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Cozad native Karmen Morse began her duties as Cozad’s Chamber of Commerce Director on Monday, March 12th.
Morse, the daughter of Keith and Darlene Smith of Cozad, graduated from Cozad High School in 1987. She has been married to Mark Morse for 26 years. They have two children, Amberlyn, who will graduate from UNK with a double major in Early Childhood Education and Elementary Education in May and Kolton, a sophomore at UNK majoring in computer science. Amberlyn is married to Nick Cullers, also a Cozad native.
Morse attended McCook Community College, and earned an Early Childhood Education degree.
Work experiences include C-Mart Manager, Baldwin Filters for 8.5 years, Waypoint Bank (formerly First Bank & Trust Co.), Homestead Bank and Hart & Sudbeck Law PC LLO.
“I’ve always enjoyed working with people at my jobs and have met a variety of people at my different places of employment,” Morse noted.
When asked about her strengths, Morse replied: “I feel that I possess good people-person skills, have a positive attitude and have well-established relationships in the community.” “I have shopped locally for everything that I can for years and plan to keep doing so,” she added.
Morse feels that her involvement in community activities throughout the years will be helpful in filling her new role as chamber director. She has been with the Cozad Ambassadors since December 1999.  She is currently serving as Ambassadors President. She is a member of the Cozad Housing Authority Board, a Committee Member and Merit Badge Counselor for Cozad Boy Scout Troop #1189 and serves on the Finance and Trustees Committees at Cozad United Methodist Church.
Morse is excited about the new challenge that lies ahead of her and looks forward to getting out in the community, especially the businesses. “I want to find out what business owners want the chamber to do to promote them and Cozad,” Morse explained.
Morse commented that she is a believer in networking and will reach out to other chamber directors to see what has worked and hasn’t worked for them in promoting their businesses and communities.
“Another goal of mine to begin working on right away is to improve the communication between Cozad businesses and the chamber,” Morse said. “I intend to go into each chamber member business to introduce myself and ask what they would like to have me and the chamber board do for them,” she continued.
Showing Morse the ropes is Interim Chamber Director/Assistant Chamber Director Misti Maddox. Maddox, the daughter of Ron and Carol Stark, is also a Cozad native who graduated from Cozad High School in 1998. Maddox has two sons, Andrew and Charles. Maddox works at the chamber office from 1 – 5 p.m. each day and also serves as secretary at American Lutheran Church in Cozad from 8 a.m. – Noon. The Chamber Board of Directors has been thoroughly pleased with Maddox’s job performance during the interim period and look forward to working with both Morse and Maddox.
According to Maddox, “I’m very excited for Karmen to join us here at the chamber and think that she will be a great asset to the chamber and the community,”
Attention will focus upon Cozad’s annual citywide Spring Clean-Up Campaign March 19th-23rd. Residents of Cozad are reminded that they may pick up stickers at the municipal office to schedule the removal of unwanted/discarded items that must be placed curbside or in the alleys. 
Items to be picked up include: white goods-appliances, such as dishwashers, washers, dryers, stoves, freezers, air conditioners, refrigerators. Tires, batteries, computer monitors, furniture, wood or wood products, tree limbs and brush too large to fit in municipal dumpsters will also be picked up. 
 A friendly reminder has also been issued that recycling dumpsters are located at the Recycling Center on East Highway 30. Please dispose of materials to be recyclyed in their respective containers as marked. There are dumpsters at the Recycling Center for newspapers, plastic jugs/bottles, tin cans, magazines, telephone books, cardboard and Aluminum. 
Paint and chemicals to be disposed of can be left at the disposal pile that is located near the City of Cozad maintenance shop. 
Questions may be directed to the City of Cozad offices.
With school safety on everyone’s minds, Lexington Superintendent John Hakonson took a few minutes Monday night to update the school board on what the district is doing to ensure student and staff safety. “We have a school safety committee that meets regularly with our most recent meeting on Feb. 20,” he said.
The committee consists of the district’s building administrators, the two school resource officers from the Lexington Police Department and additional resource staff. A series of discussion questions at the latest meeting reviewed existing policies and how to improve on them, said Hakonson.
Video surveillance is a key component of their system, said Hakonson. “We currently have 105 cameras, but would like to have a few more outside buildings for the district modulars.”
Other possible security upgrades included doorbells for modulars and windows for modular doors so the person at the door can see who is there. They are also looking at costs for installation of panic buttons for building secretaries that would connect with law enforcement. Other modifications being considered are a second set of doors at Pershing Elementary for    better traffic control and magnetic locks for Sandoz Elementary.
With school resource officers at the middle school and high school who rotate between the four elementary buildings every day, Hakonson noted there are regular trainings. If federal funds become available the district is looking at adding a third resource officer that could rotate just between the elementary buildings.
