Spirit of the High Plains 2020

On the front lines..................................4

To protect and serve. ...........................8

Protecting the community health. ... 10

First responders.................................. 13

Lincoln County Fair information.......25

Area Fair Schedules............................26

From their tables to yours.................28

Cattle dogs. ........................................ 30

4 Spirit Summer 2020 Edition


from Lincoln County — had died at their hospital. None of those from farther east died. And no GPH member got the virus. “I think the reality matched our expectations and the anticipation of that surge in the (patient) volume,” Jacobson said. “But I think we were well-prepared for that.” Gochenour was part of the medical team that treated 92-year-old Frank Naranjo of North Platte, who became Lincoln County’s first COVID-19 fatality on March 31. “Watching that process was hard. Despite our best efforts, our hands were tied,” he said days later. “And that was very difficult.” Gochenour also worked with the other GPH patient to succumb to the virus, a woman in her 60s whom he said had been hospitalized with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and then contracted COVID-19. Her name has not been released. A far happier day for Gochenour — and for GPH’s staff in general — came on May 5, when one of the Dawson County patients, 56-year-old Oscar Orellana, was released after 13 days to run a gauntlet of cheering health care workers. “That was very rewarding when that guy left,” Gochenour said. “He didn’t speak a whole lot of English. But we knew what he was saying.” As “directed health measures” took hold in Lincoln County in late March and early April, Gochenour and Jacobson were learning something like what astronauts go through. Both were familiar with “personal protective equipment,” especially Jacobson, a 22-year GPH veteran. She worked in GPH’s intensive care and medical-surgical units before joining the ER group in 2010 — a step that also led to eight years as a life-flight nurse. “We’re used to using the personal protective equipment every day,” she said in April. “This has enhanced that a great deal.” But from March 17 to early May, when she was reassigned to more normal emergency room work, Jacobson wore the heavy-duty gear at least four hours a day testing patients in cars for COVID-19. Her plastic PPE suit covered her “from chin to toes,” she said in April. She wore two pairs of gloves, both of which had to be sanitized between patients and at shift’s end. Topping it all off was a powered air purifying respirator hood, a “positive-pressure” device that ensured she was breathing clean air. Wendy Ward, the hospital’s risk manager, and GPH patient advocate Cari Meyer helped set up the daily testing schedule. With winter only just ending, Jacobson sat in the North Platte Fire Department’s hazardous materials truck between patients. Continued on page 6

BY TODD VON KAMPEN todd.vonkampen@nptelegraph.com

As COVID-19 shut down America, Stephanie Jacobson, Andy Gochenour and their Great Plains Health colleagues hoped for one gift. Time. They had seen the videos from New York City, Italy and around the world where coronavirus patients clogged hospital halls, doctors and nurses despaired of keeping up and patients and their caregivers alike got sick and died. They couldn’t know what would happen when the novel coronavirus arrived in North Platte and west central Nebraska. They just hoped to be ready. Gochenour, 44, and Jacobson, 53, were early arrivals on the front lines. As registered nurse coordinator for GPH’s emergency department, Jacobson spent several weeks starting on St. Patrick’s Day taking nasal swabs from possible COVID-19 patients in the hospital’s drive-through test line. Gochenour, GPH’s respiratory therapy supervisor, and his 14 staff therapists did their best to relieve the suffering of the hospital’s suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients in an isolated area in the hospital’s main tower. The Telegraph first interviewed Jacobson and Gochenour just before Easter, after the hospital admitted its first coronavirus patients and experienced its first COVID-19 death. They were bracing for the worst. “It’s definitely an unknown,” Jacobson said. “I have a great support system at work and home, so I’m very lucky that way.” “We’re steeling ourselves to get ready for the influx of patients that is coming,” added Gochenour, who joined GPH in 2014 after working at CHI Good Samaritan Hospital in Kearney. It did, just a couple of days later. Neither knew during their first interviews that GPH that weekend would admit 10 confirmed COVID-19 patients from a nursing home in Callaway in Custer County. Six more followed two weeks later from Dawson County, where the coronavirus was racing through Lexington’s Tyson meatpacking plant. Looking back in early June, Gochenour and Jacobson spoke of high-pressure shifts, isolation between shifts, trying treatments and watching patients struggle to breathe as they got worse and relearn how to grasp a spoon as they got better. And how, as of early June, only two COVID-19 patients — both

Andy Gochenour, respiratory therapy supervisor at North Platte’s Great Plains Health, leads a 15-mem- ber team that has to cover every inch of their bodies to protect themselves from infection when caring for COVID-19 patients.

