After devastating natural disasters around the world, most notably multiple hurricanes, several local churches came together to raise money for relief efforts and chose the Orphan Grain Train to assist with dispersing the funds.
Organize in 1992, the Orphan Grain Train has sent nearly 3,000 semi-loads worldwide. One 40-foot ocean-going freight costs between $5,000-$19,000 to ship. The organization sent 208 shipments in 2016-17, including 107 to foreign countries.
The Orphan Grain Train sent more than 100 shipments domestically, which costs less in freight. The average cost to ship a box of donated goods is $11.
Besides raising money for freight, the organization has a large wish list for assistance, beginning with volunteers. As for supplies, they ask for cloth and disposable diapers, layettes and stuffed toys for infants.
They also seek medical equipment and supplies (bed and bath linens, sheets, disposable gowns and gloves, prosthetic limbs, walkers, wheelchairs, crutches, canes). As for hygiene supplies, they ask for sanitary products for women, toothbrushes, towels, bar soap and combs.
School supplies are also needed, including backpacks, coloring books, crayons, new pens and pencils, writing paper, notebooks and sports equipment such as soccer balls.
Clothing is a common donation. They seek new underwear for all sizes and ages. Clean and wearable shoes, along with clothing.
For more information on donations, call 402-371-7393 or email email@example.com. To contribute by credit card, go to www.ogt.org.
Longtime publishers Joseph and Mary Skrivan plan to retire after selling the newspaper to Pitzer Digital, LLC, based in Neligh and owned by Carrie and Wade Pitzer. Carrie Pitzer will become just the fifth publisher in the history of the publication.
Joe Skrivan purchased the paper from his father, Bill, in 1981. Bill Skrivan purchased it from his brother-in-law Pete Stepp in 1944. Stepp became publisher in 1924, having bought the paper from founders Walt and Whitt Neeman, who published the first newspaper on Dec. 12, 1890.
“We’ve spent the last several months working with and getting to know Joe, Mary and the Bloomfield community,” Pitzer said. “It’s very important to us to carry on their strong tradition and legacy. The more I get to know Joe, the more I find he and I are very similar in our journalistic integrity and values. I hope to make them very proud.”
Many readers already will be familiar with the Pitzers, who have ran the online-based Knox County News website since 2014. They also own the Antelope County News and Living Here Magazine. Carrie Pitzer has spent 20 years in Northeast Nebraska media, having spent the first 15 years of her career at the Norfolk Daily News, beginning in sports, then news and finally in online news and advertising.
Under new ownership, there will be noticeable changes with the Bloomfield Monitor from content to design. Pitzer said she has spoken at length with the Skrivans about the changes, and they have been nothing but supportive.
Among the most visible changes will be the updated design, color photos and emphasis on technology and social media. Pitzer said these are also the changes that the Skrivans are the most excited about seeing with the publication.
“We have a different philosophy than most newspapers simply because we don’t believe we are one. We’re a news source - not a newspaper,” Pitzer said. “We utilize old fashioned journalism but present it in a high-tech manner. We are online, in print, on social media. Readers will see in depth feature stories and high quality photos online and in print. They’ll also see breaking news and lots of sports coverage.”
Pitzer Digital has already hired Cory Loomis, a 1993 Bloomfield graduate, as a reporter and photographer. Loomis’ photography ability is well known in the community and is a great asset to the publication, Pitzer said. He also has strong connections with the community.
The company plans to hire another reporter and photographer in the coming weeks. Pitzer said Jessie Loomis also has joined the company as an advertising representative and will work with all of the company’s publications.
While the Bloomfield Monitor is officially now the Knox County News/Bloomfield Monitor, Pitzer said subscribers should not be concerned about the name change. In fact, Pitzer said the first edition should rest all fears as it will be full of Bloomfield news.
“If this wasn’t a good move for the Bloomfield Monitor, there’s no way Joe and Mary would have sold it to us,” Pitzer said. “Times and technology have changed, and they understand that in order for a small town newspaper to thrive, it has to expand. They support this expansion, and I truly believe our Bloomfield readers will be happy with our plan to increase coverage in Bloomfield and still add in Knox County news. This really is a win-win for the Bloomfield Monitor.”
The Knox County News/Bloomfield Monitor will still be located at 110 N. Broadway in Bloomfield. Staff can be reached by calling 402-373-2332 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
A Bellevue man received his sentencing during district court after an incident resulting in a DUI charge, a Class W Misdemeanor.
Jeremy Starman of Bellevue, Nebraska, was sentenced to 30 days in jail immediately, 18 months of probation and 10 years without a license. However, after 45 days of being released, Starman has the option to use an ignition interlock permit within 45 days of driving after being released.
Starman received his DUI charge after he was found in the ditch passed out with the passenger while the car was still running. The officer had to wake Starman up while observing beer bottles all over the floor. Starman said that he does not remember the incident, causing the judge to question whether he has problem or not.
Judge James Kube explained to Starman the circumstances as to why is sentencing is what it is, as well as showing how he truly wants to see the best come out of this situation.
Kube explained, “I think you need some more probation. But I want you to think about why you are going through this. I don’t want you to go through the steps and just get it over with. I want you to see if you can learn something. . . But, again when you’re going through this I want you to think about some of those things and try to get something out of what you’re being exposed to and that you’re hopefully learning so that you can use it when the time comes when you’re out somewhere, at a bar, at a party drinking, and. You have keys in your hand. To do something else than what you’ve been doing.”
Antelope County has been named the fifth healthiest county in the state of Nebraska.
Smartasset performed a study aiming to find the healthiest places throughout the country. To find these places in America, they considered three different factors: Length of Life, Health Behaviors and Healthcare Access.
The first factor, Length of Life, was measured by considering the premature death rate in a county.
The second factor, Health Behaviors, was measured with three points: the percentage of adults that are current smokers, the percentage of adults that are obese, and the percentage of adults that report binge or heavy drinking.
The third factor, Healthcare Access, was measured by the rate of primary care physicians per 100,000 residents, and also the rate of individuals uninsured.
Each of these factors were indexed on a scale of 0 to 100, with a weight average taken, then indexed to get a final number to generate the Length of Life Index, Health Behavior Index, and the Healthcare Access index.
Shelby Snodgrass, owner of 719 Fitness in Neligh said, "Honestly, it really does take me by surprise. We opened this gym not to long ago, and I feel like our little small towns are still new with the whole healthy concepts. But, I think this is really cool to see how healthy our county is."
With all of these factors considered, Antelope County was announced in the top ten healthiest counties scoring fifth.
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.