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Marker placed at former school site

Edgar radio station returns to the airwaves

Oak celebrates its historic past

Two businesses open in Oak


Marker placed at former school site

By Marty Pohlman
One room school houses are a fading image in the collective memory. At the end of World War II, there were more than 100,000 one room school houses in the United States. By the time Beach School closed in 1972, the number had dwindled to less than a 1,000. The schools were usually located two miles apart and foot and pony power transported the students to and from school. District 44 was formed in 1880 and the permanent building was erected in 1884 from plans contained in a government issued record book.
Two area men took steps to mark the site where the Beach building stood for more than 88 years. Beauford Hoyer and Andy Jensen had more than fond memories for their formative years spent at the Beach school. They gained an education and appreciation for life through the efforts of the teachers there. The subjects taught were reading, writing, spelling, arithmetic, history and geography.
The school held its last class in 1972 as Beach School, district 44, was merged with the Cadams School. The interior furnishings were carefully packed and stored. Hoyer and several others had plans to ensure the school would survive. A group of concerned former students and other Nuckolls county residents began a fund raising drive to move the school building to the grounds of the Nuckolls County Historical Museum which was then under construction. In 1974, title to the school building and its possessions was transferred to the Nuckolls County Historical Society. The museum collected funds and in 1978 the building was moved from its location east of Cadams to the museum grounds where it stands today. The building is furnished as it was when it was being utilized as a school. Groups of school children visit the school and are able to see firsthand how much the physical school plant has changed compared to their modern surrondings. From three month school terms for which the first teacher, Miss Hattie Graham was paid $25 per month, until its closing in 1972, the school; was the educational and social center for generations of students.
Hoyer and Jensen wanted to do something more. They collaborated on a project which would mark the physical location of the school before it was moved to the museum grounds. Gerald and Julie Simonsen, current owners of the land on which the building stood, gave their permission and blessings to the project. Jensen and Hoyer bore the cost of the project. John Price, Jr., of the Megrue-Price Funeral Home in Superior, arranged for the carving of the stone. Hoyer constructed the base and the granite monument was placed on the pedestal. Grass was seeded and the marker is visible to all who pass by. The actual school site is southeast of the marker, located at the junction of Roads H and 4300. The marker displays the dates the school was in existence and a one sentence description of what transpired her: "Education abounded at this site." And thanks to Hoyer and Jensen that fact will not go unnoticed by all who pass this way.
The school building has been preserved, the site of the school marked and the education which was acquired in that place has shaped generations of Nuckolls County residents in a positive and productive way. Hoyer and Jensen are proud of the education and friendships which were forged at Beach school and want it to be remembered. The school was named for the Beach family who owned the land the school was constructed on and not for a sandy place with umbrellas and waves though many students probably wished it was when January paid its annual visit.

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Edgar radio station returns to the airwaves
Dustin Wlliams, a Kansas native, has been a resident of Edgar for more than six years. His lifelong dream, inspired by listening to legendary border radio disc jockey Wolfman Jack, was to be the owner of a radio station. The former ERC Communications and Reinke employee, on a whim, searched the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) website to ascertain what was needed to begin a radio station. Thanks to an innovative program begun by the FCC in 2008, low power radio stations were authorized to serve communities across the country. These are stations operated as non-profit entities. They are not allowed to sell commercial advertising but are able to solicit underwriting funds.
Low power stations can vary in range. With his interest piqued, Williams filled out the lengthy application. He filed his application with the FCC in October, 2013. The application was approved in January, 2014 and his station call letters, KCGW, and frequency 107.1 FM, were assigned. The next step was to acquire the physical equipment needed to actually broadcast programming . His transmitter is a standard FM transmitter with limited power and his transmission tower reaches the height of 50 feet with the option of rising to 100 feet in the future. KCGW has a 30 mile broadcast range.
The station was located on Main Street in Edgar and he began broadcatsing in February, 2014. An obstacle emerged when a complaint was filed with the FCC that his station was emitting "spurious transmissions, blocking the signal of nearby stations in Hastings and Superior. Williams voluntarily ceased broadcasting and resolved to eliminate the problem. The station transmitter was relocated to his house after he had filed for a license modification. The FCC approved his request and when he resumed transmitting in May the problem was eliminated. He is in the process of rewiring a building on Main Street and hope to move the equipment to this site in September.
The station is on the air 24 hours per day. Williams uses an automated internet programming service to feed music for his station. He often is at the studio to provide live news and weather updates but the station is capable of remotely operating. The music format is a mix of old and new, pop and country, top 40 and oldies. The evening is devoted to religious programming which also fulfills an educational content requirement for low power stations.
Williams reports the station has built a strong listener base in the short time it has been on the air. He is now soliciting underwriting support for the station. The station was the sponsor of the pie baking contest at Edgarfest, Saturday, and also sponsored a concert at the same event. Williams is aware of the struggle he faces but is confident his dream of owning a radio station will fulfilled for many years.

