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A two-vehicle accident occurred in Neligh on Sunday morning on a snow-packed street on the east side of town.
A Nissan Sentra and Pontiac Grand Prix collided near 2nd and F Streets in Neligh around 11:30 a.m.. Multiple ambulances from Neligh Rescue responded, as well as the Neligh Police Department and Neligh Fire Department.
No other information is available at this time.
First responders were recognized Saturday night for longevity with the Neligh Fire Department and Neligh-Oakdale Jaws of Life.
Tom Boggs received an engraved axe celebrating his 45th year with the fire department. Boggs, 69, will retire from the organization next year at age 70.
Tony Tschirren was honored for 20 years. Those recognized for 10 years were Gerald Knievel, Randy Reinke, Walt Storey and Mike Wright. Scott Kester was honored for five years.
Brian Hain was a dual honoree after spending five years with the Jaws of Life. He also received the Axe Award for having a mishap during the last year.
Looking back at 2018, the Jaws of Life had three rescue calls and zero extracations.
The fire department had 55 district calls and three mutual aid calls. Among the calls were one structure, two vehicle, two gas/hazard, three grass/brush, three rescue assist and one traffic assist. They also had special duty calls.
The department’s average response to 36 emergency calls from the time they were dispatched to leaving the fire hall was 2:38. The arrival average time was 2:18. The average fire call lasted 2 hours, 18 minutes.
Neligh firefighters spent 1,469 hours training and 2,694 total volunteer hours, including 274 classroom hours.
The fireighters also decided to host a pancake benefit on March 10 for the Scott and Caitlin Kester family who recently had premature twins. The twins are expected to be in the hospital for another month.
Slick road conditions are believed to have contributed to a one-vehicle accident Friday morning along Highway 275 east of Neligh.
Officials said the west-bound vehicle slid into the north ditch and struck a tree after the driver lost control on a curve near 527th Avenue.
Although Neligh Rescue and the Neligh-Oakdale Jaws of Life was called, the driver was transported privately from the scene. No information on their condition is known at this time.
The Antelope County Sheriff's Department and Nebraska State Patrol responded to the scene. No other information is available at this time.
The staff of Antelope Memorial Hospital will hold an active shooter exercise in Neligh on Wednesday, February 20 beginning at 4:25 p.m.
"We want the community to be aware that the Nebraska State Patrol, Neligh Fire Department, Neligh law enforcement and Antelope County law enforcement will also be participating. We do not want the community to be alarmed by all of the activity. Unless you have business at the hospital, we recommend that you do not visit patients from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Wednesday, February 20. Once again, this is only a test of our system," said RN Connie Knuth.
The Antelope County News will have coverage of the drill online and on social media. When the drill begins, the ACN will also post a reminder to alleviate any concerns.
Students at Neligh-Oakdale High School experienced a month in poverty during a poverty simulation Tuesday morning.
Hailey Bixler, state FCCLA officer for Neligh-Oakdale, first experienced the poverty simulation at a district FCCLA leadership conference and thought it would be a great idea to bring back to students at Neligh-Oakdale.
“Hailey was like, ‘This would be fun,’ so we went ahead and talked to administration and we told them that it would cost a little bit of money to bring it in and what it was about, and they okayed it,” Kim Scarborough, N-O FCCLA advisor, said.
She noted that it just worked out that the simulation was available during FCCLA week.
The Community Action Poverty Simulation is designed for students to experience what it’s like living a full month in poverty. During the simulation, students are assigned families, and each family member is given a specific role - whether that be mom, dad, brother, grandpa, baby sister, etc.
Before the simulation, the students learned what poverty is, the types of poverty and poverty guidelines.
In the simulation, each week is 15 minutes long and the weekends are three minutes long. During that time, families must keep their shelter or find shelter, report to work or school, buy the required amount of food each week, pay all utility bills and loans, and pay for clothing and other expenses.
Each family is given a resource packet which contains a description of family roles, possessions such as a microwave or stove, nametags, identification documents and other resources like transportation passes.
Teachers acted as community resource providers during the simulation. Community resources consisted of a bank, paycheck advance, health care, child care, school, pawn shop, landlord, police station, grocery store, employment office and homeless shelter.
While trying to survive a month in poverty, students also had to respond to unexpected events such as having to leave work to pick up a sick child from school or going to jail because their child was taken by child protective services.
In order to pay for necessities, most families opted to visit Big Dave’s Pawn Shop to pawn items. Others resorted to stealing possessions from neighbors.
Jennifer Hanson, 4-H and Youth Development Extension Educator in Thurston County was on hand to oversee the simulation.
