The Cozad Community Schools Board of Education met for a regular meeting on Monday, January 15, 2018.

The first item of business was reorganization of the Board of Education for 2018. Ann Burkholder was elected President, John Peden as Vice President and Edd Albrecht as Secretary.

Reappointed as the District’s Treasurer was Susan Kloepping. Scott Trusdale was reappointed as the District’s Attorney.

All banks were designated as Direct Depositories and the Tri-City Trib was designated as the District’s Newspaper.

Under Reports, Technology Director Dave Evertson enlightened the board members concerning the eRate reimbursements from the Universal Service Fund from cell phone taxes. The district received $43,000 from the fund for the wireless network.

Evertson and Integration Specialist Patty Wolfe discussed how Digital Citizenship and Social Media are an important aspect of our students’ lives. Elementary students are taught how to be safe on line. By the time students are in middle school they are exploring additional sites that aren’t necessarily bad, but they continue to be educated on how to be safe when on line. Students are not to be on Facebook or Twitter until they are 13 with these sites being blocked until they are outside of school and an agreement has been sent to parents to cut them off with out parental permission unless they are older than 13.

High school students are now faced with the necessity of employing social media as a means of documenting their community service and involvement with a positive social media presence.

Evertson introduced Cozad Elementary Second Grade teacher Karen Berreckman who presented how she is utilizing technology in her classroom.

Berreckman uses ‘Seesaw’ which is a digital form of a journal used by her students and shared with parents on a regular basis. “This program is great for notifying parents and a wonderful communication tool,” Berreckman commented. “

Berreckman also uses ‘Dash & Dot’. Dash & Dot are robots that were provided to her classroom by the Cozad Foundation and are used to promote creativity and the beginning of coding at least once a week. They also incorporate and enhance the curriculum while encouraging teamwork and problem solving skills. Other teachers were excited when they saw the teaching and technology possible with Berreckman’s four robots last year and Wolfe was able to purchase eight additional robots with foundation funds that are available for checkout by the other elementary teachers.

High School Principal Bill Beckenhauer reported that the boiler system is consistently gong out at least once per day during these cold spells. Everything is being done to keep them going until summer when the boiler system will be revamped. Nearly $11,000.00 was needed for utilities in the high school building during December.

High School teachers Jann Kloepping, Amanda Ogden and Teresa Osborn appeared to promote this year’s Maker Fair. Other teachers involved in planning this year’s event scheduled for February 5th and 6th are Logan Morris, Kent Ross and Amanda Rossell.

Sixty classes are offered this year with 50 community members in addition to staff members sharing their passions with students during the two days.

“An exciting addition to this year’s Maker Fair is that ‘I Love Nebraska Public Schools’ will be present to record a two day documentary,” Osborn noted with enthusiasm.

Ross has contacted social media, and two television stations have already committed to covering the annual event.

Board members were invited to attend, and will be asked to sign the same waivers as everyone else to be photographed.

“This is a great showcase for CHS and our community and two of the best attended days of school during the entire year,” Beckenhauer added.

Activities Director Jordan Cudney reported on the positive aspects and successes of the winter sports teams at the high school.

The boys’ basketball has received the #1 seed in the upcoming SWC Tournament and will be hosting the first round game on Monday, January 22nd. The girls’ basketball team will travel to Ogallala on Tuesday, January 23rd for their first round game.

The wrestling team will travel to McCook for the SWC wrestling meet and districts will be at Gothenburg High School on February 9th & 10th.

There are 30 to 40 speech team members competing each weekend at speech meets and have already have numerous medalists.

In middle school basketball there are 28 7th graders and 18 8th graders participating so A, B and C games may be played by both squads.

Middle School Principal Brian Regelin reported that this Friday, January 19th’s teacher in-service would be ‘Poverty Training and Ten Action Steps’.

Regelin continues to explore interventions for students who are struggling academically.

CEEC and Preschool Director Jill Beckenhauer reported that the deadline for preschool applications is March 27th. Two of her staff members will be attending an autism conference in Kearney on February 2nd and on February 1st and 2nd she will be attending a legislative conference in Lincoln.

Under Action Items, board members approved attendance waivers for two students for first semester as presented by Principal Beckenhauer.

