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Photo by Creative Images

Commitment to Service the Hefti Family

• Columbus Days! • Shop Local for Back to School • Boy Scout Adventures

A Note from your Content Coordinator...

expert contributors


Steve Simmons Air Comfort Heating & Cooling 402-564-2255


Annette Alt Annette Alt State Farm 402-564-8581


Damon Vogt - Owner Dave Johnson & Craig Whitmore 402-564-5588

Hello Columbus! It is hard to believe that August has arrived and school will be starting for most students over the next coming weeks. I don’t know about you, but I am not ready! This August issue is bursting at the seams with great families, expert guidance on a wide variety of things, and a can’t-miss adventure with the Boy Scouts. I also have the pleasure of introducing you to the Hefti family, who’s dedication to the service of others is something we can all strive for. Don’t miss the fun of Columbus Days beginning August 18th! The community will definitely be buzzing with all the fun they have planned for us!


Columbus Physical Therapy, PC 402-564-5456


Kimberly Harm, PhD, APRN-NP 402-276-0294


HOME Real Estate 402-563-4663


Rick Tate & Zach Tate Drain Surgeon & DS Pumping Services 402-563-2213 & 402-564-5048


Andrea Kuhl, Content Coordinator

Columbus Community Hospital 402-564-7118


The Heritage at Meridian Gardens Rachelle Congdon 402-564-6300

Publication Team


Important Phone Numbers:

Publisher: Kelcie Keeling Content Coordinator: Andrea Kuhl Designer: Jody Zipp Contributing Photographer: Creative Images Content Contributors: John Schueth, Nick Larson, Amanda Polacek, Rachelle Congdon, Scott Vancura, Kelly Feehan, Suzi Zwick, Maddie Hogeland, Jason Breed, and Kaylen Biltoft

Contact: Kelcie Keeling 402-250-7606

Emergency .................................................................................... 911 Police Department ................................................. 402-564-3201 Fire Department ..................................................... 402-564-8129 City Clerk’s Office .................................................... 402-562-4224 Crime Stoppers ....................................................... 402-563-4000 Library ........................................................................ 402-564-7116 Park Maintenance ................................................... 402-562-4271 Animal Control ........................................................ 402-564-8839 Central Community College ............................... 402-564-7132 Columbus Christian School ................................ 402-562-6470 Columbus Public Schools .................................... 402-563-7000 Immanuel Lutheran Church and School ........ 402-564-0502 Scotus Central Catholic Jr/Sr High Schools ... 402-564-7165 Lakeview Community Schools .......................... 402-564-8518

Proud member of the Columbus Chamber of Commerce.



Submission Deadline: Content due on the 15th of each month.

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in Yankton, where she is majoring in elementary education, as well as working at Bomgaars. Landon will be a senior at Scotus Central Catholic where he is active in football and wrestling. He also works at A&A Landscaping. Callie and Amy are active blood donors and School Enrichment Superintendents at the Platte County Fair. Amy, Callie and Landon also love to find the opportunity to help with the summer reading program at the Columbus Public Library. The entire family loves pitching in and helping with activities and events at the Columbus Police and Fire Stations.

Commitment to Service The Hefti Family

By Andrea Kuhl To say that the Hefti family is grounded in a culture of service would be a vast understatement. Dean and Ann, along with their three daughters and their families have moved through the world focusing on helping others. Their commitment to respecting everyone they meet, putting others before themselves, and pulling together to help those in need, whatever that need may be, has helped to shape a family committed to the service of others. Dean and Ann Hefti were both born and raised here in Columbus. Dean graduated from Columbus High School in 1965 where he was a member of the 1965 Championship football team. He joined the Fire Department in 1974 and became an EMT shortly after that. He has served the community as the Columbus Fire Chief for the past 25 years and will be retiring this coming January. When he is not busy with the Fire Department, Dean loves the opportunity to drive the Activities bus for Columbus High School and Scotus Central Catholic. He is also an instructor for Operation LifeSaver Inc., and Rail Safety for Emergency Responders. Ann graduated from Scotus Central Catholic in 1966 and went on to nursing school in Omaha, graduating in 1967. She began working at St. Mary’s Hospital (now Columbus Community Hospital) in 1967 and is still there, working as a Maternal Child Health Care nurse. Ann plans to retire in October, after 50 years of service for the hospital. In 1995, Ann became a licensed EMT and has been and CPR Instructor for the American Heart Association for the past 46 years. Next year, Dean and Ann will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary and are planning a big trip to celebrate with their three daughters, Jodi, Jill and Amy and their families. In their free time, Dean likes to do model railroading, reading and messing around at his



