The Otoe County Board of Commissioners approved four conditional use permits at its Tuesday, March 26, meeting. Permits were approved for a nano-sized craft brewery to be located at 2946 O Rd.; a metal fabrication shop to be located east of 190th Street and north of Highway 2; wastewater sludge application on Otoe County farms; and biosolids application on Otoe County farms.
Ben Biehl, who will be operating Roc Hopper Brewing Co. LLC, with his wife Katy, told the commissioners he began home brewing beer in 2013.
Current plans call for the Biehls to brew craft beer for distribution, with the establishment of a tap room where the beer can be served and sold in the future, he said.
During the meeting, commissioners also approved the issuance of a Class LK craft brewery liquor license to Roc Hopper Brewing Co LLC.
Biehl said the license will allow him to offer catering and to take part in summer events around the county.
Paul Johnson, who plans to open the metal fabrication shop, said he will be able to meet the needs of agricultural customers as well as being able to fabricate blades for snow plows, as well as safety equipment.
Don Hembry, biosolids coordinator for the City of Omaha, thanked the commissioners for “always being supportive” of the wastewater sludge program.
Hembry asked for the sludge to be applied to four Otoe County farm sites in 2019, which differ from the 2018 application sites so that the program doesn’t become offensive, according to Hembry.
Jeff Kohrs, general manager of Nebraska City Utilities and Jerry Whitehead, NCU wastewater supervisor, asked to apply biosolids to two county sites this year after receiving approval for two application sites last year.
The board also heard the annual report from Susan Keholm, development director for Southeast Nebraska Community Action Partnership (SENCA).
Keholm said SENCA is primarily focused on helping low-income households achieve the goal of self-sufficiency.
The organization does this through housing programs, such as downpayment assistance, homebuyer education, and owner-occupied rehab.
SENCA also offers family outreach services, such as RentWise classes, adult financial education, and the Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) program, said Keholm.
Finally, SENCA provides youth education through Head Start, youth mentoring, and SENCA SMART financial literacy classes, said Keholm.

Carol Aufenkamp, family development associate, told the board SENCA provided 1,860 services in Otoe County in February 2019.
“There’s lots of need in Otoe County,” she said.
Otoe County’s 11 CASA volunteers had 9 cases in 2018, said CASA Coordinator Debbie Green.
Of those, 5 children were adopted and 4 were reunified with their families, she said.
So far, in 2019, Green said she has 6 cases that may need the assistance of CASA volunteers going forward.
The Otoe County CASA program has been so successful that it expanded to Nemaha County last year and to Richardson County in the past few months, said Green.
The next regularly scheduled Otoe County Board of Commissioners meeting is set for 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, April 9.