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Oak celebrates its historic past
For a few hours Saturday, the Village of Oak was the most populous site in Nuckolls County. Estimates varied from a low of 3,000 and upwards to 5,000 visitors there to take part in the festivities marking the 150th anniversary of Native American raids along the Little Blue River and to pay tribute to those who ventured through the area on the westward trek across the Oregon Trail.
The weather was more suited for an outdoor sauna, with high temperatures, humidity and only a slight breeze stirring during the early afternoon. The sheer number of motor vehicles was more suited to Omaha than in the normally serene village. Vehicles lined up by the First Community Church prior to the 1 p.m. start of the first of three scheduled tours. The large turnout would necessitate two additional tours. While waiting for later tours to depart, visitors had a variety of options for passing the time. There was a blacksmith giving demonstrations of his craft. A wheelwright demonstrated the art of fabricating wood wheels. There was a bounce zone for the younger crowd as well as playground equipment. A demonstration on reata and lead rope fabrication was popular with the young attendees.
There were several venues for food throughout the day and evening . The pit beef BBQ was a popular choice in the evening. The evening activities included a dance at the city park as well as a beer garden. The Saloon, an Oak institution, is under new ownership and provided a cooling respite for the crowds as well as restrooms and cold beverages. The King's Daughter's Library was open as well as the Oak museum.
Representatives of the Nebraska chapter of the National Pony Express Association were present to answer questions about the history of the Pony Express. Jere Krakow, a former area resident, was on hand to explain the history of the Oregon Trail and to represent the Oregon-California Trails Association, a group dedicated to the preservation of the heritage of the trails which opened the American West to settlement. Oregon Trail Days T-shirts were a brisk seller with the added bonus of a free Oak commemorative plate with each purchase.
George Bruce and Teraesa Lowery are the owners of Autumn River Photography located next to the Oak post office. They were taking photographs of customers dressed in period costume.
A block long display of vintage farm tractors was a popular destination. An antique buggy transported riders around the village.
The high point of the celebration was the re-enactment of the Native American raids along the Little Blue River. The tour left the village and proceeded to stop at different sites. The Narrows featured the re-enactment of the capture of Laura Roper, a 16 year old girl, Mrs. Eubanks, the wife of a rancher who was killed in the raid and her 2 month old baby. Area residents played the parts of Native Americans and their captives. Later the tour proceeded to other points, one at which a wagon was attacked and all the members of the wagon party were killed and the other, a ranch where the attackers were repelled as the raids were replayed as they occurred 150 years before. The heat took a toll on re-enactors, their horses and visitors, but did not nothing to curb the enthusiasm and wonderment of the spectators. As one tour wound its way out another would snake back into the village.
The most unusual sight in the park was a traditional Native American teepee belonging to Kevin Browning. Browning is part Comanche and Osage and is a member of the Comanche nation. His tribal name is Pui Tomobi, which translates as Eyes Like The Sky. A native of Emporia, Browning is on the road for several months of the year. He spends the bulk of his time in Texas where he is a fixture at fairs and festivals. He travels with his Indian pony, Mini-spots and two timberwolves. He regales visitors with tales of the Native American life on the Great Plains, where the Comanche were known as the Lords of the Plains. Browning dons traditional garb and seeks to educate his visitors in the culture and lore of his tribe. He also offers photo opportunities with visitors, outfitting them in traditional garb and posing with them, usually accompanied by one of his wolves. He was doing a lively trade in feathers and photos as the day went on.
Oak embraces its past and has hosted the re-eanctments since 1964. Former residents return to participate, observe the pageantry, renew old acquaintances and ensure that the Village of Oak will survive physically and in the hearts of all its residents.







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Two businesses open in Oak
One is an old business with a new owner and another is a new business and they are both located on Oak's main street across from City Park.
The Saloon has been purchased by Todd Jensen, an Oak resident. He has installed new flooring and restrooms. The propane lines have been replaced and the refrigeration systems are functioning. Jensen purchased the business and the building in March and has been working to refurbish the business since. At present, he is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday but plans to inaugurate full time hours within three weeks. The Saloon will be open seven days per week. He will be reinstalling the Keno system and hopes to be offering a limited food menu of pizza and snacks at first. He plans to renovate the kitchen and institute a full menu at a later date. He will be assisted by his daughter, Amanda, an Omaha resident, and Randall Segabart, when additional help is required. The business has been closed for more than year.
Another business has opened on Main Street. Located in the west side of the post office building, Autumn River Photography is a joint venture between George Bruce, a Reinke Manufacturing Company employee , and Teraesa Lowery, a student at Joseph's College of Beauty in Hastings. The couple takes senior class pictures, wedding and family picture and have added a new option. They debuted their vintage clothing photo sessions at Saturday's Oregon Trail Days in Oak. Response was positive and they plan on attending area festivals in the future. Plans are being formulated to reopen the Kings Daughters Library to provide Oak residents with a convenient source of reading material.

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