She noted that during the first week, only two of the families had bought groceries.
“I think the thing that i notice the most is that a lot of these kids take for granted the food,” she said.
“Our hope is that by going through the simulation where they’re living a month in poverty...they’ll have a better understanding of what those families go through, but also then it’s out hope that they’ll take what they’ve learned and find a way to help those in their community.”
Valentine's Day was celebrated with the residents at Neligh Care and Rehab in Neligh.
Residents were serenaded by the Neligh-Oakdale sixth grade class with several Valentine's Day tunes. The students also passed out Valentine's Day cards to each of the residents and treats were had by all.
After the musical performance, this year's Valentine's Day King and Queen were announced. Keith Durry and Shirley Henkenius were selected as this year's royalty. Other members of the royal court were Dean Brown, Jerry O'Malley, Lucille Kyncl and Sharon Patras.
What a sweet delivery!
Their little boy arrived just in time for Valentine’s Day and was the first baby of 2019 born at Antelope Memorial Hospital in Neligh.
Jaime A. Cruz Gonzalez and Azucena Verdin Lopez of Ewing welcomed Josue´ Gael Cruz Verdin, their third child, on Tuesday at 11:40 p.m. He weighed 5 pounds, 14 ounces and measured 17.5 inches long. Josue´ joins big brother Saul Alejandro Cruz Verdin, 8 and big sister Sofia Paola Cruz Verdin, 5.
Grandparents are Arturo Cruz Mendoza, Merced Gonzalez Meza, Alfredo Verdin Delfin and Rita Lopez Lupercio.
The Neligh Chamber of Commerce continued its annual tradition of welcoming the first baby born of the New Year with gifts. The family received flowers arranged by Neligh Flower Shop and $50 in Neligh Big Bucks. The gifts were presented by Steve and Lauren Simonsen and Carrie Pitzer. Antelope Memorial Hospital also presented a gift basket filled with items for the baby.
Jack Green, chief executive officer of Antelope Memorial Hospital, is retiring after 32 years of service on February 28. In early March, he’ll assist AMH’s new chief executive office, Diane Carlin, during a brief transitional timeframe.
When Green first began employment at AMH in September 1986, it was his second job as a healthcare executive. He said he had no expectations for how long he and his son, Brant, would make Neligh their home. However, Green said he soon began to appreciate the hometown values and culture of Neligh and the surrounding area.
He later married Peggy Funk who was employed at AMH as a RN. They have two daughters, Kylie and Kelsey, and a son, Jesse. Brant and his wife, Charlie, and their children, Isabella, MacKenzie and Liam, currently live in Lincoln. Kylie and her husband, Spencer Smith, reside in rural Neligh and have a daughter, Leighton Sue.
Through the years, Green has witnessed a variety of changes in healthcare. He’s seen AMH’s physical facility change with its new additions and remodeling projects. In 2004, a $1,000,000 Capital Campaign was kicked off to go towards the AMH 2005 Building Project. The project, totaling $5.5 million, was imperative for AMH to remain medically successful and competitive in the future, he said. In later years, original parts of AMH were remodeled to finish bringing AMH departments and services up-to-date. AMH clinics have also been rebuilt or remodeled. The new Neligh clinic location was opened a year ago and now offers more patient rooms, maximizing the flow of patient services.
Green has also witnessed changes in how billing is done, medical records are stored (now electronically) and reimbursements are received. Through the years, government reimbursements for hospitals have continued to be cut and regulations increased ‒ resulting in a lot of added expenses overall.
“Despite the changes I’ve seen, the top level of professionalism and care delivered by our providers and the entire AMH staff has remained the same through the years,” he said. "It’s been an honor to know and work with them and to be a part of the great things that have happened at AMH through the years.”
Green said he's "very excited to retire and start a new chapter in life."
"It’s also a mixed bag of emotions ‒ to include the unknown," he said. "However, I’m very thankful to have had the opportunity to work at AMH and with such special people ‒ all these years. I know they will continue to deliver quality care and be successful in the future. Antelope Memorial Hospital is truly a special place and a blessing to area communities."
The mobile food pantry, sponsored by various churches, individuals, and businesses in the area, will be dispersing food on Tue., Feb. 19, 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. Individuals need to bring their own boxes.
“I know Nate has a great big smile up in heaven.”
After a whopping 19 students qualified for Class D All-State Band on Feb. 5, Neligh-Oakdale music teacher Jamie Sehi said she knows the late Nate Metschke is beaming with pride.
