Lindy Days kicked off at 10 a.m. morning with the car and tractor show. TEAMMATES of Bloomfield sponsored a cornhole tournament which started at 12 p.m.
Duck race preliminaries are also on the plate at 3 p.m. followed by the Calcutta and final run at 7 p.m.
Z's country club is hosting BBQ burgers, brats and hotdogs made off the grill in the bear garden which is also running all day. Live music begins at 8:30 p.m.
Bounce houses are available for the kids until 7 p.m.
Thirteen teams competed in the 8th annual Mark Mullins Memorial Fishing Tournament on Saturday.
Held at Verdel, the tournament serves as a fundraiser for mechanical scholarships in the name of Mullins, who owned a repair shop in Brunswick at the time of his death in 2010. Among those who fished in the weekend tournament were his brothers, Greg and Chad, and two young sons, Collin and Carter of Orchard.
Tournament winners are as follows:
Walleye: 1. Bruce Pitzer, 3 lb. 9.5 oz; 2. Jim Pfanstiel, 2 lb 14 oz; 3. Wade Pitzer, 2 lb 12.5 oz.
Bass: 1. Kam and Deb Stueckrath 2 lb 9 oz; 2. Bryan Bittner 2 lb 6 oz; 3. Jim Pfanstiel 2 lb 2.5 oz.
Catfish: 1. Jim Pfanstiel 2 lb 11.5 oz; 2. Jeremie Johnson 13 oz; 3. Chris Williby 12.5 oz.
The smallest town in America may have set the record last week for the world’s largest advertising poster, but that’s not what those involved are talking about.
It’s really the people and beauty of Monowi and Northeast Nebraska that left its mark with those from Guinness World Record and Arby’s.
“I’ve been to a lot of places, but I think Monowi is probably the most unique place I’ve ever been,” said Michael Empric, the New York-based adjudicator for Guinness. “It was a one-in-a-life-time experience, not only breaking the record but just being there in the smallest town in America.”
Monowi, population one, has made national headlines on multiple occasions, but never before at this level with Arby’s and Coca-Cola choosing the community as the center of its announcement of the companies’ new partnership.
Michael Vizza, a spokesperson for Arby’s, said the conversations between the two brands was a big deal, and they wanted to announce the news in a really big and surprising way.
“We got to thinking ‘How could we do that?’” Vizza told the Knox County News. “We kind of took the literal route, and that’s where the idea came for the world’s largest advertisement.”
After several months of preparation, Vizza said everything fell into place for constructing the more than 200,000-square foot sign in Monowi. With a film crew capturing every moment, the sign shattered the previous world record, which was 162,791 square feet. The new record is 211,315 square feet, according to Empric.
“To be part of something that is gigantic and national — I mean, this is Arby’s & Coke, who are major brands —with them coming together with this gigantic announcement in this tiny town, is going to blow the roof off of it,” Empric said.
Vizza said from a marketing perspective, Monowi was perfect. He said Elsie Eiler — Monowi's lone resident, mayor, bartender and librarian —was a joy to work with and was key to the entire project, including the national video announcement and commercial.
Choosing Monowi, he said, turned into one of the most important aspects of announcing the partnership.
“A lot of brands make announcements in New York or LA, and we wanted that surprise element, something that would get people talking, and that is why we decided on Monowi,” he said. “All the pieces added up, and we thought that Monowi started to look really good for this announcement.”
Arby’s contracted with an independent surveyor who was licensed by the state to measure the sign using surveying equipment with GPS for a more accurate measurement.
Empric said the most popular records to set are for mass participation. He said Arby’s was unique because they were very much trying to specialize the record attempt.
“Guinness World Records is all about ordinary people doing amazing things. That’s kind of who we are,” he said. “People connect with record breaking because in life we tend to be very divided these days, so I think breaking a Guinness World Record title is one of those things that brings people together.”
For Vizza, who was raised in Washington, D.C. and now lives in Atlanta, it marked his first trip to the Midwest. It was also the first time he’d been to a community smaller than 115,000 people. The smallest city he’d ever been to previously, Vizza said, was Wilmington, N.C.
He said he was amazed at the beauty of the Midwest.
“It was absolutely gorgeous. We were commuting from Yankton, and I kept telling people on the phone that it is absolutely gorgeous,” Vizza said. “The team had an absolute blast. Honestly, I think we were sad to go home.”
