Category Archives: Regional News

2016 Courtland Fest Begins Friday And Runs Through Weekend

COURTLAND – Friday night marks the beginning of the 2016 Courtland Fest. The three day celebration will have different events throughout the village.

Friday night will host a movie night in the park free of charge.

Saturday will be a day of events starting with an Antique Tractor show starting at 8 a.m. and going throughout the day. Other events will be a 1-Mile Color Run, Train Rides, Face Painting, Pony Rides, Petting Zoo and a Banana Ride. There will also be a Tractor Contest and Parade. Saturday night will end with Fireworks at the Ball Park.

The event will run through Sunday with a morning church service.


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Beatrice Hosting State Baseball Tournaments the Next Two Weekends

BEATRICE – Beatrice is hosting a state baseball tournament this weekend at the Scott Street ballfields.

21-teams from across the Nebraska are competing in the 10-year old – Double-A Gold tournament, which features 21 pool play games on Friday, 17-bracket games on Saturday and three games on Sunday, with the championship game Sunday morning at 10:30.

Two Beatrice Bullets team are competing in the field.

Next weekend, Beatrice will host the nine-year old – Double-A Silver tournament at the Scott Street ballfields.

We’ll have a story next week on the economic impact of hosting baseball and softball tournaments in Beatrice.

Attendance Down at College World Series in 2016

After record-setting College World Series marks last year, attendance has dropped in 2016.

Through 10 games, 211,999 have bought tickets. That’s the second-lowest total through 10 games since the event moved to TD Ameritrade Park in 2011. Last year’s CWS drew 353,378 in 16 games and 228,806 through 10 games.

In 2011, 321,684 flocked to the new stadium in 14 games. Through 10 games that year, 223,143 had bought tickets.

Total attendance has increased every year since the move from Rosenblatt Stadium, though average game attendance has fluctuated. An average of nearly 24,400 attended per game in 2013. That’s the highest at TD Ameritrade, while this year is on pace for the lowest per game average at fewer than 21,000 per game.

NCAA media relations representative J.D. Hamilton said the numbers could be affected by a scorching first weekend and fresh faces on the field.

Coastal Carolina and UC Santa Barbara don’t have the established, nationwide fan base like LSU or Mississippi State might bring, Hamilton said. He said he hadn’t heard from fans on which issues might be keeping them away, but he was happy for those who did make the trek to Omaha for the event.

As those schools create their niche in the national spotlight, Hamilton said, they’ll grow and attract more fans if they continue to make the tournament. He said midweek games aren’t as populated if they don’t include teams like Virginia or LSU, but he was still excited about drawing more than 22,000 Tuesday and Wednesday.

Southeast Community College Holds ‘Operation Employ’ Job Fair Thursday

BEATRICE – The Operation Employ career fair was held at Southeast Community College Thursday afternoon. The bi-monthly event attracts people from all different fields. Nebraska Department of Labor Work Force Coordinator Joshua Sheffield says the event is a great way for both employers to hire employees and for job seekers to find jobs.

“Today we had Operation Employ, which is a hiring event that we do every other month in order to make a connection between employers and job seekers. We had approximately 16 employers sign up here today and we had almost 50 job seekers come to this event.”

Sheffield says the job fair was different than others held in months past.

“We tried something new for this event, we partnered with ResCare out of Lincoln and we had a guest speaker come and address job seekers before the fair even started. So kind of a motivational workshop. We had awesome attendance at that and that kind of rolled over into the hiring event.”

The next Operation Employ will be held in August at SCC.

Kansas Wheat Harvest in Full Swing

WASHINGTON, Kan. – As summer comes into full swing, Kansas wheat becomes ripe and ready for harvest, and Kansas farmers break out the combines.

With the number of variables that come with wheat’s long growing season, farmers hope for consistency at harvest time, and according to Patrick Boyle of the National Ag Statistics Service, Kansans are seeing a much more normal harvest than last year.

“Right now, statewide in Kansas, winter wheat harvest is 25% complete. We are ahead of last year, pretty close to the average. The average for this time of year is around 27% complete. Last year, we were only 6% complete at this time, and we definitely have at least another few weeks before harvest starts to wrap up in any areas.”

Better weather than last year has helped, but another big factor is technology, which Washington County FSA Director Rebecca Palmer says is a key to more efficient harvesting.

“Certainly, the moisture testers on combines have helped a lot, and bushel counters allow farmers to really get a handle on what condition the wheat is in. They can go to a field and see that the wheat is a little too wet yet and move onto the next one before putting it in the bin too wet. So that has helped a lot in getting good quality wheat in the bin.”

Palmer says while there is reason for optimism, occasional episodes of severe weather from the spring have caused inconsistency in yield numbers thus far.

“You have some lower yields – about 30 bushels per acre. I’ve been hearing a lot of 50s and 70s, 50s particularly after beans and 70s after wheat. I’ve even heard some 90s in places; those are the outliers but it’s pretty awesome to hear.”

According to Boyle, quicker harvests are better harvests, and most farmers hope for consistent conditions during this time.

“Producers are looking for good harvest conditions now, which is generally drier weather, so they can get out there and get it harvested as quickly as possible.”

Boyle says farmers across the state will be looking to wrap up the harvest by mid-July.

