The Cozad City Council met for a regular meeting on Tuesday, September 5th. 
A public hearing was held on the 2017-2018 fiscal budget as presented. Council members approved to increase the restricted fund amount of one percent above the two and one-half percent allowed by the state statutes and approved the 2017-2018 fiscal budget as advertised and filed the fiscal budget as required by law.
Highlights of the proposed 2017-2018 budget include:
• Re-codifying the municipal code book
• Two new aid packs and bunker gear for the Cozad Volunteer Fire Department
• Replacement of Cozad Police Department laptops and security cameras
• Continuation of monitoring the closed landfill as per Department of Environmental Quality
• New mower for Parks Department and completion of the restroom/concessions building at Sportsman Park
• Finishing up on the Owner/Occupied Rehab grant
• Widening of the downtown alley between 8th/9th and Meridian/H Streets
• Providing of all municipal services for the safety of the citizens
• Adding infrastructure in undeveloped areas within the city limits (residential/commercial)
• Demolition funds for removal of substandard structures
• Continuation of providing recreation and the recreational facilities
A public hearing was then conducted on setting the property tax request for fiscal year 2017-2018. Council members approved the resolution setting the property tax request.
Under New Business, approval was granted for the request for an extension of the Owner/Occupied Rehabilitation Grant until December 31, 2017.
The amended resolution with new wordage on the city sales tax was also accepted.
Council members discussed and considered the proposals received to form a new Redevelopment District and deblight existing land. Bobbie Pettit appeared to explain the proposal, informing the council members that the proposal would be at 47 percent. It cannot exceed 50 percent.
Also receiving approval was the ordinance pertaining to compensation and salaries for city employees and the resolution establishing municipal wages.
The ordinance pertaining to Solid Waste, Compost Materials, Recycling Materials and costs assessed for removal was introduced and the resolution setting non-residential sanitation services as approved. As a result, the sanitation fee will be going up $1.00 per month for both residential and commercial users.
Claims were approved excluding none and the Treasurer’s Report was accepted and filed for audit.
The next regular meeting for the Cozad City Council is scheduled for Monday, September 18th beginning at 7:30 p.m. in the council chambers in the City Office Building.
Gothenburg’s 103rd annual Harvest Festival celebration with the theme “Celebrate BIG!” has been awarded NE150 status as one of many events across the state commemorating Nebraska’s yearlong sesquicentennial celebration.
The “Celebrate BIG!” theme was chosen with Nebraska’s 150th birthday in mind, according to Gothenburg Chamber of Commerce director Deb Egenberger.
The Harvest Festival will offer four days of activities Sept. 14-17th, including a second straight year of the Nebraska State Hand Cornhusking Contest at Hecox Farms. 
Activities will kick off on Thursday when Kennedy Landscape Services will host the annual Garden Fest. It’s a mini-fair with vendors, a salsa contest, produce sampling and games from 4-7 p.m. Eastside Animal Center is also sponsoring the Dog-N-Jog again on Thursday evening. 
New on Thursday is a country music concert at the Sun Theatre. Jake Gill is a young country artist working on his fourth album. He grew up in Kansas, earned a degree as a chiropractor but always had music on his mind. Gill, who auditioned for “The Voice,” has written or co-wrote every song on all his albums. Tickets for the concert will be $15 and will be available at the theatre.
Friday’s activity is new to Harvest Festival. There is no school on Sept. 15th, so it allowed the Chamber to plan a community birthday party 4-7 p.m. in Ehmen Park to “Celebrate BIG!” The birthday celebration will begin with a kids costume parade around the park and will continue with music, food, games, balloons, contests and lots more fun activities for all ages.
“We’re incorporating a car show and, of course, we’ll be serving free birthday cake,” Egenberger said.
Saturday will begin with the “Celebrate BIG!” parade down Lake Avenue starting at 10 a.m.
“We moved the parade up a half-hour to help accommodate those who want to do both the parade and Cornhusking,” Egenberger said. 
The Sun Theatre has added another new event to Harvest Festival on Saturday afternoon. The movie “Dear Eleanor” will show as a matinee at 2 pm on Saturday. The 2016 film stars Isabelle Fuhrman, Josh Lucas, Liana Liberato and Jessica Alba and chronicles a 1962 cross country trip taken by a couple of teenage girls in a 1948 Chrysler convertible. One of the cars used in the movie belongs to Kent and Marian Peterson of Brady and will be on display during the show.
Another new Harvest Festival event is planned for Saturday. The Platte Valley Tractor Pullers Association will have a sanctioned antique tractor pull at the Gothenburg rodeo grounds beginning at 1 p.m.
“We’re trying to pack the weekend full of things to do for all ages,” Egenberger said.

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Proud to be an American is more than skin deep for many citizens of the TRIBUNE-Area. For Carolyn Wize of Willow Island, she has displayed her patriotism and pride in her families heroism for more than 20 years. Wize choose to decorate a building on the Wize homestead with an American Flag barn quilt in remembrance and dedication to the ‘Miller 8’ which included eight brothers that served in the United States Military. Wize’s father was one of the proud soldiers in the ‘Miller 8’. 