Photo courtesy of Great Plains Health

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ON THE FRONT LINES continued from page 4 She’d give a patient a mask if he or she didn’t have one, “put them at ease as much as possible” and stick her swab deep into the nasal cavity. “It’s over very quickly,” but “it’s unpleasant and uncomfortable,” she said. Gochenour and his fellow respiratory therapists had to get used to wearing more protective equipment — N95 masks, goggles and face shields — than had been typical during an ordinary 12-hour shift. Only when preparing to enter a confirmed COVID-19 patient’s room did they put on protective yellow gowns, two pairs of gloves and PAPR hoods, said Gochenour, a former Douglas County corrections officer who had to change careers due to on-the-job injuries at the Omaha jail. In those first weeks, he said, they had few options for treating patients other than inhalers much like those used by asthma sufferers. “It’s more palliative,” he said. “Our big thing is just trying to ease their work of breathing.” The Callaway and Dawson County patients filled up the initial 16 beds GPH had isolated for COVID-19 patients. The hospital had plans for handling many more but didn’t have to go there, Gochenour said in June. Staffers at the Callaway nursing home had enough success in caring for them that none of their COVID-19 patients required ventilators, he said. By contrast, the Dawson County patients, including Orellana, were mostly “already intubated when they arrived,” he said. Tensions were high among COVID-19 ward caregivers early on, Gochenour said, as they coped with their personal fears and national and world health treatment guidelines that “seemed to change every six hours.” But staffers gradually learned how to reduce their own stresses while also seeing some of their on-the-fly treatment strategies pay off, he said. One vital technique revived from the 1918-19 Spanish flu pandemic — many of whose victims subsequently died from pneumonia — involved turning patients onto their stomachs. That keeps the heart from pressing down atop the lungs and making it even harder to breathe, Gochenour said. The “awake pronation” helped improve their long-term breathing capability. Therapists would have patients hold one arm up and the other one down. “I refer to it as the ‘Superman’ position,” Gochenour said.

GPH also enjoyed limited success with albuterol, a drug that dilates the airways, Gochenour said. Regardless, weaning patients off ventilators was tough for all involved. Because ventilated patients often had to be sedated, he said, “they were unable to do the simplest things like picking up a spoon.” Physical and occupational therapists had to help them relearn. Like other GPH workers during the height of the pandemic, Gochenour and Jacobson were isolated from the public during the day and faced much the same situation after shifts. They had to bring extra clothing to work to change into before going home. They’d bag up their “regular” clothes in plastic bags, put them immediately in the washer once home and go straight into the shower. For Gochenour, whose 14- and 12-year-old sons live with their mother in Fullerton, that meant an empty home in Kearney. He’d order his groceries and toiletries from Walmart’s drive-up service, which put them in his car. “Before this started, I sported a big, full beard I had to get rid of,” he said in April. “That was hard to do. I’d had it for 15 years.” As the lockdowns continued, Gochenour gave up his 200-mile round-trip commute and moved to North Platte. Because he had stayed self-isolated at home, he didn’t have to miss work at GPH after his move, he said. He talked to his sons a lot on the phone and via FaceTime. With COVID-19 restrictions finally relaxing in May and June, he planned to finally see them in person on Father’s Day weekend. “It’s easy to stay in touch, but it’s not the same as having them there with you,” Gochenour said. Jacobson and her husband, whose three children are grown, at least had each other. By taking “every precaution possible when I’m at work,” she didn’t have to self-isolate at home, she said. Even with the recent easing of some COVID-19 restrictions on public gatherings, Gochenour said, it’ll likely take six to 18 months before the virus recedes and proven, safe vaccines are ready. “The prevalence of COVID-19 here has remained relatively low because, No. 1, we’re already relatively socially distanced because we’re a fairly rural community,” he said. “What we fear is a second or third wave that could be worse than the first.” Nonetheless, he and Jacobson said, Nebraskans should be proud that they’ve thus far avoided the nightmare scenarios so widely feared in March. For now, “I think we have to maintain a diligence and maintain the safety level we already have,” Jacobson said.

Wendy Ward (right), Great Plains Health risk manag- er, helps hospital emergency room registered nurse coordinator Stephanie Jacobson prepare for taking nasal swabs from potential COVID-19 patients at the North Platte hospital’s drive-through testing service.

Photo courtesy of Great Plains Health

Lt. Rich Hoaglund of the North Platte Police Department disinfects a squad car as a precautionary measure during the coronavirus pandemic. Squad cars are disinfected at the start and end of each patrol officer’s shift, and the back of the vehicle is cleaned every time an individual is transported to the Lincoln County Detention Center.

Photo by Tim Johnson

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“If a call comes in on as a respiratory distress (case), we bump it up to an N95 mask along with a set of disposable coveralls and a face (shield) if possible.”

BY TIM JOHNSON tim.johnson@nptelegraph.com

Law enforcement officers, firefighters and EMTs face stress daily under normal conditions. Add to that the concerns of protecting themselves from the highly contagious coronavirus while working to keep the public safe as well.

Law enforcement agencies are taking similar precautions.

“(PPE) has always been issued to troopers in terms of gloves and hand sanitizers along with disinfective agents for the vehicles,” said Tyler Schmidt, captain of the Nebraska State Patrol’s Troop D. “Just because

“The biggest thing for us (with stress) is just the unknown,” said Jeff Hankla, a battalion chief with 20 years’ experience in the North Platte Fire Department. “There has been SARS, the bird flu and the swine flu (in the past), but this is something completely different. “We are going to learn from (the pandemic), a lot of people are. Hopefully we will get better for the future, not that I hope it ever happens again.” Hankla said three members of the department came off a 14-day

(COVID-19) is here doesn’t mean that we haven’t had to address infectious organisms before.

