Public Works and Utilities Newsletter

Paving The Way For A Brighter Future By Educating, Engaging And Empowering Our Employees.

Spring is in the Air!

The long, cold winter is over, and it's time to get moving and get outside! Lincoln has many outdoor activities to offer its residents and visitors. It's a great time for you and your family to try something you've never done before! Here are some great ideas:

The Lincoln Children's Zoo is now open!

The one-mile Mayor's Run for kids starts at 8 a.m. Saturday, May 3 at the State Capitol.

Public pools open Saturday, May 24.

Trago Park Playground and Sprayground at 22nd and "U" streets is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Memorial Day through Labor Day.

Check out the Woods Sprayground, 33rd and "J" streets.

Celebrate Public Works Day and Waterfest at Holmes Park, 70th and Van Dorn, from 5 to 8 p.m. Saturday, June 7.

Take up a golf lesson at Parks and Recreation Department and then try out our public golf courses.

Holmes Lake and Oak Lake both offer off-leash dog parks.

Party in the Parks in May at Union Plaza.

For the first time, the Nebraska Pork Producers Capital City Ribfest will take place at the new festival space north of Pinnacle Bank Arena August 14 through 17.

The Jazz in June farmer's market begins at 5 p.m. at 12th and "R" streets every Tuesday in June. The great jazz begins at 7 p.m. in the Sheldon Sculpture Garden.

Pinewood Bowl Theater features summer concerts as well as the musical Shrek.

Check out the website for the Partnership for a Healthy Lincoln for information on farmers markets, Juneteenth and other fun events.

Check out the websites for the Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Downtown Lincoln Association for more great events. and

Spring flowers

A Day In the Life of...

Wastewater Treatment Recycling Lincoln's Most Precious Resource: Water

Lincoln's two wastewater treatment facilities provide advanced biological treatment, recycling about 27 million gallons of domestic and industrial wastewater each day. Staff operate 24/7/365 in eight-hour shifts managing over 5,500 equipment assets with a supervisory control and data acquisition system. While assets have increased from 2,900 in 1996, staffing has been reduced from 50 to 34 through technological advances and automation.

Beginning with a "day start" meeting overview, staff members are assigned numerous duties from cleaning screen filters to remove one to two gallons of snails, paper and debris. They also maintain pumps, mixers, blowers and other mechanical and electrical equipment in a complex system where every action can affect something else. About 400 program maintenance work requests are assigned each week using a computerized maintenance management system.

The facilities currently have perfect compliance records and have been recognized by the Nebraska Water Environment Association for outstanding operation and facility maintenance.

Strong Lincs

There Is No ‘Division’ Among Our Divisions.

- Miki Esposito

PWU Director Miki Esposito is pleased to announce the Strong Linc Award recipients for the workplace principle of persistence. Please congratulate these Strong Lincs for their valued service:

Mike Weston (StarTran)
Mike's persistence is a great asset. He ensures that all the details are covered in operations, and the strength that he exemplifies on a day-to-day basis is appreciated.
Randy Hoskins (Engineering Services)
Randy is quiet, respectful and a steady force. You can depend on Randy to stay focused and on course to get a task, program or project completed. He does not overreact to setbacks or delays, but continues to find a way to make progress. Randy also is very committed to giving staff support, recognition and credit for what they do.
Erika Nunes (Engineering Services)
Erika is nominated for her work on the N.W. 48th Street project. She has had several persistent developers and land owners consistently pressuring her for more information or to do what they want done on the project. Erika has been just as persistent in getting back to them with the information and pressing them to meet with her if they want her to move ahead.
Lonnie Burklund (Engineering Services)
As a new employee, Lonnie has proposed several new ideas that were initially met with some skepticism. His ideas are now being embraced and will provide great benefits for the City as we move forward.
Thomas Shafer (Engineering Services)
Thomas has been a champion for electronic content management for many years and has persistently suggested that this was the answer to many of the questions and issues the City was facing. His persistence has paid off, and the City is moving ahead with the implementation.
Melissa Ramos-Lammli (Engineering Services)
Melissa has persistently worked on Engineering Services' budget and assisted with Street Maintenance and Technology Services budgets. She has shown dedication and persistence in consistently editing and adjusting the budgets for three sections while making sure they were ready by the requested deadlines. Her work is greatly appreciated and does not go unrecognized.
Rock Krzycki (Watershed)
Rock worked with Watershed Management and Engineering Services staff to ensure a smooth transition for the Watershed Management staff from 949 W. Bond to 901 W. Bond. Rock took a leadership role and was persistent in redesigning the original layout and helping with the actual move.

The next workplace principle will focus on poise. Nominations are due to Miki by Friday, May 16.

A Farewell Note...

Best wishes to our PWU colleagues on their retirement from City employment. We appreciate their service to our community. May they find success in all their future endeavors!

  • Charles Craig, ES/Street and Traffic Operations - 40 years
  • Doug Stevens, Wastewater - 22 years
  • John Miriovsky Water - 32 years


Congratulations to Caleb Whisenhunt (StarTran) for receiving the 2013 Mayor's Award Of Excellence.

