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Hastings Catholic Schools celebrates

Hastings Catholic Schools is focusing on the theme “Be One” for its 2019-20 academic year.

This week, “Be One” was lifted even higher as the school system celebrated Catholic Schools Week.

That unity was at its loudest during the senior students versus faculty and staff volleyball match Wednesday at St. Cecilia.

St. Cecilia middle school students cheered for the faculty, who were defending their five-year winning streak, while high school students rooted for the seniors.

“To return a sister’s serve is a sin,” the Rev. Adam Sughroue, director of campus ministry, told the seniors as Sister Teresa Leis sent the ball over the net.

The volleyball match was part of Catholic Schools Week celebrations Jan. 26 through Feb. 1. Catholic Schools Week is a national event, hosted by the National Catholic Education Association, to draw attention to Catholic schools. The event begins the last Sunday of January.

Each Catholic school can do whatever works for it during the week, and Hastings Catholic Schools uses it as a chance to demonstrate pride in parochial education.

lbeahm / Laura Beahm/Tribune  

St. Cecilia’s Gus Driscoll tries to avoid an interview by the Rev. Adam Sughroue in the middle of play during a seniors versus faculty and staff volleyball game Wednesday.

“It’s just an opportunity to celebrate what makes us different,” Sughroue said. “We get the opportunity to highlight who we are and what we do.”

Each day, St. Cecilia Middle/High School and St. Michael’s Elementary had a special event, such as a talent show and making valentines for veterans.

“It’s a nice week to break up the monotony of school and show the benefits of a Catholic education,” said Leo Bykerk, senior class president.

Each event highlighted a different group of people involved with HCS and added to the school’s theme of the year, “Be One.”

“We are called to be one, to be a genuine community of faith. Let us strive to be the change we want to see, by building each other up and encouraging one another,” said the Rev. Thomas Brouillette, chief administrative officer, in an HCS newsletter at the beginning of the school year.

St. Cecilia started Monday with a presentation from an alumnus. On Tuesday, grandparents were invited and recognized at a special all-school Mass.

“They love it. Both the students and grandparents love it,” Sughroue said. “It’s a time of gathering together as a community and highlighting the importance of family.”

Students, faculty and staff then were celebrated Wednesday and Thursday.

St. Michael’s took a broader approach, focusing on the parish, the community, students, vocations and the nation.

“We just want to raise them up to know that God gives us gifts and talents but he calls us to share them,” said Carrie Rasmussen, elementary principal.

On Monday, kindergarten through part of the third grade packed about 5,000 lunches for Catholic Social Services. The rest of the third-graders through fifth-graders packed 16,632 meals with Hearts and Hands Against Hunger.

lbeahm / Laura Beahm/Tribune  

St. Cecilia seniors Isaac Benal (left) and Leo Bykerk coach their classmates as they play volleyball against members of the faculty and staff Wednesday afternoon.

The entire week culminated on Friday when both schools met in St. Cecilia’s halls for a Eucharistic procession and focus on Jesus Christ. Sughroue said the procession symbolizes Jesus walking through the halls.

“It’s the idea of being able to take Jesus through the halls, and be able to to proclaim him king of this school,” Sughroue said. “And then our Lord inviting them to church, kind of like him inviting them to his house.”

This year, Catholic Schools Week fell at the same time as National School Choice Week and National Lutheran Schools Week. St. Cecilia is the only parochial high school in Adams County. Christ Lutheran School and Zion Lutheran School, both affiliated with the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, are options for elementary and middle school students in Adams County.

lbeahm / Laura Beahm/Tribune  

St. Cecilia senior Jacob Brouillette tips the ball against the Rev. Jim Morin during a volleyball match Wednesday while celebrating Catholic School’s Week.

Rasmussen said School Choice week fits well with Catholic Schools Week, because it highlights one of several options parents have when deciding their child’s education.

“School Choice Week celebrates all the options, whether it’s homeschool, parochial school, public school. Parents are the first formators of their kids and they know their children best,” she said.


Superior school officials mull facility needs

SUPERIOR — The 10-year plan of renovation for Superior Public Schools facilities includes everything from window replacements to a replacement of the high school parking lot, with perhaps $3 million worth of work to be done, school officials say.

The needs for repair in various areas stem not only from a recent flooding incident caused by an early-morning water line leak, but also normal wear and tear.

Facility needs were the subject of a report by Superintendent Marty Kobza at the Jan. 20 meeting of the Superior Board of Education. Kobza shared with the board several items in the 10-year renovation plan that were brought to his attention during a recent board workshop.

There has been occasional leakage in the junior high wing, and specialists have been contacted to evaluate the entire school roof and make recommendations with associated cost projections, Kobza said. Each of 16 different roof zones will be addressed individually.

In addition, the high school parking lot needs to be replaced because water drains toward the school. The pavement has deteriorated seriously, and more space for vehicles could be provided by removing a row of evergreen trees on the north side of the lot.

