U.S. Bank® and the Nebraska School Activities Association are proud to announce the 2018-19 local school winners of the Believers and Achievers award. Every member school is able to submit two senior students for recognition in this awards program.
Jacob Long and Julia Thiele been chosen to represent Clearwater. The announcement of the 48 statewide winners of the U.S. Bank® Believers & Achievers award will be announced by the NSAA at a later date.
The Clearwater homecoming candidates and court have been announced.
Candidates for king are Chris Kester, Zach King, Jake Long, Austin Pokorny and Clay Thiele. Queen candidates are Taylor Sanne, Katie Stearns and Julia Thiele.
Members of the court are first-grade crown bearers Grace Ahlers and Wyatt Bolling; freshmen attendants Cassidy Bearinger and Ty Rix; sophomores Elly Herley and Rafe Grebin and juniors Taylor Rose Bolling and Tyler Hupp.
The annual homecoming parade will start at 1 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 5 and the dance is set for Saturday, Oct. 6.
Northeast Nebraska Telephone Company Director Omer Hoffman of Clearwater will officially retire from the NNTC Board of Directors after serving as a board member for nearly 60 years.
According to NNTC, it all started because Hoffman wanted a telephone in his home. In the late 1950s, Hoffman, along with Joe Knievel and Maynard Sterns, worked to raise $27,000 with the goal of bringing dial telephones to their area. They went door-to-door asking residents in Clearwater and Bartlett to donate $30 with the promise of a phone.
The men raised the money needed to get a government loan which allowed them to buy into Northeast Nebraska Telephone Company. NNTC had just been established in Jackson in 1957. Clearwater and Bartlett joined the company in 1958. From there Hoffman was hooked. Once he established phone service in his area, he stayed on the Board of Directors for six more decades.
“I wanted to go off the board the last time and they insisted that I stay on, but do you realize that I’d be 100 years old when I got off the board,” he joked.
The 97-year-old rancher has spent two-thirds of his life advocating for telecommunication service in rural Nebraska. He said the biggest change over the years was the addition of providing internet services.
“Can you imagine the old ringer phones up until now? It’s all electronic age so you wonder where it’s going, “ Hoffman said.
Hoffman has been driving from Clearwater to Jackson to attend meetings for the company for decades. He estimates he has spent three years of his life in total, attending meetings and volunteering for NNTC.
“If you live in an area, you should do something to help support the area. We’ve got volunteer firemen, school board members. This was an opportunity for me to be doing something. And I was glad to give back and to get a phone!” Hoffman said.
Omer Hoffman will be recognized for his contributions at NNTC’s annual membership meeting on Thursday, Sept. 13 at the NNTC facilities in Jackson.
Visitors can enjoy a free meal this afternoon during the Clearwater Market's Grand Opening at their store in Clearwater.
The public can enjoy a meal of grilled hamburgers, brats and hotdogs with sides of salads, chips and cookies until 2:00 Friday afternoon. Customers will be entered to win one of five $20 gift cards with every $50 purchase during business hours today.
Out with the old and in with the new has been the latest trend in Clearwater’s most recent economic development.
When Jo’s Market closed down, a building for the Clearwater Market was remodeled, and when The Tilden Bank of Clearwater relocated, its old location became The Office.
The building that housed The Tilden Bank was built in 1907 and originally called Citizens State Bank. Since its construction, the building had always been used as a bank — until now.
The Tilden Bank of Clearwater opened its newly constructed location on Feb. 4, 2017. Bill Kester, Senior Vice President of The Tilden Bank and Clearwater native, said the bank decided to build a new facility because it required more room and wanted a drive through window.
“We needed more office space,” Kester said. “And, the bank’s loan volume had grown so that we hired another loan officer. We also wanted a drive through.”
Steve Stearns took ownership on on Dec. 22, 2017, and Stearns had a vision of renting it out as satellite offices.
“Basically, people who have companies in Lincoln, Omaha or Norfolk or surrounding towns that have clientele back here around these small communities, there’s a chance for them to come back and have an office to meet with those clients,” Stearns said.
The building was named The Office, and it celebrated its open house and ribbon cutting on June 28. Stearns said about 60 people attended and were in and out of its doors.
He didn’t want to see the building remain vacant and without a use, so Stearns said he decided to take a chance on
“It was just too good of a building to sit empty. The longer they sit empty, the more downhill they go,” he said. “And, you can’t bring people to town if you don’t have a building open and something going on there. So, I decided to take a chance on it and see what we can do.”
The Office is fully furnished and has five offices and a conference room. Two of the offices have already been rented
out to Tredas, LLC and Farm Bureau Financial Services.
Adam Ickes, PJ Conradt, Ethan Bruland and Zane Abner are the Tredas workers who will spend time in The Office.
