Local residents will be treated to a historic sight next week as they will watch the sun disappear...for a few minutes. That’s because Nebraska will be one of the best places to watch.
On Monday, Aug, 21, a total solar eclipse will be viewable across Nebraska for the first time in more than 60 years. The last time a total solar eclipse was visible in Nebraska occurred in 1954.
According to Billy Taylor, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in North Platte and a 1994 graduate of Neligh-Oakdale, the eclipse will start in the panhandle and move across the state.
“The eclipse will start in Nebraska in the panhandle at about 12:50 in the afternoon, and then it will move across the state,” Taylor said.
The path of the eclipse makes a diagonal across the state of Nebraska, running through multiple towns including Alliance, Grand Island and Bellevue. Taylor said the duration of its time across Nebraska will be about 20 minutes.
“It should be around Grand Island at around 1 p.m. or so, and then by 1:10 it will be down into Missouri,” he said.
The path of totality, the area across the state where the total eclipse will be visible, will be the only place where the complete and total eclipse will be viewable. However, the area has some leeway. Taylor said that the path of totality has a wide area in which it can be viewed.
“There are about 50 miles give or take above and below the path of totality to view the darkest part of the eclipse,” he said.
Taylor said although it won’t completely block out the sun, residents of Antelope County will see a massive part of the sun blocked out during the eclipse.
“In Antelope County, 90 percent of the sun will be obscured by the moon,” he said.
Spectators will flock from all over the world to Nebraska communities to view the eclipse, and for a good reason. This eclipse is the first one that is viewable from the mainland of the United States since 1979. On top of that, it is the first eclipse that stretches across the entire US since 1918.
The next solar eclipse viewable in the United States will take place in April of 2024. Although that stretches from Mexico to upstate New York, a partial solar eclipse will be seen from Nebraska.
Taylor said the rule of “never looking directly at the sun” still applies in this scenario, but in this case, it comes without proper protection. Taylor said there are multiple ways to shield ones eyes.
“They have viewing glasses that can be bought online. Welding goggles also work. The big thing is: Don’t look at the sun unless you have the proper protection,” Taylor said.
According to Taylor, when the total eclipse is in full effect, it can be viewed without glasses.
“If you are in the path of totality, you can look at the eclipse without protection when the moon is completely blocking the sun,” he said.
However, if the rays are visible around it, damage can be caused, so it is important to have protection on at all times outside of the total eclipse. Taylor said that it is also important to not use anything that will magnify the sun as it still can cause damage.
“Don’t try to use binoculars or telescopes to try and get a better view, as that will still burn your retinas,” he warned.
The National Weather Service, although not hosting viewing parties or launching solar balloons into the sky, will play an important part during the eclipse events. Taylor says they will be constantly watching weather patterns in the skies over the spectators.
“We are providing coverage for those communities in the path of the totality. With the extreme numbers of people who will be in the area, we will be watching for any bad weather that visitors need to be notified about,” he said.
Weather will play a vital part in whether the eclipse will be visible or not. However, Taylor said residents should feel assured that the day will be ideal conditions to view the eclipse.
“On August 21, there is about a 70-75 percent chance that it will be sunny. It is several days away, so it can’t forecast it exactly, but the chances of it being completely cloudy are less than 10 percent,” Taylor forecast.
A quarter century of spiritual leadership by a Neligh pastor was celebrated over the weekend.
After Sunday’s service, the Grace Lutheran congregation spent the day reliving the memories that Pastor David Kuhfal has brought to the church the last 22 years. His dedication to the Christian church has shown throughout each year after he was ordained and will undoubtedly continue.
Pastor Kuhfal’s journey was certainly a roller coaster as he explained that becoming a pastor did not always come confidently. However, he explained that one summer changed that all. “I worked at a Christian summer camp for a couple years teaching kids about God and what He has done for us. Just being able to see the difference it made in their lives made me want to do that full-time.” After finishing college and marrying his college sweetheart Tami, Pastor Kuhfal began the journey that brought him to small-town Nebraska.
His mission to become a pastor began when the couple packed up and headed to St. Louis, Missouri where he continued his schooling at Concordia Seminary, which then led them to Michigan for a vicarage internship. Their journey was long, but you could tell that Pastor Kuhfal did not regret a single moment.
Although the thought of settling down in Nebraska never crossed their minds, their second calling to the Grace Lutheran Church in Neligh transformed their future for the better. “We thought in no way we would accept it because we wanted to go further west at that time, not back this way. But, we came to check it out, and it just seemed like the perfect fit.” And this decision could not have been made any better for the community and the Kuhfal family.