The subject of the floor in the primary performance gymnasium includes some question marks, Kobza said. The floor cannot be sanded again because worn spots will cause dead spots.

“The remaining life expectancy of the floor is not known,” he said. “It might last another five to seven years, or we may need to replace it sooner.”

Replacing the gym floor alone would cost an estimated $150,000, Kobza said.

Replacement of windows in the junior high wing is an ongoing project, and 16 to 20 windows still need to be changed out, the superintendent said. Restrooms and some of the locker rooms need to be renovated. Installing seamless floor coverings to replace the current tile squares would result in easier cleaning and maintenance, Kobza said.

Board member Jason Jensen said the ongoing discussion about expanding the bus barn needs to remain on the list of items for the school to address.

Kobza said some classrooms need to be renovated with deep cleaning and painting.


Aquittal is likely
Trump acquittal now likely Wednesday; Senate nixes witnesses

The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The Senate narrowly rejected Democratic demands to summon witnesses for President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial late Friday, all but ensuring Trump’s acquittal in just the third trial to threaten a president’s removal in U.S. history.

But senators pushed off final voting on his fate to next Wednesday.

The delay in timing showed the weight of a historic vote bearing down on senators, despite prodding by the president eager to have it all behind him in an election year and ahead of his State of the Union speech Tuesday night.

Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell spoke by phone to lock in the schedule during a tense night at the Capitol as rushed negotiations proceeded on and off the Senate floor.

The trial came to a standstill for about an hour. A person unauthorized to discuss the call was granted anonymity to describe it.

The president wanted to arrive for his speech at the Capitol with acquittal secured, but that will not happen. Instead, the trial will resume Monday for final arguments, with time Monday and Tuesday for senators to speak. The final voting is planned for 4 p.m. Wednesday, the day after Trump’s speech.

Trump’s acquittal is all but certain in the Senate, where his GOP allies hold the majority and there’s nowhere near the two-thirds needed for conviction and removal.

Nor will he face potentially damaging, open-Senate testimony from witnesses.

Despite the Democrats’ singular focus on hearing new testimony, the Republican majority brushed past those demands and will make this the first impeachment trial without witnesses. Even new revelations Friday from former national security adviser John Bolton did not sway GOP senators, who said they’d heard enough.

That means the eventual outcome for Trump will be an acquittal “in name only,” said Rep. Val Demings, D-Fla., a House prosecutor, during final debate.

Trump was impeached by the House last month on charges that he abused power and obstructed Congress as he tried to pressure Ukraine to investigate Democratic rival Joe Biden, using military aid as leverage as the ally fought Russia. He is charged with then blocking the congressional probe of his actions.

Senators rejected the Democrats’ effort to allow new witness es, 51-49, a near party-line vote. Republicans Susan Collins of Maine and Mitt Romney of Utah voted with the Democrats, but that was not enough.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer called that decision “a tragedy on a very large scale.” Protesters’ chants reverberated against the walls of the Capitol.

But Republicans said Trump’s acquittal was justified and inevitable.

“The sooner the better for the country,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Trump confidant. “Let’s turn the page.”

The next steps come in the heart of presidential campaign season before a divided nation. Democratic caucus voting begins Monday in Iowa, and Trump gives his State of the Union address the next night. Four Democratic candidates have been chafing in the Senate chamber rather than campaigning.

The Democrats had badly wanted testimony from Bolton, whose forthcoming book links Trump directly to the charges. But Bolton won’t be summoned, and none of this appeared to affect the trial’s expected outcome. Democrats forced a series of new procedural votes late Friday to call Bolton and White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, among others, but all were rejected.

In an unpublished manuscript, Bolton has written that the president asked him during an Oval Office meeting in early May to bolster his effort to get Ukraine to investigate Democrats, according to a person who read the passage and told The Associated Press. The person, who was not authorized to disclose contents of the book, spoke only on condition of anonymity.

In the meeting, Bolton said the president asked him to call new Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and persuade him to meet with Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, who was planning to go to Ukraine to coax the Ukrainians to investigate the president’s political rivals. Bolton writes that he never made the call to Zelenskiy after the meeting, which included acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and White House Counsel Pat Cipollone.

The revelation adds more detail to allegations of when and how Trump first sought to influence Ukraine to aid investigations of his rivals that are central to the abuse of power charge in the first article of impeachment.

The story was first reported Friday by The New York Times.

Trump issued a quick denial.

“I never instructed John Bolton to set up a meeting for Rudy Giuliani, one of the greatest corruption fighters in America and by far the greatest mayor in the history of NYC, to meet with President Zelenskiy,” Trump said. “That meeting never happened.”

Key Republican senators said even if Trump committed the offenses as charged by the House, they are not impeachable and the partisan proceedings must end.

“I didn’t need any more evidence because I thought it was proved that the president did what he was charged with doing,” retiring GOP Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, a late holdout, told reporters Friday at the Capitol. “But that didn’t rise to the level of an impeachable offense.”

Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska said she, too, would oppose more testimony in the charged partisan atmosphere, having “come to the conclusion that there will be no fair trial in the Senate.’’ She said, “The Congress has failed.”

Eager for a conclusion, Trump’s allies nevertheless suggested the shift in timing to extend the proceedings into next week, acknowledging the significance of the moment for senators who want to give final speeches.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made the offer to Schumer, but it was not yet final.

Under the proposal, the Senate would resume Monday for final arguments, with time Monday and Tuesday for senators to speak. The final voting would be Wednesday.

To bring the trial toward a conclusion, Trump’s attorneys argued the House had already heard from 17 witnesses and presented its 28,578-page report to the Senate. They warned against prolonging it even further after House impeached Trump largely along party lines after less than thee months of formal proceedings making it the quickest, most partisan presidential impeachment in U.S. history.

Some senators pointed to the importance of the moment.

“What do you want your place in history to be?” asked one of the House managers, Rep. Jason Crow, D-Colo., a former Army Ranger.

Trump is almost assured of eventual acquittal with the Senate nowhere near the 67 votes needed for conviction and removal.

To hear more witnesses, it would have taken four Republicans to break with the 53-seat majority and join with all Democrats in demanding more testimony. But that effort fell short.

Chief Justice John Roberts, in the rare role presiding over the impeachment trial, could break a tie, but that seems unlikely. Asked late Friday, he told senators it would be “inappropriate.”

Murkowski noted in announcing her decision that she did not want to drag the chief justice into the partisan fray.

Though protesters stood outside the Capitol, few visitors have been watching from the Senate galleries.

Bolton’s forthcoming book contends he personally heard Trump say he wanted military aid withheld from Ukraine until it agreed to investigate the Bidens. Trump denies saying such a thing.

The White House has blocked its officials from testifying in the proceedings and objected that there are “significant amounts of classified information” in Bolton’s manuscript. Bolton resigned last September — Trump says he was fired — and he and his attorney have insisted the book does not contain any classified information.


Agriculture
AP
Coronavirus cases in China rise to 11,000 infections, 259 deaths

BEIJING — The number of people infected with the new coronavirus in China has risen to more than 11,000, while 259 people have died, Chinese health officials said on Saturday.

Health officials in Hubei province in central China, the epicenter of the coronavirus crisis, said an additional 1,347 new cases had been reported in the province alone, bringing the number of infections there to 7,153.

Wuhan, with a population of 11 million, and many other Chinese cities have been placed on lockdown.

The number of people infected and China’s national death toll are expected to climb further once other regions report their latest statistics.

More than 100 other people have become ill in about two dozen countries across the globe. On Thursday, the World Health Organization, or WHO, declared the outbreak a global emergency.

Several countries have already flown their citizens out of China, including the United States, Japan, South Korea, Jordan and Britain.

A German air force jet left Wuhan early Saturday to evacuate 130 people — 90 German citizens and around 40 citizens of other countries.

It was expected to arrive in Germany on Saturday afternoon.

The returnees are to be quarantined at an army barracks near Frankfurt airport.

Some countries have also moved to limit the entry of those who have travelled to China in a bid to stop the spread of the illness.

The United States on Friday announced a public health emergency in order to preempt a coronavirus outbreak.

The measures include a ban on the entry of foreign nationals — other than immediate family of U.S. citizens and permanent residents — who have travelled in China within the last 14 days.

The U.S. took the “unprecedented” action of issuing a 14-day quarantine on 195 US citizens who recently returned from Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the health crisis.

Meanwhile, Delta Airlines said it will suspend all U.S. to China flights starting on Feb. 6, citing concerns of the new coronavirus.

Ben Margot  

A masked shopper walks across a street Friday, Jan. 31, 2020, in the Chinatown district of San Francisco. As China grapples with the growing coronavirus outbreak, Chinese people in California are encountering a cultural disconnect as they brace for a possible spread of the virus in their adopted homeland.

Hundreds of flights to and from China have been canceled around the world, including those run by Air Canada, Lufthansa, British Airways Turkish Airlines, United, American Airlines, KLM and Air France.

Russia announced earlier this week it was closing its land border with China, similar to steps taken by China’s other neighbors. Moscow reported its first case of the virus on Friday.

The U.S. and Japan told citizens not to travel to China, with Washington issuing a warning on par with its advisories for Afghanistan and Iran.

The Italian government on Friday declared a six-month state of emergency in response to the first confirmed cases of the new coronavirus in the country.

The decision resulted in 5 million euros ($5.5 million) being earmarked for civil protection purposes.

Italian cruise company Costa announced on Friday that it would not allow anyone who had been in China in the last 14 days on board — including guests, visitors or crew members of any nationality.

The coronavirus broke out at a seafood market in Wuhan that reportedly sold exotic animals for consumption — similar to the outbreak of SARS.

SARS, a disease that infected 8,000 people and killed 800 globally, was linked to the consumption of civet cats, another exotic meat. The coronavirus belongs to the same family of viruses.