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Oak Celebration includes guided tours, reenactments
By Marty Pohlman
From bullets to butter to a bounce house, there was something for everyone as the Village of Oak, became for one day, at least if not the largest, the second largest population center of Nuckolls County. The occasion was the Oregon Trail reenactment of the 1864 Native American raids. Unlike the last event, in 2014, when temperatures exceeded the 100 degree mark and were coupled with high humidity, Saturday's event was blessed with moderate temperatures and clear skies.
More than 1,000 visitors took one of the five tours with an estimated 70 cars in each tour. The tours departed from Oak and followed a 24-mile loop. The trips were not without an error or two. This reporter, who shared a ride with the descendants of Robert Emery, was one of many cars which followed a vehicle that was not part of the tour. After turning around the tour continued on the proper route.
The first stop on the tour was the reenacting of the abduction of Laura Roper, Lucinda, William and Isabelle Eubanks. When one Native American reenactor dismounted to scalp a victim his horse decided to keep going. The spectators gathered on the hillside overlooking the scene had a close-up look of the steed before he was stopped. Jean Stichka provided the narration for the event.
The next stop was the Little Blue Station. Kathy Monroe was the narrator for this stop. At this site, three wagon trains were attacked by Native Americans. During the reenactment action, an attacker was overpowered by a wagon train member. While the wounded attacker lay upon the ground, a young reenactor arrived to ensure he stayed there by repeatedly hitting said victim. This act didn't appear to have been in the script.
The tour continued to wend its way along the dust choked roads. Visibility was near zero at most times. There was a report from an area resident that the Little Blue River was dry for a stretch below Davenport.
The third tour stop was at the marker near the site where Robert Emery, driving a stage coach from Big Sandy station, located east of Nuckolls County, encounter the warring Native Americans. The stage was carrying seven men and two women. Emery turned the stage coach around. He warned the members of a wagon train he had earlier encountered thus saving the lives of numerous people. The stage station at this spot was renamed for Emery.
The stop was an emotional one for John Emery, and his son, Robert, named for his great-great uncle. John, his wife, Sharon, Omaha, Robert, his wife Cathy, their daughters Ale and Maddy, Miami, Fla. gathered around the marker to contemplate the heroic feat performed by Robert Emery. Uldrich also recounted the story of "Parson" Bob Landon, who is buried along the trail at Camp Kane.
The final tour stop was the Oak Grove or Comstock ranch. The narration was provided by Jean Springer. Erastus Comstock was the first permanent settler in Nuckolls county. His ranch was a stop for the Pony Express as well as the stage coach line. Two men who had stopped at the ranch for supplies were killed by the Cheyenne. Comstock was able to take his family to safety. The Comstocks' later returned to the site and continued their residence after the threat of hostile raids had diminished. Descendants of Erastus Comstock were also in attendance
The tour then returned to its starting point in Oak.
Though the tour was ended there was plenty to occupy the time and mind of the visitor in Oak.
The Oak Museum was open for visitors to experience the evolution of life in the town. From a history of the town baseball teams, including its most famous son, Russ Snyder, a major league baseball player, to a barber shop typical of the late 19th and early 20th century, there was much to see and do.
Mary Statz, Nelson librarian, and Vicki Perrie, Superior librarian, were present outside the museum to inform visitors about the digital preservation project of local newspapers the two libraries are sponsoring.
For the younger set there was a bounce house and face painting.
Several vendors had tables set up.
Susie Elting was providing rides in a horse drawn wagon.
The Nuckolls County Historical Society was present. Kelly Schroer and Gwen Johnson, dressed in period clothing, demonstrated the art of butter making using hand powered butter churns. A knife maker from Hastings displayed his hand-crafted wares. Davenport resident Berdon Pedersen demonstrated the craft of broom making while his wife, Deena, provided quality control.
The food concession area offered a variety of items. A sno-cone vendor was kept busy as the temperature and humidity began to rise.
The Oak Community Church hosted a Power Point presentation by the great-great-granddaughters of Lucinda Eubanks, one of the women abducted at the Narrows.
