Today's Poll

Local Youths Place at AKSARBEN Stock Show

10/05/15 04:32 PM

Three area youths recently won awards at the AKSARBEN Stock Show in Omaha. The Show was at the CenturyLink Center from Thursday, September 24th to Monday, September 28th. The AKSARBEN Stock Show, currently the largest 4-H Stock Show in the United States, is a regional show open to 4-H members from Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming.  The AKSARBEN Stock Show annually awards over $150,000 to Exhibitors, both Champion and multi-year participants, and is renowned for providing a level playing field across all species.

The top five stocker feeder showman at the 2015 AKSARBEN Stock Show.  Pictured from left to right is the judge, champion and reserve showman, 3rd Overall showman-Berren Strope of O'Neill, 4th overall, and on the far right is 5th overall-Miles Stagemeyer of Page.

Tejlor Strope and her Division I Champion Steer at the 2015 AKSARBEN Stock Show.  Pictured from left to right is Boyd Strope, MaLaine Strope, grandfather Loren Tejkl Sr. and Tejlor Strope.

West Holt Medical Services Celebrates National PA Week

10/05/15 02:42 PM
by Monique Johnson, WHMS

ATKINSON — During this year’s National PA Week, Oct. 6-12, we recognize the important contributions physician assistants (PA) make as valued members of our patient care team. PAs are a vital part of the high-quality care we provide.

Having PAs on patient care teams is a proven way to help maximize positive health outcomes and further our mission to provide the best care to our patients. “Our country’s healthcare system is focused on increasing access to quality care, and PAs play a big part in that effort. Because PAs practice medicine in every specialty, every setting and every state, they can help bring care to millions of patients who need it,” said Marvin Smoot, West Holt Medical Services’ Interim Clinic Administrator.

The PA profession has grown 36 percent between 2009 and 2014. Studies have shown that when PAs are incorporated into healthcare teams the result is lower readmission rates for everything from postoperative care to cancer treatments.

During PA Week, West Holt Medical Services is proud that Amy Rentschler, PAC and Loretta Daniels, PA-C are on our healthcare team and we celebrate their contributions to this organization and the health of the patients they serve. We at West Holt Medical Services are committed to maximizing the role Rentschler and Daniels play on our healthcare team because we know we are stronger when we all work together—and the result is world-class care for our patients. We also want to inform our patients, staff and the general public about who PAs are and the roles they play in healthcare delivery.

For example, did you know…
  • There are more than 104,000 certified PAs today. PAs practice in every medical and surgical specialty from pediatric neurosurgery to oncology to primary care.
  • PAs conduct physical exams, diagnose and treat illnesses, order and interpret tests, write prescriptions, perform medical procedures—like joint injections—first assist in surgery, counsel patients on preventive healthcare, coordinate patient care, make rounds in nursing homes and hospitals and conduct clinical research.
  • PAs are educated through intense graduate-level programs that average 27 months and require the same prerequisite courses as medical schools. As part of their education, PAs complete at least 2,000 hours of clinical rotations in every major specialty, from family medicine to general surgery to emergency medicine.

To learn more about this dynamic profession visit For more information about West Holt Medical Services, visit, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube.

Village of Butte Included in Dept. Of Economic Development Grant Project

10/01/15 03:39 PM

(LINCOLN, NE)—The Nebraska Department of Economic Development (DED) has awarded $1,847,600 as part of the 2015 Nebraska Affordable Housing Program to seven communities to pursue owner-occupied rehab housing projects. Funding comes from the federal Community Development Block Grant program that is administered by DED.

Butte was one of the communities awarded money under the program. Here are the details and requirements for this grant:

Village of Butte—$186,000 to rehab six homes for Butte homeowners earning at or below 80 percent of the AMFI. Matching funds of $10,000 from the Village of Butte, and other funds of $6,514 from Central Nebraska Economic Development District and CDS Inspections and Beyond complete the project. Contact Shanna Brooks at 402-775-2426 or

Fritz Encourages Health Screenings in O'Neill During October

10/01/15 11:44 AM
click the headline of this article to see the full story

Mary Jo Doolittle and Pat Fritz hope everyone takes advantage of the upcoming health screenings, the same screenings that may have saved Fritz's life.

Please go. Please go to the doctor, to health screenings, to the clinic, know your health.

That’s the message of Pat Fritz of O’Neill, and she will share that message with anyone who is in ear shot because making time for a simple stop during a health screening event saved her life.

The retiree knows personally how important “checking your numbers” can be. Pat and her husband, Rusty Fritz, started going to get regular screenings together, and it became a friendly competition for them. But in 2011, when her results came in the mail, everything changed.

