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Primary features commissioner races

Updated March 11

Editor's note: The March 8 print edition of the Schuyler Sun had some incorrect information regarding candidates in some races. They are corrected below.

Second District County Commissioner Gil Wigington will have a challenger in the May 15 primary election on the Republican ticket. Before the March 1 deadline, Gene Novak and Carl E. Grotelueschen of Schuyler filed on the Republican ticket. The winner of the primary will face Paul A. Mefford, the only Democratic candidate, barring any petition or write-in entries.

In District 3, incumbent Jerry Heard of Howells, in his third term, will face Republicans Jim Mejstrik and Lumir Jedlicka of Schuyler. The primary election is May 15. The general election is November 6.

County Surveyor Marvin L. Svoboda, an incumbent, is unchallenged in his re-election bid. 

County Attorney Denise Kracl, Democrat, will seek re-election, as will County Sheriff Paul Kruse, a Republican. Other elected county officials who filed for re-election are County Clerk Rita Mundil, Republican; District Court Clerk Mary Kay Bailey, Republican; County Treasurer Janis Kasik, Democrat; County Assessor Viola Bender, Democrat.

City and school races

The races for school boards and city government position are non-partisan. If filings fall short of the number required for a runoff, races will not be included on the ballot and will proceed to the general election. For example, if a board had three seats open, there would need to be seven candidates filed in order for the race to be placed on the primary ballot.

The primary will not have any city races on the ballot. Jon Knutson, councilman in the Third District, is unchallenged in his bid to replace 20-year Mayor David Reinecke, who opted not to seek another term.

Three Schuyler City Council incumbents are unchallenged: Alden Kment, First Ward; Antonio Rodriguez, Second Ward, and Daryl Holmberg, Third Ward.

The Clarkson City Council has two open seats and two candidates: Gary Ullery, and Diane Uher.

Three Schuyler Community School board incumbents - Holly Hild and Brian Vavricek and Richard A. Brabec - are unchallenged.

Clarkson School District #58 has one incumbent board member running for re-election, Robert Brabec, who is joined by newcomers Jerry Indra and Rhonda Hanel.

Howells/Dodge school board has one incumbent running for 2018, Jason Kreikemeier.

Four seats are up for re-election in Leigh Public Schools with Ryan Hoffman, Julie McMullin and Jason Mullenhoff filing as incumbents, and they were joined by Chris Kurpgeweit, Nathan Higby.

Dear Edwina to advice Schuyler

Edwina Spoonapple comes from a very talented family. Her brother, Joe, is a prolific pianist, and Katie, Edwina’s younger sister is a math prodigy. All of these gifts leave Edwina feeling like the odd girl out.

After finding a need her neighborhood friends have of life advice, the inquirers send Edwina letters in a ‘Dear Annie’ fashion. In an attempt to help out those in need the best way she can, Edwina hosts weekly musicals in her garage that feature the letters seeking counsel.

Love is found and lost, questions are answered and friendships are bound through the musicals, leaving everyone involved feeling a sense of ease.

Edwina and her quests will be shown in musical form through Schuyler Central High School’s first musical of the season, “Dear Edwina” which is set to premiere Friday, March 16 in the east gym.

Junior Chloe Beltrand will be portraying Edwina in the spring musical. Although this is not Beltrand’s first role as lead in a musical, she is excited for the performance.

“It’s amazing to watch everything get put together and have all of us working together to make a good show,” Beltrand said.

Edwina’s “professional” pianist of a brother, Joe, will be played by freshman Dylan Tipper. His role as the musical savant is helping him to realize a dream of his own.

“There is a lot of singing in this,” Tippary said. “But that’s fine with me. I want to be a professional singer when I’m out of high school.”

Assistant Director Karen Tschida said ‘Dear Edwina’ is a beneficial show for all ages.

“Dear Edwina is an advice-giving family friendly show,” Tschida said. “The theme is to never give up on your dreams and goals. It’s a good message for everyone. The cast and crew have worked hard to make this show a success… in adverse weather conditions to assemble to garage-looking stage.”

The cast and crew are: Chloe Beltrand, Kasey Brabec, Eric Hernandez, Astrid Mejia, Brayden Rocha, Maria Semerad, Jessica Sorsen, Dylan Tippary and Alexis Wilch. The directors are Chrissi Bywater, Morgan Semerad and Karen Tschida.

“Dear Edwina” premieres Friday, March 16 at 7 p.m. and run Saturday March 17 at 7:30 and Sunday March 18 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Adult tickets are $5 and school-aged students are $4. Children 4 and under are free.

SCHS speech team prepares for districts

The Schuyler Central High School speech team held a showcase for team members' families Monday night to show off the team's hard work and progress this season.

