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National memorial visiting Superior this week
A motorcycle escort organized by area motorcycle riders will
bring the Remembering Our Fallen Tribute towers into Superior
about 11 a.m. today (Thursday) and area residents are encourage
to show their respect for the fallen by assembling along the entrance
route. The towers will be coming into Superior via Highway 8 and
turn north at Third and Commercial. It has been suggested that
businesses and homes can properly welcome the memorial by flying
the United States flag.
The emotional exhibit which will be displayed for four days on Commercial Street near the Superior Auditorium was created to remind Americans of the ultimate sacrifice made by those who died from wounds suffered in Iraq and Afghanistan while wearing our country's uniform.
"It is a real honor to be a stop on the national tour," said Sonia Schmidt, Superior mayor. "This is a great reminder of the sacrifices those who have or who are currently serving in the military are making on our behalf. The Towers are a personal reminder of the humanity of those honored and it should help us to comprehend the magnitude of the sacrifices made by both our military as well as their families. We invite everyone to come and view the exhibit."
The memorial includes 31 Tribute Towers with military and personal photos of almost 5,000 of our nation's Fallen since 9/11/2001. This memorial was unveiled nationally at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, Sept. 7, 2017. The national memorial also includes a Tribute Tower to recognize our service men and women who died from training accidents or attacks while stationed stateside or on our overseas bases. And those who return from war with the invisible wounds of PTS and succumb to suicide are included on a Tribute Tower to recognize the tragedy of PTS.
"We can never forget those who sacrificed everything for our freedom. We must remember these American Heroes and speak their names when we see their family members," said Bill Williams, vice president and co-founder of Patriotic Productions, the non-profit responsible for this memorial. "This memorial is created to travel, stopping in cities and communities all across the nation so more people will have the opportunity to honor and remember our fallen from one of the longest wars in our nation's history. We are thankful to Superior for being one of the first to host this beautiful and somber memorial."
The local appearance is being sponsored by Aksarben Foundation, Brodstone Memorial Hospital, Central National Bank, Commercial Bank, Edward Jones, Farmers & Merchants Bank, Gary Thompson Agency, Home Federal Bank, Horizon Bank, Patriotic Productions and the City of Superior. Additionally, veteran's organizations in both Nelson and Superior have provided advice and assistance.
Noala Fritz, a retired teacher from Falls City, is accompanying the memorial as it travels the country and comes to Superior this week.
Earlier this year a story in the Lincoln Journal-Star told of Mrs. Fritz and her connection with the memorial. Her oldest son is one of the fallen honored by the memorial. She greets him, 1st Lt. Jacob Fritz, in every new city, after they empty the trailer and assemble the 10-foot towers.
The 25-year-old Nebraskan was killed in Iraq in 2007, but he lives in the pair of photos she's carried across the country to both coasts and all around the heartland.
In the first, an official military portrait, he's giving the camera an unabashed toothy smile, cheeks bulging. In the other, he's grinning from the passenger seat of a Nebraska farm pickup on a bitter-cold day, warming up after moving cows from pasture to field.
Jacob Fritz was 25 when he was killed in Iraq in 2007. If she doesn't see him right away, she'll seek out his photos. "I make sure I say hello to Jake," she said. "He's still very much a part of my life."
Noala Fritz is serving as the heart-spoken ambassador of the Remembering Our Fallen National Memorial - 31 canvas-paneled Tribute Towers displaying the hard cost of the war on terror since Sept. 11, 2001.
The retired Falls City teacher helps set up the exhibit, she speaks at opening ceremonies, telling her son's
story. She welcomes strangers, and she soothes those who show up to honor their own sons and daughters, husbands and wives, parents and comrades.
Then she helps load up to get to the next city.
In the process she's learning the names and stories of those pictured.
"I feel like what I'm doing is such a good thing for those who have given the ultimate sacrifice," she said. "I have no excuse for not doing it. They're my own, and I want you to see them and I want you to have that opportunity to meet them and remember them and honor them."
The memorial debuted in July, 2017, in Lincoln, Neb.
The history of the memorial starts in 2010, when Bill and Evonne Williams needed photos of Jacob to include on their Remembering Our Fallen Nebraska Memorial.
"Sure," she said, giving them directions to her farm near Verdon. "Let yourself in and take some off the wall.
