Carmon Tramp and her daughter, Amy, stand at the counter in Mainstreet Treasuer’s thrift store on Tuesday morning, Dec. 27th and is just one member of a team that is helping to "Fight for Kaylea"
BY KATHY SONNENFELT
It’s a big day to help Kaylea Kosters.
Joyce Stevens, board member of Mainstreet Treasures said, “We were approached and asked if we would like to help somehow and this is what we came up with was to donate half our proceeds on December 27 to the ‘Fight for Kaylea’ fund.”
Stevens continued by saying, this is is our first charitable fundraising event.
Tuesday was a turning point for everyone involved in the courageous girls fight as Kaylea the 15-year old daughter of Noel Kosters, is now in Rochester with his ten-year-old son, Gavin Kosters, who is donating bone marrow for his sister.
Dylan Arens is just like most middle school girls in South Sioux City. She spends every day shooting hoops — dribbling and dreaming of being part of the powerhouse girls basketball tradition that continues to be one of the best programs in the state.
But as a 12-year-old with autism, Dylan has challenges that most girls her age don’t. Still, her dream of being part of the basketball team is coming true every day thanks to the support of the South Sioux coaching staff and the compassion of its players.
Despite her challenges, the South Sioux girls basketball team has opened its arms to Dylan by including her in practices and considers the seventh-grader with autism as part of their program.
“She tells us every day, ‘I have practice today’ or ‘ I don’t have practice today’ because she thinks she’s part of the team,” said her mother, Alyssa Arens, who is originally of Orchard.
And that is exactly how the team wants her to feel, including Jared Small, who is an assistant coach for the Cardinals and was Dylan’s middle school coach and reading teacher.
“We want her to feel like she’s part of the team,” Small said, “because to us, she is part of the team.”
That was evident last week as the Cardinals surprised Dylan with a Christmas present — an autographed team photo. Making it even more special — and a surprise to her family — was that Dylan was in the photo. The coaches asked her parents, Todd and Alyssa, to attend practice when the gift was presented.
“We always have a studio take photos at the beginning of the season, and Dylan was there when we took the team photo. We asked her to be in one, and she jumped right in front,” Small said with a laugh. “The team wanted to give the photo to Dylan, so it was from the whole team.”
Autism is a disorder that affects a person’s ability to communicate, reason and interact with others. With Dylan having moderate autism, Todd and Alyssa Arens decided a couple of years ago to enroll her in a school with more resources.
Although a difficult decision, the Arens family moved from Laurel to South Sioux City, where Todd was hired as an industrial arts instructor. The move still kept the family — including children Dylan, 12; Olivia, 9, and Jaxson, 3 — somewhat close to its roots since Todd graduated from Laurel-Concord.
It was also close enough for Alyssa Arens to continue working as an accountant at Northeast Nebraska Telephone Company in Jackson. Her parents, Larry and Linda Mieras, both taught at Orchard High School and still reside there today. Todd Arens was born in Knox County is the son of the late Cletus Arens of Crofton and Sharon Asbra of Laurel.
Alyssa Arens said since she and Todd both attended small schools where everyone knew everybody, moving to a Class B school was frightening.
“We were scared to death about what it would be like for her with the other kids. Would they bully her? There are still those kids, but what the coaches have done by including her and the girls including her is that, hopefully, the other kids leave her alone,” Arens said.
Basketball has become a motivator and connector for Dylan. Not only has it given her teammates and a feeling of belonging, it’s also provided the family with an activity they can enjoy together. Thanks to Dylan, the family doesn’t miss home basketball games, and Dylan insists they stay until the final buzzer.
“Autistic kids are so often in their own world, so this helps her to be in our world,” Arens said. “It’s nice to see her engage in a more typical world.”
Small, who calls Dylan his “best pal,” said the coaching staff noticed the basketball connection immediately last year when Dylan attended a basketball camp at the school. As her reading teacher, he knew about Dylan’s challenges and encouraged her to attend the camp and try middle school basketball.
This season, Dylan played 2-3 minutes in most middle school games. While many teams treated her like any other player, Sioux City East gave her the opportunity to experience scoring a basket. Actually, Dylan scored three times. The crowd cheered and even the referee gave her a high-five. And Dylan couldn’t have been more proud, evident by the huge smile.
