Ashfall Fossil Beds State Historical Park invites the public to its 2017 Fossil and Artifact Identification Day from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 12, at the park near Royal.
Mike Voorhies, professor emeritus in Vertebrate Paleontology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and Rob Bozell, Highway Archeology Program manager at the Nebraska State Historical Society, will help identify items.
Visitors can bring a single item or a whole collection to be identified. Past discoveries include leg bones and teeth from camels, mastodons and mammoths, stone points, pottery and more.
Ashfall Fossil Beds is a national natural landmark with complete skeletons left in place for viewing.
The Royal Celebration days was a hot one, but that didn't stop many from attending the tractor parade and BBQ last weekend.
Over 35 tractors were in attendance at the tractor parade. A trip that went about 50 miles into the country side to return just in time for the BBQ. Tractors from all over Nebraska came to join in on the fun. The evening concluded with a bbq at the park. View the gallery below.
An Osmond man was cited for leaving the scene of an accident Sunday evening after striking a bridge in northern Antelope County.
According to Antelope County Sheriff Chief Deputy Dan Hallock, an accident was reported at about 5 p.m. north of Royal. Hallock said 37-year-old Nick Carlson of Osmond was northbound on 519th Road when he struck the bridge railing with a 2017 Dodge Ram 5500 service pickup.
Hallock said the truck rode the railing until the vehicle corrected onto the gravel road, causing about $6,000 worth of damage to the vehicle and an unknown amount of damage to the bridge. Carlson was uninjured in the accident.
Carlson, who was the only occupant in the vehicle, was located and cited for leaving the scene of a property damage accident.
While the bridge is currently in service, the Antelope County Road Department will look at it closer on Monday. Motorists are asked to use caution on the bridge at this time.
The annual Mark Mullins Memorial Fishing Tournament at Verdel Landing drew over a dozen teams.
Those entered in the Mark Mullins fishing tournament included: Bryan Bittner; Roland Young and Ken Weinrick; Bruce and Vonnie Pitzer; Chris and Anthony Williby, Ty and Traise Martan; Justin Brandt and Steve Belick; Tanner Hart and Brock Belick, Wade Pitzer, Shelby Pitzer, Isabelle Pitzer and Bradyn Tschirren: Spencer and Skyler Strope; Jim Pfanstel; Greg, Chad, Collin & Carter Mullins Kam Stuckrath and Andy Mobey, Dan and Steven Ralling; and Jeremie Johnson.
Antelope County's Ashfall Fossil Beds Historical Site is back in the news this week — in the latest edition of Nebraska Life Magazine.
Writer Nina Buck and photographer Alan J. Bartels spent time in Royal on a story featuring both the historical aspect of the fossil beds and the new additions to the site.
You can pick up the July/August edition of Nebraska Life Magazine at the Antelope County News in Neligh.
A new face will be greeting visitors to Ashfall Fossil Beds this summer: A bronze sculpture of a giant tortoise.
The statue, along with a statue of two barreled-body rhinos, were installed last week to help illustrate what the fossilized creatures housed at Ashfall Fossil Beds State Historical Park near Royal were actually like.
When one imagines what Nebraska would have been like with prehistoric creatures, many wouldn't imagine giant tortoises being apart of the wildlife. Rick Otto, Superintendent of the Ashfall Fossil Beds, said they were common to the area.
"Giant tortoises were common animals back at Ashfall time. They were local residents just like the barreled-body rhinos and the three-toed horses," he said.
As evident by the size of the sculpture, giant tortoises were indeed giant. They are closely comparable to the Galapagos giant tortoises that exist today on the Galapagos Islands off the coast of South America.
"They are just one of the many different kinds of exotic animals that lived in Nebraska long long ago. They are something that you wouldn't expect to be here, but they indeed did live here," he said.
Otto said the funding came from the Hubbard family of Omaha. The Hubbard family has been active in supporting projects at Henry Doorly Zoo, as well as helping to fund the Rhino Barn at Ashfall Fossil Beds.
Along with the sculptures, sidewalks were put in to allow the visitors to get up close with the lifelike statues.
"The sidewalks were built a couple weeks ago, so visitors can now go right up to the sculptures and climb on and interact with them," he said.
Gary Staab, the artist behind the sculptures, said the total project took just over a year to complete. Staab is a Paleoartist, which he defines as someone who takes extinct animals and makes them into sculptures for museums.
Staab grew up in Grand Island and spent his childhood years exploring Nebraska. Staab said the wildlife he encountered inspired him into this field of work.
"Exploring my family farm in Nebraska and interacting with the wildlife really made me want to explore into the natural world, and this allows a way to look back in time and get a sense of what our past was like," he said.
Otto said that the sculptures will allow visitors to have a better understanding of what prehistoric life was like in this area.
"I think this is an impressive exhibit that will help people to understand the Ashfall story a little better," he said.
Our fallen heroes were honored Monday during Memorial Day services.
The Orchard American Legion Post provided the color and honor guard were on hand for the ceremony. Diann Heiss spoke to the audience about her father, who served in World War II. She shared stories from her parents secret wedding to the final letter he wrote before coming home.
The ceremony was broadcast live on the Antelope County News Facebook page. Watch it here.
Ashfall Fossil Beds near Royal is among the stops on the 2017 Nebraska Passport program that begins today.
“We’re excited to continue this program for an eighth year. The Passport inspires Nebraskans and tourists to travel the state collecting stamps to earn prizes, while also supporting small businesses, attractions and hidden gems,” said John Ricks, Nebraska Tourism executive director. “Every year since its inception the program has gained popularity. In 2016, more than 87,000 total stamps were collected and we expect 2017’s participation to be even better.”
