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Two Antelope County students, Brie Magdefrau of Elkhorn Valley and Madi Grosserode of Neligh-Oakdale, were among the top winners at the ESU 8 High School Art Show.
Mark Ervin, illustrator for both "The Simpsons" and "Futurama", was the judge this year and offered the merit winners critiques upon completion of the show as well as giving them a mini art lesson.
Not pictured are winners Ashton Meis of Pope John and the Pope John art students who were also merit winners.
Two Antelope County seniors are among those celebrating the 35th Anniversary of KCAU's "Best of the Class."
They are saluting the area's top academic achievers with the annual event. The program started back in 1983 to recognize and encourage academic excellence.
Antelope County "Best of the Class" are Neligh-Oakdale's Rachel Higgins and Orchard's Kirby Willats.
Rachel is the daughter of Brad and Jenny Higgins. Kirby is the son of Bob and Vicki Willats.
Talent is on display at the ESU 8 High School Art Show, and several local artists are among the top winners.
The Pope John art students picked up an Outstanding Merit Award for their computer art/video project featuring drawings of Syrian refugees. Also winning Outstanding Merit Awards were Brie Magdefrau of Elkhorn Valley with her jewelry project, Madi Grosserode of Neligh-Oakdale with her mixed media project, and Ashton Meis of Pope John with her acrylic project.
Participating schools at the show were Battle Creek, Clearwater, Elkhorn Valley, Ewing, Lutheran High Northeast, Madison, Neligh-Oakdale, Newman Grove, Norfolk Catholic, Norfolk Senior High, O’Neill St. Mary’s, Orchard, Osmond, Plainview, Pope John, Stanton, Verdigre, and West Holt.
The show will be open to the public from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Wednesday, April 25.
Steph Wanek is the ESU 8 art consultant and Mark Ervin is the judge.
Seven Antelope County natives were welcomed into Northeast Community College’s international honor society in a special ceremony recently.
Jordan Mescher of Elgin; Alexa Rae Dennis, Hallie Knutson, Tia Smith, and Hunter Bergman of Neligh; and Joseph O’Brien and William O’Brien of Tilden were seven of 159 students that were installed into Northeast’s Phi Theta Kappa, (PTK), Tau Chi chapter during the spring 2018 induction ceremony held in the Lifelong Learning Center.
Since the installation of Northeast’s Tau Chi chapter in 1996, approximately 3,100 students have been inducted into the international academic honor society for two-year colleges. For more than 80 years, membership in Phi Theta Kappa has signified a singular honor and a willingness to embrace the Society’s shared commitment to academic excellence.
To be eligible for PTK, students must have earned at least 12 credit hours and achieved a minimum grade point average of 3.5 or above out of a 4.0 system.
Dr. Michael Chipps, president of Northeast Community College, spoke at the ceremony. He told students that their dedication to academic excellence aligns with the College’s commitment to student success.
“If we really believe that teaching and learning is what we’re all about, and that’s very important to a college, you exemplify what that means. You are the individuals who rise above, who really do great work, both academically and professionally.”
Dr. Michele Gill, dean of health and wellness at Northeast, thanked the Tau Chi chapter for serving as “catalysts” in the College’s academic integrity campaign, which included a series of week-long events the chapter developed to inform and educate approximately 1,050 Northeast students on topics such as plagiarism, proper citation and others.
“Your student voice leads to the awareness and importance of academic integrity that’s changing our campus culture and positively moving us forward. Catalysts do just that. They cause change and serve as a stimulus for change.”
