All posts by Grant

Career and Technical Education Curriculum to Be Reviewed October 5

BROKEN BOW – The Broken Bow Career and Technical Education (CTE) department will be holding a curriculum review on Wednesday, October 5 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the high school board room.

The purpose of the curriculum review, says business teacher Angie Palmer, is to provide a much-needed opportunity for businesses and community members to become involved with the CTE program’s present and future, as well as ensure a productive path forward for everyone involved.

“We’re going to show them: this is what we’re doing in the classroom, here are the standards we’re supposed to meet. Is this addressing concerns or things that you’re doing in your own industries? When we go into this curriculum review, we have to identify what it is we’re currently doing, what the needs are within the industries within our community, and evaluate what we can do with our existing program, and what the possibility would be of maybe introducing a new program.”

Part of evaluating the curriculum, Palmer says, is ensuring that skills, not just specializations, are covered. “The review’s going to let us know: are we covering the basic career readiness skills? Communication, problem-solving, critical thinking, collaboration: are our programs addressing those skills?”

Getting Broken Bow’s schools and businesses on the same page is crucial not only for the continuation of a unique academic track, but for strengthening the ties between students, local employers, and the community as a whole. All too often rural communities find graduating high schoolers walking across the stage and out of town; Palmer says that a prominent CTE curriculum, with local input, could keep Custer County thriving through work-based learning for students.

“We give them the skills they need to apply and interview for jobs, but they don’t just go to work; there’s actually a learning relationship that goes on. The student would have a supervisor to oversee how they’re doing, telling them what they’re looking for, and they’d make connections within that business. The business would also be teaching the student.”

Businesses have until September 30 to RSVP for the curriculum review, though should not be afraid that their voices will not be heard if they cannot attend. Palmer says that this curriculum review is only the first step in what should prove to be an enriching and beneficial process for all parties.

“I would say this is probably ‘Step A’ in ‘Phase 1,’ so to speak; there’s so much that we have to pull apart and figure out.”

 

SCAM ALERT: Broken Bow Utilities Department

BROKEN BOW – Several Broken Bow residents have reported receiving calls this evening from a number resembling the Broken Bow Utilities Department indicating that if they do not pay their bill in 30 minutes, their power will be shut off.

The Broken Bow Utilities Department would like to alert customers that this is a scam; their number has been cloned, and customers should not give information or payment to anybody claiming to be the department.

The department would never threaten its customers in such a way.

Broken Bow Public School Now Accepting Bids on Custer School Building

BROKEN BOW – The Broken Bow Public School District is now accepting sealed bids for the Custer School building and grounds. All bids must be dropped off in person or by mail before 5 p.m. on Monday, October 17 at the Superintendent’s office: 323 North 7th Avenue in Broken Bow.

The building will be sold “as is,” and all contents and equipment will be included, with the exception of the playground equipment, which is anticipated to be removed before the building and grounds change hands.

Bidders are able to tour the building before placing a bid; they can do so by emailing Jim Zlomke; the tentative dates for touring the building are October 10 through 14 between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.

All envelopes containing bids for the building and grounds must be sealed and clearly marked “Custer Property Bid.” All bids will then be opened and reviewed the night of the 17 when the Broken Bow School Board holds its regular meeting.

Questions can be directed to Broken Bow Public School Superintendent Darren Tobey or Jim Zlomke.

BBPS Budget on Track After Hearing

BROKEN BOW – The long-awaited county budget hearing for the Broken Bow School Board stayed mostly on track Wednesday night, in more ways than one. By 6 p.m., 36 community members had filtered through the courthouse doors to voice thoughts on the near 6% tax ask increase from the mouths of superintendent Darren Tobey and school board president Tom Osmond.

After the two presented the case for the increased ask, during which Tobey cited the need for an HVAC overhaul and the prior five years of a static budget in the face of anticipated student body growth, citizens had the opportunity to voice their concerns for a loose two minutes apiece.

Nancy Bauman, former Broken Bow science teacher, wanted to know why, if the building and its HVAC system are as old as they are, money had not been allocated toward its renovation earlier, instead of other projects.

“We have noticed what wonderful sports facilities we have here at Broken Bow. And that’s wonderful because the kids deserve that. But why wasn’t that money spent on the building?”

School facility funding, Tobey replied, comes from sources as varied as the facilities themselves.

“New fences came from insurance, and the new track had been budgeted in; it was already within the budget.” The athletic boosters, he went on to say, raise a great deal of money for all corners of the school’s sports endeavors.

That being said, it would take an estimated $9 million to bring the schools up to the current code, which raised resident Les Kulhanek’s eyebrow. “How did these buildings get so far behind on getting up to code; were there no inspections being made prior to this?”

Tobey’s response, using the very building in which he stood as an example, was that a structure tends to remain up to code until a renovation process gets underway.

“In code, you’re all grandfathered in until you start to make some renovations to a building. The courthouse has a second floor. You’d never get by a second floor without an elevator; when the courthouse decided to do renovations, you have to put an elevator in.”

The $600,000 track again took center stage, this time as a thorn in resident Gary Tharp’s side as he voiced the room’s common concern.

“Where is the money going? If the track was not booster funded, why did we need to spend that money on the track; why couldn’t we put that money into our science labs, or into our library? I love sports, but education is ten times more important.”

The track was a necessary expense, Tobey replied, because of how rugged it had become; it proved a liability for students which could have led to injuries and exposed the school to even costlier lawsuits.

Amid questions about the rising ask and the possibility of a nonexistent ceiling year after year, Tobey pointed to his board’s track record in comparison to proximal schools both geographically and demographically; Cozad and Gothenburg schools both pay more taxes per student than Broken Bow.