February Mayor's Award of Excellence

StarTran Bus Operator Tom Hoppes was presented the Mayor's Award of Excellence for February by Mayor Beutler at the March 10 City Council meeting.

On January 20, Hoppes was loading two passengers on his Handi-Van at Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital. He was preparing to assist a wheelchairbound passenger onto the lift when he heard a noise, looked into the van and noticed the first passenger was staggering and appeared to be choking and in great distress. Hoppes tried to talk to the passenger and determined that she was choking and could not breathe. He immediately administered the Heimlich procedure, dislodging the obstruction and allowing the passenger to breathe freely.

"Tom is a dedicated bus operator for the City of Lincoln for over 25 years and serves as a great example of the type of people who work for StarTran," said Superintendent Mike Weston.

Congratulations Tom!

Tom Hoppes and receives award from Mayor Buetler

Technology Bits and Bytes

Technology Services (TS) recently completed the first of three critical computer infrastructure projects. PWU users are now migrated from a Novell-based file storage system to a Windows-based file storage system. The major difference for users is the reorganization of the F: drive for department files, creation of a P: drive for private files and the creation of a City-County shared S: drive. During the month of May, TS staff will begin cleaning up and purging duplicate files stored on the server.

In other news, TS has submitted initial budgets for the second infrastructure project – the Windows 7 upgrade project. The project includes upgrading or replacing all computers to eliminate the use of Windows XP. Also, construction has begun and equipment has been ordered to increase our fiber backbone to 10 gigabit and increase the City's Internet connection to 250 megabit.

Together, these efforts create a computing environment that will enable us, in collaboration with the State of Nebraska, to successfully implement the OnBase content management system.

Upcoming Events

APRIL 23 and 24
Spring Safety Meeting
Firefighters' Hall
StarTran's "Star Pass" available
Summer Youth Bus Pass (keyword: starpass)
KFRX Mayor's Run
8 a.m.
Waterfest and Public Works Day
Holmes Lake Park
5 to 8 p.m.

More PWU Events...

Upcoming Construction Projects

2014 Construction Season Projects (keyword: projects)

New Stormwater Quality Standards

The City recently amended the Lincoln Municipal Code by adding new regulations for Post Construction Stormwater Management. These new regulations require that new developments and significant redevelopments manage the quality of water run-off from rainfall events. To diminish the adverse impacts of pollutants to local waterways, the stormwater would be managed through the use of Best Management Practices (BMPs).

The BMPs are designed to reduce pollutants, increase base flows in streams, support riparian and aquatic habitats, and promote sustainable practices. The regulations also require facilities to be inspected and maintained by the property owner. The new rules will become effective February 1, 2016, providing time for developers and their representatives to prepare and plan for the new ordinance. To learn more about these new requirements, go to (keyword: clean water program).


LWS Part of Earth Wellness Festival

LPS fifth-graders at the Earth Wellness Festival

For the 19th consecutive year, Lincoln Water System (LWS) employees spoke to local fifth-graders about Lincoln's drinking water at the annual Earth Wellness Festival. Representing LWS this year were Eric Lee, Bill Fish, Jason LeMay, Ana William and John Keith.

Students also participated in a hands-on experiment by tasting samples of water that look normal, but may or may not contain "pollution" (salt and sugar were used). This fun activity taught students about drinking water regulations and how treatment and monitoring are necessary to maintain a safe, adequate supply of drinking water for Lincoln.

When students are asked, "Where does your drinking water come from?" many used to say, "Out of the faucet." But more and more are now answering, "From wells along the Platte River!" Because of LWS's involvement in Earth Wellness Day, students better understand the importance of keeping pollution out of lakes, rivers and groundwater because these are the sources of their drinking water supply.

Test yourself – Are you smarter than a 5th-grader?

Kids at the Earth Wellness Festival were asked questions like these:

  • "How many fire hydrants are in Lincoln?" (Answers ranged from 40 to 3 million.)
  • "How many miles of underground water mains are there?" (Answers ranged from 20 miles to 1 million.)
  • "How many gallons of water are stored in Lincoln reservoirs?" Answers ranged from 1,000 gallons to 500 million.)

The first 30 people to answer all three of the above questions correctly will receive a free rain gauge. Submit your answers to Meagan Pratt

Golden Shovel Award

Steve Samuelson, Project Manager, and Bob Yelkin, Superintendent — Two employees of Constructors Inc. were presented the Engineering Services' 2014 Golden Shovel Award for their work on a sidewalk project on Prescott Avenue from 47th to 48th streets. Constructors Inc. accommodated local businesses by maintaining access to their buildings during construction and kept them informed of daily events. Faced with unforeseen challenges, Constructors Inc. overcame obstacles, including underground fuel tanks, and the company has received numerous compliments on the project.

Congratulations Steve, Bob and Constructors Inc.!

