It’s time for Orchard’s alumni to come home once again. Activities will be taking place May 26-27th. Starting at 6 pm there will be an alumni volleyball and at 7:30 pm an alumni basketball game. Following the games, there will be a jukebox night and food cart at Double D’s Saloon. May 27th at 9 am, there will be a 5K run/walk with no pre-registration necessary. If you are interested in participating, meet at the Firehall at 8:45 am. At 5 pm there will be a social hour with the 2017 banquet following at 6:30. Those wanting to visit with alumni are welcome to join for coffee and cookies at the school or entertainment at Double D’s Saloon following the banquet.
The Orchard Methodist Church started off the week with Vacation Bible School yesterday and will continue the fun until Friday. With fun arts and crafts, singing and food, who could ask for anything better. It’s not too late to get your kids signed up. Bring them on over at 9 am and pick them up at 11:30. See you there.
If you've been wondering when a good time is to have a garage sale, here's the dates: June 2-3.
The Orchard Citywide Garage Sales event will be that weekend, and The Orchard/Antelope County News will help spread the word throughout the county!
Click here to submit your garage sale info and pay $12 via credit/debit card and your sales info will be online, in print and on maps located throughout Antelope County.
You can concentrate on your sale, and we'll handle the advertising because no one reaches more people in Antelope County!
The Orchard United Methodist Church is excited to announce that they will once again be hosting Vacation Bible School.
Dates are May 23-26 from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. This is for children Pre-K thru the sixth grade. The theme this year is “Hero Central: Discover your strength with God.”
The kids will meet friends, explore bible stories, sing, make crafts and play games while learning and sharing about Jesus.
Anyone who has any questions should contact Jeff Shabram at 402-893-3033 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Broken branches and shattered windows are the result of the Monday night storm that hit Royal while in its path.
Terri Hergert of Royal recalled sitting in her livingroom watching tv when glass shattered everywhere from a tree branch entering in through her dining room window.
“The tree branch was only about the size of my arm and just as long, but it made a sound like a gun going off,” Hergert comments.
The branch came from a cottonwood tree across the street and entered a south window causing damage inside and outside the house.
“We’re just lucky there wasn’t any rain or we would have been flooded,” she said.
Other tree branches laid in the street from the severe storm, but no other damage was reported.
The future of the three-school Nebraska Unified District remains murky with questions of whether schools want to stay in the district or new schools may join.
The majority of the Unified Board Meeting on Monday night in Verdigre centered around the discussion of the possibility of Neligh-Oakdale and Ewing joining the Unified District and their desire to build a new cornfield school.
Terra Williby, board member from Orchard, attended the meeting with the Neligh-Oakdale committee, along with Peggy Liska of Verdigre and Marty Kerkman of Clearwater. Williby and Liska both said that from what they took away from the meeting, neither Neligh-Oakdale nor Ewing were interested in joining the Unified District.
They said Neligh-Oakdale and Ewing board members who attended the meeting were in favor of building a cornfield school. They said Neligh-Oakdale board members were unsure if the community supported a cornfield school, but they personally wanted to move the school out of Neligh. They discussed moving the school no further north than the Royal Road.
Kerkman said Neligh-Oakdale and Ewing board members asked about the positives and the negatives in being a part of the Unified district.
“They asked what the pros and cons in unification was, and we really didn’t have a good answer other than that you got to keep your school in your community. It’s not probably what it was 17 years ago, and maybe that’s something we need to talk about. What are the pro’s and what are the con’s of unification now and down the road?” he said.
There was also confusion over how Neligh-Oakdale felt about the Unified District. When asked if Neligh-Oakdale had any questions or requests from the current Unified members, Liska said they had none. However, she referenced Neligh-Oakdale’s board meeting in which members said they knew little about the Unified District.
Liska said she attended the committee meeting more as a spectator and wasn’t prepared to be put into the participator’s role.
“We do share resources back and forth, we share teachers, we do readily share about the DL (distance learning), getting dual credit classes taught for each other. Like, you may have a specific student that needs a certain class at a certain time that doesn’t fit into their schedule, and I think we do work back and forth to have that,” she said.