Doolittle said the report on Fritz showed some seriously abnormal results, and the appointment backed that up. A colonoscopy was scheduled and it determined she had colon cancer. Fritz underwent surgery and chemotherapy and after her most recent checkup, was found to be in her fourth year as a cancer survivor.

So don’t tell her you’re too busy to get in to a screening like the ones set for Oct. 14 and Oct. 28 at the Avera St. Anthony’s Hospital.

The clinics set for October are held from 5:30-8 a.m., allowing even the busiest person to get in, get tests done and get on with their day. Doolittle said while many know the value of “knowing their numbers” too often, they overlook the need or assume everything is fine.

“We offer a range of screenings and they are the best insurance there is for knowing your current state of health,” she said. “In cases like the one with Pat, they can really save a life. Too many people think they’d rather not know, but if you don’t get screened, there is no way for a doctor to provide care and perhaps stop something in time. Every year, we pick up something that a patient wasn’t aware of.”

Pat Fritz said the screening process is simple, and it can be fun. “There’s no pain involved and you usually will see some friends waiting during those health fairs,” she said. “I pray that no one goes through what I did, but it can happen. I wasn’t someone who went to the doctor a lot, so I’m glad I went to that screening. I just can’t stress enough how important it truly is.”

The Avera St. Anthony’s Hospital Fall Health Fairs are planned for Oct. 14 and 28. Both take place in the hospital’s clinic from 5:30-8 a.m. They include a wide range of screening options. Call 402-336-2611 to make an appointment outside of the clinic times or to get answers to questions.

Commission Reminds Hunters Goose Lake Area is Closed Because of Plant Invasion

09/30/15 06:21 PM

LINCOLN – The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission reminds hunters that Goose Lake Wildlife Management Area, located southeast of Chambers in Holt County, is closed to public access until further notice.

The closure is necessary because of a heavy infestation of Eurasian watermilfoil, an invasive aquatic plant, at the lake.

Eurasian watermilfoil can spread rapidly because a single fragment of stem or leaf can take root and form a new colony, and plants can grow up to 2 inches per day. Once established, the plant can form dense surface mats that interfere with boating, fishing, swimming, and other forms of recreation. Plant fragments can be transported on boats, trailers, and other aquatic sporting equipment, so the closure is necessary to assure that fragments are not transported to other waterbodies.

The Commission is developing a plan to eradicate Eurasian watermilfoil from Goose Lake. Eradication has been successful for a number of lakes in other states. The area will reopen once the risk of transporting plant fragments to other areas has been reduced to an acceptable level.

The Commission reminds all water users to clean, drain, and dry their equipment (boats, trailers, waders, decoys) when they leave any body of water to prevent the spread of invasive species.

Spencer's Wild Turkey Days Oct. 10-11

09/30/15 11:42 AM

Check out what is going on at Wild Turkey Days by clicking on the flyer below.


RC&D Tours Organic Worm Farm, Fills Opening on Board

09/30/15 11:10 AM

Brent Broberg shows part of the work of operating a worm farm.

The Northeast Nebraska Resource Conservation & Development (RC&D) Council held its monthly meeting in Tilden following a tour of Broberg’s Organic Worm Farm.  Brent Broberg and his wife started this business 1 ½ years ago in a converted farrowing house on his parent’s farm.  He studied a lot before jumping into this and learned even more from Wiggle Worm Soil Builders of Wisconsin whom he’s affiliated with.

The product Brent is creating with his African night crawlers is 100% pure earthworm castings.  These particular night crawlers can take the heat better than others so he doesn’t have to cool the building in the summer.  The castings are naturally organic, odor free, and full of microbes and bacteria that promote a healthy living soil.  He’s raising about 90,000 night crawlers in buckets which receive a feed ration of wheat, barley, and about six other ingredients.  They live in peat which Brent has shipped in from out of state.

Jim Rabe, President, conducted the RC&D Council meeting.  Alexandra McClanahan-Shively of Orchard was recommended to fill the vacant Antelope County position on the board.  The RC&D website has been redone and is up and running.  The Grant Writing Workshop is coming up on October 6th in Plainview at the community building.   And the pilot project with Madison County was discontinued since PrairieLand RC&D Council has decided they will remain active.

A new project working with the Heritage Museum Network of local museums was approved.  They will try a passport-type program activity in an effort to get more visitors into these historical places.  Brad Kellogg, Wakefield, is the project leader and a member of the Wakefield Heritage Organization.