“We have always had a need to clean the vehicles and make sure equipment is sanitized. The volume of gloves and masks (being issued for calls) has increased.” Schmidt said daily team huddles among troopers and their supervisors have changed. Those were normally done face-to-face, but now Zoom meetings have become standard.

quarantine April 10 after responding to an earlier call for assistance for a person who was exhibiting symptoms of the disease. No other members of the department have been quarantined since then, according to Fire Chief Dennis Thompson. He added that the pandemic led to an increase in safety measures. “We thought we were pretty well-prepared in terms of our personal protective equipment because of our day-to-day services,” Thompson said. “We came to find out we needed extra (protection) and it made us look at how we stock supplies in preparing for something like this. “We prepare every day and train for reponses for those things that are out of the ordinary,” Thompson said, but a situation like the pandemic “is something that you can’t really prepare for. You just don’t know the scope of it or how big it is going to get. “I think we have learned that even with all the training, that we still have to be willing to look outside of that box.” Those safety steps include additional personal protective equipment and increased disinfection of vehicles used on emergency calls. “On top of the regular glove and eye protection that we wore on a day-to-day basis before this all happened (on health emergency calls), we are wearing at a minimum a surgical mask,” Hankla said.

The North Platte Police Department also took steps to limit potential community spread of the

coronavirus within the department. The daily morning roll call has been suspended, and all patrol shifts were compartmentalized into six 12-hour stints each week. “We continue to reassess that ... but as of right now we are going to keep this in place,” Police Chief Daniel Hudson said. “We realize that we can’t do this forever — with just the exhaustion and wear- and-tear on the officers.” Hudson said the department has followed precautionary safety steps and still had a number of officers and support staff tested for the virus. All the tests came back negative. Officers were issued cloth masks, and the patrol vehicles are sanitized at shift changes by both the outgoing and incoming officers. The back of a vehicle is also sanitized after an individual is transported to the Lincoln County Detention Center. The outgoing and incoming officers do not have face-to-face contact with each other. “Should someone be sick or asymptomatic, we don’t want to contaminate one shift,” Deputy Chief Steve Reeves said. “We have been pretty regimented on that.”

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BY JOB VIGIL jvigil@nptelegraph.com

“When I was doing that rotation, there was a PHAN conference, the Public Health Association of Nebraska,” Vanderheiden said. “I was listening to her speak and I didn’t really know who she was. I went up to her and said, I truly have this new passion for public health that I didn’t even know existed.” Her original goal was to become a nurse practitioner, but Vanderheiden found out the director’s position at West Central District Health Department was opening. “I was asked to apply and I said, I’m really torn,” Vanderheiden said. “I can’t continue with nurse practitioner school and potentially take on this new job if I get it.”

A career in public health unexpectedly opened up for Shannon Vanderheiden, West Central District Health Department executive director, when she was doing a rotation as part of her continuing education. “I worked at (Great Plains Health) and then I worked at the Heart Institute and I actually decided to go back to school again,” Vanderheiden said. “I was in the nurse practitioner program and I had to do a rotation in public health.” Since she had been in health care for a number of years, she thought public health would be easy. Vanderheiden has an associate’s degree in nursing, a bachelor’s in nursing, a bachelor’s in organizational management and a master’s in public health. “I thought, of course I understand public health,” Vanderheiden said. “What I quickly discovered is I didn’t know anything about public health and I fell in love with it.”

Courtesy photo Shannon Vanderheiden

She said public health looks at the community as a whole.

Vanderheiden said the former director was a great mentor and is still a dear friend.

“They really look at population health and how do we protect and improve the health of everyone, not just a few,” Vanderheiden said. “So I truly fell in love with it during that rotation.” That took place in 2007. Vanderheiden met the then-director of WCDHD at a conference.

“I had no idea at the time when I was having conversation with her that once I was chosen as health director that she would be the person at the state level to sign off on me,” Vanderheiden said. “That shows how little I did know about public health in the state of Nebraska.”

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Vanderheiden took the position in March 2008 and said “it has been the perfect fit for me.” “There’s not one single day that goes by that I don’t learn something significant,” Vanderheiden said. “I really encourage my staff to just step outside of that box, be OK with stumbling and falling. We brush ourselves off and we keep going.” Her family is important to her, Vanderheiden said. She is married to Tim, who has just been hired as the superintendent of schools at McPherson County. They have three children, Sydney, Tyler — who died in 2007 — and William Cole. “For me, family is everything and everything we do as individuals,” Vanderheiden said. “Whether it’s in the workplace or not, it stems back to I do

what I do because of my family.”

and to make sure they have the tools and resources they need to do their work and to feel proud of their work.”

Through the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a lot of pressure to keep folks informed on a daily basis. “What’s important to me is at the end of a long day when I look and reflect back, and I do,” Vanderheiden said. “We’re all human and we all make mistakes every day, and if we don’t make mistakes, we’re not trying hard enough.”

Another question she asks herself is: Did she support her colleagues across the state?

