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A Minute With the Mayor


A Minute with the Mayor by Lyons Mayor Andy Fuston

June, 2017

Summer is here.  Mother Nature was being kind to us there in May but turned up the burners a little here in June.  It’s keeping the pool busy anyway!  We’re off to a great start to the pool season.  We had to replace the chemical controller right at the start of the season.  The repair work we did last year wasn’t working so we ended up replacing the existing unit.  We’re back to stable Ph levels which help keep the pool on an even keel.  We’ve also been able to hire enough lifeguards to get us through the summer.  We got our insurance bill for up-coming year (starts July 1st).  Premiums when up about $3000.00 to $105,000.00 but the replacement costs for certain areas went up also.  We currently insure almost $18 million in property, automobiles and equipment.

The council talked about those buildings on Main Street that received yellow repair placards.  The city is very much willing to work with property owners as long as they show progress in repairing the portions of their buildings identified as requiring attention.  In addition to those buildings needing repair work, the council discussed the bowling alley and its timeline for demolition.  An interested party stepped forward wanting some time to explore the idea of establishing another business in the building, which the council agreed too, but since the council meeting the interested party has had difficulty locating the owner of the building and the demolition company was ready to move forward with the tear down.  In the best interest of the surrounding buildings, the council is proceeding with the demolition.

The city has completed the tarring of cracks around town that it had budgeted for this year.  More to come next year.  We also continue to work through the electrical upgrades for the Brehmer Mfg. expansion.  A representative from Habitat for Humanity was at the council meeting to discuss doing some work in Lyons in August.  They are looking for a couple of houses in close proximity to each other that could use a little TLC.  They are planning a “Rock the Block” party on August 26th from 10 am to 3 pm to provide home repair and restoration services.  Anyone is welcome to come and help and volunteer that day.  More information will be coming in August.  Dan Westerhold is replacing Sandy Posvar on the Planning Commission Board.  Thank you Sandy for your many years of service to the city and welcome aboard Dan.  Logan Valley Baptist Church has submitted a building permit for a new building and concrete work located on South 4th Street.  We’re excited to have them put down roots with a new church.  The 4th of July will be here before we know it and with that comes the Bluegrass celebration.  You’ve probably seen the fliers posted all over town listing the day’s events.  I hope to see all of you there.  The day will end, of course, with our annual fireworks display.

The pool will be open that day from noon to 3 pm and it will be free admission that day.  Talking about things that put us in a festive mood, what do you think about the new banners that are lining Main Street?  Aren’t they fantastic!  You can thank your Community Club for those.  You’ll also be able to thank them for the new Christmas light displays that will adorn the light poles this winter.  The Lyons Community Club is able to provide those wonderful “extras” for the community thanks to your support of their fundraisers they do throughout the year (like the 4th of July celebration).

Thank you Community Club for all your hard work and willingness to keep Lyons a great community to live, work and play in!  That’s all I have for now.  Stay cool and talk to you soon.

Mayor Andy Fuston

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Caregiver Support Group Meeting Monday


The monthly Caregiver Support Group will meet at the Bancroft Senior Center, Monday, June 19, 2017 at 2:00 p.m. All caregivers are invited to come and enjoy the afternoon with us.

We share our thoughts on what we do to keep the people we are caring for comfortable and happy.

Sometimes we watch educational videos and we always have informational articles to share on different topics, that may affect the ones you care for and also how to keep the primary caregiver strong and healthy.

News From Bancroft Senior Center


 Bancroft Senior Center News by Connie Bargmann  

*If you are 60+ and need information on programs designed to help keep you stay in your home longer or if you need legal help, contact Connie at 402-648-3387 or in the evening at 402-648-7648. There are no membership fees or attendance requirements and new faces are always welcome.

* We have the following medical equipment to loan out on an as need basis, wheel chair, bath seats, toilet seat riser and portable toilet chair, crutches or walkers. Call 402-648-3387 during office hours.

Meals on Wheels

*Would you like to get Meals on Wheels? Anyone over the age of 60 years and lives within the city limits are eligible for these meals. You may sign up anytime for the Meals on Wheels program; you can get the meals delivered however many times you want them each week. You must call 402-687-2332 before 8:30 a.m. if you want a meal that day. The suggested donation for the meal is $4.00.

 

Weekly Activities:

Wed. June 14: No chime practice today. Coffee time at 10:00 a.m. We will play bingo at 2:00 p.m.

