Saturday, April 16, 2011

First National Bank in Exeter Teaches Children to Save

First National Bank in Exeter joined a group of just three banks in Nebraska that have participated in the Teach Children to Save program for the fifteen years of it's existence.

Wednesday, Sharla Dinneen, representing the bank, visited both campuses of the Exeter-Milligan school with a message about saving.

To start, Dinneen passed out bags of 15 candies to each student instructing them that they could eat 13.  When she asked why only 13, they learned the concept of saving.

Dinneen also gave an example of saving from her own life, a mini bank she had made and decorated to help her meet a goal of a purchase.  She asked the kids to recall her topic from last year and they remembered recycling.  She showed how her saving bank was a recycled item. After talking briefly about how they can recycle and how the bank recycle Dinneen reminded them that, "I think about saving and recycling and I think both should be easy and enjoyable."

The students at Exeter (Kindergarten, first and second graders) had an opportunity to talk about some of their short term and long term savings goals were.  Many talked about electronic devices and toys, but college and cars were mention, too.

Dinneen emphasized the fact that, "Whether you are recycling or saving, we are all trying to do the same thing, which is save for the future."

To show the compounded effect of saving, Dinneen showed the kids a bag of 365 items, as if she had saved one per day. To encourage the students to do even more saving she compared it to a bag of 730 items and talked about how much money that would be if they saved $2.00 a day.

Dinneen encouraged the students to visit their local bank, start a savings account and start saving money.  She asked the students to sign a poster that will be displayed at First National Bank in Exeter and shared a treat with them before they returned to their classrooms.

 First National Bank in Exeter Employee Sharla Dinneen shares about saving with Exeter-Milligan students.

 Exeter-Milligan Kindergarteners get read to sign the poster from First National Bank in Exeter.

Exeter-Milligan First Graders sign the bank poster.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Milligan Resident Runs Marathons

John Zelenka running the Boston Marathon in 2009.

Getting ready to race Zelenka is picture with his son, Trevor, left, Dalton, right, and his running buddy, Randy Joe, far right in Iowa.

The number John Zelenka wore when competing in the Boston Marathon.

Medal John received after finishing the Boston Marathon.

John Zelenka finishing the Siouxland Lewis and Clark Marathon in Sioux City, Iowa in 2007.

John Zelenka running a marathon in Sioux City, Iowa with his boys cheering him on, far left is Trevor, Dalton in the middle.

The Zelenka's posed during the mini vacation in Boston before John ran the race.  Pictured back row John and Traci, front row, Dalton, left, Trevor, right.
Running isn't everyone's favorite form of exercise and certainly hasn't always been Milligan resident John Zelenka's. In fact he didn't start to run seriously,entering his first marathon, the Lincoln marathon until the age of 42.

“We ran the first one, me and a buddy and that’s all we were ever going to do. A couple weeks went by and the pain wasn’t so bad so we ran Lincoln again,” Zelenka recalls, “I had it in the back of my head, running the Boston Marathon and I realized I was only 30 minutes away from qualifying time.”

Growing up Zelenka remembers seeing the New York Marathon on television and being “amazed that someone could run 26 miles.”

He certainly didn’t set out to run marathons, “I started out just wanting to get in shape and stay in shape.” He spends his days working for the Village of Milligan as their Water Operator and doing village maintenance.
As the thought of marathon running grew in his mind he began seriously training for marathons, getting up early to run, running in the evenings after work and using the treadmill when the weather or the light weren’t agreeable. Right now he spends about 45 minutes a day training, running around six miles.

As he continued to train after running his first marathon in Lincoln in 2006, Zelenka realized that his time at the 2008 Little Rock Marathon, a Boston certified race, qualified him for the Boston Marathon. Qualification lasts for about a year and half so Zelenka registered for the April 2009 Boston Marathon.

Between 27,000 and 28,000 people run the Boston Marathon each year and Zelenka found the qualifying for the race to be more exciting than running the race, “The first six miles of Boston I had to watch the guy’s feet in front of me so I didn’t step on him.”

Participating in the race was still a thrill for Zelenka, especially the outcome. Zelenka likes to note that his time beat four-time Boston Marathon winner Bill Rogers who also ran in 2009 (don’t ask him about the age difference between them). Zelenka finished the Boston Marathon with a time of 3:42:38.

