Thursday, December 24, 2015

Exeter-Milligan Junior-Senior High Christmas Concert

The Exeter-Milligan Junior High Choir performed first at Thursday evenings Junior-Senior High Christmas Concert.

The Exeter-Milligan Junior High and High School students presented their Christmas Concert on Thursday, December 17 in the Exeter Gymnasium.

Under the direction of Mrs. Angie Murphy the Junior High choir opened the concert with “Rocking’ On A Christmas Eve” before singing “Somewhere in My Memory.”

The Junior High Women’s Ensemble did an excellent job performing “All I Want for Christmas is You.”  The girls chose the song and practiced on their own.

The Jazz band performed a medley called “Mistletoe Magic” before the Senior High Women’s Ensemble sang “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” and “Anitphonal Deck the Halls,” accompanied by pianist Caitlin Murphy.

The ensemble was joined by Friends of Vocal to sing “Silver Bells.”

The Junior-Senior High Band were the final number at the concert performing “Christmas Pops Medley,” “Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!,” and finished with the audience participation on “Christmas Sing Along.”

 The Exeter-Milligan Junior High Women’s Ensemble from the left Cammie Harrison, Jaiden Papik, Georgia Meyer, Jacy Schlueter, Caitlin Murphy, Daisy Kanode, Anna Sluka and Kayla Geiger.

 The Exeter-Milligan Jazz Band performed at the Christmas Concert.

 Ashley Benorden sings a solo during "Do You Want to Build A Snowman?"

 Playing clarinet in the Exeter-Milligan band are from the left Ashley Benorden, Kaityln Vavra and Hannah Beethe.
The Exeter-Milligan Junior-Senior High band.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Exeter-Milligan Volleyball Trophy

More hardware for the Exeter-Milligan trophy cases.  The Volleyball trophy for the State Champion team is just waiting for engraving.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Exeter Public Library

Both photos– Exeter Public Library Director Jessica Votipka welcomes patrons at the downtown library.

Exeter has boasted a public library since 1910, starting with a gathering of 1,000 volumes which in 1915 was housed in the Yates Tailor Shop downtown.

These days, the Exeter Public Library is ensconced in a building built in 1974 to house both the library and the city offices.

Libraries, especially the one in Exeter, are no longer quiet stacks with a spinster librarian shushing patrons.  Exeter’s cheerful room includes lots of technology, fun activities for kids and a variety of options for adults as well.

Recently, through grants and donations, Exeter was able to revitalize the reading spaces of the library to bring them up to date.  The library board decided to go a step further and purchased furniture with built-in usb ports for charging electronics along with some updated computer equipment.

Libraries in this age are eager to keep up with the trends to stay relevant. Exeter Public Library Director Jessica Votipka explained, “Libraries across the board are offering a much greater variety of services – not just reading materials and movies. Off the top of my head, I can think of some Nebraska libraries that loan out cake pans, board games, video games – you’d be surprised. I’ve even heard of a library out-of-state that loans out power tools!”

While Votipka and her Library Board aren’t quite headed down the power tool aisle yet, they are keep tabs on what’s new in the service area.  Votipka belongs to several trade organizations including the American Library Association (ALA), the Nebraska Library Association (NLA), and the Association of Rural and Small Libraries (ARSL). “These groups offer wonderful resources for libraries big and small to keep up with the latest trends. I recently attended the NLA conference in Lincoln, which had some great sessions.”

Library Board Chair Becky Erdkamp agrees with the direction that Votipka is taking.  “We have to go beyond just books and videos.  Jessica is able to provide research and genealogy services.  There are a lot more services at the library than what first comes to mind.”

Maintaining accredited status also is a way for the library and the board to tap into a wonderful resource.  The Nebraska Library Commission offers educational opportunities for both the board and the librarian, “There is a lot more involved in librarianship and library governance than people think,” Votipka explained.  

Keeping the community involved can be a challenge in a small town. Votipka expressed her thoughts on this challenge, “A library is often a reflection of its community. We don’t want to gather moss, so to speak; we want – and need -- to continue to innovate and grow.”

Erdkamp added, “We are looking for ways we can stay relevant.  The way people are using the library is changing.  E-readers have changed libraries a lot and we are looking into those services.”

Exeter Public Library has embraced growing by investing in an AWE Early Learning Station that is just for the kids to use. Funded by grants and donations the computer has a child-friendly keyboard and learning games that are very attractive to kids.

To keep the young adult group interested, Votipka is investigating an idea she learned about at the NLA/NSLA conference involving QR codes on books which are linked to an online book trailer.   Votipka plans to continue her story hours similar to the “Fancy Nancy” and cowboy themes that were popular this year.  She hopes to implement a “One Book, One Exeter” program soon.

Erdkamp praised Votipka’s innovation, “Jessica is really good about sensing trends and has taken advantage of training opportunities whenever she can.”

Although the majority of the Exeter Public Library service is currently in books and movies Votipka is seeing more trends in what she referred to as the “maker movement.”  She explained, “basically, library maker spaces provide creative tools and other components that patrons might not have otherwise had access to. We do a bit of this already. I get folks coming in to do origami, duct tape crafts, bulletin board decorations, and similar things. We are having a new public event sometime in December called “Random Acts of Craftiness”, which will showcase our local “makers” and give visitors the opportunity to learn more about their crafts.

The library has added a Cricut machine to their technology wish list to help embrace the craft movement.  A Cricut machine allows a user to cut paper out in different shapes in all different sizes.

With the new lounge furniture in place the library is a great place to gather.  Once the cold weather sets in Votipka will set up a public puzzle for community members to stop by and work with.  Votipka is always happy to help patrons found a book that may not be in the new or best-seller racks, “We have a large collection that is certainly worth exploring,” she explained.

