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Norm Case of Oakland


Norm Case, of Oakland, Nebraska, passed away Thursday, June 28, 2018 at Oakland Mercy Hospital in Oakland.

Funeral Service is pending.

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Oakland’s 150th Celebration was a Huge Success!


Oakland NE’s 150th celebration was a huge success! From Sawyer Brown, the car show and the parade, which were all well attended! Thank you to the community of Oakland for putting together quite the celebration! Photo credits/Denise Gilliland, Editor and Chief, Kat Country Hub.

Park is Closed in Oakland NE due to the Logan Creek out of its Banks and more Flooding to Come


The Logan Creek in Oakland is out of its banks. It is flooding the Oakland Park. The park is closed. More flooding is expected due to the conditions to the north of Oakland, where much more rainfall occurred. Photo credits/Denise Gilliland, Editor and Chief, Kat Country Hub.

LaDonna Mae McNear, 76, of Tekamah NE


LaDonna Mae McNear was born on August 14, 1941 to Clarence and Marie (Kirk) Houghton in Blair, Nebraska. She passed away peacefully at her home in Tekamah, Nebraska on June 10, 2018, surrounded by family, at the age of 76 years.

Funeral service will be Friday, June 15, 2018, at 10:30 a.m. at the First Presbyterian Church in Tekamah with burial in the Tekamah Cemetery.

Visitation will be held Thursday, from 5-7 p.m. with family receiving friends at Pelan Funeral Services in Tekamah.  Memorials to the family for later designation.  Pelan Funeral Services in Tekamah in charge of arrangements.

LaDonna Mae McNear was born on August 14, 1941 to Clarence and Marie (Kirk) Houghton in Blair, Nebraska. She passed away peacefully at her home in Tekamah, Nebraska on June 10, 2018, surrounded by family, at the age of 76 years.

LaDonna was united in marriage to Lew McNear on November 15, 1959 at the First Presbyterian Church in Tekamah. They resided on the family farm near Tekamah until retiring and moving to town.

LaDonna was an avid Husker football fan. Through the years she enjoyed fishing, dancing and traveling. She always took an active interest in children’s and grandchildren’s activities, such as 4-H and Cub Scouts. She was also a member of Eastern Star and the Nebraska Democratic Women.

She was preceded in death by her parents; brother-in-law, Robert Christensen; sister-in-law, Janet Hawkins; brother-in-law Gerd Hawkins.

Survivors include her husband, Lew McNear; sister, Janice Christensen; daughters, Robin (Terry) Tilson, Lori (Randy) Wheaton; son, Jeff (Heather) McNear; grandchildren, Cody (April) Tilson, Brittany Tilson, Dylan (Annie) Wheaton, Clayton (Danielle) Wheaton, Loran Wheaton, Shayla McNear, Seamus McNear, Sean McNear; great grandchildren, Malaya Zabat, Cash Dunning, Brance Wheaton, Max Wheaton; numerous nieces and nephews.

LaDonna McNear

Maurice “Moe” Johnson, 72, of Oakland NE


Maurice “Moe” Johnsonage 72, of Oakland, Nebraska passed away Wednesday, June 6, 2018 at his home in Oakland.

Funeral service will be Monday, June 11, 2018, at 10 a.m. at First Evangelical Lutheran Church in Oakland. Burial with Military Honors will be in the Oakland Cemetery.

Visitation will be held Sunday from 5-7 p.m. with family receiving friends at Pelan Funeral Services Oakland. Visitation will also be held one hour prior to service at the church. Memorials to the family for later designation.

Pelan Funeral Services in Oakland is in charge of arrangements.

Megan Kay Cameron, 34, of Lyons NE


Monty “Rex” Preston, 86, of Lyons NE


Monty “Rex” Preston was born to Allen and Gladys (Crowell) Preston September 1, 1931 in Walthill, Nebraska. He passed away May 18th, 2018, at his home in Lyons, Nebraska.

He attended Parks School in rural Rosalie and graduated from Lyons High School in 1950. In December of 1950, he enlisted into the United States Navy. He proudly served 4 years. He was 20 degrees away from traveling completely around the entire world.

On January 7th, 1955, he was married to Donna Mae Swanson in Decatur, Nebraska. They lived most of their lives on a farm raising their 6 children. In later years, he enjoyed working at the Oakland Golf Club and Helena. He was also a member of the VFW, Lyons American Legion and Bethany Lutheran Church. He was also a Mason and Shriner.