CHS senior Devon Canas appeared to request an attendance waiver request for first semester. Canas had missed first period class twelve times during the semester, but still received an ‘A’ in the class. Canas explained his situation and Principal Beckenhauer reminded him that he is only allowed 18 absences for the entire year and that if he exceeds this number in any class he will not be able to participate in commencement exercises as per the school board handbook. Beckenhauer shared that Canas is a gifted student with lofty goals after he graduates, but that he has to abide by handbook policy. Canas and his Mother agreed to the terms as presented and he was encouraged to make graduation a priority.

Board members approved the bid process for auditing services for 2018, 2019 and 2010. Also approved was transfer of $10,000.00 from the General Fund to Athletics within the Activities Fund and approval to discard property no longer being used by the district.

The audit report for the fiscal year ending August 31, 2017 and the response letter as presented was the final item to receive approval.

Under Discussion Items, District Office Administrative Professional Ramona Priel will be updating the 403b Plan Revisions.

Discussion was held as to agenda for the Board of Education Retreat scheduled in March.

Board Members Edd Albrecht, Scott Geiser and John Peden received filing forms for the seats that are up for election this year. The deadline for incumbents to file is February 15th.

Superintendent Applegate reported that Engineer Ed Kucirek had requested the 1967 specs book for the boiler room project and that it had been located in the high school vault and given to Kucirek.

Board members entered into Closed Session for the purpose of a Negotiations meeting and Superintendent Contract.

The next regular meeting is scheduled for Monday, February 19th beginning at 7:00 p.m.

