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COLUMBUS — Another year is coming to a close.

Over the past 12 months national headlines included the inauguration of President Donald Trump, a hurricane season that caused catastrophic damage, the first total solar eclipse from coast to coast in nearly a century, wildfires that swept across Northern California and sexual harassment accusations against men in entertainment, media and politics.

Locally, here are some of the most-read stories from 2017, according to views on The Telegram’s website.

What it means to be a Schuyler Warrior

Schuyler Community Schools Activities Director Jim Kasik wrote this editorial about the challenges faced by student-athletes, coaches and fans who attend district sporting events.

Kasik, a graduate of Schuyler High School, said athletes face racism, including being called names and getting spit on by opponents. Coaches, he said, are overseeing teams that in many cases don’t have the experience, skill level or resources to compete with many of their opponents.

“Our kids do not want your pity, they do not want you to take it easy on us, they do not want any apologies. All we want is for you to have a little perspective on what it is like to be a parent, coach and student in our district. Walk a mile in our shoes and you may think a little more before you act and you may think about what example you are setting for others to see,” Kasik wrote in the piece that was printed in May and was the most-viewed story of 2017.

'Bike lady' leaves big family behind

In April, a familiar face in the community died. Pat Steiner, who was known as “the bike lady” for traveling everywhere in town on her bicycle, was killed April 17 after being struck by a vehicle while riding her bike along Eighth Street.

Steiner was often at community celebrations, school activities and public get-togethers.

“She loved her community and she loved being a part of it,” said Steiner’s niece Laura Engquist, who considers the people of Columbus part of her aunt’s extended family.

Local restaurant has 'super' new space

The reopening of a Columbus restaurant in a new location brought a lot of interest to readers. Super Buffet Chinese Restaurant and Sushi (formerly Super China Buffet) opened at 4306 23rd St. in July.

The business was forced to leave its former location at 2806 23rd St. after the property was purchased by Norfolk-based Swanson Properties for an expansion project at Columbus Motor Co. After several months and several thousand dollars, the new location was renovated and ready to use.

Local couple buys former Schweser's building

The closure of Schweser’s, which opened in town in 1929, left a void in downtown Columbus last year. The more than century-old building the store occupied was vacant for almost 18 months until the property was purchased by Rob and Tracy Gasper for $85,000.

The couple plans to develop the 11,750-square-foot building into a special occasion and banquet event center. They are in the midst of renovating the building and have said they are going to maintain its historical character.

“It’s one of the most architecturally beautiful buildings downtown,” Rob Gasper said.

Columbus woman accused of mailing drugs to jail

A greeting card sent to the county jail got an 18-year-old in some hot water.

In February, Rachel Hayward was released on bond after being jailed on suspicion that she mailed a greeting card containing meth and a prescription drug to her incarcerated boyfriend. She was arrested for two counts of distribution of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Hayward was later sentenced to a year in jail and 12 months of post-release supervision after being convicted of attempted delivery of a controlled substance to the Platte County Detention Facility.

Schuyler ends five-year losing streak

Schuyler Central High School’s football team finally got to celebrate a win, snapping a 45-game losing streak.

The victory came in the last game of the season Oct. 20 against South Sioux City. The Warriors came away with a nail-biting 21-18 victory.

The winless drought was the second-longest active streak in the state and longest in 11-man football.

The band, cheerleaders, students and fans rushed the field to celebrate the victory.

“To me, it is about these kids. There is nothing more that I wanted for these kids than this moment right here because they worked so hard,” Schuyler head coach Aaron Thumann said.

Wessel receives special recognition from Junior Blues

A local mother battling lung cancer was honored at American Legion Baseball Fan Appreciation Day by throwing out the first pitch for a Junior Blues game in May.

Amanda (Wessel) Kudron threw to her son Tyler, a member of the team. She was considered the team's No. 1 fan and never missed a game until her health began to deteriorate. The mother of four received flowers from each of the Junior Blues players and coaches.

She passed away days later on June 1 at the age of 36.

Official: Thousands of fish killed in canal

Thousands of fish died in the Loup Power Canal after water flow from the Loup River was shut off in July.

New rules outlined by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) forced Loup Public Power District to stop diverting water from the Loup River into its power canal. One regulation required the utility to stop the water diversion when the water temperature in the Platte River reaches 93 degrees at the Louisville gauge because of concerns over the diversion's effect on protected species.

FERC issued a temporary waiver on July 17 allowing water flow to resume after nearly two days of diversion.

Off the field, Armstrong connected with Columbus

In March, former Nebraska quarterback Tommy Armstrong Jr. returned to Columbus, a city that served as a hideaway whenever he needed a break from the spotlight. He often came to town for fishing and boating, or to meet up with his friend and local resident Saul Soltero, who Armstrong met through former Husker Jeremiah Sirles.

This visit was a bit more public than others as Armstrong held an autograph session at Hy-Vee, where he met with fans young and old.

Schlesinger enjoying life after football

Cory Schlesinger retried from football in 2007 after a 12-year career in the NFL. The Duncan native and Husker standout made a transition from the football field to the classroom as an industrial arts teacher at Allen Park High School near Detroit.

Charity work is also a focus for the Columbus High School graduate. He and current and former Detroit Lions players raise money for police and fire departments and schools in Michigan. He makes it back to his home state each year.

"It’s always fun, going to Nebraska is still always high on our list because it’s Nebraska. If you didn’t grow up there you wouldn’t know why people want to go back there, but it’s still always going to be home no matter what,” Schlesinger said.

Is that my car on fire?

A call over the scanner alerted Telegram Editor Tyler Ellyson to a blazing situation right outside the office on an early January morning.

Firefighters were called to the scene at 12th Street and 28th Avenue. Ellyson checked out the situation to discover the emergency was one of personal nature for him. His 2002 Chevrolet Impala was on fire.

Typically, those in the newspaper business aren’t used to reporting about themselves, but that is what Ellyson did after watching his wheels go up in flames. Seven firefighters put out the blaze and no damage was done to any buildings.

Say hello to Tayden, Tyce and Tierani

A David City couple welcomed three to their family when triplets Tayden, Tyce and Tierani were born Jan. 11 to Traci and Tahner Thiem.

It was the first time in 10 years that the staff at Methodist Women’s Hospital saw triplets that didn’t spend time in the neonatal intensive care unit after they were born.


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