There are many events going on at the Verdigre Public Library this holiday season.
On 11-05-2018 at about 9:42 a.m., the Knox County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call from the Alpine Village Care Center in Verdigre, NE about a resident at the care center receiving a threat. The Alpine Village stated that as a precaution the facility was placed on lock down. The Knox County Dispatch notified Verdigre Police, Verdigre Fire and Rescue as well as the Verdigre Public Schools.
Upon the Knox County Sheriff’s Office investigating the threat, it was discovered that a resident had received numerous phone calls from the same number over the weekend. The suspect again called three times on Monday (11-05-2018) morning. The first time the Alpine Village resident answered. The resident then asked an employee to block the number as she did not want anymore calls from the suspect. The second time the suspect called an employee answered and asked that the number be placed on a do not call list. The suspect hung up and then immediately called back. The employee answered the third call and was asked by the suspect if she watches the news, at which she replied yes. The suspect then stated that he was going to bomb the residence. A Knox County Deputy called the suspects number at which the suspect admitted to making the threatening statements. The suspect also asked the deputy not to call his number anymore or he would send the deputy a bomb as well. The suspect is not from the area and it is believed to be a scammer trying to get information to scam the victim out of money. A report will be sent to the FBI for further investigation.
Governor Pete Ricketts stopped at the Verdigre Library on Tuesday to celebrate an innovative collaboration between public schools and public libraries.
The Verdigre Library is one of only six libraries across Nebraska participating in the "Sparks Grant: NE Schools & Libraries Break the Ice and Ignite Internet Relationships.” The collaboration also includes the Nebraska Library Commission, Institute of Museums and Library Services and the state’s Chief Information Office.
The goal of the grant is to provide better internet access in libraries with a particular emphasis on providing better access for students to complete homework.
The Verdigre Library was packed with students and adults alike. Governor Ricketts explained the importance of a great relationship between schools and libraries. He also congratulated Verdigre on their Sparks Grant.
For the Sparks Grant in Verdigre, the Nebraska Unified District #1 shares its wifi with the public library 4 p.m. until 8 a.m. Patrons are invited to see if they can tell a difference from daytime library speeds (20 mbps) to evening school speeds (70 mbps). Other towns participating in the Sparks grant are Genoa, Bancroft, Wymore, Imperial and Bayard.
After congratulating Verdigre on their grant, the crowd used the opportunity to ask Ricketts questions on a variety of topics, including his goals as governor.
“The vision for our administration is to grow Nebraska,” he said.
The governor pointed out that a major goal is to find jobs right here in Nebraska. Jobs the students listening to him would someday get.
“We want to keep our kids, our grandkids, and attract people from other states as well,” he explained.
According to Ricketts, it is important to make sure everyone knows Nebraska is a great place for jobs and education. In Nebraska, he said there are many jobs in manufacturing, logistics, computer coding, construction and agriculture. The governor went on to explain how many programs are in place to help Nebraskans find good paying jobs suited to them.
Governor Ricketts then switched to discussing the budget. He said Nebraska works hard to balance the budget without raising taxes.
“Here in Nebraska, we don’t spend money we don’t have,” the governor said.
He said predicting the exact budget can be hard, but a team will “forecast” the budget, trying to estimate how much money will be coming in each year. The last two years, the income actually was below the forecasted amount, leading to cuts.
The governor said the ultimate goal of balancing the budget is to control spending. Once this happens, he hopes to put money into property tax.
“The number one issue people have been talking about is property tax,” Ricketts said.
According to the governor, ag land evaluations have gone up 252 percent over the last 10 years and the taxes paid on them have gone up 162 percent.
He explained that the property tax relief fund is one of the ways they are trying to fix this problem.
He also explained how other states like South Dakota, Iowa, and Kansas have income potential value evaluation for ag land. This would evaluate ag land based upon what the farmers can earn off of it rather that what market sales are set at.
Ricketts expressed the importance of marketing Nebraska. He has gone to Japan, the European Union, Canada and more to sell Nebraska, to show them what a great place it is.
Trips like these helped increase Nebraska’s beef exports to Japan by 26 percent. Not only does it help exports, but it also helps bring companies here, the governor said. He has also reached out to companies in New York and the Silicon Valley.
Kawasaki, a company from Japan, has created the first ever aero station in Nebraska. Facebook will be making their sixth data center here as well. This, in turn, creates more jobs for Nebraskans, he said.
“Nebraska has won the Governor’s Cup two years in a row now for most economic development per capita,” Ricketts said.
According to him, Nebraska has had more projects with companies investing in the state than North Dakota, South Dakota and Kansas combined.
Governor Pete Ricketts is coming to Verdigre. He will be at the Verdigre Public Library on Tuesday, October 16, 2018 from 2:30-3:30 p.m.
The occasion is an Open House celebrating an innovative collaboration between public schools and public libraries. Verdigre library is one of only six libraries across Nebraska participating in the "Sparks Grant: NE Schools & Libraries Break the Ice and Ignite Internet Relationships". The collaboration also includes NE Library Commission, IMLS (Institute of Museum and Library Services) and State of NE Office of the CIO.
What the Sparks grant looks like in Verdigre is from 4 p.m. until 8 a.m. the NE Unified District #1 shares its wifi with the public library, so those of you using wireless devices are invited to see if you can tell a difference from daytime library speeds (20 mbps) to evening school speeds (70 mbps). Other towns participating in the Sparks grant are Genoa, Bancroft, Wymore, Imperial and Bayard.
Everyone is invited to meet and greet Governor Ricketts in Verdigre. The Library Open House with light refreshments will be 2:00-4:00 p.m. Bring your camera and a friend.