“It’s just really impressive,” Sehi said. “All the kids’ hard work is paying off, and I know he’s got a huge smile up there.”
Newly-hired Warrior band director Molly Burbach agreed.
“I think it’s really amazing that 19 kids made it. Nate would be really proud,” Burbach said. “They’re going to represent us well at Kearney for Class D.”
Ten students were selected for the Wind Ensemble and nine were chosen for the Symphonic Band. Wind Ensemble selections were: Emma Bixler, clarinet; Meredith Wiseman, tenor saxophone; Austin Rice, Matthew Feusse and Trey Svatos, trumpet; Nathan Feusse, French horn; Sydney Olson, euphonium; Haley Kerkman, tuba and Hailey Bixler and Krystal Fulsaas, battery percussion. Symphonic Band members are Jorden Fulsaas and Griffin Claussen, flutes; Christians Carothers, clarinet; Parker Tinsley, alto saxophone; Kimberly Dreger, tenor saxophone; Adan Schindler, trumpet; Thomas Johnson, trombone; Jesse Green, French horn and Cole Belitz, battery percussion.
The Class D All-State Band members will perform on Saturday, March 23 at 5 p.m. at the University of Nebraska at Kearney.
Sehi said Metschke recorded the auditions before the kids left for Christmas break, even though they weren’t due until Jan. 18.
“He wanted to make sure it was all taken care of and be less work for his subs,” she said. “He wasn’t planning to be back until Jan. 21, which would’ve been after the deadline.”
However, Metschke died the evening of Dec. 24 after complications during surgery to remove a cancerous mass from his liver.
Since the recordings were already complete, Sehi said she “just had to upload them after he passed.” She found out the results via email the night of Feb. 5.
“Having all those kids make it is really, really awesome,” Sehi said. “There are 10 in the top band (wind ensemble) and there are nine in the symphonic band, which is the second band. A few years ago, they had 10 make it, just in general. Now you have 10 in the highest band, that’s an honor.”
Neligh-Oakdale has competed in Class C in past years, but moved into Class D this year. Under Metschke’s direction, 15 students was a record-setting number of selections in Class C.
“Nineteen is a lot,” she said.
Seniors Haley Kerkman, Cole Belitz, Austin Rice and Christian Carothers, who were all selected for the second-straight year, said Metschke was very encouraging and was always excited about his students’ successes.
Belitz said he “didn’t want to go to Class C at all last year.”
“Metschke convinced a lot of us to try out because he said he knew we’d make it,” he said. “He told us how fun it would be and the stuff we would do, so last year a bunch of us tried it. It was really fun, so we thought, senior year, we’ll do it again.”
The others agreed that they only auditioned because of Metschke’s encouragement.
“One thing I constantly told Metschke was, ‘I don’t do band because I like playing an instrument three-fourths of my size. I do band because I like the guy that teaches it,’” Kerkman said of her tuba playing. “I always told him that. I was never like, ‘Oh, I’m so excited to go to an honor band!’ It was always, ‘Metschke’s crazy and I know he’s going to crack some awful jokes and it should be a good time.’”
Carothers said he can imagine Metschke’s reaction after learning 19 kids made Class D.
“He’d be over the moon,” he said. “He’d just talk about it, he’d bring it up every day, getting pumped up for it.”
Kerkman said Metschke always celebrated the little victories “and the big victories are so much more because of that.”
“He’d be really happy and I know he still is,” she said. “I think he’d be really proud of how Miss Burbach’s doing too.”
However, Belitz said he doesn’t think Metschke would be surprised at how many students were selected.
“He had confidence in all of us to make it,” he said. “I don’t think he would’ve been surprised at all, but he definitely would’ve been excited.”
Rice said he thinks Metschke “would’ve been really happy that many people made it.”
“I know he likes taking a bus to those places, so I think he would’ve been happy that he gets to take a whole busload again,” he said.
Sehi said she plans to take the kids to Kearney on a bus and “do some fun stuff” as well.
“I told them, ‘I’m not Mr. Metschke, but I’ll do my best,’” she said. “Right now, the main focus is just making sure the kids get to do everything they were hoping to do.”
Keeping Metschke’s tradition, the high school band will travel to Worlds of Fun on May 23 “because they’ve been promised to do that every four years,” Sehi said.
“That’s how you make memories,” she said.
A wanted South Dakota man was tased by law enforcement Friday morning after becoming aggressive toward officers as they attempted to place him into handcuffs inside Casey's General Store.