Liska agreed with Kerkman on their response to the question by Neligh-Oakdale.
“I agree with Marty, we didn’t have a good answer that night. I didn’t expect to have that question, and I guess I expected more to be an observer than I did a participant.”
The topic of efficiency with the Unified system was an underlying theme throughout the discussion. Dale Martin, superintendent of the Unified district, commented on the cost effectiveness of having separate schools.
“If you look at cost savings, if we are reeling things down, it is going to cost more to keep three attendance centers open and staff them and do everything you need to do. It is going to cost more money than if you have one building between Clearwater, Orchard and whoever else and then have Verdigre separate up here by themselves.”
Liska brought up the comparison of parent involvement and education when looking at individual schools or combined schools.
“I think we need to look at what are the outward consequences to communities losing their schools....The school acts as the hub of the entire community. When you move the school to a cornfield school, one of the things (studies) I looked at said that you lose the parental involvement when you do that. You don’t have parents involved when you do post prom, you don’t have the parents involved with the activities. That’s one of the things you lose...And we need to look at it in different ways. Are we the most cost saving and efficient school? No, but do I believe that we give a valuable education to students? I have had four kids go through Verdigre and go to college, and I believe my children were prepared for college,” she said.
The members discussed the cost of building a new school and the challenge of involving kids in a bigger school. Multiple points were brought up, including the fact that with the number of kids enrolled in a bigger school, activities like sports and one-act transition to trying out for the team as opposed to the opportunity for all kids to be a part of them.
“It depends what your goal is. I don’t believe that anybody lives in rural Nebraska because we’re all getting rich, because it’s not happening. I live in rural Nebraska for a lifestyle. I wanted to bring my kids up in a place that I knew that I could let them go outside and play without being right there with them all the time. It depends on what your goal is. Not everyone’s goal is efficiency and the lowest tax. I’m not saying that that is not a good goal, but that is not everyone’s goal.”
Marty Konopasek voiced his opinion about having smaller student to teacher ratios.
“I still think that with smaller schools, even if you have 20 kids to a classroom, you are still going to have a better education. The teacher knows the kids name, and when you get into the bigger classes, they are just a number,” he said.
The next step in the school consolidation talks for Orchard is to decide if they want to be part of the cornfield school idea, although board members said they not have seen figures or plans and no meetings have taken place in the communities. Martin reminded the board that administrators also have not been part of any talks.
The board agreed to step back for a while and see what the next board meeting brings. The next meeting will take place on Monday, June 12, at 7 p.m.
Charred branches of history lay in a field north of Orchard leaving little to no reminder that just days ago it was a state-marked historical location with nearly a century-old shelterbelt.
Just 1½ miles north of Orchard, the historical site of the John Schleusener shelterbelt was the first windbreak planted in Nebraska under the Prairie States Forestry Project. On Wednesday, the trees were taken out, devastating the community.
“This used to be my family's farm. I think what I find most upsetting about what happened here is that removing shelterbelts, especially if it becomes a wide-spread practice, reexposes the land across the prairie to the patterns of wind which caused the Great Dust Bowl in the first place,” said Steve Schleusener.
According to the marker that was officially taken down on Thursday, the shelterbelt was planted in April of 1935 under the Roosevelt administration in efforts to protect valuable farmland from wind erosion after the Dust Bowl. Nearly 220 million trees were planted, creating 18,600 miles of windbreaks occupying nearly 30,000 farms. Nebraska led the effort for the project with 4,170 miles of shelterbelts on nearly 6,944 farms.
The Schleusener windbreak was initially comprised of Willow, Red Cedar, Chinese Elm, Bur Oak, Black Walnut and Cottonwood. Over time, the original arrangement of trees changed, but the area closest to the roadway remained unaltered as a living reminder of the project until last week’s destruction of the shelterbelt.
Lyle Schleusener was three years old when the planting took place at his home. While he vaguely remembered the shelterbelt planted, he recalled a ceremony put on when it became the marker was constructed.
