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Courthouse closing early Wednesday for training

The Gage County Courthouse will be closing early on Wednesday for employee training.

Courthouse training for workers is done on a quarterly basis and each session looks at a different topic.

On Wednesday, Dec. 27, the building will close to the public at 4 p.m. for training on de-escalating and confrontation.

Gage County Emergency Management Director Lisa Wiegand said having a variety of presenters train county workers on different topics is an asset to the county and that it’s important to stay up-to-date with training.

“Continuing education is a huge part of bettering how we serve Gage County, and having this be an opportunity for the employees to stay in one location and have the trainers come to them will save the county money in the long run,” she said. “They don’t have to travel off site, and we can take an hour and train accordingly.”

The training session will be led by Deputy James Laudenklos of the Gage County Sheriff’s Office. Laudenklos works at the security checkpoint on the third floor of the courthouse, where the county and district courtrooms and offices are located.

He said training workers in how to de-escalate conflict is a skill that can be used in all the county offices.

“It’s easy to become complacent and be routine in your area,” Laudenklos said. “No matter how long you’ve done something, to be open-minded and have a willingness to learn helps everybody provide a safer atmosphere for the citizens of Gage County here at the courthouse.”

De-escalation training is especially important for deputies working at the screening station of the courthouse.

According to the department’s third quarter report for 2017, 3,740 people were screened over a 63-day period.

During that time, 61 stabbing or cutting instruments were found, in addition to nine pepper spray canisters, a loaded handgun magazine, a kubaton and a handcuff key.

At the screening station, seven people were arrested on warrants, and nine misdemeanor arrests were made.


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Beatrice Country Club making renovations for 100th anniversary

With slick, icy roads and the potential for white, powdery snow falling from the sky, it’s hard to remember a time when swimming was not only an option, but a fun, refreshing activity.

The Beatrice Country Club is currently in the process of refurbishing their swimming pool and adding some polish to their back decks with the aim of having them open in time for next summer’s heat waves.

Though there’s frost on the ground, workers are currently fixing up the deck behind the country club in anticipation of next year’s crowds.

“The deck is getting the most attention right now,” said Seth Ray, the country club’s head golf professional. “The deck should be done first and the pool will hopefully be in April-ish. Somewhere around there.”

Most of the deck was getting old and the pool was getting outdated, Ray said, so it was better to do it now than to wait until it became a liability.

“A lot of the pipes were starting to get outdated,” said Jesse Meints, the golf shop assistant at Beatrice Country Club. “Sometimes there was some leakage. With the deck, one of the reasons why we thought we should redo it is to make it look nice and the wood was kind of starting to get rotten.”

The pool itself will be pretty much as it’s always been, Meints said, but with a couple of flourishes. There will be a new slide installed and the club is looking at adding a splash pad.

The Beatrice Country Club has been around since 1917 and currently has about 280 members. The club is hoping to have everything up and running by April, but that depends on the weather, Ray said, though the renovations coincide with an important milestone.

“This year was our 100th year,” he said. “We've been here the whole time.”


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Public Health Solutions announces new health director

Public Health Solutions has announced its new director.

PHS district health department announced this week that Kim Buser will assume the health director position previously held by Jane Ford-Witthoff, who recently retired.

Ford-Witthoff retired on Nov. 24. At that time, Buser, who was the assistant director, was named interim director by the PHS Board of Health.

On Dec. 21, the Board of Health voted unanimously to name Buser as the permanent health director, according to a press release.

Buser has been an employee at PHS since 2010. She has held several leadership positions within the department, most recently managing the emergency response and disease surveillance programs.

A graduate of the University of Nebraska Medical Center, Buser earned her bachelor of science in nursing in 2014. Prior to joining the staff at PHS, she worked for more than 20 years in the public service sector, at both local and state levels, including Saline Aging Services, Blue Valley Community Action, Inc. and the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.

A longtime resident of Crete, Buser has served on many local and state boards, including the Crete Board of Education, CASA of Southeast Nebraska and the Crete Housing Authority. Buser has two children, Erik and Danny, who are both graduates of Crete High School.

Buser is looking forward to assuming the health director position.

“I am excited for the opportunity to lead the department into the future with vision and focus,” she said in the press release. “Public health is tremendously important and our staff does an incredible job of supporting health and wellness in the five counties we serve. It is an honor to support the excellent work being done by this talented group of individuals.”

As the health director, Buser will be responsible for managing all aspects of the health department and carrying out the mission of preventing disease and injury, promoting wellness and protecting the health of all people in Fillmore, Gage, Jefferson, Saline and Thayer counties.