Thomas E. Hildring, 42, had an active arrest warrant issued from Minnehaha County, S.D. Neligh Police Officer Kraig Nelson deployed his taser to subdue Hildring without further incident, according to the Antelope County attorney.
Witnesses said the man was tased inside Casey's General Store, located at the intersection of Highways 275 and 14 in Neligh, shortly before 6 a.m. A witness said the man was "extremely discombobulated" when the Neligh Police Department and the Nebraska State Patrol arrived on scene.
Neligh EMTs were also dispatched to Casey's to assess Hildring for injuries.
The county attorney said he was taken into custody and is currently being housed at the Antelope County Law Enforcement Center under the pending Minnehaha County warrant and possible local charges for suspicion of resisting arrest and obstructing an officer, both misdemeanor offenses.
Handicapped wrestling fans will have additional parking for the Class D-1 district meeting this weekend at Neligh-Oakdale.
Simon Beacom, a sophomore at Pope John, received permission from Neligh-Oakdale administrators to put up additional no parking signs in front of the Elmer Lindahl gym for Friday and Saturday's meet. The entire east side of the steps in front of the school are now reserved for vehicles with handicapped parking permits.
Beacom is the son of N-O Athletic Director Ron Beacom and often helps both handicapped and elderly fans into sporting events at Neligh-Oakdale. While attending Neligh-Oakdale in junior high, Beacom said he spent a great deal of time on similar projects and recognized the need for more parking for the district meet.
"I saw a need for parking in the year's past as we hosted the Neligh-Oakdale Invite," Beacom said. "In the past for my FCCLA project, I used cones to block an area off. It worked well, so I saw the need this year and thought it should be done."
Instead of cones like before, Beacom had Blackburn Manufacturing make signs. Beacom braved the cold and hard ground Thursday night hammering the signs into the ground in preparation of the meet, which begins at 3 p.m. on Friday.
"I've helped handicapped constituents into games a lot, and I've noticed issues walking them in from the corner," he said. "The spots were limiting with just three, and there will be many more who need handicapped parking at this meet. These 14 spots will likely be filled."
Teams competing at the D-1 meet are Ainsworth, Burwell, Central Valley, Clearwater-Orchard, Elgin Public/Pope John, Elkhorn Valley, Elwood, Franklin, Fullerton, Guardian Angels Central Catholic, Harvard, Lutheran High Northeast, Neligh-Oakdale, Niobrara/Verdigre, Osmond, Pleasanton, Riverside, Twin Loup, Weeping Water, West Holt and Wisner-Pilger.
LouAnn’s Cuts on E Street recently opened in Neligh.
According to owner LouAnn Blecher of Neligh, she accepted her first hair appointment at her new business on January 8.
Blecher, who resides up the hill from her shop at 705 E. 7th St., said she decided to open the shop in Neligh because she “just wanted to get home” after driving to work in Tilden for more than 25 years. However, she still serves some of her clientele at Prairie View in Tilden on Mondays.
“I was just ready to sell the shop in Tilden and work by myself,” Blecher said.
LouAnn’s Cuts on E Street serves both men and women by offering cuts, colors and perms. There are also a variety of hair care products for sale.
Blecher said her husband, Mike, built the shop and is turning the other half into a garage.
The plan to open the new business began a few years ago.
“We started immediately when I talked Mike into it,” she said. “We needed a place for the garage anyway, and I said if we’re doing that, we should just put my shop in there. I didn’t want it in my house. I grew up with that. My mom did hair in Meadow Grove and she had two beauty shops, one in Tilden and one in our house in Meadow Grove.”
Blecher said the location is convenient and adds flexibility to her schedule.
“It’s awesome,” she said. “If I’m not busy, I just head up to the house. It’s nice. I can be flexible with my hours. And I like not having to drive that 13 miles.”
Blecher said her flexible scheduling works well for her family life. She and her husband have five children and two grandchildren—Brady and Sharissa Fernau, Tallon and Ryker; Alex Blecher; Brook Ingalls; Brittany Ingalls and Courtney Blecher. She said her flexible scheduling works well for her family life as well.
Blecher said she sold the shop in Tilden the first week of January.
“I had been there since 1987,” she said. “I got my barber license in April of 1987 and started working there.”
Blecher said she attended school at Bahner College in Fremont, earning her license in cosmetology and barbering.
“Right now, I just work on my barber’s license,” she said. “There are not that many of us around anymore.”
Blecher will be available on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, but will also be available other days by appointment.
“Like I’m coming in Saturday to do somebody’s hair,” she said. “I’m going to be pretty flexible with all of it because I don’t have that drive, so it will be easy to just come down here whenever I need to.”
