Lower Elkhorn NRD NDN

Another nail-bitingly close race was taking place here in Northeast Nebraska, although many residents likely had their eyes on the national results Tuesday night.

Jay Reikofski slipped ahead of his opponent, Aaron Zimmerman, for Subdistrict 1 of the Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District by five votes. The election was close enough that it will likely trigger a recount.

“Well, seriously, I guess every vote counts,” Reikofski said. “We’ll just have to see if I win for sure.”

If Reikofski wins in the end, water issues will be one of his top priorities going forward, he said.

“We’re kind of in a small drought, so just how water is allocated (will be a concern),” Reikofski said.

Zimmerman said he wasn’t too surprised by the close race.

I think Jay’s a pretty well-known individual in the area,” he said. “I think our subdistrict will be well served either way.”

Zimmerman said water quantity and quality issues would be his top concerns, should a recount name him the winner.

“Protect existing water users (is a concern),” he said. “I think we need to be careful of how much more we develop in our district.”

SUBDISTRICT 2 also saw a close election.

Mark Hall beat opponent Lee Klein by just over 100 votes.

Hall said he is honored for the opportunity to represent his subdistrict.

“First, I want to thank everyone who voted for me,” Hall said. “Obviously, it was a close race so it showed the importance of voting.”

Klein said the LENRD board members would have a hard job in front of them.

“More power to him (Hall),” Klein said. “When you think about all the things they have to do with water issues ... it’s a tough sell.”

Going forward, Hall said there are many challenges for the LENRD, but tax rates would be a top priority for him.

“There are a lot of things on our plate coming up,” Hall said. “One of the challenges will be keeping our tax rate at a reasonable level. That’s going to be forefront on my mind.”

Although economic development is not a responsibility of the natural resources districts, it does have an impact on it, Hall said.

“Economic development is also important,” he said. “A lot of things that we do make decisions on affect economic development.

IN THE OTHER subdistricts, Robert Huntley, Jerry Alleman and Matt Steffen won subdistricts 3, 5 and 6, respectively, after running unopposed.

In Subdistrict 7, Gary Loftis beat opponent Randy Ruppert by 1,200 votes.

And in Subdistrict 4, Rod Zohner beat Michael Fleer by about 900 votes.

Zohner said he wanted to thank everyone who voted for him.

“I appreciate all the support I had,” he said. “I’m looking forward to working with the directors down there, and I hope I can make a difference.”

Fleer said he thinks Zohner will do well in the position.

“I’m glad that people came out and voiced their concerns,” Fleer said. “I’m a little bit disappointed, but I think my opponent will do a fine job, and I’ll support him in any way that I can.”

In other news

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MOSCOW (AP) — President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin will speak by telephone on Tuesday as tensions between the U.S. and Russia escalate over a Russian troop buildup on the Ukrainian border seen as a sign of a potential invasion.