Year in Review Part 2

ASHLAND – With a new year, and a new decade now upon us, it is time for reflection on what has passed.

We take another look at the events and activities that took place in Ashland, Greenwood and the surrounding communities in the second half of 2019.

July

Nishesh Yadav, an economics student at Doane College in Crete, was hired June 17 on a six-month contract as an intern for the Ashland Area Economic Development Corporation (AAEDC). Yadav was one of four candidates interviewed for the job, according to AAEDC President Brad Jacobsen.

The Ashland 14U baseball team recently wrapped up its season with an undefeated record and two tournament wins. The team finished with a 14-0 regular season record and a 21-0 record overall. They went 4-0 at the Cass County Tournament to win the championship and also took home the first place trophy at a tournament in Ashland with a 3-0 undefeated record.

Retired NASA Astronaut Clay Anderson celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing at Strategic Air Command and Aerospace Museum. Anderson gave a presentation about the future of space flight and led guests into a new exhibit entitled “Space: Humanity’s Longest Journey.”

Nebraska Highway 63 reopened to traffic on July 26, according to the Nebraska Department of Transportation. Phase 2 was approximately 5.5 miles of Highway 63 that has been closed since March 2018.

August

Three members of the Ashland Rotary Club were honored with multiple Paul Harris Fellowships during a recent meeting. A multiple Paul Harris Fellow is a Rotarian who has contributed over an additional $1,000 in gifts to the Rotary Foundation. The Ashland Rotary Club was honored to welcome two members who have reached the distinction of being a Paul Harris Fellow Plus-One – Chuck Niemeyer and Mike Wilson. The club also celebrated Dr. Jack Cooper becoming the club’s second Paul Harris Fellow Plus-Two. Cooper joins Dave Lutton in giving over $3,000 to the Rotary Foundation.

A program to rehabilitate owner-occupied homes in Saunders County has received $500,000 in grant funds. The Nebraska Department of Economic Development (NDED) has announced the recipients of over $7.5 million in funding through the Nebraska Affordable Housing Trust Fund (NAHTF) for 2019. The City of Ashland, acting as the lead applicant for a Saunders County program, will receive $500,000 for a housing rehabilitation program planned for multiple communities. The Southeast Nebraska Development District (SENDD) helped with the grant application.

The Ashland Senior Legion Baseball team had an up-and-down season this year, ending with a 15-14 record and finishing third in the Area 2 Tournament.

Instead of birthday gifts, Ashland youth Peyton Groteluschen, Liam Curtis and Archer Ferguson asked for money to donate to the Ashland Public Library, and ended up giving $200 to Library Director Heather St.Clair, who then asked the boys what they would like to do with the money. After a short huddle, the three said they’d like to purchase a three-dimensional printer for the library.

An Omaha man missing since June was found dead inside his truck in a creek under an Interstate 80 bridge near Ashland last week. Shawn McWilliams, 50, of Omaha, had been missing since he told his longtime girlfriend, Deb Warneke, that he was going for a drive about 4 a.m. on June 19. McWilliams had diabetes and didn’t have his medications with him when he left, she said. Warneke filed a missing person’s report when McWilliams did not come home. His last known location, based on a cellphone ping, was near 72nd and Jones streets, she said. She also said McWilliams texted her that he might drive to Lincoln.

The fifth-ranked Ashland-Greenwood football team opened the 2019 football season with a 37-14 home victory over the Fort Calhoun Pioneers at Memorial Field in Ashland on Aug. 30.

September

Glacial Till Cider House and Tasting Room reopened after an extensive expansion and renovation project.

Baker’s Candies unveiled its new retail-outlet store in Greenwood during a grand opening celebration on Saturday, Sept. 14. Nearly 6,000 square feet of strictly candy and Nebraska-made retail items are featured in the new space. Over 400 types of candy and more than 200 kinds of vintage and glass bottle sodas will join the wide variety of chocolate and confections, including the company’s signature “Meltaways,” made on site in the Baker’s Candies factory, which is adjacent to the store.

The Ashland-Greenwood cross country teams traveled to Wahoo High School to take part in the annual Wahoo Invitational on Sept. 12. The girls team finished seventh at the meet in Wahoo and were led by a medal-winning performance from Darby Walsh. Walsh finished 15th at the event after crossing the finish line with a time of 22:37.

Nebraska State Patrol Col. John Bolduc presented the Nebraska State Patrol Public Service Award to Pedro Gonzalez Jurado for saving a woman’s life earlier this month. On Sept. 11, at approximately 11:30 a.m., a female was standing on the Highway 63 Bridge over Interstate 80, at exit 420 near Greenwood in Cass County. Jurado and his work partner stopped their vehicle to speak with the woman. As troopers with the Nebraska State Patrol arrived moments later, they found the woman standing on the wall overlooking I-80. Jurado and his colleague were there, still talking with her. As the trooper began speaking with the woman, she turned her attention toward the trooper and away from Jurado. He seized the opportunity, rushed forward, and pulled her to safety.

