A Northeast Nebraska marketing and media company is expanding in Antelope, Holt and Knox counties after acquiring a local printing business and three newspapers this week.
Owned by Carrie and Wade Pitzer, Pitzer Digital LLC finalized the purchase Friday, which includes the newspapers Neligh News & Leader, Creighton News and Clearwater Record - Ewing News. The purchase also includes the printing business, as well as websites for the newspapers and those websites managed for other clients.
“We’re excited about this expansion and look forward to offering even more coverage for readers in Antelope, Knox and Holt counties, as well as providing more printing and marketing opportunities,” said Carrie Pitzer, who serves as owner and publisher.
Pitzer said she expects a smooth transition for printing customers. Pitzer Digital will continue printing programs, envelopes, business cards, calendars and many other items that were printed by the previous owners.
Pitzer Digital also owns the Antelope County News based in Neligh and Knox County News based in Bloomfield.
As far as the newspapers, Pitzer said while there will be some changes in the print and online formats, the most immediate change will be with the Neligh storefront. As of Friday afternoon, all of the Antelope County publications will be run from Pitzer Digital’s office in downtown Neligh.
The Antelope County News/Orchard News, Neligh News & Leader and Clearwater Record-Ewing News will all be served from 314 M Street in Neligh. The phone number is 402-887-4000. Calls made to the previous number will be forwarded to the new location. Readers are asked to use the emails firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com for news or advertising.
The Creighton News is still located at 816 Main Street with the phone number of 402-358-5220. Readers are asked to use the emails firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com for news or advertising. The Knox County News/Bloomfield Monitor is still located at 110 N Broadway with the phone number of 402-373-2332.
A South Dakota man who was tased at Casey’s in Neligh four months ago has decided to represent himself on a drug possession charge.
Thomas Hildring, 42, who is currently incarcerated in the Antelope County Jail, appeared for his preliminary hearing on Wednesday. He made an appearance in Antelope County Court on the charge of possession of a controlled substance - methamphetamine, a class IV felony.
Even after an advisement from Judge Donna Farrell Taylor, Hildring told her that he still intended to proceed without an attorney in the case.
Antelope County Attorney Joe Abler called a witness during the preliminary hearing—Jared Jacob, an Antelope County jailer/dispatcher.
Jacob testified that Hildring was in possession of drugs when he was booked into the jail on Feb. 8.
He and another jail employee “found a clear baggie with a white, powdery substance” in Hildring’s coat pocket, he said.
“Officer (Kraig) Nelson field tested it when he came to the jail, and it tested positive for meth,” Jacob said.
After Jacob’s testimony, Hildring said he had no questions for the witness. The judge found that there was probable cause and bound the case over to district court.
Hildring was scheduled to appear in Antelope County District Court at 9 a.m. on June 26.
Antelope County Clover Kids were learning about surface tension on Monday.
The Antelope County Extension Office put on a workshop, led by intern Travis Rudloff, learning about surface tension. Attendees learned why bugs are able to walk on water and what allows them to do so.
During the workshop, the Clover Kids made surface tension art out of acrylic paint, completed a surface tension experiment and made sun catchers out of melted beads.
The mobile food pantry, sponsored by various churches, individuals, and businesses in the area, will be dispersing food on Tuesday, June 18, from 4-5:30 p.m. at the American Legion Club in Neligh.
The goal is to provide free food to those whose needs are great and resources are limited without being restricted by income guidelines. Due to liability reasons, recipients will not be allowed in the building until 3 p.m. Please remember to bring your own boxes.
4-Hers in Antelope County received the culinary experience on Friday afternoon as the workshop helped spark ideas for the Favorite Foods Revue and the Culinary Challenge.
Youth who attended the workshop learned about dairy from farm to fork, how dairy contributes to a healthy diet, how to incorporate different dairy products into various foods and were able to make biscuits.
Brittany Spieker, Antelope County Extension's Food, Nutrition and Health Educator, put on the workshop.
An Antelope County jailer is planting a seed for good behavior from inmates, thanks to a correctional garden located behind the sheriff’s office.
Jailer Taylor Kester spent Friday afternoon outside the Antelope County Law Enforcement Center in Neligh with four inmates as they planted tomatoes, beans, radishes and a slew of other vegetables.
This marks the second year Kester has led an action team of inmates working in the garden. Kester said only those inmates with good behavior were allowed to volunteer to plant the garden, and positive behavior will be rewarded throughout the summer as inmates water and weed the garden as well.
