April 28, 2016



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Tornado turns toward Superior

Multiple storms again Tuesday

Health fair Saturday at SHS

UNL to stop funding for local extension assistant


The Cyber Express-Record

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The Superior Express & Jewell County News 28 April 2016


Work continued into the weekend digging out from more than a foot wet snow that fell last Tuesday. A rotary snow plow was used to open Highway 136 to two lanes of traffic through Nuckolls County last Thursday.

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This is the link to video taken by The Express Staff and friends which we suspect may be of interest to our readers. The most recent posts are near the top of the list. If you let the video continue after it ends, other new ones will play automatically.

Tornado turns toward Superior

For residents of this area, the spring and summer storm began Sunday afternoon with large hail and a tornado.
While storms were in the Sunday forecast, by afternoon the sky seemed to be clearing and the temperature was mild. Many people were outside, some playing golf, others working in their yard or relaxing at Lovewell Lake. Special events at the lake had encouraged many people to take their first weekend outting of the year. But as 6 o'clock approached it was evident the weather was changing, and not for the better. Storms were reported south of Superior and there were heavy dark clouds in the south and southwest.
Storm spotters had not been called out but trained weather observers were growing nervous and some had headed out to check on the weather. Todd Kroeger and Chris Petersen were among the Superior observers going out. They had just taken up position on Highway 14 at the Olive Hill Corner when they saw a wall cloud near the community of Bostwick.
Britini Oakman told the Omaha World-Herald she and Christopher Lovegrove had just left home in Superior when they decided to head toward a hill that would offer then a better view of the changing weather. And she started shooting pictures with her cell phone. Those pictures were featured Monday on
The upper level storm system caused a surface cool front to move eastward across the area. The combination of upper level forcing, and plentiful instability and shear allowed severe storms to develop along and east of the front. These storms developed during the afternoon along and east of Highway 281 moving east into the evening hours.
The majority of these storms impacted Jewell, Mitchell, Nuckolls and Thayer counties before moving into northeast Kansas and southeast Nebraska.  A couple of supercells dominated the night with one producing a tornado in Nuckolls County and the second producing large hail in Jewell County before moving northeast and producing a tornado which struck the northeast Republic County community of Munden.
  The storm over Nuckolls County produced a picturesque tornado that touched down near Highway 136 northwest of Superior and tracked southeast a few miles before lifting northwest of Superior.
The storm was rated as an EF-1 with a maximum width of 300 yards. The tornado etched out a path roughly 2.8 miles long with an estimated maximum wind speed of 100 mph. The storm apparently did not hit any structures, it did down at least three electrical power poles and damaged fences.
After a brief hail storm, the storm siren sounded in Superior at 6:09 p.m. The siren took many residents by surprise. Instead of immediately seeking shelter, they ran outside to see what was happening. Many people who had been listening to reports of developing weather stories in other areas, at first thought the sirens were sounded in error. They changed their minds when they saw the funnel cloud.

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Multiple storms again Tuesday