Gina Rhoads, who resides in Longwood, Colo., and Cindy Reeves, a Blair, Neb., resident, are the great-great-granddaughters of Lucinda. They devoted time to researching the life and times of Lucinda, using resources as varied as the Library of Congress to the archives of the Nebraska Historical Society. The two grew up with the stories of her capture, her time with the Native Americans, and her eventual release, along with her ten-month old son, Willie. Her daughter, Isabelle, died soon after her release from the trauma of her captivity, at the age of three. The three were released from captivity near Denver. Lucinda departed Denver and moved to Quincy, Ill. She then relocated to McCune, Kan., where she lived for the remainder of her life. She died on March 4, 1913. Her son, Willie, grew to manhood and fathered eight children. Reeves attended her first reenactment in 1963. She returned in 1967 and played the part of Lucinda Eubanks.
Rhoads and Reeves presented the story of the life and times of Lucinda Eubanks to standing room crowds. More than 500 people attended the presentations.
John Emery noted that Robert Emery's life after the stage coach incident was unknown. A ring was commissioned by the passengers ofthe stage coach and presented to him in gratitude for his exploit. The whereabouts of the ring is unknown. John noted that it may have been buried with him. The Emery family is proud of the heritage bequeathed to them. Robert and Cathy look to instill the same pride in their daughters, Ale and Maddy.
The reenactment is the final result of months of planning and would not be possible without the more than 200 volunteers who work both behind the scenes and out in front of the guests.
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Superior hires additional police officer, lineman
Two job offers were extended when the Superior City Council
met Monday evening.
If the offers are accepted by the applicants, the electric crew and police department will soon be back to full staff.
It is expected Aaron Rozett will soon be joining the police department with the rank of patrolman. He is expected to move to Superior from Grand Island. While this is his first patrolman's job, he has been employed for two and a half years as a prison guard, has an associate's degree in criminal justice and six years of military experience. He is married and has three children.
As the city will have to pay to send him to the police academy, he will be expected to sign a contract to either serve the department for a set number of years or repay the city for the academy training.
Lucas Trauernicht was selecte to fill the electric department's lineman's position left vacant when Grant Snyder accepted a position with Perennial Public Power at York. He is a recent graduate of Northeast Community College line school. He is to start work on Monday.
The council also approved a job classification advancement for Troy Peterson. In the department's description he moves from Lineman 1 to Lineman 2. To do so, he had to complete the Merchant's Job Training and Safety Program which requires the completion of four books of study with 10 exams per book and roughly five years of on-job experience. Once completed, he recieved a journeyman certificate from the state labor department.
Shannon McCord met with the council to begin exploring the possible addition of solar electric panels to the front of the Ideal Market building.
McCord said the addition of the panels would expand the store's awning offer shoppers more protection from the weather while also supplying some electrical power to the store. However, it appears the panel installation would require the installation of support post near the curb line and that is where the rub comes in.
To add the posts requires city permission to build in the right-of-way. The mayor and council members were not sure if that permission could be granted or what stipulations might be attached if permission was granted.
McCord said he had lots of projects requiring his time and he wouldn't pursue this idea without council support.
He was told more information was needed before the council would take a position.
As the owners of properties located at 826 Central and 457 Park had apparently not complied with the city's nusiance abatement regulations, the council gave unanimous approval to proceed with the abatement plan. If appears the way is now clear for the city to bring the properties into compliance and charge the owners for the work.
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Sock Hop Days start Friday
An event held for the first time in downtown Superior last
August returnes for its second running this week.
Superior Sock Hop Days begin Friday and continue through Sunday.
Friday's events will center around the Crest Theatre, a popular entertainment venue during the original time for Sock Hops.
Starting at 5:30, participants will have an opportunity to cruise the square in classic automobiles. At 6 p.m. the Lighthouse Church's concession trailer will open for the serving of the supper meal. At 7 p.m. the movie "Grease" will be shown at the Crest. Admission will be a canned food item for the Nuckolls County Food Pantry.
At 9 p.m. there will be a street dance in front of Supeior Bowl.
The movie, "Grease," is a classic from 1978 and was based upon Warren Casey's original 1971 musical which was set in the 1950s when sock hops were being held at the Superior City Auditorium.
Saturday is the biggest day for the three days of celebration with a car show, vendors, prizes, dunk tank, food and a parking lot dance among the planned activities.
Check-in opens for the vendors and car show participants at 2 p.m. at the Superior City Auditorium. The car show officially begins at 4 p.m. Commercial Street will be closed from Third to Fifth for the event. There will be vendor booths both on the street and in the auditorium. There will also be games on the street for the youngsters and a dunk tank.
