July 7 was this summer's first of many Santee Community Farmers' Markets. The farmers market runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Saturday in the Ohiya Casino parking lot.
The Farmer's market brings more to the table than baked and canned goods and fresh crops, there is also beautiful handcrafted items. There is something for everyone.
Venders are still wanted for the weekly farmers market. If you have fresh produce, art work, beadwork, crafts, baked goods this is a great opportunity to sell goods. There is no booth fee for vendors.
For more information contact the Santee Community Farmer's Market on Facebook @santeefarmersmarket or call 605-760-5283.
The 2018 Santee Powwow kicked off last night with the grand opening at 7 p.m.
Today's grand openings are at 1 and 7 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m.
Full story to follow.
Friday, June 22, was the 14th annual Santee Health Fair. The wellness center was filled with booths of businesses from all over the area, and some even came from as far as Rapid City.
Outside, there were tons of fun activities including horse rides, a petting zoo, carnival games, bouncy houses and more.
Jodie Henry coordinated this year’s health fair. The goal of the health fair is to teach the community how to be their healthiest selves in a fun and entertaining way.
“It kind of acts as a customer appreciation day as well. We see these families, the kids, their parents and grandparents all throughout the year. It’s our way of showing we appreciate them,” Henry says.
This year’s theme was superheroes, the children were given capes, and some of the businesses dressed up as superheroes as well. The goal was to encourage everyone to be their own superhero and take care of themselves.
According to the sign-in book, there were 178 kids and 180 adults in attendance this year and 38 health booths.
Henry also awarded three winners for top booths. The goal is for the booths to be fun and entertaining in order to grab attention and make learning fun. This year’s third place booth was the Domestic Violence booth, second place was the Heart Program, and winning first was The Office of Environmental Protection.
“It also helps introduce these people to the community, some people don’t know what the Office of Environmental Protection does,” Henry said.
New to the health fair this year was the petting zoo and family yoga. The fair always has fun and exciting things, but there have been new things added every year.
“The whole idea is to raise awareness about health issues,” Henry said.
Each year, there are speakers to help bring awareness to certain issues that need attention. In the past there have been speakers on prescription pill abuse and suicide. This year, there was a strong focus on gun safety.
There was also a gun safety booth so everyone could learn as much as possible about gun safety. They were even handing out gun locks.
The speaker this year was Bobby “Bugotti” Jones. Originally from the area, Jones was on his way to being a professional football player when drugs and alcohol got in his way. He spoke about his personal life and his struggles.
Now Jones is a Christian rapper and motivational speaker and speaks out to many people every year.
“The kids just loved him,” said Henry.
Tour de Nebraska is a 5-day, non-competitive circle tour around the state with a unique route each year. This experience allows nearly 500 cyclists to experience rural Nebraska from their bike.
The 2018 tour once again came through Knox County, this time stopping in Niobrara for two of the five days. This year’s tour included visits to Plainview, Neligh, O’Neill and Niobrara.
This isn’t the first year the tour had its eye on Niobrara as a destination for the tour. The tour had previously reached out to Niobrara, but they were in the midst of their school expansion.
This year, the tour first reached out to Mark Rettig who then gave them Mark Simpson's name. Simpson gladly became the head volunteer for Niobrara.
“Niobrara is a tourist town, there is a lot to do here,” Simpson said.
The townspeople were excited upon hearing the news that they would be hosting in this year’s tour. Simpson said the town had much to prepare for, being the town with the 2 day stay this year. This included preparing 5 meals and enough activities to occupy the full 2 days for all the riders.
“We pulled it off thanks to our great group of volunteers,” Simpson said.
Cyclists had to battle the rain for their Plainview, Neligh, and O’Neill visits, but after cycling a total of 92 miles in the rain, the sun decided to shine for Niobrara’s leg of the race, which worked out perfectly for Niobrara and their many outdoor activities.
On Friday, June 22, the cyclists started trickling into Niobrara. Cyclists witnessed dancing by the Southern Ponca Tribe, as well as listened to “Street Corner Kings” live entertainment before a campfire.
Saturday, cyclists participated in a mini rendezvous at Niobrara State Park, boat tours, floating down the river, canoe trips, and elk and buffalo tours.
Cyclists were encouraged to stop and visit the little shops, restaurants and attractions in Niobrara.
“The whole town ended up getting a lot of good business,” Simpson said.
