Pheasants Forever and the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission (NGPC) will be hosting an advanced prescribed fire workshop at the Country Café in Niobrara on January 24.
Workshop speakers familiar with fire will discuss how it can be used to benefit the land manager’s objectives and discuss the challenges of Eastern Red Cedar encroachment.
Fire has shaped Nebraska’s landscape for thousands of years, however during the 20th century we became very proficient in its suppression and prevention.
According to Pheasants Forever Biologist Brian Teeter, this lack of fire has resulted in negative consequences in the health and diversity of our prairies and forests which are critical to our wildlife and agricultural economy.
“You don’t have to travel very far to see that the eastern red cedar is rapidly expanding and is negatively affecting our grazing lands but there are also less obvious benefits that range from improving wildlife habitat to increasing forage quality,” Teeter noted.
In recent years however, the state has seen an increase in the use of prescribed fire on private lands, something Teeter is excited to see.
“We strongly believe that returning fire to our landscape is imperative and we have recognized the need for proper training and education in regards to safely implementing the practice.”
Pheasants Forever along with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission responded to this interest by setting up workshops across the state to help educate and train participants about the benefits and implementation of prescribed burning.
The advanced workshop runs from 10:30am to 3:00pm covering the challenges and strategies for Northeast Nebraska cattle producers in dealing with eastern red cedar trees and the use of landscape-level prescribed fire.
A $10 registration fee covers all training and training materials, refreshments, and a noon meal.
Attendees are asked to please pre-register to reserve a meal. Please contact Ashley at 308-850-8395 or visit www.NebraskaPF.com to register.
Pheasants Forever works closely with NGPC, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Nebraska Environmental Trust and other conservation partners to help Nebraskans plan prescribed fires.
Since 2008, they have hosted 92 workshops with a total of 2,053 attendees.
University of Nebraska College of Architecture master students are helping the Santee Sioux Nation Family Resource Center (SSNFRC) become a reality. After years of planning, consultation and design, this new center is breaking ground January 10 at 2 p.m. on the Santee Sioux Nation Reservation at the corner of Wounded Man Ave. and Visiting Eagle St., Niobrara, with an estimated fall 2019 completion date.
This 950 square foot facility encompasses a Child Advocacy Center and a Services and Support Center for residents and members of the Santee Sioux Nation. Among the amenities, the center will have rooms for private interviews, observations, examinations and a large room and kitchen for family reunions.
The work on the SSNFRC facility began late in 2015 as a collaboration between The Nebraska Children and Families Foundation (NCFF), The Santee Sioux Tribal Council (SSTC) and the PLAIN 2015-16 design research studio, instructed by Architecture Associate Professor Jason Griffiths. In the spring of 2016, Griffiths and design-build master students created the concept designs and assisted with construction documents for the project in consultation with SSTC and NCFF.
With the concepts in hand, this allowed the design team to raise funds and begin negotiations with construction professionals.
“Over the next year, I was able to maintain enthusiasm and develop details of the project through other classes,” said Griffiths.
“These efforts paid off through material donations of brick by Glen-Gery Brick and the International Masonry Institute, windows from Acadia, CLT wall cost deductions from Structurlam and in-kind donations of services from engineers Shaffer & Stevens.”
With commitments and financials in place, the NCFF appointed Actual Architecture founder and UNL Architecture Professor Jeffrey L. Day as the architect of record for the final stages of the project including preparing construction documents, construction contract administration and collaborating with Griffiths, the PLAIN studio and contractor Woody Roberts Construction.
“The Santee Sioux Nation Family Resource Center is a fine example of how the College of Architecture can bring a meaningful change for Nebraskans who live in challenging situations. Teaching architecture through design-build presents a unique opportunity to provide quality buildings for people who would not normally have the benefit of our profession,” said Griffiths.
A facility located in a remote, rural Nebraska community under federal jurisdiction with the confines of a tight budget presents many challenges that would understandably exclude most working architects. However it’s precisely those difficulties that give College of Architecture students unique learning experiences in design-build education, explains Griffiths.
“The process is long and often appears to move slowly but it also provides a true test of the patience and broad, creative thinking needed to make a good building,” said Griffiths. “Through design-build, students learn to apply their knowledge to real world situations while maintaining a high quality of architecture.”
Griffiths explains the SSNFRC is a great example of architectural work that elevates ordinary building forms through careful consideration of spatial arrangements.
“It illustrates how the functional aspects of a building can develop into a symbolic architectural language,” said Griffiths. “In this case, the message lies in the eloquent arrangement of two squares that are linked together in the corners, a symbol for uniting people whose lives have been disrupted by difficult circumstances. From the exterior, the building appears unremarkable. Its double gables convey the plan arrangement in two simple facades each with a square window. However this simplicity is a pretext for a message of stability that we want the project to convey.”
Through careful consideration and input from stakeholders’ consultations, the students created a facility that was cognizant of the environmental situations surrounding the building’s occupants.