He was preceded in death by his parents; 3 brothers: Dave, Duane and Kay; and 6 sisters: Betty, Audrey, Shirley, Bev, Margarite, and infant sister; grandchildren: Amy Anderson and Kevin and George Bacon.

Survivors include his wife, Donna; six children: Kim (John) Helzer of Tekamah, Denise (Jeff) Anderson of Lyons, Kristi (Gary) Bacon of Lyons, Janelle McCluskey of Lyons, Don (Shelley) Preston of Wayne and Ron (Lisa) Preston of Firth; 13 grandchildren; 11 great grandchildren; and brother-in-law, Rick Nelson; sister-in-law, Mary Bacon; numerous nieces and nephews and numerous great grandpuppies.

Pelan Funeral Services of Lyons is in charge of arrangements.

 

Upcoming Events

VISITATION

Monday

May 21st

5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Bethany Lutheran Church614 Main Street
PO Box 168
Lyons, Nebraska 68038

Prayer Service will start at 7 pm. Family will be receiving friends.

FUNERAL SERVICE

Tuesday

May 22nd

1:30 PM
Bethany Lutheran Church614 Main Street
PO Box 168
Lyons, Nebraska 68038

Military Honors will be held at the cemetery.

Cemetery Details

LOCATION

Lyons Cemetery

Lyons, NE 68038

Memorial Contribution

TO THE FAMILY FOR LATER DESIGNATION.

Rex Preston

Megan Kay Cameron, 34, of Lyons


Megan Kay Cameron, 34 years, of Lyons, Nebraska passed away Thursday, May 17, 2018 at Mercy Medical Center in Sioux City, Iowa as the result of domestic violence.

Memorial Services are pending with Pelan Funeral Services Lyons.

Megan Cameron

Audit Report For Village of Craig


On December 18, 2017, the Nebraska Auditor of Public Accounts (APA) received a complaint from the “Anonymous citizens of Craig” alleging the mishandling of public funds by the Clerk for the Village of Craig (Village) at that time, Kristie Jensen.

On December 21, 2017, the APA emailed Ms. Jensen to request certain Village financial records, including bank statements, claims listings, treasurer reports, etc. Neb. Rev. Stat. § 84-305 (Supp. 2017) grants the APA “access to any and all information and records, confidential or otherwise, of any public entity” and requires a response within three days to any such record request. Moreover, Neb. Rev. Stat. § 84-305.01 (Cum. Supp. 2016) states the following:

Any person who willfully fails to comply with the provisions of section 84-305 or who otherwise willfully obstructs or hinders the conduct of an audit, examination, or related activity by the Auditor of Public Accounts or who willfully misleads or attempts to mislead any person charged with the duty of conducting such audit, examination, or related activity shall be guilty of a Class II misdemeanor. Nevertheless, despite at least seven repeated attempts by the APA to obtain the requested Village financial records from her, Ms. Jensen continually failed to respond appropriately.

 

After several months of waiting for Ms. Jensen to comply with the initial request, the APA worked with Village Board member, Chris Swenson, to obtain the Village’s official bank statements from First Northeast Bank of Nebraska. Additionally, Mr. Swenson provided the APA with other financial reports submitted to the Village Board, such as certain approved claims listings, as requested. As a result of our subsequent preliminary work, which included a review of the bank statements and other financial reports obtained through Mr. Swenson, the APA identified specific concerns regarding Ms. Jensen’s handling of Village funds, especially in her role as the sole signatory of all Village checks during the period examined.

Those concerns included the following: 1. A significant number Village checks were payable to credit card companies, banks, or other potential personal vendors, including Visa, Home Depot, Synchrony Bank, Comenity Bank, Wells Fargo Financial, Verizon, and American Family Insurance. These checks did not appear on the claims listings created by Ms. Jensen and submitted to the Village Board for approval.