The Plainview Farmers Market will continue through October 14th.  It’s been a successful year with many satisfied customers.  The Outlaw Trail’s Quiltway event is October 9, 10 & 11 and more information can be found at

The RC&D Council looks forward to continuing their service to citizens through projects that will make life better for people in Antelope, Cedar, Dixon, Knox, Pierce, and Wayne counties.

Keystone XL Developer Drops Landowner Lawsuits in Nebraska

09/29/15 09:50 PM

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — The developer of the Keystone XL pipeline is reversing course in Nebraska and will drop its eminent domain lawsuits against landowners who don't want the pipeline running through their property.

TransCanada Inc. announced Tuesday that it will stop pushing for the project under a state law that's now being challenged in the courts.

The company says it will instead seek approval through the Nebraska Public Service Commission, an agency that regulates pipelines, warehouses and grain bins.

TransCanada won approval from former Gov. Dave Heineman, but the state law that allowed him to do so remains mired in court. TransCanada spokesman Mark Cooper says the company believes that applying through the commission will reduce the local conflicts.

Jane Kleeb, a leading pipeline opponent, says the company was losing ground in Nebraska.

Public Hearing Regarding Niobrara River Is Oct. 1 in O'Neill

09/28/15 09:53 AM

LINCOLN – A public hearing will be held Oct. 1 in O’Neill to inform the public and to hear any comments regarding a proposed joint application for a permit to appropriate water for instream flows on the Niobrara River from just below the Spencer Hydro Facility to the confluence of the Missouri River for the conservation of fish, wildlife, and associated recreation.

The hearing will begin at 1 p.m. at the Holt County Extension Office, 128 N. 6th St., Room 100.

The joint application is being proposed by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, Upper Niobrara White Natural Resources District (NRD), Middle Niobrara NRD, Lower Niobrara NRD, Upper Elkhorn NRD, and Upper Loup NRD.


Leighton Mlady Of West Holt Selected To National FFA Chorus

09/28/15 09:06 AM

INDIANAPOLIS (Friday, September 26, 2015) – Leighton Mlady, a member of the West Holt FFA chapter in Atkinson, will be on stage and in the spotlight Oct. 28-31 during the 2015 National FFA Convention & Expo in Louisville, Ky.

Mlady, a Freshman, and the daughter of Brian and Kandie Mlady, has been selected to the National FFA Chorus.

The National FFA Chorus will perform several times during the 2015 National FFA Convention & Expo, adding excitement and motivation to the sessions through their music.

Mlady will join fellow chorus members in Louisville three days before convention begins for rehearsals.

The National FFA Organization provides leadership, personal growth and career success training through agricultural education to 610,240 student members in grades seven through 12 who belong to one of 7,665 local FFA chapters throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

Heartland Counseling Holds Ribbon Cutting In O'Neill

09/25/15 09:30 AM
The O’Neill Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon cutting on Wednesday, September 23rd, at Heartland Counseling’s new location at 221 West Douglas Street in O’Neill. 
Heartland Counseling Services, Inc. formerly known as the Tri-County Guidance Center, was established in 1977 and has primarily served the residents of Dakota, Dixon, Thurston, Burt and Wayne counties.  In the fall of 2002 Heartland Counseling Services, Inc. was awarded the Region IV contract to provide services in the “Sandhills” area of Nebraska serving citizens in Boyd, Brown, Cherry, Keya Paha, and Rock Counties.   However, any Nebraska resident is entitled to services. 
The mission of Heartland Counseling Services, Inc. is to provide quality outpatient counseling, education, community service programs, and prevention services to individuals, groups and families and to provide consultation to community organizations in Dakota, Dixon, Burt, Thurston, Wayne, Boyd, Brown, Cherry, Holt, Keya Paha, and Rock counties.    

O'Neill Community Foundation Fund Spotlight: TeamMates

09/24/15 11:15 AM
Holt County TeamMates and the O’Neill Community Foundation Fund See the Importance of Mentoring

The O'Neill Community Foundation Fund continues to spotlight the projects they have helped support over their 10 years.

The mission of TeamMates is to positively impact the world by inspiring youth to reach their full potential.  This is done by training and providing mentors that are volunteers from the community, who have dedicated themselves to making a difference in the life of a young person.  Any young person.

The O’Neill Community Foundation Fund has teamed up with Holt County TeamMates on several occasions to help with start-up expenses, program assistance, program promotion, training, background checks, recruitment and speakers.  To date, the OCFF has contributed $1,850 to the organization.