Votipka emphasized that one of the most important public services the library has to offer is the freedom of information, “One of the reasons our country is so awesome is that we have the rights to express ourselves and gather information, and libraries are essential to this. To take away the basic right of freedom of information – a core value of libraries -- is to throw out the foundation of our nation.”

When asked about the future plans for the Exeter Public Library Votipka mentioned that they always have the community in mind.  They are looking at giving Storybook Park a makeover which has been well supported in the community but right now progress will depend on what happens with the building next door which the village now owns. “We don’t want to do a lot of revamping until that gets taken care of.”

The library received funds from the Exeter Community Foundation for a new circulation desk that is scheduled for shipment in January.  The board, along, with Votipka, are planning an open house to show off the new look of the library once everything is in place. Votipka is pleased with the results so far, “All of the furniture has really freshened up our look, and now people have a comfortable place to read the newspaper or just hang out.”

Fun facts about Exeter Public Library:

Current building constructed in 1974 (with Village Office next door)
11,953 books, 195 audio units, 376 videos, 12 subscriptions (including local newspapers and a variety of magazines), and 20 puppets in the library’s collection.
283 registered borrowers
Circulation over 3,500
Hours are MWF 8 a.m. - noon, 1 p.m. – 5 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m. – noon.
Past library directors: Nina Bartu, Lana Kimble, Henrietta Harre
Current library board members: Becky Erdkamp, Sharon Dyer, Pat Mathiesen, Lynette R. Trauger, Rachel Vossler

Monday, December 21, 2015

Obituary: Roger Dean Johnson, Jr.

Roger Dean Johnson Jr. was born to Roger and Jane Suzanne Barkmeier Johnson on October 30th, 1961, at Friend, NE and passed away on December 15, 2015 at Warren Memorial Hospital in Friend, NE at the age of 54 years, 1 month and 15 days.  He was one of three children in the family.

Roger was baptized, confirmed, and married at St. Stephen’s Catholic Church.  After graduating in May of 1980, he went to Southeast Community College in Milford and graduated in March of 1982 with a Diesel Construction degree.

Roger married Lisa Volkmer on August 20, 1982 and to this marriage there were two children born, Jessica on December 19, 1985, and Keegan on March 3, 1989.  He joined the family farm after graduation and was a cattle feeder for several years.  He had lots of good hired men to help him with all the farming duties and thoroughly enjoyed working with them all.

On September 16, 2000, Roger married Margaret Koca and to them one child was born Elijah Johnson on November 12, 2001.  

Roger served on the St. Stephen Catholic Church Board, was a member of the Knights of Columbus and served as the secretary, and was an active Acolyte since 1988.  He enjoyed being on the altar with both of his sons.

Roger was a proud member of the Cordova Fire Department, since November of 1984 serving as a Vice President for several years, just couldn’t take the next step as President.

Roger was active in Boy Scouts as a youth, and later helped Keegan with his badges.

Roger was a member of the Exeter Feeder’s and Breeder’s from 1996 to 2007 and on their board of directors for eight years, secretary, vice president and President.

In Roger’s spare time, he loved working with wood and made several projects for his family, friends, and refinished lots of items for people.  In 2010, a new basement was put on at the house and he made sure he had room for an oak bar that he designed and crafted.     

Roger was also known as the “fix –it- guy.”  He was a “jack of all trades” and he would say “master of none.”  He pretty much could fix or repair most everything, if he couldn’t figure it out, duct tape, bailing wire, or his favorite, a vise grip, could hold a piece together so he could finish harvesting one year. His goal was always to be done before his birthday, and usually this goal was achieved.

He was blessed to have O positive blood type and able to donate 5 gallons of blood.   

An important goal on his bucket list was to learn how to scuba dive.  He mastered the task and received the green light.  He went to Puerto Rico, Cozumel Mexico, and was planning a trip this next year to another great unknown.  

He enjoyed spending time with his family and friends, doing numerous things from boating, fishing, golfing, skiing, hunting, sledding and enjoying a bowl of warm chili with Fritos, shredded mozzarella cheese, and sour cream,  watching movies, hanging out by his bar, going out to eat, visiting with neighbors, working on projects, grilling and smoking various types of meats.

Roger is survived by his wife of 15 years, Margaret of Exeter, NE, children Jessica & husband Joe Fehlhafer, Friend, NE, Keegan & Kathleen Johnson, Lincoln, NE and Elijah Johnson of Exeter, NE.  Parents, Roger and Jane Suzanne Johnson, Exeter, sisters and brothers-in-law, Shari & Bill Miller, Clay Center, NE and Cindy & Kent Manning, Fairmont, NE, nieces and nephews, Derek & Danielle Miller, Lincoln, NE, Shannon and Aaron Tebo, Robinson, TX, Tyler Manning, Lincoln, NE, Brooke Manning & Mitchell Manning, Fairmont, NE, one great nephew Miller Tebo, Robinson, TX. Parents-in-law Joe and Pat Koca, Exeter.  Sister-in-law Christine and David Michl, Friend, NE, brother-in-law Richard and Barb Koca, Fairmont, NE, Aunt Marilyn and Uncle Alvin Vyhnalek, Crete, NE, Aunt Sylvia Springer, Sun City, AZ, Great Aunt Eyvonne Johnson, Exeter, NE, numerous nieces and nephews, cousins, and friends.  

 Preceeded in death by grandparents Emory and Dagmar Johnson and Louis and Lucile Barkmeier, Uncle Dean Weber, Uncle George “Milo” Springer, Uncle Emory Allen Johnson, Uncle Lee and Aunt Shirley Zimmer, and Great Uncle Arden Johnson.