Olympic coach and world-renowned performance expert, John Underwood, visited area schools to educate students and individuals throughout the community.
The Area Substance Abuse Prevention (ASAP) Coalition brought Underwood to Ainsworth, O’Neill St. Mary’s, Neligh-Oakdale, and Pierce High Schools with many other schools attending including; Clearwater, Orchard, Creighton, West Holt, Boyd County-Spencer, and Elgin Pope John.
Underwood discussed a multitude of topics, starting with an explanation about brain control, and how different substances, foods, and behaviors affect the brain. Reflecting on this, he also stated the effects this has on athletic and academic performance. Underwood shared that alcohol shuts down the body’s ability to burn fat by 75%, so the best way to lose weight is to stop drinking. He also researched the negative effects on performance finding that one night of binge drinking can cost an athlete 14 days of training.
Not only does this affect performance, but the use of alcohol and marijuana also has a negative effect on sleep. These substances have show to suppress the release of melatonin, Human Growth Hormone (HGH), testosterone, and other body system hormones, resulting in the inhibition of REM sleep which is crucial to repair and recovery in the Central Nervous System.
“If you don’t sleep, you don’t grow,” Underwood simply stated.
"If you would like more information about John Underwood’s program, contact Whitney Abbott at 402-336-2406 or firstname.lastname@example.org. This presentation was paid for by (in part) under grant #1H79SP020880-01 from the Office of National Drug Control Policy and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The views, policies, and opinion expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of ONDCP, SAMHSA OR HHS."
Antelope County taxpayers will pay less in 2017-18 thanks to a quarter percent decrease in tax asking.
On Tuesday, the commissioners officially approved the budget, asking for $5,092.972.42. That’s down from $5,105,375.18 from 2016-17.
The levy will actually increase from .194739 to .200111, but the overall taxes paid will decrease.
Antelope County is asking for $4,611,845.36 for the general fund, $355,054,63 for the Antelope County Law Enforcement Center bond, $17,772.16 for reappraisal and $108,300.27 for the building.
Commissioners approved the cash reserve of $753,000.
Editors Note: More information has been released for this story by authorities. Taylor Schwager has been identified as one of the men in the story and this story has been updated.
An Elgin man was arrested this week after an alleged theft of equipment.
A probable cause affidavit issued in Antelope County on Thursday led to the arrest of Nathan Henn, 28, for the theft of a Blue Jet field ripper. The ripper was stolen from rural Verdigre in the spring of 2016.
According to the affidavit, Henn was working for Taylor Schwager of Orchard in the spring of 2016 when he agreed to help procure the ripper in exchange for eliminating debt that Henn owed to Schwager for back rent, vehicle insurance and to cover a bad check. The affidavit also stated that Henn took the Schwager's tractor and returned the next day with the ripper.
The debt was approximately $4,000, and Henn was paid an additional $1,500 for the ripper. Henn then allegedly painted the ripper, in addition to repairing and moving the hazard lights.
The affidavit gives probable cause to believe that Henn committed theft by receiving stolen property.
He is currently being held at the Antelope County Law Enforcement Center on 10 percent of a $50,000 bond.
ACT results released Thursday show that Elgin was the only public school in Antelope County to either meet or exceed the state average. All other schools were 1 point or more below the state average.
Elgin's Class of 2017 ACT test results show a composite score of 21.8, just above the state average of 21.4 and the national average of 21.0. The highest score possible on the exam is 36.
“We like to see our kids have success in regards to the ACT, but we understand that their is more educating our students than just one test score,” said Elgin principal Greg Wemhoff. “We always try and focus on the big picture of educating our kids thoroughly on the subject matter as well as having High expectations. Also, we feel it is just as important, if not more so, for them to work on being well-rounded, responsible, effort driven and dedicated learners. It is our belief if we do those things well, the individual scores and testing along the way takes care of itself.”
The Nebraska Department of Education released the Nebraska ACT scores officially on Thursday, although the districts had already received their results.
Comparing the Antelope County schools, Elkhorn Valley was second with a composite score average of 20.4. That was below the state average but above the national average.