building, while Ann enjoys reading cooking and walking Jodi’s dog Eddie. They love quiet evenings on their back deck. Amy and her husband Doug Sokol were Scotus Central Catholic sweethearts and always knew that they wanted to raise their family in Columbus. Amy began teaching at St. Anthony’s School twentysix years ago, after earning a double major from the College of St. Mary’s in Early Childhood and Elementary Education. This fall she will transition full time to the position of Principal at St. Anthony’s. She is also the Assistant Cross Country coach at Scotus. Doug works for NE Treeworks and always finds time to help out family and friends when needed. Amy and Doug are busy raising two children, Callie and Landon. Callie will be a senior this fall at Mount Marty College

Jill and her husband Jason Breed, have moved out of Nebraska, but know that they and their three children are true Nebraskans at heart. While they have lived in Omaha, Naples, Florida and currently Castle Rock, Colorado, coming home every summer is the highlight of each year. After graduating from Scotus in 1989, Jill headed to the College of St. Mary’s in Omaha and earned her BSN in 1993 followed by her MSN as a Family Nurse Practitioner from the University of Nebraska Medical Center in 1996. She became a volunteer firefighter and paramedic for the Gretna Volunteer Fire Department. While she was there she started and carried out the transition of Gretna Fire and Rescue medical service from BLS to ALS. She and Jason met on a blind date, set up by Jason’s mother in 1996, and were married just eighteen months later. Jason graduated from Benson High School in Omaha and received his BA in Business and Marketing from Coastal Carolina University in South Carolina in 1994. Today, he works for IBM as the lead in Digital and Cognitive Transformation for clients in the service division. He has also built and led the social business practice globally as a key growth initiative across IBM. Jill works

for Healthfit Family Medicine in Castle Rock, Colorado as a boardcertified Family Nurse Practitioner. The couple has three growing children: Luke, Zackery, and Sarah. Luke will be a senior at Castle View High School. He is a lacrosse goalie, honor student and engaged in youth volunteer work. He loves to find time to fish and hunt. The

University of Nebraska-Lincoln is on his short list of colleges for the fall of 2018. Zackery will be a freshman at Castle View High School and is active in football and lacrosse. He loves creating and inventing things out of common household items. He also enjoys photography, rock collecting, competitive shooting, and hunting. Sarah will be a fifth-grader at Renaissance Magnet Elementary School and plays lacrosse and softball. She enjoys reading, baking, and craft projects. The family loves the Colorado outdoors and the opportunity for both snow skiing and watersports. In 2016, Jason and Jill founded Digital Futures Initiative (DFi), a national non-profit organization that focuses on teaching digital life skills to students and parents in an effort to keep kids safe online. DFi taught over twenty thousand students and three thousand parents over the course the last school year and are on-course to teach over five hundred thousand students in classrooms across the country this year, including students right here in Columbus. Jodi Hefti graduated from Scotus in 1994 and has been a licensed EMT and American Red Cross CPR and First Aid Instructor since 1995. She began working for the Columbus Police Department in 1997 as a Communications Specialist and has been a Police Officer since 2000.

Continue Reading on Page 6 COLUMBUS NEIGHBORS AUGUST 2017


Scotus Dinner to Feature

Secretary Chuck Hagel ‘64

Non-Profit Spotlight

By John Schueth Chuck Hagel ‘64 is a long-time supporter of his alma mater and has frequently attributed his achievements in life to the years he spent at our school, known then as St. Bonaventure High School. Last spring, Scotus Central Catholic officials asked Mr. Hagel if he would consider helping the school with a unique fundraising event and at the same time allow the school to recognize one of its most prominent graduates, Vietnam War veteran, successful businessman, United States Senator representing Nebraska (1997-2009), and 24th United States Secretary of Defense (2013-2015).

Continued from Page 5 She is the School Resource Officer for thirteen Columbus-area schools, as well as a DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education), GREAT (Gang Resistance Education and Training), and DFi Instructor. She has written several grants for the Columbus Fire Department that awarded the city with the financing to purchase a UTV, Fire Burn Trailer, Fire Prevention Trailer, Aerial Fire Truck, as well as a grant for more paid fire personnel. She still holds her dispatch certifications and helps out in dispatch when needed. She donates blood whenever she is able, and volunteers for Sammy’s Superheroes on projects, as well as at the fire department, police department and for St. Anthony’s. Jodi enjoys baking and mowing her lawn and washing cars.

