Bat Blog

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Last week the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service finalized new regulations to further protect the Northern Long-eared Bat. We had our own experience with bats last fall in the City Administration Building – probably the Big Brown or Little Brown Bat – but, alas, they are also protected. We’re thinking that the replacement of the shingles on the building was when the bats decided to squeeze in through the tiny spaces they take to find a new home.

bat.jpgThe first bat was discovered on the wall of an office when a co-worker walked in and calmly told the occupant to step away from her desk. It was caught by a Styrofoam cup clamped on top of it and was carried carefully outdoors.

We only wish they’d be released in Kansas instead of 50 feet from the building. Our animal control officer, Doug Zach, said it’s been said that a bat will remember where it’s home was and head back there no matter how far away you take it. Great.

The second bat was spotted clinging to the ceiling on the second floor, too high for the Styrofoam cup catch method so Doug had to come in with his special bat pinchers and grab it behind its ears. I took a picture as it was headed out the door clinging to the pincher with its sharp teeth. I’m not a fan of any bat even though they’re said to eat thousands of mosquitoes.

Since these two incidents we’re all a little watchful for black or grayish furry things that may be clinging to window blinds or picture frames or worse, under desks.

If you have a bat in your home, don’t panic. Shut the door of the room it’s in to isolate it and call a pest control company to remove it for you.

There’s a bat release every April at the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha of bats caught through the winter. Don’t look for me there any time soon. (By Diane Becker, City of Norfolk Communications Director)

Chief Mizner urges safe driving over Labor Day weekend

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It’s Labor Day- a great holiday weekend, not only for you and your family, but for the other drivers sharing the road with you. I’m Bill Mizner, Chief of Police for the City of Norfolk and I want to remind you it’s always a good idea to slow down, focus on your driving, and drive defensively.

billmiznerThis weekend provides many people an opportunity for one last summer getaway and the most important part of the weekend is to drive safely.

The National Safety Council estimates 395 people will be killed and another 47,800 will be seriously injured in car crashes during the upcoming Labor Day holiday period, which begins at 6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 4 and ends at 11:59 p.m. Monday, Sept. 7. The three-day period falls in the midst of what could be the most deadly year on our roads since 2007. The National Safety Council estimates overall traffic deaths are up 14 percent through the first six months of 2015 compared with the same period in 2014. Serious injuries are up 30 percent.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates 87 percent of vehicle occupants wear seat belts. The 13 percent of drivers and passengers who do not wear belts accounted for 44.7 percent of fatalities in 2014, according to NHTSA. An estimated 150 lives may be saved this Labor Day holiday because of seat belts. NSC recommends buckling up every trip, every time – even when traveling a short distance.

Other tips to ensure a safer Labor Day holiday include:

  • Designate an alcohol and drug-free driver or arrange alternate transportation
  • Get plenty of sleep and take regular breaks to avoid fatigue
  • Never use a cell phone behind the wheel, even hands-free
  • Do not allow teens to drive with their friends. A single young passenger can increase a teen driver’s fatal crash risk 44 percent.
  • Learn about your vehicle’s safety systems and how to use them. The website mycardoeswhat.org can help drivers understand the ins and outs of features such as adaptive cruise control, blind spot warning systems and backup cameras

The excitement and anticipation of the weekend can overshadow a driver’s responsibility to drive safely. There will be a lot of vehicles on the road, so it will be more important than ever to drive defensively.

Enjoy a safe Labor Day weekend!

Lyle Lutt – Risk Manager for the City of Norfolk

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$143,000,000. With dollar bills stacked end to end, that is more money than it would take to reach the farthest distance on the face of the earth from Nebraska. That is also the same amount on the City of Norfolk’s asset list (according to the 2014 Comprehensive Annual Finance Report, CAFR). That includes everything from buildings and property, dump trucks, pay loaders, police cruisers, computers, fire engines, down lylelutt2to lawn mowers. That number does not include items and equipment that are less than $500 like chain saws, shovels, tools, furniture, or library books.