As predicted, storms began crossing this area in the predawn hours Tuesday morning. Weather radios sounded the first alarm about 3 a.m. Tuesday and continued until about 6:30. The weather appeared to be calm throughout the morning but mid-afternoon the alarms returned with messages about the possible formation of tornados, torrential rain and hail.
By 5 p.m. the weather service was reporting torrential rain and large hail was falling in Nuckolls County. The weather service advised people and animals outside in the weather would be hurt by the large hail.
Multiple storm cells were said to be in the area and the Red Cross had sent a bulletin to this newspaper advising the agency was ready to respond to local needs.
Because of mail service demands, it was necessary to send this issue to the press room before we had time to assess the damage caused by Tuesday's weather outbreak. We expect to post reports on The Superior Express Facebook page and internet page at
With the potential for severe weather across the plains on Tuesday and into Wednesday morning, staff members at the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) Region VII office on Monday began coordinating with state and local officials in Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska in preparation for the potential storms. The agency asked this newspaper to help encourage the residents of South Central Nebraska and North Central Kansas to get ready.
Unfortunately, being a weekly paper there wasn't anything we could do in the printed paper, but we were able to utilize our digital products.
As the threat of severe weather developed, FEMA was asking residents to monitor digital media feeds for updates, listen to NOAA Weather Radios and local newscasts, and follow the instructions provided by local emergency officials. Kathy Fields, deputy administrator for FEMA's Region VII, said "The most important things are to stay informed, have a plan and to do what's necessary to keep you and your family safe."
When severe weather hits, the first responders are local emergency and public works personnel, volunteers, humanitarian organizations and numerous private interest groups. The individuals within these organizations provide emergency assistance to protect the public's health and safety and services to meet immediate needs.
After Sunday's tornado sighting, Superior area residents probably didn't need FEMA warning. Sunday's scare was a reminder that everyone needs a family emergency plan.
To prepare for power outages and the disruption of essential services, FEMA urged families to prepare an emergency supply kit for their homes and vehicles. When preparing a kit, FEMA said to remember water, medications and items needed for the well-being of pets.
Area residents were encouraged to become familiar with the terms used to identify a severe weather hazard and discuss with family members what to do if a watch or warning is issued. Terms used to describe weather hazards include the following:
Watch: Meteorologists are monitoring an area or region for the formation of a specific type of threat.
Warning: Specific life and property threatening conditions are occurring and imminent. Take appropriate safety precautions.
Mobile homes, even those that are tied down, offer little protection from tornadoes and should be abandoned. A mobile home can overturn easily. Residents of mobile homes must plan in advance and identify safe shelter that is nearby.
Flash flooding can occur within minutes. If there is any possibility of a flash flood, move immediately to higher ground. Do not wait for instructions to move and do not drive through flood water.
Do not touch downed power lines or objects in contact with downed lines. Report downed power lines and electrical hazards to the police and the utility company.
After a disaster, be aware of possible structural, electrical or gas-leak hazards.
Injury may occur when people walk amid disaster debris and enter damaged buildings. Wear sturdy shoes or boots, long sleeves and gloves when handling or walking on or near debris.
A storm chasing group contacted The Express Monday afternoon offering to provide live video coverage of the developing storms which they said might be worse than the 2011 storm which hit the El Reno, Okla., area.
We didn't accept their offer as live coverage doesn't work well in printed form.
In addition to the pictures of Sunday's storm that are printed in this newspaper, We have also shared a number of pictures on the Jewell County Record and The Superior Express Facebook pages and have a video taken by Ryan Whitten playing on our internet page.
Photographers contributing to the picture collection include Emily Ray, Janet Eggers, Tina Hamilton, Joey Freeman, Barb Thomsen, Nuckolls County Sheriff's Department, Candace Utecht, Shellie Mueller, The Belleville Telescope, Apryl Badger and Peggy Meyer.
We understand the video taken by Tina Hamilton was shown by an Omaha television station and was placed on that station's website. Weather conditions Sunday allowed for some spectacular pictures and pictures taken by amateur photographers in this area have been broadcast by national news organizations.
Tina Hamilton shared the following story with her friends, who, after seeing the video were concerned for her well being.
"Thank you for checking in on us. We are all fine. Kids are at school and I'm just replaying all of this.
"I just want to share what I recall with you. I was leaving Superior, I had just heard Cory (Kopsa at KRFS Radio) talking about the storms and saying something about 'hook' and how he's not a meteorologist but a storm looked suspicious to him.
"We're driving home and I tell my daughter 'look ahead it's a dust storm.' At that moment it was cool watching it dance. The girls and I had no reason to be worried. We had sunny skies and rainbows not five minutes before in Superior. So my daughter says to me 'It's just a farmer planting' then she said look how pretty it is on the other side of the clouds forming.
I told her she should video it. That it was like my mood on some days. So we were laughing. There were clouds and then beautiful bright, crisp air. From that moment on I will never forget the experience! (when the enjoyment turned to terror and they realized what they were seeing.)
"Some people have asked, "What were you thinking? Get into a ditch.... Turn....'
"Honestly there wasn't time. I was driving over 120 miles per hour, my Ford Edge gave it all she had and God took over from there."

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Health Fair Saturday at SHS
The 2016 Nuckolls County Health Fair will be held in the Superior High School gym from 9 to 12 Saturday morning.
Human Interagency Services, Brodstone Memorial Hospital and the Superior FFA sponsor the event. They have been working to add the old fashion "Home Show" atmosphere.
Superior Ace Hardware is a new exhibitor this year. Bikes and Bones Cycle Shop will be encouraging fitness through cycling. The shop sells, fixes and gives away bikes and also have a full line of parts. Also new this year us Central Plains Respiratory & Medical who will promote home oxygen and CPAP machines, Rodan & Fields by Sidney Price and Becky Scott with Isagenix.
Nuckolls County Extension will have information about a blender bike, youth development and healthy living and eating.
The Good Samaritan Society will serve omelets, serving from 9 to 12. There is a free will donation and the money goes to support their Founders' Day service project and they collaborate with the Lighthouse project to help community members continue to live at home safely. The Good Samaritan Society will also have a booth to promote long term and senior living along with home health services.
Miracle Ear Hearing Center will do video otoscopes on ears and will provide cleaning and checking of hearing aids.
Superior Utilities will have available information on gas awareness and the makeup of water. The utility department will also have information available on Diggers' Hotline, LED residential rebates and air conditioner tune-ups.
South Heartland District Health Department will have a skin scope available to screen for sun damage and information on sun safety, colon cancer screening, breast and cervical cancer screening, worksite wellness and PSA education.
Hope Pregnancy Center will be on hand with information about their services, Revive Ministries will present information about substance abuse treatment and sober living. Senior Action will promote the Foster Grandparent Program.
Ideal Market will have a NuVal challenge, a computer game that tests your knowledge on nutritional values of food. The person with the highest score wins a fruit basket.
New Horizons Health Lifestyles will promote essential oils and massage therapy.
CASA of South Central Nebraska will be looking for volunteers to advocate for children.
Aromas, Mugs N More is promoting their specialty teas and teapots. They will have taste testing on site and a drawing for a small hot tea pot.
Those attending the health fair who have blood draws taken at Brodstone Memorial Hospital will be able to pick up the results from the Brodstone Memorial Hospital booth, sign up for the Patient Portal and get information on many of their services which now includes a therapy program for Parkinson's patients.
Safe Kids will promote car seat and bike safety.
Also at the fair will be Asera Care, Kan Ask Home Care, Midland Area on Aging and Hastings Respite Care.
Weather and patient demands permitting, a Midwest Medical Air helicopter will land just east of the school and be available for tours.
Officials will be on hand for Medication Take Back. Bring all outdated medications that need to be destroyed to the fair for safe disposal.
Superior FFA will again be on hand to test nitrates in rural water and sell geraniums.
Coloring pages were distributed at schools and the grocery store. When children return them to the registration desk they will receive a prize.
Thirty vendors will be on hand for the health fair with the theme of "Your Health Rocks"
There was a wellness check advertised but that has been cancelled.

