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Colin Larson / Colin Larson/Fremont Tribune 

Roots to Wings founder Jamie Smith and Executive Director Linda Menking stand behind the counter in their new storefront for the non-profit at 315 W. Eagle Street in Arlington last year. The organization employs individuals with disabilities and is an open house to celebrate the store's first year of operation on May 5.  


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Roots to Wings flying high

Nearly a year ago, the Arlington community was introduced to a new retail store that offers a variety of handmade goods.

While the store, Roots to Wings, offers a variety of jams, tortilla chips, dips, and farm fresh eggs as well as candles, lotions, and other handmade crafts, the store’s mission goes far beyond selling handmade goods and focuses on who is making them.

Roots to Wings is a non-profit organization with the mission of offering employment opportunities and improving the quality of life for those with disabilities.

Individuals with disabilities who work through the organization grow and harvest produce, make crafts, and package the products that are available for purchase at the store.

The non-profit was founded by special education teachers Julie Smith and Jessica Scott along with former special education teacher Sheila Monke after the group went to visit a similar organization called Farmers House in Weston, Missouri in 2014.

“These two moms had a vision of creating a store environment for their kids that had gone through the transition program and were going into the adult world and needed a place to work,” Smith said.

“It was absolutely beautiful and very heartwarming to see these kids that may otherwise be in a workshop environment or unemployable, have a job that they could be happy at and just be so excited to be able to work with a purpose and serve the public.”

Since it’s opening last year, the Roots to Wings store has expanded its offering and has furthered its mission by employing two more “farmers.”

Roots to Wings identifies individuals with disabilities that are employed through the organization as “farmers,” and now have a total of five farmers working at the organization.

“We could probably add about 35 more, but our facility is just too small to accommodate everyone who is interested,” Executive Director Linda Menking said.

Roots to Wings also offers space to local craft makers through a consignment program that now features goods from 36 consignors.

“With so many consignors we have a lot of unique, different things for people to enjoy,” Menking said.

consignors are contracted by Roots to Wings and receive a 70/30 split with the organization on monthly sales at the store. Farmers receive a percentage of every sale for every item they make in the store, while the remaining proceeds go back into the organization.

According to Menking, over the last year Roots to Wings farmers have accomplished a lot including planting and harvesting a successful vegetable garden and holding a farmer’s market to sell the produce.

“One of our big successes last year was our garden, people donated extra vegetable and we had our farmers market which turned out great,” she said. “We just planted potatoes on Wednesday, so we have one thing in so far this year. Considering the recent weather, that’s a pretty good start I think.”

Roots to Wings also partnered with Arlington Public Schools and has been hosting students from Doug Hart’s Best Practices in Teaching class.

Every Wednesday two students from the class come to the Roots to Wings store and work with farmers to create a special craft.

“This last week we made pallet coasters out of popsicle sticks and those will be sold in the store,” Menking said. “We really try to partner with as many people as we can, and they have been more than generous to help us out.”

As a way to celebrate the Roots to Wings store’s first year of operation, the organization will be holding an open house event on May 5 from 9-1 p.m.

“WE just want people to come visit the store and we will have cookies, coffee and lemonade,” Menking said. “Most of the farmers will be there as well, so people will have a chance to meet and talk with them.”

The Roots to Wings store is located at 315 West Eagle Street, Suite West in Arlington and more information about the organization can be found online at www.rootstowingsmidwest.org.


Colin Larson / Colin Larson/Fremont Tribune  

A shelf at the Roots to Wings store in Arlington holds mason jars and tortilla chip packages. The non-profit that provides employment for individuals with disabilities has a partnership with Anita's Restaurant in Fremont to sell her tortilla chips at their store in Arlington. 


 Tony Gray

Nebraska tax collections below expectations in March

LINCOLN (AP) — Nebraska’s state tax collections fell far below expectations in March.

The state Department of Revenue on Friday reported net tax receipts of $306 million for the month, which is nearly 10 percent below the official certified forecast of $337 million.

The report says net sale and use tax collections were nearly 9 percent below projections; net individual income tax receipts were more than 2 percent below; net corporate income taxes were more than 35 percent below; and net miscellaneous income tax receipts were more than 4 percent below.

Net tax receipts for the whole fiscal year are still nearly 2 percent above projections. The current fiscal year ends June 30.

The comparisons are based on October estimates from the Nebraska Economic Forecasting Advisory Board.


Local
Saturday calendar

Today

HomeStore, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., 701 E. Dodge St., Fremont. The HomeStore sells donated items at discounted prices. Proceeds support the mission of Fremont Area Habitat for Humanity.

Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, 10 a.m., Chapter 5 Club, 136 N. Main St., Fremont.