“This gives them something to do. It’s a great incentive,” Kester said. “They ask me if they can take care of the garden because they want to be outside. It’s a behavior reward. If they are good, they get to come out and help in the garden.”
Of the four inmates helping on Friday, three had prior gardening experience. One even had a horticulture degree and suggested changing the layout of the garden to keep certain vegetables apart for better growing potential.
“This is what I do on the outside. I run a landscape and construction company with my dad,” said the inmate with the horticulture degree. “This makes the days worthwhile rather than sitting around inside. Anytime they give the chance to go outside, everyone wants to take advantage of that.”
Kester said the garden wouldn’t be possible without the support of Thrivent Financial, which donated a $250 Visa gift card the last two years to cover the costs of the garden. That allowed Kester to purchase tools from Bomgaars and plants from Shamrock Nursery.
“Because of Thrivent, I was able to shop locally and get all of the plants right here in town,” she said. “Last year we bought tools with the money, so none of this is coming from taxes or (the) commissary (fund). Everything is coming from Thrivent.”
Kester said besides the behavior reward, the garden also is beneficial because it provides food for the inmates.
“Sadly, so much of food is processed, so this is fresh fruit and vegetables that can be eaten by our inmates and staff,” she said. “And it’s not costing the taxpayers any more money. That’s a win for everybody.”
Another inmate said it was a no-brainer to volunteer to help with the garden. He helped his family in their garden years ago and was happy to have the opportunity to do it again.
“It’s nice to be outside with the fresh air,” the inmate said. “It doesn’t feel like I’m missing the outside so much.”
The corner of his eyes crinkled as he laughed and recalled old stories with his friends.
Relaxing near his tent in Neligh’s Riverside Park, he reclined in his lawn chair wearing a tie-dyed Captain America shirt, red Santa Claus suspenders and khaki shorts.
Al Roeder pulled at his long, white beard.
“The beard has changed,” he chuckled. “It used to be red when I started. Every year since, I’ve grown to look more and more like Santa Claus.”
This was Roeder’s 39th year participating in Bicycle Ride Across Nebraska (BRAN). He hasn’t missed a single year since BRAN began in 1981.
Roeder, 72, of Omaha said his dentist and a BRAN founder, John Wupper, asked him if he would like to participate in BRAN if they got it going.
“I said I’ve never done anything that long of a distance, but it sure sounded intriguing,” he said.
Roeder said he liked the challenge that a cross-state bike tour presented.
“I decided I’d like to find out if I could do it,” he said with a grin. “It turned out I could. And for a long time.”
The first ride was from Fremont to Scottsbluff. It cost just $5, but you had to find your own ride back home. BRAN now costs $250.
“But, there was a lot less support,” Roeder said. “I never saw a SAG (support vehicle) for the first two years. So your 5 bucks got you a T shirt—a really, really thin T shirt. Oh, and you got a patch.”
Changes in technology have made things more convenient for riders as well, including the widespread use cell phones.
“If you wanted to call home back then, you would sit on the curb next to the phone booth, waiting in line for your turn,” Roeder said. “If there wasn’t a phone booth, you could maybe convince a tavern owner to let you use their phone and reverse the charges.”
He said only 65 people signed up for the first BRAN tour.
“It was very much like a family,” Roeder said. “There wasn’t one person on that ride that had done a long distance ride.”
He said he really enjoyed the first ride, but there was “no guarantee that there would be a second ride.” When the next year rolled around, Roeder said he was all in. Originally, he thought he would participate for about five years.
“Five years came, and well, what the heck?” he recalled. “Six years came and then at seven years, Shannon started riding with me, and boy, did we ever have fun.”
Shannon is his daughter who started riding on the back of his tandem bike at age 9.
“With the combination of having Shannon riding with me and riding with these people here, the social part was really fun,” he said.
Now a retired Central High School science teacher, Roeder said BRAN turned into a summertime tradition, and one he treasured. His daughter rode tandem with him for 30 years. Last year was her final tour due to her struggles with the heat.
“Thirty years of riding with my daughter was special,” Roeder said.
Another benefit of the BRAN tours is the varying routes they take across Nebraska.
“You get to see a lot of the state,” he said. “I like to feel the power of the land and see the open beauty of the sky, it’s pretty fantastic. This particular route in the northern part of the state is so pretty. The Niobrara River valley is one of my favorites.”
Why has Roeder signed up for BRAN year after year?
“Insanity,” he chuckles. “Seriously, friendship is a really big part of the comeback.”