Tredas was started in December of 2014 by Ickes, Drew Jensen and Doug Simon. It has three other locations: Lincoln, Aurora and Lindsay.
The company works with farmers doing risk management commodity brokerage and provides services in marketing, merchandising, commodity consulting, commodity brokerage and crop insurance.
Ickes, part owner and broker consultant, is from Page and works in the Lincoln office. Ickes said the northeast Nebraska area will provide good exposure and help them meet with more clients.
“It would be nice to have a place to go meet guys and work,” he said. “We currently have clients up there, so having a place to have meetings and stuff would be helpful. That’s kind of our hope.”
Conradt said it will be a good opportunity to get to know some of their clients on a more personal level.
“We haven’t had a chance to sit down with anyone yet and really get to know each other on more of a personal level and
a working level,” he said. “So ideally moving forward, that would be the goal.”
Having a lot of good farmers and families in the area makes Clearwater a good location for potential growth, Conradt said.
“It gives us an area to kind of put our roots down in and kind of be a presence up in that area where we have clients,” he said. “I feel like there’s a large need for it and potential growth for it in that area.”
Ickes and Conradt said they hope to have people work in Clearwater one to two days a week, but they’d eventually like to find someone to work full time.
“There won’t be somebody there all of the time, which is going to be somewhat of a variable for us to figure out,” Ickes said. “In the future, hopefully we can find somebody that fits the mold of what we’re trying to do and having somebody be up there full time would be ideal.”
Since they will only be there one or two times a week, Conradt said it’s helpful that The Office has a full-time receptionist so people can feel as though they can walk in at any time.
“More than anything, you just don’t want to have it so nobody knows when to come in, and she can coordinate a lot of stuff
appointment-wise,” he said. “And also, when people come in and say, ‘Hey, I want to talk to the Tredas guys,’ she can say,
‘Well, here’s a business card, here’s their phone number.’ ”
Torie Opela works as The Office’s receptionist and is employed as a secretary/receptionist for Farm Bureau’s David Duff. Opela said she will be there from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. She can be reached at 402- 485-2101.
While two offices are taken, there are still three open, and Stearns said he would like to see those filled.
“I’d like to get a land and title company writer; I’d like to get a real estate agent in it,” Stearns said. “And then, it would be
a one-stop shop. Maybe get somebody in there who could write LLC companies, licenses and paperwork on that.”
The other new stop to make in Clearwater is the Clearwater Market, located west of HiWay Mart. The building was donated
by the Clearwater Chamber of Commerce.
The community rallied together when the town’s previous grocery store, Jo’s Market, was closing down.
Its owner, Joan Allemang, had the market for 14 years before listing it for sale in September of 2017.
According to Clearwater Economic Development director Gabe Steinmeyer, efforts for the new grocery store began after Allemang announced she would be retiring in the spring.
“They had a couple meetings and then worked with our office and with a couple different groups and they got together
a number of investors from Clearwater, as the community itself, to put the funding and the backing behind opening up
that new location,” he said.
To fund the new store, Steinmeyer said they primarily received money from community members but also also used LB 840 as a loan from Clearwater’s economic development group.
“They had a large number of families and individuals from Clearwater and the Clearwater area who all came together as partners in an entity, and they all bought shares within that organization,” he said.
The community joined forces as it saw and addressed a need for a grocery store in the town, according to Steinmeyer.
“It’s pretty important for the Clearwater community, and I think they definitely saw the need,” he said. “There were a couple months when they were without a grocery store and community members there definitely saw the need for the continued presence of a grocery store.”
A five-person board of directors consisting of Jesse McKillip, Angie Ahlers, Jarod Bearinger, Bill Thiele and Dana
Kester decided who would run the Clearwater Market.
The board selected Jeff Henning of Clearwater as the general manager. The market had a soft opening on June 16.
Henning said the store was very busy and had a good opening day.
Since its doors have been opened, Clearwater Market has been able to sell a wide variety of food.
“We have a three-door section and a cooler for the chill produce, and then dry produce, you know, onions, potatoes. We carry a wide variety of produce,” he said.
Before managing Clearwater Market, Henning said he had previous experience working as an assistant manager and then manager of another grocery store down in Oklahoma.
What surprised him the most was the variety of brand and generic names of products that the smaller store is able
to provide, even calling in numerous special orders.
However, what impresses Henning even more is the amount of work and effort people put in to make the store a reality.
“A lot of people did a lot of work to make this happen, and I was quite impressed with how the community backed them and helped them,” he said. “It couldn’t have happened without the volunteers who spent countless hours getting the store ready to open. So, it was quite a job for them, and I applaud them for what they did.”
Even though it had a soft opening on June 16, Henning said Clearwater Market will celebrate its grand opening on July 20.
During the grand opening, there will be giveaways from vendors, such as T-shirts, hats and koozies. There will also be free hot dogs donated and grilled by The Tilden Bank, he said.