Friends of Keene Memorial Library Book Sale, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Fremont City Auditorium. Admission is free.

Storytime, 11-11:30 a.m., Keene Memorial Library auditorium, 1030 N. Broad St., Fremont.

Alcoholics Anonymous women’s heart to heart group, noon, Chapter 5 Club, Fremont.

Second Saturday Teen Book Club, 2-3 p.m., Keene Memorial Library, Fremont. The club is for ages 13-18.

Fundraiser for the Fremont Veterans Park, 4 p.m., Fremont Eagles Club, 649 N. Main St. Four different kinds of soup will be served from 4-7 p.m. The event also will include raffles, split the pot and musical entertainment. The Arthrighteous Brothers will entertain from 7-9 p.m.

Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, 5:15 p.m., Chapter 5 Club, Fremont.

Midland University anniversary concert, 7 p.m., First Lutheran Church, 3200 E. Military Ave., Fremont. Midland is celebrating 90 years of music with an anniversary concert. Admission to the concert, featuring the Midland Reunion Choir, is free and open to the public.

Narcotics Anonymous open meeting, 7:30 p.m., United Faith Church, 218 W. Gardiner St., Valley.

Narcotics Anonymous Lie Is Dead Group, 8 p.m., Care Corps, 723 N. Broad St., Fremont.

Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, 10:30 p.m., Chapter 5 Club, Fremont.

Sunday

Alcoholics Anonymous Happy Sober Sunday Group, 9 a.m., Chapter 5 Club, Fremont.

Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, 10 a.m., Chapter 5 Club, Fremont.

Narcotics Anonymous Seekers of Serenity Group, 10:30 a.m., Care Corps, 723 N. Broad St., Fremont.

Benefit for Mike Miller, 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Uehling Auditorium. The benefit will include a freewill donation meal and a silent auction. All proceeds will go toward Miller’s medical expenses.

Friends of Keene Memorial Library Book Sale, noon to 5 p.m., Fremont City Auditorium. Admission is free. There will be a bag and box sale with half price on all items.

Freezin’ for a Reason Y’s Women Club Fundraiser, 2 p.m., Keene Lodge at Christensen Family YMCA Camp, 3204 W. Military Ave., Fremont. A whistle will be sounded shortly after 2 p.m. and at that time, all participants will run into the lake. After the race, beverages and treats will be served in Keene Lodge. Costumes are encouraged but not necessary. A prize will be given to the best individual costume. The cost is $25 per person with a long-sleeved T-shirt or $10 without a shirt. To register, visit www.fremontfamilyymca.org, stop by the YMCA’s front desk or register on the day of the event.

Storytime yoga, 2-2:30 p.m., Keene Memorial Library, Fremont. This is for all ages.

Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, 5:15 p.m., Chapter 5 Club, Fremont.

Narcotics Anonymous Point of Freedom Group, 7 p.m., Good Shepherd Lutheran Church Education Building, west of the church, 1440 E. Military Ave., Fremont. Enter through the rear door.

Alcoholics Anonymous Sunday speaker, 7:30 p.m., Chapter 5 Club, Fremont.

Monday

American Red Cross blood drive, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., Guardian Angels Cafeteria, 417 E. Walnut St., West Point. To schedule an appointment, download the free Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit www.redcrossblood.org or call 800-733-2767.

TOPS Club (Take Off Pounds Sensibly), 9 a.m., First United Methodist Church, 850 N. Broad St., Fremont. Weigh-ins begin at 8 a.m. Visitors (preteens, teens and adults — male and female) are welcome. The first meeting is free. For more information, call Janet Bloemker at 402-721-8952.

Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, 10 a.m., Chapter 5 Club, Fremont.

Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, noon, Chapter 5 Club, Fremont.

Planning Commission meeting, 4:30 p.m., Fremont Municipal Building, 400 E. Military Ave. The meeting is open to the public.

Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, 5:15 p.m., Chapter 5 Club, Fremont.

Prime Time Family Reading Time, 6-8 p.m., Keene Memorial Library, Fremont.

Celebrate Recovery, 6:30 p.m., Fremont Church of the Nazarene, 960 Johnson Road.

Fremont Night MOPS group, 6:30-8 p.m., Fremont Alliance Church, 1615 N. Lincoln Ave. For more information, contact Fremont Alliance Church at 402-721-5180 or Cindy Slykhuis at 402-708-1561.

American Chronic Pain Association Support Group, 7 p.m., Health Park Plaza Conference Room 1, Fremont.

Narcotics Anonymous basic text study, 7 p.m., Good Shepherd Lutheran Church Education Building, west of the church, 1440 E. Military Ave., Fremont. Enter through the rear door.

Alcoholics Anonymous 12x12 meeting, 8 p.m., Chapter 5 Club, Fremont.