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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (March 26, 1996)
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March 26, 1996
Sen. David Maurstad of Beatrice discusses property taxes with BUI Lock Monday morning at the Nebraska
Legislature. Lawmakers spent seven hours debating property taxes Monday, advancing three measures.
Lawmakers advance property tax bills after long debate
By Erin Schulte
Seven hours of a non-stop property tax
marathon in the Nebraska Legislature ended
with three bills edging
toward law Monday.
The bills, all dealing
with property tax re
duction, were ad
vanced after debate on
Bills passed were:
• LB299, passed
would curb local gov
before levy limits are
• LB 1177, which would provide state
aid to more sparsely-populated counties af
fected by property tax reduction.
• LB 1114, which passed by a 25-2 vote,
which would limit property tax levies.
An hour of debate was spent on an amend
ment that was withdrawn. The amendment
dealt with school consolidation and ways to
absorb property tax reductions.
Schools receive two-thirds of all property
tax collected in Nebraska, Sen. Don Wesely
of Lincoln, who proposed the amendment,
Since lawmakers advanced a bill limiting
property tax rates Monday morning, the next
step was to think about how to help schools
keep functioning without that money, Wesely
Suggestions in proposed amendments in
cluded encouraging small schools to consoli
date and reducing school administration
Nebraska’s school districts are unorga
nized and overstaffed, Wesely said.
“Wc have too much staff and too much
expense in administration,” Wesely said.
Nebraska has the third highest number of
school districts in the country and needs to
reorganize them to reduce the number of
administrators, Wesely said. Those reduc
tions would cut expenses, he said.
Teacher to student ratios in Nebraska arc
sixth best in the nation, Wesely said, so teach
ing staff could also be reduced.
There are problems with these sugges
tions, Wesely said, because rural schools re
sist consolidation and administrators make
the decision on where to take budget cuts.
Administrators most likely wouldn’t elimi
See PROPERTY on 2
By Chad Lorenz
The 12th floor of Abel Residence Hall was
quiet Monday afternoon.
The normally noisy floor had students creep
ing down the halls, peering into each other’s
rooms. One student sat in the hall and cried as
she talked on her cordless phone.
That day, 20 people from Abel Hall returned
from the Columbus funerals of fellow UNL stu
dents Christina Dyer and Jacob Behlen.
Dyer and Behlen were among four Colum
bus teen-agers, all 19, who drowned in a Co
lumbus lake last week. __
Ryan Gragert and Eric T
Kudron also were . No TYldtteV
killed in the accident. what, she
A preliminary au- /
topsy report showed (CllTiStiYld
the four were legally nVPr) 1l)a<
intoxicated at the time uyvt j lvus
of the accident. Family dllVdVS Smiling.
members have said po- ,
lice arc still investigat- ^n& rldCl d little
ing a possible blowout hnti Hi hor
on the car. m rufr
More than 600 Step. ”
people attended the
four funerals held in KIM BRENM
even though snow roommate
closed schools. -
Kim Brehm, Dyer s
roommate in Abel Hall, said Dyer’s funeral
showed a lot about her personality.
The crowd of friends at her funeral showed
how many people cared about her, Brehm said,
especially when the Michael W. Smith song,
“Friends are Friends Forever,” was played.
“At that point I think everyone cried,” Brehm
Brehm said she and Dyer, both freshmen, met
when they moved into their 12th-floor room
She said they instantly got along and did a
lot together during the first few weeks of school.
“No matter what, she was always smiling,”
Brehm said. “She had a little hop in her step.”
Dyer, called Tina by her friends, was a psy
chology major, but was considering a switch to
nursing. Brehm said Dyer volunteered at Lin
coln General Hospital and the Red Cross once
Other residents of the 12th floor came to
Brehm’s room to offer hugs and support.
Kellie Feurt, a freshman pre-physical therapy
~~ See FUNERALS on 2
NU presidential home
up for bids after fire
From Staff Reports
The University Foundation is tak
ing bids on the property where the fire
ravaged remains of the NU presiden
tial residence now stand.
Theresa Klein, director of public
relations and publications, said the
foundation decided to sell the prop
erty because University of Nebraska
President Dennis Smith and his wife
already owned a house in Lincoln.
After looking at appraisals from
three insurance companies, the foun
dation decided to sell the property
without repairs, Klein said. The
building’s foundation and some outer
walls were still intact, but the interior
and roof were damaged severely.
The buyer of the property will de
cide whether to rebuild on the remains
or tear down the ruins and build over
them, she said.
Klein said the University Founda
tion had mailed bidding notices to Lin
coln realtors, builders and other pro
spective buyers. Bids will be taken
until April 8.
Smith will receive a $ 1,000
monthly housing allowance from the
foundation to compensate for the use
of his own house for university func
tions, Klein said.
Chancellors of each of the four
campuses receive that allowance, she
said, because the university no longer
provides their housing.
The foundation is trying to sell the
property as soon as possible because
the remains of the house have been an
eyesore since the January fire, Klein
“Wc want to get it cleaned up and
out of the way for the neighbors.”
Work could make people sick
By Joshua Giflinf
People who say their jobs make
them sick just might be onto some
Environmental illnesses are be
coming increasingly more common
in the American workplace, accord
ing to Ncbline, a monthly health
awareness publication distributed
by the Uncoln-Lancastcr Health
Often the possibility of such ail
ments can be dismissed by both em
ployers and workers because the af
flicted individuals are usually iso
lated cases. _
Conditions include carpal tunnel
syndrome, an ailment affecting the
ligaments of the hands because of
repetitive motion, and multiple
chemical sensitivity, where expo
sure to various workplace chemi
cals makes the employee sick.
But these maladies do exist, an
environmental official said, and
they can be a part of every working
environment, including the Univer
sity of Ncbraska-Lincoln.
Ron Phillips, an environmental
health specialist with UNL’s De
partment of Environmental Health
and Safety, said a few cases of en
vironmental illnesses had been re
ported on the NU campuses over
“There have been cases of car
pal tunnel, but nothing that’s caused
too big of a problem,” he said.
“Most of those arc ergonomic prob
lems or the result of repetitive mo- ~
Mike Holmquist, a health edu
cator with the Lincoln-Lancaster
County Health Department, said the
danger of work-related illnesses al
ways existed, even though the ill
nesses were not always recognized
He said typical environmental
illnesses were usually considered
by the victims to be colds or the flu,
or the result of unrelated action,
such as muscle pulls cm- strains.
The possibilities of such condi
tions existing in the workplace are
very high, Holmquist said.
Phillips said his biggest concern
had been the control of air quality.
Often environmental illnesses turn
out to be nothing more than a reac
tion to an agent in the workplace.
"A lot of times there’s a mold or
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