Year in Review Part 1

WATERLOGGED: The Fan Center at Jack Anderson Ball Park was surrounded by water during the March flooding in Nebraska. (Staff Photo by Suzi Nelson)

ASHLAND – As the year comes to a close, we look back at the events that took place in Ashland, Greenwood and the surrounding areas.


The owners of KZValve, a company that creates ag and industrial products like water proof motorized valves, controllers and accessories, are expanding their business enterprise. They are building a new structure to help startup businesses develop.

The Ashland-Greenwood wrestling team hosted the Jack Murray Invitational on Jan. 4 at Ashland-Greenwood High School. Coach Dan Beranek and the Bluejays finished fifth at the home meet after scoring 74 team points.

The pursuit of a stolen car that began in Ashland and traveled through Ceresco ended in Lincoln Sunday night. Ryan Gray, 20, of Lincoln, led multiple law enforcement agencies on a chase as he drove a stolen black 2011 Buick Regal through two counties.

During the Ashland City Council meeting Jan. 15, Mayor Rick Grauerholz said 22 vehicles received warning tickets from the Ashland Police Department for parking violations during the snowfall on Jan. 11 and 12. Three of those vehicles were given tickets after they were not moved following the warning.


Science fair winners from the Ashland-Greenwood sixth grade science fair held Jan. 28 were Tristan Harms, Logan McVay, Justin Mills, Will Bergsten, Thomas Spears, Carver Konzem; Audrey Whitehead, Ellie Stein, Jaycee Fangmeyer, Kate Clark, Eboni Simpson and Alayna Olsen-Brown. The winners will go on to the 2019 Junior Science Academy of Nebraska Southeast Regional Science Fair on March 29.

Ashland American Legion Post 129 completed their annual fund drive for Youth Activities this week. Over $4,000 was raised by the raffle activity. The funds raised by the raffle are used throughout the year to support local youth activities such as Legion baseball, Post Prom, Boys State, Junior Law Cadet program, the ROC Youth Center, Boy Scouts, Sea Cadets, Ashland Public Library Summer Reading Program, the annual award to Outstanding Eighth Graders and the Ashland Junior Woman’s Club’s Fine Arts Program. In 2018 over $3,200 was spent to support the programs.

Five artworks produced by Ashland-Greenwood art students have received recognition in the 2019 Scholastic State Art Awards competition, presented by the Omaha Public Schools Art Department. Logan Bivens, sophomore, received a Gold Key in Drawing for artwork titled “Acidic Nightmare.” Sophomore Cleo Wills received a Silver Key in Drawing for her drawing, “This is America.” Raquel Garman, also a sophomore, received two awards. She won a Silver Key in Drawing for her drawing “Joker’s Throne” and Honorable Mention in Drawing for “Colorful Mess.” Senior Grace Powell received Honorable Mention in Painting for her self-portrait “Emery Chick.”

Dr. Amber Beckenhauer opened The Healthy Human at 1518 Silver Street in downtown Ashland on Feb. 12. It is a Direct Primary Care (DPC) clinic,.

The Ashland-Greenwood Speech Team received second place at the Capital Conference speech meet on Feb. 16 at Raymond Central High School. Both the Oral Interpretation of Drama (OID) piece by Riley Herring, Eva Kellogg, Nick Starns and Elandra Johnson and the Duet Acting performance by Alex Williams and Kiara Watson took home first place medals.


When it comes to high school band, there is no state tournament. The true mark of a champion comes when the band is selected to play at the Nebraska State Bandmasters Association (NSBA) annual convention in Lincoln. The Ashland-Greenwood band received that honor and performed on March 1 at Kimball Recital Hall on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus.

Ashland-Greenwood High School senior Becca Wilson signed a letter of intent on Friday to join the cheerleading squad at Peru State College.

Six Ashland-Greenwood Middle School Band students were selected to play in the 19th annual York Middle School Honor Band on March 16. Eighth graders Emely Chairez (flute), Emerson Lindley (flute), Princess McElroy (clarinet) and Dayna Wilson (percussion) will be joined by seventh graders Elliot Gossin (bass clarinet) and Derek Buller (tenor saxophone) for the rehearsal and public concert.

The Ashland area was among many parts of Nebraska that saw historic flooding that started March 14 and continued through March 24.

Examples of neighbor helping neighbor, community helping community and strangers helping strangers were plentiful as the Ashland area began cleaning up from the historic flooding.

Riverview Community Church served as the community’s main donation and distribution point for cleaning supplies, nonperishable food, household goods, paper goods and toiletries donated to people affected by the flooding.