Thurs. June 15: Tai Chi Class at 9:30 a.m. Coffee time is 10:00. Sign up to play in the pinochle tournament at 1:30 p.m.

Fri. June 16: The monthly birthday/anniversary party is at 1:30 p.m. and lunch is served at 3:30 p.m. Come and enjoy the afternoon activities.

Mon. June 19: Stop in and have coffee. The caregiver support group meets at 2:00 p.m. all caregivers are invited to attend.

Tues. June 20: Tai Chi class at 9:30 a.m. Coffee time at 10:00 a.m. Sign up to play in the pitch tournament at 1:30 p.m.

Wed. June 21: No chime practice today. Coffee time is at 10:00 a.m. We will play    Skip-Bo or any other type of game you want to play at 1:30 p.m.

 

Taking Better Care of our Veterans


By U.S. Senator Deb Fischer

Nebraskans know how to honor veterans. Our state’s strong commitment to the men and women who serve was on full display in May, when we came together to carry out the largest honor flight for Vietnam Veterans in history. The trip was made possible by the generosity of Nebraskans from all across our state, young and old.

 

Ensuring veterans have access to quality health care is one of the many ways we thank them for their selfless sacrifice to our nation. But for years now, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has remained clouded by controversy. Despite steps taken to address the issues at the VA, scandals continue to linger, showing our veterans are not always put first.

In the spring of 2016, Kuauhtemoc Rodriguez, the Chief of Specialty Care Clinics at the Phoenix Veterans Affairs office, made a startling confession: two years after the scandal that revealed our veterans were dying as they waited for health care, the VA hadn’t completely changed. Rodriguez told local news that schedulers were purposely deleting patient appointments and marking the changes as made by the patients, including, in some cases, making it appear as though deceased veterans had called to change appointments. This continued even after he told VA Director Deborah Amdur about the problem.

 

Enough is enough.

 

It’s time for real reform at the VA, and that’s why I recently supported Senator Marco Rubio’s Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act (VAAWP). Members of the Senate can come together, and we recently passed this legislation unanimously. It builds on previous work done by Congress and ensures that those who earned health care benefits by serving our country aren’t forgotten.

 

Since the passage of the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act (Choice Act) in 2014, which expanded health care options for veterans and allowed VA officials to fire poor-performing employees, Congress has continued to uncover mismanagement and misconduct from VA employees. Many VA employees are excellent at their jobs, and they work tirelessly to serve our veterans. Unfortunately, today’s civil service rules still often fail to reprimand those who don’t live up to the VA’s promise of treating those who served in our armed forces with dignity and respect.

 

The VAAWP would reform our nation’s civil services system within the VA while keeping due process for workers. Personnel decisions would be accelerated by tightening up the timeline for firing processes and through the lowering of the burden of proof needed to dismiss bad actors. It would also allow the VA Secretary to reduce benefits and rescind bonuses for those who are underperforming. These reforms would apply to both senior executive positions and the rank and file.

 

The VAAWP also empowers whistleblowers, like Kuauhtemoc Rodriguez, to serve as the first line of defense against corruption by allowing them to come forward without having to fear retaliation from bureaucrats. Under this bill, the secretary would be directed to provide training on whistleblower protections and general workplace management. The secretary would also report to Congress on employee morale.

 

We must ensure that those who risked their lives defending our country have access to timely and effective health care. Last Congress, I was proud to spur change within the VA through the CHIP IN for Vets Act, which gives local communities, like Omaha, a pathway to assist with the design and construction of VA health care facilities. I will continue to work on legislation like the CHIP IN for Vets Act and the VAAWP so that our veterans are assured the quality health care they have earned.

 

Thank you for participating in the democratic process. I look forward to visiting with you again next week.

U.S. Senator Deb Fischer

Mosquitos Suck!


By John Wilson, Extension Educator

Many people consider Memorial Day weekend as the official beginning of the outdoor summer season with barbecues, boating, fishing and ball games… or just mowing your lawn or working in your garden. Nothing spoils these outdoor activities quicker than being swarmed by mosquitos. Rains this spring have provided moisture we will need later this summer, but they also can cause problems for anyone working outside. Rain creates ideal sites with standing water for mosquitoes to develop.

To reduce this problem, eliminate mosquito breeding areas that catch and hold water. Check for leaf-clogged gutters, puddles, bird baths, old tires, cans, bottles, lagoons, and children’s wading pools. Drain water from these when practical. Rinse out your bird bath weekly.

