Sunlight poured in through the large storefront windows. Kids excitedly swung open the door and turned to the right as they spotted candy bars near the counter. An upright freezer with sliding doors on the west and north walls held the popular ice cream treats.
Grocery staples filled several shelves in the center of the store and the south side featured bins of fruit and vegetables. Event flyers were posted in the windows. The little country store was a hub of activity as friends and neighbors gathered for gas, groceries and beer.
Knievel’s Corner store served as a rural landmark and lifeline for generations of families for more than 70 years.
Now, memories and two gas pumps are all that remain of the former store after it was razed in a controlled burn on Saturday.
The Ewing Volunteer Fire Department burned the structure at the request of current property owner Ag Agronomy.
Originally built in 1936, the store was owned by the Ferdinand and Anna Hupp family. The store was sold to Joe Knievel in 1947. Located just west of the Antelope-Holt county line, it turned into a physical landmark in the area and became known as Knievel’s Corner. Knievel also had a tank wagon service for farm deliveries, and beginning in the 1960s, a fertilizer business was added. The grocery store was mainly operated by his wife Theresa and their 12 children: Chris, Steve, Rosemary (Schoolfield), Connie (Dvorak), Joe, Donna (Knievel-Kamas), Kathy (Fry), Ed, Theresa (Mackel), Ann Knievel, Rita (Weiss) and Paul. The family’s home, which was attached to the west side of the store, was built in 1956.
Connie said the grocery store was convenient for the people in the area as well as their large family.
“Dad used to call it an oversized pantry,” she recalled with a laugh.
Theresa said it was fun to go into the store and “just get what we were going to make for dinner.”
“It was a very nice pantry for our huge family,” she said.
Connie said since their home was attached to the store, it was a very big part of their lives.
“I suppose it would be kind of like someone who lived on a farm that had chores, but we had the store,” she said.
Theresa remembers ringing up customers at “a very young age,” and said it was “amazing that they trusted us.”
The kids pumped gas for customers, unloaded the Nash Finch delivery truck on Wednesday mornings when they weren’t in school, stocked the shelves, ran the cash register and made change, boxed up the groceries and helped the shoppers carry them to their car.
Rosemary said she enjoyed visiting with their neighbors who would do their weekly shopping on Saturdays.
“I developed some arm strength carrying out those heavy boxes,” she said.
“Everybody had big families then, so everybody needed a lot of groceries,” Connie said. “It was pretty fun, really.”
As their tank wagon and fertilizer businesses began to grow, she said her mother needed additional help and hired some local ladies to work there as well, including Marge Schindler, Rita Funk and Nita Hixson.
She said customers could purchase anything from lunch meat to basic hardware, such as nuts and bolts.
“And it was kind of a community center, I guess,” Connie said. “We were open basically seven days a week, but maybe just until around noon on Sundays.”
Gloria Christiansen of Neligh, who grew up just 4 miles west of Knievel’s Corner in the 1950s and 60s, said her favorite childhood memories of Knievel’s store happened on Sunday mornings.
“Coming from church every Sunday my dad often got the Omaha World-Herald just for the comics,” Gloria said. “There were six of us kids and we would get a nickel or a dime—not every time because times were hard, it all depended on if mom got enough money from the eggs that she had brought to Neligh at Tisthammers.”
But if there was enough, each one of the kids would receive a coin.
“So we went in and I always got a fudge ice cream cone or a salted nut roll,” Gloria remembered with a chuckle.
When her family got groceries on Sunday, she said the store’s matriarch was “famous for dropping in candy or a little treat for us kids.”
“We always wanted mom to buy groceries there because Theresa would treat us,” Gloria said.
Connie said her mother passed away in 1975, but “people still mention memories of her kindness and generosity.”
Her sisters agreed.
“I love to hear stories about when my mom was working in the store,” Rita said. “Several people have told stories about her throwing candy bars in their grocery bags, and then when they got home, were questioned by their parents about exactly how those candy bars got in there. It was a little thing that my mom did that made a special childhood memory for many.”
Theresa said she recalls watching her mother’s generosity in action.
