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Furnas County Sheriff’s Office Conducted a Traffic Stop

On May 22, 2017 at approximately 8:38 pm a Deputy with the Furnas County Sheriff’s Office conducted a traffic stop by the Dollar General Store in Arapahoe, Furnas County, Nebraska. The driver of the vehicle, a 48-year- old Hastings man, was discovered to have a suspended license. The Deputy placed the driver under arrest for driving under suspension. During the contact with the driver a methamphetamine pipe and two baggies of   methamphetamine were discovered. The driver attempted to and was successful in breaking the methamphetamine pipe. Two knives were located in the vehicle. A check of the driver’s criminal history showed he is a convicted felon. The driver was transported and jailed on charges of possession of methamphetamine, possession of a deadly weapon by a prohibited person, destruction of evidence, driving under suspension, no proof of insurance and no registration. Further investigation lead to a search warrant being issued for a residence in the 400 block of Vine Street, Arapahoe, Nebraska. At approximately 1:15 am on May 23, 2017 The Furnas County Sheriff’s Office executed the search warrant. The residence was occupied by one male and three females. All four occupants were detained and a search of the residence was conducted. The search revealed methamphetamine, liquid methamphetamine, a large knife and drug paraphernalia. A 34-year- old Omaha woman, a 21-year- old Hastings woman, a 29-year- old Arapahoe woman and a 46-year- old Arapahoe man were all arrested and jailed on charges of possession of methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia. The man was also arrest for possession of a deadly weapon by a prohibited person. Bond had been set for all five suspects in the amount of $25,000 subject to ten percent. Arraignment has been scheduled for June 5, 2017 in Furnas County Court. Names and mugshots will be released after arraignment.

MEDC Announces New Executive Director

Andrew Ambriz has been named the new Executive Director of McCook Economic Development Corporation as reported by Dennis Berry, MEDC President.


Ambriz has been serving as interim director since March. The interim title will officially be dropped on June 1st. “It’s been a privilege to serve the McCook Community through my interim role. It’s an honor to be selected as the Executive Director and to lead this organization toward creating positive change in our area.”


Last summer, Ambriz served as a Rural Futures intern under previous director, Kirk Dixon. “I have a passion for rural communities because my home of West Point had much to do with my development as an individual. The agriculture industry is the pillar for what creates a truly dynamic community and McCook is a prime example of that.” In December of 2016, he received his Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. In January, he and his wife decided to make McCook their home. “We found an incredibly welcoming and supportive community here. We appreciate the strong relationships we’ve built in the short time we’ve had.”


“We have a great foundation in McCook and MEDC is eager to build on the momentum we’ve developed as we work to create a better quality of life in McCook and southwest Nebraska. Our mission is to enhance the business and housing climate in our community by supporting our existing entrepreneurs, encouraging new business ventures and recruiting businesses that will prove to be an asset in McCook. There are countless resources available to our local businesspeople and we aspire to be a conduit to making those ideas a reality.”


The MEDC board officially made this change at Monday’s board meeting.

New Income Limits Provide Increased Homeownership Opportunity for Rural Families

The U.S Department of Agriculture Rural Development has announced the new 2017 income limits for the direct and guaranteed homeownership loan programs. The increased income limits may make more households eligible to obtain 100% financing through the agency’s programs for homeownership. The income limits are based on the county and the size of household. In some counties, the new income limits have increased over $7,000.


In many counties of Nebraska, for the guarantee program, the household income for 1-4 persons can be up to $78,200 and a 5-8 person household income of $103,200. However, some counties have higher income limits up to $90,300 for 1-4 person households and $119,200 for 4-8 person households. For the direct loan program, in many counties 1-4 person households can have incomes of $50,100 and for 4-8 person household incomes of $66,150. The income limit for some counties may be as high as $62,800 for 1-4 persons and $82,900 for 5-8 person households for the direct program. A full list of income limits by county and household size are available on the Rural Development website at www.rd.usda.gov/ne under the Guarantee Loan Program and Direct Loan programs.


USDA Rural Development loan programs are available to assist low and moderate income households to become homeowners when conventional financing is not available. Barriers to obtaining affordable housing may include lack of cash reserves for down payment and the availability of suitable financing. USDA Rural Development loan programs offer affordable fixed rates with no down payment. The current interest rate for the direct program is 3.25%. Depending on household incomes, mortgage payments may be further subsidized to as low as one percent interest rate. The interest rates for the guarantee program are negotiated with the approved lender.


