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Local
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Teen works to get sidewalk, cannon pad in park

When Caleb Miskie was younger, he played on a cannon near the Veterans Club in Arlington.

His grandpa, Don Hamre, who’d served in the military during the Korean War, had been one of the local residents who worked to bring the Howitzer cannon to Arlington.

Miskie has good memories of playing on the Korean War era cannon, but years later wanted to do something more.

“I wanted it to be more than an object to play on; I wanted it to be a memorial to everyone who served,” said Miskie, an Arlington High School senior.

For about two years, Miskie has worked on a project to put in a sidewalk that leads to the cannon now in Veterans Park. He also is working to have a new pad on which the cannon will be situated.

When the project is completed, Miskie, who’s part of Boy Scout Troop 145, hopes it will help him obtain the rank of Eagle Scout.

Miskie said his late grandfather, who lived near the park, had a vision for the Veterans Memorial Park. Hamre wanted to make sure those who’d served in the military were recognized.

The cannon was situated next to the Veterans Club in Arlington for years.

“Having one of those things in your town is pretty cool,” Miskie said.

The cannon is a more recent addition to the Veterans Memorial Park, just off of the St. Paul road and Bell Street in Arlington.

As part of his Eagle Scout project, Miskie went to the town’s village board to request permission to do the project. He contacted potential donors.

“We’ve been very fortunate to get a lot of donations for this,” he said.

He found a company that would donate the concrete and labor to pave a sidewalk leading to the cannon.

The sidewalk is important.

“I know not everybody can hop the curb and walk up to see where it is,” he said.

Although there is a pad at the park, it’s cracked. Miskie said the village is working on that and a new pad should be done this summer. Rock and flowers will be donated to put around the pad. That work should be done in a couple weeks, weather permitting.

Miskie is working with a company to provide flag poles on each corner of the pad. The flags will represent different branches of the military.

A couple weeks ago, Miskie’s Boy Scout troop hosted a pancake feed to help raise money for items that couldn’t be donated.

They raised about $900.

“That’s a pretty good chunk of the money we needed for the project, so that was very nice to have,” Miskie said.

Miskie has learned a lot about planning.

“You can’t just throw these things together overnight,” he said. “It takes a lot more than that.”

He’s learned something else.

“I’ve learned to be patient — a lot more than I usually am,” he said. “That’s a good lesson to have all around. You can’t always get what you want when you want it.”

Miskie figures planning and patience will help him when he goes to Wayne State College, where he intends to major in mass communications and electronic media.

He believes having the rank of Eagle Scout will look good on a resume for future jobs, but also hopes for something else.

“I’ve always looked up to older Scouts,” he said. “I hope I can be that for the younger kids.”

While the Eagle Scout project isn’t complete, Miskie hopes to see it finished by the fall.

And if Miskie passes a board of review, he will be an Eagle Scout.

The best part of the project, he said, has been seeing how it has brought people together.

“I’ve been in talks with the vets club about it and they’re happy to see me doing the project and making sure that part of history stays with Arlington,” he said. “Military service is a big part of Arlington. About everybody in town knows at least one person who has served.”

That includes the young Scout whose been working on this project.

“I wanted to do it, because I knew my grandpa had a vision for it and even though he can’t see it, I hope that everyone else who will gets a sense of historical knowledge,” Miskie said. “I’ve always loved history.”


Govt-and-politics
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Council to consider amending Planned Development for Gallery 23 East

The Fremont City Council will hold the second reading of an ordinance that would amend the Planned Development for the Gallery 23 East housing development at its regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday.

The Gallery 23 East development on the southeast corner of U.S. Highway 275 and U.S. Highway 30 broke ground in September 2017 and became Dodge County SID 8 earlier this year.

The developers of Gallery 23 East, which is owned by Cosentino Holdings, LLC., plan for the development to include single-family residences, duplexes, multi-family residential housing and commercial properties when it is completed.

The requested amendment to the Planned Development for Gallery 23 East includes adding more residential housing in place of originally planned commercial properties within the development.

“What we have done primarily is change some of the commercial areas to residential,” Brad Marshall of Olsson Associates agent for Gallery 23 East said at a Fremont Planning Commission meeting on March 19. “We have basically upgraded some of our multi-family area and taken away some of the big box stores (commercial properties) that you saw on some of the first conceptual drawings.”

The biggest change on the Planned Development master plan includes shrinking the originally proposed 46.5 acres for General Commercial use down to 16.9 acres with the additional space being instead used for various residential properties.

“In our townhome area, we are adding approximately 14 townhomes,” Marshall said. “With that being a secondary access on the east side of the property, we don’t want residential to feel like they are driving through a commercial development to get to their homes.”

The original Planned Development ordinance, No. 5405, was approved by the City Council in May 2017.

The request to amend the original Planned Development ordinance was recommended by the Planning Commission by a vote of 8-0 during its March 19 meeting.

Other items on the agenda for Tuesday’s City Council meeting include:

  • The second reading of an ordinance to consider a request of Dodd Engineering & Surveying, LLC, on behalf of Deer Pointe Corporation & Charles H. Diers, LLC, owners of approximately 3.0 acres described as a 3.0 acre parcel of land, more generally located at Elk Lane, changing the zoning from R Rural to GC General Commercial.
  • The second reading of an ordinance to consider a request of Thomas L. Stamper and Teresa L. Stamper, owners of 2740 N. Yager Road, consisting of approximately 6.15 acres described as a tract of land located in Lot 1, D. Schroeder’s subdivision changing the zoning from BP Business Park to GC General Commercial.

