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GFDC looks to continue success in 2019

The Greater Fremont Development Council held its annual meeting last week, providing a look at some of the organization’s accomplishments throughout 2018 as well as future goals in 2019 and beyond.

The annual meeting included an overall message of “Grow With Us,” which was evident during GFDC Board President Bill Vobejda’s speech to the crowd at Fremont Golf Club on Feb. 27.

“As we look back at another year of focused growth and energy in our community, it’s easy to see clear signs of progress; progress as a result of leadership and partnerships,” Vobejda said.

Vobejda highlighted partnerships like those that made way for the Dodge County Investment Fund—which allowed the GFDC to focus on community housing needs highlighted by the 2017 Dodge County Housing Study, which was also undertaken by GFDC.

The Dodge County Investment Fund saw total contributions of $1.88 million from a variety of entities including the City of Fremont, City of Scribner, Fremont Area Community Foundation, Lincoln Premium Poultry, Nebraska Investment Finance Authority, Nebraska Department of Economic Development’s Rural Workforce Housing Fund, Fremont Beef Company, Fremont Contract Carriers and First National Bank of Fremont.

The fund helped make way for the planned Morningside Pointe housing development and several second-story apartment renovation projects being undertaken by Murray Properties in downtown Fremont.

The Morningside Pointe project received $1 million from the fund while the Murray Properties projects which include renovations at the Old Northwest Telephone Building at 630 N. Park Avenue, the Fremont House at 631 N. Park Avenue and the building which formerly housed Fia + Belle at 84 W. Sixth Street, received a total of $685,000 in gap financing from the revolving loan fund.

“Together, with investors from public and private industry, we have set forth and planted a mustard seed that has already begun to grow roots of workforce housing opportunities, which is essential to every 2020 visioning goal founded by collaborators just four years ago,” Vobejda said.

In total, GFDC helped land 9 projects in 2018 including 4 attraction projects, 2 housing projects and 3 business expansions which have resulted in a base capital investment of approximately $16 million and 30 new jobs in the Fremont community.

GFDC also saw expansion of its own with the hiring of two new staff members including Dodge County Housing Program Manager Kelly Gentrup and Creative Program Coordinator Abby Wharff.

Looking forward throughout the remainder of 2019 and beyond, GFDC is focusing on its primary growth pillars, which include business attraction, business expansion, workforce development, and quality of life.

The GFDC’s full report can be accessed online at

UPDATE: Firefighters responding to blaze at Fremont house

No one was reported injured in a house fire at 423 N. I St., on Wednesday.

The fire was reported at 12:05 p.m., and when firefighters arrived, they found an active fire, said Fremont Police Sgt. Kurt Pafford.

Fremont Fire Department Capt. Tom Christensen said the fire is believed to have started in an attic in the back porch area.

Nebraska State Fire Marshal’s office determined the general cause to be overloaded electrical circuits mainly due to use of space heaters, Christensen said.

Space heaters weren’t in the attic, but Christensen and FFD Lt. Todd Coffey said wiring in the attic was a combination of old knob and tooth wiring and newer electrical wire.

“It just overloaded it and heated up and caught the wood on fire,” Christensen said, adding, “The house is probably going to be ruled as a total loss just due to the amount of damage to the attic spaces.”

He estimated the loss at $80,000.

Christensen said before firefighters arrived, resident Holly English and two other individuals were in the living room watching television when they began to smell something hot and smelled smoke.

“They walked around to look and they found that the back door was hot, then they turned around and went out from the front door,” he said. “They found fire on the back porch so they tried to throw snow on it and they did call 911 right away.”

Christensen said the occupants got hamsters out of the house.

“They made sure everybody got out — no injuries,” he said. “But then they forgot about the two turtles, so we got the turtles out for them.”

All three shifts of Fremont firefighters were called in, Christensen said.

Firefighters were at the scene until 3:16 p.m. The American Red Cross, Fremont Police and the Fremont Department of Utilities also assisted at the site.

Brent Wasenius / Evan Nordstrom / Fremont Tribune 

Riley Lindberg of Fremont Bergan goes for a short jumper between Zach Spanke (5) and another Douglas County West player during the Knights' 72-53 win in December. Bergan faces Fullerton at 10:45 Thursday morning at Lincoln East High School in the Class D-1 state tournament. 

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FHS to host leadership conference

Fremont High School will host a leadership conference later this month, featuring motivational speakers from Nebraska’s sports world.

The three keynote speakers include UNL volleyball coach John Cook, former UNL football coach and athletic director Tom Osborne and Boys Town football coach and motivational speaker Kevin Kush.

The event was originally envisioned as a professional development session for Fremont Public School coaching staffs, but after word spread about the speakers, the school decided to open it up to the public, according to Fremont High School Assistant Principal and Activities Director Scott Anderson.

“We got the speakers together and some other people from the community started realizing, hey this might be something I want to bring my employees too or this might be something I want to sit in myself,” Anderson said.

While the inaugural event, called the Heartland Leadership Conference, will feature speakers from the athletic world, the content will be “tailored for anybody.”

“Any type of professional could get a lot out of this,” Anderson added. “These people have a track record of success and getting people to work together and work at a high level, and so we feel like this is obviously going to translate to coaching very well, but also will translate into everyday life, for anybody else that’s interested.”

In addition to the three keynote speakers, there will also be two panels of high school coaches consisting of Sean McMahon, Kelly Flynn, Jim Weeks, Doug Goltz, Randy Huebert, Mark Kostek, Linda Walker and Kelsea Blevins. Those make up a variety of coaches from different classes and sports from around the state.

The event will be emceed by DeMoine Adams, program director for TeamMates mentoring.

There will also be a dinner.

Fremont Public Schools hopes that the conference will become an annual event, Anderson said.

While the event will be tailored to all, there will be some discussion about athletics. Some speakers will be discussing the concept of “3D Coaching” — a mindset that aims to guide coaches on how to motivate kids.

“Leadership is the main theme for this entire thing,” Anderson said. “Obviously there’s going to be an athletics flavor to it with all the coaches that we have.”

The event is being held in conjunction with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and with the support of several area businesses.

It will be held on March 24, from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the high school auditorium. Tickets are $25 in advance or $30 at the door. The price includes dinner. Tickets can be purchased with credit card at or through check or purchase order at

Lincoln Journal Star files 

Tom Osborne will be the featured speaker at the Lew Hunter Honorary Dinner on Friday during the White Light City Film Festival.