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Fremont Tribune files  

A 3.5-mile portion of Military Avenue in Fremont is transformed into the Avenue of Flags four times each year.


Local
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Volunteers sought to help with Avenue of Flags

Although Veterans Day falls on a Sunday, flags still will be posted along Military Avenue.

And volunteers are being sought to help with the Avenue of Flags.

More than 350 American flags will be displayed on Military Avenue from Clarkson Street to Johnson Road. These are casket flags that once draped the coffins of veterans and many who’ve lost their lives in combat, said Chris Madsen, co-chairman.

Those who’d like to support the effort can volunteer to help put up the flags starting at 8 a.m., Sunday and/or take down the flags at 4 p.m. Volunteers meet at the Eternal Flame in the Veterans Park in front of Sidner Ice Arena.

About 60 people typically volunteer and it takes about an hour to put up or take down the flags.

“It’s a great way to show support,” Madsen said.

Madsen said Eagle Distributing typically sends out employees who come to help with the flags on Veterans Day.

Other area residents are encouraged to help as well.

Madsen also said the Fremont Avenue of Flags committee is now in charge of the Veterans Park.

The Veterans Park includes a variety of features, including a hexagon monument with pictures and information about all the wars in which the United States has been involved. Photographs and graphics have been etched into the black granite monument with a laser.

There also are six large monoliths – each one of which represents a branch of the military and includes pictures and symbols.

A statue — called “Salute to a Fallen Soldier — depicts a soldier holding a folded American flag and kneeling at what’s called a Battle Cross – a cross with a fallen soldier’s boots, a battle-scarred helmet and a rifle.

The site also has two kiosks with veterans’ tiles. The tiles include information about veterans and military personnel. There are about 300 of them at this point and people still may purchase them.

Three types of veterans’ tiles are available. Veterans need not be deceased to have a tile purchased in their honor. Current military personnel can purchase a tile, too. When their end date occurs, it can be added later.

One type of tile will include the service person’s name, branch of service, years served, which conflict/war they served in if they were a prisoner of war and/or if the person was killed in action.

The second type will include this information, plus the veteran’s photo.

A third type — the website tile — will have the information and photograph along with a scan-able quick reference (QR) barcode that will link to the veteran’s own personal webpage, which can be updated with information and photographs for years to come.

“It’s basically a living tribute,” Madsen said.

Tiles range in price from $100 to $200. Order forms can be found on the City of Fremont’s website at www.fremontne.gov. Paper copies can be found on the second floor of the city municipal building on Military Avenue.

Madsen said the park is near completion, but there are two displays that have not been completed. Those include a donors’ wall and the “Liberty Island.”

Situated east of the oval-shaped memorial with the monuments, the Liberty Island will include a granite-shaped star coming out of the ground. Behind that will be one monolith featuring a laser-etched depiction of the Statue of Liberty. Near that will be a monolith with a depiction of the Liberty Bell.

Donations for the park still are being accepted, said Vern Gibson, Avenue of Flags co-chairman.

Those wishing to donate may do so online at fremontveteranspark.org.

Checks should be made payable to Fremont Avenue of Flags, in care of Veterans Park. The checks can be mailed to: Fremont Avenue of Flags, Attn: Veterans’ Park, P.O. Box 532, Fremont, NE 68025.

Donations are tax deductible.

Names of all donors will be listed on the park webpage, no matter what their donation. Those who donate $500 or more will be listed on a donor wall in the park as well as the website.

Madsen said the Veterans Park was built to ensure that all veterans – past, present, and future from all branches of the service – are recognized and remembered for their sacrifice.

“The Veterans Park is truly about everyone who served,” Madsen said. “It’s not about one specific group, one specific branch, it is about the unity of the entire military.”


TAMMY REAL-MCKEIGHAN, Fremont Tribune 

Chris Madsen, left, and Vern Gibson, co-chairmen of the Fremont Avenue of Flags, stand near a statue of a kneeling soldier holding a flag in front of what's called "The Soldier's Cross" — a pair of boots, machine gun and scarred helmet of a fallen warrior.


Local
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Midland hosting Future Arts Day

Area high school students will have the opportunity to live a day in the life of a Midland University performing arts student during local university’s annual Future Arts Day.

The annual recruiting event is set for Friday, where prospective students will get to tour the campus, meet with faculty, eat at the dining hall and see a performance of “Newsies,” starring current Midland students.