Many of the cyclists were intrigued by the history of the area, and a good number visited the memorials and the museum.
Every participant in the tour this year was pleasantly surprised by the scenery and the quaint little town.
“Our goal is to get people to come back to visit us again,” Simpson stated, whether that be in July for Desperado Days or just bringing their family here on vacation. Niobrara is a little hidden gem with tons of activities, and the town looks forward to the business.
Tour de Nebraska allows the cyclists to vote on their favourite host town at the end of the tour. Results should be announced next week according to Simpson.
He is hopeful Niobrara will be chosen due to the many activities provided and pleasant weather that rolled in during Niobrara’s leg. At the very least, they expect the tour to put Niobrara on the map more often in future tours.
“Bubble time.” “Hammer the grammar.” “Circle, bubble, quick check.” “OK, cowboy.”
These popular phrases may ring a bell to numerous current and former high school students.
Many people know John Baylor for creating “OnToCollege” ACT and SAT prep courses, writing several books, hosting the OTC Show and being the voice of University of Nebraska volleyball.
What they may not realize is that Baylor also has a passion for bike riding.
While riding in this year’s Tour de Nebraska, Baylor said a teacher and a student recognized him in Royal. He said it’s very gratifying when people recognize him because he is trying to leave an impact.
“When I’m recognized, it suggests I’m making a difference in the lives of the school and perhaps the lives of their own family members, perhaps themselves,” Baylor said.
This is his third time riding in the tour with his two children, Antonia, 14, and Cameron, 12. Baylor is also a five-time participant in RAGBRAI, which is a bike ride across Iowa.
Baylor said he loves small towns in northeast Nebraska and when he saw the route, he wanted to make sure he and his children got signed up.
On Wednesday, they rode for 51 miles and stopped in Neligh and stayed the night in the Neligh-Oakdale High School gym.
During the day’s trip, Baylor said he rode on a tandem bike with his son, while his daughter rode on his other tandem bike with his brother, James. On Thursday, they switched, and Baylor rode with his daughter.
Baylor said he enjoys riding on a tandem bike because he is better able to converse with his children, and they help encourage him to keep pedaling.
“They’re critical because my energy level wanes a little, and they’ll say, ‘Help! Hill!’ and jump right in,” he said. “And, sometimes they’ll notice that I’m fading and they’ll say, ‘Come on, dad.’”
Riding with his children helps strengthen their relationship, Baylor said.
“It just deepens my connection with my children, and it lets me see them grow before my eyes and it builds their character,” he said.
Baylor is proud of Antonia and Cameron for coming along, and he said they draw attention from many parents on the tour.
“To have kids who are up for this kind of an expedition is something that makes me very proud,” he said. “In fact, I have at least two parents a day on this ride ask me, ‘How old is your child?’”
While his work as an ACT instructor and sports broadcaster is important, Baylor said he is ardent about spending time with his wife, Susan, and kids. Together, his family will ride bikes at least once a week for a minimum of 25 miles.
Through his lifetime of biking, he said it not only brings his family together, but also builds friendships from shared challenges.
“I particularly love these trips that are organized, which allow me to bring my family,” he said. “Because to me, deep friendships and relationships are typically the product of shared challenge. And, this is a challenge.”
His love for biking goes back to when he was in high school and would ride his bike as an escape.
“I remember in high school, when I would just need to get away, I would always choose my yellow Schwinn 1974-ish 10 Speed, and I would go about 12 miles one direction and about 12 miles back,” Baylor said.
He also didn’t get a car until he was 25, so biking was his main form of transportation, he said.
According to Baylor, riding a bike provides a feeling of liberation and doesn’t take as much of a toll on the body.
“A bike doesn’t hurt your knees and lets you go so quickly and see so much,” Baylor said. “And you can pretty much go as fast as you can. So, I love it.”
In addition to keeping him in shape, he said rides like Tour de Nebraska are a great way to get to know people in their purest form.
“There’s just great comradery on these rides because everyone is kind of stripped down to just their basic bike-riding selves,” Baylor said. “No one’s driving any fancy cars and no one’s living in a fancy house.”
Along with providing friendship and conversation, he said participants are also encouraging in helping him keep in shape.
“The other 500 riders, they kind of propel you. And, you just can’t imagine not continuing,” Baylor said. “So, it’s a great way to get in shape.”