With great enthusiasm, Secretary Hagel has agreed to speak to the Scotus student body in an assembly the afternoon of Friday, September 22nd; and later that evening he will be the guest speaker at a fundraising dinner in the Scotus cafeteria.

The family loves spending time at the family cabin on Brandenburgh Lake. When the three girls were little, Dean and Ann gave them the

option of leasing a lot on the lake or going on family vacations. They chose the lake. Dean and Ann leased the lot for the family in 1982 and started building the cabin together as a family. They have the opportunity to enjoy the sun, swimming, boating, four-wheeling, golf-cart rides, jumping on the trampoline, bonfires, fireworks and most-importantly, family time. The cabin serves as the perfect spot for the family to regroup and enjoy countless hours of laughter and fun.

The September 22nd dinner event’s goal is to raise funding to repurpose an area in the school into a new Chuck Hagel STEAM Lab/Maker Space. A STEAM Lab/Maker Space has been a long-term wish list goal of Scotus--STEAM is an acronym for (Science–Technology–Engineering– Arts–Mathematics.) Students in a STEM program receive a sound education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics; but with the addition of the Arts in the STEAM program, students are allowed to experience the processes of creativity,

ingenuity and innovation that the arts provides. And along with the Catholic, faith-based education that is part of the entire curriculum, Scotus students using the STEAM lab will be better prepared to take on leadership roles in the established and emerging careers of our society. This new lab will feature equipment such as: 3-D printing, robotics, graphic design, white boards, computers, video production, audio production, and a variety of material and experimental supplies. More importantly, the Chuck Hagel STEAM Lab will provide a “maker space” that will inspire students to integrative learning in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics; and to use these subject areas to foster inquiry, critical and innovative thinking, hands-on construction and testing of models and working together to solve problems. “Academic excellence has long been a trademark of Scotus Central Catholic. The world of education continues to change and technology is the driving force for that change. The creation of a STEAM lab will allow our students to get hands on experience and create opportunities for innovation and creativity. Please consider supporting the creation of this lab and make an investment in our students.” -- Jeff Ohnoutka, President •

Growing up in a family where integrity, hard work and service are a part of daily life has given the Hefti family a great sense of honor for all they give to those in need. It is the backbone of the family that resonates throughout the community and beyond. As Dean and Ann venture into the new world of retirement, it goes without saying, they will continue to serve the community as they have for the past fifty years. • Do you know a neighbor who has a story to share? Nominate your neighbor to be featured in one of our upcoming issues! Contact us at





august 2017

Calendar of Events

Every Thursday In August

August 17-20

@US 30 Speedway 8:00pm Call 402-270-1477 for more information

@Columbus Art Gallery Thursday 10am-8pm, Friday and Saturday 10am4:30pm and Sunday 1:30pm-4pm. Admission is $3. Please call 402+564-3530 for more information.

Auto Racing

Every Thursday In August

Lawnchairs on the Square @ Frankfurt Square 7:00pm

Calico Quilt Club Show

August 18-20

Columbus Days

Every Saturday in August

More information can be found further in this issue of Columbus Neighbors or by calling the Chamber of Commerce at 402-564-2769

@Frankfurt Square 7:30am-12:00pm

August 18

Farmers Market August 11-13

Live Thoroughbred Racing

@Ag Park Post Times: Friday and Saturday 6:30pm and Sunday 2:00pm August 17

Salad Luncheon

@ First United Methodist Church 11am-1pm August 17

Bomb Pop with a Cop

@ Frankfurt Square 5:30-7:30pm Bring your kids to this great event where they can share Bomb Pops with our local Law Enforcement!

Lazy River Duck Run

@Pawnee Plunge 6:00pm Contact the Columbus Area United Way for more information at 402-564-5661.

Columbus Barbeque Classic

@14th Street and 26th Avenue Friday 5pm-11:30pm and Saturday 11am-11pm August 18-20

Live Thoroughbred Racing

@Ag Park Post Times: Friday and Saturday 6:30pm and Sunday 2:00pm August 19

USA FLOW Tour Pro/Am Competition August 19

Platte Valley Mustang Club All Ford Show @Downtown Columbus 12pm-4pm August 19

YMCA 1-Mile Color Run

@Downtown 7:00pm Please contact Jennifer Brownlow at 402-564-9477 for more information August 20

Columbus Days Parade @Downtown Columbus 3:00pm


Joey Leone “Shades of Blues in America

@Columbus Public Library 7:00pm Joey Leone and his band from Vermont will be coming to the library to perform “Shades of Blue in America”. Joey Leone is a prolific blues guitar player and music historian. He will present a history of the American Blues-a program of music performance, historical facts, and personal stories from Joey and his days playing and touring with blues legends like Etta James, Otis Rush, Wilson Pickett, The Coasters and even movie star Bruce Willis.


