Dear Editor: “What price did you pay for your freedom?” A question asked by some.
“There is a debt that can never be fully repaid to our veterans.” A statement made by many.
We all owe a form of payment to those who have served our country. That payment is made in many different ways and amounts. Some do it monetarily, others with support and volunteerism. Grand Island has a proven track record of all of the above as witnessed by providing care for our veterans at the Grand Island Veterans Home for over 126 years.
The claim Grand Island has in caring for and supporting veterans cannot be denied, nor should it be overlooked. Grand Island has a right to be extremely proud of its heritage and willingness to stand tall for those who have served.
The GI Home for our Heroes Committee presented a very detailed proposal to the “Site Selection Committee” justifying that a new veterans home be built in Grand Island. The work that was involved was very comprehensive and reviewed thoroughly prior to its submission. We have 126 years of experience that no other community can attest to in caring for our veterans and their family members, who have resided at the Grand Island Veterans Home.
The volunteerism and community support in caring for veterans in a veterans home setting is unmatched by others that were involved in seeking to be the site for a new facility. Grand Island has a proven history of being a very strong advocate for veterans and I believe that commitment in advocating for veterans will continue for the next 126 years and beyond.
There has been much said and printed regarding the decision to move the Grand Island Veterans Home to another community. If you believe, as I do, that the proper site for a new veterans home is Grand Island, Neb., then we must make our state leaders aware of those beliefs. The Nebraska state legislators need to hear from each of us, now, as a new legislative session is fast approaching. We should also let Washington hear our voices, loud and clear! There is a very real possibility of retaining the veterans home in Grand Island, so let youvoice be heard.
Donald L. Shuda Veterans service officer Hall/Howard/Nancy/Sherman County
FoodRaiser nets a $132 donation
Dear Editor: A big thank you to the residents of Aurora! During the month of May, Super Wash car washes across the country participated in an annual FoodRaiser. A portion of the proceeds are donated to local food pantries. We are thrilled to announce the national donations totaled $54,735. A donation has been made in the amount of $132.50 to your local food pantry. Thanks Aurora for your patronage, which resulted in this donation. In a time when so many are struggling to make ends meet, and during a time of year when the need reaches “critical” levels with kids out of school for the summer, supporting the local food pantries becomes even more important. According to Feed America’s website, $1 can make eight meals. Supporting the food pantry is an awesome opportunity to make a positive difference right hear at home. Please accept our gratitude for your support of the local food pantries through the Super Wash FoodRaiser.
Susan E. Black-Beth, COO Super Wash, Inc.
GIS data bill rejected by board
This is an open letter to the Hamilton County taxpayers. First, let me explain that as county surveyor we are here to protect the property owners of Hamilton County. I have taken the oath of office and my duty is to the property owners of Hamilton County, not the assessor, treasurer or commissioners. I am not employed by the county commissioners or any other elected officer of Hamilton County. I am elected by you, the residents of Hamilton County. My job is providing correct data for the use of county offices like the assessor, planning and zoning, sheriff, emergency management, flood plain administrator and highway department. My job also includes providing correct data to the state and federal highway departments, FEMA, U.S. Forestry Service, Nebraska Department of Natural Resources, Nebraska Game and Parks, DEQ, appraisers, realtors, insurance providers, lending institutions, power companies, gas companies and communication companies. State law requires the county to provide the county surveyor with the equipment, personnel and supplies and pay mileage necessary to complete his duties, and provide an adequate salary for his services. State statues also require contract work that is completed by a firm that is owned by an elected official to be done at direct cost. Katt Surveying provided this service since 1997. I have the letters from accountability and disclosure giving me the clearance to provide these services to Hamilton County. Katt Surveying has never been paid for mileage. We have updated GPS equipment four times to maintain the technology level required for surveying and GIS. We have spent numerous hours in schooling on the ever-changing technology required to be the best that we can be in our field. This has all been paid by Katt Surveying. The GIS information that was destroyed on the server in the surveyor/GIS office was in no way linked to personnel of Katt Surveying or the Hamilton County surveyor’s office. The GIS was our baby. We had 12 years of blood, sweat and tears into making this one of the top GIS systems in Nebraska. The Hamilton County surveyor/GIS department has been asked by state officials to teach classes on the correct way to set up and operate a GIS system. Note that the GIS from the county assessor’s office is not the system we are talking about. A number of errors in plotting of parcels and irregular tracts have crated a system that has inaccuracies, as to the position of property lines, that make it useless to power, gas, telephone utilities as far as planning the location of new services. The incorrect position of these parcels is in no way the fault of the girls in the assessor’s office. They are not trained and licensed surveyors. The state law requires that the plotting, computing of area and describing of parcels and irregular tracts is the job of a licensed land surveyor and that anyone who is not a licensed land surveyor and is performing these services is guilty of a Class III misdemeanor. The GIS information that was lost for the server’s X drive and the two backups were purchased from Katt Surveying by Hamilton County. Katt Surveying did the field work on