When her husband, Lyle, died in 2011, she was impressed that Bill Williams took the time to attend the funeral. A few years later, she was invited to speak at Benson High, which was hosting the Nebraska exhibit.
Bill Williams approached her afterward and told her of the need for a spokeswoman for the Nebraska memorial.
Two years ago, they approached her again. He and Evonne had plans to build a national memorial to tour the country, and they wanted her help.
Fritz was skeptical. "I'm like, 'Yeah, sure. Is this really ever going to come to fruition?'"
But Bill and Evonne Williams have a history of pulling off ambitious plans. They've taken 3,400 Nebraska veterans on free trips to Washington. Before they had the idea of the national memorial, they'd built 19 state-specific displays.
The $200,000 national memorial came together. All they needed was a driver. Fritz's fiance, Rick Ward, solved that problem: He has a commercial driver's license.
After its debute in Lincoln last summer, Ward and Fritz loaded it into a trailer, bound first for Minnesota.
"Off we went," Fritz said. "Early on, I couldn't imagine I would ever be doing this. Now that I'm doing it, I can't imagine ever doing anything else."
Fritz and Ward are used to escorts as they carry the memorial, rolling down the road surrounded by riders from the Patriot Guard, VFW, American Legion, Rolling Thunder, Combat Veterans or Vietnam Veterans motorcycle groups.
The veterans care about the names and faces in the trailer. "They say, 'These are our brothers and sisters, and we want to escort them in,'" Fritz said.
In January, on the road to Ridgecrest, Calif., after a showing in Pasadena, Fritz had just closed her eyes when she heard a roar.
"And these two F-18 Hornets just drop down and they come in from behind the riders, right up alongside, and it seems like they were below the telephone poles. And they tipped their wings in a salute and roared off. It was absolutely unbelievable."
Fritz and Ward have refined setup and tear-down. She decides where the towers go, he directs the heavy lifting. With enough volunteers - and strong water pressure, because the bases are weighted with water - they can put up the towers in three hours. With not much help and a standard garden hose, it can take more than five.
The display keeps growing. They carried 21 towers at first, with room in the trailer for Ward's Harley. But Evonne Williams keeps finding fallen soldiers and sailors, and coaxing families to give their blessings and their photos, and they've added 10 more.
They now include service members who died stateside, in mission-related training accidents or plane and helicopter crashes.
Last fall, they also started honoring those who took their own lives after serving in combat zones. Families have embraced that, because their loved ones went unrecognized, but it's heart-wrenching work for Evonne Williams, the former Evonne Freitag of Byron.
"You start breaking it down, one by one, and hear each story, and you want to cry," she said. "It's a tragedy."
Fritz and Ward don't have to stay with the towers. Bill and Evonne Williams urge them to go to a hotel, to take some time.
"We say, 'You don't understand. We do stay, we do want to talk to the people. We want to listen,'" Fritz said.
She knows what it's like to hear the knock on the door, and she speaks a language few will ever learn. She knows those who do might need her help, or at least her time.
"You meet the families and hear their stories and share their stories," she said. "You listen to them talk about what their sons did, and their loss. I think there's a therapy. You wanted your kid on a hall of fame, not this."
Their stories are her stories now. And so is their pain.
The father who carried his son's combat boots to the memorial. "He said, 'I don't know what to do with these. Here.' And he just left."
The former soldier with the names of fallen comrades tattooed on his arm, and who came to say goodbye to them.
The young man in Kansas, whose dad was killed in Iraq when he was 11. He stumbled upon the memorial, not knowing it honored his father. "And it was like his dad had died all over again," she remembered. "He just lost it."
The soldier who came to say goodbye. Fritz could tell he was having a hard time; he'd packed up his comrade's bunk, and inside a Bible he found a letter his friend had written to his girlfriend but never got the chance to send.
"It was troubling him. He didn't know whether to send it to the girlfriend or leave it in the Bible."
The soldier who carried a list of 19 fallen comrades. "It was all I could do to hold it together," she said. "I went and found Rick and I just sobbed. No one should have to be looking up 19 names. But that was his chance to say goodbye."
That wasn't the first time she's cried. Under the towers, Fritz is on the front lines of raw emotion, a mix of grief and pride and honor.
