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News
Bill Carlin retires after 41-year career
  • Updated

Bill Carlin took a few extra days before officially retiring after 41 years of teaching and coaching.

He knew he was ready to retire before the school year began, but by the time it ended there was still so much to do.

The meticulous Carlin made sure his last class of athletes turned in all of its gear from track and field season, which ended May 22.

“It’s been a good run,” said Carlin, the longest-tenured employee of the Adams Central School District.

Then, he had to pack up his classroom for the summer one final time.

“I’m sure when he cleaned his classroom he was finding stuff from 41 years ago,” cracked Alan Frank, Adams Central activities director. “He keeps everything.”

Frank, who joined Adams Central six years ago, recalled Carlin once showing him where all the football film from the last 45 years is in case someone needs it.

“It’s on a reel, not a VHS tape,” Frank said. “He’s got those all the way up and he’s got all the information detailed. He’s just very thorough.”

Other words used to describe Carlin by his peers: steadfast, loyal, dedicated, organized, honorable.

Another phrase: Mr. Adams Central.

“When you think of Adams Central,” Frank said, “you think of Bill Carlin.”

Superintendent Shawn Scott referred to Carlin as “Mr. Adams Central” due to his character, dedication and influence in a farewell letter Scott wrote to Carlin and shared with the Tribune.

“I can tell you without hesitation the influence you have had on this school district is second to none,” he wrote. “The way you have been a part of shaping and forming the Adams Central District from the inside out is admirable. You are a huge part of why Adams Central is one of the best districts in the state.”

Carlin started teaching math at Adams Central in 1980 and has been integral in developing the school’s culture over the last four decades, working for every superintendent that the Adams Central district has ever had.

Due to his longevity in the district, Carlin found himself working alongside teachers who had once been his students at Adams Central and returned with teaching degrees. He taught many employees of the Adams Central district, including an administrator and 18 current teachers, as well as five current school board members.

From the day Carlin walked into the school, he coached one of three sports: basketball, football, and track and field. He coached in nearly 1,400 events.

Former Superintendent Glen Larsen said he met Carlin when he came to the school district in 1981 and the two worked together until Larsen retired in 2001.

At the time Larsen joined the district, Carlin was an assistant coach for the football program, and the team wasn’t doing well. The football team was struggling to find success on the field, which also hurt recruitment for the program. Instead of 80-85 students coming out for tryouts every year, the number dwindled to 45-50 as students lost enthusiasm for the program.

The football team won one game over the first four years Larsen was at the school and he approached the school board about making a change with the head coaching position. He told the board they needed to have a coach with more experience.

Instead of hiring a new coach, the board elected to ask Larsen to do the job.

“The board said, ‘You were head football coach in the past, why don’t you do it?’ ” Larsen said. “I told the board I would do the head football job. I said we’ve got some really good people who can help, and one of them was Bill Carlin.”

Larsen said assistant coaches like Carlin and others were crucial to making the change work since Larsen still had to fulfill his duties as superintendent.

After three years, the program improved to the point that the team almost qualified for the state playoffs in 1988, but Larsen needed to step back from coaching duties to focus on his superintendent responsibilities.

In 1989, Carlin became the head coach and continued to improve the program.

Twenty-four years later, the Patriots were a powerhouse. By the time Carlin stepped down from coaching varsity football in the spring of 2014, his teams had gone a combined 191-57 and not one finished with a losing record.

Larsen believes Carlin’s ability to connect with students was an important aspect of the program’s success.

“I just think he worked really well with kids on and off the field,” Larsen said. “The kids came first, and that’s just the way it was.”

Carlin’s fellow educators echoed this sentiment.

“Bill Carlin is one of the most steadfast people you’re ever going to meet,” said Toni Fowler, AC’s girls track coach who has spent the last 15 years coaching with Carlin and served on the Nebraska Coaches Association with him.

Carlin’s football playbook reflected that, as well. It was devoted almost entirely to running the football with the Maryland-I offense.

“The classic joke that many who played for him would bring up is the first play of the game was always ‘Blast Right.’ And the second play of the game was also ‘Blast Right,’ “ said former AC running back Jake Fowler. “When he really wanted to shake things up, he would call ‘Blast Left’ or ‘Blast Option Pass Right.’ The playbook was never very big.”