Holt County TeamMates held their annual Tailgate Gala on Sunday, August 30. From donations, the gala silent auction and sponsorships, they raised over $10,000.  It was the best gala fundraiser to date for the Holt County Chapter.  If you are interested in becoming a mentor or finding out more about TeamMates, please contact our local coordinator, Connie Gildersleeve, at (402) 340-4783.

O'Neill FCCLA Chapter Helps Food Pantry During Scavenger Hunt

09/23/15 02:39 PM
The O'Neill FCCLA Chapter held a scavenger hunt for food for the O'Neill Food Pantry on Monday evening.  Pictured are chapter members who participated in the event with the food they gathered.  Thanks to all who donated.   

Tejlor Strope Shows Champion Steer At Nebraska State Fair

09/21/15 01:45 PM
Tejlor Strope exhibited the 4H Champion Shorthorn Steer and Division I 4H Champion Steer at the 2015 Nebraska State Fair.
(Tejlor's parents Boyd & Malaine are on left, her Grandparents Loren and Marcelene Tejkl are in the center, and her brother Berren is on the right.)

Yankton Team Wins Chamber Ambassador Bean Bag Tournament-O'Neill Teams 2nd & 3rd

09/21/15 01:28 PM
The O’Neill Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors held their annual Bean Bag Tournament last Saturday in conjunction with Halfway to St. Pat’s.  There was a record 36 teams that entered this year.  The top three teams won cash prizes. 

1st place was Dale Mudders and Jon Blaha of Yankton winning $500

2nd place was Blake Bauer and Matt Bauer of O’Neill winning $300

3rd place was Josh Brabec & Scott Poese of O’Neill winning $200

Platte, South Dakota Family Of 6 Killed In Fire, School Cancelled

09/17/15 04:16 PM

PLATTE, S.D. (AP) — The superintendent of a small South Dakota school district has canceled all classes after learning that four students and their parents were killed during an early-morning house fire.

Platte-Geddes School District Superintendent Joel Bailey says local agencies informed him that the four siblings and their parents died in the Thursday morning fire. Law enforcement officials haven't released the victims' names or ages.

Bailey said all students were dismissed after school officials learned of the tragedy. The state Department of Education reports the district had 467 students enrolled as of fall 2014.

Platte Volunteer Fire Department Chief Rick Gustad says crews responded to a fire about 5:40 a.m. He said he couldn't comment on whether there were any fatalities. A message left for the local sheriff wasn't immediately returned.

O'Neill FFA Takes In Annual Husker Harvest Days

09/16/15 04:15 PM
Members of the O’Neill FFA Chapter, as well as the Introduction to Agriscience class, attend Husker Harvest Days in Grand Island on Tuesday, September 15. While there members had the opportunity to visit with agriculture business, see and try out new products being introduced to the agriculture industry, as well as explore college options that offers agriculture majors in Nebraska. Forty-two O’Neill FFA members and O’Neill High School agriculture education students attended Husker Harvest Days this year. For admission to the event members donated canned food to the Heartland United Way Food Pantry to help feed local families in need. 

Chambers FCCLA Officers Attend Fall Leadership Workshop

09/16/15 03:27 PM

Back (L to R) Schyler Burrell, Kyra Farewell Front: Jamie Koenig, Molly Lambert, Jacie Laetsch

Chambers FCCLA chapter officers accompanied by Mrs. Barb Hubel attended the Fall Leadership Workshop at Wayne State College on Friday September 11. They had the opportunity to listen to keynote speaker, and former Husker, DeMoine Adams. He spoke about Defensive Leadershape. Officers also attended sessions to enhance their leadership skills. Molly Lambert, who is a member of the 2015-2016 Nebraska FCCLA State Officer Team, presented sessions at the conference and at the Fall Leadership Workshop held in Alliance on September 9.

Stagemeyer's Bring Home Honors In 4-H & FFA at Nebraska State Fair

09/14/15 03:19 PM

Jace Stagemeyer exhibited the Champion Angus heifer in the FFA division.

Jace Stagmeyer showing the Reserve Champion Angus 4-H heifer.

Miles Stagemeyer showed the Reserve Champion Simmental heifer in the FFA division.

ce Stagemeyer 9RIGHT) was Champion Intermediate 4-H Showman

Chambers FFA Kicks Off School Year With Range Board Projects

09/14/15 02:50 PM

Chambers FFA created range boards to exhibit at the Nebraska FFA State Fair. Tyson Burk, Cassidy Brindisi,
Bathsheba Doty and Dawn Klabenes (pictured) along with other juniors and seniors collected native range plants to display.

Austen Friedrichsen earned a red ribbon at the FFA Livestock Judging held in Burwell in conjunction with Nebraska’s Big Rodeo.