And she's the best person to untangle it all, said her middle son, Nebraska Army National Guard Capt. Dan Fritz, an ROTC instructor at UNL.
"She's more than just a representative of the exhibit," Dan Fritz said. "She's someone a lot of people can relate to, people who lost a loved one. It's something they have in common."
His mother is seeing the full effect of the war, he said, how the grief they felt in Richardson County is shared by so many others, and in all corners of the country.
Editor's Note: We are indebted to Andy Holzman for most of the above story which was condensed from a story printed earlier by the Lincoln Journal Star.
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Residents encouraged to welcome memorial's arrival
The general public is encouraged to assemble along East Third
Street before 11 a.m. this morning (Thursday) to welcome the Tribute
Towers and their motorcycle escorts into Superior.
The escorts are to assemble at 10 a.m. at Chester. The memorial is to reach Superior by 11 a.m. where volunteers will be on hand to assist with the unpacking and setting up of the display near the Superior Auditorium.
Though visitors are welcome Thursday afternoon and evening and throughout the day on Friday, the official opening ceremonies will be held Friday night. A reception honoring Gold Star families will be held at 6 p.m. and the opening ceremony at 7 p.m. A closing ceremony is scheduled for 6 p.m. Sunday. After the closing, volunteers will be needed to help pack the display for movement to its next location.
The memorial will be open for viewing around the clock from Thursday afternoon through closing time Sunday.
In conjunction with the opening ceremony on Friday, the Superior Chamber of Commerce has scheduled Cruise Night Activities on the city's Commercial Street parking lot which is in the block south of the auditorium.
Food will be available for purchase and there will be free musical entertainment. Serving begins at 5:30 and the music at 8 p.m. Lendon James will be the featured musician.
The auditorium restrooms will be open and the curious may inspect the progress that has been made on the auditorium restoration. Volunteers have been busy in recent weeks cleaning and painting the interior of the auditorium. Much work remains to be done but the progress is evident.
Superior Historic Redevelopment's next big goal is obtaining the funding to complete electrical work in the main auditorium room.
The Superior visit is on of two planned this year in Nebraska.
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Superior BOE considers security
Two public hearings were held Monday evening before the July
Superior Board of Education meeting started. One public hearing
addressed student fees and the other parental involvement. Nebraska
law requires an annual public hearing for both policies.
The parental involvement policy provides opportunity for parents to review textbooks and curricular materials. They may also request to review specific standardized tests and within district procedures parents may observe courses, assemblies, counseling session and other instructional activities.
The eight-page student fee policy states that the school will provide the material necessary to complete all basic curricular projects. However, students may provide their own personal supplies and are required to do so if a project requires material beyond the basic materials supplied by the district. Fees charged for extracurricular activities, transportation, post-secondary courses, meals and several other items are outlined. Student who qualify for free or reduced lunch may submit a wavier application form to their building principal to have fees waived for participation in extracurricular activities, materials for course projects and the use of a musical instrument.
Matt Sullivan, president, called the regular monthly meeting to order at 7:45 p.m. All members of the board were present: Brad Biltoft, Matt Sullivan, Jamy Sullivan, Jason Jensen, Peggy Meyer and Matt Bargen. In addition, Doug Hoins, elementary school principal, Bob Cook, secondary principal, Marty Kobza, superintendent, and Kim Williams, superintendent's secretary, were present as well as seven members of the public, including Perry Freeman, City of Superior Chief of Police.
June monthly claims of $511,772 were approved from the general fund.
The parent and guardian involvement in education practices policy, the student fees policy and a bullying policy were considered and either reaffirmed or approved with corrections.
Jamy Sullivan questioned the definition of bullying and asked that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) definition of bullying not be used by the district. The CDC definition is "any unwanted aggressive behavior(s) by another youth or groups of youth who are not siblings or current dating partners that involves an observed or perceived power imbalance and is repeated multiple times or is highly likely to be repeated." She prefers the Nebraska statue definition of bullying which is "an ongoing pattern of physical, verbal or electronic abuse." Currently the district administrators can use both definitions to determine if a specific situation constitutes bullying.
Supt. Kobza elaborated on power imbalance from the CDC definition. He said that power imbalance does not refer to the social status or perceived family wealth, but rather to persistent imbalance related to emotions or physical stature which leaves a student is unable to defend themselves.
