Lexington City Council members had a light agenda last Tuesday and after one amendment quickly passed the one- and six-year street improvement plan after closing a public hearing on the plan.
In the amendment the city moved the box culvert construction on Adams Street 100 feet north of the intersection with Cattlemen’s Drive into the one-year plan, as it was already completed in December of 2017. 
In addition, they moved construction of three streets in the Southwest Addition into the one-year plan, as the developer is ready to start housing construction there. They will include: Eisenhower Drive from Walnut Street to Locust Street, Roosevelt Drive from Walnut Street to Locust Street, and Cedar Street from Eisenhower Drive to Roosevelt Drive.
In other new business the council voted to suspend the rules and pass on first and final reading an ordinance designating the law firm of Louthan and Wilson, P.C., specifically Beverly Bogle Louthan and Todd Wilson, as special prosecutors for the City of Lexington.
At 5:38 p.m. the council voted to go into executive session for their annual discussion on the city manager’s job performance. At 5:51 p.m. they voted to come out of executive session with no action taken.
The next council meeting will be on March 27 at 5:30 p.m.
Cozad Community Health System hosted a Business After Hours on Tuesday, March 14th. The event was held in celebration of the many things happening within the Cozad Community Health System. 
During the event Lyle Davis, Administrator, announced the two new Nurse Practitioners, Cassandra Munoz and Kristi Follmer. Davis also announced the new female physician, Dr. Michelle Rose to the community. Rose will be starting at the Cozad Community Health System in September. At Business After Hours, Cozad Community Health System celebrated National Doctors’ Day which is on March 30th this year. Dr. Stephen Nemeth has been serving the Cozad community for 23 years, Dr. Patrick Wetovick for 18 years and Dr. Jack Cole for 16 years. We are proud to have these providers in our community and to be adding new female providers to the team. 
The Cozad Community Health System Information Technology (IT) Team has been working hard with employees on the new electronic health record (EHR) system that will be used throughout the Cozad Community Hospital and Cozad Community Medical Clinic. Evident, the name of the EHR system, has been training the employees of the Cozad Community Health System since January 15th and employees have been training with them every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday since then. The training will conclude on April 30th and the new system will go live on May 1st. Evident will stay onsite for the first three weeks of May to help employees get acclimated to the system and help with any issues that may arise. “Our new EHR is going to be more patient centered by seamlessly joining our hospital and clinic together under one platform,” said Jamion Aden, IT Director of Cozad Community Health System, “It will give us the ability to grow with upcoming technologies, and do it with a company that has the highest Black Book ranking for the 8th straight year.”
Cozad Community Health System is excited about the new things happening and is always looking for ways to improve to provide the highest healthcare to the community. 
The Cozad Grand Generation Center will be hosting their annual ‘Spring Fling Gift Festival’ on Saturday, March 24th.
The event will run from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. at the center located at 410 W. 9th Street in Cozad.
A wide array of vendors and crafters will be on hand throughout the day.
Lunch will be served from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
The Easter Bunny will be greeting guests at the center from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Bobby Devine will be available to take photos with the Easter Bunny.
To register for a table for the event, please contact Director Tamie Thurn at (308) 784-2747.
The Cozad Community School Board met for a regular meeting on Monday.
Cozad parent BJ Malcom introduced Mark Hotaling, Founder and President and Rick Christopherson, Group Services Coordinator from the Makhaira Group out of Fort Collins, Colorado.
Malcom and Hotaling became business friends and then hunting buddies several years ago. The Makhaira Group provides security assessments for schools and churches and then reports back with recommendations to improve security.
Malcom and a group of parents agreed to foot the bill for all four buildings to be assessed in the school district on Tuesday, March 20th.  Principals and other administrators accompanied Hotaling and Christopherson as they looked at Cozad Elementary, Cozad Early Elementary Center, Cozad Middle School and Cozad High School. “We are not here to criticize or put anyone or any building down,” Hotaling explained. “We are an objective third party who will observe and make recommendations to improve security at all four buildings, providing you with a report on each within 30 days,” he continued. “We realize that your time and funding is limited but will be available for consultation after you receive our report,” Hotaling concluded.
There were two Discussion Items on the agenda: the Proposed Playground Project by the Elementary Parent Organization and the Textbook Adoption for the 2018-2019 term.
Blanca Prado appeared on behalf of the Cozad Elementary Parent Organization. The organization is researching available grants and would like to go through the school for these grants. However, since the school isn’t tax exempt, they are asking for other possible ways to secure these matching grant funds with the grant requests due in June or July.  The organization is seeking to receive matching grants from funds they have raised. 
