It was an exciting first day of school for Clearwater elementary as the Henry Doorly Zoo made an appearance with several animals in hand.
Students learned about various animals and then had the opportunity to touch skins, shells or fur as well as several live animals, including a box turtle and a toad.
There was excitement in the air in Clearwater on Tuesday as the new school year got started.
Students from seniors all the way to kindergarteners all made their way to the school for the first time in the 2017-18 school year. Kids shared waves, smiles and hugs with friends, teachers and parents as they kicked off another school year.
Lots of improvements have been made to the Clearwater school just in time for school to start.
At Monday’s board meeting, Mike Sanne, principal, showed the board many improvements the school has made during the summer. Some improvements included new cement sidewalks, updated bathrooms, and waxed floors. A new door with a card reader that was discussed in early meetings will also be placed in shortly.
Also discussed at the meeting was a new building fund levy as a recommendation to the unified board.
Last year, the building fund levy rose as a compromise to two and a half cents. Because a bond that Clearwater had instituted for HVAC was paid off last year, raising the building fund levy a half cent more meant that taxpayers were paying no more than what they had previously.
Brian King asked the board, “Does it seem to be enough, is it too much?”
Many responded by saying that is should be raised no more. Regina Krebs followed by doing some math on how much money was coming from the levy with a difference of two cents and two and half cents.
“Two and a half cents is about $78,000 and two cents is about $65,000,” estimated Krebs.
The board then agreed to recommend no more than two and half cents and prefered two cents.
Discussion of a new para and sped bus driver was also on the agenda. The board unanimously voted to approve Amy Chips to fill the position.
The next Clearwater board meeting will be held on September 4 at 7 p.m.
A field fire north of Clearwater was extinguished quickly Thursday thanks to the fast response of the Clearwater Rural Fire Department.
On Thursday afternoon, the Clearwater Rural Fire Department responded to a report of a field fire 1 mile east of the Fred Thiele residence north-east of Clearwater. The blaze has spread thanks to the dry conditions but was quickly brought down to a smolder.
This story will be updated as more information becomes available.
Catelyn Hall was crowned queen of the 2017 Clearwater Rodeo, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary.
Hall, daughter of Doug and Luan Hall of Neligh, was named royalty at the rodeo on Friday. The other queen finalists were Brooklyn Behmer of Hoskins, Macy Zentner of Cedar Rapids and Sadie Smutny of Meadow Grove.
Hall grew up on her family farm near Brunswick, where her interest in horses started at a young age.
Hall graduated from Plainview High School in 2014. She is currently studying at South Dakota State University where she majors in Animal Science with minors in Equine Studies, Ag Business, and Ag Marketing.
She currently competes on the equestrian team at SDSU. She will be a team captain for the 2017-2018 school year.
Hall said that she hopes to continue showing cutting and reining horses after graduation.
She has earned many achievements in previous competitions. She was a qualifier in Girls Cutting in the 2014 National High School Rodeo Finals. She was crowned Champion in the Green Reiner Level 2 Class at the 2016 NRHA Derby Show. She was Champion in the 15,000 Amateur Class at the 2016 CHAN Year End competition, and Champion in the 15,000 Amateur Class at the 2016 NCHA Area 7 competition.
Fifty years and numerous people have brought the annual Clearwater rodeo to life, especially Gene Snodgrass. With this marking the golden anniversary of Clearwater’s big rodeo, it was fitting that spectators be welcomed to the event by one of the rodeo’s biggest contributors.
The Gene Snodgrass Rodeo Arena was dedicated to Snodgrass after serving more than 35 years as the rodeo chairman.
“It was a complete surprise,” Snodgrass said with a laugh. “It was quite an honor.”
The rodeo began when Jim Tonniges, Larry Parker and Steve Patrias built posts out of willow trees and gathered woven fence from area farmers to start the rodeo in 1967. The rodeo grounds, once used as a race track, had a pit stop where the arena now sits. As time went on, the racetrack eventually fell away, but the Clearwater Rodeo remained strong.
“It turned into a nice little rodeo for a small community like this,” said Snodgrass.
Snodgrass started his rodeo career early when he decided to ride bulls in the eighth grade. His first rodeo was decades ago when his brother signed him up in Ewing. He was bucked off immediately.
“I didn’t think I would ever want to do that again, but I started back up,” Snodgrass said. “I rode until 1981 riding bulls.”
He continued his passion for the rodeo and he went on to judge rodeos, which he still continues to do today.
Clearwater has been a home to Snodgrass ever since 1972 when he decided to make farming and working on a feedlot his way of life. His passion for the rodeo atmosphere only grew stronger when he was elected to serve as the rodeo chairman after Tonniges passed the torch.
Snodgrass’s title entails everything from hiring contract personnel to taking care of the rodeo grounds. The heart of his job remains when he has the three biggest days of the year, the Clearwater Rodeo.
But, Snodgrass said he has lots of great help to get him through the busy weekend.
“The community has been behind us 100 percent every year,” he said.
With this marking 50 years, Snodgrass said more than 260 contestants from over five states will compete over the three days. He hinted at a special surprise during Saturday’s performance.
Those who were involved when the first rodeo began are also expected to make a special appearance to this year's rodeo. Many rodeo queens will return in a horse and wagon for an introduction into the rodeo, including Clearwater’s first rodeo queen.
What really remains true for the continuous dedication Snodgrass gives to the Clearwater Rodeo is what makes the hard work easy. A reward only given from the outcome of those three days of the year.
“When you fill the bleachers, that’s when it is rewarding,” said Snodgrass.