A set time for the grand opening has not yet been decided.
A rural Clearwater man has died following a farm-related accident on Monday evening.
The Antelope County Law Enforcement Center received a 911 call at 5:50 p.m., according to a press release from the Antelope County Sheriff’s Department.
When rescue personnel arrived, Robert Pokorny, 52, “was discovered at the site with life-threatening injuries caused from a sweep auger within the grain bin,” the release said.
Emergency crews from the Antelope County Sheriff’s Department, Nebraska State Patrol and Clearwater Fire and Rescue responded to the call at a grain bin site, located at 857 Road and 514 Avenue near Clearwater.
The press release stated that Pokorny was transported to Antelope Memorial Hospital by Clearwater Rescue. He succumbed to his injuries, resulting in his death. The release said “the nature of the incident and resulting injuries sustained by Pokorny were deemed accidental.”
Funeral services will be at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, July 13 2018, at St. Theresa’s Catholic Church in Clearwater,
Click here for Robert Pokorny's obituary.
A Clearwater man was injured in a farm accident on Monday afternoon.
The Antelope County Sheriff's Department received a 911 call at 2:12 p.m. Monday, reporting that a man fell off a tractor pulling a wagon and the wagon ran over his arm, said Sheriff Bob Moore. Clearwater Rescue transported him from a farm near Clearwater.
According to News Channel Nebraska, paramedics transported Fred Schultz to an area hospital and he was the only person injured in the accident.
His condition is unknown at this time.
The dairy cows and calves at Thiele Dairy near Clearwater had a special guest last Wednesday.
Governor Pete Ricketts, along with the director of the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, Steve Wellman, toured the Thiele Dairy as part of Dairy Month during June.
"June is Dairy Month, and we're making the rounds on our Ag Adventure, here," Ricketts said .
Thiele Dairy is a fourthgeneration family-owned dairy operation outside of Clearwater. Bill Thiele explained that his grandparents and parents both farmed there. Bill and Tom Thiele started on the operation in 1977 with hogs.
"We went through the '80s with inflation and all of those things, and that wasn't going well," Bill explained. "Although we always milked cows here, forever, we were in hogs mainly."
When Ron Thiele graduated from high school in 1979, the family converted a horse barn into a dairy stanchion barn and kept adding cows along the way. Eventually, the family quit hogs and combined dairy herds.
With the operation finally moving to its current facilities in March of 2016, Bill said it's been a gradual expansion.
Currently, Thiele Dairy is milking about 1,800 cows on the farm three times a day, as well as raising almost all of its own feed. The dairy also works with other dairymen and farmers to help graze heifers and raise the calves.
The tour included the freestall barn, calf barn and the milking parlor.
"It's a modern design, comfortable for the cows. It has sand for the cows to lay down, misters with the fans to generate wind and cool everything down," said NDA Director Wellman about the freestall barn. “And then in the winter time, they close all that up, and it’s heated by the livestock themselves, so it’s a great system. And it’s really great to not only see that, but to see the passion behind it, the families here all operating at Thiele Dairy.”
Ricketts commented, “It was actually pretty comfortable even though it’s a rather warm day. It was pretty comfortable inside [the freestall
barn], especially when you’re standing close to those misters, and it actually smelled pretty good, too.”
Bill Thiele explained that one of the mantras on the farm everyday is to do what they can to keep the animals clean, dry and comfortable
because they are producing food. “Farmers, the original conservationists,” said Ricketts.
He explained that the idea of the Ag Adventure Tour is “to promote dairy, to get the word out that Nebraska is a great place if you want to be a dairyman, a great place to be a dairy processor, because we want to attract more of both because that’s that value-added agriculture that grows our economy and creates more jobs.”
He went on to say that one of the things Nebraska can do to keep the dairy industry alive in the state is to try and attract more processors. “If we’re uncompetitive in regards to how far, for example, the milk is going, it costs more, and that actually drives away larger operations so people make up for that differential. The more that we can site processors closer to our dairies, that will help us keep those smaller, family owned dairies,” Ricketts said.
The vision for Ricketts’s administration is to grow Nebraska. “Our number one industry is agriculture — the heart and soul of what we do here in our state,” he said. “To grow Nebraska, we have to grow agriculture.”
This is why the Ag Adventure tour started - to promote the industry as value-added agriculture.
As part of the tour, Governor Ricketts and his team visited Jisa Farmstead Cheese by Brainard to promote processing within the dairy industry, Larson’s Dairy near Creston to focus on the technology aspect of the industry, Hiland Dairy in Norfolk to see the ice cream operation, and finished the day at Thiele Dairy to see how a traditional dairy farm operates.
“Not every state gets out there like that and hustles for their ag people, and so it’s a great thing for us,” said Thiele.
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