It’s been said that a dog is man’s best friend.
But Daniel Wolski has been a pretty good friend to dogs who come to the Dodge County Humane Society.
For a dozen years, the Fremont man has walked and worked with those of the canine set, predominately the larger — and sometimes goofier — dogs.
Yet that’s where his specialty lies.
“Dan has given a large number of dogs a lot of love and guidance to help them reach our ultimate goal of finding a forever home,” said Kelly Stuehmer, shelter manager. “He’s helped a lot of dogs become adoptable.”
Wolski started volunteering at the humane society in Fremont about 12 years ago.
“I’d been by here many times and I stopped in,” he said. “At first, I was afraid I’d get emotional about seeing all the dogs.”
Yet he decided to see if he could help.
He began working with smaller dogs, but his heart went out to the larger ones.
At 6 foot 4 inches tall and 240 pounds, Wolski figured he could handle the larger dogs on leashes more easily than other volunteers.
Wolski, who is retired, volunteers at the shelter for about 1 ½ to two hours a day, typically six days a week. He walks the dogs and plays with them — and doesn’t always pick the easiest cases.
“He generally chooses a few of those who have a lot of energy and not a lot of manners and he spends time with them individually to teach them to walk nicely on a leash,” Stuehmer said. “He generally tries to teach them to sit.”
And he works with them in other ways.
“Some of the dogs he’s worked with don’t even know how to play with toys and he keeps after it until they realize the enjoyment of playing with them,” Stuehmer said.
Wolski has a heart for the dogs — some of whom don’t come from the best of situations.
He works to gain the trust of those that have been abused or neglected.
“Without trust, you can’t get love,” he said. “They’ll still do what you want, but it will be compliance — reluctant compliance.”
Giving dogs the attention they need brings out their goodness, he said.
“You have to realize not every dog is physically attractive, but there’s a lot of love in them if you give them a chance,” he said.
He noted something else.
“The dogs have to feel like they’re part of a family,” he said. “You have to interact with them. You can’t adopt a dog and expect them to sit in the corner until you want to pet them a little bit and then expect them to sit in the corner until tomorrow.
“It isn’t all that hard. It’s just a matter of caring about the animal.”
Wolski has two dogs of his own: Callie, a mixed breed, and Roscoe, a German short-haired pointer.
Callie was found abandoned on U.S. Highway 275 and brought to the humane society. She was very sweet, somewhat independent and extremely well-house broken.
Roscoe was turned in by another individual. The dog had lots of energy.
“I really like loveable goofballs as pets,” Wolski said, adding, “He loves me to death and doesn’t like being separated.”
And Roscoe has proven that.
One day, Wolski went out for a bike ride and stopped to mail a letter in a mailbox at 23rd Street and Nye Avenue.
He looked down and saw Roscoe, who was supposed to be at home with Callie.
“I took him home and watched him like a hawk,” said Wolski, who discovered that Roscoe had learned how to hit a door latch with his nose and get out.
Now, Wolski makes sure both dogs are inside, before closing inner and outer doors.
He has taken Roscoe and Callie traveling.
“Callie has been with me everywhere — from the Sawtooth Mountains in central Idaho to walking the streets of Tombstone, Arizona,” he said. “Once a year, I get them into the mountains of Idaho to run around and sniff, snort and explore.”
Due to an injury from an active life, Wolski said he can only work with three or four dogs at a time at the humane society now.
But he enjoys it.
“It gives me a chance to feel that I’ve accomplished something,” he said.
Wolski previously worked for the Chicago and North Western Railroad and owned a pet store for five years.
“I enjoy working with animals,” he said.
He plans to keep helping dogs at the humane society.
“I’ll probably be in Fremont for the rest of my life so as long as I can contribute I’d like to continue helping the mutts — as long as I’m physically able,” he said, smiling.
On Monday afternoon, Wolski hugged and played with an active dog called Loki.
“All they want to do is be with you and you have to watch out for them — and the love you give them is given back to you many times over,” he said.
Stuehmer pointed out Wolski’s importance to the humane society.
“He’s a true asset to us as far as volunteers go,” she said.
And the friend to dogs probably does something that helps him make a few human pals, too.
“He brings us candy and doughnuts,” Stuehmer said. “All around, he’s a good guy.”
On March 1st, 1867 Nebraska officially became a state.
Since that day over 150 years ago, mountains of history have been made by people in every one of the state’s 93 counties.
In an effort to preserve and illuminate some of that history, with the state celebrating its sesquicentennial, Dave Hendee of the Omaha World Herald set out to tell the story of Nebraska county by county.
“We could have told the story any number of ways, we could have had a chapter on famous people, followed by famous places and event,” Hendee said in an interview with the Tribune. “But we decided that the best way to tell it would be to tell it through the stories of 93 counties. Once that was decided everything kind of flowed into place.”