Not only Neligh, but surrounding communities throughout Nebraska have also benefited from the devoutness from this veteran pastor. For several years, Pastor Kuhfal has served as the Neligh Ministerial Association President in which he has helped young members of the church choose the same path he chose twenty-five years ago. Three years ago, Pastor Kuhfal also had the honor of being elected as the Vice President for the Nebraska District of Ministerial Association.
Despite all of his accomplishments, Pastor Kuhfal stays humble and remembers what is most rewarding to him throughout his small-town, pastoring experience. “I like being in a small town, where your ministry is that you know everyone and their families well. And you see them on a regular basis. I feel like I can be apart of their lives,” he stated. Pastor Kuhfal proceeds to share his faith throughout the community and especially loves working with the children at the after-school programs. Even after twenty-five years, his inspiration to share with the youth has never diminished.
From California to Missouri to Colorado, the Kuhfal family finally found their way to what they now call home, Neligh, Nebraska. Looking back on their past, Pastor Kuhfal chuckled when he recalled a certain moment during one of their many moves. “On our way from San Diego to St. Louis, we drove through Nebraska and my wife and I looked around and said, ‘Lord, anywhere but Nebraska!’” But certainly there was no better place for the Kuhfal’s to grow in their faith.
Get your team together for the Neligh Volunteer Fire Department's Four-Person Scramble this weekend at the Antelope Country Club.
The tournament is set for 9 a.m. on Saturday, August 19. The entry fee is $160 per team. That fee includes flag prizes and a meal at the end of the day. There are also mulligans and miracle putts available for purchase at check in.
To sign your team up, call the Country Club at 402-887-5211.
It wouldn't be the beginning of the school year for Neligh-Oakdale without the Education Foundation's annual Back To School BBQ.
The nonprofit organization, which offers scholarships to graduates and classroom grants for teachers, hosted its annual BBQ on Monday night. The event also serves as one of the many Title nights for the elementary program. Title teacher Kelly Ptacek reminded parents that not all of the Title events are free and said she's hoping to have a couple of sponsors help with donations to continue the activities.
Neligh-Oakdale begins classes on Tuesday. Those who would like to donate to the Title nights may contact Ptacek at West Ward Elementary.
A new format meant double the fun for the participants at the Antelope County News Golf and Glow Ball Tournaments on Friday.
More than 30 teams signed up for the two tournaments, with one tournament being held during the daylight and a second, glow ball tournament, going on at night. Members of the area schools were on hand to help run the tournament, cook hot dogs and brats and run various contests.
The event was sponsored by Stealth Broadband, Thriftway Market, Elgin Insurance Mart, Blackburn Manufacturing, Bank of Elgin, Faith Regional Physicians Services, TJ's Market, Wilbur-Ellis and Nielsen Insurance.
During the daytime tournament, the team of Randy Eisenhauer, Greg Wemhoff, Trent Ostransky and Todd Heithoff took top honors with a score of 26. Doug Hartman, Trey Rossman, Kellen Rossman and Alex Johnson teamed up to take second with a 29 and winning the tie-breaker. Third place went to the team of Tanner Knutson, Aaron Rice, Holden Wetzler and Eric Schiltmeyer with a 29.
The glow ball tournament was won by the team of Tyson Belitz, Alex Kerkman, Grant White and Chris Bentley with a score of 28. Eisenhauer, Wemhoff, Ostransky and Heithoff took second with a 29 and Greg Henn, Jennifer Henn, Justin Reestman and Drew Schindler took third in 32 with a tie-breaker win over Knutson's squad.
The funds raised will be divided between the athletic programs for the Antelope County School schools.
The top three teams and flag prize winners can stop at the Antelope County News to pick up their checks and/or prizes. Winners reserve the right to keep the prize or donate it to the school of their choice.
The Neligh-Oakdale FCCLA'ers spent the day in York learning another important skill.
Neligh-Oakdale FCCLA members attended a Parliamentary Procedure workshop at the York College on Friday, August 11. They learned what the purpose of Parliamentary Procedure is, along with how to correctly make a motion, amend the motion and vote on the motion and the proper way to take minutes among other items included in a meeting.
The end of season is nearing for the City of Neligh Pool, and lifeguards will celebrate with a pool party on Saturday afternoon.
