July 6, 2015

Historic 1870s one-room schoolhouse to undergo restoration

Freeman SchoolOne of the oldest remaining one-room schoolhouses in Nebraska is undergoing renovation.

Susan Cook, a park ranger at the Homestead National Monument of America near Beatrice, says visitors won’t be able to step inside the Freeman School for a few weeks.

“We’re replacing the whole wood floor in it,” she says. “They did replace it 15 or 20 years ago and the boards buckled because of moisture issues.”

Cook says the Freeman School will be closed for about a month and much attention is being paid to every detail to best preserve the historic site, which dates to the 1870s.

“It’s very controlled in what we do and even in how we’re taking things out of there, where do we store it, what gets stored where, and how the work is done.”
Visitors can still walk up to the Freeman School and peer inside the building’s windows. Cook says a small heater was installed in the school years ago to help keep the building in good shape during the winter months. She says a few bricks have been replaced as well.

“We monitor the historic graffiti because there’s a tradition of when the students would graduate, they would etch their initials and the year into a brick,” she says.

Pictures are taken of each of the bricks every year to keep a record for preservation purposes. The Freeman School was the longest running one-room school in the State of Nebraska when it closed in 1967.

By Doug Kennedy, KWBE, Beatrice


Historic Fort Kearny to host Civil War encampment this weekend

Forft KearnyOne of Nebraska’s longest-running Fourth of July celebrations will kick into gear again tomorrow at Fort Kearny State Historical Park near Kearney.

Gene Hunt, the park’s superintendent, says it’s a historic look at our state’s pioneer past.

“A group of Fort Kearny reinactors has been coming out here for years,” Hunt says. “They set up a living history area and portray camp life in the 1860s, which was during the Civil War time period. They’re in uniform and they fire the cannons at 2 o’clock every day and this year, they’ll be offering free wagon rides.”

This year’s event will take place on Saturday and Sunday from 9 to 5 each day.

A five-dollar park permit is required to enter the park.

By Brent Wiethorn, KKPR, Kearney

St. John Paul II Newman Center groundbreaking at UNO

More than 160 Catholic students at the University of Nebraska – Omaha will have a new home in the fall of 2016. Ground was broken Tuesday on the St. John Paul II Newman Center at 71st and Pacific Streets.

Omaha Archbishop George Lucas attended the ground breaking and says, “This is an opportunity for our students to celebrate their faith, to grow in their faith. To become part of the community. To overcome the isolation which even on a crowded campus can be a burden for students that are away from home.”

The Newman Center will house 164 students. It also features an outdoor courtyard, library and chapel. There will also be a residence for two priests.

The Omaha Archdiocese paid $1.8-million for the 3.5 acre site. The new facility should be ready to house students in the fall of 2016.


Wayne State College president set to retire this week

Wayne State CollegeTomorrow is the last day on the job for Wayne State College President Curt Frye, who’s retiring after 30 years at the school in northeast Nebraska.

Frye says he’s been fortunate to work with a lot of good people over the decades.

“You can’t be involved with a place, a job or an institution for 30 years without developing some attachments,” Frye says. “It’s the people that I’ve enjoyed the most working here. Seems like we all pull the cart in the same direction. It’s a great place.”

Frye says a lot has changed on campus since he first came to Wayne in 1985.

“The physical plan has changed dramatically,” he says. “There’s hardly a building on campus that hasn’t been paid attention to and upgrade or completely renovated. It looks a lot different than it did 30 years ago, that’s for sure.

Frye says he’s seen computers and technology greatly change the way colleges are able to reach and teach students, with a wide array of courses now available online and to far-away students.

After starting his career as a teacher, coach and guidance counselor, Frye began at Wayne State as the associate dean of students and later, became dean. He was appointed president in June of 2011.

A public reception to honor Frye will be held tomorrow from 1 to 4 pm at the Kanter Student Center Atrium.

The new president, Marysz Rames, currently at South Dakota State, will come to Wayne State in mid-July.

By Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton

Gov. Ricketts praises passage of fast-track trade bill

Gov. Pete Ricketts

Gov. Pete Ricketts

Gov. Pete Ricketts praises Congress for passage of Trade Promotion Authority, otherwise known as fast-track trade authority.

“This is all very, very good news for Nebraska to be able to grow our markets, be able to expand our opportunities to create jobs and so I’m pleased that the Senate passed it,” Ricketts tells Kevin Thomas, host of Drive Time Lincoln on Nebraska Radio Network affiliate KLIN.

Ricketts says passage comes at a good time for the state, immediately after Ricketts’ trade mission to Europe.

“One of the reasons we were on the trade mission was to expand our markets overseas, the opportunity for us to be able to send more of our products here in Nebraska to other customers and thereby grow our economy and create more jobs,” Ricketts says. “And, some of the things we were in Europe to discuss were non-tariff trade barriers, some of the issues they have in the EU that block our products from coming in.”

Nebraska exports approximately $9 billion in goods and services annually, $7 billion from the agricultural sector.

Ricketts says increased trade is needed for Nebraska to grow its economy, especially the agricultural sector which relies on trade to foreign countries.