To make an appointment, call Blecher at 402-368-5602.
A Neligh-Oakdale graduate has been hired to teach industrial arts for the 2019-20 school year.
Brett Arehart, who is currently teaching at Plainview, will take over duties for Aaron Wilson who submitted his resignation last month.
The Neligh-Oakdale Board of Education will take official action on his hiring at the February 11 board meeting.
After fighting their second fire in as many days, Neligh Fire Chief Mike Mortensen offered a warning to Antelope County residents on Saturday afternoon.
“People need to be careful,” Mortensen said. “It’s drier than you think on top. It’s wet underneath, but if something gets started, it’ll go fast.”
Saturday’s fire was located five miles north of Highway 14, three miles east and 1/2 mile north in a ditch along a cornfield. About five or six acres burned.
Mortensen said he’s not certain as to the cause, but he has his suspicions.
“I’m guessing either someone tossed a disregarded cigarette butt or somebody had problems with their vehicle,” Mortensen said. “I don’t
know for sure, but I’m guessing it was a cigarette.”
Friday’s fire was very similar and burned a spot about 100 feet in diameter north of Neligh on River Road.
“Yesterday could have been a bad one, too, because it was at a cornfield,” Mortensen said. “It was started underneath a cottonwood tree, but the witness said it started at 10 or 20 foot (away) and started burning out. It was a ways from the ditch, so I’m not sure what started that.”
There were no injuries in either fire.
It was a work of heart.
The tragic loss of her best friend recently inspired a Neligh author to publish her second book.
Tammy Marshall said “State of Georgia...and Other Writings” is a collection of stories and poems dedicated to her long-time friend, Amy Marie Vojtech Beran, who died from stage 4 lung cancer at age 50 last September.
“This is my way of honoring her in a way that lasts,” Marshall said. “This book is a collection of what I consider to be my sweeter stories and poems because Amy was the sweetest and kindest person I’ve ever known.”
She and Amy met during the first semester of their freshman year at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in the fall of 1986. A Neligh-Oakdale Spanish teacher and author, Marshall said they, ironically, met in Spanish class. They also lived on the same floor in Sandoz Hall and quickly became friends. Over the years, they got married the same summer, had children close in age and stayed friends. After Amy was diagnosed with cancer, Marshall visited her in Texas for several weeks that summer, taking her to chemo treatments and helping out.
“After she was diagnosed, I sent her a little pick-me-up note in the mail every day because I believe in the power of words and because Amy loved self-help and motivational books,” Marshall said.
In one of her last notes before Amy’s death, Marshall wrote that she planned to dedicate a book to her, and she asked Amy’s sister to read the note to her.
“I had been thinking about it, but I just never told her while she was still conscious,” she said. “(Her sister) said that when she read the note to her, Amy smiled.”
Amy died on September 7, 2018. On Marshall’s 50th birthday, she gave her friend’s eulogy.
“Ever since then, I had been thinking, “I want to do this,’ because the sooner the better, rather than letting it go on another few years before I actually get another full novel complete,” Marshall said.
She decided the most efficient way to do this was to put together a compilation of stories she had already written, and introduce each with a poem. It is the second book Marshall has published. “The Clearwater House” was her debut novel.
Her collection starts off with “State of Georgia,” a story about a woman who finds herself suddenly widowed and decides to go do some things that she didn’t do while she was married because he didn’t like to travel.
“It’s a very sweet, you never know where life is going to take you, sort of story,” Marshall said. “Being open to new adventures.”
The novella toward the end is called “Quitter,” which is a story about a middle-aged man who has quit everything that he has ever tried. He knows that he started his quitting process when he was in high school and quit the basketball team. He realizes that he wants to start over so he goes back to his hometown and offers to help coach the basketball team.
“So, once again, it’s about second chances,” she said. “It’s never too late to start over.”
Another short story, “Darrel,” was written about a mentally-handicapped man and received an honorable mention award in a past Reader’s Digest short story contest.
The book also features the story, “Backyards,” a piece that Marshall proudly received an honorable mention honor for in the 2018 Lorian Hemingway Short Story Contest.
Poems included in the collection are Solitude” (why being alone can sometimes be a good thing), “One More Glimpse” (about her daughter Sam and wishing she could hang onto her childhood), “Summer Nights” (about the games they would play every night during her own childhood in Norfolk) and “Driveway NBA” (about her son Trevor playing basketball in the driveway).
“I just took some of the poems that I’ve written to introduce the theme of each story and bring it all together,” she said.