Games and prizes are planned from 1-3 p.m. on Saturday in Riverside Park. If the temperature does not reach 74 degrees on Saturday, the pool party will be moved to Sunday. If Sunday does not get warm enough, the party will be on Monday, which is the final day the pool will be open regardless.
The Women of Neligh will host a hotdog feed fundraiser on Saturday at the pool from noon to 2 p.m. Plates are $3 each.
The pool officially closes for the summer on Monday, Aug. 14.
There were lots of kids and lots of smiles on Wednesday at the National Night event sponsored by the Antelope County Does Car coalition.
The organization sponsored the evening of fun, which included an entirely free night of fun in Riverside Park in Neligh. Activities included swimming, hot dogs, games and even a movie in the pavilion.
North Central District Health Department oversaw the event and also brought an obstacle course with beer goggles to show youth the effects of alcohol. The Neligh Fire Department grilled hot dogs and showed the youth how to run a fire hose.
Other sponsors and volunteers included City of Neligh, Neligh Police, Neligh Chamber of Commerce, Neligh Economic Development, Neligh Rescue, Women of Neligh, Nebraska State Patrol and Antelope Memorial Hospital.
All of Antelope County is invited to a free family fun night with a BBQ, swimming and a movie in Riverside Park in Neligh on Wednesday, Aug. 9.
The BBQ will begin at 5:30 p.m. with swimming from 6:30-8:30 p.m. The movie shown on Wednesday night will begin at dark. There will also be games and other activities going on during the event.
Fair success couldn’t come at better time for Vraspir family.
Hannah Vraspir loves fair week, but she admittedly wasn’t very excited about the Antelope County Fair this year.
It’s been a rough last few weeks for the Allen and Lisa Vraspir family thanks to a watercraft accident that sent Allen to the hospital via Life Net. With serious injuries, fair projects were a low priority for the family.
And they certainly weren’t expecting Hannah to finish with more than a half dozen champion and reserve champion ribbons, including champion with the most creative wood pallet project.
“I don’t think any of us expected anything like this during this fair,” her mother, Lisa, said.
She added, “We were all exhausted and had no real expectations of how things would go. I’m just so proud of her. With everything she’s been through with the accident and having to be gone, the fair has just been great for her. It’s given her something else to focus on, and that really has helped our family.”
The pallet project was new this year and gave 4-Hers an opportunity to use their creativity to upcycle old pallets. Hannah turned hers into a child’s mud kitchen, which even has a sink that can be hooked up to water.
“My dad had an old sink, and the faucet does work,” Hannah said. “You can actually hook this up and having running water.”
Hannah said she plans to give the kitchen to her cousins, who are are 5 and 2. She said they’ll have fun connecting water to the faucets and making mud pies and sand cakes.
Making the project even more special was that Hannah worked with her dad on it. They finished the project June 24, about three weeks before his accident.
“I was having a hard time figuring out what to,” she said. “I wanted to do something no one had done before. I found this on the Internet, and it looked like something kids would like to play with. And it was fun working my dad.”
Lisa said Hannah and Allen work well together. They decided on the project and picked out the additional supplies together.
“They’re very similar with their approach to things,” she said. “Hannah and Allen picked out what to, then went to Hobby Lobby together and everything. It was really amazing to watch them work together with these projects.”
Hannah said her favorite aspect of the project is the chalk board, but the faucet is a close second. Lisa complimented the extension office for the idea with the pallet project.
“I’m so proud of her. It’s a really neat idea, and having them use all recycled material was great, too,” she said. “This is great for younger generations to learn that you can do so much with old materials.”
Lisa added that this project was a great way for parents to be involved with their children and 4-H. It was also a great learning experience for Hannah as she begins summer job searching in the coming years.
“I encourage parents to get more involved with 4H. It’s not just about the time and effort you put into it. It’s the process an skills learned,” she said. “Like with quilting, how many people can do that anymore? She’s learning those skills, along with skills she needs for the employment world because there are interviews with the judges. She has to justify why she did things, and those are great skills to learn.”
Hannah said although it’s been a crazy summer for her, she’s already excited about the 2018 fair.
Neligh Police Chief Mike Wright is warning residents of a phone scam that struck in Neligh on Tuesday involving the Social Security.
Wright said the call used a female-voiced robo-type call and stated the following, "This is Linda. This is the final reminder from the Office of Inspector General of Social Security Administration. Your Social Security number has been suspended. Please contact the Emergency Help Line number which is 512-862-4417. I repeat 512-862-4417. Thank you."