One-Mile Color Run! By Andrea Kuhl One mile of Fun for Everyone! You can walk, you can run, you can twirl; it’s full of fun. Join the Columbus Family YMCA for this family friendly color run during Columbus Days. Participants will be sprayed with color through the course. Please note that the race is not timed. It begins at 7:00pm at Frankfurt Square.

August 25-27

Live Thoroughbred Racing

@Ag Park Post Times: Friday and Saturday 6:30pm and Sunday 2:00pm

August 18-19

@Pawnee Plunge Water Park 10:00am


August 23

Community Happenings

August 26

Author Jo Virden

@Columbus Public Library 2:00pm Jo Virden grew up in a small town in Nebraska and her book is written in that setting. Jo Virden will tell us how she came about writing the novel “My Darling Dorothy”. She will follow that with an introduction of the three main characters through reading excerpts from the book. She will end with a short presentation about how to preserve old letters and what to do with them once you have them correctly archived. August 31

Cruise Night

@American Legion 6pm-9pm For event information please call 402-564-7560

Pre-registrants receive a kit including a white t-shirt, sunglasses, and a bib number. Those who do not pre-register are encouraged to bring eye wear and a white t-shirt for the race. Those registering online will have an additional $3 fee a Members using their online YMCA account or anyone coming into the YMCA will not have additional fees. Registration, which includes the free kit, begins July 7th and goes until August 4th. Late Registration begins August 5th through August 18th at the YMCA and August 19th at Frankfurt Square. Please contact Jennifer Brownlow at 402-564-9477 with questions. •

September 1-4

Live Thoroughbred Racing

@Ag Park Post Times: Friday and Saturday 6:30pm and Sunday and Labor Day 2:00pm September 10th

Habitat for Humanity’s Bowl-a-Rama

Please register by August 28th to Jamie Snyder at 402-910-4182 or at Grab your buddies for an afternoon of bowling fun to support Habitat for Humanity of Columbus, Nebraska. It’s just $350 for a team of five, playing 3 games of 9-pin-no tap. Enjoy a hot beef dinner! There will be pin prizes, as well as high and low score prizes, split the pot and a cash bar.



What is Stenosis? By Scott VanCura, Physical Therapist What is Stenosis? With age and injuries, the space between the bones in our back decreases. This is one of the reasons we shrink or may lose an inch or so as we become older. With the decreased space, nerves in the lower back may become pinched causing pain in the lower back and possibly down the legs. Stenosis may also be called “Arthritis” or your doctor may call it “Degenerative Disc Disease”. What can I do about my stenosis? There are many available treatments for stenosis - and to select the right treatment for the cause for your stenosis can be confusing and frustrating. After research and helping hundreds of people with stenosis, this is the guide we use:

Back-to-School Shopping

How to Save Money While Supporting Your Community By Amanda Polacek Ready or not, the first days of school are upon us. And if you have children at home, you know the dreaded task of school shopping is also here once again. School shoes, jeans that have been outgrown over the summer, and classroom school supplies are all needing to be replaced or purchased. In fact, the average family with children in grades K-12 will spend $673.57 on apparel, shoes, electronics and supplies according to the National Retail Federation. Can you imagine if all of those dollars were spent in the Columbus area? Or even a small fraction of them? We know that you have many choices for your back-to-school shopping. But before you fill up your Amazon shopping cart, check out these tips that can help you save money while supporting our local retailers and community.



until first you have done the right exercises for stenosis (#1) and hands-on therapy (#2) with an expert physical therapist. It Seems like there are a ton of back exercises, so which exercise should I do? Double knee to chest How to do it: 1. Lying on your back, hug both knees toward your chest. 2. Keep breathing. Hold five seconds, repeat ten times. If hugging your knees is too difficult, wrap a towel or belt behind the knees and pull to your chest. Why it works: this movement increases the space between the bones in your back. When do I call a therapist?

1. Exercise

Do this exercise for the next 7 days, every morning before you get out of bed AND any time you have pain in your back.

2. Hands - on physical therapy

Seek additional help if:

3. Medications

1. Your pain and symptoms do not change

4. Injections

2. Your pain gets worse with this exercise

5. Surgery

3. You feel a little better with exercise, but it’s still there.

How does this work?