As these first few weeks of school have started, our Chambers FFA has been very busy already! To start off, we gathered up various plants and had to find out their names and pedigrees. Afterwards, we made our range board with all the 15 plants we chose. We then made a trip to Grand Island on September 3rd to take our projects there and spent the day learning about agriculture at the State Fair. Purple ribbons were awarded to Dawn Klabenes and Kenade Tomjack. Blue ribbons were Bathsheba Doty, Cassidy Brindisi, Tyson Burk, Austen Friedrichsen, Ryan Koenig, Nick Haburchak, Landon Crabtree, Jordan Sterns, and Sky Bowen. And red ribbons went to Mitchell Root and Jacob Green. Congratulations to everyone! We would also like to congratulate Austen Friedrichsen for earning a red ribbon at the Burwell Livestock Judging back in July. We are looking forward to the upcoming range judging contests and other FFA meetings and events.

O'Neill FCCLA Officers Attend Fall Leadership Workshop

09/14/15 02:36 PM

(left to right) Marissa Lichty, Emma Krysl, Allison Ludwig, Grace Bunner, Amanda Pischel, Emily Morrow, and Allison Becker
O'Neill FCCLA Officers attended the annual Fall Leadership Workshop at Wayne State College on Friday Sept. 11.  Attending were Marissa Lichty, Emma Krysl, Allison Ludwig, Grace Bunner, Amanda Pischel, Emily Morrow, and Allison Becker.  

Firearm Hunter Education Course Offered in Stuart Sept. 26-27

09/14/15 11:37 AM

A firearm hunter education course will be offered by Nebraska Game and Parks Commission volunteer instructors in Stuart on Saturday, September 26, 2015 from 1:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m., and Sunday, September 27, 2015 from 1:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m.
The free course will held at the Geremy’s Garage at 46754 Dove Rd. The course will provide instruction in the areas of safe firearms use, shooting and sighting techniques, hunter ethics, game identification and conservation management. Students must attend all of the sessions to complete the course.

Students must pre-register by September 24th at,, or by calling the Nebraska Game and Parks office in Bassett at (402)684-2921. Please print off and complete the parental release form to bring with you the first day of class.

In Nebraska, hunters ages 12 through 29 must have on their person proof of successful completion of firearm hunter education while hunting with a firearm.

Farm Generational Transition Course For Farm Women To Be In O'Neill In October

09/14/15 11:15 AM

Creating a transition plan to make sure a farm continues as a productive business can be challenging. Farm women can learn how to plan a successful farm transition in a five-session course offered by Nebraska Extension in Holt County.  The “Managing for Today and Tomorrow: Farm Transition Planning” program, a new Annie’s Project course, has been scheduled for this fall in O’Neill, NE on Monday evenings; October 19 – November 16.
The cost is $75 per person, which includes a 300-page workbook with fact sheets, hands-on activities, and presentations. A light supper will be served before each class at 6:30 p.m. Course size is limited, so please register soon.  
Farm women will learn about business, estate, retirement and succession planning from Nebraska Extension specialists and area professionals. In addition to brief presentations, there will be discussions based on participant questions and follow-up activities for family members to complete at home.
“We’re happy to be a partner in bringing this valuable program to Holt County,” said Amy Timmerman, Holt and Boyd County Extension Educator, “This farm transition course is an opportunity for farm women to meet with others who share similar issues and concerns. We limit the size of the class to make it comfortable for everyone to speak up and get questions answered.”
Annie’s Project, an agricultural risk management education program for women, has successfully reached more than 9,000 farm and ranch women in 30 states. “This new Farm Transition program emphasizes the role women play in helping transfer farms from one generation to the next,” said Cheryl Griffith, Nebraska Extension Annie’s Project Coordinator. Managing for Today and Tomorrow: Farm Transition Planning is designed to empower women to take ownership of the future of their farms.
For more information or register contact Amy Timmerman at the Holt County Extension Office at 402-336-2760.
Managing for Today and Tomorrow is supported by the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA, Grant # 2011-49400-30584. More information can be found on the Annie’s Project website at

Corbin Dean Plays With UNL Band

09/14/15 06:49 AM

Corbin Dean (center) performing at haltime with the Cornhusker Marching Band.
On Saturday, September 12th, OHS junior Corbin Dean traveled to Lincoln to participate and perform in the 1st Annual UNL Tuba Day. Only 50 high school tuba players were chosen from across the state. The day was spent with a master class, meeting with admissions, rehearsing, and finally performing at pregame, halftime and post game of the football game with the Cornhusker Marching Band. They played "All About The Base" and "Uptown Funk" in front of 90,000+ cheering Husker fans. Corbin stated "It was a great atmosphere being on the field!"