A full agenda for Tuesday’s City Council meeting can be found by visiting https://www.fremontne.gov/agendacenter.


Local
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Injured bull rider released from Nebraska Medical Center

A bull rider who was injured during the Fremont Bull Riding Classic on Saturday has been released from the hospital, according to a member of his immediate family.

The injured rider has been identified as 19-year-old Austin Wickett of Pierce, through a released statement by his older brother Garrett Wickett.

According to Garrett Wickett, Austin was released from Nebraska Medical Center on Monday after undergoing surgery on Sunday to repair his jaw which was broken in the incident.

According to Jahn Grandstaff, president of the Christensen Field Improvement Task force which organizes the event, Austin Wickett was thrown from and stepped on by a bull during the Bull Riding Classic competition on Saturday night.

“To the rider and his family, we are truly sorry this happened,” Grandstaff said. “Bull riding is a dangerous sport and unfortunately accidents can and do happen, but we hate to see any of the riders who participate ever have something like this happen to them.”

Following the incident, Wickett was transported by helicopter to Nebraska Medical Center after being taken from inside the arena by ambulance to a soccer field outside of the arena.

According to Grandstaff, the decision to transport Wickett by helicopter to Nebraska Medicen’s trauma center was precautionary based on the level of his injuries.

“They wanted to be cautious and take the most conservative approach, so the helicopter was called to make sure to get him to a trauma center to get the best possible care,” he said.

Grandstaff also said that although minor injuries have occured at the Fremont Bull Riding Classic in the past, Wickett’s injury was one of the most serious in the 24-year history of the event.

“We’ve been very lucky over 24 years of holding this competition, his injury is the most severe injury we have ever seen,” he said. “We’re just glad that his family is reporting that he has been released from the hospital and that he is recovering.”

Garrett Wickstaff said his brother is glad to finally be out of the hospital and beginning his recovery from the injury and surgery.

“Austin is on the road to recovery and he’ll be back to normal real soon,” Garrett Wickstaff wrote on a Facebook post. “He’s in good spirits and everyone in my family thanks you for the support and prayers.”


Education
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Fremont Public Schools staff gets computers

Fremont Public Schools now has new computers for its teaching staff, technology director Cliff Huss announced Monday night at FPS’ monthly Board of Education meeting.

Huss finalized the order of 372 Micro desktop computers and 390 flip, tablet-style Chromebooks. The desktops will be placed in each classroom throughout the district, as well as the media centers, and the Chromebooks will be assigned individually.

The desktops, which have a compact design meant to save desk space, totaled at $208,985.88, below the $210,000 limit approved by the board at last month’s meeting.

The Chromebooks totaled $147,018.30, below the $150,000 limit approved last month.

“It’s pretty incredible to see the reactions,” Huss told the board. “There were so many teachers that were extremely excited to get them and start playing with them right away.”

Foundation Executive Director Joe Sajevec also updated the board on the latest campaign to purchase Chromebooks for students, which would give Fremont Public Schools enough computers for each student in grade five through 12 their own computer. That campaign was officially announced by the Foundation last Friday.

“Initial cost estimates were about $160,000. Since that time that number has gone up a little bit, so we’ll adjust our campaign accordingly,” Sajevec said. “We are in the process right now of going after some grant money as well as lining up some presentations to what we hope are major donors to our cause.”

In other news from Monday night’s meeting, FPS Executive Director of Human Resources and Elementary Operations Kevin Eairleywine said that FPS would be seeking to hire three, new full-time substitute teachers to help with frequent sub shortages.

“That’s a new attempt for us to try to help with our sub finding issues that we have,” Eairleywine said. “We don’t go a week without having some of our buildings without subs.”

The board also heard about a new program aiming to increase achievement among English Language Learners in the school. The program, known as the “Newcomer Program,” was created in response to a growing number of ELL eligible students over the last decade, according to Brad Dahl, the executive director of student services and business affairs.

“We decided that that we really needed to provide more support, not only to that student population, but also to our teachers in the classrooms so they can better serve those students,” Dahl said.

The school recently hired Michelle Knapp to take over the position, Dahl said, and Knapp would come into a board meeting early next year to go over topics like schedule, curriculum and more.

The board heard another presentation about FPS’ first-ever “Graduation Walk,” where graduating seniors will walk through the hallways of their elementary and middle schools. The event aims to celebrate seniors’ accomplishments while inspiring younger students to graduate. It will take place on May 9, from 8:45 to 9:45 a.m.

“We want to start a tradition here in Fremont Public Schools,” teacher Michelle Schleicher, who has been organizing the event, told the board.

The board also voted to approve a new policy for pregnant and parenting students as part of a law that was passed last year mandating that school districts outline such policies before the ’18-’19 school year. The policy, which, among other things, excuses absences from students dealing with pregnancy-related medical appointments or their children’s appointments, will be in student handbooks.

One of the biggest challenges will be maintaining an annual listing of qualified child care providers and making that available to students, Eairleywine said.

The board on Monday also approved the appointment of four new directors to the Fremont Public School Foundation’s Board: Joel Waters, Maggie Peters, Lindsey Bryant and Rocio Romero.

The board also approved a donation from Hurst Lawn Services of fertilizer, lawn care and consulting for the Fremont High School football field valued at $1,000.