“I remember mom walking around with neighbors that had sick family members or had suffered a recent loss and adding lots of extra items to their carts at no cost to them,” she said.
Gloria said Knievel’s store was also a meeting place for kids if their parents couldn’t pick them up from school on time.
“We would walk to Knievel’s store, wait for our parents to come and hope we had a nickel or dime with us so we could buy something,” Gloria said.
For that and many other reasons, she said it was a landmark that held “so many good memories.”
“It was just a really important place that tied us all together,” Gloria said.
Connie said her dad had the old store torn down in 1994 and reopened a new, larger store with a lunchroom in 1995. The business was sold in 1997 and closed about 10 years later.
“The store was part of a vibrant community while we were growing up, along with St. John’s Church and the country schools,” she said.
Connie said it’s been nice to hear everyone’s memories about Knievel’s Corner. Those memories are something she holds dear, especially now that it’s gone.
“We are pretty emotional about it, that’s for sure,” she said. “I don’t think Dad had any idea that it would end up in the shape that it’s in when he sold it. It was pretty important to him too.”
Rita said Knievel’s Corner was “an awesome place to grow up.”
“I was so sad when we moved, and a piece of my heart has never left,” she said. “Now, knowing that it’s gone, it feels like a death in the family. I don’t know any other way to describe it. A piece of our family history, and the community history, is gone.”
The Ewing Lady Tigers moved to 2-0 on the young season with an impressive 71-30 win over Spalding Academy on the road Friday evening.
After a close first quarter, the Lady Tigers led by just two after one quarter of play. Spalding sharp-shooter Kelly Kleffner paced SA with three 3’s in the first quarter, but the Ewing defense tightened up and shut down Kleffner to zero baskets the rest of the way. In the 2nd quarter, the Tigers opened their lead to 11 at the halftime break. Ashley Koenig poured in 14 first-half points to pace the Tigers. In the 3rd, Ewing widened their lead to 17 before cruising in the 4th quarter to the 41-point win.
Leading Scorers: Ashley Koenig 25 Points – 9 Rebounds – 4 Steals – 3 Assists
Sidney Stallbaum 18 Points – 10 Rebounds – 5 Steals – 3 Assists
Tiana Thramer 7 Points
Emily Nordby 6 Points
Brenna Wagner 2 Points – 6 Rebounds – 7 Steals – 3 Assists
Hailey Rotherham 7 Points – 6 Rebounds
Summer Schroeder 4 Points
Miranda Summers 7 Rebounds – 6 Steals – 3 Assists
“This was a good game for us as we had to play both man and zone defense and I thought we made some good adjustments after the 1st quarter," Coach Greg Appleby said. "We executed our offense pretty well to get some easy scoring opportunities. Our young kids really played well off the bench in the 4th quarter. It was good to get them some game experience.”
Ewing 15 17 15 24 71
Spalding Academy 13 8 9 0 30
A three-school merger took a step closer Wednesday night as Orchard, Ewing and Clearwater boards voted to seek out more information about consolidation.
The boards voted to move forward with feasibility studies on consolidation, as well as authorizing administrators to contact attorneys to put together a request for proposals for a construction management company.
The story will be updated with full details of the meeting.
Clearwater and Ewing took a step toward a two-school merger last week and set a timeline for an early 2019 vote to consolidate.
Both boards unanimously passed a motion to hire Craig Pease and Bob Uhing to begin the two-school feasibility study with anticipation of receiving the study by Nov. 30. The timeline discussed included setting individual town hall meetings in December with a vote by the boards in January to set a special election for consolidation shortly after.
The Ewing and Clearwater boards of education met for about 80 minutes last Wednesday in the Ewing band room to discuss future school options. The meeting was two weeks after Ewing requested a similar meeting with Orchard.
Orchard's Advisory Board met about three hours prior to the meeting between Clearwater and Ewing and instructed Superintendent Dale Martin to tell both boards that Orchard was interested in joining the feasibility study. For more details on that meeting, click here.
After much discussion, Ewing Superintendent Ted Hillman told the boards he supported moving forward with the two schools.