America's smallest town helped set the largest record and is part of a nationwide campaign with Coca-Cola and Arby's.
They erected a sign just outside Monowi, which has now been recognized as the Guinness World Records largest advertisement poster. The newly released commercial also features Elsie Eiler, Monowi's lone resident, mayor, bartender and librarian.
Arby’s today announced the completion of its nationwide conversion to Coca-Cola beverages, bringing together one of the world's most iconic beverage companies and the world’s second-largest sandwich restaurant brand.
"We are proud to now pour Coca-Cola products at Arby's restaurants across the United States. They are amazing partners with amazing brands,” said Rob Lynch, President of Arby’s. “We’re known for big, meaty sandwiches and variety that is second to none in our industry. We now have an incredible range of Coca-Cola beverages that perfectly complements our menu.”
By Trisha Zach
Maybe it was a stroke of fate. While visiting Bloomfield, Alan Lemke’s grandfather’s old house had come up for sale.
It didn’t take Alan and Cynthia Lemke long to make the decision to move back. But much has changed since that 2004 move, including housing options. Knox County’s housing market is booming, leaving a shortage as more people more into the area.
“It just all came together,” said Lemke.
The Census Bureau estimated that nearly 5,000 houses were in Knox County in July 2017. But 5,000 houses hasn’t been enough.
Craig Braunsroth owns many rentals in Bloomfield but is struggling to meet the demand. He said all age groups are trying to get independence, whether that means renting a house or buying one.
“I rent to all ages. Some are young couples just starting out and some are retirees,” said Braunsroth.
Kelly Bruns, owner of Bruns Land and Home LLC in Bloomfield, said the demand all across the area is a true indicator of the surge in Knox County.
He covers a large area of Northeast Nebraska, including the communities of Bloomfield, Creighton, Crofton, Center, Verdigre, Lynch, Lindy, Niobrara, Spencer, Wausa, Osmond and Magnet.
For the Lemke family. Affordable housing was key to moving back to Knox County. Alan Lemke grew up in Bloomfield, and like many others, left after high school to pursue his dreams before eventually returning.
Lemke and his wife lived together in San Jose, California, and wanted to settle down and buy a home. The only issue was housing was not affordable.
“I’ve lived everywhere but the south,” said Lemke, who also lived in New York City. “We didn’t buy a house when we should have and by the time we got around to buying a house, it was too late.”
He said the housing market had boomed and a standard three bedroom house was running about $500,000.
They were forced to decide between renting and putting everything they had into buying a house. Faced with this ultimatum, the Lemke’s took the third option — moving to a smaller community with cheaper housing.
Knox County is drawing lots of people back with its small town charm. Graduates are returning and planning to return, jobs are bringing new faces here and some people who never thought they would return are doing so as well.
Charm isn’t the only factor when people are choosing where to place their roots. Housing is a big component as well. Availability, pricing and many other aspects need to fall into place just perfectly in order to own a home.
Lemke had the idea to move back to Knox County for a few reasons. He described small town living as comfortable. His mother was here, he grew up here and the housing was affordable.
Lemke had lived in many large cities and always enjoyed it, he didn’t have a complaint about any place he had lived. But moving back to Bloomfield was just the right move for this time in his life. Lemke had his eye on Norfolk or Madison but Cynthia said she would rather live in a smaller place.
Moving to Bloomfield brought them closer to Lemke’s two children, who live in Lincoln. However, it is hard being away from Cynthia’s four children who still reside in California, but they visit often.
The Lemke’s have become very accustomed to small town living, but they have realized bigger towns just aren’t for them anymore.
“You give up a lot to move to a small town, but when it’s a perfect match, it works out,” he said.
By Trisha Zach
Relay for Life has always been a great event meant to raise money for a great cause. Relay For Life is the signature fundraiser for the American Cancer Society and is staffed and coordinated by volunteers in thousands of communities. This year, Knox County Relay for Life is adding a little twist to the already fun festivities.
Generally, a relay will involve an opening ceremony and teams walking laps to symbolize the ongoing fight against cancer. There are usually food and activities people can indulge themselves in while not participating in the walking. Its common for luminaries to be lit to recognize all the people lost to cancer and the survivors before the ending ceremony commences.
All of these events usually take place in one place, in one town, most times around one track. Knox County has a different idea for their relay this year, involving more of the county.
