Council discusses virus impact concerns

Council discusses virus impact concerns

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Though not on the formal agenda, the Chadron City Council took the time during their March 16 meeting to address the growing concerns regarding COVID-19.

Mayor Miles Bannan said it’s important for people to follow social distancing rules and take basic precautionary efforts such as hand washing and keeping hands away from the face.

Councilmember Cheryl Welch said the reason such precautions are being taken now is to protect the most vulnerable in our communities. She recently had to cancel a couple trips for family reasons due to the pandemic. “We all need to come together and take this seriously,” she said, “because if we don’t the vulnerable are going to be the ones who suffer.”

Bannan also encourages everyone to go to the City of Chadron website, chadron-nebraska.com, as there is a link to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention for further information and guidance. He also said the Panhandle Public Health District site, pphd.org, has some good information.

“We need to be ready,” Bannan said. “We need to know what’s going on and how to protect ourselves, but there is no need to panic, there is no need for fear, there is no need for hoarding. We don’t anticipate any shortages of food supplies.”

For those who are worried about the resources they have and running short of food or other supplies, Bannan shared Western Community Health Resources has a community essentials pantry, as well as the commodities and WIC programs. For more information on the programs, contact WCHR at 432-8190 or online at wchr.net.

Northwest Community Action Partnership also has programs available, such as food distribution for Head Start families and a weatherization program to make sure homes are suited against elements. More information is available at ncap.info or by calling 432-3393. There is also a homelessness prevention program, with information available by calling 308-747-2200

Several churches also have food pantries and food banks, Bannan noted, including Immanuel Lutheran, Grace Episcopal and St. Patrick’s, and Closer to Home is still serving at the Masonic Temple, 365 Main Street, weekdays from 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

The loss of income for people in this town is a much more pressing concern than getting coronavirus at the moment, Bannan said, as people who are young and health but living on the edge of poverty would be in trouble if they ran out of food and had no income.

In council action, three resolutions were approved with regard to liquor licenses. Following a brief hearing, a license was approved for Kassie Barrera to serve beer and wine at Far West. Barrera said she’s received several requests from people for such beverages, and even lost some business because the restaurant did not serve them.

A manager application for Cory Olson was approved, in connection with the liquor license for Ridgeview Country Club. Olson came to Chadron for school in 1995, and has been golfing here for the past 15-plus years, so the manager position at the country club is a good fit.

A manager application was also approved for Stephanie Williamson, in connection with the liquor license for City S’Liquors Discount Beer, Wine and Spirits. Williamson has lived in Chadron for about eight years and worked with Terry Hinn, the owner of city S’Liquors, for about three months. Hinn noted the business is getting close to opening.

Chadron Police Chief Tim Lordino was present at the meeting, and offered no objection to the licenses.

In other action, Resolution 2020-23 was approved to place a lien for outstanding utility charges against the property at 502 West Second Street. The property has an outstanding balance of $329.38, $232.69 of which is water and sewer and $96.69 of which is SWANN.

Mayor Bannan apologized to the city staff for the meandering discussion at the council’s last meeting regarding tax liens that he felt he should’ve stopped as it was inappropriately handled. In future cases, if there are any questions or issues he encourages the council to address them outside the meeting.

Council also approved directing staff to notify the Chadron Community Hospital there is not an interest in the property in the 800 block of Morehead Street, the former hospital and grounds, and to work with the hospital to acquire grants to complete a Phase 1 assessment of the building and land. The assessment would be used to determine if there are any environmental hazards.

It was noted at the meeting that the property is in a prime spot. Mentioned ideas for use included housing, or even removing the building and expanding the green space of Wilson Park.

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