Some people heal quickly with this simple exercise. Others will need to consider additional treatment options. •

The rule with this system is “only move on to the next step after the previous treatment has failed”. So don’t take medication (step #3)

Local Happenings

Expert Contributor

1. INVENTORY THE CLOSET AND BACKPACKS Before school starts, take inventory of last year’s supplies and clothing, and cross-check with your student’s school list. This will help ensure you buy only what’s needed. Aimlessly searching for school supplies without a plan is a sure-fire way to end up over budget. 2. KNOW BEFORE YOU GO Once you know what you need to purchase, make a list of places in town that might carry the supplies you need. Grocery stores/ supermarkets are obvious choices, but don’t forget places such as office supply stores or even pharmacies/gift shops that carry school supplies. Check the retailers’ websites or social media pages in advance to check for sales. One easy way to get to see a listing of local businesses is to check the Chamber website’s Member Directory at You can also call the Chamber at 564-2769 if you need any assistance or recommendations! Once you know where you’re headed, you’ll be able to keep your shopping quick and efficient. 3. ASK YOUR FRIENDS A final way to save time and money on back-to-school shopping is to ask friends where they purchase their favorite products. You may discover places you’ve not even considered! For instance, did you know many of the second-hand stores in town carry name brand clothing that can save you big bucks? It may be worth the time to grab a friend and hit the shops together to find the best savings on the clothing your kids will surely outgrow by the end of the school year. By following these tips you’ll be able to put your dollars to work not only for your family, but for the community. Now that’s a win, win! •



Business Profile

Living Better...

The Heritage at Meridian Gardens By Rachelle Congdon Just over a decade ago The Heritage at Meridian Gardens was built as a sixty apartment Assisted Living community in Columbus. In 2011, a seven-apartment expansion of the assisted building and a sixteenapartment Memory Support community was constructed just south of the original Assisted Living building. With a total of eighty-three apartments, and as many apartments can be occupied by couples, this allowed us to be licensed by the state of Nebraska to serve up to one hundred and seventeen Elders under one roof with either assisted or more targeted dementia cares. We often use the phrase “Living Better” – you’ll see it on our brochures and advertising. We really do strive to help our residents have days filled with smiles and want them to really be Living Better with us. The spacious, yet cozy community was designed to feel like a friendly warm town square where our residents can feel cared for, yet independent & able to make choices.

Respect are the others. It’s serious work we do but we try not to take ourselves too seriously. A transition to Elder Care can be an uncertain time. We also know life has so many joys and we’re pleased to help our residents & staff find moments to smile about! A LITTLE ABOUT SOME OF US: Jokingly and affectionately referred to as “Queen Victoria”, Vicki Heese became the Executive Director at Meridian Gardens in early 2016, but started as the Office Director in November 2012. Vicki knows moving into an assisted living community can be a difficult decision to make. She shares that it brings tears to her eyes when a resident that struggled to make the change says. “I really enjoy it here, I wish I would have moved earlier!” That is when she feels we are making a difference and are making their lives better & easier in some ways. Our current Office Director is Debra Schaefer who has been working at MG for 6 years. Starting in Dining Services as a Cook, she moved to Environmental Services, eventually becoming Director of that department before moving to the Office Director position in January 2016. She got very close to the residents especially while she was in

Currently, we have the honor of knowing ninety-two individuals who call Meridian Gardens home. Our team of seventy-three employees is key to our quality care & beautiful community. It really is a team effort to help our residents come to know their new home & work to meet their needs. It’s an honor to be able to make a difference in someone’s life by even by the simple effort of smiling or making his or her bed! At staff orientation we remind our new team members, this IS our residents’ home – we are privileged to work here! Part of our team training on customer service is the acronym SHINE: smile, hello, introduce, need & execute. We all have a responsibility to make all who enter our community – to live, or to visit feel welcome & at home. The Heritage at Meridian Gardens is a part of a network of 12 sister communities in NE, IA and AZ designed & operated by Heritage Communities based in Omaha, NE. Their communities offer Independent, Assisted and / or Memory Care services. Heritage has a unique Memory Support program called “Portraits”. It is based on the Montessori teachings & principals intended to focus on the individual not the illness. Associates are trained to capture moments of joy, wellness & peace for every resident. It might sound strange, but one of Heritage Communities core values is Fun. Compassion, Trust &