The following Northeast Community College students have qualified for PTK during Spring 2018 semester:
Ainsworth - Elizabeth Goshorn; Arlington - Jacqueline Bartosh; Battle Creek - Leann Aldana, Cody Borgelt; Beemer - Gina Renner; Blair - Madison Kment, Allyson Schlueter; Bloomfield - Ashley Guenther, Wilson Wagner; Bristow - Mary Ruda; Clarkson - MaGyver Brabec, Joseph Kratochvil; Columbus - Ryanne Lueders, Spencer Van Buskirk, Noah Wynn; Creston - Karmen Hake; Elgin - Jordan Mescher; Elyria - Jessica Michalski; Ewing - Hannah Kruntorad; Franklin - Payton Rose; Hampton - Tayler Klassen; Hartington - Adam Loecker, Courtney Pick, Kelby Schommer, Paige Wuebben; Hoskins - Evan Puls, Bailey Wetzel; Howells - Samantha Brester; Hubbard - Caleb Gubbels; Humphrey - Crystal Brandl, Chase Eisenmenger; Lyons - Jacob Nelson; Madison - Kelsey Bartak, Kamara Hackerott, Moriah Hart, Shane Ruh; McCook - Joseph Biegler; Nebraska City - Brennen Bales; Neligh - Alexa Rae Dennis, Hallie Knutson, Tia Smith; Norfolk - Alex Anderson, Joshua Bennett, Zoey Bergman, Taylor Borst, Tricia Brandl, Max Dederman, Shawn French, Nicole Frewing, Zaine Gallagher, Kyle Grashorn, Allison Hasebroock, Dominique Kelberlau, Whitney Lindsay, Jacob Mrsny, Emily Sojka, Halle Wiese; Oakland - Jamie Johnson; Ogallala - Cordell Walker; O’Neill - Breanna Hedstrom; Ord - Dana Fahrenholz, Tanner Knight; Osceola - Trae Meysenburg; Palmer - Michael Wolfe; Pierce - Alexander Retzlaff, Emily Simmons; Pleasanton - Trey Keaschall; Randolph - Sarah Aschoff, Andrew Schnoor; Seward - Lea Kayton, Molly Suhr; Shelby - Delaney Belt; Silver Creek - Sara Czarnick; South Sioux City - Kori Fischer, Juan Hernandez, Lizeth Hernandez, Abdirahman Jama, Sara Navarro, Ashton Wilson; Stanton - Sara Vollbrecht; Verdigre - Madisen Randa, Kayla Vondracek; Wayne - Dannica Chrisman, Ashlee Hingst, Caitlin Janke, Jessica Lueth, Sydnie Niemann, Jacqueline Sherman, Morgan Sievers, Morgan Swanson; Winnebago - Zachary Swanson.
Out of State
CO, Canon City - Elizabeth McCalla
IA, Hospers - Dustin Schmit
IA, Sioux City - Thuy Ho
IL, Elgin - Teagan Pompa
PA, Johnstown - Robert Thomas
SD, Dakota Dunes - Delaney Jensen
SD, Sioux Falls - Ashley Jenkins
SD, Yankton - Preslee Edler
TX, Hughes Springs - Stephen Richardson
Italy, Reggio Emilia - Massimiliano Simonazzi
The following Northeast Community College students qualified for PTK during Fall 2017 semester:
Ainsworth - Melissa Franklin; Albion - Staci Sandman; Atkinson - Sarah Hamik, Cody Wells; Battle Creek - Ashley Dittberner; Beemer - Morgan Eisenhauer; Carroll - Mikyla Bartos; Clarkson- Rachel Rupprecht; Coleridge - Joshua Davison; Columbus - Kaitlyn Hogeland; Dakota City - Stacie Pfister; Fullerton - Katherine Shotkoski; Hemingford - Cole Walters; Humphrey - Amy Slama; Kennard - Jacob Miller; Neligh - Hunter Bergman; Norfolk - David Avery, Issa Bissiri, Ana Gonzalez Suarez, Seth Johnson, Yolanda Mendez, Brooklyn Osborne, Bethany Phelps, Justice Price, Justin Snorton, Abdoul Sore, Sabrina Swenson; O’Neill - Jayde Rosenkrans, Logan Connot, Rita Sterns, Tejlor Strope; Palisade - Daryn Carroll; Pierce - Sadie Johanson, Morgan Stone; Platte Center - Rebecca Brauner; Plattsmouth - Jaime Titus; Saint Libory - Kristin Trenhaile; Schuyler - Myiesha Hartman, Allen Zrust; South Sioux City - Nicholle Edwards, Domingo Franco, Maria Garcia-Lemus; Spencer - Alyssa Ludwig; Sutton - Trevor Griess; Tilden - Joseph O’Brien, William O’Brien; Valentine - Maslon Poulsen; Valparaiso - Stephanie Draper; Wakefield - Rachel Backman, Megan Borg, Danika Dorcey, Savannah Nelson; Waterbury - Manjula Seneviratne; West Point - Taylor Miserez, Matthew Schuetze; Winside - Connor Lemke-Elznic.