The 2017 Passport again features 80 attractions on 10 themed tours with one tour honoring the state’s sesquicentennial. Travelers will have from May 1 through September 30 to visit the attractions and get their stamps.
“The 2017 Passport program is focused on giving travelers truly memorable experiences,” said Passport program coordinator Erin Wirth. “The 80 Passport stops offer a mix of thrilling, relaxing and unique adventures. Passport travelers will create lifelong memories while they have fun exploring Nebraska. From discovering Nebraska’s hidden gems to celebrating Nebraska’s 150th birthday, the 2017 Passport showcases what makes Nebraska special.”
Passports are now available at participating stops or can be pre-ordered at http://nebraskapassport.com/requestyourpassport/. Participants are also encouraged to download the Nebraska Passport App for their smartphone and get stamped digitally, supplementing the physical Passport booklet for convenience.
THRILLS & CHILLS
Arrow Hotel (Broken Bow)
Fort Cody Trading Post (North Platte)
Fort Sidney Museum and Post Commander's Home (Sidney)
Historic Argo Hotel (Crofton)
Klown Doll Museum (Plainview)
Museum of Shadows (Elmwood)
The Speakeasy (Holdrege)
Trails and Rails Museum/BCHS (Kearney)
Brownville Historic District (Brownville, Stamps at Flatwater Folk Art Museum & Whiskey Run Creek Vineyard & Winery)
Chez Bubba Café (Goehner)
Chili Dawg's Foods of Fire (Blair)
Clayton Museum of Ancient History at York College (York)
Gibbons Honey Farms (Crawford)
G.W. Frank Museum of History and Culture (Kearney)
Pawnee City Historical Society & Museum (Pawnee City)
Speedway Motors Museum of American Speed (Lincoln)
ART FOR THE HEART
Artists’ Cooperative Gallery (Omaha)
Cedar Creek Pottery (Beatrice)
Main Street Studios & Gallery (Elkhorn)
Pender Quilt Tour (Pender, Stamp at Main Street Thriftique)
Prairie Arts Center (North Platte)
Robin's Nest (Springfield)
Studio K Art Gallery (Grand Island)
Ash Hollow State Historical Park (Lewellen)
Crane Trust Nature & Visitor Center (Wood River)
Fort Robinson State Park & History Center (Crawford)
Niobrara State Park (Niobrara)
North Fork Outfitting LLC (Norfolk)
Ponderosa Cyclery + Tour (Omaha)
Red Willow State Recreation Area (McCook)
Wildcat Hills State Recreation Area (Gering)
A WARM WELCOME
Aurora Downtown Square (Aurora, Stamps at The Renaissance Fine Art and Photography Studio & Aurora Floral)
Fairbury Downtown Square (Fairbury, Stamp at Stagecoach Mall Antiques/Main Street Coffee House)
Ord Downtown Square (Ord, Stamp at The Golden Husk Theater)
Our Corner Cottage Gifts (Wahoo)
Polish Heritage Center (Ashton)
Rustic & Red (Cozad)
Seward Downtown Square (Seward, Stamps at Red Path Gallery & Tasting Room & Chapters Books & Gifts)
Tecumseh Downtown Square (Tecumseh, Stamp at Johnson Country Museum)
CELEBRATE NEBRASKA 150
Legacy of the Plains Museum (Gering)
Mari Sandoz High Plains Heritage Center (Chadron)
National Willa Cather Center (Red Cloud)
NE 150 Mobile Museum (Various Locations)
Nebraska History Museum (Lincoln)
Nebraska National Forest, Bessey Ranger District (Halsey)
Nebraska State Capital (Lincoln)
Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer (Grand Island)
A LITTLE ME TIME
A Little Inspiration (Geneva)
Chapman Swifts Coffee House (Kearney)
Citta’ Deli (McCook)
Double L Country Store and Café (Harrisburg)
Lauritzen Gardens (Omaha)
Positively You Boutique (Central City)
Smith Falls State Park (Valentine)
Something Special by Marilyn (Atkinson)
GOOD PEOPLE, GOOD TIMES
17 Ranch Winery (Lewellen)
The Chocolate Bar (Grand Island)
Glacial Till Tasting Room (Ashland)
Infusion Brewing Company (Omaha)
Junto Wine (Seward)
Legends of Clatonia (Clatonia)
The Tangled Tumbleweed (Scottsbluff)
Ashfall Fossil Beds State Historical Park (Royal)
Bakers Candies Inc (Greenwood)
Father Flanagan’s Historic Home (Boys Town)
Happy Jack Chalk Mine (Scotia)
University of Nebraska State Museum - Morrill Hall (Lincoln)
Ole's Big Game Steakhouse (Paxton)
Runza Restaurant (Lincoln)
BE A KID AGAIN
Dusty Trails LLC (North Platte)
eCreamery Ice Cream & Gelato (Omaha)
Edgerton Explorit Center (Aurora)
Front Street Steakhouse and Crystal Palace Saloon (Ogallala)
Horn T Zoo (Monroe)
Kimmel Orchard & Vineyard (Nebraska City)
TTM Toys (Nebraska City)
UNL Dairy Store (Lincoln)
A pancake benefit will take place on May 21 to help a local resident battling cancer.
There will be a pancake benefit and silent auction on Sunday, May 21 at the Royal Auditorium to support Mary Williby. The meal will be served from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m.
In February 2017, Mary Williby was diagnosed with Stage 1 Invasive Squamos Cell Carcinoma. Although it is Stage 1, the cancer is considered extremely aggressive. She began treatment on March 16 with chemotherapy and radiation. Mary has been making daily trips to Norfolk to receive treatments.
If anyone is unable to attend but still would like to make a donation, a bank account has been set up at the Bank of Orchard under the name of Mary Williby Benefit.