During his time in Antelope County, he said he ate terrific meals at the American Legion, relished playing tag with his family on the Antelope County Courthouse lawn and appreciated services N-O provided.
“Neligh-Oakdale High School has fabulous air conditioning and showers, so that is critical when judging each of these overnight towns,” Baylor said. “It has been a great visit to Neligh and greater Antelope County.”
Since he grew up in Lincoln, Baylor said he didn’t have much experience with small towns before teaching ACT prep courses in towns throughout the state.
“I really started to realize, ‘Wow, these are cool places to go on bike rides, to go play golf, to go fishing, to go hunting,” he said.
Baylor appreciates the beauty of Nebraska and its small towns and said he thinks the tour is a great way to bring more people in to see the state.
“I think it’s great for the state because the more people see, especially outer Nebraska, the more they’re going to realize this is absolutely one of the most beautiful states in the country,” Baylor said.
David Wood is not a believer in love at first sight.
Yet, when he first laid eyes on her, there was an immediate, undeniable voice in his head telling him to talk to her.
“She introduced herself, and was like, ‘Hi, I’m Karen,’” Wood said. “And, it was just such an impactful moment, and it was like the crazy Hollywood effects with some extra dazzle to the whole thing.”
On his 10th consecutive ride in Tour de Nebraska, Wood met his wife, Karen Griffin, who was on the tour for the first time with her son, Jason, in 2012.
Jason, who is now 26, was an undergrad student at Nebraska Wesleyan studying computer science. He and Wood instantly bonded, as Wood used to teach computer science there.
“They just hit it off and were talking and riding for hours together about computer science,” Griffin said.
Throughout the trip, Wood and Griffin kept bumping into each other and making conversation. Then, on the last day, they exchanged phone numbers at a lunch stop along the way from Neligh to Madison.
Since Wood is vegan and Griffin is gluten intolerant, they worked out a system and swapped different parts of their meals, he said. Prior to leaving the bar, they wrote their numbers on coasters and then returned to Lincoln, where they both resided.
Upon arriving back home, Wood said he immediately threw his bike shorts in the wash without remembering he had left the coaster in his pocket.
“Suddenly, I just thought, ‘Oh no, my coaster is in there. I just threw away her phone number; it’s in the washing machine,’” Wood said. “So, I ran out and try to fetch it out of the washing machine, and by then, it’s just like pulp.”
Luckily, his disappointment didn’t last long, as he received a call from Griffin the next day saying they should get together.
She said her son was comical about them dating.
“Jason was funny,” she said with a grin. “At one point later that year, I said, ‘Oh, by the way, David and I are dating now.’ He goes, ‘That’s not fair, he was my friend first.’ It was really funny.”
Griffin and Wood returned to the same tour the next year, where they were chosen for the spirit award at the end of the ride.
“They have a spirit award that they give for someone who sort of epitomizes the ride,” Wood said. “So, they gave it to Karen and I the next year because we were sort of notorious for being a couple and, you know, having broad smiles on our faces the whole time.”
For another two years, they continued to date and go on the bike tour. Wood said they decided they wanted to live and spend the rest of their lives together, but they weren’t certain if they wanted to get married yet.
“We weren’t quite sure, you know, marriage – we’ve sort of been there, done that,” he said. “And, we’ve seen the downside of it, too, because we were both divorced, and so it’s like, ‘We don’t need to get married, we’ve had kids, there’s no sort of point in that.’”
However, when Christmas of 2015 rolled around, they changed their minds. Griffin said all of their kids were home for the holiday, including her son, Jason, and her younger son, Victor, 20, as well as Wood’s children, Claire, 27, Evan, 25, and Francis, 23.
“We were thinking about doing it in the summer of 2016, but all of our kids were home for Christmas,” Griffin said. “And so, we realized with five children between us, ‘When are they all going to get together again?’”
She then contacted their friend who also does Tour de Nebraska, Stephanie Stacy, a Supreme Court Justice in Lincoln. Three days later, Stacy married them in the Supreme Court in Lincoln.
According to Griffin, it was such a spontaneous decision that they didn’t have time to get rings, so that section was crossed out of the ceremony and they purchased them later.
Ever since 2012, the couple has gone on the tour every year as an anniversary celebration of how they met, including this year’s tour.
“We sort of say the Tour de Nebraska is our anniversary reunion and we’re like, ‘Oh good, all of our friends made it back here,’” Wood said.