housekeeping. One of her favorite places in Meridian Gardens, “… the upstairs lobby, looking out over the courtyard. Sitting in the sunshine feels great!” She also feels the Coffee Shop is the hub – where lots of folks gather for a cup of joe or ice cream! Jeremy Hledik is our Environmental Services Director. He started his career at Meridian five years ago &, like many employees here, has changed positions once or twice. Jeremy started as the Memory Support Environmental Services Technician before getting promoted to ESD early last year. His number one responsibility it to make sure our community always looks its best. Jeremy knows there is something very powerful about spending your workday helping to make the lives of others as rich and fulfilling as possible. Kelly Reeder has been a LPN’s at Meridian for 9 ½ years. She mainly works in the nurse’s office, scheduling appointments, ordering meds, supplies and making daily rounds to check on residents. For as long as Kelly can remember, she’s loved taking care of people so it was a natural choice to turn to health care & nursing and it has been her career for almost 30 years. Samaria Ferrer is another one of our LPN’s she’s worked at Meridian for about 2 years. She handles most of the care staff scheduling. You’ll often hear other staff joke with her and call her “small fry”. Samaria may be “vertically” challenged, but she is mighty & such an asset to the Community! Neal Feik he has worked here for almost 7 years as the Maintenance Director. Neal loves to visit; in fact we’re usually kidding him that he talks too much. His job takes him into the resident’s apartments when they need maintenance help, so his chatty personality is a plus! Cookie Terry has worked at Meridian Gardens for two and a half years as the Director of Healthcare, but has been in the care field for nearly forty years. Among many other things, it’s her job to oversee resident nursing care and to assess residents for admittance into the community. She also help residents and their family with long term care insurance paperwork & necessary documents. Cookie over sees all the other nurses and care staff in our community. Anyone who meets Cookie will tell you she has the biggest, most caring heart & was meant to be in the care field. Our Dining Services Director is Michelle Walker. She started as a server over 4 years ago and in the spring of 2016 was promoted to Director! Growing up in a large family, Michelle was always doing something in the kitchen, and loves the opportunity to try recipes given to her by our residents. Kimberly Valish, LPN, has been with Meridian Gardens for 4-1/2 years as Director of Memory Support. Dementia can be one of the most difficult diseases for both the resident and their family members. Kim loves what she does because she can see a resident’s face light up when they realize they can actually do some things they thought they

no longer could. She’s been heard to say she’ll work in this field until she’s bored, well it’s been 24 years in geriatrics and Kim has no plan of leaving it. Cindy Gasper has the honor and distinction of being the longest member of our management team. Often joking she “came with the building”, she has been Life Enrichment Coordinator since it’s opening in 2006. She welcomes the challenge of working with various personalities & enjoys helping each make our community their home. Cindy coordinates all the different activities and entertainment that occur on a daily basis at Meridian Gardens. Rachelle Congdon started as the Senior Living Counselor at Meridian in January 2016. She’s been passionate about Elders and their care & especially dementia since her own experience with her parents some years back, sharing “Being with my mother on her journey with dementia was an experience that changed me in a lot of ways. After my father’s sudden passing and sharing in my mom’s struggle, after her death I knew I wanted to help other families in similar situations.” It can feel overwhelming, and be an emotional time. Rachelle feels privileged people let her help them on this journey. It’s a relationship based on trust and understanding. She jokes that with her office being under the gym, it makes her smile to hear the residents stomping and really getting into their daily exercise; and reminds her evidently you’re never too old for Zumba! Meridian Garden’s managers and staff know that Elders’ expectations for living and care will be ours one day too. We know people have choices and are honored to help folks with the next chapter of their lives. •



Blue Jean Benefit

Local Contributor

By Kaylen Biltoft Columbus Cancer Care Foundation is excited to announce our 3rd Annual Blue Jean Benefit on September 14th, 2017. Wear your blue jeans and your favorite bling, while supporting local cancer patients, honoring our loved ones lost to cancer, and recognizing our caregivers. Columbus Cancer Care Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit public charity, dedicated to providing support for local cancer patients and their caregivers during their cancer journey. We focus on improving access to cancer care by removing barriers such as transportation, and try to better the health of our community through cancer awareness, education, and screening.