Stephanie Fritz and the other organizers were looking for some unique ideas to bring to the county when they stumbled upon a progressive dinner idea. The idea is to start a meal and go to a different location for each course.
“We really wanted to take that idea and make it our own. It was a big group effort,” Fritz said.
They are calling it the 2018 Knox County Relay for Life Passport Tour. Nine communities will be participating in the event rather than holding the relay in one town. Each of the nine passport stops will have food and activities and the event will end in Bloomfield with an auction and traditional closing ceremony.
There is a little bit of everything on the passport tour: survivor speakers, mission moments, even a yoga session. Some informative speakers will focus on subjects such as the importance of physical activity or how Radon in houses can cause cancer.
There will be both long and short sessions.
“ Crofton, Verdigre and Creighton will be longer sessions. Some of the short sessions include some amazing kolaches and pies at Winnetoon, a junk artist in Center, bingo in Creighton, and Billy May’s in Niobrara,” Fritz explains.
Knowing it can be difficult to get from town to town, they will even provide bus transportation from stop to stop in hopes more people will visit all nine passport stops. Everyone traveling from town to town will not only get the benefit of enjoying more food and fun but will get to enjoy the lovely Knox County scenery as well.
The buses will start in Bloomfield at the fairgrounds where passport books will be available. There are activities at every stop to get a stamp for the passport.
At the end of the tour, the buses will return to Bloomfield around 5:30-6 p.m. where everyone can turn in their passport books to win prizes, including a Traeger grill.
Volunteers are still needed for the event, as are sponsors and walking teams. If interested Stephanie Fritz can answer any questions at 402-270-1070. She also has registration forms. Registering can also be done online at www.relayforlife.org/knoxcone.
“We are getting lots of good feedback,” Fritz says. All the organizers are excited to see how the community likes the new ideas this year.
The Knox County Relay Passport Tour will be on Saturday July 14 starting in Bloomfield at 7:30 a.m.
By Trisha Zach
This year’s graduating class from Bloomfield had a majority of students say that once they are done with college they would like to return to Knox County.
Lots of things can change in four years at college. Some may change their minds and move elsewhere and some of the others convinced they weren’t returning might find themselves back as well.
Sure, Knox County is a beautiful place with scenic drives but there are some reasons more prominent than any others for bringing people back. For many it is friends, family and community.
Many of these kids graduating know that they are about to be the farthest they had ever been from their families and this small charming community. Some might be looking forward to the distance and a good breath of independence. Then again, theres the responsibility of laundry and home cooked meals that will be missed.
Jackson Eisenhauer, graduate of Bloomfield’s class of 2018, is one of many of his classmates that have loved growing up in a small community such as Knox County.
“I've always considered myself lucky to have grown up in Bloomfield. I love the small town feel and knowing almost every person you see around town.”
Eisenhauer says most of his family still resides in Bloomfield and Knox County.
“Having all my family close by makes holidays and other gatherings easy as I never have to go more than 10 miles for them,” Eisenhauer says.
He also says living close to family often means he ends up doing chores and helping around the farm, which is not a bad thing. His plan is to attend Northeast Community College and major in Diversified Ag and return to Bloomfield.
Eisenhauer’s class, like so many classes before them, have many kids wanting to return to the area.
“I think a lot of my classmates want to return to this community because, like me, they see how well they have it here,” he says.
“I think that my classmates and myself, being in sports and other activities, have seen just how supportive this community is in everything we do and after having that support through high school, we want to come back and be a part of it for the next generations,” Eisenhauer says humbly.
The adults in the community have really impacted these kids, whether they are parents, neighbors or strangers. Making the younger generations want to return to the area not only ensures the survival of small towns, but ensures future generations the support that kids like Jackson Eisenhauer have received. Younger generations will see to it that small town charm never dies.
Why do people move to Knox County? Why are so many graduating students planning to return to the area? What attracts families back and newcomers, too? How does that affect the housing market or school enrollment?
We’ll spend the next few weeks with a series of articles delving into these topics. We will look at how people moving to the area will affect the county and our jobs, schools, businesses, housing, etc.
Everything is tied together, and who better to share these stories with you than the Bloomfield Monitor/Knox County News. After all, we are new faces, sort of. I’m new here, but my husband proudly grew up here and was excited to move back earlier this spring.
In the two and a half years since I graduated college, I have moved around often. I’ve seen a lot, and I’ve learned a lot, too. So brace yourself, here comes my life story.