“There’s only 18 directors across our state, and that’s not a lot of people in a state as big as we are,” Vanderheiden said. “Just knowing I have the support of my colleagues and that I’m supporting my colleagues is huge, especially in a pandemic.” She said it is important to her that she can say she did the very best she could to protect the community. “If I can answer yes to those things, it’s been a really good day, no matter how hectic and crazy the day is,” Vanderheiden said.

She said she asks herself: Would her family be proud of her?

“My goal is to be a good leader,” Vanderheiden said. “If I were to walk away at this moment, my hope is that they wouldn’t miss me. “I know that sounds odd. But to me that means I’m leading at the level I need to, because my role is to empower my staff

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RED WILLOW COUNTY Sheriff ’s Department

CHASE COUNTY Sheriff ’s Department

Sheriff Kevin Mueller 36 years Chief Deputy Mike Dukes 25 years Deputy Justin Mueller 10 years Deputy Duncan Einspahr 6 years Deputy Rob Browning 22 years Dispatcher/Jailers Kimberly Bartholomew 6 years Mason Holmes 5 years Chuck Bartholomew 4 years

Sheriff Alan Kotschwar 25 years of service Chief Deputy Joe Koetter 18 years of service

K-9 Luna 6 years of service Office Manager Diana Wilkinson 23 years of service Secretary Naia White 4 months of service Administrative Assistant for Corrections Kaylee Schilz 6 years of service

Lt. Gerry Hunter 8 years of service Deputy Justin Dice 4 years of service

Andrew Hatz 1 year David Bass 1 year Lisa McBride 2 months Heather Johnson 2 months

Deputy Dalton Downing 1 year of service

Deputy Jason Swartz 6 months of service

BROKEN BOW Police Department

KEITH COUNTY Sheriff ’s Department

Left to Right: Sheriff Stevens - 26 yrs, Jail LT Travis Poncik - 28 yrs, EOC Laurie Hood, Keith County 911 Director 34 yrs

Captain D Hanson 36 years of service

Officer S. Fiorelli 4 years of service

Chief S Scott 39 years of service

J. Heflin - 1 yr T. Agnew - 1 yr C. Hoover - 1 yr A. Curry - 2 yrs T. Lampson - 2 yrs J. Heflin - 1 yr Keith County 911 Bob Forgen - 18 yrs JD Cartwright - 16 yrs Neil Johnson 18 yrs Deb Benner - 9 yrs Tammy Terry - 4.5 yrs Joyce Rahn - 4 yrs Jeff Fisher - 3.5 yrs Shelby Benner - 1.5 yrs Sara Marshall 3.5 mo

Keith County Sheriff's Office Sheriff Jeffery Stevens 26 yrs Chief Deputy Shawn Hebbert 16 yrs

Sgt KC Bang 36 yrs Sgt Jon Heflin 13 yrs

Officer Coby Cassidy 2 year of service

Officer David Taylor 3 years of service

Officer Chris Anderson 1 year of service

Deputy James Martin 3 yrs Deputy Molly Gordinier 4 yrs Deputy Meshya Moschenross 1yr Deputy Trevor Pickard 1 yr Deputy Karissa Barnes 1 yr Deputy James Jimenez 37 yrs Administrator Chirle Tjaden 2 yrs

Keith County Jail S. Clark - 2 yrs D. Huggard - 2 yrs

Officer Chris Henderson 2 months of service

K-9 Sam 1 year of service

Secretary Julie Toline 5 years of service

14 Spirit Summer 2020 Edition

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HERSHEY Fire & Rescue

North Platte Public School District

J. Miller

Stout, Ray -Firefighter, 2003

Bayne, Jennifer -Firefighter, 2019 Berntson, Tim -Training Officer, Firefighter/EMT, 2003 Brosius, John -Firefighter, 2017 Burkert, Ben -Safety Officer, Firefighter, 2012

Hart, Andy -Treasurer-Firefighter, 2009 Janecek, Alek -Maintenance Foreman, Firefighter, 2013

Tobiasson, Toby -Fire Chief, Firefighter/ EMT, 1993 Vargas, Michael -Firefighter/Paramedic, 2019 Weekly, Shaun -Assistant Fire Chief, Firefighter/EMT, 2007

Lashley, Jason -Firefighter, 2003

Oberlander, Tyler -Firefighter/EMT, 2016 Petska, Gary -Firefighter/EMT, 1997 Snide, Amanda -Rescue Captain, Secretary, Firefighter/EMT, 2007

K. Ochs

K. Willey

J. Allison

Burkert, Zac -Firefighter, 2020 Crawford, Sarah -EMT, 2017

Woodward, Chris -Firefighter, 2020

Wooley, Rex -President, Firefighter, 1997

Etherton, Ed -Firefighter/Paramedic 2018 Fear, Tyrel -Firefighter/EMT 2011

Stout, Charlie -Firefighter, 1964 (56 years)

