Bellevue to couple: Stop caring for feral cat colony

Bellevue code enforcement officers stepped in to stop a Bellevue couple from feeding and caring for a colony of feral cats.

For Dan Bankey and his wife, Elaine, feeding the colony behind a Wendy's restaurant on Galvin Road had become a near daily ritual for the past three years. One of them would pull into the parking lot, clean up the previous day's cans of cat food and open fresh ones.

They would leave bowls of fresh water next to the shelters Dan Bankey had crafted for the cats.

The Bankeys also tried to thin out the colony by earning their trust, then trapping, spaying or neutering them, and releasing them back to their home.

But after complaints started coming in, Bellevue code enforcement instructed the Bankeys to stop.

Nebraska Humane Society Field Director Kristie Biodrowski said the humane society discussed the situation with code enforcement after receiving complaints.

Bellevue City Councilwoman Kathy Saniuk is proposing an ordinance that will make it legal to trap, neuter and release stray cats.

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly described Saniuk's proposal.

Work on parking lot nears finish at Sarpy Courthouse

Work on the Sarpy County Courthouse parking lot is close to being finished.

The project will create 25 new parking spaces, install raised medians and rain gardens and add better sidewalks.

Sarpy County paid $100,000, and another $160,000 came from a state environmental quality grant.

Ralston mayor leaves national gun control group

Don Groesser

Under pressure from a firearm owners group, Ralston Mayor Don Groesser has left a national organization advocating gun control.

Groesser had been the only Nebraska mayor listed as a member of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a coalition formed in 2006 by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino.

The coalition claims a membership of more than 900 mayors nationwide. Groesser said he had been a member since around 2007, when he signed up for the organization during a National League of Cities meeting.

Groesser, in an email, said that at the beginning the group's principles were consistent with “my vision for safer communities.” But in the last couple of years, he wrote, “the organization has expanded its principles into areas that I am not 100 percent in support of.”

Earlier in August, the Nebraska Firearms Owners Association called on Groesser to renounce his membership in the group.

“It was more controversy than it was worth,” Groesser said.

Springfield Platteview district to consult public on facilities

Springfield Platteview Community Schools has scheduled additional community meetings about facility improvements.

Brett Richards

The meetings will focus on possible projects for the district's four school buildings and their costs. DLR Group, the district's architectural firm, will solicit input at the meetings from parents and the Springfield community.

Upcoming meetings will be at the Platteview High School auditorium on Aug. 22 at 7 p.m. and Sept. 5 at 7 p.m.

Last spring, the district held meetings to discuss potential projects that might be part of a future bond issue, including improving security at building entrances and in classrooms with no doors, and upgrading mechanical and electrical systems.

Superintendent Brett Richards said the district is working to identify priorities. The district can't afford to do all the projects it needs at once.

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