Roeder said some surprising friendships have formed during his BRAN rides.
“There were three college girls who seemed kind of lost during their first ride, so I kind of took them under my wing,” he said.
Roeder later found out that the girls had started calling him “Branta Claus.” They even presented him with a pair of Santa Claus suspenders that he now only wears during BRAN.
After 39 years, he no longer doubts his ability to complete the rides.
“I don’t wonder anymore if I can do it. I know that I can,” Roeder said. “I don’t know how long I can do it, but I’ve done it a long time already. I’ve established that I’m not too bad for an old guy.”
He has been through all kinds of weather for these tours, saying he loves “a good thunderstorm in a tent,” but BRAN39 may have been one for the record books.
“Weather-wize this has probably been the best year yet,” Roeder said. “You just can’t write a script better than the one we have here. We never get four days in a row of tailwinds. It’s been beautiful weather this year.”
He said the beautiful weather made BRAN39 “such an easy year.”
“You can ride fast and long when you’ve got a tailwind,” Roeder said. “This has been an amazing BRAN.”
He admitted that if the weather was like this every year, it might be difficult for him to walk away after BRAN40.
“I have said — and I continue to think this is the case —that I’m going to do it one more year after this and call it an even 40,” Roeder said. “That’s the plan right now, but it might change.”
The new sports coop between Clearwater, Orchard and Ewing has a brand new look.
During a joint board meeting last month, the school boards collectively decided on Summerland Bobcats as the new mascot with the colors of Carolina blue, black and silver.
Today, Ewing Principal Greg Appleby released the official logos for the new mascot:
An Oakdale man is accused of fracturing his 6-week-old baby’s skull — and numerous other bones — after he allegedly became frustrated when the baby wouldn’t stop crying, according to court records.
Christofer Carstens, 21, appeared in Antelope County Court Wednesday on a charge of felony child abuse-serious bodily injury, a class II felony. The crime is punishable by up to 50 years in prison with a minimum of one year.
Carstens requested a court-appointed attorney and Judge Donna Farrell Taylor appointed Antelope County Public Defender Pat Carney to his case. His preliminary hearing was set for June 19 at 2:30 p.m. Carstens is being held in the Antelope County Jail on 10 percent of a $500,000 bond. He has been ordered to have no contact with the victim, or her mother, Dana Welch.
According to the arrest affidavit, Carstens told the investigator that he “was tossing Alicia M. Carstens in the air and her head hit the ceiling.”
“Christofer Carstens also advised that he became frustrated that Alicia Carstens would not stop crying and was holding Alicia Carstens with his hands underneath her arm pits and shook her,” the document said.
According to the affidavit, the Antelope County Sheriff’s Department received a 911 call from the baby’s grandfather, Stephen Barrington, at 708 5th St. in Oakdale on May 25. The report said Barrington told dispatchers that his 6-week-old granddaughter, Alicia Carstens, was having seizures.
She was taken by ambulance to Antelope Memorial Hospital where Dr. Kelli Osborn ordered X-rays, Sheriff Bob Moore’s report stated.
“Dr. Osborne advised that the baby had broken ribs, a broken clavicle, a broken arm (humerus) and a skull fracture with a serious brain bleed,” he wrote.
While waiting for Life Flight to arrive, the sheriff received differing stories from the parents and grandparents regarding their thoughts on how the injuries occurred, according to the affidavit. Moore stated that he placed the baby in emergency protective custody at that time.
Interviews of several individuals determined that the baby had no injuries or a swollen eye and was acting like a normal baby until the time the baby was given to Carstens at 6 p.m. on May 24, the document stated.
On May 25, several family members noted the baby’s swollen eye — which Carstens claimed was due to allergies — and witnessed apparent seizures, according to the report. Despite his arguments, Barrington called 911, Moore wrote. The infant was taken to AMH and later airlifted to Children's Hospital in Omaha.
The sheriff stated that his timeline was given to the Nebraska State Patrol and a state investigator conducted an interview of Carstens in Omaha.
The report stated that — on June 4 — Carstens advised the investigator that his action on May 24 “was the reason that caused her injuries.” He was arrested by Antelope County Sheriff’s Department that same day.
Due to the ongoing investigation of the case, the baby is now in the custody of Nebraska Health and Human Services. She remains hospitalized. On Wednesday afternoon, the judge ruled that no family members may have contact with the child; however, daily medical updates may be received by the baby’s mother, who has been authorized as the point of contact. Welch denied any wrongdoing.
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