The APA also questioned the total dollar amounts of certain Village checks signed by Ms. Jensen, including over $80,000 paid to Visa from September 2015 through December 2017. 2. A significant number of Village checks were paid to Ms. Jensen for amounts in excess of her approved monthly salary. 3. A document obtained from Cleo Toelle, a CPA who performed accounting work for the Village, was a September 2016 Village bank statement that Ms. Jensen had provided to him while preparing the Villages’ audit waiver and budget. When compared to the actual September 2016 Village bank statement received from First Northeast Bank of Nebraska, the copy that Ms. Jensen presented to Mr. Toelle appears to have been falsified. Furthermore, the bank statements received from the Village records did not contain the deposit or check images, which had been removed. VILLAGE OF CRAIG – 2 – BACKGROUND (Continued)

These specific concerns led Assistant Deputy Auditor Craig Kubicek, along with two other APA staff members, Dakota Christensen and Marielle Saathoff, to drive from Lincoln, Nebraska, to the Village office on April 9, 2018, to meet with Ms. Jensen on a surprise visit. The purpose of the surprise visit was to interview Ms. Jensen about the financial concerns noted. During that interview, Ms. Jensen admitted to having signed the Village checks made payable to Visa, Home Depot, Comenity Bank, Wells Fargo Financial, Verizon, and American Family Insurance for her own personal expenses; however, she claimed to be unable to recall the purpose of the payments to Synchrony Bank. Ms. Jensen also admitted to writing Village checks to herself in excess of her approved monthly salary. Additionally, Ms. Jensen admitted to manipulating the September 2016 bank statement to try to prevent an audit. Furthermore, Ms. Jensen admitted to removing the deposit and check images from the Village bank statements in an effort to prevent the CPA who was preparing the Village’s audit waiver and budget from discovering her activities. After the interview, Assistant Deputy Auditor Kubicek asked Ms. Jensen if any Village Board members were in town. Ms. Jensen telephoned Melissa Pedersen, a Village Board member, who arrived at the Village office soon thereafter.

Assistant Deputy Auditor Kubicek then described to Ms. Pedersen the activities to which Ms. Jensen had recently admitted. At that time, Ms. Jensen confessed once more to those same activities. Assistant Deputy Auditor Kubicek also telephoned Duane Hinman, the Village Board Chair. With Ms. Jensen participating in the conversation, Assistant Deputy Auditor Kubicek explained the situation to Mr. Hinman over a speaker phone. Ms. Jensen emphasized to Mr. Hinman that no one in her family was aware of the activities to which she had confessed. At the conclusion of these exchanges between Ms. Jensen, Ms. Pedersen, and Mr. Hinman, Assistant Deputy Auditor Kubicek contacted Frank Barron, the Burt County Attorney, to inform him of what had occurred. T

The Burt County Sheriff’s office discussed the case with the APA on April 13, 2018, and the APA provided information on the situation, including an Affidavit completed by Assistant Deputy Auditor Craig Kubicek. On April 19, 2018, an arrest warrant was issued for Ms. Jensen. As a result of her having confessed to the above activities, the APA subpoenaed certain personal records of Ms. Jensen. A municipality located in Burt County, Nebraska, the Village employs a Clerk – who, as permitted by Neb. Rev. Stat. § 17-209.02 (Cum. Supp. 2017), serves also as the Village Treasurer – a maintenance/water operator, and a seasonal part-time worker. According to records obtained by the APA, Ms. Jensen began working as a temporary Clerk for the Village in 1997. On April 12, 2018, only three days after the APA’s surprise visit, the Village Board terminated Ms. Jensen’s employment as the Village’s Clerk. VILLAGE OF CRAIG – 3 – BACKGROUND (Continued) As of March 31, 2018, the Village Board consisted of the following members:  Duane Hinman – Chairman of the Board  Chris Swenson – Trustee  Steve Nesemeier – Trustee  Melissa Pedersen – Trustee  Jean Meyer – Trustee The APA obtained records for the following Village bank accounts from the First Northeast Bank of Nebraska (Bank) in nearby Lyons, Nebraska. The Schedule of Bank Activity for the Village was prepared from these records. For security reasons, the account numbers will not be published in this report, but they are available to the Village or other authorized personnel upon request. Account Owner per Bank Account Name per Bank Village of Craig N.O.W. Account Village of Craig – Sewer Account Regular Savings Village of Craig – Craig School Demo Regular Account The APA has also accumulated the deposit and withdrawal banking details for all three accounts as Exhibits A-F herein.