memory cards, memory sticks and data collectors that they owned. When the field work was completed it was transferred to the Hamilton County surveying/GIS server. The Katt Surveying-owned memory cards were then used for other Katt Surveying projects. It took one Katt Surveying employee three months to find, separate, put in order and plot the information on these memory cards, sticks and data collectors. A voucher was submitted to the county board a number of months ago for the time to put this information together. The request was rejected by certain members of the board. Commissioner Andersen thinks if the county buys something and it is destroyed that it should be replaced at the cost of the supplier. If commissioner Andersen buys a new tractor and, when he changes oil forgets to put the drain plug in and in turn ruins the engine, does he expect to have the dealer pay for his negligence? It seems that is what he expects from Katt Surveying. In this day and age, the work of the county surveyor and the need for correct information is more important that at any other time in history. When a tract of land sells and the acreage recorded in the assessor’s office is off by three acres, it can make for a loss of $20,000 to $40,000 to either the buyer or the seller. The federal government agencies are depending more and more on the county surveyors to supply the information for programs that are no longer funded by them. I suggest before you make any discussions based on what you have heard from people who have no knowledge of land surveying and GIS, that you talk with your county surveyor, county GIS administrator, state surveyor or state GIS coordinator. There are a lot of self-proclaimed experts out there who think they know it all. When they start talking about surveying and GIS, ask them if they have ever passed the 16 hours of Nebraska exams, the Nebraska survey laws exam and spent four years working under a licensed land surveyor. If they have not, they have no idea what they are talking about. A wise man knows his field of expertise. An idiot does not. Duane A. Katt Aurora
Privatizing Manor not a good choice
It is time for another of the rank and file to speak out on privatizing Hamilton Manor. Rather than repeat some of the facts that have already been brought out, I’ll review a few other aspects. In the beginning, as earlier reported, the foresight of the county commissioners at that time -- Wilshusen, Uechert and Obermeier -- of seeing a home for the elderly was commendable and, in the subsequent vote of the county voting constituency, the vote was slightly over 80 percent in favor! That, in itself, should say something. So, initially, the first portion of Hamilton Manor was built some 50 years ago with additions added about 25-30 years ago. This was under the last years of Earl Strong and the first year or so of Barry Robertshaw. Surely building codes would have dictated a little longer usage than this. It was a good system with good rapport with the then Drs. Murphy, Larson and Treptow. Pause for a minute, if you will, and observe the traffic on the square or at the grocery store and mall, or at the library or the Bremer Center, and note the number of elderly people trying to maintain their independence by living alone -- or the number of Meals on Wheels, where their only contact is with those who deliver their only meal of the day, and by their TV. Their quality of life is sorely diminished. The escalation of medical care and living expenses in these present economic times has eroded their savings. The latest figures indicate that one out of three over the age of 65 will suffer a fall this year -- this in the face of already physical and/or mental impairments -- a rather gloomy outlook! Far too many wait until it’s too late to enter a home for the elderly for independent and/or assisted living. As reported, the remark by one of the present commissioner board was made, “We have enough beds available. No one should be turned away whether they’re on Medicaid or not.” But the ensuing vote left the Manor board somewhat in limbo as to whether to continue present renovation of the rooms. There also was a letter a couple weeks ago indicating the urgent replacement need of a new call system at an estimated cost of $35,000. As a suggestion to you readers, forego that prime rib meal once on some weekend or that weekend boating excursion to the lake some weekend, donate that amount to the Manor call system fund instead. In retrospect, to liquidate the Manor assets and going to a private home instead seems to just aggravate the situation. A private home will necessitate a greater motivation for more profitability. It seems your elderly friends and family should be recognized and entitled to some quality of life in their twilight years. Aren’t they the generation that earned the progress of Hamilton County to this point in time? So, do we face up to the need or just pass the problem onto someone else? Thank you for your indulgence. Ardean P. Andersen East Park Villa Formerly of the Marquette/Kronborg area
Manor deserves our support
I am writing this letter in support of the Hamilton Manor. I want to thank the people who saw a need for Hamilton Manor years ago. I’m sure there were many pros and cons at that time, as there is now.
I do not remember all the activity surrounding the issue at the time. I was probably one who said “Who needs it.” I have learned over the years, never to say never.
The Manor has been invaluable to my family and friends. My mother, two sisters, five aunts and uncles and several friends have had their last home address at 1515 5th Street.
Memorial Hospital just completed a $13 million update. I believe the board saw the need to update to keep up with the times. Several projects, such as turf on the football field and four new ballfields, have just been completed with donated funds. The new swimming pool is a $3.5 million project. These are all wonderful additions to the community, but remember they all have to be kept up. This will be done with fees, taxes or more donated private funds.
I do not have the answers but, as our population of seniors are all living longer, the need for the Hamilton Manor is as great as ever.
I want to thank in advance the Manor Board, ad hoc committee and the commissioners for their efforts to come up with a viable solution.