Properties eligible for Rural Development financing must be located in rural communities. All communities in Nebraska are eligible for USDA Rural Development housing programs with the exceptions of Fremont, Grand Island, Hastings, Kearney, Lincoln, North Platte, Omaha and South Sioux City/Dakota City.” An income eligibility calculator and eligible rural areas are available at the following website: https://eligibility.sc.egov.usda.gov/eligibility/welcomeAction.do


Applicants must have acceptable credit history and repayment ability. Credit scores of 640 or greater are typically considered as acceptable, however, credit scores below 640 may also be considered with additional credit analysis.


Visit http://www.rd.usda.gov/ne and click on the link for “Single Family Housing Direct Home Loans or Single Family Housing Guaranteed Loan Program” under Key Feature Programs for more information and a list of contact information.

Nancy Folk Coming to McCook, REAP

Nancy Flock, central and southwest bilingual Nebraska Loan Specialist with the Center for Rural Affairs' Rural Enterprise Assistance Project-REAP will hold office hours in McCook on May 26, 2017. Hours will be 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. McCook Economic Development Corp. (MEDC) will handle the appointments; (308) 345-1200. MEDC office is located at 402 Norris Avenue, Suite 301 (Keystone Business Center - 3rd Floor).


The Center for Rural Affairs' Rural Enterprise Assistance Project (REAP) and its services are available to rural communities across Nebraska. REAP offers technical assistance, educational and networking opportunities, and a loan program for small businesses. REAP is designed to assist all types of small businesses, including businesses with 10 or fewer employees, self-employed full-time, part-time, home-based, start-up, and store-front businesses. REAP has eight regionally based Business Specialists, including 3 bilingual Specialists that also work with REAP’s Hispanic Business Center and also operates the state’s only Women’s Business Center. These Business Specialists can get involved in assisting entrepreneurs at various stages of their business progress. More information can be found at their web site www.cfra.org/reap.


REAP ofrece asistencia técnica, oportunidades de educación, trabajo en red, y es un programa de préstamos para las pequeñas empresas. REAP está diseñado para ayudar a todo tipo de pequeñas empresas, incluidas las empresas con 10 o menos empleados, trabajadores por cuenta propia a tiempo completo, a tiempo parcial, basada en casa, puesta en marcha, y tiendas de microempresas.


REAP tiene un horario de oficina en McCook el 26 de mayo de 2017. Horario será 10:00 a.m. hasta las 3:00 p.m. Para más información sobre las horas o el programa de REAP por favor póngase en contacto con Nancy al 308-534-3508.


MEDC is pleased to partner with REAP in order to offer an expanded list of services to businesses of all sizes.

MPCC Announces President’s List

The following students qualified for the President’s List at Mid-Plains Community College during the 2017 Spring Term. To make the list, each student had to complete 12 or more applicable credit hours in college-level courses and maintain a grade point average (GPA) of 3.9 or greater on a 4.0 scale.




Amherst - Sydney Taubenheim


Arapahoe - Brittany Lamb


Aurora - Taylor Stettner


Bellevue - Allison Tichy


Benkelman - FayeLee Sanford


Brady - Allison Hood


Burwell - Shane Weber


Ellsworth Mickenzie Brennan


Elsie - Amanda Osler


Farnam - Austin Boller


Hayes Center - Joseph Anderjaska


Hershey - Madison Hoatson


Imperial - Kinberlyn Benitez-Aguilar, Charlie Carter, Eric Chavira, MaKenna Ketter, Alyssa Moreno, Kent Silvester


Indianola - Michaela Holdcroft


Kearney - Jessica Eckhout


McCook - Jessica Alberts, Samuel Backer, Regina Burns, Ahria Golden, Molly Hardin, Emily Karr, Katelyn Kinne, Bailey Kool, Eric Langan, Brandon Molcyk, Tanner O’Neill, Jessica Premer, Riley Rambali, Nikki Riddle, Caleb Suda, Victoria Tietz, Caleb Trail


