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The Rowdy Bunch 4-H Group, along with the Oakdale Volunteer Fire Department, will be hosting a pancake feed on Saturday.
The free will donation pancake feed will be held from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Oakdale Community Center. All proceeds will go the fire department and 4-H group.
A bake sale fundraiser will also be going on during the pancake feed. The proceeds from the bake sale will go to the 4-H group to help with projects around the community.
The school bell rang for the final time as 41 alumni and guests gathered for the annual banquet, Saturday, May 26, at the Oakdale Community Center. The hall was decorated using the theme, “Cowboys and Indians.”
President Bev Alderson gave the welcome and the invocation was given by Pastor Paul Dittmer. The dinner was prepared by alumna Jerry Beach and her assistants Bonnie Lindgren, Cherrie Kinnan and Becky Springer.
The speaker for the evening was Pastor Paul Dittmer of the Oakdale Church of Christ. He gave an interesting history lesson entitled, “The Creation and Uneventful History of the Elkhorn Guards and The Forgotten Brigadier General Who Lived in Oakdale for Awhile.” This was in memory of Jeptha Hopkin’s Horse.
The business meeting was held. Bev Alderson read the roll of classes and Cherrie Kinnan represented the 50th graduation year. Due to declining attendance and the lack of volunteers to host another banquet, the alumni cast ballots to discontinue the annual banquet. The president thanked everyone who has helped in any way over the years, planning and preparing our banquets. Retiring officers were: president - Bev Alderson; secretary - Geraldine Marks and treasurer - Gene Kinnan.
The benediction was given by Pastor Dittmer. The Alumni Song, led by Lorine Fields, was sung for the final time.
An unattended stove is being blamed for a residential fire late Thursday in Oakdale, which led to significant kitchen damage in a trailer house on the south side of town.
According to the Oakdale Fire Department, they received a call at 11:24 p.m. of a kitchen fire at 605 Walther St.
Fire Chief Art Griffith said the Nebraska State Fire Marshal's office investigated and confirmed that the fire began at the stove where a pan with oil was left unattended. Griffith said an occupant returned to the kitchen to find it filled with smoke and could see some flames.
The fire was extinguished by the time firefighters arrived; however, firefighters used a thermal heat gun to later discover hotspots in the walls of the structure. The Neligh Volunteer Fire Department brought its cascade unit for airpack bottles and lent Oakdale it's thermal detector. Oakdale will have its own thermal detector soon thanks to a donation from Transcanada, which firefighters said will greatly improve and speed up the accuracy of searching for hot spots.
The Antelope County Sheriff's Department, NPPD and Source Gas also responded to the structure fire. The scene was cleared at 2:30 a.m. Friday.
It was a night of history and storytelling at the Oakdale Cemetery for the inaugural Fireside Chat on Saturday night.
More than 70 people gathered at the pavilion at the cemetery to hear stories of the early settlers of the area who are buried in the Oakdale cemetery.
Cemetery Auxiliary member Sharron Kinnan said the inspiration for the event came from a previous president of the auxiliary, Lois Johnson.
“One of our local historians, Lois Johnson, was president of the Cemetery Auxiliary, and she had always talked about doing something like this at the cemetery,” Kinnan said.
After she passed away in October of 2015, Kinnan said that they wanted to dedicate this night in her honor.
“We didn’t get it done while she was alive, so we are dedicating this program to her,” she said.
DeAnna Martensen, Barb Roland and Karen Berg, also of the cemetery auxiliary, were also key in organizing the event.
Spanning 26 acres, the Oakdale Cemetery is the sight of over 2000 graves, including 199 veterans. For this event, Kinnan said they wanted to focus on the early settlers.
A.J. Leach, the founder of the Oakdale Cemetery and one of the first settlers of Antelope County, was one of the main historical figures featured throughout the program. Paul Dittmer, who was tasked with playing the role of Leach for the night, told the story of Leach’s life and how he settled in Antelope County.
Born in 1834, Leach spent most of his early life in Ohio and Michigan. His first experience in Nebraska came when he and his cousin passed through on their way to Oregon.
“When he was 17, he and his cousin got ‘Oregon Fever,’ so they went to Oregon. They walked from Michigan to Illinois, then got on a steamboat and got off at St. Joseph, Missouri. They walked the Iowa side of the river up to Omaha, where they crossed the river and headed on to Oregon,” Dittmer said.
Along the trip, Leach and his cousin were driving an ox team in exchange for food along the way. Dittmer said that not only did they have to travel that long of distance, they had to travel it on foot.
“To drive an ox team, you have to walk along beside them. He walked over 2,000 miles. That is just amazing,” said Dittmer, who loves history and spent a great deal of time researching the role.
After arriving in Oregon, Leach found a job as a school teacher and went to college, studying Greek, Latin and Mathematics. After finishing with college, Leach returned to Michigan where he was married.
Dittmer said that upon looking back at his journey, Leach saw potential in Antelope County.
“He noted that the best farmland that he saw on the whole trip was in western Iowa and eastern Nebraska. Of all the places he had been and all the places he saw, Antelope County was the one he chose,” Dittmer said.
Leach returned to the area and found land, which he filed as his under the Homestead Act. After moving to the county, Leach held multiple notable positions, including county treasurer and county surveyor. He was the first person in the county to pay property tax, and Receipt #1 can be found at the Antelope County Museum. He also served as the first superintendent for the school, and School District #1 was built on his land.