However, Jill Dolberg, review and compliance coordinator for the State Historical Society, said the site was not a historical landmark. In fact, landowners in 1985 applied for the land to become a historical marker in hopes for it to remain preserved. But with no restrictions placed on the agreement, preservation was not guaranteed while remaining on private property.
Requirements for a place to become a historical marker include the land being at least 50 years old and having historical significance.
“It’s like a child placed on the honor role. It’s a nice honor, but it doesn’t indicate the child’s future,” Dolberg said.
Schleusener said the shelterbelt was a mutual agreement between the family and the Works Progress Administration, an organization created to give people jobs through the Roosevelt administration. His wife, M.J., commented that it was good to plant trees because there wasn’t any shade.
“I’m sad to see it go,” she said.
Monty Shabram and Jerry Schwager erected the sign when it was first established, and Shabram said it was quite a process at the time.
“It’s kinda sad. I don’t think they needed to take it all out. They could have left a few trees along the road, and to me it wouldn’t have affected their farming too much,” Shabram said.
Brian Smith bought the property in April 2016. Dolberg said because the shelterbelt was only considered in a marker program, the landowner is allowed to no longer honor the implemented program. Smith burned the piles of trees Monday morning, and while he was attempted to be contacted about his project, he could not be reached.
Many in the community have expressed concern about the destruction.
“Something should be done about it,” said John Eley of Orchard.
The sign was removed Thursday and was put into storage by Antelope County. Several members of the Orchard community, including Mayor Dennis Clifton, said they hope Orchard takes possession of the sign to display it as a monumental reminder of a time for Orchard’s history.
“It’s nice to have so many people motivated enough to reach out about it,” said Dolberg. “That doesn’t happen very often.”
The Clearwater-Orchard Academic Awards night was held on Friday, May 5. Following are the awards presented in various academic categories:
English 9 Top Honors: Alyssa Moser
World Literature Top Honors: Kinzly Macke
Journalism Top Honors: Travis Rudloff
English 11 Top Honors: Haley Blecher
Outstanding Journalism Award: Pammela Maxwell
Outstanding English Student: Kylie Thiele
7th grade: Anthony Ferris & David Arroyo
8th Grade: Avery Cheatum
Sophomore PE: Jaccob Bennett
Sophomore Health: Julia Thiele
High School PE: Seth Lampert
Overall outstanding JH PE student: Avery Cheatum
Best Overall PE student: Jaccob Bennett
Advanced Grammar/Advanced Composition top-of-the-class award: Pammela Maxwell
Junior High Business
Top 7th Grade Business Student: Calissa Kester
Top 8th Grade Business Student: Taelyn Switzer
Best Performing Junior High Business Student: Avery Cheatum
Top Geography student: Taylor Ann Bolling
Top World History Student: Taylor Sanne
Top American History Student: Dominic Bolling
Top American Government: Kylie Thiele
Top Overall High School History Student: Andrew Steskal
Top Weight Training Student: Andrew Steskal
Business Law/Economics - Alexis Pokorny
Personal Finance - Skye Schroeder
Intro to Business - Chance Boelter and James Kester
Accounting I - Peyton Clifton
Advanced Accounting - Alexis Pokorny
Best Performing Business Student - Alexis Pokorny
Top 7th grade: Calissa Kester
Top 8th grade: Morgan Erhardt
Overall Junior High Art student: Taelyn Switzer
Top High School Art 1: Taylor Bolling
Top High School Art 2: Katie Stearns
Top High School Advanced Art: Jaiden Switzer
Overall Art Student: Uriel Salas
Math 7 (4th period): Dillon Moser
Math 7 (5th period): Tie between Keegan Smith and Anthony Ferris