“We played some Sioux City teams that didn’t back off. They would steal the ball from her and stuff her, so when East didn’t guard her, it was really nice of them,” Arens said. “And both sides were really happy for her, so it was really neat to see how compassionate people can be.”
While the kindness means a lot to the family, Arens is quick to say they never asked the basketball team to take Dylan under their wing, and they makes sure she isn’t a distraction for the Cardinals.
Actually, Small said Dylan is the opposite. She’s as much of an asset to them as they are to her.
“Having Dylan around is good for not only her, but for the girls basketball team. We want our team to work with the community, and Dylan brings a smile to everyone’s face. That’s what the girls love about her, and she’s a very witty girl,” he said. “Even for me as a person, I grow from it. To see Dylan interact with these kids and to see these kids interact with her is a special thing.”
That connection is so special that the basketball program is hoping to make Dylan a permanent part of the team during her high school years, as long as her parents agree.
“We get to have Dylan all throughout high school, and I hope her parents want her to be a part of our team. We want her to travel with us when she’s in high school,” he said. “These are lifelong skills the girls are teaching her, but that she’s also teaching our girls on the varsity these skills, too. It’s just an all-around good feeling for everyone.”
The Crofton community is coming together to fight for one of their own.
Main Street Treasures thrift store recently announced its first charitable fundraising event. On December 27, half of store proceeds will be donated to “Fight for Kaylea”. Crofton residents and neighboring communities are encouraged to shop for Kaylea at Main Street Treasurers
from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. on December 27.
“Fight for Kaylea” is a cause to benefit Kaylea Kosters, a 15-year-old battling Aplastic Anemia. She will require a bone marrow transplant as part of her battle.
“Kaylea’s family and friends are neighbors to our Crofton community. We wanted to reach
out and let them know that we care about them too,” said Mick Reifenrath, co-chairman of the Main Street Treasurer’s thrift Store and owner of People’s Grocery Store.
In response to questions about the unique nature of this event, Mrs. Joyce Stevens, Main Street Treasurer’s co-chairman stated, “We received a request to help and are pleased to have this opportunity to participate in an event like this. A er all, this is part of our mission; reaching out to help those in need.”
Main Street Treasurers is a volunteer run, nonprofit, thrift store in Crofton. All proceeds are donated back to the community with the purpose of positively impacting lives. Main Street Treasures is dedicated to philanthropic programs that serve the needs of the greater Crofton area.
The Nebraska State Association of Secondary School Principals has selected Johnnie Ostermeyer as the 2018 Outstanding New Principal of the Year.
This award is presented annually to a Principal who has demonstrated outstanding leadership in their school, region, and at the state level. The winner will have demonstrated their enthusiasm for the Principalship by support from students, parents, teachers and peers.
Mr. Ostermeyer has been in education since 2003 and has been the Principal at Crofton Jr./Sr. High School since 2015. Mr. Ostermeyer has been a member of the Nebraska Council of School Administrators (NCSA), the Nebraska State Association of Secondary School Principals (NSASSP), and the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) for three years.
While in Washington, D.C. Mr. Ostermeyer lead a round-table discussion on interventions for all students, with a focus on at-risk, struggling students.
Corey Dahl, Superintendent of Crofton Community School, praised Mr. Ostermeyer, noting, “Mr. Ostermeyer holds high expectations for all students.
He is very consistent and fair regarding student discipline.
By being consistent and fair the students have also gained respect for his expectations. “Crofton Community Club President, Joyce Stevens commented, “Mr. Ostermeyer makes a mark in the community by working together with the parents, families and business owners and becoming a volunteer himself. He is embracing the community in which he lives and is open to ideas.
Mr. Ostermeyer is a ﬁerce advocate for education; he has a heart of compassion for issues and challenges facing the youth, especially in the area of education and the diversity of learning styles with children. “
Mitchell Hofer, a teacher at Crofton Community Schools states, “Every organization is guided by the moral compass of its leaders. I ﬁnd Mr. Ostermeyer to be a man of deep ethics and steadfast principles. The decisions he makes as an administrator are ﬁrst and foremost guided by what he believes to be truly right and good for this school.