Out of State
IA, Moville - Celeste Durant
IA, Sioux City - Melissa Cruz Saldana
Northeast Phi Theta Kappa sponsors are Colleen Barnes, criminal justice/sociology instructor, Amanda Nipp, vice president of student services, and Andrea Suhr, physical therapist assistant instructor.
Northeast Community College offers over 80 concentrations/options of study preparing students for immediate employment or transfer to a four-year college or university.
The three-school merger talks abruptly halted last week but could potentially be back on with different schools in the mix.
After Ewing unanimously voted Wednesday to withdraw from discussions with Neligh-Oakdale, the potential merger between Clearwater, Ewing and Neligh-Oakdale dissolved. But little time was wasted until discussions from Ewing shifted to replacing Neligh-Oakdale with Orchard and whether Orchard would be interested in future talks.
In the last nine months, Orchard has remained relatively silent on merger talks, but two board members — Terra Williby and Terri Hergert — on Monday night said they were open to discussions.
Hergert said in the last few days that she had fielded a call from Ewing stakeholders asking questions and showing interest in merger talks.
“I think we need to keep looking at it, if that includes Verdigre. I want to throw that out there,” Hergert said. “We have to do what we can to keep them in the formula. There has to be some way to make it work.”
Curriculum & Finances
Clearwater members have said they remain open to all discussion. On Monday, Clearwater President Amy Thiele clarified that her district was originally interested in a merger with Ewing and Neligh-Oakdale because of the curriculum benefits it could offer, which she said potentially outweighed the levy increase of building a new facility.
“That was still worth it to Clearwater because we wanted to expand our curriculum. How do we provide more to our students,” Thiele said.
Ewing Board member Pete Funk went through the financial aspect on Wednesday. He said with a merger and construction of a $40 million facility, Neligh-Oakdale would see a nearly 30 percent decrease in its levy, Ewing 9 percent decrease and Clearwater’s levy would actually increase.
“Neligh-Oakdale had a win on curriculum, a win on location and a win financially. Clearwater had a win on curriculum and a win on location and they lost financially. Ewing had a win on curriculum and two losses on location and financially, so that’s why we voted the way we did,” Ewing Board member Tim Larson said during their meeting Thursday.
Thiele asked if the Unified Board was only “in this to save our taxpayers money” or if expanding curriculum was key to them as well. She said to give students more career pathways and hands-on learning, the Unified District will need more staff, which means increasing the budget.
“If you want to make the Unified District appealing, how do we get new towns to come in? How do we get Clearwater to stay? Don’t sit around and wait for Clearwater to make a decision. Let’s be proactive. How do we make the Unified District appealing to people?” she said.
Is Expanding Unification An Option?
The Nebraska Unified District contract between Orchard, Clearwater and Verdigre runs through June 2020. Ewing or other schools could join the unification, but the district could also be disbanded.
Orchard has remained firm on both with wanting to remain unified and retain a relationship with Verdigre while Ewing previously opposed joining the unification. Ewing Board President Mark Ramold said during his board meeting that it’s time for everyone to start fresh with all topics.
“I’ll repeat my collective amnesia comment,” Ramold said. “I made a comment in the past that all three boards — and potentially all three towns — need to develop collective amnesia and just forget about all of the things that made you mad in the past. We all know what we need to work toward. Let’s put stuff aside and get after it.”
Ramold said building a new school on the Royal Road was a tough sell for Ewing stakeholders. When asked by the public if building near Summerland Road was still in the mix, Ewing Board members said they believed it was possible.
All of the boards said they were open to communications, and the members of the public suggested they have meetings as well to discuss merging Clearwater, Ewing and Orchard. Ewing Principal Greg Appleby said that could make a difference this time around.
“Maybe that would be something different that would make it work,” Appleby said. “If it came from people of the community of all three, I think it would definitely help and be a different way than it’s been tired to be done in the past. … A lot of things get done when the people want it.”