Supt. Kobza said he been told that bullying is a problem within the district and he hopes to implement a systematic approach for parents, staff and students to support one another and give them the ability to intervene without a physical fight.
As part of discussion, Supt. Kobza talked of partnering with the City of Superior to have an increased police presence at school. The primary goal is for law enforcement to build relationships with students. Supt. Kobza said a common element of school shootings has been that the shooter told someone, generally another student who either did not believe them or did not tell. A police presence is designed to give students an advocate in law enforcement.
Freeman said, "With the way the world is today, we can't ignore it."
Board members seemed to agree. Safety issues will be assigned to a committee which will represent the board as conversation proceeds with the Superior City Council and law enforcement personnel.
The certified resignation of Lauren Isaacson was accepted. The letter of resignation simply stated she has accepted an administrative position which will further her career.
Board members agreed to offer a contract to Shelby Zoltenko as a secondary special education instructor.
They also agreed to allow holders of local substitute certificates to substitute.
They also agreed to continue into phase five of the superintendent search with McPherson and Jacobson. Phase five involves setting performance objectives for Marty Kobza, the new superintendent. Work on phase five is scheduled for early September after school is in session.
Board members approved a service contract with Education Service Unit 9 for $118,222. A new part of the contract includes $17,000 for elementary social services one day each week. Administrators expect the contract will include both individual and group work . Supt. Kobza said, "This is something Supt. Isom had worked out. It is an inexpensive way to see if the service is valuable and helpful in our district." In prior meeting, individual board members have encouraged the hiring of an elementary guidance counselor.
Supt. Kobza asked the board to approve an application form for certified staff. The seven page form meets the legal guidelines regarding questions which can be asked of an applicant. A unique part of the form provides a place for the applicant to consent to all former employers to disclose duration of employment, pay rate, job description, written performance evaluation, attendance information, drug and alcohol tests, threatening behavior, voluntary versus involuntary separation from employment and whether they are eligible for rehire.
Both the secondary and elementary handbooks were approved. There has been a concentrated effort this year for the district's policies to be plainly stated in the handbooks.
Board members asked Supt. Kobza to approach the leadership of the teachers' negotiations team concerning adding accompanist for the music program to the category VIII extra duty pay schedule. Extra duty pay for the first year would be $523.50 and range to $872 in year three.
Supt. Kobza asked that correspondence be added as a regular item on the agenda. He will be asking the board secretary to report on correspondence. The board secretary is elected each year and is currently Jamy Sullivan. Supt. Kobza said the district had received a letter from the NDE (Nebraska Department of Education) classifying Superior Public Schools as accredited for the period of July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019.
He also talked about a letter from the NDE which addressed MOE (Maintenance of Effort). Basically, the amount spent last year on special education must be spent this year or the school is penalized. Thus the effort to train students with special needs must be maintained at the same financial level by the district from year to year if federal funds have been used.
In addition, he referred to a letter from Carrie Miller, Nuckolls County Clerk, certifying that Brad Biltoft, Matt Bargen and Jason Jenson are certified school board candidates whose names will appear on the November general election ballot.
There were several discussion items. None of them required action. Jason Jensen reported that the beef committee is considering purchasing either an additional grill or griddle. Matt Bargen and Jensen had cooked hamburgers for school lunch and reported the current grill does not cook fast enough. Bargen said, "One end burns them, the other end only thaws the meat, so one is continuously moving the hamburgers from one side to the other."
In addition, he said, "When the students found out the hamburgers were grilled, they changed their morning menu selection to hamburgers."
Plans call for continued us of the current grill and adding additional equipment which can be used in multiple places where concessions are sold.
In addition, Supt. Kobza said Mary Hamilton, head cook, is shopping for equipment (a tilt skillet or kettle) to brown large quantities of hamburgerwhich will be easy for cooks to use and can be used to cook other menu items.
Supt. Kobza reported on the track, weight room and efface maintenance. He expects the concrete sidewalk to be poured this week at the track. There had been a change related to the depth of the concrete so the asphalt level and sidewalk will match and seams between the two can be sealed to keep water out. He praised Kent (Kottmeyer) for his attention to the project insuring the ease of future maintenance.