Wright said he called the number listed and received an automated message stating, "The Google subscriber you called is not available. Please leave a message after the tone."
As a reminder, the Social Security Administration - like other government agencies - do not use phones to contact people. Never give personal information out to any caller.
With talks of consolidation constantly on the mind, Neligh-Oakdale stakeholders met at the school gym Monday for an informational town hall meeting.
The town hall served as a fact-finding meeting for not only the citizens, parents, former students, teacher and administrators in attendance, but also for the board itself as it aims to find concerns and desires of the community. The meeting started with many questions on both sides. Some were answered while many remain.
Superintendent Scott Gregory gave those in attendance a synopsis of what they knew already to start the meeting before the floor was opened for questions and comments. Among the first to voice their opinion was 2016 Neligh-Oakdale graduate Bryce Frey. Frey spoke of the added educational opportunities such a consolidation can provide.
“You can’t have some of these other teachers, these career academies, these classes that prepare people for college, for jobs for the real world, if you don’t have the financial resources and the students to be able to take those classes,” Frey said. “So while small schools do have a lot of benefits, when you’re too small, you start to hurt the students that you’re supposed to be serving.”
For superintendent Bill Kuester and former Nebraska Unified board member Gordon Schrader were both in attendance and spoke of the benefits of looking into potential consolidation.
However, not everyone in attendance was enthusiastically for consolidation. Many in attendance had questions, ranging from location to timeline to educational opportunities, such as was the case for Angie Belitz.
She made it clear she was still forming her opinion on the matter and was looking for more information. After asking for comparisons to other schools in the area that have attempted consolidation in the past, she turned her focus to the opportunities available for her children. She questioned what the consolidation would do for the opportunities of students to choose electives that fit their desires.
“I think that decision would have to be something that we would have to hear back from parents,” responded Gregory. “Do you want more classes or do you want more offerings throughout the day? In that discussion I’d bring in the guidance counselor as well and say ‘To the best extent possible…how can we make that as simple and as best as we can?’ ”
The potential location of a school, a topic that has been the focal point of much discussion since talks arose, was discussed between the board and those in attendance. However, the only answer was that there is no answer. The board, along with Gregory, repeatedly reiterated that no site had been decided on at this time, but one would have to be decided on before the school bond was set to vote. Therefore, the voters would have a clear idea of all concepts involved in the new school, including location.
With the potential new district stretching near the Ewing/Inman weigh station to the Antelope/Pierce County border, the middle would be located near Morrison Farms on the Royal Road, according to the board.
“Each community votes…and that would be a thing the boards would have to agree on,” Gregory said in response to a question on how the location of a school would be decided.
Other points of concern for the community members in attendance were the status of the current facilities if a new school were to be built, the potential staffing changes and what would happen if additional schools showed interest in joining the consolidation.
The members of the board noted that, if consolidation were to happen and a bond were approved, it would be important to build the school with the intent to hold the maximum amount of students, rather than the minimum.
“I don’t know that you stand up and say we don’t want you to come because if you remember that first five-district (school) when we were talking about it, that was $2.4 billion,” said board president Dave Wright. “So if someone comes knocking on my door with $400 billion, I’m probably going to say, ‘Would you like to come in?’"
Last February, Antelope County showed its generosity and support of the military as many donated items for care package to be sent to Iraq.
All that was known was the packages were going to a unit serving in Iraq that included the grandson of Feller and Dolly Baker. For security reasons, the soldier’s name wasn’t released publicly.
Antelope County didn’t mind not knowing and donated eight boxes worth of items to soldiers most had never met.
On Monday, the soldier with local ties returned to Neligh to say thank you.
“It was amazing,” said Cade Luce. “The care packages came after Christmas, so it was perfect timing. We had run out of items, so it was great to get toothpaste, adult wipes, jerkey and canned goods. Speghetti Os are a nice break from MREs.”
Luce returned from deployment about three weeks ago and visited Neligh with his three children. He was part of the Colorado Army National Guard Task Force of approximately 120 Soldiers from Bravo Battery, 3rd Battalion, 157th Field Artillery. The unit deployed for about a year to the Middle East, in support of Operations Inherent Resolve and Spartan Shield and the war against ISIS.
According to the Colorado National Guard, while deployed they executed a theater security cooperation mission under the 29th Infantry Division increasing interoperability knowledge with U.S. partners in the region.