Still water in birdbaths, ponds or lagoons may also be treated with Bacillus thuringiensis, or Bt, in the form of biscuits, available at some garden and hardware stores. The sustained release of the active ingredients of these products may provide up to 30 days control of mosquito larvae. These products specifically attack mosquito larvae and will not harm fish… or birds or other wildlife that drink the water.

Only female mosquitoes possess piercing-sucking mouthparts and require a blood meal to produce viable eggs. Eggs are laid in batches between blood meals. A single female may deposit several hundred eggs in her lifetime. Under favorable conditions, a new generation of mosquitoes can be completed in less than a week.

To keep mosquitoes out of your home, check all doors, windows and window screens, to make sure these are tight and in good repair. Screens should be 1/16th-inch mesh or smaller to prevent mosquito entry into the home. Keep porch lights off as much as possible in the evening. Or, replace traditional white light bulbs with yellow ones to help reduce the attractiveness of your home to mosquitoes and other night-flying insects.

To prevent mosquito bites when working outside, wear long-sleeved shirts and full length pants. Two layers of clothing are more difficult to penetrate by biting mosquitoes. Wearing light-colored clothes will reduce your attractiveness. Work outdoors when it is cooler, or when there is a brisk air movement or strong sunlight. Different species of mosquitoes have specific feeding periods, but many are most active in the early evening hours, generally from 5 to 9 p.m.

But, because female mosquitoes are attracted to the carbon dioxide that we exhale, using an insect repellent while outdoors may be the most important method to prevent mosquito bites. You can use repellents containing DEET. These come under numerous brand labels and many formulations such as lotions, gels, aerosols, creams, and sticks.

Mosquitoes are always a nuisance, but they can also pose a health risk because of their potential to transmit West Nile Virus (WNV). In humans, WNV causes flu-like symptoms such as fever and muscle weakness. WNV can also cause encephalitis (an inflammation of the brain), disorientation, convulsions and paralysis. People over 50 and those with weak immune systems are especially vulnerable to the disease and should take extra precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

For more information on mosquito control, contact your local Nebraska Extension office.

 

 

Happenings at Oakland Heights


Oakland Heights News by Nancy Silvey

There are a few activities going on this week I would like to mention, on Thursday June 8th at 2:30 pm Charlie Davis will be here to play the Harmonica, and we will also be serving out Banana Floats. On Friday June 9th is Happy Hour for the residents at 2:30 pm. Next week on Thursday June 15th is our monthly Waffle Supper at 5:30 pm. and on Saturday June 16th the Rusty Buckets will be here to perform at 2:30 pm. We have a resident celebrating a Birthday next week, Iona Long on June 15th.

Church Service for Sunday June 11th  be given by the Craig/Alder Grove Church at 2:30 pm with a luncheon following service.  On Tuesday June 13th is Catholic Mass at 9:30 am given by Father Paul.

Volunteers signing in last week were; Suzanne Sanderson, Bonnie Fleischman, Di Ruwe, Monroe Johnson, Kristin Johnson, and Cathy Rennerfeldt.

Guest signing in last week was: Brian Goracke and Mary Stuenkel to see Jene Hightree.

 

 

News From Bancroft Senior Center


Bancroft Senior Center News

*If you are 60+ and need information on programs designed to help keep you stay in your home longer or if you need legal help, contact Connie at 402-648-3387 or in the evening at 402-648-7648. There are no membership fees or attendance requirements and new faces are always welcome.

* We have the following medical equipment to loan out on an as need basis, wheel chair, bath seats, toilet seat riser and portable toilet chair, crutches or walkers. Call 402-648-3387 during office hours.

Meals on Wheels

*Would you like to get Meals on Wheels? Anyone over the age of 60 years and lives within the city limits are eligible for these meals. You may sign up anytime for the Meals on Wheels program; you can get the meals delivered however many times you want them each week. You must call 402-687-2332 before 8:30 a.m. if you want a meal that day. The suggested donation for the meal is $4.00.

 

Weekly Activities:

Wed. June 7: No chime practice today. Come in the afternoon to play Skip-Bo at 1:30 p.m.

Thurs. June 8: Tai Chi Class at 9:30 a.m. Coffee time is 10:00. Sign up to play in the pitch tournament at 1:30 p.m. Remember to make a meal reservation for Friday.

Fri. June 9: Have you made your meal reservation for the tuna noodle noon meal? Cards will be played in the afternoon.

Mon. June 12: Stop in and have coffee. There will be a pitch tournament at 1:30 p.m.