Prizes will be offered for those wearing the best 1950s attire and car show awards for Best of Show, People's Choice and Kid's Choice. The parking lot dance next to the Superior Motor Parts Store starts at 8 p.m.
Sunday the Superior Elks Lodge is sponsoring a road rally. Entrants will line up at 12:30 in Lincoln Park.
At 2:30 there will be 1950s style bowling with burgers and root beer floats at the Superior Bowl.
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SHS enrollment up
Monday evening, members of the Superior Board of Education
approved July expenditures from the general fund in the amount
of $824,157.02, nearly $300,000 higher than most months general
fund expenditures. The figure includes adding 40 Chrome books
and purchasing a special education bus which will hold 14 students
including two in wheel chairs. Supt. Mike Kobza said, "The
bus comes with Texas specs." Things included are stronger
glass in the windows and a backup air conditioner. Bob Cook, junior-senior
high principal, estimated the school now owns approximately 200
Chrome books. The newest ones are used at the senior high level
and older models are shifted to the elementary grades when new
Chrome books are purchased.
No other questions or comments were made concerning the July expenditures except that Supt. Kobza said, "Somethings came due."
The board accepted the resignation of Tom Blackburn, industrial arts instructor. Blackburn has taught in the Superior School system for 28 years. The board approved the certified hire of Shane Haley. Haley holds a master degree of arts in fine arts with an industrial arts certification and has experience in construction science. Supt. Kobza, expects Haley will expand the schools ability to explore career pathways for students.
Two international exchange students were approved: Sven van Goch and Christina Ostil. Plans are in process to approved a international exchange entity and move away from approving individual students.
Three policies were approved. All were recommended by legal council. None were read aloud. All three related to the use of federal funds.
Considerable discussion once again focused on student bullying policy 5054. Legal council will be asked to assist in rewording the policy which will again be discussed at the September meeting. In various ways, board members repeatedly stated they want all students to be treated equally regardless of socioeconomic status or family background.
Doug Hoins reported 191 students have enrolled in elementary school as of Monday, 21 in kindergarten (5 boys, 16 girls), 21 first grade students, 29 in second grade, 26 in third, 24 in fourth, 38 in fifth and 32 in sixth grade. Elementary school enrollment has dropped four students compared to the same time last year. Hoins is concerned that there will be three elementary classes with less than 25 students. He would like to see two sections of each class with student numbers between 30 and 35 per grade level.
However, enrollment has increased at the junior-senior high school level. School ended last May with 193 enrolled in junior-senior high school. Administrators expect to start school with 211 students, up 18. Enrolled as of Monday are 30 seventh grade students, 37 eighth grade 37, 35 ninth grade, 39 tenth grade, 40 eleventh grade and 30 seniors.
A board budget workshop is planned for Wednesday evening, Aug. 22, starting at 6:30 p.m. Among the things which will be discussed is a possible way to use money from the cooperative fund without affecting taxable revenue.
The school has two funds referred to as cooperative funds. One has been used to pay certified staff shared with other entities. The other is money originally used to finance the start of the South Central Unified District between Superior, Sandy Creek, Guide Rock, Lawrence and Nelson. The start up money was returned to the Superior district when they with drew from the unified district several years ago. This fund has been in certificates of deposit for serveral years.
Wednesday, Sept. 5, Randy Gilson is scheduled to meet with the board and administrators to set school goals. This is part of the original agreement when the board hired a firm to search for a new superintendent.
Supt. Kobza reported parents are donating materials and labor to establish a foursquare area in the elementary playground, which currently is a popular game. Parents expect to be able to complete the work in one day.
"Our parents are eager to help, which we appreciate," Kobza said.
Parents are also being involved in placing positive messages in high traffic areas of the junior-senior high building.
Volunteers are painting the steel beams in the new weight lifting facility. Flooring bids will be opened yet this week. Supt. Kobza expects the weight facility to be ready for use near the end of September.
A new school website will ease into place along with communications on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. As the new communications come up to speed, the former website will redirect patrons to the new website. Heather Erickson and Sarah Fuller are working on the new website. Eventually, Supt. Kobza expects each major sport will have a web page and that staff will post information daily.
Melisa Schuster, an English and history teacher at the junior-senior high school, presented a short report on the six historical institutes she has attended over the past four summers. Generally she has been the only instructor from Nebraska. She plans to use pictures related to her travels to teach history. This summer one of the trips included a tour of the White House in Washington D.C.