Throughout the years, they have built old and new friendships, he said.
“On a bicycle and on Tour de Nebraska, you kind of get to know someone better because you have all of this downtime to talk and everything’s exposed; you have nothing to hide,” Wood said. “It’s just the best place to catch up and meet people and get to know people.”
Not only do they get to meet friendly faces, but they also take time to appreciate the charm of small towns in Nebraska, according to Wood.
“It’s just great, the small towns and just being intimate with the small towns and just being away from things,” he said. “It’s just nice to be able to interact and get to know the different parts of Nebraska and small town Nebraska.”
Griffin also said she appreciates how the tour allows for people to view parts of the state that they wouldn’t normally recognize.
“The tour is just a great way for anyone to get out and see these parts of Nebraska that you don’t get to see when you’re driving on I-80,” she said. “It’s just a beautiful state.”
In addition to Tour de Nebraska, they also enjoy going on week-long bike tours through the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Outdoor Adventures, where they’ve been to Oregon, Maine, Wyoming and other destinations.
Griffin, who works as a geologist for Olsson Associates, and Wood, who is a computer software engineer for Nelnet, have had a zeal for biking years before they went on tours together.
From when he was a child through the beginning years of college, Wood said he was fervent about biking, but fell out of the routine when he was first married and had children. However, he got back into it before going on Tour de Nebraska, as he would ride on increasingly long routes.
Griffin said some of her best childhood memories came from riding her bike, and later on, she enjoyed working as a tour guide in college.
“I have been cycling in Lincoln since I grew up, and I used to work as a tour guide on bicycle tours in college,” she said. “I’d take high school kids on bike tours in Europe; it was a great summer job.”
As for future biking endeavors, the couple plans on continuing their yearly tradition of participating in Tour de Nebraska.
In July, they will go on another Outdoor Adventures bike ride to northern Minnesota, Wood said.
However, next year, they want to travel even further and take their children along with them, Griffin said.
“Next year, I think we want to go to Italy,” she said. “My sister, Jane, and her husband lead historic, art and food tours in Florence and different parts of Italy. We want to go and do a bike ride with them.”
Cycling 200 miles across four counties in five days is impressive. It’s even more impressive when you are just a fourth grader.
At 9 years old, Egan Little is the youngest biker on the 2018 Tour de Nebraska.
This is Little’s first time experiencing a bike tour, as he rode on a tandem bicycle with his mother, Sarah, who has been on RAGBRAI, but never before on Tour de Nebraska. Egan’s father, Lance, is also on the tour.
The three of them traveled from their hometown, Claremont, California, and drove for 16 hours to Colorado and another eight hours to Plainview, where they arrived on Tuesday. On Wednesday, the first day of the 31st annual tour, they biked for 51 miles from Plainview to Neligh, where they stayed the night in the Neligh-Oakdale High School gym.
Also on the trip with them were Lance’s cousins James and John Baylor and John’s children, Antonia and Cameron.
Riding a tandem bike is fairly new to Little, as he started learning this spring. However, he first started learning how to ride a bike when he was about 3 years old.
“I think I just started when I was about 3 or something because I had a balance bike, and that was really nice,” Little said. “And then, I kind of moved on to – well, I never went to training wheels.”
His mother said that when his twin sister, Julia, started riding her bike, Egan immediately followed, and then his older sister, Carrie Anne, decided to join.
“We put his pedals on, and in an hour – less than an hour, 10 minutes – he was riding across the grass at the park,” Sarah said.
This fall, Little will be in fourth grade at Sycamore Elementary School, and since they live about 3 miles from the building, his mother decided they would ride bikes to school together. Little said he’s excited that he can now also ride his bike to his friend’s house.
Little and his sisters’ passion for biking was inspired by an equal enthusiasm from their parents.
His father got into biking when he was 22 or 23 and hopped on a bike for 1,000 miles to get in shape for ski season, Sarah said.
When she was a teenager, she developed a love for biking by going with her father.
During her junior year of college, Sarah said she rode for 650 miles from Beverly State Beach Park in Oregon to the Golden Gate Bridge.
When Little started to learn how to ride a tandem bike, he said it was different because since the pedals are linked, and they have to decide together where and how fast they travel.