The Village did not utilize accounting software, and much of the recording of financial activity was done manually by the Clerk. The Village billed for water, sewer, and garbage services provided to its residents. The Village also collected funds from rental of the community center, loan proceeds, Burt County receipts, State highway allocation funding, and other sources. The Village utilized receipt books for funds paid in cash; however, Ms. Jensen claims to have discarded those receipt books dated prior to November 2017. Village Ordinance No. 200, Section 17, “Audit,” which states, in relevant part, the following: The Village Board shall cause an audit of the Village accounts to be made by an independent and qualified accountant once every year beginning with the year 1971. Since the year 2000, the Village has not had an audit conducted by an independent certified public accountant. During that time, however, the Village did have audit waivers completed by independent certified public accountants and filed with the APA.

Although satisfactory for purposes of State law, this failed to meet the above Village ordinance’s requirement that actual annual audits be performed. Based on the information collected, the APA assisted the Village in completing the audit waiver form for the fiscal year 2017. This assistance was provided so the Village would have accurate fund balances going forward. As a result, the fund balances as of September 30, 2017, for the Village are shown in the table below. VILLAGE OF CRAIG – 4 – BACKGROUND (Concluded) Fund Fund Balance General Fund ($23,826.23) Special Revenue Funds – Park & Street $30,849.51 Debt Service Funds – Sweep Account ($13,000.00) Enterprise Funds – Water, Sewer, and Garbage $8,535.57 Total Fund Balance as of September 30, 2017 $2,558.85 The bank balances as of September 30, 2017, are shown in the table below. Bank Bank Balance General Bank Account $1,649.44 School Demo Bank Account $6,763.00 Sewer Bank Account $7,146.41 General Sweep Account ($13,000.00) Total Bank Balances as of September 30, 2017 $2,558.85 The completed Statement of Cash Receipts and Disbursements for the fiscal year 2017.

Mardelle LaMae (Nelson) Cates, 87, of Omaha NE, Formerly of Lyons NE


Mardelle LaMae (Nelson) Cates , age 87, of Omaha formerly of Lyons, Nebraska passed away May 16, 2018 at Elk Ridge Village in Omaha.  Funeral services will be held on Monday, May 21, 2018, 11:00 am at First Presbyterian Church in Lyons with burial in the Lyons Cemetery.  Visitation will be Sunday 1-3 p.m. with family receiving friends and Prayer Service at 3 p.m. all at Pelan Funeral Services Lyons.  Memorials to the family for later designation.  Pelan Funeral Services in Lyons in charge of arrangements.

Mardelle LaMae (Nelson) Cates was born to J. Peter and Ethel (Johnson) Nelson on May 21, 1930 in Oakland, Nebraska. She passed away on May 16, 2018 at Elk Ridge Village in Omaha, Nebraska, at the age of 87.

Mardelle grew up on a farm west of Lyons, Nebraska. She graduated from Lyons High School in 1947. On January 1, 1948 she married her high school sweetheart, R. Harlan Cates. They enjoyed 60 years of marriage.

Mardelle grew up on a farm west of Lyons, Nebraska. She graduated from Lyons High School in 1947. On January 1, 1948 she married her high school sweetheart, R. Harlan Cates. They enjoyed 60 years of marriage.

Harlan and Mardelle farmed several years before moving to Lyons with their children Sandi and Randy. Mardelle was very active in the First Presbyterian Church, singing in the choir, teaching Sunday and Bible School, serving as a Deacon and belonging to the Mariners group. She also served as a leader in 4-H and Cub Scouts, was a part of Job’s Daughter Council and was an Eastern Star Worthy Matron.

Harlan and Mardelle were very active in the Lyons community, owning Swine Service Specialists, helping start Logan Valley Manor and supporting kids and grandkids as Lyons Lions and Lyons-Decatur Cougars. In later years, Mardelle enjoyed her time with friends and said her granddaughters were her pride and her great grandchildren were her joy.

She was preceded in death by her parents and husband, Harlan.

She is survived by her daughter, Sandi (Doug) Anderson; son, Randy (Pam) Cates; four granddaughters, Kristin (Chuck) Lewis, Jennifer (Duane) Bartelt, Stephanie Cates, Sarah (Ryan) Kriss; sister, Darlene (Don) Wiese; great grandchildren, Ryan, Spencer, Grant and Chase Lewis, Carson and Ava Bartelt; many nieces and nephews, cousins and many, many friends.

Mardelle Cates

 

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