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New England Patriots' Tom Brady rides a duck boat during the Patriots parade through downtown Boston, Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019, to celebrate their win over the Los Angeles Rams in Sunday's NFL Super Bowl 53 football game in Atlanta.


Local
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City council approves traffic analysis

The Beatrice City Council approved the Board of Public Works’ plan to conduct a traffic analysis at 19th and Lincoln streets in Beatrice.

During its Monday meeting, city administrator Tobias Tempelmeyer said a problem arose when a windstorm knocked down the sign indicating "no right turn on red light" on Lincoln St.

“We put them back up on the poles around there,” Tempelmeyer said. “People noticed that when they pulled up that they couldn’t see those signs anymore. When you pull up to the crosswalks you can’t really see the stoplight, either.”

Tempelmeyer said the Board of Public Works is unsure what the best solution would be, hence Olsson Associates will do a traffic analysis.

“Rather than jumping into it, let’s take some time, have somebody who’s an expert study traffic movement at the intersection and then come back and make some recommendations to us,” Tempelmeyer said.

Tempelmeyer said they also want to analyze 19th Street to see what the best traffic solution is there.

“Unofficially, there’s a turn lane there. If you get far enough you can sneak by the car next to you, but it doesn’t have the proper width, it doesn’t have the proper stacking distance,” Tempelmeyer said.

Tempelmeyer said if Olsson Associates recommended having a turn lane there, the BPW would then go through the process of making an official turn lane.

The cost of the analysis is $15,000, which will come out of the street department budget due to the intersection not being part of the state highway.


Local
Live where you learn

More students at Southeast Community College in Beatrice will soon be able to call the local campus home. 

Construction of a new residence hall and new dining facility to better meet the needs of students continues to show signs of progress.

Beatrice Campus Director Robert Morgan said the residence hall will be three stories high and will house up to 152 students.

Morgan, whose job is to coordinate the campus’ master planning efforts, said he thinks that the housing will afford more students the opportunity to step out on their own and experience college life in a more dynamic way.

“It’s a step away from home,” Morgan said, “but there are resources in place to help the students.”

Morgan said the new facility will contain 38 apartments with two different layouts, including 25 apartments for four residents, each with an individual room. 11 of the rooms, he said, will have only two larger bedrooms, each shared between two students. The facility will also contain three American Disabilities Act compliant rooms.

Morgan said the new building will contain many common areas and recreational rooms for the students.

The new residence facility has not yet been named, but Morgan said the staff has some ideas. He said that unlike many of the buildings on campus it will not be named after a president, a convention which he said SCC is moving away from as it modernizes.

Students living in the new hall will be required to purchase a meal plan through SCC that will cover 14-17 meals a week. This, Morgan said, is because the rooms are not equipped with a full kitchen, only a microwave and refrigerator.

He stressed that the meal plan was cost effective, saying that it worked out to $10 per day.

Morgan said that after looking at statistics, SCC concluded that students living on campus do better in school and live more safely. He credits this to the resources that a campus provides, including Resident Assistants and campus staff.

The long term plan, Morgan said, is to replace many of the older buildings on Beatrice’s campus as they are aging and becoming less attractive to prospective students. He said the campus hopes to construct three more residence halls similar to this one in coming years.

According to Morgan, the residence hall will cost $8 million and the dining hall will cost $4 million. He said that the money for the project came from revenue bonds and current housing profits, and that the residence hall will be self-supporting.

Morgan said he expects the residence hall to be ready for students to move in by the beginning of classes next fall on Aug. 26, 2019.

Dean of Students and Assistant Campus Director Toni Landenberger said the new hall was constructed to better fill students needs. She said that in the past, the residence facilities have been full and have even required a waiting list.

“We’re always trying to meet community needs,” she said.

Landenberger said that keeping campus facilities up to date is a vital part of marketing to new students and expanding as a college. She said that SCC has been looking at increasing programs and athletic opportunities but felt unable to do so without new living space.

Landenberger said that it is important for students to be involved with campus activities. She said SCC hosts many intermural sports, and also holds skill based and educational events. She said that students set the tone for these activities, and let staff know what would be useful and fun for them.

The goal, Landenberger said, is to create a more engaged campus and strengthen the community at SCC.

“I hope they develop a community of support” she said.


Cubs family patriarch Joe Ricketts apologizes for racist emails

CHICAGO — The patriarch of the family behind the Chicago Cubs has apologized after an online media outlet published emails in which he took part in racist comments and conspiracy theories.

Some of the emails Splinter News published Monday featured Joe Ricketts making Islamophobic comments, such as "Islam is a cult and not a religion." Others included conspiracies about former President Barack Obama's birthplace and education.

Ricketts, who founded TD Ameritrade, apologized for the emails, saying he believes "bigoted ideas are wrong."