Ultimately, what Mr. Ostermeyer wants from every person that works here is for them to do their best every single day. He relentlessly champions this ethos by example.”
Mr. Ostermeyer received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Mathematics Education in 2003 and his Master of Science Degree in Education, School Ad- ministration 7-12 from Wayne State College.
Prior to becoming the Jr./Sr. High School Principal at Crofton, Mr. Ostermeyer taught math at Woodbury Central Community School District, South Sioux City Community Schools and was also the Assistant Principal/Activities Director at Pierce High School.
Johnnie states, “I would like to thank ﬁrst oﬀ my wife Robyn Ostermeyer for her faith, love, and understanding through all the long late nights with activities, meetings, and master classes as well as my tree children Ryah, Mayson, and Addyson. My mother Mary Ostermeyer for her patience in raising me, my late father Larry Ostermeyer I know he would have been proud, along with the other family members that have encouraged me along the way. I also want to thank Mark Brahmer of Pierce High School for being a great mentor and friend. Finally, the Crofton School District and Community for em- bracing me. I am truly blessed to be a part of this outstanding school district.”
Winning a state championship is exactly how Crofton will remember the one-act season.
The Warriors performed, “That’s Not How I Remember It," on Thursday morning at state one-act in Norfolk and walked away with the Class C1 state title.
Tyler Janssen of Crofton was named outstanding male performer.
A first-grade student narrowly escaped injury after a driver failed to yield to a stopped school bus in Knox County.
On August 22nd at 4:13 p.m. the Knox County Sheriff’s Office investigated a report of a red Toyota Tacoma that failed to stop for a Crofton school bus. On Highway 121 North of Crofton, the driver of the pickup seemed to be distracted while talking on a cell phone at the time of the incident. The bus driver honked his horn to get the attention of the driver. Alarmed the driver slammed on the brakes just barely avoiding the first grader crossing the highway. After slamming his brakes, the driver continued to speed off before the bus retracted its stop arm.
A license plate number was obtained by the mother of the first grader and provided to the sheriff’s office. The incident is still under investigation, and the Knox County Sheriff’s Office is teaming up with the Yankton County Sheriff’s Office in attempt to locate the driver.
A couple traveling through Knox County on Monday are asking help in finding their missing luggage.
The couple was traveling by motorcycle when they stopped at Lewis and Clark Gas Station in Crofton at around 12:30 p.m. When they left, they forgot to tie down their black dry bag full of clothing. They drove for about 30 minutes before noticing it was gone and it is believed to have fallen off somewhere on Highway 12 between Crofton and the Highway 57 turnoff towards Hartington. There is no identification tags on the bag.
If anyone has seen the bag, contact Emily Moore at 615-336-3034 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
A former Crofton city employee has been fined for misdemeanor theft after admitting her role in stealing from the city in a local newspaper.
Nancy Foxhoven, the former city clerk for Crofton, was sentenced to a $500 fine by the Judge Donna Taylor of the Knox County Court last week. Court records show that a complaint was filed against Foxhoven to the Knox County Court on Thursday. Foxhoven entered an "admit" plea to the misdemeanor charge and was sentenced. Court records indicate she paid the fine in full on Thursday.
Foxhoven retired suddenly in 2015 from her role as city clerk. She later admitted that she had misappropriated city finds in a letter written to the Crofton Journal newspaper.
Lane Weidner describes how he felt in the months before he started classes at Northeast Community College quite simply: “pretty devastated.”
In May 2015, Lane, the son of Mark Weidner, Norfolk, and Michelle Weidner-Jordan, Crofton, graduated from Crofton High School with excellent grades and an ACT score of 32, which means he scored higher than 98 percent of all test takers. He said he was offered scholarships from several colleges, but he had bigger plans in mind: the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, CO.
Lane went through a rigorous application process to earn a spot at the academy, including securing a nomination from a member of Nebraska’s congressional delegation. His interview in Omaha involved several generals and business leaders.
“I was freaking out just watching him,” said Mark Weidner.
Despite the pressure, Lane succeeded and by that June, the month after his graduation from Crofton High, he was on his way the U.S. Air Force Academy.
Lane said he was not at the academy long before he knew it was not a good fit for him. By August, he was back in Nebraska.