“The Soldiers of Bravo Battery made a significant impact in the fight against ISIS in both Iraq and Syria,” said Army Maj. William DiProfio, Battalion Commander. “Their professionalism and superior execution of operations were a great credit to the Colorado Army National Guard and the United States Army as a whole.
The unit has mobilized numerous times during the past decade including in 2009 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, but this was Luce’s first deployment.
Luce, who is a mechanic for DCP Midstream, said he joined the Army National Guard nine years at the age of 33. His wife, Angie, is a member of the Air Guard.
He said one of the most challenging parts of being deployed was missing his family. He was able to communicate with his family via Skype and Facebook messenger, but Luce said he still was surprised to see how much his children grew while he was gone.
Luce said he joined the National Guard because of the benefits it provided for not only health care, but also for the education of his children. With the GI Bill, Luce will be able to transfer those education benefits to one of his children.
Luce said his unit served as the first artillery mission in the history of the Colorado National Guard. Although it was combat, it was still safe, he said.
“We weren’t boots on the ground face to face with ISIS,” Luce said. “Where we were, we were completely safe. We were capable of reaching our enemy from a very long ways away. There were special forces out there, but the push is to have the Iraqi army handle this. They needed support and someone behind them. When things got scary, we could launch rockets to clear the way for them.”
Luce said he anticipates have to go back deploy again in about four years.
“I’m very proud of the work we did as a unit,” Luce said. “It was a success.”
Neligh-Oakdale will not have classes on Monday, Aug. 21, due to the solar eclipse.
"This is a great opportunity and one you don't see every day," said Superintendent Scott Gregory. "It's a great learning experience for children and parents. It's a great natural phenomenon, and I encourage everyone to experience it with proper precautions."
NASA has warned those watching the eclipse to wear proper eye wear to ensure their eyes are not damaged by the sun.
On Aug. 21 all of North America will be treated to an eclipse of the sun, according to NASA. Anyone within the path of totality can see one of nature’s most awe inspiring sights - a total solar eclipse.
This path, where the moon will completely cover the sun and the sun's tenuous atmosphere - the corona - with Nebraska being one of the best places to watch the eclipse, according to NASA.
For a list of what communities in Nebraska are doing for the event, click here.
With the schedule change, the last day for the first semester at Neligh-Oakdale will now be Friday, Dec. 22., with a 1 p.m. dismissal.
Vacant storefronts are a concern for most downtown districts, but that’s not the case in Neligh as a domino effect of development is in full force.
Longtime business owners Jeri and Dennis Anderson announced earlier this summer they planned to close Moyer’s Clothing Store, which had been for sale for about a year. Jeri Anderson retired with the closing Monday.
But the building won’t stay closed long as a domino effect of change takes place, showing Neligh’s downtown district is as vital as ever.
Pitzer Digital LLC, which owns the Antelope County News, will move into the Moyer’s building at 314 Main Street and open as the new occupants on Monday, Aug. 14.
That move opens up two buildings on 4th Street since Pitzer Digital has outgrown not only its first building at 110
E 4th, but also it’s second building two doors down.
Those two buildings won’t be empty even a day as the administration of ESU 8 plans to move into both Pitzer Digital buildings during the multi-million dollar renovation of its building at 302 Main Street.
“We could almost form an assembly line for moving boxes between the buildings,” joked Carrie Pitzer, president of Pitzer Digital. “It’s an exciting time for everyone involved, especially Jeri. While it would have been ideal to keep a clothing store in Neligh, her retirement is well deserved. She has done so much for the community over the years.
The Andersons moved from Worthington, Minnesota to Nebraska in 1976. Dennis had recently graduated from agricultural banking school and had landed a job with the Oakdale Bank. After two years, Dennis worked with Farm Credit Services of America in Neligh for 35 years before retiring.
Jeri worked for a clothing store, True Value, Village Shop and Village Boutique in addition to some of her own entrepreneurial endeavors.
“I had a daycare for eight years between True Value and Village Shop. We purchased the T-Shirt Factory in 2000 and sold it in 2007,” Jeri said. “Then in September of 2010, Moyer’s was going to close so we purchased it so it wouldn’t close. We have had it going for six and a half years and it has been great.”
Moyer’s has been a long-time staple in the community that not only meets the needs of people here, but also brings in customers from a distance to the Neligh community.
“We have regular customers from Kansas, South Dakota, Idaho and all around Nebraska, like O’Neill, Albion, Norfolk and more,” Jeri said.