Niobrara Public School Among Area Institutions To Receive Governor's Wellness Aw

09/10/15 03:33 PM

Today, Governor Pete Ricketts announced this year’s recipients of the Governor’s Wellness Award.  A total of 43 Nebraska employers representing 28 communities are being honored for developing and implementing successful workplace wellness programs. 
The KBRX area was well represented.  Receiving the Governor’s Wellness Award is Niobrara Public School, the Educational Service Unit #8 in Neligh, Crofton Community School and Hartington Public School.
“Employers receiving this award are committed to employee health and well-being,” Gov. Pete Ricketts said.  “Worksite wellness programs positively affect the health and productivity of employees as well as the bottom line.  Most importantly, worksite wellness is an opportunity for Nebraskans to live healthy lives, improve quality of life and help grow a healthier Nebraska for the next generation.” 
The Governor’s Wellness Award was created eight years ago to recognize Nebraska employers who dedicate leadership, resources and time to wellness efforts in the workplace.  The Governor’s Wellness award process is a rigorous one.  Each applicant must provide information in the areas of leadership support, data collection, intervention strategies, communication planning, policy support, and evaluation and health outcomes.
“Wellness programs empower employees to make significant health improvements through health education and coaching, preventive screenings and opportunities to increase physical activity, eat healthier, quit tobacco and manage stress,” said Judy Martin, Deputy Director of Community and Environmental Health for the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.
The Governor’s Wellness Award has two categories.  The Sower Award recognizes workplaces that have established quality wellness programs; the Grower Award takes it to the next level, and honors businesses and organizations demonstrating significant improvement in employee health behaviors. Including this year’s winners, close to 300 awards have been distributed across the state.
Awards will be presented to this year’s winners at three separate award ceremonies during the months of September and October.  The award ceremonies will be held in Gering on September 22, Kearney on September 24 and in Lincoln on October 20.

Commission Votes To Enter Memorandum Of Understanding On Niobrara River - Spence

09/10/15 03:08 PM

LINCOLN – The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission voted today to enter a memorandum of understanding to work with five Nebraska Natural Resource Districts and the Nebraska Public Power District to take steps towards transfer of assets, including NPPD’s water appropriations on the Niobrara River, Spencer Hydro dam, and the lands and easements associated with the dam. 

The Commission voted to enter the memorandum of understanding during a special meeting at the Commission headquarters, 2200 N. 33rd St. in Lincoln, at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 10.

The Commission and the NRDs will seek legislative authority to convert NPPD’s water rights to a multi-use water right, part of which will be conserved for recreation and fish and wildlife needs, and part of which will be conserved for integrated water management in the Niobrara River basin. NPPD will continue to operate the dam in the meantime.

“This is a Nebraska plan for conserving a Nebraska jewel,” said Jim Douglas, director of the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. “The Commission, the NRDs and NPPD want to ensure that the future of the Niobrara River will be decided by Nebraskans, with the best interests of Nebraskans in mind. All parties involved are pleased with this outcome and proud to work together to achieve a diverse set of goals for a valuable Nebraska resource.”

Click the headline of this article to view more on this story.


Corbin Dean Selected To Be Part Of National FFA Band

09/09/15 01:36 PM

INDIANAPOLIS- Corbin Dean, a member of the O'Neill FFA Chapter in O'Neill and son of Chad and Becky Dean, will be on stage and in the spotlight October 28-31 during the 2015 National FFA Convention & Expo in Louisville, Kentucky.

Dean submitted an audition tape and was selected to help bring full instrumental balance to the band from a pool of thousands of applicants from across the country.

The National FFA Band will perform several times during the national convention and expo.

Dean will join fellow band members in Louisville three days prior to the convention for rehearsals. Dean will be accompanied to the National FFA Convention & Expo by his FFA Advisor, Mrs. Krystl Knabe.

The National FFA Organization provides leadership, personal growth and career success training through agricultural education to 610,240 student members in grades seven through 12 who belong to one of 7,665 local FFA chapters throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

Work To Begin On Highway N-13, Creighton to Center

09/09/15 09:19 AM
Weather permitting, bridge work will begin the week of September 14 on N-13 from the N-13/N-59 junction north to the N-13/N-84 junction, according to the Department of Roads.  Traffic will be maintained using temporary traffic signals.  Drivers are urged to use caution with traveling in this area.  Anticipated completion will be the summer of 2016.