The students in his kids’ classes sent him cards, signed a Boston shirt for him and watched for him during the Boston race on the internet. That helped motivate him as well, “I knew I had to keep going because the kids were watching for me.”

“People talk about how tough Boston was but I think Lincoln is the toughest,” said Zelenka. He figures that since he is familiar with the route in Lincoln it seems further and more difficult than the other races he has run.
Zelenka decided to set an unofficial goal for himself, “To run one a year, to go to a different state every year and take the family. We make a mini vacation out of it. This year we will go to South Dakota in May.”

So far he, along with his friend Randy Joe, from Fairbury, have run in marathons in California, Nevada, Nebraska, Massachusetts, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Iowa, Kansas and North Dakota. Joe missed Massachusetts and Boston, but otherwise they have been running together from the first Lincoln event.
Zelenka has found that he enjoys the races with smaller numbers of entries. “We did Kansas last year with about 300 people. The people are friendlier in these type of races.”

Zelenka has the rest of the family running as well. His wife, Traci, ran the half-marathon in Lincoln along with their son, Dalton, an Exeter-Milligan eighth grader. Trevor, in fourth grade, has started running fun runs. Last December John and Traci ran in Las Vegas and made another mini-vacation out of the trip.

Zelenka encourages others to give running a try, “You’re never too old to do something - it’s easy to talk yourself out of something. You’ve gotta go try and do it, if you fail, you fail.”

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Exeter Teen Wins National American Miss Nebraska Junior Teen Title

Some of Deidre Stevens dreams came true when the Exeter-Milligan ninth grader was crowned the 2011 National American Miss Nebraska Junior Teen in just her second pageant.

Stevens, the daughter of Hope Androyna of Exeter and Chad Stevens of Lincoln, was crowned on Sunday, April 3rd at the Omaha event.

The competiton was a three day event with Stevens participating in the “casual wear” and the “Top Model” categories. She found this pageant “A great starting point. Everyone was so friendly and it was so geared toward family. We were still marked on our looks, but you have to be well spoken and have personal interviews.”

Keeping along the family friendly lines the girls competed in an evening wear competition, a personal introduction, an interview with the judges, and an opening dance number. Stevens cleaned up in the optional categories where she took first in Casual Wear and second in Top Model.

Casual Wear was an opportunity for Stevens to choose an outfit and then model it for the judges. She also wore the outfit for the Top Model category where she, a judge and a professional photographer had a photo shoot. She will receive a portfolio of photos from the photo shoot.

Stevens was thrilled to have her father escort her for the eveningwear competition in his dress blues on Saturday night. Sunday evening her nerves were buzzing as the group changed quickly into formal wear and the optional category winners were announced.

The evening began to wrap up as the first nine finalists were announced and then Stevens recalled “a really long speech before I was called as one of the top ten. I was thrilled to make my goal to be in the top ten. When my name was announced as the winner I knew at that moment my life would change forever. Everything paid off, it was everything I knew I could do and they picked me out of 66 great ladies.”

Stevens hopes to share what she has learned with the young girls in the community, “You can have a goal and can accomplish it. I’m a perfect example, starting out not knowing what is going on to winning the whole thing.”

She will spent the next year making appearances across the State but hopes to make an impact at home. “I hope to spend the year being a role model for young girls, to get out in the community more, to be a representative for Nebraska the best way I can.”

To start with she brought home a huge box of new stuffed animals and books all donated by the other pageant contestants that she will be distributing to an organization locally. She is also looking for other community service projects.

This pageant, according to the National American Miss organization is “dedicated to developing the success of young women across our nation with a program that is designed to be age-appropriate and family-oriented. Emphasis is placed on the importance of gaining self-confidence, learning new skills, learning good attitudes about competition, and setting and achieving personal goals.”

Stevens will be heading to the National Pageant, which will be held in Anaheim, California at Disneyland in November competing with our state winners for over $500,000 in cash and prizes.

Stevens also participates at Exeter-Milligan on the golf team, in FCCLA, the all school play, one act play, in band as a cheerleader. She is also a member of the Exeter American Legion Junior Auxiliary.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Scouts collect food to donate in Exeter and Milligan

Cordova Troop 359 and Cub Scout Pack 218 recently participated in the Scouting for Food event in conjunction with the Cornhusker Council.

Cub Scout Pack 218 distributed flyers all over Exeter and Milligan asking residents to leave donations on food out on Saturday morning.  The Pack and the Troop picked up the donations.  In total, 468 pounds of food were collected in the two villages.