After Monday night's junior varsity football game Verdigre and Niobrara held their Coronations. Blake Bartling and Morgan Hrbek were announced 2018 homecoming king and queen for Verdigre.
The American Red Cross Bloodmobile will be at the Verdigre Methodist Church on July 27 from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Please come and donate.
Their jerseys say “Verdigre”, so how does this pertain to Niobrara?
Even before the two town schools co-opted their sports programs in 2010, Niobrara girls have traveled to Verdigre to partake in its successful softball program ran by Dana Konopasek and Debbie Ives.
Konopasek and Ives began Verdigre’s softball program about 30 years ago, and because this was not a school affiliated sport, they chose not to use the school’s mascot.
They chose yellow for the jersey color because at that time, Verdigre’s school team colors were yellow and blue, but instead of blue they decide to change it up and go with black. With team colors of yellow and black the most logical mascot was a bee or better yet, a “Stinger”.
In the late 2000s, Niobrara girls started venturing over to Verdigre as Niobrara did not have a softball program. There have been an estimated 25 to 30 players from Niobrara to date that have played for the Stingers in the last 10 years. This year’s state qualifying 12U and 14U teams had a total of eight Niobrara students on its roster and the numbers rise when throw in the T-ball and 10U teams.
When Niobrara and Verdigre became the “Cougars,” the softball team remained the “Stingers,” as the softball program continued to be unaffiliated with the schools. But, it also generates players from other towns such as Creighton, Plainview and even Arizona.
They may be the “Verdigre Stingers” but they are still your Niobrara home town girls playing their hearts out for a team and sport they love.
Verdigre Stinger softball had a busy weekend in Hastings for the 2018 Class D State Tournament with both the 12U and 14U teams qualifying for state. In all, 11 games were played by the two teams over the course of three days which resulted in a championship title and a top-eight finish.
The 14U team also began its run at a state championship on Friday afternoon. The team took the field at 2:30 p.m. where they faced Central City. The girls jumped out to a quick lead, which ended the game by the 10-run rule. Verdigre took the win at 14-1.
With a victory, the girls Wausa at 1:15 p.m. on Saturday.
“We had a nervous first inning, but then settled down and scored in each inning,” Konopasek said.
Wausa’s only score came in the first inning. Verdigre pitcher, Chaney Konopasek, put up seven strikeouts to help the team to a 10-1 win.
Verdigre returned to the field on Sunday morning at 8 a.m. to face the Hastings Bombers Blue. Both teams struggled to get hits although Verdigre managed to get two runs in the first and a final run in the third to bump off a 3-1 victory.
At 11:30 a.m., Verdigre met the Fall City Travelers 13 team in the semi-finals match. In a back-and-forth game, Fall City had the lead by one run heading into the final inning. Verdigre managed to score two runs to move on to the championships after an 8-7 win.
With Fall City taking its first loss, Verdgire would need to wait for the winner to be determined.
Falls City won its next game and move into the championship game as well. In an inning-by-inning battle, Verdigre found itself down by two heading into its last at-bat.
“We had to make something happen or we would be playing in another game,” Konopasek said.
In an effort to get the team fired up, an already exhausted Chaney Konopasek said, “We have to hit the ball, I can’t pitch another game.” Verdigre tied up the game at 4-4. Serina Babcock connected for a base hit with one out. The next batter was thrown out at first which allowed Babcock to advance to third. Allie Kotrous came to bat. With two outs and the winning runner sitting on third base, she had two strikes. She connected a pitch to send it down first base foul line for the game-winning RBI. Verdigre took the Class D State Championship, while going undefeated 5-0.
“We just couldn’t believe what had just happened,” Konopasek said.
The win was Dana Konopasek’s first state championship in 29 years of coaching.
The 12U kicked off Friday at 2 p.m. where it met the NW Illusion 12 Gold team. After a slow start, the team fought back but fell short to take an opening loss of 6-8.
The loss moved the team to the loser’s bracket where they faced the Midplains Prowlers on Saturday at 8 a.m. Verdigre took the win at 9-6 to advance.
Verdigre met Elkhorn Edge 12 at 12:30 p.m. the same day, which resulted in a win with a score of 9-5. At 6:30, the team played Cross County which they also beat. With bats on fire and defense holding strong, Verdigre won 9-1.
The girls returned to the field at 8 p.m. on Saturday to take on the Grand Island Elite team. Verdigre took an early lead before Grand Island responded back.
“We knew we needed a little cushion because they had last bat,” Verdigre coach Dana Konopasek said.
The girls extended thier lead to take the win at 15-3.
The Saturday evening win pushed the team into the final day of competition. At 9:30 a.m., the Verdigre 12Us took on the Fremont Force Black team. The team struggled to get going due to a slow start batting and a few defensive errors. Verdigre lost to Fremont, with a 13-5 final. The loss knocked the team from the tournament.
“The girls showed up for the challenge and made everyone proud of how they played,” Konopasek said.
“They played four games on Saturday in the heat and kept on going. To finish in the top eight at state is a very big accomplishment,” Konopasek applauded. “Each team member did their part somewhere in the tournament. They might have pitched, caught, stole a base, made a catch, hit the ball or scored the run to help their team be successful.”
Konopasek is thankful for the help of JJ Parks and Kristi Rohrer in coaching the 12U and 14U teams.
“Coach Debbie and I couldn’t have been more proud of the whole Stinger community,” Konopasek said.
The girls and their families were welcomed into Verdigre by the Rescue Unit, fire trucks and supporters on the street and at the park. “This was a perfect ending to a perfect weekend,” Konopasek said.
The Verdigre Stingers played hard against Creighton on Monday, July 2. After winning the first game, the second game become a battle as Verdigre came from behind to win the second game as well.