Neligh-Oakdale's 20.0 was also below the state average but was the same as the national average. The Unified District (Orchard-Verdigre-Clearwater) was just below the national average with a 19.9, as well as the state average.
As far as the number of students taking the test, Elgin had just 11 seniors while Elkhorn Valley had 13. At Neligh-Oakdale, 26 took the ACT. There were 25 seniors who took the exam from the Unified District.
“Low numbers can make the results sway one way our the other very quickly,” Wemhoff said. “We understand that our average could drop or increase drastically from year to year. All we can do is continue to do the best preparing the kids the best we can.”
Statewide, 18,993 graduates took the ACT. That's up from 17,745 in 2013. Juniors began taking the ACT last year, but their results won't be reported until after their graduation in 2018.
Wemhoff said while the ACT is one good measurement of the students preparedness for college, it is not the only deciding factor of the future success of the student.
“Making it a benchmark is only OK as long as the public and the students understand that fact, and that it is not the same as lower grade bench marks that test basic skills and subject competencies,” he said. “It is a college preparedness and NOT a life preparedness, or vocational preparedness or job ready preparedness benchmark. In that respect, I think it is too post-secondary educationally centered to be applied to all Nebraska juniors of the public schools.”
The ACT is broken down into four categories - English, math, reading and science. Elgin's highest score was in math with a 22.3, followed by English 22.2, science 22.0 and reading 20.5.
For Elkhorn Valley, the highest score was in math at 20.7, followed by reading 20.4, English, 19.9 and science 19.9.
Neligh-Oakdale's highest score was in reading at 20.8, followed by science 20.7, math 19.3 and English 18.8.
Unified District's highest score was in reading at 20.8, followed by science 20.6, English 19.2 and math 18.4.
Nebraska Key Findings
• Nebraska graduates of 2017 had an average Composite score of 21.4, compared to the national average of 21.0.
• Compared to the 2017 Nebraska graduating class Composite average of 21.4, Nebraska graduates in 2016 and 2013 had Composite averages of 21.4 and 21.5, respectively.
• Nebraska African American 2017 graduates who took the ACT had an average Composite score of 17.6. This compares to average Composite scores of 17.2 and 17.1 for graduating classes from 2016 and 2013, respectively.
• In 2017, 28 percent of Nebraska graduates met all four ACT College Readiness Benchmarks. This compares to 28 and 28 percent of 2016 and 2013 graduates, respectively.
• In 2017, 27 percent of Nebraska graduates met zero ACT College Readiness Benchmarks. This compares to 27 and 25 percent of 2016 and 2013 graduates, respectively.
Antelope County residents have dealt with a good amount of moisture over the past month. Nearly half the month has been marked by precipitation, causing flash flooding in area of the county. In fact, the area hasn’t experienced this much rain in a decade.
According to the National Weather Service, Neligh in Antelope County has received a recorded 6.91 inches of rain throughout the month of August. Precipitation was recorded on 13 days throughout the month, including a six-day stretch from August 12 through August 17.
A good portion of the precipitation came during that stretch, including on the 15th when Neligh reportedly had 3.07 inches of rain, just one day after receiving .98 inches.
In comparison, last year Neligh received just 2.73 inches of rain. Generally, Antelope County doesn’t experience much moisture this time of year, averaging about 3.83 inches in August since 2000.
Only once since 2000 has the area experienced a wetter August. That was in 2007 when 9.71 inches of precipitation drenched the area, adding to the highest yearly total since 2000. Only once in that same time frame has the area experienced more than six inches of moisture in the month of August, two years ago in 2015.
In contrast, the area received just .70 inches of rain in August, 2000, the lowest total in the last 17 years. The only other time in that frame the area has received less than an inch in August was 2004.
Through August, the area has had more than 25 inches of moisture in 2017. The yearly average for Neligh is 29.10. If averages hold, the area will finish the year above the average by more than three inches.
The daily totals for the month to date (in inches) are:
Total for 8/2017: 6.91
Total for 8/2016: 2.73
Total for 8/2015: 6.13
Total for 8/2014: 4.88
Total for 8/2013: 3.01
Total for 8/2012: 1.40
Total for 8/2011: 5.05
Total for 8/2010: 4.11
Total for 8/2009: 5.82
Total for 8/2008: 1.91
Total for 8/2007: 9.71
Enrollment numbers are in for most school districts in Antelope County, and Elkhorn Valley surpassed Neligh-Oakdale as the largest school in Antelope County.