Carlin was old school — ground-and-pound with his offense and hard-nosed with his defense. Although never a state football champion, the Patriots were runners-up in 1993 under Carlin, who led the program to 19 playoff appearances.

“I remember my very first year we made the state playoffs after we lost our first two games of the year,” Carlin said. “We went on a run and got in, and that was pretty exciting because a lot of things had to happen for us at that time. Then it just took off from there. Kids started to believe, and so we turned a lot things around and had a really good run for about 25 years. Shawn (Mulligan) has done a great job (of) keeping it going.

“We’ve never been able to get the big trophies, but I’ve still been very proud of our efforts. Our kids have always competed hard and done their best.”

Scott said he was thankful that Carlin provided enough notice to allow the district time to incrementally find people to take over his duties and roles. Scott said 41 years of institutional memory will be difficult to replace, but he believes there are staff members willing and able to step up to the challenge.

“Bill has set a great example for others to follow,” he said. “He is a great employee and a true patriot for our program. He is a friend to almost every staff member here.”

David Barrett, former principal at the Adams Central High School, said Carlin was crucial in showing other teachers the way the district operated and convincing them to buy into the district’s culture.

“He was always able to put things in a way that other teachers understood,” Barrett said. “Over the years, he was able to help carry those traditions and values on to new staff members as they came to the school. That’s really important to have somebody on staff for younger teachers coming in to learn from.”

While they worked together for the 15 years Barrett served as principal, the two had known each other much longer through their coaching responsibilities. He praised Carlin’s work ethic and commitment to students.

“He’s one of those guys and coaches that everybody respects,” he said. “He believes in doing things the right way and for the right reason.”

And Carlin’s influence hasn’t been limited to Adams Central, either.

The longtime coach has inspired more than a few to follow a similar path to his, such as Blue Hill football and track coach Riley Armes, who played for Carlin.

“I was joking about it with my sister. We were talking about teachers that had an impact on us, and Mr. Carlin was a junior high teacher, a football coach and a track coach,” Armes said. “Looking at where my life took me, I’m a junior high math teacher, a football coach and a track coach. It’s kind of funny how that worked out, but I learned a lot from Coach Carlin.”

Forty-one years of memories will take some time to set in for Carlin, and they certainly don’t all fit in the few boxes he exited the school doors with on his final day.

Many of those memories will fill walls in the halls of Adams Central for eternity on plaques, banners and trophies.

“We’ve come a long ways in the 41 years since I’ve been here,” Carlin said. “I’m hoping I’m leaving it in a little better position than it was when I arrived.”


Montana_state_news
AP
Keystone XL pipeline nixed after Biden stands firm on permit
The sponsor of the Keystone XL crude oil pipeline says it is pulling the plug on the contentious project after Canadian officials failed to persuade the Biden administration to reverse its cancellation of the company's permit on the day the president took office
  • Updated

BILLINGS, Mont. — The sponsor of the Keystone XL crude oil pipeline pulled the plug on the contentious project Wednesday after Canadian officials failed to persuade President Joe Biden to reverse his cancellation of its permit on the day he took office.

Calgary-based TC Energy said it would work with government agencies “to ensure a safe termination of and exit” from the partially built line, which was to transport crude from the oil sand fields of western Canada to Steele City, Nebraska.

Construction on the 1,200-mile (1,930-kilometer) pipeline began last year when former President Donald Trump revived the long-delayed project after it had stalled under the Obama administration. It would have moved up to 830,000 barrels (35 million gallons) of crude daily, connecting in Nebraska to other pipelines that feed oil refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast.

Biden canceled the pipeline’s border crossing permit in January over longstanding concerns that burning oil sands crude could make climate change worse and harder to reverse.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had objected to the move , raising tensions between the U.S. and Canada. Officials in Alberta, where the line originated, expressed frustration in recent weeks that Trudeau wasn’t pushing Biden harder to reinstate the pipeline’s permit.

Alberta invested more than $1 billion in the project last year, kick-starting construction that had stalled amid determined opposition to the line from environmentalists and Native American tribes along its route.