Platinum Pen Award

Engineering Services awarded Steve Irons and Alfred Benesch & Company the 2014 Platinum Pen Award for their work throughout the 2013 construction season on numerous private agreement projects. Steve has a great working knowledge of the City's Standard Specifications and Plans and is very thorough and detail oriented. Steve's actions and those of Alfred Benesch & Company affirmed they had the best interest of the City in mind.

Congratulations Steve and Alfred Benesch & Company!

All available issues

June/July 2013 PDF 

  • Respect And Civility At Work
  • City Resources
  • Strong Linc Awards
  • A Farewell Note...
  • Condolences to Jeff Grove's Friends and Family
  • Service Awards
  • Something For The Kids: Dig Into Reading
  • Stormwater Runoff
  • Mayor's Award of Excellence for April
  • Dollar$ & Cent$ – City Council Approves Drought Rates
  • Water Conservation Poster Contest Winners
  • Flashing Yellow Arrows

April/May 2013 PDF 

  • Spring is Here!
  • Davis to Serve as StarTran Transit Manager
  • Strong Linc Awards
  • Whisenhunt Presented Mayor's Award of Excellence for January
  • A Farewell Note...
  • Morris Receives March Award of Excellence
  • Employee Training and Recognition Event
  • Golden Shovel and Platinum Pen Awards
  • Dollar$ & Cent$ – Managing the Cost of Electrical Power
  • Summer Water Restrictions Again Possible

February/March 2013 PDF 

  • Director's Corner: Laying the Groundwork
  • Call Before You Dig
  • Strong Linc Awards
  • A Farewell Note...
  • Condolences to Warren Wondercheck's Friends and Family
  • 2013 Home & Garden Show
  • Welcome Frank Uhlarik!
  • StarTran Stuff the Bus
  • StarTran 31-Consecutive Day Bus Pass Has New Lower Price!
  • Dollar$ & Cent$ – Funding Utility Services
  • Lincoln's Biosolids Land Application Program: 20 Years Old and Going Strong
  • PWU Recognized at NWEA Conference

December 2012 / January 2013 PDF 

  • Lincoln Water System Utility Supervisors Vital to Asset Management
  • StarTran 2012 Big Red Express
  • Strong Linc Awards
  • Brian Dittmann and Steve Titus are Retiring!
  • PWU Teams Up With Lincoln Public School Students
  • Dollar$ & Cent$ – Engineering Services
  • Municipal Services Center Continues Renovations
  • PWU Praised for Cooperative Efforts

October/November 2012 PDF 

  • Director's Corner: We Endure
  • City of Lincoln Wellness Program
  • Strong Linc Awards
  • A Farewell Note...
  • September Mayor's Award of Excellence
  • The Drought of 2012
  • Prepping for Snow
  • Wellness Initiatives
  • StarTran Serves 2,000,000 Riders

August/September 2012 PDF 

  • Public Works and Utilities Runs Defense
  • VoIP
  • Strong Linc Awards
  • Leadership Link Manager of the Year
  • July Mayor's Award of Excellence
  • Taylor Buss: Public Works and Utilities Ambassador
  • Dollar$ & Cent$ – Asset Management: A Commitment to a Sustainable Community
  • Wastewater FROGs
  • StarTran Receives Environmental Leadership Award

June/July 2012 PDF 

  • Dollar$ & Cent$ – "Color of Money"
  • Sidewalks: A Change in Responsibilities
  • Strong Linc Awards
  • John Ottoson is Retiring!
  • Kennedy Receives Mayor's Award of Excellence
  • Public Works Day Celebrated During Waterfest
  • 2011 Mayor's Award of Excellence Honorable Mention: Jose Regueira
  • June is National Safety Month
  • Safety is Director's Top Priority
  • Compost Program Nearing Anniversary
  • Water Conservation Poster Contest Winners

April/May 2012 PDF 

  • Director's Corner: Who We Are
  • E-mail "Alerts"
  • National Public Works Week
  • Strong Linc Awards
  • Service Awards
  • February Mayor's Award of Excellence
  • PWU Active in Sustainability Events
  • Stuff the Bus
  • Double Roundabout Wins Prestigious ACEC Honor Award
  • 56th and Elkcrest Water Main Breaks
  • Clean Water Program
  • Golden Shovel Award

February/March 2012 PDF 

  • PWU Director Esposito Appoints Marketing Committee
  • Snow Removal Effort Receives Multiple Compliments
  • Employee Kudos!
  • Terry Ullsperger Receives Award From HBAL
  • 2012 Home & Garden Show
  • StarTran Sees 20 Percent Increase in Ridership Over Two Years
  • City Has Filled More Than 7,000 Potholes This Winter
  • We're Listening: Why does it take so long to clear my cul-de-sac?

Marketing Committee Members

*Newsletter Committee Member

Kitty Elliott
Clay Engelman
*Kris Humphrey
Lance Loschen
Kyle Williams
*Meagan Pratt
Michelle Zuhlke
Rock Krzycki
Gene Hanlon
*Michele Abendroth