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UNL to stop funding for local extension assistant
A group of parents, county extension board members and other 4-H and extension advocates attended the regular Monday meeting of the Nuckolls County Board at the courthouse in Nelson.
Among them was Jacie Milius, extension educator for Nuckolls and Thayer counties, who explained the University of Nebraska plans to eliminate funding the local extension assistant position. The Southern Plains Unit (Nuckolls and Thayer counties) currently has one of only seven extension assistants or aides in Nebraska who are either fully or partially paid by the university ­­ Crystal Fangmeier, who was also in attendance Monday.
There are currently 57 extension assistants or aides in the state who are paid by their respective counties. One of the distinctions between extension assistants and aides is the assistant position requires at least a bachelor's degree.
Milius and Fangmeier were joined at the meeting by Dave Varner, director of the southeast extension district in Nebraska; Jean Stichka, Nuckolls County Extension Office manager; Dwayne Buescher, county extension board member; Jim Rempe, past extension board president; Angie Garner, past extension board president; Kyle Schultz, extension board member; Deb Craig, current extension board president; and Heather Ramsey, lifelong 4-H member and parent. Each were given the opportunity to speak in support of 4-H and UNL Extension programs in general. Many also said the two county fairs would be difficult to execute without a full-time extension assistant.
Nebraska Extension's 2020 strategic plan is apparently to increase outreach by transferring state-funded extension assistant positions to where more youth outreach is needed and counties are already funding multiple assistant positions. It will also address the perceived inequity of a few assistants being state-funded while the vast majority are county-funded. In this area, Adams, Clay, Fillmore, Gage, Hamilton, Merrick, Saline, Seward and Thayer counties all have county-funded extension assistants or aides.
The current situation in Nuckolls and Thayer counties originated in 1991, when an extension educator position was eliminated and an extension assistant position to serve Nuckolls, Thayer and Fillmore counties was added. It was later determined ineffective and inefficient to have an assistant work in three counties. In addition to Fangmeier, Thayer County has a county-funded part-time (0.7) aide position.
The state's proposal calls for Nuckolls and Thayer counties to begin to fund Fangmeier's position incrementally, beginning in Fiscal Year 2017 with 75 percent of her salary coming from UNL and 12.5 percent coming from both Thayer and Nuckolls counties. At the end of the four-year period, 50 percent of her salary would come from each county and none from the state. The state is apparently willing to "draw down" the funding over four years if agreed to by the counties. If not, the position will not be funded beyond Dec. 31.
The state's proposal lists (for budget purposes) the current total estimated compensation for a paid extension assistant with 21 years experience at $63,200 ­­ $42,700 in salary and another $20,500 in benefits annually.
Milius said Fillmore and Polk counties have recently agreed to an incremental shift from state-funded to county-funded extension assistants. Some members of the group were scheduled to meet with the Thayer County Board on Wednesday. The Nuckolls County commissioners tabled their decision.
Based on recommendations from Gary Warren, county highway superintendent, and Jim Bolte, road and bridge department foreman, the commissioners voted unanimously to purchase a 2015 model JCB skid-steer with wide tracks from Superior Implement, trading in a John Deere. The purchase price is $20 per every hour the current machine has done when the trade-in occurs. The road and bridge department trades for a new skid-steer every year. Both Warren and Bolte said the controls were more precise on the JCB than the John Deere, which will enhance safety in the work place.
Sharon Hueflte, executive director of the South Central Economic Development District (SCEDD), met with the board to present a report of the group's work in Nuckolls County in 2015, which included projects in Superior, Nelson and Lawrence.
Two representatives from the Nebraska Association of County Officials (NACO) met with the board to discuss employee group health insurance options. No action was taken.
Meeting as the board of equalization, the commissioners approved tax-exemption applications for the Superior Good Samaritan Center for a 2004 Ford F-150 and a 2005 Chevrolet VLS, and for Mid Nebraska Individual Services for a 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan.

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