Alberta officials said Wednesday they reached an agreement with TC Energy, formerly known as TransCanada, to exit that partnership. The company and province plan to try to recoup the government’s investment, although neither offered any immediate details on how that would happen.

“We remain disappointed and frustrated with the circumstances surrounding the Keystone XL project, including the cancellation of the presidential permit for the pipeline’s border crossing,” Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said in a statement.

The province had hoped the pipeline would spur increased development in the oil sands and bring tens of billions of dollars in royalties over decades.

Climate change activists viewed the expansion of oil sands development as an environmental disaster that could speed up global warming as the fuel is burned. That turned Keystone into a flashpoint in the climate debate, and it became the focus of rallies and protests in Washington, D.C., and other cities.

Environmentalists who had fought the project since it was first announced in 2008 said its cancellation marks a “landmark moment” in the effort to curb the use of fossil fuels.

“Good riddance to Keystone XL,” said Jared Margolis with the Center for Biological Diversity, one of many environmental groups that sued to stop it.

On Montana’s Fort Belknap Reservation, tribal president Andy Werk Jr. described the end of Keystone as a relief to Native Americans who stood against it out of concerns a line break could foul the Missouri River or other waterways.

Attorneys general from 21 states had sued to overturn Biden’s cancellation of the pipeline, which would have created thousands of construction jobs. Republicans in Congress have made the cancellation a frequent talking point in their criticism of the administration, and even some moderate Senate Democrats including Montana’s Jon Tester and West Virginia’s Joe Manchin had urged Biden to reconsider.

Tester said in a statement Wednesday that he was disappointed in the project’s demise, but made no mention of Biden.

Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso, the top Republican on the Senate energy committee, was more direct: “President Biden killed the Keystone XL Pipeline and with it, thousands of good-paying American jobs.”

A White House spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment on TC Energy’s announcement. In his Jan. 20 cancellation order, Biden said allowing the line to proceed “would not be consistent with my administration’s economic and climate imperatives.”

TC Energy said in canceling the pipeline that the company is focused on meeting “evolving energy demands” as the world transitions to different power sources. It said it has $7 billion in other projects under development.

Keystone XL’s price tag had ballooned as the project languished, increasing from $5.4 billion to $9 billion. Meanwhile, oil prices fell significantly — from more than $100 a barrel in 2008 to under $70 in recent months — slowing development of Canada’s oil sands and threatening to eat into any profits from moving the fuel to refineries.

A second TC Energy pipeline network, known simply as Keystone, has been delivering crude from Canada’s oil sands region since 2010. The company says on its website that Keystone has moved more than 3 billion barrels of crude from Alberta and an oil loading site in Cushing, Oklahoma.


News
Most city meetings temporarily moved to library
  • Updated

The Hastings Utility Board meeting on Thursday marks the departure of all meetings from the City Council chambers inside the Hastings City Building.

Meetings that had taken place inside the council chambers — including the Utility Board, Hastings Planning Commission and Hastings City Council — will begin taking place at the Hastings Public Library second-floor conference room.

However, because Hastings is currently playing host to the Nebraska City Managers Association summer meeting and that meeting is taking place at the library, the Utility Board will meet for this week at 9 a.m. Thursday in the board room at North Denver Station at 1228 N. Denver Ave.

Moving meetings out of the City Building, 220 N. Hastings Ave., and into the library, 314 N. Denver Ave., is part of repairing the City Building and determining whether it will continue to be home to the administration, finance, human resources and development services departments for the long term or whether it makes sense to relocate all of those employees to the North Denver Station permanently.

Officials have discussed for the last year how to address all of the City Building’s shortcomings.

Among issues are the roof; restrooms; mold and asbestos contamination in the basement; heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems; and the foundation.

Meetings were moved out of the council chambers because the council chambers will be where contents of the City Building basement will be stored. That hasn’t happened yet.

“We’ve discovered that a lot of the HVAC in the basement actually serves more than just the basement and so there’s some retrofitting being done to eliminate the interconnection of the HVAC system because it wouldn’t do us any good to clean things in the basement, put them in the council chamber and then have all the bad stuff blow into it,” City Administrator Dave Ptak said.