Zysset, Chris -Vice President, Firefighter, 2017

S. Hou

C. Worth

J. Johnson

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GRANT Fire Department

OGALLALA Police Department Front Row L to R: Ben Francisco, Secretary, 2 years - Casey Griffin, 1 year - Casandra Cockerill, 10 years - Brionne Griffin, 5 years - Brianna Stevens, 1 year - Chasity Knoles, Ambulance Captain, 11 years - Rick Ochsner, 40 years - John Pick, 4 years - Robert Hochstein, Fire Lieutenant, Treasurer, 7 years - Brandon Lampmann, 2 years - Not Pictured: Dwight Wiebe, 9 years - Shawn Wiebe, 8 years - Gerald Hostetler, 7 years - Chod Briggs, 5 years - Robert Engel, Jr. , 1 year - Robert Kentner, 1 year (2019 Roster) Back Row L to R: Matt Deaver, Board of Director, 5 years - Dalton Zimmerman, Ambulance Lieutenant, 7 years - Donald Softley, Sr. Captain, 41 years - Brent Deaver, Board of Director, 5 years - Robert Tatum, Ambulance Lieutenant, 23 years - Jason Noyes, Fire Captain, President, 11 years - Fred Reichert, Assistant Chief, 20 years - Dustan Mittan, 1 year - Rick Dreiling, Chief, 11 years - Roger Friesen, Board of Director, 8 years - Bryan Kroeker, Fire Captain, 31 years

FARNAM EMT & Fire Department

Farnam Fire Department

Calvin Krepcik Clyde McClellan

Dr. Kent Pieper DVM Kevin Fisher Luke Glodowski Mike Oberg Mitch Head Randy Edson - Assistant Chief Roger Lungrin Ryan Schurr Sheb Johnson Steve Fisher Tracy Adkisson Travis Metzler

Rod Klein - Chief Adam Grabenstein Alan Oberg

Farnam EMT Brenda Edson

Wade Craig Dan Nelsen Steve Fisher Tiffany Crumpton Ginger Craig Darcy Gurule Kristan Banzhaf Josh Kruger Sharon Portenier

Austin Boller Ayden Boller Clay Easterday Dale Oberg Dan Nelsen Darin Norby Darrell Fisher Galen Heath Greg Boller Heath Oberg Jerry Johnson

Left to Right: Officer Chantel-Rae Most (3 months); Officer Wade Davis (20 years); Officer Spencer Rowley (7 years); Officer Chris Nielsen (4 years); Chief James Herman (20 years); Corporal Tim Vance (16 years); Officer Eric Troxel (36 years); Lieutenant Rod Kolsrud (32 years); Corporal Bowen Roberts (13 years); Officer Paul Van Biljon (10 years)