Mullen - Jessica Lovitt


North Platte - Charles Anderson, Duelly Baxter, Shelby Bokoskie, Leslie Borges, Justin Cosler, Robyn Daugherty, Adam Dobesh, Ivan Dobesh, Kayla Douglas, Andrew Feeney, Kaitlyn Hansen, Cody Harrison, Bradan Hengen, Mary Hills, Cory Holsapple, Jason Kosmicki, Cole Lewis, Morgan Libsack, Dru Linderman, Charles Martin, Samantha Mauch, Stephen Monfee, Roena Morton, Hannah Nelson, Mercedes Nolda, Andrew Pavelka, Ariel Quiroga, Cade Rasmussen, Korissa Runyan, Tate Simonson, Tanner Sims, Ian Smith, Teresa Smith, Austin Snyder, Luke Walker, Kandace Ward, Erica Whipple


Ogallala - Lisa Birge, Justine Gall, Avery Unrein


Papillion - Garrett Heinert


Paxton - Justin Marlow


Sidney - Mikenna Curlee


Silver Creek - Trey Engel


Stapleton - Ashley Starr


Sutherland - Jocey Nelson, Ashlie Walters


Tryon - Michaela Schultis


Valentine - Crystal Homan




Colorado Springs - Dylann Bylund


Fleming - Megan Chintala


Frederick - Antonia Villani


Haxtun - Deborah Kurtzer


Otis - Antonya Schaffert


Snyder - Shelby Wolever




Oberlin - Andrew John Wade

MPCC Deans List

The following students qualified for the Dean’s List during the 2017 Spring Term at Mid-Plains Community College. To be eligible, they had to complete 12 or more applicable credit hours of college-level courses and maintain an overall grade point average (GPA) of 3.5 – 3.89 on a 4.0 scale.




Alliance - Jordan Mills, Renata Schoeneman


Ansley - Kami Nelson


Arapahoe - Bradley Wessels


Axtell - River Straatmann


Blair - Mark Starks


Brady - Nathaniel Sitorius


Broken Bow - Lezlee Griffiths, Shannon Pomplun


Cambridge - MiKayla Kent


Champion - Taylar Nickless, Richard Stolz


Cozad - Elisha Keim


Culbertson - Grant Wilkinson


Edison - Kaylea Watson


Gothenburg - Madison Gilg, Holly Williams


Grant - Crystal Jones


Hershey - Ashlee Pierce


Imperial - Celeste Juarez, Kymberli Rowley


Kearney - Jasmine Johnsey, Nikolas Malleck


Kimball - Tessa Opalinski


Lexington - Luis Esquivel Saldana, Luis Gomez


Maxwell - Jesse Carlyle, Kyra Frisbie


Maywood - Dalton Littell


McCook - Hope Garcia, Christopher Hammond, Connor Lepper, Natasha Ruppert, Daniel Swanson


Mullen - Breanna Daly


North Platte - Brock Alexander, Brayden Aufrecht, Roxie Baumgartner, Nathaniel Baxter, Tracy Blake, Carrie Boltz, Terry Brown, Camerin Burtle, Kayla Bush, Alexander Cahill, Rebecca Chessmore, Sarah Dillenburg, Roberta Eller, Tyler Erickson, Jessica Fernandez, Gabriel Gonzales, Javan Hansen, Jensen Hart, Anthony Hill, McKenzie Holmes, Jennifer Keck, Alexander Lopez, Summer Malsbury, Stephanie Manka, Susan Marquez, Justin Mayfield, Jaedyn Michaels, Kaden Morrison, Robert Park, Phebe Pavelka, Austin Phillips, Haley Piper, Sean Richter, Nicole Robinson, Michaela Schmid, JennaRae Taylor, Bryce Tullis, Joel Van Diest, Caitlyn Whitmore, Maximus Wohler


Ogallala - Kaitlin Cipperley, Christina Fitzpatrick, Skylar Lapp, Kristani Mitchell, Brandon Raffaeli


Omaha - Buomkuoth Dobuol


Oxford - Jacinda Vollmer


Paxton - Lane Bergen, Rhett O'Connor, Carlos Zuniga


Ralston - Kyle-Christian Siwa


Riverdale - Regan Rasmussen


Sargent - Rowdy Moon


Scottsbluff - Alysianna Camacho, Courtney Miley


Taylor - Elizabeth Ralls, John Schroder


Valentine - Kyle Osnes


Wauneta - Colby Cox


Whitman - Shayna Kramer




Brighton - Erin Renwick


Broomfield - Alexandra Baldner


Frederick - Samantha Foster


Holyoke - MegAnn Hadeen


Julesburg - Noah Blochowitz


LaSalle - Samantha Gill


Wheat Ridge - Shelby Belloni




Tribune - Holly Myers

McCook Tree Removal

The City of McCook is requesting that residents, if at all possible, please haul their tree branches to the Transfer Station tree pile that is located directly south of the old Transfer Station location. There is no fee to McCook residents and the site for disposal of the tree debris is currently open 24 hours a day. We would like to thank you in advance for your cooperation.