She added, “It will be hard to leave Moyer’s. It has been great owning it and running it and the customers are great. It warms my heart when elderly ladies come in and thank me for being here with Moyer’s.”
ACN Expands Services
Pitzer Digital bought more than just the building from the Andersons. The marketing and media company also bought the embroidery business and plans to have its graphic designer, Samantha Cleveland, oversee that division until she takes over the embroidery business for herself.
“Embroidery fits well with what our marketing division offers, and it’s really a great opportunity for us to help Sam branch out as a business owner in the next year or so,” Pitzer said. “This is a great service, and we’re excited to keep the embroidery business in Neligh serving all of Antelope County.”
Cleveland said she’s both excited and grateful for the opportunity to run the embroidery division and eventually buy it from Pitzer Digitial.
“This is something I’ve always wanted to do,” Cleveland said. “I appreciate the opportunity to not only run the embroidery division, but then be able to buy that part for myself and continue serving all of Northeast Nebraska.”
Pitzer Digital is celebrating its fourth anniversary this month and has rapidly grown from an at-home startup to a storefront with digital media, print media and a magazine thanks to the recent acquisition of “Living Here.” Pitzer said there are even more changes in the works with the company.
She said moving into the Moyer’s building will improve efficiency between staff and cut energy expenses. It also allows room for the company to grow its commercial printing even more.
“While we’re excited to offer embroidery and clothing for schools and businesses, it’s the commercial printing that really has me the most excited,” she said. “With the equipment we’ll be moving to Neligh, we anticipate being the largest commercial printer in the area. All of your printing needs will be available right here in Antelope County.
ESU 8 To Start Renovation
The second largest employer in Neligh also is ready for its long-awaited renovation project.
Educational Service Unit 8 is housed in a building set in the heart of downtown Neligh. The building will be getting not just a facelift during the next 18 months, but many other major changes.
One of the buildings used by ESU 8 was built in 1901 and the other in 1911. Both have housed the Education Services Unit #8 for nearly half of a decade.
But all the expansion and growth over the years has turned the building into a maze. When Bill Mowinkel, administrator at ESU 8, joined the team he was surprised that the building was working for them.
“It really is hard when you want to find our tech department and they come in this south door, and we say, ‘Well, you go right, right, left, and then another right and a left, and another left then you will see them,’ ” said Mowinkel. “We will try to get rid of that.”
The need for renovation and expansion has been obvious for a while, and acquiring one more building is what gave ESU 8 the option to start planning for the more than $4 million dollar renovation.
“When the building to the west of us became available, it gave us an area for us to move temporary offices into while they renovate here,” Mowinkel explained.
Unlike most major renovations to educational buildings, this project is not being funded by a bond. Due to planning by administration, ESU 8 has the funds available to pay for the project.
The ESU 8 staff will be in various buildings in Neligh during renovation, including the former Becca’s building across Main Street, besides leasing the two buildings from Pitzer Digital.
Just because summer is coming to an end doesn't mean you can't enjoy it still, according to the Neligh Public Library.
The library will be hosting an end of summer dance and BBQ on Monday, August 7 from 6-9 p.m. There will hot dogs, hamburgers and other snacks on the menu for the evening. Mike Theim will be on hand to provide music through Theimsong Entertainment. There will be prizes given away throughout the night as well.
While the event is celebrating the end of the Summer Reading Program, anyone of any age is welcome to join.
After calling his record "very interesting and very relevant," Judge Donna Taylor denied the lowering of a bond for the Michigan man charged with attempted vehicle theft in Orchard and theft of a Missouri pickup.
Edwin Smith, 60 of Algonac, Michigan, is being held at the Antelope County Law Enforcement Center on 10 percent of a $10,000 bond on charges of attempted theft of a pickup from Orchard. He is also facing charges of possession of stolen property, driving under the influence of alcohol and driving under suspension in Holt County.
Smith was arrested July 23 in O'Neill after the O'Neill Police Department was notified of an attempt to steal a pickup outside Willie's Service in Orchard. The business owner, Willie Rifer, notified the Antelope County Sheriff's Department that the individual left in a black and silver F-250, which was reported stolen from Missouri.
During Wednesday morning's appearance in Antelope County Court, Smith requested the lowering of his bond after requested a court appointed attorney.