Concerning the weight room, Supt. Kobza said, "Generosity on the project is incredible." Materials are in place for the structure to take shape and flooring research and shopping are in process.
Scaffolds line the north side of the elementary gym enabling workers to repair the efface. When problems surfaced, inspection indicated the efface was not sealed probably when installed. As a result it wicked water into the wall. Supt. Kobza said, "The efface will require continued maintenance. Seams must be caulked a regular intervals. Plus birds like them and related chips must be sealed."
The school is seeking cooks and paraprofessionals for this school year.
A short executive session was held prior to adjournment. The meeting was approximately two hours long.
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Date set for fundraising golf tourney
The Krew Dude 2-person golf scramble is planned for Saturday,
July 21, at the Tiburon Golf Club, Omaha. The event will raise
money for a family with ties to Superior.
Last March 1, eight-month-old Krew Anderson, the son of Richard and Stephanie Anderson and grandson of Mr. and Mrs. Barney Freitag of Superior was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia. He is currently undergoing chemo treatments at Children's Hopital and is expected to remain there for the next four months.
Krew and the problems being experienced by his parents was the basis for a story written by Joanne Young and published in the Lincoln Journal-Star on Sunday, May 27. The author is personally acquainted with Krew's mother, who has been her hair dresser. A condensed version of the Lincoln Journal-Star story follows.
Stephanie and Richard Anderson measure life now in before and after.
For Stephanie, before, was time watching movies with girl friends, camping, concerts, styling hair, dates, hot air balloon rides and weddings, including her own to Richard, the man she had dated for three years. Then there was an additional reason to feel lucky.
On Oct. 1, Stephanie and Richard announced on Facebook, "We're parents! At 8:32 last night, Krew Eldwood Anderson graced us with his presence..."
The line that separated before and after came five months later on March 1, also with a Facebook post, "Our son Krew was diagnosis with AML yesterday."
That day Stephanie and Richard were pushed out of their routine orbit, crash-landing in a strange landscape of hospital rooms, blood-cell counts, spinal taps, two-hour sleep shifts on a cot or a couch, and hand-washing until their knuckles bled.
And worry--lots of worry.
In this world, they've entered what feels like combat with a formidable foe, an enemy that is teaching them how to be great warriors.
Stephanie's life couldn't have been unfolding in a more steady, routine way. She grew up in Superior, got a job as a hair stylist in Lincoln. After a bit she rented a space in a larger salon, met Richard, who is from Yutan, at a 2010 Halloween party, dated him for three years, got engaged and married a year later.
They acquired a west Omaha mortgage and, according to plan. Krew made them a family of three.
Krew was a smiley baby, and healthy hitting all the milestones.
They noticed a spot on his knee the doctors couldn't quite figure out. After a while, more and more spots showed up, so he had a blood test, but nothing abnormal surfaced. Another doctor decided a biopsy could tell them more. The results of the biopsy set things in quick motion.
"We found out. We packed a small bag and we didn't come back (home) for a month," Stephanie said.
They spent that month and were scheduled for three more in a smallish, sixth-floor room at Omaha's Children's Hospital, surrounded by hospital equipment , sleeping when they could on a couch and cot with nurses and doctors moving in and out at all times of the day night.
Round 1 of the treatment went well.
` Round 2 started April 18 and had some complications. Eight days of chemo, six spinal taps, two red blood-cell transfusions, two blood-platelet transfusions, treatment for a bacterial infection, treatment for typhlitis, four antibiotics, three X-rays, two ultrasounds, one MRI, four dressing changes.
Krew was discharged May 16 for a week and then started Round 3, a higher-dose chemo treatment that was to last five days. Round 4 is to be finished this month.
Saving Krew's life comes with a price. Hospital charges for just the first month were more than $140,000.
Stephanie had to take a leave of absence from her salon and being self-employed there are no benefits to draw upon.
Richard has continued to work, when he can, for Oriental Trading where he does search engine optimization. He also manages an on-line plant business, Plant Addicts, with a business partner.
Krew's illness has forever changed the lives of his parents.
They were planning on raising a family, having at least two children. But that may have changed. Will they have time to care for Krew and perhaps more children?
Stephanie said, "What's important when you think your time could be limited? You try to remember every little look or smile."