Over 20 years ago, Carolyn Wize painted the barn quilt in dedication to her father and his brothers and just recently, she updated the flag with bright red, white and blue paint to continue to display her pride in her family members and their service to the United States as members of the military. 
The ‘Miller 8’ along with three girls were the children of Pete Miller and Katherine Kehm, who both immigated to America from Russia to escape persecution. 
Oldest son John Miller was a Staff Sergeant in the U.S. Army where he served from 1940-1943. He gave the ultimate sacrifice and was killed in action on the Aleutian Islands. 
Henry Miller and Fred Miller both earned the rank of Technician Fifth Grade in the U.S. Army, where the duo served from 1942-1945. 
Pete Miller was a Private First Class in the U.S. Army where he served from 1943-1944. Pete was killed in action during war related events on Omaha Beach in France. 
Career military man David Miller earned the rank of Master Sergeant in the U.S. Army by serving from 1944-1964. He served overseas in Korea, Japan, Germany and in Ethiopia. Within the lower 48 states, David was stationed at Fort Dix (NJ), Fort Bliss (TX) and Fort Knox (KY) before his retirement from the military. 
Technical Sergeant Harold Miller was enlisted in the U.S. Air Force from 1947-1953. 
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With the Golden Ticket in hand Cozad’s Samantha Schutte was beaming with happiness, smiling from ear to ear when she was told by the American Idol producer that she was receiving a Golden Ticket from the American Idol audition held in Omaha recently. 
“I couldn’t believe it and thought there was another Samantha Schutte at the audition,” expressed Samantha Schutte. “He told me I had a really unique voice,” when expressing what the Producer had told her after she received the Golden Ticket. 
For many youth, they dreamt of the days that Willie Wonka issued Golden Tickets, for Samantha Schutte, she has that same excitement for a Golden Ticket that will fast track her to the Chicago auditions for American Idol as a result of a positive review and email notification from the American Idol Executive Producers. Samantha is slatted to audition next Monday morning in the Windy City.
She was one of just eight artists to receive Golden Tickets from the American Idol auditions in Omaha. The auditions started at 9 a.m. and Schutte was the first of the eight to receive her Golden Ticket at 9:07 a.m. It took just seven  minutes from the start of the auditions for the first ticket to be given out, but for Schutte it was more of a challenging morning. When my parents (Shane and Velma Schutte) and I arrived at the site of the auditions at 4:30 a.m., it was hours before the start time and many artists were already there. “I was awestruck with the number of singers that were already at the audition warming up their voices,” stated Schutte. 
I had watched the television shows such as American Idol, The Voice and America’s Got Talent featuring singers auditioning for many years. “I loved watching people’s dreams come true. I was actually going to tryout for the Voice, but the tryouts were too far away and the American Idol auditions were in Omaha,” explained Samantha Schutte. She thought about singing a sad song that would pluck at the judges heart strings but then considered that everybody else might be singing a sad song for the same reason. She came to a conclusion of singing a song that she knows well and song that she was confident in singing. The first song that she sang for the Producer was ‘Riptide’ by Vance Joy as she also played her Ukulele. When the producer asked if she had another song, her response was to sing ‘House of Gold’ by 21 Pilots. Both songs are favorites of Schutte’s and helped fend off the nervousness of the audition with her familiarity to the tunes. 
Fending of the nerves of performing can be difficult, with the assistance of fellow artists, Samantha Schutte has continued to spread her wings and spread her beautiful voice to anybody that wants to listen. She played in the park during the Bands, Brews and BBQ celebration prior to opening up with a few songs in front of the large crowd that assembled for Tim Zach and the Whiskey Bent Band. She also sang in front of a large crowd in Eustis this Summer as well. 
Singing in front of a crowd hasn’t always come easy for Samantha Schutte, especially since she didn’t start playing the guitar until she was 14 years old. Her grandfather always had a guitar at his house and Sam’s cousin Caleb is a great guitarist. She learned many things about playing the guitar from Caleb. 
It was soon after that introduction to playing the guitar that Samantha would be singing and/or humming to herself and then she would decide to try and play the guitar while singing the song. Her mom and dad were like, “Wow, that sounded good!”
 She has always enjoyed singing and playing music as members of the Cozad Schools choir and band programs. It was as an Eighth grader that Samantha first fell in love with music. “Our Band Instructor showed us what beautiful music sounds like and I started to really enjoy music even more as a result.”
“I continued to play the guitar and sing on my own until my dad recorded a video of me singing and playing the guitar in October of 2016,” expressed Samantha. “There were many peopled that wanted to hear more and more as a result, because they liked what they heard and it has blown up since.”
It took a little motivation and persuasion from friends and family to be recorded on video, then step onto the stage to play for a crowd and then audition for American Idol that resulted in a Golden Ticket. In the words of Samantha Schutte chasing her dreams, “You will never know, if you don’t try.”