Sophomore basketball player Kiara Libal was named to the Capitol Conference first team after scoring nearly 17 points a game for the Jays last season.


Five members of the Ashland-Greenwood High School Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) chapter qualified for the national competition in three events during the FBLA State Leadership Conference on April 6 in Omaha. They will compete this week at the FBLA National Leadership Conference in San Antonio, Texas.

A number of area basketball players earned Capitol Conference honors after outstanding seasons on the hardwood. Ashland-Greenwood freshman Cale Jacobsen was named to the Capitol Conference first team after leading the Bluejays to 18 wins on the hardwood. Jay senior Nick Schulz was named to the second team and teammates Jarrod Nafzinger (So.) and Bryce Kitrell (Jr.) earned honorable mention status.

The Ashland-Greenwood FFA chapter honoring its 90th anniversary with special displays and speakers during the annual banquet on April 25.

The exterior of a downtown Ashland building is being brought back to its original state by a third-generation mason who learned the craft at the hands of his father and grandfather. Alex Fangman of Fangman Masonry began working on the building on the corner of 14th and Silver streets last fall. The building houses Blooms Floral and Gifts and is owned by Kristen Dill.


A road crew from the Community Corrections Center-Lincoln (CCC-L) recently wrapped up its flood relief efforts at the Nebraska National Guard training site at Camp Ashland. Unfortunately, not all at the camp could be saved. Due to contamination, most items were destroyed, including brand new furniture, which ironically, had recently been built and delivered by CSI.

Liz Flynn officially joined Lutton Law Office in Ashland after being admitted to the bar to practice law in Nebraska last month.

Math teacher Jim Morhmann hung up his signature phrase “Don’t just memorize!” and the rap song he created to teach math fundamentals when he retired from Ashland-Greenwood Public Schools at the end of the school year.

Nolan Kasuske and Haley Lyons received the Ashland-Greenwood High School Senior Athlete of the Year Award at the Athletic Awards Night ceremony on May 15. Kasuske is a seven-sport letter winner who played football and basketball for four years and track and field for one year. Lyons also won seven sport letters during her high school career. She played basketball and was in track and field for four years and played volleyball for three years.

Drinking water access has been restored at Memphis State Recreation Area in Saunders County.The area had been without drinking water since 2018 because of groundwater conditions, and guests were asked to bring their own water. The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission worked with the Village of Memphis to restore drinking water to the 163-acre area.

Ashland-Greenwood sixth graders Ellie Stein, Jaycee Fangmeyer and Will Bergsten qualified for the Nebraska Junior Academy of Sciences State Science Fair by placing in the top six at the Southeast Regional Science Fair.


Piano students of Angelika Jerden of Ashland recently participated in music festivals. Ashland-Greenwood Elementary student Adriana Bordovsky participated in the Trophy Festival on April 27 at Strauss Performing Arts Center on the University of Nebraska at Omaha campus. She played the piano and received a perfect score “AAA” along with a special rosette for outstanding performance.

Three Ashland-Greenwood Public Schools students Rogan, Colton and Macee Cerveny competed at the Omaha District Festival on May 4, also at the Strauss Performing Arts Center. All three students received a superior rating and qualified for the Nebraska State Festival on Oct. 19.

The Nebraska School Activities Association announced the recipients of the Spring 2018-2019 Nebraska Chiropractic Physicians Association Academic All-State Awards. Ashland-Greenwood students earning recognition included Grant Anderson (baseball), Trey Comstock (Boys Golf), Rece Kissinger (Boys Golf), Zekeil Jackson (journalism), Olivia Rogers (journalism), Riley Herring (music), Halle Starns (music), Micah Judds (track and field), Bryce Kitrell (track and field), Sasha Chekulaieva (track and field) and Haley Lyons (track and field).

More than three months after floods hit the Ashland area, cleanup efforts are moving into the “Proactive Phase,” according to Michelle Powell, who is leading the local flood relief program for the community through Riverview Community Church.

During the June meeting of the Ashland-Greenwood Board of Education, Superintendent Jason Libal announced that Ashland-Greenwood Public Schools was abandoning plans to acquire property that includes the trailer court in order to build more facilities for the growing district.

AnnaLisa Estrela, the Agricultural Education Instructor at Ashland Greenwood Public Schools, was recognized as the 2019 Outstanding Teacher by the Nebraska Agricultural Educators Association (NAEA) at the NAEA Banquet held in Kearney on June 5 at the Nebraska Career Education Conference.

Ashland United Methodist Church won the annual contest to see which church could donate the most food to Kids Cupboard.

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