Tyler Pieper Wade Craig

Spirit Summer 2020 Edition 17

Lexington Police Department

Chief Tracy Wolf 37 years

Dispatcher Judy Dukes 38 years

Sgt. Phil Lauby 28 years

Sgt. Monte Grayek 24 years

Officer Troy Reutlinger 16 years

Captian Paul Schwarz 30 years

Sgt. Chad Reutlinger 15 years

Dispatcher Jackie Zacarias 10 years

Sgt. Erik Rowan 22 years

Officer Jesse Evans 10 years

School Res. Officer Kareem McDougall 17 years

School Res. Officer Lucas Pinkelman 8 years

Officer Matt Roberts 13 years

Officer Luis Nunez 4 years

Officer Jay Mins 4 years

Officer Joel Kinney 9 years

Detective Michael Baker 9 years

Officer Iain McDiarmid 7 years

Officer Edwin Perdomo 3 years

Officer Joseph Renderos 2 years

Officer Jasmin Corona 1 year

Officer Jose Torres 2 years

18 Spirit Summer 2020 Edition

Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department

Chaplain Smith

Chief Deputy Roland Kramer 26yrs

Sheriff Kramer 39yrs

Office Manager Dillard 12yrs

Clerk Wilhelmson 21yrs

Clerk Anderson 12yrs

Clerk Covey 15yrs

Clerk Haines 19yrs

Clerk Mata 14yrs

Clerk Oltmanns 11yrs

Cpl Hamilton 10yrs

Sgt. Nelms 37yrs

Sgt. Ruff 13yrs

CO Ball 31yrs

Sgt. Purvis 15yrs

CO Mora 19yrs

CO McIntosh 16yrs

CO A. Burns 4yrs

Cpl Garcia 6yrs

CO J. Burns 6yrs

CO Dircksen 5yrs

CO Sonnenfeld 8yrs

CO Taft 6yrs

CO Markey 5yrs

CO King 1yr CO S. Newton 3yrs

CO M. Miller 3mths CO Chase 2yrs

CO Markey 4yrs CO Escamilla 2yrs

CO McIntosh 15yrs CO King 2yrs

CO A. Miller 1yr

CO Allen 1yr

CO Parks 1yr

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CO M. Miller 1yr

Sgt. Kelsey 1yr

DO Erickson 1yr

DO Reed 11mo

DO C Newton 9mo

DO Duran 9mo

DO G Miller 7mo

DO Rockwell 6mo

DO Burget 5mo

DO Hill 4mo

DO McKillip 3mo

DO Baird 3mo

DO Derman 1mo

DO Garcia 1mo

Deputy Ablard 2yrs

DO Aldrich 11mo

Cpl. Courter 14yrs

Cpl. Hanna 9yrs

Cpl. Kirk 10yrs

Cpl. Newman 19yrs

Deputy Schultz 2yrs

Deputy Magill 8yrs

Deputy Schmidt 7yrs

Deputy Ward 4yrs

Deputy Wood 2yrs

Lt. Hedgecock 34yrs

Deputy Z. Kramer 2yrs

Deputy Cooper 8yrs

CO Mulhern 3mths Sgt. Davis 34yrs

CO Oltmanns 11yrs Sgt. Meyer 15yrs

CO Markey 4yrs Lt. Newton 25yrs

CO McIntosh 15yrs Sgt. Ball 31yrs

CO Mora 18yrs Sgt. Connell 21yrs

CO King 1yr Nurse Hicks 5yrs

CO M. Miller 3mths Nurse ays 5yrs

Deputy McColley - 2yrs

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North Platte Fire Department

Barton, Taylor

Bohlender, Bryce

Bolte, Preston

Bradley, Ted

Ambrose, Scott

Archuletta, Koby

Brockmoller, Justin

Enderle, Derek

Etherton, Edward

Butterfield, Shane

Condon, Jeremy

Einspahr, James

Ewald, James

Gentry, Arlee

Graves, Matthew

Hankla, Jeff

Hankla, Jeremy

Harpenau, Jesse

Spirit Summer 2020 Edition 21

North Platte Fire Department

Hensley, Curtis

Kleinow, Trent

Lee, Jim

Kleinow, Tyler

Korkow, Robert

Layher, Michael

Lehmann, William

Lewis, George

McConnell, Mike

Miller, Emerald

Manning, Clayton

Mavis, Shayna

Schiel, Casey

Niles, John

Parsons, Adam

Roy, Casey

Rixstine, David

Rosenthal, Kris

Volunteer Firefighters: Barnette, Hunter Bristol, Craig Chada, Christopher Chada, Ronald Contreras, Christina Courter, Tom Curtis, Shandie Dolan, Doug

Staton, Tom

Thompson, Dennis

Thompson, Derek

Thompson, Justin

Erickson, Josef Estrada, Bryce Gollner, Brian Goosey, Matthew Gordon, Kalen Harmon, Matthew Hoeft, Michael Johnston, Josh Moses, Scott Norton, Mike Robinson, Marshall

Thompson, Ryan

Trimble, Jason

Wilson, Justin

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Officer Meduna Officer Wilkerson Officer Gibbs Officer Parish Officer Jones Officer Parker Officer Freeze Officer Turner Officer Newton Officer Keck II Officer Rose Officer Proehl Officer Little

Investigator Citta Investigator Erickson Investigator Freeze Investigator Nielsen Investigator Miller Investigator Dowhower

Chief Hudson Deputy Chief Reeves Lieutenant Thompson Lieutenant Hoaglund Sgt Foote Sgt Hoaglund Sgt Hovey Sgt Shea Sgt Matuszczak Investigator Ady Investigator McNeil

Investigator Deal Officer Johnson Officer Elder Officer Folchert Officer Allison Officer Smith Officer Hagen Officer Charter

Investigator Poe Investigator Roth

Spirit Summer 2020 Edition 23

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Spirit Summer 2020 Edition 25

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Dawson County Fair July 15-19 1000 Plum Creek Parkway, Lexington 308-324-3600 Website: dawsoncountyfair.com Email: dawsonfairgrounds@gmail.com The fair will be closed to the public and will not allow any vendors, entertainment or carnival. The fair will host only 4-H and FFA competitive events. There will be no open shows.

Deuel County Aug. 6-8 16358 Highway 30, Chappell 308-566-0031 Email: jortgies@fycoop.com or leslie.snell84@gmail.com

Brown County Fair and Rodeo Sept. 4-7 Johnstown Email: eggers@threeriver.net

Fair events have been canceled with the excep- tion of 4-H activities. The Deuel County Exten- sion office is developing a plan to accommodate the showing of 4-H livestock and static events.

The event is moving ahead as scheduled. Precautions may be set in place as the event draws closer. Chase County Fair and Expo Aug. 9-16 560 Park St., Imperial Website: chasecountyfair.com Email: triple0@gpcom.net The event is moving ahead as scheduled, in- cluding the Trace Atkins and Kylie Frey concert on Aug. 15. Cherry County Fair Aug. 3-9 East side of Valentine 402-376-1699 Website: cherrycofairgrounds.com Email: cjs@centurylink.net The fair will be held as scheduled, but all events will have restrictions. Cheyenne County Fair and Rodeo July 19-25 10955 Highway 30, west edge of Sidney 308-254-5960 Website: cheyennecountyfair.com Email: cheyennecofairandrodeo@yahoo.com All fair and rodeo events have been canceled except 4-H livestock and static exhibits. There will be no open classes.

Eustis Fair and Corn Show Aug. 2-8 110 E. Allison St. Eustis 308-746-1819 Website: eustisnebraska.com Email: bkbrockmeier@yahoo.com

The event is moving ahead as scheduled. Pre- cautions may be set in place for the fair as the event draws closer.