Marshall said once she started the process of compiling her pieces, it came together quickly.
“It really didn’t take that long because I had everything,” she said. “It was my goal to get it done over Christmas break. So it really didn’t take me that many days.”
Marshall contacted her uncle Paul Filsinger, who is a professional photographer, for a cover photo.
“I had asked him, because he takes a lot of sunsets and river pictures, if he had anything that had a blue with pink because those were Amy’s favorite colors,” she said. “Right away, he sent me this picture and asked, ‘Is this what you had in mind?’”
Marshall said the photo worked perfectly for her book. As soon as she had everything formatted and the cover was created, it was ready to be published through Amazon. It became available earlier this month.
“It’s basically a print on-demand process, so anybody who goes online to buy one, Amazon has a store,” she said. “So if you were to buy a copy of this, Amazon will print the book and ship it to you. It’s also available through Kindle.”
Marshall has copies as well, for those who want to skip the shipping and handling charges. A copy is also available at the Neligh Public Library.
Her book includes a tribute to her dear friend, who was one of her biggest writing supporters. Marshall ended it with a message to her readers and one final note to Amy.
“If you’ve enjoyed them even a little, I’ve fulfilled my final promise to my best friend; I hope you’ve felt at least a tiny bit of the love I had for her emanating from these pages,” she wrote. “Thank you for reading this book, and, Amy, wherever you are, thank you for being my friend.”
Neligh-Oakdale Athletic Director Ron Beacom has been selected as the 2019 District III Athletic Director of the Year by the Nebraska State Interscholastic Administrators Association (NSIAAA).
Beacom said he found out about the award from Principal Ben Dempsey on Monday morning.
“Mr. Dempsey brought the letter in to me—they sent us the same letter so he would also know,” he said. “He told me, ‘Congratulations!’ I asked, ‘For what?’ and he told me to read the letter.”
Beacom said he is humbled by the honor.
“It’s exciting,” he said. “I think it means I’ve been doing this awhile. It’s cool that somebody thought enough of me to nominate me. I feel like we’re doing a lot of good things at Neligh-Oakdale.”
Chuck Ross, Wisner-Pilger Athletic Director, nominated Beacom for the award. Ross said he had recommendations from the administration at Neligh-Oakdale and several athletic directors in Northeast Nebraska also brought up Beacom’s name. They all mentioned his organizational abilities and deep care for his students.
“And I felt that he did a great job with two tragedies faced by his district in the past few years,” Ross said. “In my dealings with him, he has been nothing but cooperative.”
“Ron does a solid job at Neligh-Oakdale,” he stated in his nomination. “They have well-run programs in the district and he is always prepared and has a plan.”
Ross said Beacom is a big contributor in District III.
“He has lots of experience dealing with a variety of issues that smaller schools face and has worked to maintain resources for his programs at NOPS,” he said.
The award will be presented to Beacom during the luncheon of the NSIAAA Spring Banquet on Wednesday, March 6 at Wilderness Ridge in Lincoln.
Each year, the NSIAAA recognizes athletic directors who exemplify the highest standards of his/her profession and who, through their influence on the lives of young people under their direction has made significant contributions to their school and community.
Beacom began his teaching career at Creighton High School in 1991, spending two years there before moving to Superior for another two years. From there, he took a job with Archbishop Bergan in Fremont. During his time at Bergan, Beacom spent some years as an athletic director before he became the principal. He is currently in his sixth year as athletic director, math teacher and head football coach at Neligh-Oakdale.
According to the NSIAAA criteria, nominees for the NSIAAA athletic director awards must have served a minimum of eight years in an athletic administrator role. They must also be recognized in their community as an educational leader and must have made a significant impact on the lives of students. Nominees must also have improved the social and cultural environment at their school through their work with athletics and activities.
The New Moon Community Theater board of directors will be holding a public meeting at the Neligh Public Library on Sunday, February 10 at 1 p.m.
Anyone interested in joining a committee is invited to attend. The committees will be construction, fundraising, business plan, and public relations. Renovating the theater will require a lot of organizing, planning, and work.
The board of directors is urging people to come help benefit the community!
Amy Hall never knew Nate Metschke, but the Laurel-Concord/Coleridge teacher broke into tears Tuesday when talking about him.
The Neligh-Oakdale band teacher’s impact and unexpected death on Christmas Eve inspired Hall’s students, who also did not know Metschke, to start a penny war with other schools to raise money for his widow, Darcy, and their three children.