Four coaches and volunteer judges offered guidance during performances  in the school’s new addition. The showcase simulated the competition the students will face at the District B-4 speech competition on Monday, March 12 at Lakeview. 

SCHS English teacher Melanie Gustafson started the evening by introducing each member of the team. 

“We’ve had an active team this year and the kids have all worked so hard,” Gustafson said. “Most of them have written their own pieces and several of our students have medaled in competitions several times.”

Eighteen students will compete at districts, an event that is open to the public. Seating is limited since competition is held in classrooms. Once the door closes for a performance, admission is not allowed.

Performances ranged from the humorous to more serious topics of society. Such was the extemporaneous speaking event written by Jessica Soresen on private versus congressional gun control. Soresen produced a riveting challenge to the gun control issues that have recently surfaced.

Junior Kasey Brabec performed a piece of a lighter note called, ‘Gotta Get Brad Back’. The performance followed the story of two boys, Andy and Brad, who were at one time best friends. Time and growth eventually took their toll on the friendship, leaving Andy to wonder how to amend this situation: and ultimately get Brad back.

A harrowing encounter on Craigslist offered Andy the option to just move on and see what the future holds for his relationship with Brad.

Freshman Brenda Lara-Romo recounted the story of the lengths a mother will go to protect her son. In ‘The Good Mother’, Romo versed the life of a mother whose son was molested by a babysitter. Finding no other way of retribution, the mother took matters in her own hands. The mother murdered the molester and his wife, which in turn meant the mother lost her freedom. The remainder of her days were carried out in a mental asylum, where she was left to miss her beloved son and fear for the hope of her freedom.

Maria Mendez talked about her first year of competition.

“I’m going to be doing a serious prose for the competition called ‘Ribbons’,” Mendez said. “It’s about a daughter whose mother has breast cancer. I really like the speech team and have been working on ‘Ribbons’ since about January or so. At first I thought it was really fun to be around my friends all the time, but now I also really like the competitive feel of speech season.”

The team has had plenty of practice performing their pieces in front of judges. The showcase was meant to not only show their parents and the community the fruits of their labor, but to also gain more expert advice from their teachers.  The District B-4 meet starts at 9 a.m. Monday, March 12 at Lakeview High School. The NSAA Class B Speech Championships are set for Thursday, March 22 at the University of Nebraska at Kearney.

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ESU 7 students see world through goggles

COLUMBUS--Since early January, students within Educational Service Unit 7 have traveled around the world through their studies.

The students have been exploring far beyond their textbooks.

ESU 7 used a $4,000 technology bond to purchase 10 sets of virtual reality goggles. Technology Integration Coordinator Otis Pierce was the test pilot for the new technology after seeing them in use at the National Career Technical conference in Nashville last winter.

“I took this picture of the main lobby at the conference with the Ricoh Theta camera,” Pierce said. “You can take a photo and it shows the 360 degree tour of where you are.”

Pierce toggled his photo in different directions, then expanded the view.

“You can see now that the photo is very circular,” he said. “But you can also stretch it out to a panoramic view.”

The imagery is the same used for Google Street View. ESU 7 is using Google Expeditions to show students various slices of life - nearly 600 different virtual tours in all. The application is available to all android and iOS users.

Each of the ten virtual reality goggles comes with the application.

Students can explore arts and culture, landscapes, science, environment, the world today, careers and colleges. The device allows participants to experience and see different worlds they may not have the opportunity to enjoy in real life.

Pierce is one of the first employees at ESU7 to test out new technology for the schools. In fact, that’s only one part of his job.

“What I do is help teachers integrate technology in the classroom,” he said. 

The process of the Google Expedition and the goggles is simply remarkable. The instructor guides a tour for the class on the Acer tablet. A script is available for the teacher to read to the fellow travelers. Eye-mapping sensors detect where the students’ eyes are more heavily focused. A smiley face shows where this activity is most heavily centralized.

The teacher can then attract attention through the Acer to where focus should be paid.

Museums, Presidential libraries, mythical lands and even settings from literature are just some of the places Google Expedition has been able to take ESU 7 students.

“The effect is similar to seeing an IMAX movie,” Pierce said. “It’s a lot of fun to see the kids walking around with the goggles. I never get tired of hearing the ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’.”

Google Expedition also offers another important tool.

“There are expeditions we can create for new students to take a virtual tour of the schools,” Pierce said. “Also students with special needs can use that same focus and we can have it to where there are no people in the hallways to make them more comfortable.”

Nineteen school districts in seven counties, through ESU7, have access to the kit. The kit comes with a Ricoh Theta camera, an Acer tablet for the instructor, and ten Aces devices to be viewed through the ten virtual reality goggles.

“Its basically a phone without the SD card,” Pierce explained.

“The kids are all really excited about all of this,” he said. “The possibilities are endless. Not only are the kids going and exploring, they’re realizing their potential - which has no end.”