Northeast Celebrates Opening of New Extended Campus In O'Neill

09/09/15 06:16 AM

The Ribbon is cut Tuesday at the new NECC Extended Campus in O'Neill
O’NEILL – Northeast Community College and residents of North Central Nebraska commemorated the opening of the College’s new extended campus facility here Tuesday with a dedication and ribbon cutting ceremony.

“This is a tremendous day for our North Central Nebraska residents and four our beloved Northeast Community College. Let me welcome you to the newest member of the Northeast Community College family – our new extended campus serving you in north central and western counties in our more than 14,000 square mile, 20 county district.” said Dr. Michael Chipps, Northeast president. “We are here to officially christen this new facility and to dedicate it to the host of people who have made this dream a reality. This new and beautiful building would not have been possible without many of you who are present here today. Please let me say from the bottom of my heart – a sincere ‘thank you.’”

While the building may be new, Northeast’s presence in the region is not. The College opened its prior extended campus in a 77-year-old former elementary school building in O’Neill in 1998. Northeast successfully raised over $3 million through a capital campaign to construct the new 15,075 square foot extended campus facility at 505 East Highway 20.

The building has state-of-the-art classrooms, high technology computers, advanced health and science labs, and a large, attached technical training wing that can accommodate welding, industrial, and agriculture-related courses. 

Larry Poessnecker, Atkinson, a veteran member of the Northeast Community College Board of Governors, said during the ceremony, that the new extended campus will truly meet the needs and expectations of the College’s entire western region.

“From the time the capital campaign began until now, patrons watched and expressed appreciation in having such a first-class facility available.  The entire process has been the product of countless volunteers to get this accomplished without the use of any tax dollars.  This new extended campus is going to change lives for generations to come.“
Gene Willers, Pilger, board chair, called Tuesday a great day for Northeast and its constituents.

“This facility and this partnership with the people of this region are both the direct result of hearing from constituents about the need as well as forming a partnership to get it accomplished.  Northeast Community College remains right here in your backyard, but with many more opportunities. I wish to thank the region for its support, the donors who made it possible for this facility to become a reality and to everyone involved in the campaign who made it happen.”

New opportunities through Northeast’s extended campus include additional early entry classes for high school students in both transfer and technical areas; additional health related course offerings – lifetime wellness, Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), first aid; more short-term technical training prospects in areas such as welding , small engines, agriculture, wood working, and certifications; business and industry training in areas such as entrepreneurship, leadership, succession planning, and employee on-boarding; and student support services such as advising, testing, tutoring and a writer’s clinic. In all, over 100 credit and non-credit courses and classes will be offered through the extended campus.

Northeast is also partnering with Bellevue University in O’Neill. Bellevue will work with Northeast students by providing additional coursework and opportunities to earn bachelor and masters’ degrees all while staying closer to home. It will offer upper level undergraduate and graduate level courses and programs for constituents in the Northeast Community College service area with a primary focus on non-traditional working adults.

“Bellevue University is honored to be part of this regional extended campus,” said Dr. Mary Hawkins, president. “We are excited to work with an entrepreneurial partner like Northeast Community College to provide educational opportunities and workforce development.”  

The City of O’Neill contributed $750,000 to the capital campaign. Mayor Bill Price said the community is pleased to be part of the effort to expand educational opportunities in the region.

“I feel fortunate that the City has been given the opportunity to be a part of this exciting and much needed expansion.  We are so thankful for Dr. Chipps, the Board and the staff for their commitment to secondary education in our region.”

Those who attend the dedication also heard from someone who attends Northeast in O’Neill. Kelli Munoz, O’Neill, a non-traditional behavioral science student, said as the mother of four young children, she questioned whether she could pursue a degree. However, the location of Northeast’s extended campus in her hometown convinced she could achieve her dream.

“Whenever I have had a struggle or a concern I knew I was welcome to come to the O’Neill office and my questions were always addressed by someone in person. I have formed a bond with the staff at the O’Neill office and I have met many new people along the way. I am close to being done with my degree. I never would have even pursued furthering my education if there had not been a campus here in O’Neill.”

In addition to O’Neill and its main campus in Norfolk, Northeast Community College operates extended campuses in South Sioux City and West Point and regional offices in Ainsworth and Hartington.

O'Neill FFA Chapter Congratulates Tejlor Strope On Reserve Champion At Nebraska

09/08/15 02:44 PM
Congratulations to O'Neill FFA Chapter's Tejlor Strope, daughter of Boyd & MaLaine Strope, for earning Nebraska State Fair FFA Show Reserve Champion Overall Steer. 