“We and every other school district in the country sat up at attention with this last Florida incident and we are doing everything that is practically possible to keep students safe,” said Hakonson.
“The recommendation from staff is we need to practice for more than fire drills. Sadly, fires aren’t the primary concern anymore.”
Under new business the Legislative and Finance Committee met on March 9 and agreed it was time to request bids for new football field lights. Hakonson said there have been problems with the lights recently associated with age, noting the lights went in around 1976. Bids should be ready by the April board meeting.
In addition, bids are due March 19 for the new custodial services contract and will be available at the April meeting. Servicemaster currently provides the district janitorial services.
The board approved a request from the Orthman YMCA  through the Policy and Transportation Committee for a driver and bus to transport runners from the finish line back to the starting line for their second annual Run & Fun 5K in April.
Finally the board approved a series of policy revisions and deletions as recommended by district legal counsel ranging from student insurance, student appearance to sexual harassment to fund raising activities.
Under the consent agenda the board accept resignations from the following instructors and support staff: Beth Delp, Bryan music teacher; Stephanie Flint, third grade elementary teacher; Barbara Long, ELA special education teacher, retirement; Barry McFarland, Sandoz substitute elementary principal; John McKenna, middle school digital art teacher to become an administrator at Garden County Public Schools; Tomye McKenna, middle school language arts teacher to follow husband to Garden County; Jordan Messersmith, Pershing Elementary speech pathologist to work in another school district; Alyssa Saalfeld, ELA instructional coach at the Early Learning Academy to teach in the Kearney Public Schools; Maria Santos, high school counselor.
The Technology Committee will meet sometime Friday to discuss the computer purchase plan for 2018-19. 
Next meeting of the Lexington School Board will be 7 p.m. April 9 at the Lexington Municipal Building. Meeting adjourned at 7:14 p.m.
  The University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts has announced winners of the 21st annual Nebraska Young Artist Awards.
  The awards recognize 11th-grade students from Nebraska for their talents in visual art, dance, music, theatre, and film and new media. These students exemplify the pinnacles of creativity in one of the fine and performing arts.
  Sixty-six students from more than 35 high schools across the state have been selected to participate in the special day of activities April 4th at the university.
  Students applied for the recognition and submitted an example of their work. Applications were received from 181 students. Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts faculty chose the winners.
  Honored students will take tours of the arts facilities, attend classes, meet faculty and college students and have lunch. Their parents will be invited and will also take tours, as well as receive information on careers in the arts and college curriculum.
  Students selected to participate in the Nebraska Young Artist Awards will also be asked to nominate the teacher who provided them with the greatest amount of mentoring and support in the development of their special talents.
  The day will conclude with an awards ceremony. Students will receive a certificate and an original piece of artwork commissioned for the event and created by School of Art, Art History and Design printmaking student Keith Buswell.
  The area students are:
---Cozad: Carrie Osborn and Abby Thramer.

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Jeff Howerter, Frontier Home Medical, Cozad, was surprised Thursday, March 1st, with a Patriotic Employer Award.  He was presented the award by Ms. Vicki VonLoh, a Nebraska Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve committee volunteer.  The award was in recognition of outstanding support to his employee’s spouse serving in the Guard and Reserve.
He was nominated for being highly supportive of his employee Carrie VanCura, whose husband Nic, was deployed to Guantanamo Bay as a member of the 402d Military Police Battalion, Nebraska Army National Guard.  Sgt. VanCura returned from deployment just this past week and was able to attend the ceremony as well.
In her nomination, Carrie wrote “Jeff Howerter and the whole team at Frontier Home Medical were amazing working with our family not only during my husband’s deployment but also very flexible and supportive in our preparation for Nic's 10 month tour. Jeff was constantly checking in as well as a helping hand in any obstacle outside of work.  Frontier organized t-shirts to be made to honor Red Friday and also showing support for Nic, his unit, and our family.”
“The Patriot Award was created by ESGR to publicly recognize individuals who provide outstanding patriotic support and cooperation to their employees, who like the citizen warriors before them have answered their nation’s call to serve,” said VonLoh in her presentation.  “Supportive supervisors are critical to maintaining the strength and readiness of the nation’s Guard and Reserve units, and it’s a pleasure for me to recognize Jeff and the entire staff of Frontier Home Medical with this award.”
Jeff Howerter also signed an ESGR Statement of Support for all Frontier Home Medical locations publicly acknowledging their support for all Guard and Reserve service members.
ESGR, a Department of Defense program, seeks to foster a culture in which all employers support and value the employment and military service of members of the National Guard and Reserve in the United States. For more information about ESGR outreach programs or volunteer opportunities, call (800) 336-4590 or visit www.ESGR.mil.