“Children and families coming to this building do so in difficult emotional circumstances. We hope that an unassuming building would help mitigate fear and anxiety wherever possible,” said Griffiths. “To provide privacy, windows selected for the façade that look into examination rooms are partly obscured with a ContraVision, one-way screen, brick pattern, while the larger windows that open to the gathering spaces invite the kind of reconciliation that we hope the building will help achieve.”
Additionally, this building will be the first, fully-conditioned, cross-laminated timber (CLT) building in the Great Plains region. CLT is an emerging form of construction that offers an alternative to concrete and steel construction. It provides a clean, fast-track assembly system with the benefits of carbon sequestration.
“These CLT advantages add to a profound sense of warmth and stability on the interior. The wall and roof panels, produced from solid 4’ thick Douglas Fir, provide a natural finish with a palpable sense of solidity that is rare in contemporary architecture,” said Griffiths. “Once completed, SSNFRC will become a showcase for advanced forms of engineered lumber construction and will demonstrate how the College of Architecture is promoting new, innovative, forms of architectures to the next generation of architects.”
Delberta Peterson of Niobrara shares a special tradition with her family at Christmas time. Every year she places an envelope in her Christmas tree. This envelope holds a check to a charity organization of her choosing.
Peterson first started this donation tradition when her husband, Gail, passed away in 2005.
“I didn’t want the grandkids to forget about him,” she said.
Gail was very active in the community. He was on the school board, township board, church council, planning commission when the town moved and even a Justice of the Peace once.
“The kids always thought a lot of their grandpa,” Peterson added.
She believes donating to others is the best way to continue giving back to the community in his honor.
If she recalls correctly, Peterson got a letter from Lutheran Family Services asking for donations around Christmas time the year Gail passed. Like a sign from God or fate, she got the letter just as she was looking for a way to remember her late husband.
Most years the check is sent to Lutheran Family Services but this year she wrote it out to her own church in Niobrara to go towards world hunger.
The envelope tradition seems to be working as the grandkids don’t let Peterson forget about it.
“One year I sort of forgot and my grandson said ‘aren’t you going to put the envelope on the tree,’” she said laughing.
Every year after the Christmas meal and presents, Peterson takes a moment to grab the check and announce where the money is headed.
“The most fulfilling part is knowing everyone gets to remember Gail for at least one moment,” she said.
Kyle Crosley was honored for serving three full terms on the Niobrara Public School Board of Education.
Kyle served as the Treasurer for many years as a officer. Kyle will be replaced in January by Matt Moody.
Niobrara's Santa Day hosted a craft fair as well as fun activities for children. There was also a soup feed and scholastic book fair.
Theodore “Red” Branstiter of Niobrara, recently received his 50-year membership award from the Masonic Lodge.
Branstiter joined the Masonic Lodge in Niobrara in 1968. This was in the old town of Niobrara and the Lodge Hall was located on the second floor of a downtown business building.
When the town relocated, a new Lodge Hall was built.
Due to declining membership, the Lodge building became Brockhaus Funeral Home.
Fast forward, and it also became necessary for the Bloomfield Lodge to also consolidate. This time to Wausa, with all Knox County Masons now being members of Wausa Lodge 251.
Robert Olson, Niobrara, Lodge 251 secretary/treasurer, presented the award to Branstiter recently, in Niobrara.
The Santa Days craft fair will be held Dec. 1 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Niobrara High School gym. They will be giving away 2 bikes and 2 tablets. All are welcome!
Bobbie Jo Aune – Damsel in Defense
Jen Bollich – Tupperware and Baked good
Kathy Hornstra – Ceramics
Gayle Krohn – Tastefully Simple
Amy Larson – Norwex
Stephanie McClellan – Mary Kay
Tabatha Nielsen – Faux leather jewelry, tile and wine glasses
Sharon Scott – Baked goods
Mary Snowdon – Rodan and Fields
Cheryl Ulmer – Jewelry, Pendants and Leather earrings
Ron Atkins – Table Lamps
Niobrara/Verdel Presbyterian Church – Baked Goods
Faith United Parish – Baked Goods and Children’s Store
Bristol Windows – Replacement windows and doors
Tyler Wilson – Scentsy
Sammie Beaudette - 31 Bags
Rae Carbaugh and her One Act Crew won best drama, best tech, and best set. Best Overall Actress was given to Abby Swanson.
Best Niobrara Actresses went to Abby and Brooke Swanson and Summer Key along with Best Niobrara Actor to Gavin Chohon.
Niobrara hosted its first ever “All About Pumpkins” fall event on Saturday, Oct. 27. This event brought downtown stores and vendors together to provide a fun day of shopping for the community.
There was more than shopping, as organizers planned it to be a passport tour. There were about 30 stores and vendors and even a book signing, meaning participants had to gather stamps from all of them to be entered to win prizes. Many of the stores and vendors donated gift baskets to give away as prizes.
According to vendors, Niobrara’s business district has rarely been that crowded. The event drew a large crowd, not only from locals but from all over the county. There were even a few visitors that were staying at Niobrara State Park who participated.
Vendors hope “All About Pumpkins” will become an annual event to promote not only themselves but the town as a whole.
Niobrara held its annual Trunk or Treat on Saturday, Oct. 27. Children and adults both enjoyed the festivities.