Cubs' Chairman Tom Ricketts issued a separate statement saying his father's emails don't reflect the values of the Cubs and highlighting that his father isn't involved in the Cubs' operations.

Joe Ricketts sold 34 million shares of TD Ameritrade to help purchase the Cubs in 2009.

The e-mail collection contains a couple of responses in 2010 from Pete Ricketts questioning his father's description of Islam and cautioning him about passing on some of the material he was sharing. Pete Ricketts was elected governor of Nebraska in 2014.

"I am not sure that your statement is accurate in regards to Islam," Pete Ricketts e-mailed his father.

"I recommend you go to www.snopes.com and search on these stories before you pass them on," Pete Ricketts earlier wrote.

Snopes is a fact-checking website.


Washington
AP
Trump calls for end of resistance politics in State of Union

WASHINGTON — Face to face with emboldened Democrats, President Donald Trump on Tuesday called on Washington to cast aside "revenge, resistance and retribution" and end "ridiculous partisan investigations" in a State of the Union address delivered at a vulnerable moment for his presidency.

Trump appealed for bipartisanship but refused to yield on the hard-line immigration policies that have infuriated Democrats and forced the recent government shutdown. He renewed his call for a border wall and cast illegal immigration as a threat to Americans' safety and economic security.

Trump accepted no blame for his role in cultivating the rancorous atmosphere in the nation's capital, and he didn't outline a clear path for collaborating with Democrats who are eager to block his agenda. Their opposition was on vivid display as Democratic congresswomen in the audience formed a sea of white in a nod to early 20th-century suffragettes.

Trump is staring down a two-year stretch that will determine whether he is re-elected or leaves office in defeat. His speech sought to shore up Republican support that had eroded slightly during the recent government shutdown and previewed a fresh defense against Democrats as they ready a round of investigations into every aspect of his administration.

"If there is going to be peace and legislation, there cannot be war and investigation," he declared. Lawmakers in the cavernous House chamber sat largely silent.

Looming over the president's address was a fast-approaching Feb. 15 deadline to fund the government and avoid another shutdown. Democrats have refused to acquiesce to his demands for a border wall, and Republicans are increasingly unwilling to shut down the government to help him fulfill his signature campaign pledge. Nor does the GOP support the president's plan to declare a national emergency if Congress won't fund the wall.

Wary of publicly highlighting those intraparty divisions, Trump made no mention of an emergency declaration in his remarks. He did offer a lengthy defense of his call for a border wall, declaring: "I will build it." But he delivered no ultimatums about what it would take for him to sign legislation to keep the government open.

"I am asking you to defend our very dangerous southern border out of love and devotion to our fellow citizens and to our country," he said, painting a dark and foreboding picture of the risks posed to Americans by illegal immigration.

The 72-year-old Trump harkened back to moments of American greatness, celebrating the moon landing as astronaut Buzz Aldrin looked on from the audience and heralding the liberation of Europe from the Nazis. 

"Together, we represent the most extraordinary nation in all of history. What will we do with this moment? How will we be remembered?" Trump said.

The president ticked through a litany of issues with crossover appeal, including boosting infrastructure, lowering prescription drug costs and combating childhood cancer. But he also appealed to his political base, both with his harsh rhetoric on immigration and a call for Congress to pass legislation to prohibit the "late-term abortion of children."

Trump devoted much of his speech to foreign policy, another area where Republicans have increasingly distanced themselves from the White House. He announced details of a second meeting with North Korea's Kim Jong Un, outlining a Feb. 27-28 summit in Vietnam.

As he condemned political turmoil in Venezuela, Trump declared that "America will never be a socialist country" — a remark that may also have been targeted at high-profile Democrats who identify as socialists.  

The president was surrounded by symbols of his emboldened political opposition. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who was praised by Democrats for her hard-line negotiating during the shutdown, sat behind Trump as he spoke. 

Stacey Abrams delivered the Democratic response to Trump. Abrams narrowly lost her bid in November to become America's first black female governor, and party leaders are aggressively recruiting her to run for U.S. Senate from Georgia.

Speaking from Atlanta, Abrams calls the shutdown a political stunt that "defied every tenet of fairness and abandoned not just our people, but our values."

Trump's address amounted to an opening argument for his re-election campaign. Polls show he has work to do, with his approval rating falling to just 34 percent after the shutdown, according to a recent survey conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

One bright spot for the president has been the economy, which has added jobs for 100 straight months.

"The only thing that can stop it," he said, "are foolish wars, politics or ridiculous partisan investigations" — an apparent swipe at the special counsel investigation into ties between Russia and Trump's 2016 campaign, as well as the upcoming congressional investigations.

The diverse Democratic caucus, which includes a bevy of women, sat silently for much of Trump's speech. But they leapt to their feet when he noted there are "more women in the workforce than ever before."

The increase is due to population growth — and not something Trump can credit to any of his policies.