The 2017 Cozad Chamber of Commerce Ag Service Award was presented to a long-time Darr Feedlot employee during the Farmer-Businessman Appreciation Barbecue.
Mitch Ziebell has been involved in agriculture his entire life, starting on his family’s ranch where he was instilled with the ability to fix whatever needed fixing, work with livestock a love for the land. 
In his early years he worked as a flagger for Rod and Connie Donner of Mid-State Aviation.  Following high school graduation he attended the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture (NCTA) where he earned a degree in ag business and won over his sweetheart. Mitch and Cheri Ziebell were married in 1980 and are the parents of three daughters, Amanda, Sarah and Rebecca. They now enjoy spoiling their five grandchildren.  
Over the years, he has been employed on Howdy and Ralph Benjamin’s turkey farm and he also farmed with Jeremy Geiger. He worked at the Kugler Bull Test lot for a number of years, a few years for Gary White at Lexington and returned to the Bull Test when it was purchased by Darr Feedlot, Inc. 
He has been very involved in his community through the American Lutheran Church, the Nebraska Pony Express Association and is currently Trail Boss for the Cozad Pony Express. He has served on the Dawson County Extension Board, as a project area superintendent at the Dawson County Fair and was a 4-H Leader.
Ziebell’s employers lauded his work ethic, which includes always being to work on time, doing his job and more without being asked and supervised. “He works hard and smart with a willingness to work late when necessary. He is not afraid to go beyond the job requirements and he is very savvy at operating and repairing machinery and equipment. His manner around people and livestock is calm, quiet and respectful and his character is wrapped in honesty and commitment with a touch of humor,” they noted.
John Schroeder, manager at Darr Feedlot said, “Mitch is the example of demonstrating patience with the livestock he works with, the employees and contractors he works with and the customers he serves. Mitch’s humble and kind demeanor shows his love for the cattle, the industry, and for people.
“He is a working man that rides for the brand and makes sure the job is done and done right; he is a visionary man that dreams to change the things which are not ideal and prays for the continued strength to survive in the meantime; and he is a humble community servant that donates his time back. His focus on making this industry and world a better place is obvious,” concluded Schroeder
Chamber director Sandra Bappe noted, “He reaches far into the community to make a difference in the lives of others, extending his knowledge to educate our children about ag through a life dedicated to the profession. He is a friend among us and we are honored to award Mitch Ziebell with the Cozad Chamber Ag Committee 2017 Ag Service Award.”
In other activities at the barbecue, Judy Eggleston shared information on the chamber’s ag scholarship. Leah Treffer of Cozad was introduced as the 2017 Agriculture Future of America (AFA) scholarship recipient and Dannyl Bromander, the 2016 AFA scholarship recipient shared her experiences in attending the AFA national leadership training. Bromander noted the training was above and beyond any leadership experience she’d had and encouraged those present to contribute to the scholarship fund.
Eggleston noted that for every dollar contributed to the fund, AFA would match the donation. There are a variety of ways individuals, groups and businesses may donate, she said. “You can write a check to the Chamber directed to the scholarship fund, you can donated by credit card directly with AFA, or through the Cozad Community Foundation. In addition, we are also set up to collect donations for Cozad’s new agriculture education program.”
Cozad’s new agriculture education teacher and FFA advisor was introduced at the barbecue, too. Rebekah Kraeger noted she is originally from Waco, Neb., and graduated from York High School. Her fiancée’ Reed Kraeger is teaching vocational agriculture and serving as FFA advisor at Elwood, also a new program. Although they won’t be married until November, she noted she started using her soon-to-be married name at the start of the school year to save confusion among students in the classroom.
She noted she is anxious to meet members of the agriculture and business community and will work hard to establish the new and long-awaited program in Cozad.
The Cozad City Council met for a regular meeting on Monday, August 21, 2017. Pastor Doug Smith, Cozad United Methodist Church delivered the invocation.
A Public Hearing to consider the Planning Commission’s recommendation to approve the replatting of the former Cozad Middle School/Cozad Elementary property was held. Approval was granted to replat the property into six blocks of equal size and to build duplexes on either side of the existing duplexes to fill the 8th Street side of the block first.
Jill Nelson, Cork & Cap Liquor in Cozad appeared to request a special designated liquor license for a wedding reception on Saturday, September 30, 2017. Her request was approved.
Travis Munster, Big E’s Lounge appeared to request a special designated liquor license on Friday, September 8, 2017 and Saturday, September 9, 2017 to operate a beer garden for in conjunction with Hay Days. “Travis has always done a good job with this and there have been no problems,” Cozad Police Chief Mark Montgomery noted. Munster’s request was approved.
Lindsay Erickson, representing the Cozad Jaycees, appeared with a request to block off downtown streets for the annual Hay Days celebration scheduled for Friday, September 8, 2017 – Sunday, September 10, 2017. The Jaycees’ request was     approved.
Erickson also announced that the Street Department, Board of Public Works and the City of Cozad workers would be the Grand Marshals for this year’s Hay Days parade. “We want to honor these employees for all of their time and hard work in making this event and our community great,” explained Erickson. 
Mayor Nancy Meyer said that arrangements and transportation for Commissioners PJ Jacobson (Streets & Parks), Britt German (Light), Dallas Nichols (Water & Sewer) and their employees will be made to participate in the parade.