“You don’t have control of where you’re going, and you aren’t usually the person who’s controlling what speed you’re going at,” Little said. “And, you’re not shifting the gears at all. So, it’s kind of just pedalling with the other person.”
During Tour de Nebraska, Little rode on the back of the tandem, while his mother took over the front and navigated.
His mother said she first heard of the tour through John Baylor when he called Lance about it and said he couldn’t make it to RAGBRAI, but could do Tour de Nebraska.
Little enjoyed the first day of the tour, but said the first 10 miles and the final stretch, as well as a flat tire at the end provided some difficulties.
“It felt good. It’s just the first 10 miles or so were a bit hard because I didn’t have enough calories in me and it was raining pretty hard,” he said. “And when I took my jacket off, my windbreaker, the water had all stuck to my windbreaker and it was sticking to my skin.”
According to Little, during the last portion of the ride to Neligh, the shoulder was narrow to bike on and the rumble bars took up a lot of room.
“There was like 2 inches of the road without actual bumps,” he said.
For Little, this is the first time that he remembers being in Nebraska, and he said he appreciates its open space.
“I really think it’s nice because where we live, it’s not really open. And when one town ends, there’s immediately another town,” Little said. “And with Nebraska, it’s just, like, a 10-mile pause between a town.”
The only downside that he sees to the state is the odor that the cows leave.
“The only really negative part is I like the animals, but the cows, they have a lot of manure,” Little said.
His mother said she has been to Nebraska seven or eight times and that its nature is stunning.
“I think it’s beautiful,” Sarah said. “It’s really nice to be out in the countryside and to be driving by farms and not seeing cars everywhere, and houses everywhere and buildings everywhere, but to see the birds flying around and the trees. I love it.”
During the last 10 miles, she said they had a companion from Omaha who talked about his trip to Montana and Wyoming. Little said they kept a moderate speed, which allowed them to have brief conversations with other bikers.
“A lot of the time, we had a moderate pace with other people, and we had a short conversation with them where we would go ahead or they would go ahead. And, that was nice,” Little said.
He said he had a good conversation with another participant who talked with him about her favorite bike company in Arkansas.
“It’s just fun to meet other people, and it’s fun to see the different types of bikes and see what people have to say about bikes,” Little said.
Once they complete Tour de Nebraska, the family is hoping to get two more tandem bikes and train to do RAGBRAI together next summer with the additions of Little’s aunt and sisters.
Santee's Office of Environmental Protection (OEP) brought their A game to the health fair today. They won the Most Team Spirit award for best booth.
This year's theme was superheroes, and the OEP went all out not only with their super costumes, but their great booths as well.
The booths had interactive games, samples, creatures, goodies to take home and loads of great information for keeping your home safe.
By Cory Loomis
Ohiya Casino and Resort held the Isanti Hometown hero Appreciation luncheon on June 5 to honor the heroes of the search and rescue efforts for Arturo Rouillard and Adrienne Denney.
The luncheon was held to give thanks and show support to the many organizations and volunteers that help in search efforts last month.
Following the opening prayer, several departments and personnel were acknowledged. Those honored include the Santee Sioux Nation Law Enforcement, Santee Sioux Nation Emergency Medical Services, Santee Sioux Nation Volunteer Fire Department, Homer Fire Department, Winnebago Tribe Game and Parks, Nebraska Game and Parks, Yankton, SD Search & Rescue, Bloomfield Fire Department, Winnebago Fire Department, Winnebago/Santee BIA Wildland Firefighters, NE Wing of Civil Air and hundres of supporters and volunteers.
Following the presentation of honors, guests gave thanks individually with hugs and handshakes. Laura Rouillard, mother of Arturo Rouillard, and Audrey Denney, mother of Adrienne Denney, were then presented with quilts. A prayer was then given prior to lunch being served.
Plaques were inscribed with the following:
Isanti Hometown Heroes
"With faith, discipline and selfless devotion to duty, there is nothing worthwhile that you cannot achieve. Your dedication and perseverance is search and rescue operations is acknowledged. Pidayama!"
Cathryn Hanzlik, 2014 NPS graduate and daughter of Dennis and Sharla Hanzlik, received her MBA from University of Sioux Falls last weekend. Cathryn was recognized with the MBA Excellence in Academics award. Hanzlik was on the Dean’s list throughout her undergraduate and graduate courses, which were completed on an accelerated track, and was nominated by her peers for the award.