That collection of stories became the book “Nebraska: 150 Years Told Through 93 Counties” which was written by Hendee over a five month period in 2016 and published by Omaha World Herald in October of 2016.
On Thursday, Hendee will be making several stops in Fremont to talk about his experience researching and writing about each of the state’s 93 counties, from Adams to York.
The author will give a presentation about the book at Gallery 92 West/ Fremont Area Art Association’s monthly Third Thursday Luncheon from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and then will be holding a signing at Keene Memorial Library from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Registration is required to attend Gallery 92 West’s Third Thursday Luncheon, and can be made at http://www.92west.org/3rd-thursday-luncheons/. The cost to attend is $12.
Along with referencing a number of Nebraska history books and newspaper clippings for background information, Hendee also used his work traveling around the state as a reporter to complete the book.
“As I traveled around the state I would kind of combine assignments, if there was something I wanted to cover for the daily paper I made sure I did some reporting and photos for the book project too,” he said. “Even things as simple as state historical markers that you see along the side of the road, I made sure to read the text of all of those just to make sure I didn’t forget important things.”
Even as a reporter who travels around, and writes about, the state, Hendee who grew up in Sidney and attended college at Midland, still found new places and stories while writing the book.
“I always thought I knew a lot about Nebraska, and of course my job in the last many years has been to cover Nebraska, so there really aren’t many places I haven’t been,” Hendee said. “But still there were surprises, I was surprised by how many surprises there were for me.”
A couple of those surprises were the Oak Ballroom in Schuyler, to which Hendee was aware of but had never visited before, along with Charles Morrill’s homestead south of Stromsburg in Polk County.
“Charles Morrill the namesake for Morrill Hall in Lincoln, and Morrill County and Morrill the town had this homestead that is just a beautiful home that has been restored by new owners,” he said. “It was basically his retirement home, and what it amounts to a large log cabin, but just his story and the story of the home was incredible fun to cover.”
In the 190 page book, each county is dedicated two pages that feature stories about historical buildings, happenings, and people along with photos and illustrations.
With so many counties, and history to go along with each, it was impossible to include every little detail about each but Hendee hopes the book gives readers an overarching look at the state.
“By reading through the book, you might not read a complete history of your county, but you will read a complete history of Nebraska,” he said. “If they don’t have it already I hope they get a deeper appreciation of the beauty of Nebraska for one thing, in all four or five corners of the state.”
The pages dedicated to Dodge County tell the story of its development in relation to its placement on the Platte River as well as pathfinders like John C. Fremont. Stories also include an early blizzard in 1885, a poor farm near Nickerson, and the Old Harder Hotel in Scribner.
“Nebraska: 150 Years Told Through 93 Counties” is available for purchase at Barnes and Noble in Lincoln and Omaha, The Bookworm in Omaha, as well as at Gallery 92 West and Yankee Peddler West locally. The cost of the hardcover book is $29.95 plus tax.
“I think it is easy to graze through, you don’t have to read it from front to back you can flip through and find little nuggets to read about,” Hendee said. “You read about the history of where you grew up, or where your grandparents homesteaded, or where your father worked as a young man. Hopefully it might encourage people to dig into the history of their own counties.”
The Utility and Infrastructure Board during its Tuesday afternoon meeting approved a resolution to accept a proposal from Access Systems which will allow for the purchase of Multifunction Printer/Managed Print Solution Refresh 2017-2018.
The estimated cost of the MFP/MPS project is $105,615.25. The estimated total cost for the printer equipment is $83,669.70, based on a renegotiated best and final offer pricing, staff report information written by Nicholas Brand, director of informational systems says. Estimated total cost for the Papercut software purchase is $21,945.55.
The project itself is intended to acquire the necessary printer equipment, services and software necessary to update and manage the City of Fremont and the Department of Utilities printing infrastructure.
“Historically we have let the departments get their own printers, and part of this consolidation between utilities and the city is doing exactly this; putting somebody in charge and to have them go out and look at our printing needs and then consolidate,” City Administrator Brian Newton said. “It’s a consolidated project between the City and DU, which will give us a better product for a cheaper price.”
The purchase agreement with Access Systems will ultimately reduce the total amount of printers used by the DU and City from 86 printers to 53 printers, Brand said during the meeting. Six bids were proposed to the city, but only two of the bids – Access Systems and Konica Minolta Business Solutions – met the specified parameters needed. Konica Minolta Business Solutions’ bid came in at $129,330.
Once the system is installed, printing fees, currently sitting at approximately $4,800 monthly, could be reduced to $1,300 with the new system, Brand said.
With the new system, estimated yearly servicing expenses sit at $13,809.16 per year for five years based on current printer usage, Brand said.