarded.  Housing impact assistance may be available November 1, 2009 if applications for the first two categories don’t use all the funds.  

I strongly encourage village, city and county officials to apply for assistance to help them repair and replace public property damaged or destroyed during the specified time frame.  

It’s important to apply in a timely manner because grants will be awarded to those projects which qualify until the allocated funds are expended.  

In these days of tight budgets, it would be a shame if a political subdivision missed an opportunity for outside assistance because an application deadline wasn’t met.

Contact Information

If you have questions regarding this newsletter, legislation or state issues, please call my legislative office at (402) 471-2631.  My mailing address is:  P.O. Box 94604, Lincoln, NE  68509.  

You may send email to: ksullivan@leg.ne.gov.  

Please include your full name and mailing address in your message.  

As always, if you’re in Lincoln over the next few months, please stop by the Capitol to see your Nebraska Legislature at work.

Inscription from the Nebraska State Capitol – South Facade Parapet:  

Political Society Exists For The Sake of Noble Living — Aristotle

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