Hi, my name is Lyle Lutt and I am the Risk Manager for the City of Norfolk. My job is to help ensure that the citizens’ $143 million is safe. So what does that entail? Although many of the projects and ideas that come through the city administration building involves input from each administration entity (Risk, Finance, Legal & Engineering) with a knowledge base that overlaps, the Risk Management Office’s primary responsibility is purchasing and insurance.

Any time there is money being spent or going out, there is risk. Our office is involved with purchases that cost more than $1,500 and budgeting for the future. That includes everything from big lawn mowers to the biggest fire truck and library additions, building construction, or property management and everything in between. With time, all of that equipment wears out and needs replaced or added to. That is where the Capital Improvements Program (CIP) comes into play. The CIP is for purchases over $50,000 for each of the next 10 years into the future.

The other facet of our office is insurance and making sure the City’s and citizens’ assets are covered in the event of a fire, hail storm, tornado or other significant disaster. The City of Norfolk is covered by The League Association of Risk Management.

Stacey has been working in our office since 2009 but has been with the City of Norfolk since 2006. Should you ever have questions about either of the topics of purchasing or insurance, please feel free to call our office so we can talk.

Join me backstage Norfolk!

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Hi, I’m Diane Becker, the Communications Director for the City of Norfolk, which means you’ll likely see me with camera, pen and paper capturing the behind-the-scenes news of the City of Norfolk and sometimes right-out-in-the-middle-of-the-street news of Norfolk.

dianebecker2It’s a great job because the City of Norfolk has great people. Just read Jessica Chamberlain’s blog post (she’s our Library Director) and you know we have the coolest library director ever. It’s the same way with all of the other divisions. Really. I’ve been writing articles about the City for about 13 years and have been bowled over by the knowledge and skills of City division heads and their staff.

I’ll bet you didn’t know the Water Pollution Plant cleans 3.5 million gallons of water a day using bugs or that we have 13 parks in Norfolk. It’s easy to take the clean water we drink, the police officers who protect us and our professional firefighters all for granted. That’s their job – to work so hard we don’t have to think about ways for disabled people to have housing (like the Housing Division does) or whether the streets needs resurfacing (like Public Works does).

If you’re like me and you like to think about these things anyway, you are a prime candidate for Norfolk 101: Citizens Academy. It’s an eight week, one night a week class that gives you a tour of all the City divisions. One night it might be about parks and streets. The next night it’s the West Water Treatment Plant. You get a tour and a visit with the head honcho of that division. This is an incredible behind-the-scenes program and it’s free. Go to our website at www.ci.norfolk.ne.us/about/norfolk101.htm to print off an application. The first night is September 15, 2015 so sign up and I’ll see you backstage Norfolk soon!

Hello from Norfolk’s Library Director!

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Hi!  My name is Jessica Chamberlain and I’m the Library Director for the City of Norfolk.  I’ve been a librarian for 13 years, even though I never expected to work in a library.  After I graduated from college I found myself working part-time at my local library.  I love working with people, reading, working with technology, and learning new things.  I found out that the library is the perfect place to do all these things.
jchamberlainPeople know the library has books, but I often get the chance to introduce people to all the other wonderful things we offer.  How many times have you gone looking for something on the internet and couldn’t find what you needed?  Author Neil Gaiman is famous (in library circles) for saying, “Google can bring you back 100,000 answers.  A librarian can bring you back the right one.”  This is so true!  We have found that as more and more people use technology to get information, they still need help to navigate all that information and get to what they want.
We are now in the middle of the library’s Summer Reading Program.  Reading during the summer is essential for kids to prevent the “Summer Slide” in learning, and the Summer Reading Program is a fun way to encourage and reward them for doing something good for their brains!  Teens and Adults are encouraged to participate too.  One of the best ways to encourage kids to read is to let them see you reading too.  I hope you’ll stop by the library this summer and enjoy some of the great activities we have going on or simply see what’s new.  From comics and videogames to biographies and history – we have something for you!
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