County to meet with preschool officials

 The Page County Board of Supervisors offered $92,500 on Aug. 28 for what is known as the education building of the former First United Methodist Church in Clarinda. A portion of the building is used by Clarinda Community Preschool. County officials will meet with the preschool about the offer and options

Page County Board of Supervisors continued their discussion Tuesday, Sept. 3 about an offer made on a former church building in Clarinda.

Wednesday, Aug. 28, supervisors offered $92,500 for what is known as the education building of the former First United Methodist Church in Clarinda.

First United Methodist Church moved to its new building in 2017 on West State Street. Church officials sold the church and education building in the 200 block of West Washington Street to Joe and Emily Akers in 2018. According to county records, the formal address of the building is 210 N. 17th St.

Supervisors are expecting a reponse to their offer by Sept. 10. Supervisors are wanting all county departments in county-owned buildings.

The church was destroyed last year but the education building remained because of its use by Clarinda Community Preschool. A residential home on the property was not included in the county’s offer.

Supervisors plan to meet with preschool officials to talk about the offer and options. Supervisors are also scheduling a formal inspection of the building.

Page County Public Health moved in 2015 from a leased building in Shenandoah to the third story of the courthouse. Since then, supervisors and public health representatives have said the third story may not be the most accessible place for clients.

Department administrator Jessica Erdman told the supervisors Tuesday, Aug. 27 the third-story location is small and not conducive for privacy. Staff has been occasionally told by people they didn’t know where public health was located.

During the supervisor meeting Tuesday, Sept. 3, they implied the building could also be used to house 911 dispatch operations. Since the county took over 911 from Clarinda and Shenandoah, it has been in the basement of Clarinda City Hall.

In other county news...

Supervisors approved Thomas Nordhues of rural Clarinda as the county’s safety coordinator. He was interviewed, along with two others, on Friday, Aug. 30.

Nordhues was safety and environmental coordinator for the Pella Corporation in Shenandoah from May 1994 to December 2018. He was responsible for environmental and safety related policies and procedures, inspections and regulations.

The experience is why the supervisors favored him.

“He has very good knowledge,” said Supervisor Chuck Morris. “He has a record of cutting the number of incidents and that number stayed there.”

Morris was referring to Nordhues’ work that reduced the number of safety-related claims, which is why Page County was searching for a safety coordinator.

Nordhues was the part of the second round of applicants and interviews this summer. Two years ago, the county’s workers’ compensation provider told the supervisors their claims have had a sharp increase. Some claims were due to a lack in simple, basic safety procedures. At that time, the county was encouraged to improve its safety status. Since then, the county has created a committee of employees to regulary review operations.

“Once he understands our culture, he will move forward,” Morris said.

Nordhues has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Nebraska at Kearney.

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