“I didn’t know him, but I’ve read and heard about the impact he had on people,” Hall said tearfully. “It’s so moving to me that he had three little kids, and being a teacher, we really have to stick together. That’s what I see with Nate Metschke — this is a chance for these teaching communities to come together and really make an impact for those three little kids who are left behind.”
Metschke died the evening of Dec. 24 after complications during surgery to remove a cancerous mass from his liver. More than 1,000 people attended his celebration of life.
Hall shared Metschke’s tragic story with her three children. Her oldest child, Delaney, suggested the middle school student council organize a penny war to benefit the family. Following lots of discussion and ideas, Laurel-Concord/Coleridge students gave it their full support and began inviting other schools to participate. The penny war will end Feb. 14.
Hall started sending out emails late last week said she’s unsure how many schools are involved, but her list of commitments includes Clearwater, Elgin, Hartington, Wayne, Lakeview and Palmyra.
Among those Hall contacted was her sister, Clearwater third-grade teacher Deb Neumann, who immediately jumped on board. Just two days into the penny war, Clearwater students have collected several containers full of pennies.
Among the first to bring in pennies were eighth-grader Harper Klabenes and third-grader Damien Hupp, who brought in an ice cream pail full of pennies. Darcy Metschke taught fourth grade in Clearwater for several years before taking a position at Neligh-Oakdale. Among her Clearwater students was Klabenes.
“I had Mrs. Metschke in fourth grade, so I wanted to help them,” Klabenes said. “And Mr. Metschke was a good guy. I got to know him at honor band in fifth and sixth grade. Seeing him teach and be so passionate about music made me want to help his family.”
Hupp said he doesn’t know the Metschke family well, but he wanted to do what he could for the family during this difficult time.
“It’s good to help out people who are having troubles in their lives,” said Hupp, who added that he didn’t even have to ask his dad for the pennies because he wanted to help, too.
Neumann said Clearwater students haven’t set a goal of how many pennies they want to collect or how much money they want to raise. Instead, they’re talking more about why they are doing it, which is to help others.
For Neumann, who has taught at Clearwater for 28 years, it’s a way to help a former co-worker and fellow educator and also instill a lesson of kindness. She said Metschke was a kind-hearted man, and this act of kindness is fitting of his character.
“Nate taught lots of lessons over the years, and now we need to take over for him,” Neumann said. “This is a time to come together and know that kindness is the most important character trait we want our students to carry on. It’s not about how much money we raise. These are life-long lessons for our kids.”
Hall said she’s encouraging schools all across the state to join the penny war and show kindness to the Metschke family. Schools participating are asked to report their final numbers on Facebook or Twitter on Feb. 14 with the hashtag, #teamnate. She said afterward, checks should be mailed directly to Darcy Metschke.
“The whole idea of checks coming from all of these different people — how fun will that be for her to get in the mail,” Hall said. “I hope that on the 14th we can see which school made the most money. Our student council is going to send that school a pack of fun.”
After the Neligh Police chief had the opportunity to defend himself in court, the judge dismissed the temporary restraining order against him on Friday.
Ryan Knievel and Callie Kraft of Neligh, who both filed a petition and affidavit to obtain a harassment protection order against Chief Mike Wright, failed to meet their burden of proof, according to Judge James Kube.
The judge heard nearly six hours of testimony in the case before making his decision.
Check out next week's print edition for testimony details.
They thought the day would never happen.
But, to the surprise of this Neligh family, their cat returned home after it went missing for 10 months.
Vicki Haddock and her 15-year-old daughter Aleesha Bergman said their cat, Samatha, disappeared in March of 2018. As the months passed, they didn’t think they would ever see their beloved pet again.
The family was gone on vacation over spring break when their cat went missing last year.
“It was super bitterly cold and she does not go outside when it’s cold, but I had had someone scheduled to come into the house to do some things while we were gone, and she must’ve gotten out then,” Haddock said. “She must’ve been freaked out and ran out, because by the time we got home, she was just totally gone.”
They called and called for Samantha when they got home, but saw no signs of her.
“I always just said we are grateful that she is happy somewhere,” Haddock said “And we didn’t know where that would be. We hadn’t found her dead, but we honestly never expected her to come back.”
Bergman, a sophomore at Neligh-Oakdale, said there was a time when she was outside the band room and the boys spotted a dead cat.
“I was like, ‘Oh gosh,’ but then it was all black, and I was relieved it wasn’t her,” she said.
Bergman, who was just 2 1/2 years old when she got Samantha, grew up with her as a family pet for nearly 13 years.
“Aleesha couldn’t have been older than 3, like between 2 ½ and 3, just old enough to understand,” Haddock said. “She wanted a kitty so bad and she was praying for a kitty.”