The food was delivered to Blue Valley Community Action in Geneva for use in their food bank.

 Troop 359 Boy Scouts received a little help picking up the food Saturday morning.  Pictured from the left are Scout Jack Dinneen, Doug Thomsen and Scout Elliot Erdkamp.

 Boy Scouts from Troop 359, Jack Dinneen, right, and Elliot Erdkamp, left, are pictured next to part of the pile of food that was collected for the Scouting for Food event.

A pick-up load of food was collected by area Scouts and delivered to Blue Valley Community Action in Geneva.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

St. John's Youth Participate in Gathering of Talents

Music solos were performed at the Gathering of Talents by St. John's youth pictured from the left, Trystan, Jordyn and Peytan Brandt, and Ella Wilkins.

On Saturday, April 2, 2011, several youth from St. John’s Lutheran Church in Cordova, participated in a fine arts talent competition at Concordia University in Seward.  8th grader, Jordyn Brandt received a Superior rating for her flute and piano solos and a Superior rating for a pencil drawing. She also played piano accompaniment for the other soloists.  Sixth grader, Ella Wilkins, received a Superior rating for her flute and piano solos.  Sixth grader, Trystan Brandt, received a Superior rating for his trumpet solo and a Superior rating for a mixed media poster.  Fourth grader, Peytan Brandt, received a Superior rating for his piano solo and an Excellent rating for a wooden sculpture of a fort.  Fourth grader, Madalyn Woodburn, received a Superior rating for a 2D art entry.  Third grader, Sarah Casper, received a Superior rating for a 2D art entry, Third grader, Ryan Sharp, received an Excellent rating for a 2D art entry.  The sixth, seventh and eighth grade Sunday School class received a Superior rating for their performance of a Dramatic Skit.

The Gathering of the Talents is held annually for youth, up to 8th grade, attending Lutheran Churches and Schools.  Areas of competition include music, art, drama, dance, and creative writing.  Youth are judged by University students in their field.  The day concluded with an awards ceremony and concert.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Death Notice: Donald Kuska

 Donald E. Kuska, 97, a resident of Bettendorf, Iowa died on Thursday, April 7, 2011 at 
Trinity Bettendorf.
            A funeral service to celebrate his life will be held at 2:00 P.M. Tuesday, April 12, 2011
at Asbury United Methodist Church of Bettendorf where he was a longtime and faithful member.  
Visitation will be from 5:00 P.M. to 7:00 P.M. Monday at the McGinnis-Chambers Funeral Home
of Bettendorf where a Masonic service will be conducted at 7:00 P.M.  Additional visitation will
be held from 10:00 A.M. to 11:00 A.M. Thursday, April 14, 2011 at the Farmer Funeral Home 
in Milligan, Nebraska.  
A graveside service will follow at 11:30 A.M. at the National Bohemian Cemetery, Milligan.  
Memorials may be made to Asbury United Methodist Church, the Iowa Masonic Health Facility
of Bettendorf or the family for the great-grandchildren’s education.
            He was born June 12, 1915 in Fillmore County, Nebraska, the son of Emil Anton &
Katherine (Becwar) Kuska and was a graduate of the University of Nebraska.  On June 1, 1940,
he was united in marriage to Camille M. Conger in Lincoln, Nebraska.  She preceded him in death
on July 15, 2009.
            Don was employed as an engineer for the J.I. Case Company of Bettendorf from 1971 until
his retirement in 1983.  In earlier years, he was the Chief Engineer for the Oliver Corporation of South 
Bend, Indiana from 1950 to 1971.
            In addition to the church, he was a member of Hamilton Masonic Lodge, #664 of Bettendorf,
the Davenport Scottish Rite, the Hi-Twelve Club where he was past-president, the Society of Automotive
Engineers and the American Society of Agricultural engineers where he received an award for 75 years
of membership.
            Those left to honor his memory include his daughter, Cindy Buchman of Bettendorf; his grandchildren,
Dominick Marcott, Danielle (Brian) Temple, Aaron (Heather) Buchman and Jennifer Buchman; his 
great-grandchildren, Adelynn & Avery Temple, Charlie Camille Buchman and Kira & Maximus 
Marcott; along with other relatives and many wonderful friends.
            In addition to his wife, Don was preceded in death by his daughter, Sherry Potenzo
in 1990 and his brothers, Melvin and William.