Patrick Ethridge

Patrick Ethridge

This week, the Daily Sun received a disturbing message on its Facebook page. The message contained a video that shows a woman assaulting an infant repeatedly.

The video was sent to us by a resident of Gage County, so we immediately alerted local law enforcement. Law enforcement was able to confirm that the video did not originate in Gage County and was in fact produced some time ago and had made its way through other news sources in the past.

I find the fact that anyone would want to share such a video to be repulsive. I can only hope that it was sent to us by a concerned citizen who was unaware of what they were looking at and wanted someone to investigate.

I’m happy to report that the Gage County Sheriff’s office responded quickly. Within minutes of calling Sheriff Gustafson, an investigator was on hand.

I share this not only to commend the fast response of local law enforcement, but to encourage anyone who observes possible child abuse or potentially harmful actions to please call law enforcement and let them check it out. Someone’s life might depend on it.

Pay raises?

I’ve heard a lot of grumbling about the Gage County Board of Supervisors voting to give themselves a 3 percent raise each year for the next four years. At the end of the four-year calendar, each of the seven supervisors will be making $26,488.45 annually.

The board meets twice each month and typically has a few days of committee meetings each month.

Supervisor Gary Lytle initially took issue with the supervisors giving themselves such a significant raise, due to the slumping farm economy and the pending Beatrice 6 lawsuit that could cost the county more than $28 million.

Lytle made a motion to reduce the raises to a 1.5 percent increase each year, but none of his colleagues would second the motion, so the proposal died.

When it comes to setting salaries, the County Board historically uses a study based on what similar-sized counties and surrounding counties pay their officials. In this instance, the study apparently showed that they were underpaid.

I suspect the study did not show how many other counties have a pending $28 million lawsuit currently in the court system.

Sure, those 3 percent raises don’t amount to much in the grand scheme of county finances. But it might send the wrong message to the rest of the county’s taxpayers.

A year of growth

In case you missed it: earlier this week, the Daily Sun published a story noting that building permits in the city of Beatrice reached an all-time high in 2017.

The city inspections office processed more than 865 building permits over the past year, compared to 550 permits issued in 2016 and 524 in 2015.

That fact means two things. First, the city is enforcing codes and permitting more than ever before, and second, there’s a lot of construction and building taking place within the city limits.

Progress usually starts with a group of people working together to make an idea become reality. A tangible way to measure that progress is through city building permits.

Mayor Stan Wirth said the increase in permits is an economic highlight for the area.

“… We’re seeing a lot of progress being made in the number of housing permits that were pulled this year versus the last couple of years,” he said. “It was up substantially. There are planned developments going into next year that are also going to be really beneficial to our area.”

Here’s to continued growth and progress for the area in 2018!

Patrick Ethridge is editor and publisher of the Beatrice Daily Sun. Email him at pethridge@beatricedailysun.com

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