I always thought I grew up in a very, small town. The first 18 years of my life was spent in Pipestone, Minn., population: 4,000. My parents knew everyone. They couldn’t run in the grocery store for one item without running into 10 people to stop and chat with. I couldn’t take my grandparents anywhere without 10 people stopping them and asking how they were doing. I may be exaggerating, but you get the point.
I went to college at South Dakota State University in Brookings, population: 24,000. I loved Brookings. So many places to choose from when eating out and a Wal-mart close to campus. How convenient. I could get through a store without anyone stopping me — not one person.
After college, I had a short time where, you guessed it, I couldn’t find a job in my field. Like so many other college graduates, I went back to my hometown. My husband and I found ourselves cramming into my parents house for a few months while working jobs neither of us were happy with or proud of.
Its funny how people tend to go where they feel most welcome. I didn’t know it at the time, but I really enjoyed Pipestone. We didn’t go there because we had no choice, we went there because it felt right at the time.
Then we spent a few short months in Porter, Minn., population: 180. Porter is a very special town. We were there for three months, and while I met very few people, the people I did meet were the nicest people I have ever met.
One day, my tire went flat on the way to work, which was a 30-minute commute from the little town of Porter. It might not come as a shock to anyone in an area like Knox County, but someone came to my rescue within the first five minutes.
I had never met her, but I will never forget Becky Noyes. She picked me up, drove me 30 minutes to work, had her husband take my vehicle to the shop to get a new tire, all while never asking for anything in return.
I learned a lot from Becky. Small towns are where close relationships happen and families extend far beyond your blood relatives.
After a short three months, my husband and I packed up and moved yet another time. This time to Bismarck, N.D., population: 73,000. When your husband lands a nice internship at Ducks Unlimited, you don’t say no. So we moved.
I loved Bismark. There was always something to do: events, big city parks, an egyptian-themed movie theater playing 25 movies at any given time, even a zoo just blocks from our duplex. But something wasn’t right. Maybe it was the hours spent driving back home to Minnesota to see my family or Nebraska for my husband’s family.
The problem wasn’t necessarily the people, I met tons of great people working at a gym. The gym itself had 1,600 members, more than the population of any town in Knox County. The people are still nice and friendly, and I made many great friends there.
I think it was the mentality. Such a large population and people don’t focus on each other. I knew very few of my many neighbors. I could go to Wal-mart or Target and see hundreds of people and not see one person I knew. No one to wave hello to while grocery shopping, what a bizarre feeling.
All of a sudden, we found ourselves yearning for small-town life. Friends everywhere you go, that stranger that goes out of their way to help you, neighbors donating potatoes to you when you ran out and the store is closed, families and best friends just minutes away. We yearned for that.
After self-reflecting, my husband and I decided to move to Knox County once his internship was up. Many people ask why we chose this area after living so many other places.
My husband is originally from Niobrara, and I remember the first time he brought me there about five years ago to meet his parents. We came down from Brookings, and it feels like just yesterday we were driving across Standing Bear Bridge.
It was as if he had timed it out perfectly, driving across that bridge over the Missouri River while the sun was setting took my breath away. Knox County is a beautiful place.
My husband and I decided to come back for many reasons, the most prominent one for us was being closer to family.
However, we are not the only “new faces” to the area. My co-worker, Cory Loomis, is a native to Bloomfield but ventured out into the world, only to find himself back here in Bloomfield raising his family with his wife, Jessy.
We are proof people with ties to Bloomfield and Knox County are returning, and it does affect everyone. Find out more next week as we kick off the series.
Mount Marty College (MMC) celebrated spring commencement with its 2018 graduates on Saturday, May 12 at MMC's Laddie E. Cimpl Arena in Yankton, South Dakota.
Bobbie Jo Green from Bloomfield graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Human Service while Benjamin Hegge of Crofton received his Bachelor of Arts in English.
Founded in 1936 by the Sisters of Sacred Heart Monastery, MMC is a Catholic, Benedictine school of higher education that emphasizes academic excellence and develops well-rounded students with intellectual competence, professional and personal skills and moral, spiritual and social values. With locations in Yankton, Watertown and Sioux Falls, MMC offers undergraduate and graduate degrees with particular focus on student and alumni success in high-demand fields such as health sciences, education, criminal justice, business, accounting and more. To learn more, visit mtmc.edu.