“At some point, we have to look around at other people and go: ‘Wow, we’re doing a really good job.’ We’re already lower than all of our area schools.”

With the budget due to the state by Friday, and the sweat put into sculpting it long dried, the likelihood that the board will reshape any piece of it is next to nil; however, taxpayers can continue to make their voices heard: school board meetings are always open to the public.

BBPS October Students of the Month

BROKEN BOW – Broken Bow Public School has announced the October Students of the Month; this month’s character trait is Responsibility.

One student from each grade who most represents the month’s chosen quality has been selected by peers. The four are:

12th grade: Anna Clingenpeel
11th grade: Brandon Gamboa
10th grade:Katelyn Berggren
9th grade: Alexis Pflaster

Once the nominees are put forward, the list is sent on to the school’s administration for approval. Once approved, each student is awarded a free Runza and their names are recognized in announcements.

Rachelle Haines, serving her 25th year in the service of Broken Bow Public Schools, explains that the award means that much more when peers recognize peers.

“It’s sometimes easy for kids just to follow the flow—or people, not just students—but it’s easy for people just to follow the flow and when kids get rewarded for going against that grain it validates their choices,” Haines said.

Three Bow Seniors Honored by NSAA

BROKEN BOW – Three Broken Bow High School students have been selected for the NSAA’s 2022-23 ‘Believers & Achievers’ program.

Lainey Palmer, Zane Eggleston, and Roman Schmidt are Broken Bow’s honorees.

The state-wide program, designed to recognize Nebraska’s future leaders, honors students who show a commitment to good citizenship and involvement in school and community projects. Only 48 seniors throughout the state will be selected in 2022-23.

In order to be recognized, students must be in the senior class, have at least a 3.5 GPA, and must participate in NSAA activities. Additionally, those considered for the honor are encouraged to write and submit a citizenship essay to the NSAA.

2023 NEBRASKAland Days Concert Headliners Announced

NORTH PLATTE – The Viaero Summer Jam Concert Series headliners for 2023 have been announced. The series is a part of the annual NEBRASKAland Days celebration and has featured artists such as Tim McGraw, Miranda Lambert, and Kane Brown.

The concert series and summer festival has also been recognized as the Rocky Mountain Country Music Association’s Event of the Year, and has a track record of proving more and more formidable each summer.

This year should pin another medal in the celebration’s coat: Cody Johnson and Jason Aldean are the two names topping the concert’s performance list for 2023. Cody Johnson will perform the night of Friday, June 23, and Aldean will take the stage the next night: Saturday the 24.

Jason Aldean has been a household name ever since his first eponymous record, released in 2005. Since then, he has released 10 more albums, been nominated for 5 Grammy Awards as well as well over 40 CMA, CMT, Billboard and American Country Awards.

Cody Johnson has released 8 albums to date, with his 2019 effort Ain’t Nothin’ to It charting at number 1 on the US Country charts, and 2021’s Human: The Double Album landing at number 3.

Tickets go on sale today: Wednesday, September 28 at 9 a.m.

County Board of Supervisors Recap 9/27

BROKEN BOW – The Custer County Board of Supervisors held their final meeting of September on the morning of Tuesday, the 27 in the Custer County Courthouse. All board members were present.

The meeting was called to order at 9:05 a.m., where minutes from the last meeting, mail, and committee reports were reviewed.

The Sheriff’s Office and Custer County Emergency Management Department presented before the supervisors an alternative and more comprehensive mental health policy for county employees. Under Wholeness Healing’s proposed policy, county employees would be eligible for 5 in-person mental health check-ups every year; these would include members of the employee’s household as well, up to 15 visits.

Employees seeking help under the policy would not be hindered by physical distance, either: four of Wholeness Healing’s licensed therapists work in Broken Bow, mere blocks from the courthouse steps.

The county’s current policy is telehealth only; those seeking help are required to do so exclusively over the phone, and are limited to 3 “visits” a year, with no guarantee they’ll be speaking to the same professional twice.

The cost of the new program would be $5750 per year, to be billed quarterly. The rough cost per county employee works out to about $38 per year. While no decision was made on the policy, the board generally acknowledged the benefits of an upgraded mental health program. A vote is expected at the next meeting.

Bids for the ongoing and upcoming bridge projects (C21(424)A1, C21(425)A1, C21(426)A1, C(21(429)A1) were closed at 10 a.m. The board received three bids for the four-part project: $237,773.14 from Midwest Service and Sales of Schuyler, $224,505 from Contact, Inc. of Lincoln, and a winning $260,642.26 bid from Ace/Eaton Metals of Kearney.

The winning bid promised a delivery time of 12-14 weeks on part one of the project, up to 15-20 on part 4, and was accepted unanimously.

Bruce Forrester received his Conditional Use Permit for commercially selling automobiles; Forrester said he plans to keep low inventory on his property, between one and three vehicles, while he works on obtaining his commercial seller’s license.

Resolution #33-3011 was unanimously sent to be redrafted by the county attorney; under the revised resolution, county department heads would no longer bear personal responsibility for department cell phones or numbers. Cell phones would be county-issued through a government program.

The meeting adjourned at 10:24 a.m., with the next scheduled for October 11 at 9 a.m.

County Court Opens Custer School Case

BROKEN BOW – The five juveniles suspected of allegedly vandalizing Custer Elementary School earlier this summer appeared before the Custer County Court to hear charges against them; all five appeared with at least one parent or guardian.

The youths each face two charges: burglary and criminal mischief in excess of $5000 in damage. Both charges would be felonies in adult criminal court: Class IIA and Class IV, respectively.

Their juvenile petitions were filed, and each was appointed a unique attorney; the five will return to court on October 17 for their next hearing.