The Sidney Sun-Telegraph - Serving proudly since 1873 as the beautiful Nebraska Panhandle's first newspaper

By Forrest Hershberger
Sidney Sun-Telegraph 

County Reopens Courthouse, With Limits


In late March, the Cheyenne County Commissioners unanimously decided to close the courthouse offices to public access. Services were limited to use of the dropbox on the north side of the building, by phone call, email or through a department's website.

Office visits were by appointment-only.

The restrictions were set in place as a result of the State's Directed Health Measures (DHM) set in place in response to the COVID-19 virus.

In Gov. Pete Ricketts' last announcement, restrictions were eased on social gatherings and business operations beginning May 4. In his address, he said as of April 24, 48 percent of hospital beds, 42 percent of ICU beds and 74 percent of ventilators were available statewide.

Monday morning, the county commissioners decided to ease restrictions locally, allowing more access to county offices. County Attorney Paul Schaub said the county's plan is consistent with what is happening around Cheyenne County.

In the discussion, the commissioners asked how elected officials want to manage public access. County Treasurer Shelley Bowlin said her first priority is the safety of her staff.

The commissioners, with Sheriff Adam Frerichs, Bowlin, County Clerk Beth Fiegenschuh, Highway Department Superintendent Doug Hart and Assessor Melody Keller, decided to continue encouraging alternative methods of conducting business while allowing public access to the building. Crowds of 10 and more are discouraged and directions will be taped at the entrance to offices. Groups of 10 or more will be advised of the limits by staff including sheriff's deputies.

The City of Sidney offices will remain access by appointment-only.

In other business, the commissioners approved an agreement with the Nebraska Department of Roads for closure of County Road 99 during bridge construction on Interstate 80, discussed approval or denial of a culvert on County Road 46 near Gurley, instead favoring the landowner move his approach, and discussed the fairgrounds water project with Mark Mazour of Farris Engineering.


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