Cancellations and Postponements for May 1st

Closings and Late Starts for Today May 1st as of right now:

Southwest Public Schools-Closed
McCook Public Schools- 10am late start
McCook Headstart- 2 hour start
Southern Valley- 2 hour late Start buses running mud routes
Rawlins County Health Center- outpatient services, clinic and business offices will be closed until noon
RPAC track meet Cancelled
Hitchcock Public Schools- Closed
Cambridge Public Schools- Closed
Arapahoe Public Schools- Closed
Med Valley Public Schools- Closed
Oberlin Schools- Closed
Hayes Center Public Schools- Closed
If you have any closings or late starts to add Call 308-345-1981.
Cancellations and Postponements brought to you by Midwest Hail Solutions, Spressor Insurance - Atwood, McCook Clinic, Creative Collision in Oberlin, KS, State Farm Insurance - Agent Linda Maiden, and Odiss Enterprises.

Community Hospital Announces New President and CEO, Troy Bruntz

Community Hospital Board of Directors has announced Troy Bruntz as the organization’s new President and Chief Executive Officer, effective April 26. Bruntz has been part of the Community Hospital executive team for more than 13 years.


“We are excited for Troy’s leadership as we begin a new era of growth for Community Hospital and service to our community,” said Wayne Watkins, DVM, Community Hospital Board of Directors Chair. “We are confident in Troy’s mission-focus and ability to continue our success, as he follows the footprint of Jim Ulrich, our CEO for ten years who recently moved to a new role in York, Nebraska.”


The Community Hospital board engaged Community Hospital Consulting (CHC) from Plano, Texas to assist the board in the national recruitment process. CHC came to McCook to interview board members, senior management, and physicians to develop a profile of the CEO role. Over the recruitment process, CHC received over 78 applicants, conducted 21 screening interviews and nine phone interviews, and held five onsite interviews in Plano. Based on CHC’s recommendations, the board invited two external candidates to interview as well as Bruntz. The candidates interviewed with the board, physicians, administrative staff, and other directors.


Bruntz most recently served as Interim Chief Executive Officer and Chief Operating Officer of Community Hospital. Prior to these promotions, he served as the Vice President of Finance and Chief Financial Officer for thirteen years. He played a key role in the decision process to change Community Hospital to a critical access hospital in 2005 and led the hospital’s effort to implement the automation and information systems necessary to achieve Meaningful Use and earn the hospital additional reimbursement under the HITECH act. Bruntz secured $35 million of financing in 2009 for a large building project. He was also instrumental in bringing process based management to the organization. Most notably, he fostered continued financial strength to ensure ongoing services to the community.


For a period of five years prior, Bruntz was Supervising Senior Accountant in Audit for KPMG in Lincoln, Nebraska. He also served in the United States Army for three years.


In addition to healthcare leadership, Bruntz is involved in the community and in professional associations. Currently, Bruntz serves as the Chairman of the LB840 Economic Development Plan Citizens Advisory Review Committee and has served as a board member of the McCook Economic Development Corporation. He is also a Certified Public Accountant, a Fellow in the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA), and served as the President of the Nebraska Chapter of HFMA.


Bruntz earned his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree from the University of Nebraska at Kearney. He and his wife, Tammie, have three children.


Nebraska Lawmakers Continue Debate

Nebraska lawmakers have kicked off a contentious debate over a proposed $8.9 billion, two-year budget package in the midst of a projected revenue shortfall. The measure debated would balance the budget using a combination of tactics. The list includes drawing money from state cash funds, cutting money to agencies including the University of Nebraska, and relying on an increase in federal Medicaid dollars. The package would increase funding for K-12 public schools and ongoing efforts to reduce prison crowding. The budget could see more cuts depending on the outcome of a new state revenue forecast slated for Wednesday. The chairman of the Appropriations Committee said the budget-crafting effort was one of the most difficult ones that longtime legislative staff members have seen.