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Blog Article 3/20

What I have Learned

Jane Walford


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It is better to be informed than opinionated.  I heard a politician say that on one of the Sunday Morning news shows last weekend.  Makes perfect sense to me.  Since I was sworn in as a City Council person in December I have become a whole lot more informed.  Every day I learn something new.  I know more now about sewage lagoons, sewer lines, road surfacing, the Open Meetings Act and the city budget than I ever dreamed of.  I have learned things that I didn’t even know I didn’t know.  I have committed to writing this article as an attempt to keep all of you better informed as well.  


Here is a sampling of what I have learned. 

In the last 28 days, the city street department has worked 325 hours over their regular work hours.  They have hauled 891 loads of snow, 528 of them from the latest storm.  They have placed 364 tons of rock on roads in town filling up soft spots and shoring up road bases.  The water and sewer crew steps in and helps when the street crew needs assistance after a winter storm.    Also, the water and sewer crew put in lots of extra hours during the last week keeping up with infiltration at the city lagoons.  The crew was busy keeping pumps unplugged and dealing with an influx of 4.5 million gallons of water over 48 hours.  Here’s an opinion based on information that I know.  Our city crews are hard-working, experienced, knowledgeable people who put their jobs above personal convenience, sleep, and food when mother nature throws us a mess.  They deserve our appreciation.  Too often they are the target of anger and frustration over a situation they didn’t create and have often worked all night trying to make better.  Let’s keep that in mind the next time we face a natural emergency together. 


I have read the City’s Comprehensive and  Strategic Plans.  It was very informative reading.  The plans are available to the public at the City Office.  Now I know that a lot of work has been done regarding a plan for moving our city forward. 

 One of the goals of the strategic plan is to put together a list of people who are interested in the future of Tekamah and motivated to do something about it.   This community-wide volunteer action group could help with important projects for the city of Tekamah and the whole community.   We have a group like this at the high school.  I’m sure most of you have heard of the I-Help program.   This group would be like city-wide I-Help for adults.  I am in the process of investigating the most effective way to compile that list of volunteers.  Stay tuned for more information.   


People often ask me about the status of the City Auditorium renovation.  In the spirit of keeping people informed here is an update.  The City Auditorium renovation was cruising along nicely. The occupancy number for the auditorium was increased from 299 occupants to 868. The renovation creates an upgrade in our fire suppression systems which leads to the increase in the occupancy number.  The increase in the occupancy number has resulted in a requirement for additional toilets in the restrooms and the addition of a handicap accessible fire exit.  The cost of these expansions has increased the budget for the renovation. To compensate for the increase in costs the Auditorium Committee is planning a fundraiser on May 4th.   Please mark your calendars and stay tuned for more information regarding the fundraiser.  If we all pull together we can get the Auditorium renovation back on track. 


I am writing this article from several different perspectives.  In addition to being a Tekamah City Council representative for the west ward I learn by serving on the Chamber of Commerce Board and the Tekamah Industrial Development Corporation Board.  I also gain valuable insight as a teacher at the high school and as the President of the Tekamah-Herman Education Association.  I take into account what I have learned in all of those roles as I write this article.  To quote Albert Einstein “Wisdom is not a product of schooling but of the lifelong attempt to acquire it.”  Well said Albert, well said.   I’m feeling a little wiser every day. 


Jane Walford