Bergman said they lived in Stanton at the time and she can still remember watching the cat walk past her window.
“I wanted it,” she said.
Haddock said Samantha’s mom had brought her into their garage for a short time.
“And Aleesha had seen her and said, ‘Oh there’s my kitty.’ And then the mom took her away and we didn’t know where she went,” she said. “Then, the mom came back, and dropped her off, left her and took off. So, she was in our garage and, of course, she was scared and she was just tiny.”
Haddock said Samantha, who was “probably pure alley cat,” was “just old enough to be separated from her mom, probably 6 weeks old” at the time.
“Aleesha had been wanting a kitty so bad, and it was just so ironic that she was praying for this kitten, and then all of a sudden, this cat just comes and leaves it at our house,” she said. “We weren’t really looking to get a cat, but under those circumstances, it just happened.”
Samantha has since had two litters of her own, including her son Ghost, which the family kept.
After she went missing, Ghost developed some health issues and they took him to the vet.
“They said it was angry bladder and was caused by depression,” Haddock said. “We were supposed to give him some additional love and attention.”
Over Christmas break the family showed Ghost some additional empathy.
“All Christmas we talked about, ‘Oh, it’s your first Christmas without your mom,’” Haddock said.
Bergman said it was during this time that she started to have dreams about Samantha.
“I kept dreaming, like those really big trucks that have the back that the door slides up, I always imagined there was a truck there and she was stuck in the back of it,” she said.
Bergman said they never completely gave up hope, even though they didn’t think it was likely Samantha would return.
And then, on Jan. 11, 2019, she did.
“I came home late, it was like close to 11 p.m. Friday night, and I let the dogs out,” Haddock said.
She heard a “meow,” but didn’t give it much thought.
“And then I went to let the dogs back in, not even thinking about the ‘meow’ anymore, and (Samantha) just ran in, charged in, like she’d never been gone and headed for the food dish,” Haddock said. “I was so stunned, and Ghost was sitting there and all the animals were just looking at her like, ‘Where in the world have you been?’ She ate three bowls of food, but she didn’t look like she’d been starving. We would love for her to be able to tell us where she’s been.”
She said Samantha acted like she had never been gone.
“She sleeps right between the doors here and behind the table, and immediately she was right back to her places that she always hung out,” Haddock said. “She didn’t act freaked out. She was back home.”
Haddock had planned to go out of town the next day, but decided she better stay home after Samantha’s return.
“She wanted to cuddle all weekend,” she said. “We cuddled a lot of the weekend and she’d just purr. She liked to be snuggled.”
Bergman, who was staying at her dad’s house that weekend, didn’t believe it when her mom sent a Snapchat with the news.
“I thought she was joking at first,” Bergman said. “I thought it was Ghost in bad lighting.”
She was in such disbelief that her mom had to convince her it was really Samantha.
“She said, ‘This is a bad joke, Mom,’ and I was like, ‘No, she’s really home,’ and then I sent her a video,” Haddock said.
Bergman said when she realized their missing cat had indeed returned, she was “so excited,” and asked her mom to send pictures of the cat all weekend.
“The rest of the weekend, I was like, ‘Show me her,’” she said smiling.
Samantha was not microchipped, and although they have had collars on their cats at different times, she was not wearing one the day she disappeared. Haddock said she isn’t sure what changes she’ll make when Samantha wants to venture outside again.
“Since she got back, she hasn’t even tried to go out,” she said. “I’ve had a couple people ask if we had a tag on her or anything. I don’t know, maybe I need to get her microchipped, but then I don’t know would anybody around here actually have a cat checked for a microchip? I’m not sure. I think we’re going to be really nervous when she goes back out.”
Haddock said Samantha returned in good physical condition, making her believe that someone had taken care of her, although she hasn’t confirmed that.
“If somebody was out there taking care of her, we’re grateful,” she said. “Who knows? Maybe she’ll want to go back out and see them when she does go out.”
Several West Ward students received an award for perfect attendance for first semester. They have never missed a day, never been tardy and have never left school early all of first semester.
AM PreK-1st grade (no 2nd graders earned this semester)
Front l-r: Braxton Sparr, Brynley Paulsen, Haezlyn McGowen, Jace Hart, Anthony Le
Back l-r: Ashton Soper, Emmy Tillema, Hunter Mooney, Blake Strom, Brenden Wieneke, Walker Jacob
PM PreK (left to right) Zandra Jacob, Avery Paulsen, Madelyn Soper