Nebraska State Fair Sets New Attendance Record in Grand Island

09/08/15 01:36 PM

A total of 352,176 guests attended the Nebraska State Fair this year, which is a new record for the fair in Grand Island. The previous record was in 2012 when attendance reached 336,987.
Joseph McDermott, executive director for the fair said, “We were up almost 11% over last year’s numbers, which isn’t surprising given our rain soaked fair a year ago.  What is impressive is that we’re just short of 5% higher than our previous record in 2012.  What makes it even more exciting is that we ended 2015 just 15,678 visitors short of two million.  That will happen on day one in 2016.” 
“The highest attendance for 2015 was the first Saturday of the fair when the total came in at 61,855.  This of course can be attributable not only to the Keith Urban concert, but perfect fair weather as well,” McDermott said, “The second Sunday, which is typically the highest attendance saw 56,389 fairgoers.”
Other highlights from the fair include:
Saturday, August 29, 2015
State Fair Marathon
  • 861 Runners
  • 428 Ran the half marathon
  • 186 ran the full marathon
Saturday, August 29, 2015
Keith Urban Concert
  • 11,780 tickets sold
  • Folks from 28 states and three foreign countries attended
Saturday and Sunday September 5 & 6, 2015
Firefighter Combat Challenge
  • 100 participants
  • 14 relay teams
  • 23 tandem teams
  • Eight states represented
McDermott said, “This was a banner year for the Nebraska State Fair with our largest concert in the history of the fair, and even more new and exciting attractions to entertain fair guests.”
Research through electronic kiosks was conducted again this year.  Early reports indicate that the Nebraska State Fair was a hit with fairgoers.  Overall Fair Enjoyment received 4.4 out of 5 stars and 80 percent of our fairgoers are likely and very likely to highly recommend the Nebraska State Fair to others.
“Word of mouth is our most effective advertising medium, and the word is very good,” McDermott said, “It’s our goal to always make improvements from year to year to make every Nebraskan proud of the state’s largest entertainment event.” 

Young Americans Coming To O'Neill In November

09/02/15 09:24 AM

Hundreds of talented youth from O’Neill and surrounding areas are preparing to study and perform with The Young Americans, November 15th-17th during their 2015 Fall International Music Outreach Tour and “Turn Up The Music” campaign. This non-profit music, dance and performance troupe will make a tour stop at O’Neill High School on its 44-city tour and has devoted the entire next year to teaching, funding and encouraging school music departments all across the US.
“We are extremely concerned with music programs disappearing from our public schools, especially when we see the direct benefits music has on our young people every single day,” says Bill Brawley, Executive Director of The Young Americans.  “By donating a portion of our workshop proceeds back to schools, it is our hope that our “Turn Up The Music” campaign will energize music teachers, school music programs and the communities that strive to keep music education top priority for our youth.”
As the world’s first show-choir The Young Americans are now the oldest and largest youth music advocacy group in the world.  The 45-member casts, each aged 18 to 23 tour town to town and country to country, staying in the homes of local residents. At each tour stop, they teach three-day music outreach workshops that includes classes in singing, dancing, and theater performance. On the final day, a spectacular two-hour show is produced featuring the local participants as they perform right alongside The Young Americans in front of parents, families, teachers, friends and community members.
The mission of the 52 year-old music group has always been the same. They aim to inspire young people and audiences throughout the world using music as their vehicle.  “Music creates the perfect environment for the magic to happen,” says TJ Stoltz Booking Director of the North American Tours.  It’s incredible to watch a group of 3rd -12th graders get together and work as a team in a matter of days.  They develop new friendships, self-confidence, and acceptance among their peers.”
Registration is open to students in grades 3-12 and more details on this workshop can be found on The Young Americans website or by visiting the O’Neill YA’s workshop webpage at  Registration forms are available on the proceeding workshop website, from O’Neill High School or O’Neill Elementary.  Participants may register quickly and easily online through as well. Come support music education in your community - the final show is open to community members, O’Neill High School gymnasium, 7:00 pm. Tickets will be available for purchase at the door.  

Gov. Ricketts Sends Letter to President Obama Urging Approval of Keystone XL

07/27/15 02:56 PM

Lincoln – 
Today, Governor Pete Ricketts announced that his office sent a letter to President Barack Obama in support of the Keystone XL pipeline project. In his letter, the Governor urged the Obama Administration to issue a permit for the pipeline:
“Like many other Nebraskans, I support the revised route and the construction of the pipeline; however, you alone have the power to approve this important infrastructure project that will bring good-paying jobs and much-needed tax revenue to Nebraska counties during construction and for years to come. Consequently, I urge you to issue a Presidential Permit for the Keystone XL pipeline.”
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