The Dawson County Commissioners met for their organizational meeting for 2018 on Tuesday, January 16, 2018. 
The minutes for the December 29, 2017 meeting were approved. Official’s Receipts were filed as submitted: $8,546.10 Clerk; $43,150.99 Register of Deeds; $9,789.71 Clerk of District Court and $2,650.00 Surveyor. Treasurer’s Receipts in the amount of $682,017.93 were also filed as submitted. Total claims in the amount of $339,567.52 were approved.
Nominations were held for election of the Chairman and Vice-Chairman for 2018. Commissioner Dean Kugler, Gothenburg was elected to serve as Chairman and Commissioner Bill Stewart, Lexington will serve as Vice-Chairman. 
Kugler and Stewart bring a wealth of leadership experience to the table. Kugler has served as a commissioner since February 15, 2002 when he was appointed to fill the unexpired term of Rod Aden from Gothenburg. Stewart has served as a commissioner since January 12, 1999, and is beginning his 20th year of service to the county.
County Reappointments were approved as follows: ADA Coordinator – Brian Woldt; Cooperative Lottery Representatives – Dean Kugler and Yvonne Rickertsen; County Highway Superintendent – Mark Christiansen; Engineer – Miller and Associates; County Highway Administrator – Pat Nichols; Courthouse Building Coordinator – Brian Woldt; Dawson Area Development Board – Dave Stenberg; Dawson County Weed Superintendent – Marty Craig; Emergency Management Director – Brian Woldt; Spring Creek Chairman – Dean Kugler; Veteran’s Service Administrator – Steve Zerr and Zoning Administrator – Pam Holbrook.
Chairman Kugler announced the following commissioner appointments: Commissioner Butch Hagan will serve on the Dawson County Ag Society, Lexington Area Solid Waste, Road Committee, RTSD Board and the Tower Incorporated. Commission PJ Jacobson will serve on the Catastrophic Leave Board, Finance, Law Enforcement, Region II Human Services, Region II Developmental and Disability and the West Central Area on Aging. Commissioner Dean Kugler will serve on the Cooperative Lottery Board, the Dawson Area Development Board (DAD), Dawson County Veteran’s Service Board and the Road Committee. Commissioner Dennis Rickertsen will serve on the Dawson County Extension Board, the RTSD Board, the Two Rivers Public Health Board and the Dawson County Weed Board. Commissioner Bill Stewart will serve on the Catastrophic Leave Board, the Community Economic Development Board (CED), the Courthouse Building Committee, the Dawson Area Development Board (alternate), the Finance Committee, Law Enforcement, RTSD Board and the West Central Development District (alternate).
Resolutions were approved to make the Lexington Clipper-Herald and the County Website: for publishing legal notices, the Tri-City Tribune and the Gothenburg Times for publishing the commissioners’ proceedings and to accept all Dawson County banks as depositories for public funds.
Official Holidays were approved for county employees for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Monday, January 15, 2018; Presidents’ Day, Monday, February 19, 2018, Memorial Day, Monday, May 28, 2018; Independence Day, Wednesday, July 4, 2018; Labor Day, Monday, September 3, 2018, Columbus Day, Monday, October 8, 2018; Veterans Day, Monday, November 12, 2018, thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 22, 2018; Day after Thanksgiving Day, Friday, November 23, 2018; Christmas Day, Tuesday, December 25, 2018, New Year’s Day, Tuesday, January 1, 2019 and Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Monday, January 14, 2019.
After discussion concerning the pros and cons of having the courthouse closed on Christmas Eve, a motion was made and seconded to approve Monday, December 24, 2018 as an additional Official Holiday for 2018. Voting for the motion were Commissioners Hagan, Jacobson, Kugler and Rickertsen. Voting against the motion was Commissioner Stewart. Motion carried. 
Under Committee Reports, Chairman Kugler asked that all elected officials speak with their employees concerning where they park when working at the courthouse. The Commissioners agreed they would like to keep the east and west side parking for customers only. The commissioners expressed their appreciation to employees that have already started parking in the lots available close to the courthouse.
Dawson County Sheriff Gary Reiber presented the December 2017 crime reports. Total Services numbered 900 with 1, 641 LEC Dispatch Calls for Service. 154 new inmates were booked during the month with an average of 42 inmates housed in the jail each day during December. Total Income for the month was $248,162.50 bringing the year-to-date total to $1,019,945.31.
The Board of Equalization met prior to the Dawson County Commissioners Meeting. County Assessor John Moore presented requests for tax corrections that were all approved for Seth McFarland, McFarland Family Farms, Matthew Albrecht, Lewis Hyatt and Heritage Gardens LP.
Board members also approved the Homestead Exemption Application form from Robert and Jeannette Lauer. Their application was late due to hospitalization.
The next regular meeting for the Boards of Equalization and the Dawson County Commissioners is scheduled for Thursday, February 1, 2018 beginning at 8:00 a.m. in the Commissioners Meeting Room in the Dawson County Courthouse in Lexington, Nebraska.
The Gothenburg FFA Program and local community churches are involved with Rise Against Hunger (RAH). On Wednesday, Jan. 24, volunteers will gather to package meals to send overseas to third world countries. Additionally, a donation of 10 percent of all funds raised was recently made to the Gothenburg and Brady Backpack Programs. 
Rise Against Hunger is a Kansas City based organization that sends meals to developing countries. Last year,  during the unusually active hurricane season, Rise Against Hunger responded immediately by providing relief and recovery assistance to communities in parts of the coastal U.S. and the Caribbean nations reeling from back-to-back hurricanes: Harvey, Irma and Maria. The organization also educates thousands of people about the crises of hunger around the world. 
Presley Wendelin, the FFA Vice President, states that RAH provides those in need with packaged meals that are nutritionally sound. The meals consist of dehydrated rice and soy with 23 essential vitamins and nutrients, but only costs 29 cents per package. Rise Against Hunger was started here in Gothenburg four years ago. Kori Kowalewski, FFA President and senior at GHS, said she got involved with RAH through FFA. “Our chapter helps a lot with working the fundraising events as well as helping the meal packing.”
The Gothenburg Rise Against Hunger Team fundraises locally to bring the RAH Organization here to package meals. RAH primarily sends the meals to schools, so parents will send the children to school to ensure a meal and an education. 
Volunteers who package meals will learn about hunger and have a unique opportunity to help solve it. Kowalewski believes this is a great project for Gothenburg to be a part of. “It is something that we all come together to work on, and we all work together to make the world better.” She believes it’s something in which every community should consider participating. “It takes a lot of work to put an event like this together, but it pays off in the end.”
Over the past four years, The Gothenburg Rise Against Hunger Team has raised $36,000 to package 100,000 meals. 
Wendelin said, “being involved in this project is very eye opening, and also very rewarding to know that you are feeding so many families. I’m glad that our small community can make such a large impact.” 
Kowalewski also believes that others involved have been impacted because RAH offers the unique opportunity to package meals that are sent to people in other countries “Volunteers really enjoyed the opportunity,” she said.
We want to encourage all of Gothenburg and the surrounding community members to join us on January 24th at 6pm in the Gothenburg High School cafeteria to help package the meals. The Rise Against Hunger Team is very proud to bring this association to our small community, and encourages all interested to join us. This is a very important night, where we can come together make our impact on the world.