The city recently introduced negative pressure into the city building basement, which is pulling fresh air through. Ptak said that dropped radon levels from 25 pCi/L to .09. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommendation is 4 pCi/L.

Five holes in the roof were patched. A piece of roof was removed and examined during that patching.

“We had some wet insulation, as you might expect,” Ptak said. “So they patched that and reset it down.”

He was told the patching would extend the life of the roof by another two years.

“Hopefully by then the decision will be made whether we are going to come back here or go out to North Denver,” he said.

Meetings held at the library initially won’t be livestreamed. They will be recorded and posted on the website within 24-48 hours after the event.

Eventually, the city and the Hastings Public Access Channel will move equipment from the City Building to the library to facilitate livestreaming. Until that happens, HPAC will record the event and upload it to the website.

The library meeting room has a dividing wall that can be pulled out.

The other half of the space will be reserved as a city conference room because the city is losing three conference rooms at the City Building.

“When we’re not meeting as a council, Utility Board or Planning Commission both halves could be used if we needed to have a conference with citizens or just meeting space,” Ptak said.

Library Director Amy Hafer has reserved the conference room for city uses until it is determined how the city will move forward.

The 25 city employees currently working in the City Building will be relocated to the North Denver Station temporarily.

“Based upon the availability of a contractor to complete where development services would go, it’ll probably be around the first of September, possibly later, before that can be retrofitted for them,” Ptak said. “It requires cutting in a door and a window, and we have to secure that because the utility department does not want citizens just walking through the turbine room. The HR folks, based upon where they are going up there, should be able to move the end of June or the first part of July.”

One delay is the need for more switches.

“We’ve got lots of jacks in the wall, but you’ve got to have a switch to recognize who is plugged in,” Ptak said. “Without having the switches, having the capacity for 25 more people, it isn’t going to work for them.”

The switches have been ordered, but there is at least a 60-day shipping lag. It also will take about 30 days to install them.

Ptak said the city is looking at the first of September before development services, finance and administration employees will move.

“I told everyone here I’m going to be the last person out,” he said. “If I’m still here, when I leave you’ll know there’s nobody left.”

The city still has to determine where the finance department’s nine employees will go.

Ptak said there is room for nine cubicles in the utility department board room, but that takes away a meeting space.

“If we have to rent temporary office space, like they do for schools, for three years to rent two of them — one for (Enterprise Resource Planning software) training and one for meetings — that’s $72,000 right there,” he said. “What we’re trying to do is figure out the cheapest and best way to handle this because we don’t want to spend any more money until we know what the ultimate decision is going to be. That’s the tough thing.”

There will be an item on the Hastings City Council’s agenda on Monday to authorize the expenditure of “not to exceed $200,000” to orchestrate the move for all city building employees to the North Denver Station. That amount includes the temporary offices, extra switches and networking that would have to be done to accommodate everyone.

“Obviously we hope it will be less than that,” Ptak said.

The amount spent will be closer to $125,000 if the city doesn’t have to rent space.

“I don’t want to spend $200,000,” he said. “I’d rather shoot high and spend less than have to come back and ask for more money in the event something throws a monkey wrench in it.”


Covid-19
New case, vaccination activity quiet in South Heartland
  • Updated

For a second consecutive week, the South Heartland District Health Department logged just two new cases of the novel coronavirus disease, COVID-19, among district residents May 30-June 5.

One of the new cases was in Adams County, and the other was in Clay County. Since the district recorded its first confirmed case on March 18, 2020, a running total of 4,921 district residents have been confirmed positive.

Among the four counties in the health district, the cumulative totals are 3,180 in Adams, 776 in Clay, 548 in Nuckolls and 417 in Webster.

“We are glad to report some more good news with respect to newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 in our district,” said Michele Bever, health department executive director, in her weekly Tuesday night virus update. “The 14-day rolling average of daily new cases dropped further to an average of 0.5 cases per day per 100,000 population, remaining below our goal for 19 days in a row.”

The department’s goal is to reach and sustain at or below eight new cases per day per 100,000 population.

Bever said COVID-19 testing also has continued to drop, with just 187 tests conducted on South Heartland residents last week.

Forty-one percent of the tests were on general community members not living or working in long-term facilities.