“You need to do the two-school item to put the others involved, whoever they might be, on notice that you want to go ahead with something, and you are. They can determine if they want to join in later or not. They have decisions to be made, too,” Hillman said. “I guess you need to put your cards on the table.”
Clearwater Principal Mike Sanne agreed and said, “We can’t keep dragging this out. This has been going on for a long time, and we keep pushing it off because of this or that. There’s two groups here.”
Immediately following that statement, Ewing President Mark Ramold asked for a motion to move forward with a study. Pete Funk made the motion with Ed Nordby seconding. Ewing passed the motion unanimously. Clearwater President Amy Thiele then asked for the same motion. Regina Krebs made the motion with Tom Thiele as the second. It was also passed unanimously.
Early into the meeting between Ewing and Clearwater, Funk said the meeting was called to help Clearwater make an educated decision in March on whether they wanted to reunify with Orchard and Verdigre. Amy Thiele said while there had been talk of a three-school merger, it was suggested during that meeting with Orchard that Ewing wanted to pursue a two-school merger with Clearwater.
Sanne said Clearwater has made no secret of its interest in consolidation, especially with a reunification deadline looming. Ewing has repeatedly stated it’s not interested in joining the unification.
“I think you guys all are aware that back in August the Unified Board directed us to have a decision made by March,” Sanne said. “We’re looking to move forward with somebody. We’ve got different options we’re looking at. It’s been no secret our board told me to look at all the options, and basically that included looking at Ewing and looking at Elgin and we’re still talking about possibly reunifying. All options are out there for us, and we’re looking to find the best option for our kids 20 or 30 years down the road.”
Funk said his Plan A was a three-school merger between Ewing, Clearwater and Orchard, but “you go with maybe who’ll go with you.” Clearwater’s Joe Thiele asked, “So if Clearwater’s prepared to consolidate with you, you guys are prepared to do the same?”
Funk immediately said he was, and Ramold said Ewing would establish a timeline toward that. Joe Thiele asked if Ewing needed more information first, and Funk said yes, adding “it would be nice to know what the budget’s going look like. It would be a lot easier to have that information to sell it.”
Although the action taken included a study between only Ewing and Clearwater, much of the public participation in the meeting involved having Orchard in the mix. Dustin Wright spoke multiple times about wanting to include Orchard and told board members he was hosting a public forum on Sunday, Oct. 14, at 8 p.m. in the Ewing gym between patrons of the three districts.
He said if people were unable to attend, they could send letters to be read. Wright said a survey would be available at the conclusion of the meeting to give boards an indication of how those attending felt about a three-school merger.
While Sunday’s meeting is open to the public, it has not been publicly advertised as an official board meeting, meaning no more than two Advisory board members or three Original from each school can participate, per state statute § 84-1409.
“We’re hoping a couple board members from each place shows up. People kind of address their concerns, worries, what they’re thinking moving forward if anybody’s got the balls to stand up and say something,” Wright said.
Dawn Marie Heller, a 2001 graduate of Ewing Public Schools, graduated from Joseph’s College of Cosmetology on July 13, 2018.
Graduates of the college are required to complete 2,100 clock hours and 2,100 credits to graduate and become licensed in the state of Nebraska. While there, Heller became Shellac and Trissola certified.
Heller’s parents are Ruth and Monte Williams of Ewing. Her children are Kaelyn, Brayden and Ryker Heller.
Summerland wrapped up their Jr. Golf Camp on Friday after a week of golfing by area youth.
Congratulations to all the participants!
The 8th Annual Bubby's Race drew more than 200 people to Ewing on Sunday morning.
Cancer survivors were recognized with a Circle of Hope before the 5K run and 1-mile walk began at the Ewing football field. Runners and walkers of all ages followed the marked course throughout town. The race, which was started in memory of Beverly "Bubby" Thramer of Ewing, was held in conjunction with Ewing's Funfest celebration.
Collin Erickson (19-29 division) was the overall male winner with a time of 19:05, and Sadie Murren (19-29 division) crossed the finish line in 23:59 as the overall female winner.
Proceeds from the event will benefit cancer treatment at Antelope Memorial Hospital in Neligh and Avera St. Anthony's Hospital in O'Neill.
