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Wed
16
Apr
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Fairbury Electric Rate Hike Gets Final Approval

It took a long time to get it done, but its done.

Following several months of meetings between the City of Fairbury and the local Board of Public Works and prior discussions at council meetings, Tuesday members of the local city council gave final approval to a measure that will raise electric rates for utility customers.

The hike, which is the largest in the municipalitys history, will see electric rate rise 13 percent each year for two consecutive years. The new rate structure will go into effect starting in May.

BPW officials have been pushing city leaders for more than a year to implement higher rates. The utility has been losing approximately $100,000 a month because it is costing the city more to buy power than they have been selling it to their customers for. Some estimates note that left unchanged the electric department would be on tap for a $1.2 million loss this fiscal year.

Wed
16
Apr
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Councilman Unveils Thoughts for Constructing New Museum Building

Tuesdays meeting started off like many others before.

Members of the Fairbury City Council heard a request from the president of one of the Citys sub-groups. In this case it was Ben McBride, president of the Museum Board. The dilemma: the roof of the museum leaks and needs to be fixed.

Its an all-to-common occurrence. Buildings, the city is responsible for, have a problem and need a large sum of money thrown at them for repairs. In the case of the museum its either spend upwards of $100,000 for a new roof or nearly $40,000 for a patch job.

But unlike the typical open the coffers and pay the bill approach, this time the councils approach was different.

I guess now is as good of a time as any to drop a bombshell, councilman Roger Bailey said. Several of us have been talking and I think we need to head in another direction.

Wed
16
Apr
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State Aid Lower Than Expected

There is more work ahead for the Fairbury School Board, at least as far as planning the budget.

School Superintendent Fred Helmink informed the Fairbury School Board at their regular monthly meeting that the certified numbers for state aid are in for the next year and unfortunately it was slightly less than what was anticipated. The final figure that was submitted from the state was $210,219 this is about $15,000 less than what was originally expected.

State aid is a districts needs minus their resources. The district needs have increased by $196,147 but the formula resources also increased by $857,848. The two factors have most directly impacted are that formula students decreased from 890.74 to 862.63 for a loss of 28.11 students. Second the valuation increases of over 14 percent and 11 percent the last two years resulting in our Formula Resources increasing by 857,873.73 from last years figure of 9,166,511.62 to 10,0224,361.24.

Wed
16
Apr
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Westin Packaged Meats Helps Historical Society

Photo caption: Courtesy Photo

Nick Schacht of Westin Packaged Meats of Fairbury, center, presents a check for $5,000 to the Jefferson County Historical Society. Receiving the check for the historical society is President Jim Cunningham, left, and treasurer Zach Schacht, right.

Wed
16
Apr
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Sheriff Accepting Unwanted Prescriptions April 26

On April 26, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the Jefferson County Sheriffs Office and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will give the public its eighth opportunity in three years to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs.

Bring your pills for disposal to the Jefferson County Law Enforcement Center at 606 3rd Street, Fairbury. (The DEA cannot accept liquids or needles or sharps, only pills or patches.) The service is free and anonymous and no questions are asked.

Last October, Americans turned in 324 tons (over 647,000 pounds) of prescription drugs at over 4,114 sites operated by the DEA and its thousands of state and local law enforcement partners. When those results are combined with what was collected in its seven previous Take Back events, DEA and its partners have taken in over 3.4 million pounds more than 1,700 tons of pills.

Wed
16
Apr
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High Court Rules DeJongs Murder Sentence Stands

The Nebraska Supreme Court found that law enforcement officers may have violated Susan DeJongs constitutional rights when they continued to ask her questions about her husbands 2010 beating death after she said she was exhausted and needed sleep, but their opinion also said the error -- and others at Susan DeJongs murder trial were harmless.

We begin by finding that the untainted, relevant evidence strongly supports Susans guilt, wrote Justice Michael McCormack.

The court found that she had motive and opportunity to kill her husband, McCormack said, and evidence at trial supported it.

On March 11, 2011, Susan DeJong called 911 and said her husband, Thomas, looked like hed gone through a meat grinder.

Thomas DeJong died later that night at a Lincoln hospital.

Investigators came to believe that Susan DeJong, who had bruises and sores on her palms consistent with swinging a hammer, caused the injuries.

Wed
16
Apr
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Mans Hired as Central Principal

The Fairbury School Board has been searching for a qualified principal to replace Randy Kort who will be going to Meridian as the new superintendent. Ultimately they didnt have to search far to find the most qualified applicant.

Tammi Mans has been hired as the new principal for Central Elementary School and Curriculum Director. Mans has previously taught at Fairbury as the Media Specialist and is currently the K-12 principal at the Meridian School. She has been in this position for the past year. She has been hired with a starting salary of $76,000 and will start August 1.

Jeremy Christiansen who was the Principal at Central will be moving to Jefferson Intermediate retaining the same duties as he had at Central.

Wed
16
Apr
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Journal-News Garners Nine State Press Awards

Photo caption: File Photo by Jim HeadleyJournal-News Managing Editor Jim Headley received a first-place award from the Nebraska Press Association for this image he captured of Allison Engelman in the 4-H Dairy Cow Show at the Jefferson County Fair last July.

Members of The Fairbury Journal-News staff took home nine awards from the 2014 Nebraska Press Association annual convention in Grand Island last weekend, April 11-12.

The FJN competes in the largest weekly newspaper in the state, Class D.

Publisher Fred Arnold was awarded first place in the personal column writing category while Managing Editor Jim Headley captured third place in the same category. The Journal-News won second place in Class D in the statewide editorial page competition.

Arnold and Headley were also awarded third place as a team for editorial writing.

Wed
16
Apr
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Some Angels Dont Need Wings: Navarro Helps Save Childs Life While Rushing to Storm Spotters Class

Photo caption: Photos by Sandy Zabokrtsky/Fairbury Journal News Andrew Ebke and Amanda Stevens stand with their son Oakley who recently had an unexpected seizure. Thanks to Branden Krist Navarro who stopped to help, he is okay, and his parents are forever grateful.

Most angels use their wings to arrive but there are some angels who come on the tail of a slow moving truck.

At least that is the way that Amanda Stevens and Andrew Ebke feel.

Recently their son, Oakley, had been sick but they thought he was getting better.

I had just left him with Grandma while I was at work, Stevens said. They had been playing when all of sudden Oakley had a seizure; he has never had one before so everyone was scared.

Wed
16
Apr
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Case Arrested for Sexual Assault of a Child

Arthur K. Case Age 23 of Fairbury was arrested on April 11, 2014 for alleged 3rd Degree Sexual Assault of a Child. (3A Felony).

On April 11, the Fairbury Police Department received information that a young female subject had been subjected to sexual contact by 23-year-old Arthur K. Case. During the investigation, it revealed that on multiple occasions, Arthur Case and the young child were alone and Arthur Case touched the child on her intimate parts. Investigators were able to verify the information and took Arthur Case into custody without incident.

Case was transported to the Jefferson County Jail where he was booked on the above charges.

As of April 16, 2014, Case remains in custody with a bond of $50,000.00 10%

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