A collision of two semi-tractor/truck trailers on Interstate 80 between mile markers 420 and 409 pushed area fire and rescue teams into action Sept. 25. According to a Nebraska State Patrol news release, the driver of a semi rear-ended another causing the offending driver’s tractor to catch fire.

October

The 2019 Ashland-Greenwood Homecoming candidates are Mackenzie Mayer, Hannah Hatzenbuehler, Olivia Rogers, Rylie Powell, Faith Buck Gavin Bergsten, Bryce Kitrell, Grant Anderson, Seth Novak and Justin Book.

The Ashland-Greenwood softball team ended up playing just one time last week after an Oct. 1 triangular was cancelled and a weekend tournament in Yutan was rained out. The Bluejays were supposed to host a triangular with Conestoga and DC West/Concordia on Oct. 1, but the games were cancelled. As a result, the Jays didn’t play until Oct. 3 when they took on conference foe Fort Calhoun at home. The Bluejays scored six runs in the top of the first inning and cruised to a 14-4 win in six innings.

The Ashland-Greenwood Bluejay volleyball team snapped a brief two-game losing streak with a straight set win over the Class B Seward Bluejays at home on Oct. 28 to wrap up the regular season. The win moved the Jays record to 16-11 on the season. The Jays won by scores of 25-16, 25-19 and 25-21 last Thursday. AGHS hit .367 against Seward and piled up 40 kills.

After a lengthy discussion about staffing, particularly in the area of special education, the Ashland-Greenwood Board of Education approved a request to add a teacher and an administrator to the staff. During their meeting Oct. 24, the school board approved hiring a special education teacher for the middle school/high school that will start at the beginning of the second semester. The vote also included adding an assistant elementary principal to the staff for the 2020-2021 school year.

The community was very generous during the Boy Scout Halloween food drive this year. Over 540 pounds of food was collected for the community pantry. Scout Leader Greg Loubert and scouts Michael Rifner Jr. and Colton Baird-Halsey brought the food to Pantry Chairman Jean Stewart, who also received six boxes of food collected by the FBLA group from Ashland-Greenwood High School. The food was collected while they were trick or treating.

November

Two Ashland-Greenwood players were named to the 2019 Capitol Conference Softball Team. Bluejay junior infielder Camryn Ray was named the first team captain after a great year on the diamond for the 13-12 Class B Bluejays. Junior teammate Kiara Libal was also named to the first team. Libal hit .351, scored 27 runs and finished with seven doubles and a home run.

The Ashland 4-H Trap team has added four newly-certified 4-H level 1 shotgun instructors to the team. They are Assistant Coach Brad McClatchey of Greenwood, Assistant Coach Jeremy Mumm of Greenwood, Youth Coach Emerick Hegwood, Youth Coach Mallory Zeleny of Gretna, a freshman at Gretna High School and Youth Coach Janice Tejeda of Ashland, a sophomore at Ashland-Greenwood High School.

Hegwood, Zeleny and Tejeda join Ashland 4-H’s group of youth coaches that also includes Randy Koke, Christian Ray and Nathan Schulte. 4-H recognizes youth ages 14 to 20 who have met necessary training requirements as ap-

prentice instructors/leaders.

After working for the last 12 years out of her home, photographer Jada Scott has moved into a studio in historic downtown Ashland. Jada Scott Photography is now located at 1432 Silver Street, the former home of The Ashland Gazette’s office. The building is owned by the Ashland Area Chamber of Commerce and has housed many tenants over the years.

On Nov. 21 the Ashland City Council approved extending the city’s boundaries by annexing one large subdivision and several other parcels of land. The city council is annexing the Sabre Heights subdivision on Ashland’s west edge. This is a Sanitary Improvement District (SID) that was originally intended to become part of the city. The other parcels planned for annexation are located around the city on all four sides. Jeff Ray with JEO Consulting Group, the city engineer, said they worked with the council to decide which properties would be annexed in a way that allows for an orderly growth to the city.

December

Although thousands of visitors attended Ashland’s annual Hometown Christmas celebration, small town charm was still in ample evidence up and down Silver Street on Dec. 7 as children and families, singles and couples, young and old, busily attended the many events connected to the daylong celebration. This year, the mild December weather drew smiles not complaints from both organizers and participants.

A family known for growing vegetables is trying their hand at owning a golf course. Greg Heldt and his children, Chelsey Wenninghoff and Jerod Heldt, have purchased Country Drive Golf Course between Ashland and Yutan. The trio is known for growing vegetables and fruit for wholesale through their company, Heldt Produce.

Members of the 2019 Wahoo Newspaper All-Area offense from Ashland-Greenwood include Hunter Washburn, Blake Kobs, Cale Jacobsen and Bryce Kitrell. Bluejay Jacob Ludwig was named to the 2019 All-Area defensive team.

Ashland-Greenwood senior Saige Christo was named to the 2019 All-Area Volleyball Team.

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