Youth Feature

Eco-friendly Fashion

By Maddie Hogeland I want to tell you about a scandal; it involves Jackie Kennedy, Kate Middleton, and Michelle Obama. No, they didn’t sell state secrets to the enemy. They each had the audacity to wear the same outfit in public more than once. But this “recycled fashion” really was outrageous. Most public figures are rarely, if ever, seen more than once in the same attire. In a small way, these women are part of an even bigger fashion movement: Eco-Friendly Fashion. This loose term is used to describe clothing made without hazardous chemicals and with sustainable, mostly organic materials. And it is nothing new. Clothing like this was around even before we had a name for it. But today, safe and natural alone doesn’t sell. If a movement toward sustainable clothing is going to happen, it needs to be fashionable. Fortunately, the tree-huggers and the trend-setters have joined forces, which is good news for the environment because, as fashion designer Samata Angel asserts to The Guardian in February of 2013, “The global fashion industry...has the ability to do what organic...fair trade vegetables never could:.make sustainability cool.” So before factories and assembly lines, all clothing was eco-friendly. From ancient Egyptians creating colorful cotton kilts to the Romans lounging in luxurious linen togas, no ensemble had much effect on the environment. Materials like cotton and linen were homegrown by ancient people, harvested, dried, before being sewn and shaped into clothing to be used for years. But in the 1800s, fashion, like most crafts, started to become industrialized. The American History Textile Museum’s website in 2013 explains that as countries became more intraconnected, urban middle class people began to purchase trendy, affordable, and ready-to-wear merchandise created by the latest technology. Later, textiles like nylon, polyester, and spandex became popular because they could be made quickly and cheaply to meet demand. More recently, with globalization and the move to “fast fashion” practices that keep clothing cheap and styles ever-changing, the harsh environmental footprint of the industry only intensified.



Today, however, green fashion is making a comeback. This comeback sprouted from the seeds of the paisley patterns sewn onto patchwork bell-bottoms in the 1960’s. And although overshadowed by the rise of fast-fashion retailers that churn out new styles weekly, eco-consciousness remained present in small companies with devoted customers. But now, even corporate giants like Gap and H&M are starting to utilize sustainable practices. “Green apparel and accessories still make up just 2% of the fashion business in the U.S.,” points out market research analyst Marshal Cohen to USA Today on April 28, 2013. “Still, that’s about $5 billion,” which is a lot. Eco-friendly fashion can have tremendous impact on the environment. Clothing industry magnate Eileen Fisher admitted in her speech to Riverkeeper environmentalist organization that “the clothing industry is the second biggest polluter in the world...second only to oil.” While this claim is likely impossible to prove, it certainly isn’t far from the truth, and by embracing the green fashion movement, companies can slow down the harm they do to the Earth. It also has the potential to have a far greater effect by giving the entire environmental movement a makeover.

Thanks to the generous donations from the community and surrounding areas, in 2016 we were able to provide: • 307 free rides for patients to cancer related appointments (Chemo, Surgery, Wound Care, & Radiation Therapy) • 53 gas cards to help defer the cost of travel for patients traveling for care • 213 blankets given to cancer patients receiving chemotherapy or radiation therapy • 37 nights of free lodging for patients at Days Inn & Suites-Columbus • 26 Wigs & 22 Hats from our Resource room were given free of charge to cancer patients

• 11 Support Group Meetings (the only one in Platte County) • Numerous education, early detection, & screening events Our 2017 goal is to raise funds to maintain the existing programs, and to continue working to expand our support services for cancer patients and their caregivers. These support services focus on our local cancer patients who are receiving care in Columbus. However, if there are special needs to get to Omaha or Lincoln for care not provided in Columbus then we hope to be able to assist those patients as well. All Columbus Cancer Care Foundation proceeds STAY IN OUR LOCAL COMMUNITY. We operate by volunteers to keep a very low overhead. Donations are tax deductible as allowed by law. We are a member of Columbus Area Philanthropy Council and work collaboratively with Columbus Community Hospital, East Central Health Department, and the Community Health Improvement Program. Please consider attending the Blue Jean Benefit on Sept 14th, 2017 at the American Legion. We are encouraging Corporate Sponsorships as well as Ticket and Table sales. Donations for live and silent auctions are welcome! Thank you in advance for your support of this important local cause. To purchase tickets, or for more information, call 402-5628666 or email Visit us at •

Fashion is cool; it’s chic, and with celebrities like George Clooney and Emma Watson sporting ecofriendly looks, it has a far greater power to make sustainability popular than a hippie protesting a pipeline or a hipster peddling organic peaches. However, there are limitations. They begin with the cost. Like many sustainable products, the price of eco-friendly clothing makes it difficult to compete with the deals provided by fast fashion, and may make green styles exclusive to the wealthy. Also, it’s hard to change a business model that is designed to produce waste. As the 2012 Journal of Corporate Citizenship notes, fashion--by its nature--is a “passing trend…[that] involves the unnecessary replacement of still useable items.” Until people are willing to pass on the latest style, there will always be wasteful consumption in the industry. However, green fashion is truly a trend to keep an eye on. While the first ladies that practice recycled fashion may not have the political prestige of their husbands, they certainly help make our clothing customs a little kinder to the Earth. •



Community Happenings

By Nick Larson

Little Sioux, Big Rains, and

Life Lessons Learned

On June 16th, 2017, we set out for Little Sioux Scout Ranch, ready for an adventure for the young men involved in Cub Scouts in the Midwest. A group of just over 20 boys and several parents, met at St Isidore’s Friday morning. The extreme heat, continuous walking, lack of cell service, and a bed on the uneven terrain in a tent, is all worth it to watch a kid overcome adversity, achieve what they didn’t know they could, and learn respect for mother nature, their fellow scout, and the American Flag. So away we go, a quick glance in the rearview shows four young faces beaming with excitement in my pickup, I can’t turn around now.