Elkhorn Valley has 389 students, compared to Neligh-Oakdale's 381. Elkhorn Valley's enrollment increased more than 7 percent this year while Neligh-Oakdale's dropped 5.4 percent.
Nebraska Unified's district (Orchard, Clearwater and Verdigre schools) enrollment is 426, which is down 2.7 percentage. With the three individual schools, Orchard has the lowest enrollment at 126 while Clearwater has 163 students. Verdigre has 137 students.
Elgin has not provided its enrollment numbers to date.
The enrollment figures that will be sent to the state will be from the last Friday in September.
To help build a more respectful school culture, Youth Frontiers, the leading character education organization in the Upper Midwest, partnered with many area schools on Thursday, August 24th at Niobrara Public School.
The 5th and 7th grade classes from Orchard, Elgin, and Elkhorn Valley Schools took part in this event. Founded in 1987, Youth Frontiers’ dynamic retreats inspire students to live out the values of kindness and courage in their personal and school lives. Youth Frontiers aims to change the way kids treat each other in every hallway, lunch line, and classroom of every school in America.
As awareness and concern around the issue of bullying continue to grow, schools are looking for help. Schools understand that something needs to be done to change the way kids treat one another. Moreover, the best prevention strategies engage the entire school community in building a culture of respect.
Last Thursday, Youth Frontiers’ leaders offered a grade-specific retreat for 5th graders to learn about the importance of kindness and to acquire tools to build empathy. The 7th graders focused on courage when standing up for others. Each session had multiple team building activities and small group break-out session -- these sessions were led by high school students from each school.
The Youth Frontier leaders also shared stories that left an impact on the students. At the end of the day, students committed to acting with character and wrote down a self-statement on what they will commit to do back at their school.
The Nebraska Department of Transportation maintenance forces began armor coating on N-14 from Verdigre to the N-14/US-20 junction. Traffic will be maintained with flaggers and a pilot car. Motorists can expect reduced speed, slight delays and loose gravel on the roadway.
Anticipated completion for this project is late afternoon on August 31. Please use caution when traveling through this area.
Three area bands will be taking the showcasing their talents at the Nebraska’s 148th State Fair.
From August 25th to September 2nd, several marching bands from across Nebraska will head down to Grand Island to perform throughout the week. Verdigre Junior Senior High School Cougar Band, Elkhorn Valley Marching Band, and Neligh-Oakdale High School Band are among the three area bands that will be playing.
Starting at 12:15 pm on August 26th, the Verdigre Band will make their appearance at the Welcome Center to Marketplace. In the same area on August 30th at 11:45 pm, the Elkhorn Valley Marching Band will showcase their talents. Finally, the Neligh-Oakdale High School Band will finish up our area band performances at 11:00 am on September 1st at the Marketplace as well.
Be sure to head down to Grand Island to the Nebraska State Fair to support our area bands, and watch the hard work put in by the instructors and students.
A rare performance is coming to Neligh -- Saturday, September 9. Antelope County’s own Full Choke Band will headline the Neligh Fall Festival with an opening act from Nick Monteith. Be sure to make your way to the historic Neligh Mills, two blocks west of highway 275, for a day full of activities.
Starting in the morning, the Lion’s Club will host a breakfast at the Senior Center that will offer waffles and breakfast casserole. Fun for the kids’ will begin at 10 a.m. with the kid’s inflatable bouncy house offering a variety of kid’s games, face painting, and cookie decorating. From 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., you won’t want to miss out on an exciting experience to take a ride on a horse-drawn carriage.
Among the variety of events offered, the festival would like to proudly introduce the cookie baking and eating contests. Prizes in big bucks will be presented to the first through third place winners. Be sure to check out the details and pre-register today.
Mark your calendars for Saturday, September 9th, and be sure to bring out your family and friends to this year’s festival. Check out the full schedule for the upcoming Neligh Mills Fall Festival.