Among general community members, just 1.3% of those tested for COVID-19 during the week were positive. Testing in the long-term care facilities turned up no cases for the week ending June 5.

Bever also said 55% of intensive care unit beds were available and only one patient was hospitalized due to COVID-19.

She cited case numbers and positivity metrics in pushing South Heartland’s risk dial needle reading down within the yellow (moderate) zone to 1.3. The risk dial assesses the danger associated with further local spread of the virus and variants.

Vaccination activity across the district continues to be slow, with the percentage of vaccinated residents still hanging around the 40% range.

“The vaccination rate metric hasn’t had much movement over the past two weeks, which is disappointing,” Bever said. “Evidence shows the vaccines are very effective in reducing severe illness, hospitalization and death caused by the original version of the virus and the variants, so we are continuing to encourage residents to get their COVID-19 shots.

“To further reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread in our communities, and especially to protect against severe illness caused by the virus or its variants, we are promoting a goal of 70% or more of South Heartland residents to have received at least one dose of vaccine. Anyone age 12 and older is eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine,” she said.

The district’s website, www.southheartlandhealth.org, includes a list of locations offering vaccine in the South Heartland District and which vaccine products are offered at each site. All three vaccine products — Pfizer BioNTech, J&J Janssen, and Moderna — are available.

“This list is updated frequently to include new times, dates, whether walk-ins are accepted, and how to make an appointment at each site,” Bever said. “In addition, there are health care providers in the district who are offering COVID-19 vaccine to their patients. We encourage residents to contact the health department at 402-462-6211 or 877-238-7595 for more information or assistance in scheduling their COVID-19 vaccine.”


News
Bill Carlin retires after 41-year career
  • Updated

Bill Carlin took a few extra days before officially retiring after 41 years of teaching and coaching.

He knew he was ready to retire before the school year began, but by the time it ended there was still so much to do.

The meticulous Carlin made sure his last class of athletes turned in all of its gear from track and field season, which ended May 22.

“It’s been a good run,” said Carlin, the longest-tenured employee of the Adams Central School District.

Then, he had to pack up his classroom for the summer one final time.

“I’m sure when he cleaned his classroom he was finding stuff from 41 years ago,” cracked Alan Frank, Adams Central activities director. “He keeps everything.”

Frank, who joined Adams Central six years ago, recalled Carlin once showing him where all the football film from the last 45 years is in case someone needs it.

“It’s on a reel, not a VHS tape,” Frank said. “He’s got those all the way up and he’s got all the information detailed. He’s just very thorough.”

Other words used to describe Carlin by his peers: steadfast, loyal, dedicated, organized, honorable.

Another phrase: Mr. Adams Central.

“When you think of Adams Central,” Frank said, “you think of Bill Carlin.”

Superintendent Shawn Scott referred to Carlin as “Mr. Adams Central” due to his character, dedication and influence in a farewell letter Scott wrote to Carlin and shared with the Tribune.

“I can tell you without hesitation the influence you have had on this school district is second to none,” he wrote. “The way you have been a part of shaping and forming the Adams Central District from the inside out is admirable. You are a huge part of why Adams Central is one of the best districts in the state.”

Carlin started teaching math at Adams Central in 1980 and has been integral in developing the school’s culture over the last four decades, working for every superintendent that the Adams Central district has ever had.

Due to his longevity in the district, Carlin found himself working alongside teachers who had once been his students at Adams Central and returned with teaching degrees. He taught many employees of the Adams Central district, including an administrator and 18 current teachers, as well as five current school board members.

From the day Carlin walked into the school, he coached one of three sports: basketball, football, and track and field. He coached in nearly 1,400 events.

Former Superintendent Glen Larsen said he met Carlin when he came to the school district in 1981 and the two worked together until Larsen retired in 2001.

At the time Larsen joined the district, Carlin was an assistant coach for the football program, and the team wasn’t doing well. The football team was struggling to find success on the field, which also hurt recruitment for the program. Instead of 80-85 students coming out for tryouts every year, the number dwindled to 45-50 as students lost enthusiasm for the program.

The football team won one game over the first four years Larsen was at the school and he approached the school board about making a change with the head coaching position. He told the board they needed to have a coach with more experience.

Instead of hiring a new coach, the board elected to ask Larsen to do the job.