Smith said he had never failed to appear in court during any other proceedings and said he has family in O'Neill. Antelope County Attorney Joe Abler told Judge Taylor that he believes Smith has an "extensive record" in California under the alias Edwin Francis Smith.
"With his history, he's certainly a flight risk," Abler said. "I object to lowering his bond."
Taylor agreed and denied the request. "Your record is very interesting and very relevant," she said.
Smith will be back in Antelope County Court on Friday, Aug. 11, for arraignment.
Another school year is nearly upon us and it is time to get your student enrolled once again.
Registration for all students in prekindergarten through Grade 6 who will be enrolling in Neligh-Oakdale Public Schools will be in lab one of the High School on Tuesday, August 1. Registration will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Everyone is asked to enter through the gym entrance.
It is a state mandate that all kindergarten students complete a physical examination, immunizations and vision evaluation prior to the start of the new school year. Those completed items should be brought to registration.
Prekindergarten students are required to bring their certified birth certificate, social security number and up-to-date immunization records to registration day.
The Back to School BBQ, hosted by the Neligh-Oakdale Education Foundation, will be held on Monday, August 14. It is open to all K-6 students and their families from 5-6 p.m. with a free-will donation. Students will have a chance to meet their teachers and bring the supplies to school a day early.
Tuesday, August 15 is the first day of class for students for K-12 with a 1:30 p.m. dismissal.
Wednesday, August 16 is the second day of class for students for K-12 with a 1:30 p.m. dismissal and the first day of class for Morning and Afternoon Prekindergarten classes. Afternoon prekindergarten will have a regular 3:25 p.m. dismissal and bussing will not be available for them after school this day.
Other important dates for the 2017-18 school year include:
September 4 - No school - Labor Day
September 19 and 21 - Parent-teacher conferences - 1 p.m. dismissal
October 17 - End of first quarter
October 18 - No school
October 20 and 23 - Fall break
November 15 - 1:30 p.m. dismissal
November 22 - 1:30 p.m. dismissal
November 23 and 24 - No school - Thanksgiving Break
December 21 - End of second semester - 1:30 p.m. dismissal
December 22 - January 3 - Christmas Break
January 24 - 1:30 p.m. dismissal
February 16 - Winter break
February 21 - 1:30 p.m. dismissal
February 28 - No school
March 7 - End of third quarter
March 8 and 9 - No school
March 29 - 1:30 p.m. dismissal
March 30 - April 2 - Easter break
April 10 and 12 - Parent-teacher conferences
April 13 - PK-6 no school, 7-12 1 p.m. dismissal
April 25 - 1:30 p.m. dismissal
May 12 - Graduation
May 17 - Last day of school - Noon dismissal
John DeCamp, a former state senator from Neligh, died this week at the state veteran's home in Norfolk. He was 76.
DeCamp was born in Neligh and later elected to and served four terms as a Nebraska state senator, from 1971 to 1987. He died Thursday and had been suffering from Parkinson’s and other illnesses.
The date of a memorial service has not been decided at this time.
The Women of Neligh organization is raising money for various community projects.
The winner will be announced and kiss a pig at the Antelope County Fair Extreme Bull Riding on August 3 at 7:30 p.m. Donations can be made at the Antelope County News, Pinnacle Bank, Neligh Chamber of Commers or Antelope Country Club.
The Henry Doorly Zoo visited the Neligh Public Library on July 27 to give kids an inside look at a few exotic animals.
Children were able to participate in fun games and received a hands on approach to learning. The zoo brought a couple small animals for each child to see. Two showings were available and koolaid with snacks were provided by the library. The day ended with kids being able to feel a leopard fur, a cheetahs fur, and touch a sea turtles shell. Watch a short live video on our Facebook page interacting with some of the kids there. You can view the gallery below.
A strong college can be the centerpiece of a growing town. It can bring in people, businesses and resources that a town needs to grow. For Neligh, Gates College provided just that for 32 years. However, it wasn’t without struggle.
In the late 1800s, Congregationalists put an emphasis on education with support from the church, leading to the establishment of colleges and academies across the midwest. One such institution was Doane University, then Doane College, established in 1872. Another was Gates College in Neligh.
A Beginning Marked By Conflict
Incorporated on September 29, 1881, Gates College was built in Neligh after a bidding war with other Northeast Nebraska towns — Norfolk, Oakdale and Albion. Neligh won out after submitting a bid for $5,000 in cash and 40 acres of land for the institution. The college was named after Reverend H.N. Gates who, at the time, was the State Superintendent of Home Missions for the Congregational Church. At the time it was built, Gates College was the only institution of higher learning in Nebraska north of the Platte River.
