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Scott Koperski / The Associated Press 

In this Oct. 21, 2015, file photo, cage-free chickens walk in a fenced pasture at an organic farm near Waukon, Iowa. The Trump administration is withdrawing federal rules that would require organic meat and egg producers to abide by stricter animal welfare standards. The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Monday, March 12, 2018, it would withdraw the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices final rule published by former President Barack Obama's Agriculture Department two days before he left office in January.

SCC board approves 3 percent tuition hike

Students at Southeast Community College will pay $2 more per credit hour in tuition and fees for the 2018-19 school year.

The SCC Board of Governors on Tuesday approved a 3 percent tuition hike, bringing the cost per credit hour to $69.50 in tuition and fees.

President Paul Illich said the increase, adopted by the board on a 9-0 vote, was the midpoint of recommendations of students at SCC's Lincoln, Beatrice and Milford campuses.

Lincoln students recommended a $1 increase to SCC's tuition rate, Illich told the board, while Beatrice students said they would support a $2 increase and Milford students said they could stomach a $3 increase.

"This landed us in the middle," Illich said. "We thought it was a good middle ground."

Illich added that the tuition increase would generate an additional $600,000 in revenue for SCC, which along with other community colleges in the state, expects to lose roughly 1 percent of its state appropriation next year.

Board member Steve Ottmann of Dorchester asked if the increase recommended by the students and administration would cover the loss in state aid and any increases in future costs at SCC such as salaries or equipment.

As of Tuesday, Illich replied, SCC was anticipating an increase to the valuation of land across its 15-county area to the tune of 6 percent.

If that figure holds through August, Illich said SCC would not be forced to raise its tax levy later this year while also meeting its obligations.

Last year, the board approved raising SCC’s property tax levy from 7.52 cents per $100 of valuation to 9.07 cents per $100 of valuation for 2017-18.

Also a year ago, SCC passed on to students a $4-per-credit hour increase in tuition charges, as well as an extra 50 cents in fees.

As the only remaining community college in Nebraska that runs on a quarter system instead of semesters, SCC's annual tuition and fees for the 2018-19 school year would be $3,127 for a typical student.

SCC plans to move to semesters for the 2019-20 school year.

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Making math palatable: fourth graders get lesson in multiplication and cake

Fourth graders from Lincoln Elementary brought their parents to school for a math lesson and left with a cake mix.

On Tuesday, fourth grade teachers Susan Wait and Kaylee Korte hosted their Family Math Night at Lincoln Elementary to show parents that not only can math be fun, it can also be delicious.

After a rousing success with their first Family Math Night in the fall, the teachers held a second one to get parents acclimated to a different style of math. The fourth graders are learning the box model for multiplication, a different way of multiplying large numbers with an algorithm that breaks the numbers down into easier to multiply chunks.

“We've been doing fractions and multiplying fractions and adding fractions, plus we're getting ready to come up on measurement with conversions,” Wait said. “So, recipes are a great way to work with fractions and multiplying.”

When they walked in, students and their parents got an incorrect recipe and had to double or triple the measurements to figure out how much of each ingredient went into their recipe for ooey gooey peanut butter crock pot cake.

Everything was heaped into a Ziploc baggie from a buffet of ingredients like peanut butter, flour, eggs, milk and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups in an effort to make math a little more accessible to everyone, Wait said.

Lesley Trantham, who was measuring out ingredients with her son Henry and daughter Clara, said she’s been trying to make time in the kitchen at home into a chance to teach as well.

“It's a real life lesson,” Trantham said. “I cook with my kids at home, so we talk about fractions and how they work in a recipe.”

The ingredients were provided by Principal Kevin Janssen and from Food Mesto in Wilbur, owned by Korte’s parents. Kids and their parents also had a chance to take home a free Crock Pot on the way home as well.

Two classrooms were set up for Family Math Night, one had the ingredients and a cake cooking in a Crock Pot, and the other had somewhat-dreaded word problems awaiting students and their parents.

“We decided to make some for them to eat,” Korte said. “So, when they go to do the word problems, they can take some to eat while they're doing it.”

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Truck hits skidloader on highway

One lane of traffic on Highway 77 was closed early Wednesday afternoon after a pickup collided with a skidloader.

Both vehicles were heading north on the highway when the crash occurred around noon, the Beatrice Police Department said. No injuries were reported, but Beatrice police and Beatrice Fire and Rescue responded to the scene.

The pickup and the skidloader were both in the northbound lanes of 77 across from the Beatrice Airport and just south of the EconoLodge in Beatrice when the truck drove into the rear of the skidloader, which had a street sweeping attachment on the front of it, said Beatrice Police officer Joseph McCormick.

Emergency crews were on the scene, spreading absorbent material on the fuel that had spilled as a result of the crash and a wrecker had arrived to tow the pickup away.

No injuries were reported as a result of the crash.

Pleas entered in assault case

A Blue Springs man pleaded not guilty to assaulting a U.S. Marshal last year.

Jeremy D. Mick, 36, appeared in Gage County District Court Wednesday for an arraignment, where he pleaded not guilty to charges of possession of methamphetamine, possession of drug paraphernalia and third-degree assault on a peace officer.

The charges stem from a Dec. 28 arrest while authorities were serving a warrant in southern Gage County.

Gage County deputies were assisting the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force to locate a fugitive with an active warrant.

Authorities learned the individual with an active warrant was associated with Mick, and contacted him at 116 W. Broad St. in Blue Springs.

A female answered the door and allowed authorities inside the residence, court documents state.

Mick said the fugitive was not there and authorities contacted the homeowner who granted permission to search the rest of the residence.

Court documents state that once they had permission, Mick quickly moved to the stairs and ignored orders to stop.

He was detained, and authorities searched the upstairs. Court documents state there was a large piece of glass on which suspected methamphetamine was sitting, in addition to two glass smoking devices.

Clear baggies and a scale were also found. Mick was also found to have drug paraphernalia in a front pocket.

While being escorted out of the residence, Mick allegedly kicked a U.S. Marshal.

His next hearing date is set for May 30.

Scott Koperski /   

Jeremy Mick