Frontier County Stockville Fair July 30-Aug. 2 102 Front St., Stockville Website: frontiercountyfair.com Email: sheffieldgh@hotmail.com

The event is moving forward as scheduled with social distancing guidelines in place. There may be additional changes due to the directed health measures as the event draws closer. Garden County Agriculture Society Fair July 29-Aug. 2 South end of Fairgrounds Road, Lewellen 308-778-5380 Email: jbrack77@gmail.com

Spirit Summer 2020 Edition 27

Gosper County Fair July 23-25 104 Rockford, Elwood 308-785-2716 Email: bhilton454@q.com

Logan County Fair Aug. 12-16 Right off U.S. Highway 83, near Stapleton 308-636-8354 Email: thefab9@hotmail.com The fair is running as scheduled for now. There may be changes due to the direct health mea- sures as the event draws closer. Check the fair’s Facebook page for updates. Loup County Fair Aug. 6-8 Taylor 308-942-3409 Website: loupcountyworldsfair.com Email: loupcountyfair@hotmail.com The fair is still moving forward as planned, but changes are possible. Check the webpage for updates. Red Willow County Fair July 22-26 West Fifth and O streets, McCook 308-345-4650 Website: redwillowcountyfair.com Email: deb.fairmanager@gmail.com

The event is moving ahead as scheduled. Pre- cautions may be set in place as the event draws closer. Grant County Fair Aug. 7-9 State Highway 2, two miles east of Hyannis 308-458-2579 Email: 42jedavis@gmail.com Fair organizers plan to go ahead with the usual events with possible adjustments due to the directed health measures. Hitchcock County Fair July 16-19 Railroad and Wyoming streets, Culbertson 308-334-5228 Email: aj_tink@yahoo.com The 4-H livestock and static exhibits will be held as scheduled. There is an open class, but exhibitors must be from Hitchcock County. The

The fair has canceled all public events, including vendors, entertainment and carnival, with the excep- tion of 4-H and FFA competitions as well as the rodeo July 25-26. Those events will have

rodeo will be held. Keith County Fair Aug. 1-9 1000 W. Fifth St., Ogallala 308-284-6952 Website: keithcountyfair.com Email: keithcoag@yahoo.com

a modified sched- uled coordinated with the Red

The fair is running as scheduled for now. There may be changes due to the directed health mea- sures as the event draws closer. Ogallala Indian Summer Rendezvous Sept. 17-20 Rendezvous Square, Ogallala 308-289-5674 Website: ogallalaindiansummerrendezvous.com Email: info@explorekeithcounty.com The event is scheduled to run as planned with no restrictions as of late June. Check the festival website for updates.

Willow County Extension office. Thomas County Fair July 20-26 83861 Highway 83 308-645-2646 Website: thedfordnebraska.net Email: alicelynnhodges@gmail.com

The fair is moving ahead as scheduled for now with 4-H livestock and static exhibits, including the open classes, following guidelines.

28 Spirit Summer 2020 Edition

From their table to yours Local producers share their favorite items for the season

By Susan Szuch susan.szuch@nptelegraph.com

Even more so than rising temperatures and pool openings, the return of the local farmers market is one of the most definitive signs that summer is here. Local producers shared their favorite ways to enjoy the first fruits of their labor. TUCKER FARMS, VENANGO About the farm: Rachel Tucker decided to expand to a market garden about four years ago with the help of her husband, Steve, three of her children and Jonathan David. “It has been a labor of love for me as I make most of the decisions and put in the most hours,” Rachel said. Favorite fruit or vegetable: Strawberries, which are in season from early to mid-June, are a Tucker family favorite. Favorite recipe: Strawberry Freezer Jam 1 quart fully ripe strawberries 4 cups sugar, measured into separate bowl ¾ cup water One 1.75-ounce package of fruit pectin

Rinse five 1-cup plastic containers and lids with boiling water. Dry thoroughly. Remove and discard strawberry stems. Crush strawberries thoroughly, 1 cup at a time. Measure exactly 2 cups prepared fruit into large bowl. Stir in sugar. Let stand 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Mix water and pectin in small saucepan. Bring to boil on high heat, stirring constantly. Continue boiling and stirring for 1 minute. Add to fruit mixture; stir for 3 minutes or until most of the sugar is dissolved. (A few sugar crystals may remain.) Fill containers immediately to within a half-inch of tops. Wipe off top edges of containers; immediately cover with lids. Let stand at room temperature 24 hours. Jam is now ready to use. Store in refrigerator up to 3 weeks or in freezer up to 1 year. (If frozen, thaw in refrigerator before using.) "Also makes a great topping for ice cream!" Rachel says Where to find them: North Platte, Ogallala and Grant farmers markets.

