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City prepares roads for ice

With freezing rain and sleet in Beatrice's forecast, the Beatrice street department took some precautions and helped ease some of the potential slickness early Thursday morning.

Street Superintendent Jason Moore said the city’s snowplows hit the streets around 3 a.m. on Thursday to clear the emergency snow routes and were just finishing up their residential routes around 3 p.m. The main roads were treated with ice and looked wet, which was a good thing, Moore said.

The temperature Thursday morning was between 20 and 25 degrees, which Moore said is an ideal temperature for melting. The roads are "chemically wet," meaning that dissolved salt and water will sit on the streets, he said, and hopefully, it would be enough to prevent slippery patches.

The city only scrapes snow from residential streets, but the city doesn’t salt them, so Moore urged caution if it gets icy outside. The best bet would be to use common sense and just stay home, he said.

With sleet and drizzle in the forecast up until midnight on Thursday, Moore said he is pretty sure the city put enough salt down to avoid ice, if the precipitation doesn’t last too long.

Sleet is actually preferable to drizzle, he said, because when the drizzle builds up on the cold pavement, that’s when black ice starts to form, putting a smooth coat of clear ice on everything.

“Freezing drizzle, that's a real bear when it comes to doing snow,” Moore said. “Because it's difficult for everything to stop, whether you're a snow plow or a Smart Car, it doesn't matter.”

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St. Paul's in Plymouth has spirit

It's spirit week at St. Paul's Lutheran School in Plymouth, and to celebrate some of the upcoming big games, students spent the week dressing up. On Wednesday, students celebrated "career day" by dressing up as what they want to be when they grow up. Spirit week also featured a character-themed day.

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Jane Raybould looking to win Fischer's seat

Jane Raybould, a Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate, stopped by the Beatrice Daily Sun on Tuesday to talk about her chances of winning Deb Fischer’s seat in the November elections.

Raybould, who runs the grocery company B&R Stores and currently serves on the Lincoln City Council, said that she likes her odds.

The most recent poll data shows Fischer, who has represented Nebraska in the U.S. Senate since 2013, has an approval rating of about 46 percent, but Raybould said that early polling on the race shows that Fischer may be vulnerable.

Raybould has been touring Nebraska in recent months on what her campaign calls the "Kitchen Table Tour," and said she’s heard concerns about multiple issues from people across the state.

While she sees running as a Democrat in Nebraska as a bit of an uphill battle, Raybould said there is precedence for Cornhusker politicians with a “D” next to their names, most recently Sen. Ben Nelson who lost his seat to Fischer in 2013.

But, Nebraska has an independent streak, Raybould said, and Nebraskans have a lot of concerns in front of them, one of the major concerns being health care reform.

Nebraska is one of 16 states that saw an increased enrollment in the Affordable Care Act, she said, and the cost of health care is way too high.

“I think that is something that we can agree on both sides of the aisle, that the cost of health care is increasing,” she said. “People are concerned.”

Nebraska seniors are seeing a reduction in their monthly Social Security, and Medicare costs are increasing, Raybould said, and she's trying to figure out why that is happening.

The repeal and replace approach to Obamacare, and doing away with the individual mandate is unacceptable, she said. Spiking premiums have started making health care unaffordable, she said.

“We're the greatest country in the entire world,” Raybould said. “We should be able to deliver health care to our citizens at either an affordable price or some type of universal coverage.”

Raybould also discussed other major concerns facing Nebraskans, saying that Donald Trump's threats to pull out of the North American Free Trade Agreement is something that’s been unpopular with Nebraska farmers and ranchers. With the state heading into a fourth year of agricultural economy decline, farmers and ranchers losing trading partners is a real concern, she said.

“Our ranchers lost out on a key cattle deal with Japan. I commend Gov.  Ricketts for trying to go to Japan and salvage that deal, but President Trump pulled us out of TPP and Sen. Fischer should have been defending that,” Raybould said.

Raybould’s family runs 19 stores across Nebraska, including Russ’s Market and Super Saver, and she said that working with producers has given her a front row seat to what matters to Nebraska farmers.

Raybould said her campaign is gaining momentum, and she has had about 9,000 people sign up to help fund-raise, put out yard signs and get the word out about her message.

“As a businesswoman, I do understand that there are things that government does do that are good and great,” Raybould said. “But, as a businesswoman, I understand that government can get in the way of prosperity with overreach and over-regulation. Then, I put my hat on as an elected official, there has to be a balance.”