Local Scout Provides Signage as Eagle Scout Project

Jacob Drain of Holdrege Scout Troop #216 recently completed the installation of new signage at the Kingsley Hydroplant as part of his Eagle Scout project.

After attending a tour of the hydroplant himself, Drain discovered that it is sometimes difficult to hear the tour guide’s information while the hydroplant is running.  He realized there wasn’t much posted in terms of descriptions about important components and features of the hydroplant so he contacted District personnel to discuss the possibility of creating signs as his Eagle Scout project.

Drain began working with staff to develop the proper information, compiling descriptions, labels and statistics for different pieces of equipment highlighted on tours.  He also made a trip to Kingsley Hydroplant at Lake McConaughy to work with Kingsley Dam Foreman Nate Nielsen on taking measurements for sizing and placement of signs.

Once the designs were complete, the signs were ordered and Drain recruited a group of fellow scouts to help with installation of the signs. The crew traveled to Kingsley on July 28 to install the indoor and outdoor signs.

Drain also designed a barrier to keep certain areas closed to public access at the hydroplant.

The project includes 15 signs, which provide information on all of the important functions of the hydroplant that Nielsen generally discusses on the tours.

Jacob is the son of  Mike Drain, Central’s natural resources and compliance manager.

Drain and fellow scout work to install sign on the generator at Kingsley Hydroplant


In order to do our part in reducing the spread of COVID-19, all Central offices are closed to the public at this time. Central employees will not be conducting face-to-face meetings until further notice. However, work continues for irrigation season, our hydroelectric facilities continue to generate power… and, of course, district lakes remain a great place for outdoor recreation with your family.

Legislature Passes Board Representation Bill

A bill that would remove obstacles to better constituent representation by members of Central’s board of directors was passed by the Nebraska Legislature on Aug. 3 and signed into law by the governor.

Specifically, LB1055 would allow members of a public power and irrigation district’s board to represent the interests of their constituents when it comes to discussing and providing input on matters related to standard form water service agreements and lot leases at District-owned property near Johnson Lake and Lake McConaughy, if a board member also holds such an agreement with Central.

Sen. Matt Williams (Dist. 36,  Gothenburg) introduced LB1136 which contained the necessary changes to the Accountability and Disclosure Act.

The bill was amended into LB1055, which was introduced by Sen. Tom Brewer (Dist. 43, Gordon), that changes provisions regarding elections and the Nebraska Political Accountability and Disclosure Act.  Three other bills were also amended into LB1055 and the bill was designated as one of two priority bills by the Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee, of which Sen. Brewer is the chairman.

Central’s board members are now allowed to have an interest in a contract with the district.  They will still be required to disclose a potential conflict of interest to the Accountability and Disclosure Commission and abstain from voting on the agreements in question.

Board members will, however, be free to discuss and provide input to their fellow board members about said agreements, thus allowing them to more properly represent constituents who elected them to the board.

The bill also repeals another section of law to eliminate the prohibition against a member of certain boards from having an interest in a contract with the governmental entity.  This is an unusual provision rooted in events which took place more than 80 years ago during the formation and construction of public power and irrigation districts.

It eliminates the former possibility that board members with lease agreements or water service agreements could be removed from the board if they are party to certain contracts.

Central and its constituents would like to express thanks to Sens. Williams and Brewer for their efforts to secure passage of LB1055/LB1136.

Chapter 3 Gothenburg Office Retires Three Long Time Employees

Central has long been known for a low turnover of employees. This holds true for three men who dedicated decades of their lives to service to the District.

Thomas Holm, a systems control operator, worked for the District for 21 years. He retired on March 30.

Michael Childers, equipment operator, worked for the District for 34 years and retired on May 25.

Randy Walker, a systems control operator, worked for the District for 35 years, and retired on May 25.

Unfortunately, due to gathering restrictions and strict COVID-19 precautions, the District was unable to host retirement ceremonies for these men.

However, we would like to take this opportunity to say THANK YOU for the decades of service, and wish a very happy, well-earned retirement

Chapter 4 On the Lakefront

Expect an inspection—Central’s land administration team is processing a record number of permits this year. Customers with open permits or those conducting minor maintenance should expect staff members to be stopping in to conduct inspections and to assist with any associated needs

Central is encouraging customers to contact one of the administrators listed below concerning any potential projects.

If you would like a copy of our permitting procedures, please visit


New playground equipment has been installed at the Johnson Lake State Recreation Area. The equipment was funded by a group of more than 30 donors and was assembled by volunteers on July 28
Land AdministratorProject subject matterContact Info
DeAnna BartruffDwelling and related construction.  i.e. house and garage constructionOffice: (308) 995-3563

Cell: (308) 991-5565

[email protected]

Dustin EhlersShoreline & water access facilities. i.e. docks, near shoreline patios, routes or access to the shorelineOffice: (308) 537-3582

Cell: (308) 991-9778

[email protected]

Luke RitzErosion control structures. i.e. Shoreline protection and retaining wallsOffice: (308) 537-3582

Cell: (308) 529-0009

[email protected]

Matt OstegardTree removal & trimming permitsOffice: (308) 537-3582

Cell: (308) 529-7544

[email protected]

Chapter 5 Photo Gallery and email submission

Central’s website is offering a new feature for the public—an online photo gallery.

The contents of the gallery are growing, with a compilation of photography taken during the 1930s of construction across the district, to photos taken recently.

Structures in Ice
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If you’re interested in looking at this catalog, visit

And see what treasures you can find!

As the use of digital media continues to become more popular, Central is collecting e-mail addresses to use for future newsletter and informational distribution.

If you visit our website at you’ll find a button that looks like the icon above on the right sidebar as you scroll down on the homepage.

Once you submit your information, we’ll keep it privately on file at our office, and will only use it to distribute important, district-wide information.

While we intend at some point in the future to move to a digital newsletter format, you’ll still be receiving this paper