However, Dittmer said that Leach’s proudest achievement came in his later years — founding the Oakdale Cemetery.
Dittmer said one of his biggest fears is that he won’t do justice to Leach’s memory.
“He was a remarkable man, and my biggest fear is that I won’t do his life justice. I don’t think I can tell everything he did. He did a lot of remarkable stuff,” Dittmer said.
Leach valued history, and thought it was important for future generations to know, enough so that he wrote a book, “The History of Antelope County.” Dittmer said that preserving the history of the area was something that Leach valued more than anything.
Leach was one of several historians portrayed during Saturday’s event, which also featured the reading the name of every veteran buried at the cemetery. After the event, the public was invited to visit the pioneers’ gravesites, which were marked by lanterns.
Dozens gathered at the Community Center in Oakdale on Saturday night for the annual Oakdale Alumni Banquet.
54 alumni were registered for the banquet, which featured a dinner and social time. Displays were set up with native-themed pieces around the room.
Honored alumni for the banquet was Cherri Kinnan, a member of the Class of 1968.
Oakdale youth and adults packed the Lois Johnson Memorial Library in Oakdale for their grand opening on Monday afternoon.
During the event, guests enjoyed cookies and drinks while having the opportunity to browse through new selections and view the renovation that happened in the building.
According to Sharon Kinnan, workers found a hardwood floor underneath the carpet in the side room at the library. The floor was stained and finished.
“When we took the carpet off we found out that there was a hardwood floor, so that all has been refinished,” she said.
That room has now been changed into the “Children and ‘Tween’” room, where the selections in that room cater to those age groups.
“All the books in that room are for children all the way through what our librarian calls ‘tweens,’” she said.
In the main room, the adult sections have been rearranged. Also, a reading center has been set up with multiple chairs and a table for guests to enjoy a book in comfort at the library.
Kinna said that the library received multiple donations in the form of books and movies for the library.
“We have had quite a few donations of DVD’s and children's books for the library,” she said.
The Lois Johnson Memorial Library is named after former Oakdale resident Lois Johnson, who passed away in 2015. Before her death, Johnson purchased the building the library is in now and donated it to the city.
Kinnan said that Johnson was very active in the community before and after her retirement.
“She was a teacher, she taught in many different schools. She retired in 1985, and she was very active in almost everything in Oakdale,” she said.
During her life, Johnson was president of the Oakdale Cemetery Auxiliary, served on the Library Board, was helpful in the Antelope County Historical Society and was very active in the Methodist Church, where she traveled to attended many meetings as a delegate.
Kinnan said that Johnson was the first person to come to mind for any questions about the town.
“I called her the ‘Historian of Oakdale.’ Anything to do with Oakdale she knew about. She grew up here. She was the go-to person when anyone had questions about Oakdale.”
Over the summer, the Lois Johnson Memorial Library will host multiple events. Their summer reading program starts on June 18 and will run through July 20. Ages 2-5 will meet with librarian Becky Williams at 2:00 on Monday’s, ages 6-10 will meet at 2:00 on Wednesday and ages 11-17 will meet 2:00 on Friday’s. The library will also hold a movie viewing every Saturday, and will host Neligh’s Peter Sample to make balloon animals on June 29.
Kinnan said that the library is something that the public has to see to believe.
“Come and check it out, you might be surprised at what you find!”
The Oakdale Memorial Day program started off with a flyover.
Jimmy Fox of the U.S. Air Force flew a KC135 over the Oakdale Cemetery prior to the start of the program in honor of fallen American soldiers.
Chad Boggs gave the message and the Neligh-Oakdale band provided the music.
The Battle Creek-Meadow Grove-Tilden American Legion Post provided color and honor guard.
The voices of the past will come alive Sunday night as the inaugural Fireside Chat at Oakdale Cemetery kicks off.
The event will be Sunday, May 27, starting at 6 p.m., and is free to the public. People are encouraged to bring lawn chairs, as it is planned to last for about an hour, if not a little longer, according to event organizer Sharon Kinnan.
The cemetery is located a half mile south of Oakdale, just off of 527th Ave.
Throughout the evening, there will be five people dressed the parts of early settlers, a Depression Day play and square dance and readings of wars and veterans’ names who were buried in the cemetery. Veteran Service Officer Tom Nelson will read the veterans’ names. Cookies and tea will be provided afterward.
The five early settlers being portrayed include A.J. Leech — who bought the land and started the cemetery — Kate Brainard, his daughter; Orson Fields, John Malzacher and C.H. Torpin. Kinnan said Malzacher will be portrayed by a relative and Fields will be portrayed by either a grandchild or great grandchild.
Additionally, lanterns will be placed at each of these five settlers’ graves to mark their locations.
“We’re going to hang lanterns so that people who want to walk to their grave and see where they’re buried, they can,” Kinnan said.
The late Lois Johnson helped inspire the idea and had plans for hosting an event similar to the Fireside Chat of Renown Voices of the Past, but she passed away in 2015 before they were ever carried out, Kinnan said.
“She had a big part in keeping all of the history of this cemetery going,” Kinnan said. “She and I had always talked about doing something like that, and we never got it done while she was alive.”
About 20 volunteers will be involved with the evening’s events and production. And as it’s the first year, Kinnan said she is unsure how large of a turnout it will bring.
“I just hope everybody has fun, and they learn a little history of the cemetery and the early settlers,” Kinnan said.