Under Reports, Water/Sewer Commissioner Nichols reported that the leak at 7th & E Streets had been repaired and that work will begin at 15th & J Streets. He also reported that the door had been broken into on the mechanic shop building but that it appeared that nothing was taken. Finally, Nichols said that the water tower would be emptied on Monday, August 28 and inspected on Tuesday, August 29. It is hoped that it will be filled and running again by Friday, September 1. The city’s wells will continue to run on a generator and citizens should not be affected by a severe water shortage during the week.
Light Commissioner German informed the council that the transformer at Nebraska Plastics had been changed out as it was leaking. Also, the lightning arrestors on the sub transformer had been blown but were repaired.
Emergency Management Director Brian Woldt reported that the siren representative had been in Cozad last week and that the siren in the fire department had been repaired and the one at Candy Cane Park was deemed to be working properly. Woldt also noted that the Hazard Mitigation Plan he had submitted had received the approval of both NEMA (Nebraska Emergency Management Agency) and FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency).
The next regular meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, September 5, 2017 beginning at 7:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers in the Cozad City Office Building. 
The Cozad Community Schools Board of Education met for a regular meeting on Monday, August 14th.
During Public Comments, Robert Henri Museum & Art Gallery Board Member Melanie Nutt and Robert Henri Museum summer employee Kolton Morse addressed the board members about the possibility of all students attending Cozad High School to learn the history of John J. Cozad and his famous son who became a world-renowned artist, Robert Henri and to tour the museum and art gallery sometime during their senior year.
“Thanks to the generosity of Larry and Tammy Paulsen for purchasing Henri paintings in memory of Larry’s parents, Ike and Shirley Paulsen, our museum has the largest collection of original Henri paintings in the entire world,” Nutt expressed. 
Morse shared that he has learned a lot about Henri and the history of Cozad as he worked in the Robert Henri Museum and the 100th Meridian Museum the past two summers.
“I wholeheartedly agree that everyone graduating from CHS should know about the importance of Robert Henri not only to our town and state but world-wide.” Morse commented.
“My sister, Amberlyn took Art Appreciation in college and when the art professor called on her to share what she knew about Henri she became red-faced since she knew nothing,” Morse added.
Nutt told the board that there are several board members that share the passion for the museum and art gallery and would be willing to provide tours for groups of seniors at any time throughout the year, including former CHS Guidance Counselor Tim Hansen.
In the absence of Superintendent Joel Applegate, Middle School Principal Brian Regelin touched base on several issues. The high school rooms that been damaged when part of the roof blew off in an early summer storm received additional water damage during Sunday night’s storms. The water came in through the temporary roof and caused damage in the same two rooms (Mrs. Hartman’s and Mrs. Kloepping’s) and also entered into Mr. Blackmore’s room. Floor tiles will need to be replaced in all of the rooms but they will be ready for classes.
Principal Regelin noted that the entire district is entering the second year of Marzano Training with the new staff receiving one half day of training conducted by ESU 10 at their orientation last Wednesday. “One of the tenets of this training is having all teachers post learning goals in a student-friendly manner in their classrooms,” Regelin explained.
District Technology Director Dave Evertson reported that Chromebooks were handed out on Wednesday to all students in Grades 6 – 12 to take home. A $10 fee was collected from each student to cover the insurance for possible damage to the Chromebooks. Students in Grades 10 – 12 who have their own ipad may continue to use these, but Grades 6 – 9 will be issued the Chromebooks.
“We did get rid of some of the older ipads,” Evertson explained. “I sent in 150 old ones to Classform.com and the district will be receiving $65 each for these,” Evertson continued.
The lunch program directed by the OPAA! Company is up and ready to go. Tim Novacek, who has worked at VVS Inc. for the past three years was hired to direct the program. Students and patrons may now go to the Menu on the school’s website and go to ‘Dining’ to find what will be served each day and the caloric count for each item. OPAA! Will be in charge of all purchasing and the district will be charged for the number of meals served each month.
Board members approved five classified hires. Robin Larsen, Melissa McCrickard and high school students Sarai Hermosillo and Isabel Schaefer will be filling vacancies in the AfterZone Program and Torrey Kloppenborg was hired as a Bus Driver.
The building at the elementary is progressing at a steady pace now, but Board Member Joel Carlson asked if there would be a sidewalk to the foundation on the west side of the building since there is presently a two-foot gap. The sidewalk is not part of the bid, but it will be looked into.
Board members discussed, considered and approved several items including the 2017-2018 CHS Activities Handbook, the 2017-2018 Classified Handbook, the board policy for participation in the school’s insurance program by board members, the Board Policy on Classified Leave as revised, the Sex Offender’s Policy and the Board Policy for Parent and Guardian Involvement in Education Practices recommended by KSB, the school’s law firm.
Also approved was the revocation of the Board Policy for Unpaid Leave for Classified Employees. “This policy was adopted last fall and ended up costing us more to utilize this than the other way,” District Office Administrative Assistant Ramona Peril explained.
A special end-of-the-year board meeting is scheduled at Noon on Monday, August 28th.
On Wednesday, September 6th a budget hearing will be held at 6 p.m with all patrons invited to attend. On Wednesday, September 13th a tax hearing is scheduled at 6 p.m. The next regular and first board meeting of the new fiscal year is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. on Monday, September 18th. All meetings will be held in the Superintendent’s Office in the District Office Building located at 1910 Meridian.