Tues. June 13: Tai Chi class at 9:30 a.m. Coffee time at 10:00 a.m. Play any type of cards or a board game that you would like at 1:30 p.m. the evening meal will be biscuits and sausage gravy, serving from 5:30 until 6:30 p.m.

Wed. June 14: No chime practice today. Coffee time is at 10:00 a.m. We will play bingo at 1:30 p.m.

New Medicare Cards Offer Greater Protection


By Mary Loftis, SHIP Counselor

New Medicare cards will no longer contain Social Security numbers, to combat fraud and illegal use. This will offer greater protection to more than 57.7 million Americans.

However, these changes may increase the phone calls Medicare beneficiaries receive trying to defraud recipients as unscrupulous people try to get their Medicare number (social security number) before this change takes place. We have all been warned before, but do NOT EVER give your Medicare, Social Security, bank account or credit card numbers to ANYONE who calls. They will make you believe they have all this information but are just “verifying it” with you so you can get your new card. Don’t fall for it, or you may lose your identity, benefits and money. Medicare will not call you – they already have all your information.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is readying a fraud prevention initiative that removes Social Security numbers from Medicare cards to help combat identity theft, and safeguard taxpayer dollars. The new cards will use a unique, randomly-assigned number called a Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI), to replace the Social Security-based Health Insurance Claim Number (HICN) currently used on the Medicare card.

CMS will begin mailing new cards in April 2018 and will meet the congressional deadline for replacing all Medicare cards by April 2019. CMS is kicking off a multi-faceted outreach campaign to help providers get ready for the new MBI.

“We’re taking this step to protect our seniors from fraudulent use of Social Security numbers which can lead to identity theft and illegal use of Medicare benefits,” said CMS Administrator Seema Verma. “We want to be sure that Medicare beneficiaries and healthcare providers know about these changes well in advance and have the information they need to make a seamless transition.”

Providers and beneficiaries will both be able to use secure look up tools that will support quick access to MBIs when they need them. There will also be a 21-month transition period where providers will be able to use either the MBI or the HICN further easing the transition.

CMS testified recently before the U.S. House Committee on Ways & Means Subcommittee on Social Security and U.S. House Committee on Oversight & Government Reform Subcommittee on Information Technology, addressing CMS’s comprehensive plan for the removal of Social Security numbers and transition to MBIs.

Personal identity theft affects a large and growing number of seniors. People age 65 or older are increasingly the victims of this type of crime. Incidents among seniors increased to 2.6 million from 2.1 million between 2012 and 2014, according to the most current statistics from the Department of Justice. Identity theft can take not only an emotional toll on those who experience it, but also a financial one: two-thirds of all identity theft victims reported a direct financial loss. It can also disrupt lives, damage credit ratings and result in inaccuracies in medical records and costly false claims.

Work on this important initiative began many years ago, and was accelerated following passage of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA). CMS will assign all Medicare beneficiaries a new, unique MBI number which will contain a combination of numbers and uppercase letters. Beneficiaries will be instructed to safely and securely destroy their current Medicare cards and keep the new MBI confidential. Issuance of the new MBI will not change the benefits a Medicare beneficiary receives.

CMS is committed to a successful transition to the MBI for people with Medicare and for the health care provider community. CMS has a website dedicated to the Social Security Number Removal Initiative (SSNRI) where providers can find the latest information and sign-up for newsletters.

For more information, please visit: https://www.cms.gov/medicare/ssnri/index.html

Effective Government to Grow Nebraska


By Governor Pete Ricketts

You’ll often hear me say that the vision for my administration is to grow Nebraska.  While private sector job creators are the economic engine of Nebraska, state government helps provide the framework and infrastructure that can either support or hinder growth.  Over the past two years, my team has worked to make state government more effective, more efficient, and more customer-focused to help grow Nebraska.  Whether it’s launching our first-in-the-nation reemployment program or putting more services online, our team is making state government work for the taxpayers of Nebraska.

 

Our first-in-the-nation reemployment program has been producing real results in the year and a half since it’s been launched.  Not only are job seekers getting back to work more quickly, but Nebraska’s job creators are seeing relief from unemployment taxes.  Because our reemployment system paid out $14 million less in unemployment claims last year, we were able to reduce Nebraska’s unemployment insurance tax by 25 percent for this year, an over $17 million tax cut.  The reemployment program has even been winning national awards, including the 2016 Full Employment Best Practices Award and the J. Eldred Hill Award for excellence in the public policy arena.  Thank you to Commissioner John Albin and the Department of Labor for all their great work to help our jobseekers find new opportunities.