Fairground Concession Stand and Restrooms Complete In Time For Fair

FAIRBURY – Steve Siemsen with US Contracting handed over keys to the new concession stand and restroom facilities to Jefferson County Board members Thursday afternoon at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds.

Siemsen says a couple items used for the building were donated by area businesses.

“The service tray outside the concession stand, the stainless steel one, that was donated by Prairie Valley Industries (PVI) of Fairbury, John Waldrop, and Lyman Hamm of Fairbury Glass donated the mirrors that are in the bathroom.”

Board members Kevin Johnson and Bill Wiese hope the new facility will increase volunteers and attendance at events held at the Horse Arena.

“We’ve been working on this project for about ten years and it’s always hard to get help to work the concession stand because it’s so hot and now we have air conditioning,” said Board Member Kevin Johnson.

Board member Phil Runge adds the project was complete before the Jefferson County Fair kicks off on July 14 – 17.

“It makes it a blessing for all of us, for the Fair and the contractor to get something done quick.”

Board members hope that fairground patrons take advantage of all the new facility and all it has to offer.



Small Afternoon Grass Fire In Beatrice Under Investigation

BEATRICE – The Beatrice Fire Department is currently investigating the cause of a small grass fire on the southeast side of town Thursday afternoon.

The Fire Department was alerted to the fire near 19th and Scott Street around 3:00 p.m. and Beatrice Rural Fire was able to put out the small grass fire by 3:10.

Chief Brian Daake of the Beatrice Fire Department says the cause for the fire starting is under investigation.

Daake added that the grass fire was the ninth response the Beatrice Fire Department had made in a roughly two hour window of time on Thursday.

The Beatrice Fire Department, and Beatrice Rural Fire responded to the scene

Two Vehicle Accident In Beatrice Slows Traffic Over Lunch Hour

BEATRICE – A two vehicle accident in Beatrice just after noon shut down traffic on two streets in Beatrice, but authorities say only minor injuries were sustained.

The accident was reported to authorities at 12:21 p.m. and responders were at the scene shortly after. A green Oldsmobile was headed north on 7th Street when it approached the intersection of Ella and 7th. Police aren’t sure whether driver or mechanical error led to the Oldsmobile not stopping at the red light. A silver Cadillac headed west on Ella Street struck the passenger side door of the green sedan.

Police shut down Ella Street from 8th to 7th, and partially blocked 7th Street for northbound traffic. Both streets were closed for less than an hour while the accident was being cleaned up.

Besides the driver of the Oldsmobile sustaining minor cuts and bruises, no injuries were reported at the scene. Emergency medical services did arrive, but left without transporting either driver for more medical treatment.

Police say both drivers were wearing seat belts, and the airbag in each vehicle deployed. Both vehicles are considered a total loss.

Beatrice Police and Beatrice Fire and Rescue responded to the scene.

Scheer Officially Declares Candidacy for State Speaker

NORFOLK – Sen. Jim Scheer has made it official…he’s running for speaker of the Nebraska Legislature.

Scheer is looking to replace Speaker Galen Hadley of Kearney, who won’t return to office next year because of term limits.

Scheer said in a statement Thursday he’s proud of what lawmakers accomplished during his four years in the Legislature, and he sees opportunity to build on successes and learn from mistakes.

If elected, Scheer would be the second speaker from Norfolk in recent history. Former Sen. Mike Flood served as speaker from 2007 to 2013.

Scheer had initially announced his intentions to run for the speaker position during a meeting of the Norfolk Chamber’s Legislative Council last month.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this article.

Beatrice Begins Construction On New Ball Fields At Hannibal Park

BEATRICE – “If you build it, they will come.”

The most famous line from the 1989 box office hit Field of Dreams has become reality in the town of Beatrice.

The city is currently in the process of adding additional ball fields to Hannibal Park.

“We’re building two new softball fields to the north of the two existing ones up on the top.”

Public Properties Director in Beatrice Mark Pethoud says the new fields can be used for both baseball and softball.

“The idea was that we could increase our tournaments by about 15 to 18 teams. We should have a capacity of 55 to 60 teams per weekend.”

President of the Beatrice Girls Softball Association and Youth Recreation Incorporated Dennis Dodge added that the fields may be beneficial if flooding were to ever occur again.

“Last year we had the catastrophe with three floods, so we lost six diamonds across town for literally the entire season. So we had to combine up these diamonds, and had to cancel a lot of games.”

It was the city council’s decision to build the new fields, but funding for the project came from more than just the city budget.

“We have had donations from different people. The Coffin Foundation, we got the Royals grant that we received funds from. YRI applied for, youth recreation applied for tourism funds and received about $30,000 worth of tourism funds so we’re going to be using that money too.”

Dodge says the fields are a good investment, not only for youth recreation programs but also economically.

“We have a lot of tournaments and things, and people come to town. McDonald’s and different places tell us when we have our big tournaments, that is there weekends that they sell a lot of food.”

The fields won’t be ready to play on until 2017 and won’t have lights right away, despite that Pethoud says the future for Hannibal Park is bright.

“Down the line we are going to put a parking lot in, we are going to have sidewalks. The trail will be coming through, coming through there so we will tie onto that. Eventually it will all be accessible just like this will be.”