Consolidation Not Absorption
A turning point for merger talks came a week ago Monday when Neligh-Oakdale board members discussed absorbing Clearwater and no longer including Ewing in the mix. Neligh-Oakdale suggested four potential sites for a new school, all of which were no further than 4.5 miles from Neligh. Three of the sites would be within city limits, pending annexation.
“We are always open to keeping doors open. However, I would like to address that we have never once said that we are interested in closing our building down and sending all of our students to Neligh. Some people call it absorption. We are not interested in being absorbed," Thiele said immediately after Ewing withdrew from talks with Neligh-Oakdale. "That’s never been on our radar. We started this project to increase our offerings for our students, flexibility in our staff schedules and there was a bonus on some tax savings on the side of that. We don’t want to be absorbed. And we can keep the doors open but, if that is the road you want to pursue, we just want to say that we are not interested.”
Thiele, who is originally from Neligh, said no board should have more control than any other in making decisions.
“I’d like to address, our doors are open. But, I think there were some concerns that because one school was bigger that the others district, people were worried that they were going to have more say. Or they were going to have more control. Well, we are all on an equal playing field. I remember hearing Ryan (Koinzan) say at one meeting, 'I grew up on 411 K, and I am from Neligh.' Well, I would just like to say, I grew up at 210 D, and I was from Neligh," Thiele said. "And we are all here to educate our kids. It doesn’t matter how big our town is, how many students. We are on an equal playing field because we all have one job sitting up here. And that is to provide the best education for our kids. And nobody is compromising down. Nobody. We are equal.”
What About Neligh-Oakdale?
Ewing’s motion to withdraw from talks only included withdrawing from talks with Neligh-Oakdale. Clearwater said it’s open to continuing talks but clarified that it wouldn’t consider absorption.
If talks of a three-school merger shifts to replace Neligh-Oakdale with Orchard, the question remains — what about Neligh-Oakdale?
After Ewing withdrew from talks, all of Neligh-Oakdale’s board sat mute, except for President David Wright, who pleaded for talks to continue and said the schools needed to merge because the state legislature wasn’t going to cut their property taxes without increasing other taxes to make up the shortfall.
“The Lone Ranger isn’t on the other side of the hill,” Wright said. “The calvary’s not coming. It didn’t come for Page. It didn’t come for Inman. It didn’t come for Emmet. They’re not coming.”
It’s unclear if any of the future merger talks will include Neligh-Oakdale.
Nebraska State Patrol (NSP) troopers will be weeding out drugged drivers in a special enforcement operation planned for this Friday, April 20.
The operation will include troopers and dispatchers from Troop A – Omaha and Troop H – Lincoln working overtime to reduce the potential for crashes related to marijuana impairment.
“Drugged driving is extremely dangerous,” said Colonel John Bolduc, Superintendent of the Nebraska State Patrol. “Our troopers have done tremendous work to pull marijuana and other drugs off the street this year. This operation is another step to keep Nebraska’s roads safe.”
So far in 2018, NSP troopers have seized more than 2,000 pounds of marijuana during traffic stops. That figure outpaces the amount seized in the each of the last several years.
Friday’s drugged driving operation is made possible thanks in part to a grant for $4,200 from the Nebraska Department of Transportation – Highway Safety Office (NDOT-HSO).
Due to the anticipated storm and poor road conditions this weekend, the Nebraska Ambassadors of Music 2019 Europe trip informational meetings Saturday in Plainview and Neligh have been postponed to a later date.
Information on a makeup date will be sent to those invited. Students and parents may also attend the meeting at Norfolk Catholic on Saturday, May 5.
The annual ESU 8 K-8 Spring Art Festival will be held at the Antelope County Fair Grounds Building in Neligh.
K-8 artwork will be displayed from students in the seven county area of Antelope, Boyd, Holt, Madison, Pierce, Stanton and Wheeler Counties.
The show will be open to the public from Friday, April 6 through Tuesday, April 10 from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day with the exception of Sunday, April 8 - hours will be 12 p.m. to 3 p.m.
The show will represent approximately 25 schools and 5,550 students. There is no fee to enjoy the Art and everyone is welcome.