 

My administration has also put a focus on delivering more state services online.  For example, the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality (NDEQ) has put the application process for their storm water construction permits online.  Since November 2015, the agency has delivered over 1,000 permits online, helping both the private and public sector deliver projects quickly.  The new online process has prevented the need for NDEQ staff to re-input information submitted by the applicant, and reduces lag time of paperwork being sent back and forth between the applicant and state agencies.  Thank you to Director Jim Macy and his team for all their work to make our permitting processes more efficient.

 

To help drive this mindset of delivering better customer service throughout state government, my administration has created the Center for Operational Excellence.  At the beginning of this year, we announced that over 12,000 team members in my agencies had received basic fundamentals of process improvement to create a culture of operational excellence in state government.  Understanding process improvement is fundamental to making state government more effective and more efficient because it helps team members understand how to deliver a higher level of service at the same or lower cost.

 

Take the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services (NDCS) for example.  They are using process improvement to avoid costly spending on required inmate healthcare.  Over the years, the agency has been required to transport inmates outside of prisons to receive specialized medical care.  Recently, NDCS developed a review process to minimize such travel orders.  With this process in place, the agency has successfully avoided over 1,900 hours of overtime and hundreds of thousands of dollars of expenses associated with travel orders.  With these changes, NDCS has been able to maintain healthcare quality, utilize resources more efficiently, and protect our Corrections Officers and the public.

 

We are not only improving processes and services in specific programs, but I have also worked with the Legislature to merge state agencies to deliver a higher level of customer service.  This session, Senator John Murante and I worked together to consolidate state services for veterans into a single agency.  This creates a one stop shop for our 143,000 veterans.  After successfully working with Senator Curt Friesen and the Legislature, we are merging the Departments of Roads and Aeronautics to create a Department of Transportation.  This move will allow us to focus more resources on roads and runways to create the infrastructure to grow Nebraska.

 

These are just a few of the areas that your team at the State of Nebraska are working on to support the private sector in growing Nebraska.  These initiatives are not only improving services for each agency’s customers, but they are also helping to transform the culture and mindset of state government.  If you have any suggestions on how we can better serve Nebraska taxpayers, I hope you’ll contact my office by emailingpete.ricketts@nebraska.gov or by calling 402-471-2244.  We look forward to hearing from you!

News From Bancroft Senior Center


By Connie Bargmann

If you are 60+ and need information on programs designed to help keep you stay in your home longer or if you need legal help, contact Connie at 402-648-3387 or in the evening at 402-648-7648. There are no membership fees or attendance requirements and new faces are always welcome.

* We have the following medical equipment to loan out on an as need basis, wheel chair, bath seats, toilet seat riser and portable toilet chair, crutches or walkers. Call 402-648-3387 during office hours.

Meals on Wheels

*Would you like to get Meals on Wheels? Anyone over the age of 60 years and lives within the city limits are eligible for these meals. You may sign up anytime for the Meals on Wheels program; you can get the meals delivered however many times you want them each week. You must call 402-687-2332 before 8:30 a.m. if you want a meal that day. The suggested donation for the meal is $4.00.

 

Weekly Activities:

Wed. May 31: Bingo is at 2:00 p.m.

Thurs. June 1: Tai Chi Class at 9:30 a.m. Coffee time is 10:00. Sign up to play in the pitch tournament at 1:30 p.m.

Fri. June 2: Sign up if you want to play in the pinochle or hand & foot tournament at 1:30 p.m.

Sat. June 3: No music jam this evening.

Sun. June 4: We are having an open house celebrating the senior center being in operation for 35 years. The Clarkson band will play at 2:00 p.m. and we will serve cake and ice cream at 3:00 p.m. the public is invited to attend.

Mon. June 5: Bring a covered dish plus a friend and join us for dinner at noon. Cards will be played at 1:30 p.m.

Tues. June 6: Tai Chi class at 9:30 a.m. Coffee time at 10:00 a.m. Please sign up if you would like to play in the pitch tournament at 1:30 p.m.

Wed. June 7: No chime practice today. Coffee time is at 10:00 a.m. We will play Skip-Bo 1:30 p.m.

 

 

Separate Article

 

The Bancroft Senior Center will be hosting an open house celebrating being business for 35 years. The Clarkson Band will play at 2:00 and we will serve cake and ice cream at 3:00 p.m. We invite the public to come and help us celebrate.

 

 

 

 

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