Prealgebra: Anthony Umphress
Algebra I: Avery Cheatum
Outstanding junior high math student: Avery Cheatum
3rd place scholastic day/Algebra: Avery Cheatum
National Honor Society
Current Members: Peyton Clifton, Allison Kerkman, Tiffany Peed, Alexis Pokorny, and Heaven Smith. New Members: Travis Kerkman, Travis Rudloff, Erin Schwager, Allee Snider, Andrew Steskal, Kirby Willats, Ashley Williams
Junior High Choir
Elkhorn Valley Choral Clinic Attendees: Alex Arroyo, Cassidy Bearinger, Avery Cheatum, Emma Kerkman, Calissa Kester, Spencer Kester, Grace Maxwell, Madison Melcher, Collin Mullins, Hector Perez, Keegan Smith, Anthony Umphress
Singing Youth of Nebraska Festival Choir: Cassidy Bearinger, Avery Cheatum, Emma Kerkman, Sonia Salas, Calissa Kester, Maryssa Long, Grace Maxwell, Madison Melcher, Sarai Mendoza, Alex Arroyo, Jacob Behnk, Joseph Ferris
Outstanding 7th Grade Junior High Choral Student: Madison Melcher
Outstanding 8th Grade Junior High Choral Student: Avery Cheatum
Outstanding Junior High Choral Student (Overall): Avery Cheatum
This year’s play: “Freak” by Angela Hill
Letter Winners: Alyssa Beed, Lauren Behnk*, Taylor Anne Bolling*, Allison Kerkman, James Kester*, Ira Lampert*, Adrian Love, Alyssa Moser*, Jaqueline Olivan*, Tiffany Peed, Grace Rittscher*, Erin Schwager, Heaven Smith, Jaiden Switzer, Julian Tuttle, Ashley Williams, Faith Woslager, Alona Zermeno, Nalleli Zermeno.
* Denotes first time letter winners
Participation Certificates: Jennifer Hickman, Emma Kerkman, Calissa Kester, Spencer Kester, Dillon Moser, and Tessa Peed.
Norfolk Play Festival Results: 6th out of 7 teams.
Outstanding Acting Certificates awarded to: James Kester, Allison Kerkman, Alyssa Moser, Adrian Love, Alona Zermeno, and Heaven Smith.
NVC Results: Team placed 4th out of 8.
Outstanding Acting Certificates awarded to: Ira Lampert, Allison Kerkman, Tiffany Peed, Adrian Love, Alyssa Beed, Faith Woslager, Alyssa Moser, Heaven Smith, and Grace Rittscher. Best Conference Actress: Alyssa Moser
Niobrara Play Festival:
Outstanding Acting Certificates awarded to Alyssa Beed, Alyssa Moser, Allison Kerkman, and Tiffany Peed.
District Results: Team placed 5th with a superior rating.
Outstanding Acting Certificates awarded to: Allison Kerkman, Erin Schwager, Ashley Williams, Adrian Love, Alona Zermeno, Ira Lampert, Alyssa Moser, and Grace Rittscher.
NSAA Academic All-State: Alyssa Moser and Allison Kerkman
Outstanding One Act Student: Alyssa Moser
Fine Arts Letter Winners
Taylor Anne Bolling
Fine Arts Student of the Year: Grace Rittscher
Junior High Honor Roll
7th Graders: Cassidy Bearinger, Jacob Behnk, Calissa Kester, Dillon Moser
8th Graders: Morgan Erhardt, Spencer Kester, Maryssa Long, Grace Maxwell, Taelyn Switzer, Eli Thiele
Principal’s Honor Roll
7th Graders: Mason Hoke, Madison Melcher
8th Graders: Avery Cheatum, Kaci Wickersham
7th Grader: David Arroyo
8th Grader: Hunter Klabenes
Fifth and sixth graders from Clearwater-Orchard were honored last night for completing the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program or D.A.R.E. Sixth graders were also honored for completing the All Stars program, a program dedicated to reach adolescents to avoid harmful behaviors.
The ceremony began with Kendra Shrader, guidance counselor for O-C, presenting All Stars awards with readings of personal commitments by Faith King, Lena Bolling and Harper Klabenes. Each 6th grader was then presented with a certificate of achievement for completing the program successfully.
The ceremony continued with Antelope County Deputy John Shaver presenting D.A.R.E awards. Essays were given by Alex Thiele, Madison Kester and Aislynn Kester to tell what they learned through the program. All 5th and 6th graders were presented a certificate and a D.A.R.E packet for completion of the program.