Board President Ann Burkholder felt that perhaps matching funds could be secured through the CCS Foundation or another tax-exempt entity. Superintendent Joel Applegate will be checking with the school’s attorney on the legality of the school being involved in this grant process even though the district itself would not be providing any funding.
Superintendent Applegate informed the board members that textbooks would be purchased for the Ag classes and for Elementary Music. “They will need to be ordered by April to get here in time for the 2018-19 school year,” Applegate added.
The transfer of $30,252.59 from the Building Fund to the General Fund for the reimbursement of expenses for the elementary addition was approved. Also approved was the transfer of $4,320 from the Depreciation Fund to the General Fund for the reimbursement of expenses for the high school track.
The resignation of Middle School Science teacher HaLea Messersmith was approved at the end of the current school year. Messersmith will be following her dream of becoming a professor at Mid-Plains Community College in North Platte. 
The board members acknowledged the resignations of Messersmith as Head Varsity Softball Coach and from High School English teacher Jann Kloepping as the Cozad Jazz Dance Team sponsor. Kloepping has devoted 25 years as dance team sponsor.
Approved as Certificated Staff for the 2018-2019 school year were Ashley Ford in Middle School Science; Stephanie Flint as Elementary Counselor and Tracey Keifer as an Elementary TLC teacher.
Ford will take over the reigns of the High School Softball Team as Head Coach. CHS Family & Consumer Science Teacher Michelle Irvine will be the new dance team sponsor.
A contract was approved for occupational therapy services for the 2018-2019 school year with Danette Anderson; OTD OTR/L. Anderson lives in Gothenburg and will continue to serve the students in Gothenburg as well as Cozad.
“We should save some money from our current contract with ESU10,” according to Special Education Director Jill Beckenhauer. “We will be receiving the same services as we have been with Anderson serving both school districts on an as-needed basis.
Approval was granted to hire the CPA Firm, Almquist, Maltzahn, Galloway & Luth, PC, Grand Island, Nebraska for the district’s auditing and accounting services for 2018, 2019 and 2020. This firm has been providing this service and cast the lone bid for the next three years of service.
Superintendent Applegate reported that the Driver’s Education Contract for the summer of 2018 fee would remain the same.
The board approved Kucirek Engineering to receive bids for the High School HVAC project in phases.
A closed meeting then took place with the following receiving approval by the board members: Dr. Applegate’s Superintendent’s Contract for the 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 contract years; the proposed Classified Staff Salary Packages and the 2018-2019 Administration Contracts and Salaries.
The next meeting is scheduled for Monday, April 16th beginning at 7 p.m.
Every year, farmers, ranchers, agricultural businesses, universities, and consumers across America join to recognize the contributions of agriculture during National Agriculture Week. This year, Dawson County Farm Bureau and Dawson County Cattlemen donated beef to local schools to benefit their communities and connect kids to agriculture, which is a cornerstone of the local economy. 
Nebraska ranks number one in red meat production, and Dawson County ranks as the number two county in Nebraska with over $520 million sales of cattle and calves.
Shannon Peterson, a Dawson County Cattleman’s member, said the ag groups were looking for a way to promote the importance of agriculture in the area, and what better way than to give beef. “There is a lot of discussion about healthy school lunches, and we wanted to give students a great beef experience within the guidelines of the national school lunch program.”
5,232 students enjoyed a beef meal from the Dawson County ag groups. Food service coordinators were given total discretion to come up with a delicious and healthy recipe for students featuring the beef provided. Beef is a great source of the nutrients people need on a daily basis. Recipes ranged from tacos, hot beef sandwiches, beef and noodles, and hamburgers.
In addition to the beef donation, the Dawson County ag groups aimed to share information and promote beef in the classroom. Students today are three to four generations removed from the family farm or ranch and have little to no understanding of agriculture. Beef booklets full of information and a lesson from each school’s FFA chapter was given to 359 fourth graders across the county.
“We were very excited to partner with the local FFA chapters to show students that the beef they eat comes from a farm or ranch,” said Britt Anderson, a Dawson County Farm Bureau member. “Being able to provide a leadership opportunity for our local FFA chapters is a win-win opportunity, with the younger kids learning more about Nebraska agriculture and the FFA members practicing community service and leadership skills.
Materials and training were provided for the FFA chapters by Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation’s Agriculture in the Classroom Program. “We were very excited to be able to partner with the local FFA chapters to provide resources to the local Dawson county schools,” said Courtney Schaardt, director of outreach education with the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation. 
The Foundation’s mission is to engage youth, educators, and the general public to promote an understanding of the vital importance of agriculture in the lives of all Nebraskans.