Race results for the runners:
1. Collin Erickson, 19:05, Overall Male & Male 19-29 Winner
2. Cody Thramer, 20:45
3. Cole Hilker, 21:04, Male 40-49 Winner
4. Ashton Higgins, 21:59, Male 0-18 Winner
5. Brent Schmidt, 22:02
6. Khobe Sommersted-Simmons, 22:03
7. Kevin Simmons, 22:07
8. Jake Krings, 23:12
9. Connor Napier, 23:51
10. Sadie Murren 23:59, Overall Female & 19-29 Winner
11. Phil Thramer, 24:19
12. Mandy Kumm, 24:23, Female 40-49 Winner
13. Jodi Loecker, 24:42
14. Layne Bullock, 24:51
15. Natalie Bitney, 25:34
16. Jacque Tagel, 26:01, Female 0-18 Winner
17. Laura Hynes, 26:47
18. Tad Fry, 26:51
19. Alexis Butterfield, 27:25
20. Shelby Myers, 27:57
21. Bob Musil, 28:00, Male 50+ Winner
22. Ashton Wachter, 28:20
23. John Higgins, 28:23
24. Rachel Higgins, 28:30
25. Janette Kerkman, 29:17, Female 50+ Winner
26. Bridget Krings, 29:20
27. Alex Wiese, 29:22
28. Marissa Beierman, 29:39
29. Kevin Rubeck, 29:41
30. Michell Tagel, 30:08
31. Ryan Keegan, 30:10, Male 30-39 Winner
32. Megan Biddlecome, 30:23
33. Nathan Howe, 30:25
34. Tina Butterfield, 30:28
35. Shaley Davis, 30:29
36. Erin Shepperd, 30:32
37. Peg Abels, 30:34
38. Grace Peed, 30:37
39. Sam Stoltz, 30:46, Female 30-39 Winner
40. Beth Hibbs, 31:12
41. Zelie Sorensen, 31:47
42. Sharon Bartak, 32:02
43. Jamie Schmidt, 33:34
44. Heather Bartak, 33:36
45. Laurel Miller, 33:56
46. Danielle Mortensen, 35:04
47. Gayle Carlson, 35:06
48. Darcy Shabram, 38:12
49. Marlene Grenier, 38:14
50. Alex Abels, 39:25
51. Noah Schmidt, 39:27
52. Terri Hergert, 40:18
53. Tenzlie Sorensen, 40:41
54. Jodie Sorensen, 40:44
55. Kayla Byars, 41:04
56. Amanda Benson, 41:28
57. Kathy Benson, 41:30
58. Barb Peitzmeier, 42:14
The Ewing Girl Scout's Troop #127 will be holding a stuffed animal and blanket drive to support "Aidan's Animals," a non-profit that provides comfort items to children and families in crisis.
The drive will be held May 26-27 during the Ewing Summer Funfest Activities. The troop is asking for brand new animals or blankets with tags. Smaller hand or lap-sized items work best.
The items collected will go to Avera St. Anthony's Hospital and Antelope Memorial Hospital to be distributed to children facing traumatic events.
To learn more about Aidan's Animals, go to www.supportaidansanimals.org or visit Aidan's Animals on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.
If you were thinking about signing up for the 8th Annual Bubby's Race in Ewing, you still have time!
The deadline to register as a participant or be a sponsor has been extended to Saturday, May 5.
The 5k run and 1 mile walk will be held May 27, 2018 at the Ewing Football Field. Check-in begins at 8:30 a.m. with the event to start at 9:00 a.m.
Register by May 1st to be guaranteed a shirt. You can register online at https://www.allsportcentral.com/EventInfo.cfm?EventID=65604 or obtain registration/sponsor form at www.kbrx.com. Registration is $15, participants six years and younger are free (no shirt provided).
Bubby's Race is in remembrance of Bev Thramer and all of those who lost their battle to cancer, in honor of loved ones currently fighting, and in celebration of those who have overcome the battle. Proceeds will be donated to cancer treatments at Avera St. Anthony's Hospital in O'Neill, NE and Antelope Memorial Hospital in Neligh, NE.
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