According to “Gates College: Doane’s ‘Sister School to the North,’ ” written by 2005 Neligh-Oakdale graduate Jamie Helgren, Gates College wasn’t actually a college at all in the beginning.
“Though called a ‘college’ in the official documents, Gates began instruction solely as a college preparatory department the first four years,” Helgren wrote.
Gates began classes in 1882. Four years later, the first college course was offered at Gates, kicking off controversy that would follow the school until its end.
Doane supporters quickly met the move with opposition, believing the church couldn’t support more than one college in the state. They believed a second college, rather than the feeder academy Gates had acted as to that point, would stretch the church too far financially and would dwindle both institution’s enrollment. The debate raged on until 1891, when the General Association made a landmark decision.
“In spite of a $30,000 endowment pledged on condition of the General Association’s endorsement of Gates College, those against a second Congregational college in the state were successful,” wrote Helgren. “At the state meeting in 1891, the General Association voted 124 to 107 against recognizing and endorsing Gates as a college.”
The debate leading up to the position put Neligh on the map. The arguments were heard across the country, with stories appearing in publications as far away as Boston, an impressive feat for the time.
The Fight To Keep Gates College In Neligh
The remaining 23 years of Gates’ existence were marked by attempts to move the college elsewhere. The first attempt came the very next year when it was recommended that Gates and Doane be joined into one central college for the state, leaving both Neligh and Crete without schools. Gates College trustees actually were in favor of this move however the same could not be said about Doane and the idea was squashed by 1893.
Gates continued to grow. While many issues began to pop up, the school persevered on.
“By 1889 the campus had grown to include four buildings and a library of 5,000 volumes, with music and normal courses offered,” Helgren wrote. “Under president (H.K.) Warren’s tenure, the academy department doubled, and even after the long controversy with Doane College, Gates added a summer school and a business course in 1892.”
It wasn’t long before Gates was back in the spotlight of yet another controversy. Amidst the school’s $10,000 debt and feeling the lack of support for the school, President H.K. Warren, the school’s original president, resigned from his position as the leader of Gates. This quickly led trustees to encourage a move to nearby Norfolk, which had grown to be nearly four times the population of Neligh during Gates’ lifetime.
The trustees voted to make the move and were immediately met with opposition from the people of Neligh. Citizens quickly filed a court injunction against the move but that didn’t stop the trustees as they found their own loophole. The majority resigned their positions on the board to organize the Norfolk school. The school was opened in 1895.
Despite the loss of the trustees, Gates carried on. Debate raged on among the Congregationalists over which school would be better for the long term - Gates or Norfolk. The sides were so split that they decided to bring in an investigation committee from out of state to help with the decision.
Thanks to the vote of confidence from the committee, Gates survived while Norfolk College was closed in 1898. However, it was simply prolonging the inevitable. Gates continued to struggle financially. It dropped to full-time academy status once again before the turn of the century, a sign that the end was near. The Congregational Church began closing down its various academies shortly after, choosing instead to funnel resources back to Doane. Gates held out for as long as it could but closed its doors for good in 1914.
All That Remains
From then on, the buildings were removed from town, leaving little evidence of the school that aided in the population boom of the town in the late 1800s. While President Warren’s house is still around, the only remaining building of the college itself is the former gymnasium.
Built in 1892, the gym was a two-story building that housed equipment for men on the first floor and women on the second, according to the National Register of Historic Places.
“The college took interest in the health of the students and in September 1892, a meeting was held to discuss the possibility of erecting a gymnasium building,” Tom Buecker wrote in his nomination of the building’s historic registration.
When the school lost rescinded its charter in 1899, the gym was quickly shut down. However, that move may have been the one that saved it from the fate of the other buildings of the school as Antelope County was in need of a new facility to house inmates. In 1900, the county bought the building from the school and moved three cells from the courthouse to the first floor of the building. The second floor served as the office for the county sheriff.
The Antelope County Historical Society took over the building in 1964 when a new jail was built. The building housed the county’s museum for many years after until the museum was moved across the street. Then, in 2016, the building was reopened as Jailhouse Junkees and remains as such today.
While evidence of Gates College’s existence remains only through historical markers and the former gym, the impact it had during its short existence can not be overstated. Neligh’s population exploded during the time of Gates’ existence, setting the foundation for what would become the center of Antelope County.