“The board said, ‘You were head football coach in the past, why don’t you do it?’ ” Larsen said. “I told the board I would do the head football job. I said we’ve got some really good people who can help, and one of them was Bill Carlin.”

Larsen said assistant coaches like Carlin and others were crucial to making the change work since Larsen still had to fulfill his duties as superintendent.

After three years, the program improved to the point that the team almost qualified for the state playoffs in 1988, but Larsen needed to step back from coaching duties to focus on his superintendent responsibilities.

In 1989, Carlin became the head coach and continued to improve the program.

Twenty-four years later, the Patriots were a powerhouse. By the time Carlin stepped down from coaching varsity football in the spring of 2014, his teams had gone a combined 191-57 and not one finished with a losing record.

Larsen believes Carlin’s ability to connect with students was an important aspect of the program’s success.

“I just think he worked really well with kids on and off the field,” Larsen said. “The kids came first, and that’s just the way it was.”

Carlin’s fellow educators echoed this sentiment.

“Bill Carlin is one of the most steadfast people you’re ever going to meet,” said Toni Fowler, AC’s girls track coach who has spent the last 15 years coaching with Carlin and served on the Nebraska Coaches Association with him.

Carlin’s football playbook reflected that, as well. It was devoted almost entirely to running the football with the Maryland-I offense.

“The classic joke that many who played for him would bring up is the first play of the game was always ‘Blast Right.’ And the second play of the game was also ‘Blast Right,’ “ said former AC running back Jake Fowler. “When he really wanted to shake things up, he would call ‘Blast Left’ or ‘Blast Option Pass Right.’ The playbook was never very big.”

Carlin was old school — ground-and-pound with his offense and hard-nosed with his defense. Although never a state football champion, the Patriots were runners-up in 1993 under Carlin, who led the program to 19 playoff appearances.

“I remember my very first year we made the state playoffs after we lost our first two games of the year,” Carlin said. “We went on a run and got in, and that was pretty exciting because a lot of things had to happen for us at that time. Then it just took off from there. Kids started to believe, and so we turned a lot things around and had a really good run for about 25 years. Shawn (Mulligan) has done a great job (of) keeping it going.

“We’ve never been able to get the big trophies, but I’ve still been very proud of our efforts. Our kids have always competed hard and done their best.”

Scott said he was thankful that Carlin provided enough notice to allow the district time to incrementally find people to take over his duties and roles. Scott said 41 years of institutional memory will be difficult to replace, but he believes there are staff members willing and able to step up to the challenge.

“Bill has set a great example for others to follow,” he said. “He is a great employee and a true patriot for our program. He is a friend to almost every staff member here.”

David Barrett, former principal at the Adams Central High School, said Carlin was crucial in showing other teachers the way the district operated and convincing them to buy into the district’s culture.

“He was always able to put things in a way that other teachers understood,” Barrett said. “Over the years, he was able to help carry those traditions and values on to new staff members as they came to the school. That’s really important to have somebody on staff for younger teachers coming in to learn from.”

While they worked together for the 15 years Barrett served as principal, the two had known each other much longer through their coaching responsibilities. He praised Carlin’s work ethic and commitment to students.

“He’s one of those guys and coaches that everybody respects,” he said. “He believes in doing things the right way and for the right reason.”

And Carlin’s influence hasn’t been limited to Adams Central, either.

The longtime coach has inspired more than a few to follow a similar path to his, such as Blue Hill football and track coach Riley Armes, who played for Carlin.

“I was joking about it with my sister. We were talking about teachers that had an impact on us, and Mr. Carlin was a junior high teacher, a football coach and a track coach,” Armes said. “Looking at where my life took me, I’m a junior high math teacher, a football coach and a track coach. It’s kind of funny how that worked out, but I learned a lot from Coach Carlin.”

Forty-one years of memories will take some time to set in for Carlin, and they certainly don’t all fit in the few boxes he exited the school doors with on his final day.

Many of those memories will fill walls in the halls of Adams Central for eternity on plaques, banners and trophies.

“We’ve come a long ways in the 41 years since I’ve been here,” Carlin said. “I’m hoping I’m leaving it in a little better position than it was when I arrived.”


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