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Blakely Janata

Three-year-old Blakely Janata, of Humphrey, points something out to her mother, Stacey, on Friday in downtown Columbus at Frankfort Square. Blakely was diagnosed with Down syndrome the day after her birth.

1. "Humphrey toddler with down syndrome overcomes obstacles; set to have picture featured in Times Square" (Sept. 7)

Blakely Janata’s face lights up a room with her big, vibrant smile and cheerful demeanor.

In just a week, that same face will shine in the heart of New York City during the National Down Syndrome Society’s (NDDS) annual Times Square Video presentation. The presentation kicks off Down Syndrome Awareness Month on Sept. 14, the morning of the society’s Buddy Walk that weaves through Central Park.

The 3-year-old Humphrey resident is one of about 500 children having their picture shown during the Times Square Video presentation. She and the others represented in the video were selected from a pool of more than 3,000 entries, according to information provided by the NDDS.

Read the full story, here: https://bit.ly/2lET7c4

2. "Living the good life: Leffers loves her blended family, career, giving back and occasionally Taco Bell" (Sept. 7)

It doesn’t matter what exactly longtime Columbus resident Jessica Leffers is doing as long as she’s with her family or friends. Even something as simple as a Taco Bell run with a loved one makes her happy.

Actually, trips to the fast-food restaurant that serves a variety of Mexican-inspired foods has become somewhat of a tradition for her and her husband, John, by accident. They weren’t feeling the best the night of their first wedding anniversary 14 years ago, so they decided to go pick up some comfort food and keep things simple.

“I think I ordered Taco Supreme tacos and John had, more than likely, a burrito of some sort,” Leffers recalled. “Every year after that we did Taco Bell just as a joke. We laugh about it now.”

Read the full story, here: https://bit.ly/2kDdQgb

3. "Eagles Club working its way back from tough times with new management, offerings" (Sept. 6)

The Columbus Fraternal Order of Eagles #1834 has a history that dates back to 1909 and has been an integral part of the development and tradition of the city. But, in the early part of this year, things weren’t looking too good.

Concerns about funding and a lack of bookings for the club’s ballroom led to outside help being appointed to help get the organization back on track.

“At the state level, we do a cursory survey,” said Dennis Micek, a member of the Columbus Eagles Club and secretary for the Nebraska State Fraternal Order of Eagles. “If that cursory survey has some red flags that show up, they call in an out-of-state agent. Columbus has an out-of-state agent that’s working with us. He comes in to assist clubs to get back on their feet.”

Read the full story, here: https://bit.ly/2lHZF9J

4. "How to help your kids find focus" (Sept. 7)

The school year has already begun which means the slew of after-school activities and homework assignments has returned. Creating a permanent, designated study space is one way to build your youth’s focus. Here are a few items to keep in mind when creating the study space:

Make It Work For You – Every youth is different and has different needs. Some prefer a quiet corner in their room while others may prefer to be close to a parent for help at the kitchen table. Just make sure that the traffic and noise of other family members do not become a distraction.

Manage the Senses – Lighting and noise issues are very common distractions. Tired eyes have more difficulty transferring knowledge into memory. To keep sharp, make sure to provide adequate overhead lighting to limit squinting. Also, check that electronic devices like laptops and tablets are set at a comfortable level.

Read the full column, here: https://bit.ly/2kAXDbi

5. "Discoverers bash Bulldogs in 40-14 road win" (Sept. 6)

Columbus High's big play ability and fourth-down defense proved to be the difference in Friday's 40-14 road win at North Platte.

The Bulldogs out gained the Discoverers on the ground 307-288, held the ball for almost 11 minutes more and ran 21 more plays, but when it came down to big plays and big moments, Columbus was just better.

CHS had five plays of more than 20 yards, returned a punt 82 yards for a touchdown and came up with stops on four North Platte fourth-down attempts. Perhaps the most critical of those was the first when the Bulldogs held the ball for over 7 and 1/2 minutes of the first quarter but came away empty.

Read the full story, here: https://bit.ly/2kqCjp0

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