Spirit Summer 2020 Edition 29

BIERMANS OF ARNOLD About the farm:

Roger and Rose Bierman own and operate their family farm and have been at the North Platte Farmers Market for 11 years. Their produce is all grown locally and they “strive to bring you local, chemical-free, fresh produce,” Rose said. Favorite fruit or vegetable: What is available in June includes tomatoes, green beans, snowpeas, summer squash, onions and

cucumbers, but “you just can’t beat the first fresh tomatoes and green beans of the season,” Rose said. Favorite recipe: “Just slice a tomato and add it to your buttered toast for breakfast!” Where to find them: North Platte, Arnold and Gothenburg farmers markets.


Ryan Zimmerman runs the farm with his wife, Lonetta. They started in 2014 and are expanding and growing. Ryan stressed that despite the name, they’re not just a big market garden — they’re a full production farm. Favorite fruit or vegetable: “That’s a hard question ... the first tomato, the first cucumber, the first of any vegetable is awesome,” but you can’t go wrong with lettuce, Ryan said. “I have a hard time getting sick of it.” Favorite recipe:

The Zimmermans love this dairy-free, sugar-free dressing on their lettuce. 2 cups olive oil

½ cup apple cider vinegar ½ cup fresh lemon juice ½ medium onion 2 cloves garlic

Lettuce and tomatoes are among the crops that Ryan and Lonetta Zimmerman grow at The Prairie Garden in Madrid. Courtesy photo

1½ teaspoons oregano 1 tablespoon parsley 1½ teaspoon salt ½ teaspoon thyme Blend ingredients until smooth and emulsified.

Where to find them: North Platte, Ogallala and Grant farmers markets through October. They also sell some produce at Gary’s Super Foods and Happy Heart Specialty Foods in North Platte, Hill’s Family Foods and Imperial Super Foods in Imperial, and the Madrid General Store. You can also find their produce gracing the menu of downtown North Platte’s Espresso Shoppe. The Prairie Garden also has an online store at theprairiegarden.net, and they will deliver to homes in the North Platte and Lake Maloney area.

30 Spirit Summer 2020 Edition

CATTLE DOGS curtis rancher trains stock dogs, teaches NCTA students

When Blue got about halfway around the calves, Popp yelled out, “Right there,” and Blue stopped and walked in closer to the stock.

BY TIM JOHNSON tim.johnson@nptelegraph.com

CURTIS — Blue’s tail was wagging rapidly as he waited for Kelly Popp to open a corral at his ranch on a recent March afternoon in rural Curtis.

Border collies, like Australian shepherds, are gathering dogs, meaning their instinct is to bring the stock to a person. Blue and red heelers are driving dogs as their instinct is to move stock away. Popp uses vocal commands so that other individuals could work with Blue or his other dogs. He uses whistle commands as well. A high-low whistle is the command for “come-bye.” Blue started training with sheep as they are easy for Popp to see over. He uses dairy calves instead of beef for training as they are less feisty. Blue competes in roughly 10 cattle dog trial competitions a year across the country and is highly ranked by both the National Cattledog Association and the U.S. Border Collie Association.

The 5-year-old black-and-white male border collie was getting set for a typical 15- to 20-minute workout of herding dairy calves.

“People ask me if I give my dogs a treat. No, I don’t,” said Popp, who has been training and working with cattle dogs for nine years. “The treat for the dog is working with stock. That is what they are bred for. That is what they know.” Blue entered the corral and laid down by Popp and awaited a command. Popp yelled out, “Come-bye”, and Blue went to the left of the calves, or clockwise around the stock. With a command of “Away to me,” the dog circles the stock counterclockwise.

Popp prefers working with border collies for their willingness to work.

Blue, a 5-year-old border collie, runs after a group of calves during a training session at Kelly Popp’s ranch in rural Curtis. Popp has been working with cattle dogs for nine years. Photo by Tim Johnson

Spirit Summer 2020 Edition 31

“I always say don’t breed for color or show. Breed for workability,” Popp said. “I would rather have the ugliest dog in the county as long as it works.” A typical day for Blue includes training in the morning and then working in the field in the afternoon, as he helps Popp’s neighbors gather cattle. Popp is an agronomist by trade and called cattle-dog training his hobby. It’s one that began after he got bucked off a horse while team roping and broke a few ribs.

guy up in Wellfleet say, ‘Why don’t you get a dog, because you like to compete.’ So I got into dogs and here I am.”

He owns seven dogs and also trains canines for other people. In addition, he works with students at the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture in cattle-dog training along with Eddie Merritt and Bill Stone.

About eight students are typically out at his ranch each afternoon or evening working with dogs.

On a recent afternoon, Joli Brown was working her year-and-a- half-old female border collie, Lou, in Popp’s corral.

“With my job, I’ve got to be there every day,” Popp said. “I had a

Popp said the earliest that dogs can begin training is around 10 months old. He watched from outside the corral as Brown gave commands to Lou. The dog was more than willing to please.

“I really love working with the students,” Popp said. “ I see what they are doing and the progress they are making.

“I can also see the mistakes I’m making. If I make a mistake in the way I’m training, I see it through (the students) because they are doing the same thing.”

Kelly Popp gives his border collie, Blue, a break between training sessions on Popp’s ranch in rural Cutis. Popp has been working cattle dogs for nine years. Photo by Tim Johnsons

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