“This is one of our main recruiting events for performing arts at Midland, so if they are interested in performing arts they can come and get that experience firsthand,” Kyle Thomas, assistant director of performing arts at Midland, said.

Future Arts Day is set to begin at 2 p.m. with participating students meeting at Kimmel Theatre on Midland’s campus.

Along with touring the campus, meeting directors and staff, visiting with an academic advisory and eating a free dinner in the Midland Dining Hall — participating seniors will also have the opportunity to receive a $4,000 campus visit grant through the experience.

“That’s not specific to just performing arts students. One of the things we do at Midland is that if seniors visit before Jan. 31 of their senior year — if they do a campus visit — they are eligible for a $4,000 grant,” Thomas said. “Basically, it’s an extra thousand dollars for each year they are here. It’s a pretty easy deal.”

During Future Arts Day, prospective students also can audition for various scholarships offered by Midland and will receive free tickets to the Midland performance of “Newsies.”

The public is also invited to performances at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday in Kimmel Theatre. Cost is $15 for adults and $10 for seniors ages 60 and older and students. High school students get in free.

Students interested in participating in Future Arts Day can register for the event online at info.midlandu.edu/futureartsday. Walk-ups are also welcome to attend the event.

Students, who are unable to attend Future Arts Day, can still get the experience by scheduling an individual campus visit, Thomas said.

“They can always schedule an individual campus visit and come to audition and learn about the arts and all the other academic programs we offer,” he said.

Thomas also encouraged junior and seniors in high school to schedule visits to multiple schools.

“I would say schedule a visit, because a lot of times you just know when you actually visit — whether it’s Midland or not,” he said. “You get that feeling of whether or not you are going to be comfortable there or successful there.”


TAMMY REAL-MCKEIGHAN, Fremont Tribune 

Cody Cozad, left, plays Crutchie and Roger Bunnell is Jack Kelly in the Midland University production of "Newsies." Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday in Kimmel Theatre on the Midland campus. Cost is $15 for adults and $10 for seniors ages 60 and older and students. High school students get in free.


Brent Wasenius / Evan Nordstrom 

Darrin Gentry of Midland University returns the second-half kickoff 91 yards against Mayville State on Sept. 1 at Heedum Field. Gentry's return set up a touchdown for the Warriors.The Oakland, California, native leads the Great Plains Athletic Conference with an average of 31.3 yards per return. 


Crime-and-courts
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Man gets hefty sentence for escape attempt

A man who escaped from Dodge County Sheriff custody last year was sentenced in district court in Wahoo on Wednesday, receiving a combined sentence of at least 98 years on five charges.

Eric G. Scott, 38, received a sentence of 45 to 50 years on a Class II felony charge of assaulting an officer. He received another 45-to-50-year sentence on a Class II felony of using a weapon to commit a felony. On a third charge for theft of a motor vehicle, a Class IIA felony, he received five to 10 years. He got another year for stealing a gun during the escape, a theft charge that amounts to a Class I misdemeanor. And he was sentenced to the maximum two-year sentence for the Class IV felony of escape.

District Court Judge John Samson ordered that all sentences run consecutively to each other. The escape charge was prosecuted by the Dodge County Attorney’s office. All the rest were prosecuted by the Saunders County Attorney’s office.

The incident occurred in September 2017, when officers for the Dodge County Sheriff’s Department were ordered to transport Scott from the state penitentiary in Lincoln, where he was serving a sentence from a previous crime, to the Dodge County Courthouse, where he was scheduled to appear for a preliminary hearing on another matter.

While in transport, just north of Ceresco in Saunders County, Scott managed to free himself from his leg chain and began to choke the Dodge County Deputy who was operating the vehicle, ordering him to pull over, according to a police affidavit.

Scott ordered the deputy to leave the vehicle, handcuffed him, and left him on a gravel road in rural Saunders County. He stole the deputy’s vehicle, along with his handgun, and fled the scene. Scott was ultimately arrested in Iowa’s Pottawattamie County.

Even with all possible Good Time under Nebraska law, which can cut prison time in half based on good behavior, Scott will serve 49 years, or until he’s 87. He received credit for 379 days of time previously served.

Scott still faces five felony charges in another Dodge County case related to the sexual assault of a child — the same case he was addressing in court on the day of his attempted escape. Two of those charges, a pair of Class IB felony charges for first degree sexual assault of a child, carry maximum sentences of life imprisonment.