Even worse, Lane said, he had lost all of the scholarships he had been offered before he began at the Air Force Academy. He said he found it particularly disheartening because “I knew I had worked hard to get what I was offered.”
Mark said he felt for his son.
“He gave up a lot of scholarships to make an attempt at the academy, and then to come home, and nothing’s there. We came back, and we were in a bit of a pinch.”
Lane said he was considering taking a year off before starting college, but his father visited with Eric Johnson, associate vice president of the center for enterprise at Northeast Community College and a family friend, about the possibility of his son attending Northeast.
Mark said the late J. Paul McIntosh, Norfolk businessman, developer and longtime member of the Northeast board of governors and college foundation board, also met with Mark about Lane’s situation.
“They really got the ball rolling, and I really feel indebted to both of them,” Mark said.
Lane and Mark both said their tour of the Northeast campus in Norfolk further convinced them the College may be a good option.
“It’s not the school that I toured in 1986,” Mark said, remembering his own teenage years.
Less than three weeks before the Fall 2015 semester was set to begin at Northeast, Lane enrolled in the College’s pre-engineering transfer program.
“Because the classes were small, I could make friends really quickly,” he said. He also said the small class sizes allowed him easy access to help from his instructors. Being able to contact my teachers directly, and getting the help I needed when I needed it, were perfect.”
Lane excelled at Northeast, earning a Nucor (Steel) scholarship in his first year and the Ken Iverson Memorial Pre-Engineering Scholarship in his second. He was also active in Phi Theta Kappa, an international academic honor society for two-year colleges that requires its members to achieve a minimum grade point average of 3.5 or above out of a 4.0 system.
Mark said he could recall many evenings when Lane would visit for dinner and could not stay long because of schoolwork.
“Lane loves a challenge, and he got challenged at Northeast. You don’t lose any academic ground at all going to Northeast.”
Even though Lane earned many accolades in his two years at Northeast, an honor from another institution may be his biggest yet. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) has offered him a Regents Scholarship, which awards full tuition for up to 135 credit hours or the completion of a bachelor’s degree.
Lane said he plans to continue in engineering at UNL, where he will study mechanical engineering.
“Northeast has prepared (Lane) well for the next level…even more than I anticipated,” Mark said. “I think he’s going to be mildly surprised in a good way when he gets to UNL and he’s running with the pack.”
Mark admits he and Lane did not initially consider Northeast, as Lane went from college hopeful to
Air Force Academy cadet and back again.
“Sometimes the best thing is in your own back yard and you don’t even realize it.”
Submitted by Northeast Community College
Contemporary Catholic musician and speaker, Steve Angrisano, will present a four-night parish mission Sunday, April 23 through Wednesday, April 26, 2017, 7:00 pm each night at St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church in Crofton, NE.
“Mr. Angrisano is one of the most versatile ministry leaders in the Catholic Church today. His humor, song, and storytelling will engage audiences of all ages”, says Rev. Tim Podraza, pastor of St. Rose of Lima and St. Andrew parishes. “Attend this prayer-filled mission and grow in our relationship with God, one another and our beautiful Church”.
A long-time musician and composer, Steve has been featured six times at World Youth Day, the National Pastoral Musicians Conference, emcee of three National Catholic Youth Conferences, dozens of Franciscan University of Steubenville youth conferences, and numerous national pro-life youth rallies, including the January 2017 Mass for Life at the March for Life in Washington, CD.
Liturgists involved in parish music programs are invited to a ministry “Meet & Greet” & luncheon with Steve Angrisano, Sunday, April 23, 12 p.m. at St. Andrew Catholic Church in Bloomfield, NE. During this casual music workshop, Steve will offer tips on choosing music for worship and engaging congregations to sing with any ensemble.
St. Rose of Lima and St. Andrew parishes in Northeast Nebraska are located in thriving Christian communities are an easy drive from Yankton, SD and Norfolk, NE. Area youth groups, CCD, and catechumen classes are invited to join the assembly Wednesday, April 26 7:00 pm for Youth Night with Steve Angrisano. Call the Parish Office for questions, (402) 388-4814 and visit www.steveangrisano.com for detailed information on the artist. Free-will donations supporting future parish missions will be accepted