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Library prepares for Noon Year's Eve event

Many children won’t stay up until midnight to usher in the New Year.

So Keene Memorial Library has an event that lets kids experience some New Year’s type fun without missing their bedtimes.

Once again, the library is hosting a Noon Year’s Eve celebration.

Kids and their families are invited to the hour-long event set from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Dec. 31 in the library at 1030 N. Broad St., Fremont.

Participants will make party hats and a simple craft, said Laura England-Biggs, children’s librarian.

In addition, there will be 2019 coloring sheets, dance music and a countdown to noon when the balloon drop occurs.

The event also includes a photo booth with props; children can have their photographs taken by parents, grandparents, siblings and friends.

Cookies and lemonade will be served.

Why have this activity?

“We have it mostly because once we did it the first time, people have never let us live it down,” England-Biggs said good-humoredly. “People have so much fun. I think the kids enjoy being part of something since they can’t stay up until midnight.”

Even adults can appreciate the earlier-in-the-day activity.

“I enjoy being part of something since I can’t up until midnight,” England-Biggs said.

About 40 children attended last year and 75 the year before.

England-Biggs noted that sometimes it’s hard for parents, who are working, to get off in the middle of the day to bring a child to the event. But it works out well for parents who aren’t working or who have the day off.

Keene isn’t the first library to have a Noon Year’s Eve.

“We saw some other library doing it and thought, ‘Hey, that looks like fun,’” England-Biggs said.

Now, she encourages area residents to attend the event at Fremont’s library.

“It’s going to be a good time,” she said. “It will be fun. It will short and sweet. We limited it to an hour this year so people don’t feel like it’s too much hanging around for the big (balloon) drop.”

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Scouts make improvements to Uehling Park

When Cadette Girl Scouts Kaylee Hilbers and Kaitlin Mundil were tasked with coming up with a project for to earn a Silver Award, which is one of the highest a Cadet Girl Scout can receive, the pair decided to improve their hometown park.

“There’s a bunch of softball games here throughout the summers and little siblings are always brought along — but they don’t really have much to do besides the playground,” Hilbers said of Uehling Park. “So we thought if we gave them more to do they would come more often and enjoy being here more, too.”

So, with the help of a $1,500 grant from the Fremont Area Community Foundation, the pair of eighth-graders went to work this past summer.

“We needed about 50 hours to earn the Silver Award, and we definitely surpassed that,” Mundil said.

They started in the spring and worked throughout the summer doing things to improve Uehling Park.

Hilbers and Mundil began by painting a pickle ball court, repainting the park’s basketball court and four-square game.

They also spruced up the park by way of planting flowers near the entrance sign and pulling weed after weed in the “Stone Garden,” which is featured further back in the park by a concession stand.

But the biggest addition made by the girls was the addition of two benches near the playground equipment.

The two, six-foot perforated steel benches were purchased with grant money they received from FACF and the girls hope they last a long time.

Both heavy gauge, powder-coated steel frame benches have contour seats with thermal properties that help make the seats feel cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.

While the FACF grant paid for the benches, the $1,500 didn’t quite cover shipping so the Uehling Area Business Club also chipped in to the project.

When it came to actually placing in the park, the girls had to make their case in front of the Uehling Village Board for approval.

“I thought it was going to be bad and scary, but when I walked in I realized I knew most of the people,” Hilbers said. “They were really supportive.”

When it was all said and done, the girls received approval for their project and the City of Uehling agreed to cover the cost of the cement, mounting and labor that was required for the placement of the benches.

Both girls are very thankful for the generosity of the Fremont Area Community Foundation, along with the assistance from the Uehling Area Business Club, and the City of Uehling with the help they received for the project.

“We couldn’t have done it without all of the support,” Hilbers said.

The Girl Scout Silver Award is the second highest award girls can earn in Girl Scouting, and the highest award attainable at the middle school level.

To earn the Girl Scout Silver Award, recipients must complete a leadership project that exceeds 50 hours with a lasting and sustainable impact on their community. The Silver Award helps girls build skills, explore careers, gain leadership skills, while making a commitment to self-improvement.

Courtesy photo 

Fireworks will fill the sky during the Holiday Light Festival’s New Year’s Eve Fireworks Spectacular, sponsored by Wells Fargo. The family-friendly starting time is 7 p.m. Monday. The official viewing will be at the Gene Leahy Mall at 14th and Farnam streets with the show visible for miles.