At check in, we are assigned our camp area, and given a list of structured activities the boys will participate in the next few days. The boys pick the spot the want to set up tents and within an hour we have our shantytown built. A voice over the loudspeaker at the campsites instructs us that there is a flag ceremony at 5:30, dinner at the mess hall, and then “campfire”. Rumor has it there’s rain in the forecast, but we all concur it won’t be that bad as we walk under darkening sky’s to the mess hall. The camp councilors introduce themselves and give us a little introduction to what they will be doing in their usual fun-no-matter-what styles. We then retire the flag for the night, pray, and it’s time to eat. As we finish dinner, the rain begins. Fifteen minutes and three inches of rain later, we are all barricaded into the mess hall and the rain is still coming. Brad Wangler and I decide we need to brave the elements and venture back to our

campsite to access where we are. After hiking through the down pour to see our tents laying in a pile, I look at Brad with my soaked shirt and soggy shoes and tell him it’s time to go home. After twenty more minutes and two more inches of rain later, parents and kids alike are back at the campsite standing tents back up, sorting wet socks, and finding nearly everything we brought was soaked. It rained so hard that the water was running over the ground breaking tent walls and poles, and dampening our spirts. I’m ready to go. Then something great happened. Everyone just started pitching in. Our ripped apart canopy was turned upside down, and used as a makeshift drying rack. A rope was found, and stretched between the bumper of a pickup and a post to hang water logged sleeping bags. Campers were saying things like “I’ve got an extra blanket if anyone needs it” and “I can sleep on my sweatshirt in anyone needs my pillow”. Pretty soon we were in good shape and my two kids, along with two others approached me asking if they could walk to the other campers we had never met to see if they could help them with anything. We awakened Saturday not to sunny skies, but just enough on and off moisture to prevent anything from drying. We got a great breakfast and started off our activities as planned. The younger scouts started off with a nature activity, identifying various insects and plant life on the property, followed by a trip to the infamous climbing wall. There they learn the safety procedures, harness up in full climbing gear, and solo-climb over twenty-feet up the wooden wall. Once they reach the top, they repel down the rope on the backside to the awaiting spotter. Most kids are apprehensive about this adventure, but they overcome the obstacle and learn what they are really capable of. After lunch, we head to the lake to start the dreaded swim test. Kids are instructed on water safety and competency. Continuously swimming 4 lengths of the dock seemed to be much easier when we were these kids’ age, but rules

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are rules and if you want to participate with the water activities we all have to do it. We swim and canoe at the beautiful lake, taking full advantage of cooling off during the heat of the day.

The Webelo II’s have taken a long nature hike, cooked their own Dutch oven lunches and dessert at what will be their private campsite for the night tucked into the woods away from all other campers. They all do an excellent job of masking the fear of sleeping in these military style tents in the back rough terrain of LSSR with newfound smiles of independence.

the young man explained the history of the flag, the importance of retiring it respectfully, and what it represents for those that stood for it. Veterans and first responders present are identified and honored. Flags that have been prepared are distributed to all to participate with. Slowly and methodically, everyone present places their piece of the flag into the fire that is lighting up the now pitch black sky. As they retire their piece, many offer the names of friends and family members they are honoring with the act. It reminds you of how many people are impacted by the sacrifices of our fallen heroes. Scouts and parents alike leave feeling emotionally exhausted, and ready for a nights rest, wherever it may be. The next morning starts again with breakfast, followed by stints on the archery range, sling shots, and pellet guns. Soon it’s noon, and time to break camp. We load up our still-soggy gear and pile the carnage of broken tent poles. After pausing for a photo op at the gates of Little Sioux Scout Ranch, we head home, reflecting on the weekend’s events, as well as the leadership, accountability and respect they have all learned. •

Another great dinner is followed by “campfire”. Campfire is held at an open-air stage on the property, where the kids plan and perform their own skits. The kids all get a good laugh as the two large fire pits on either side of the stage roll the white smoke of wet firewood into the night sky. Next comes the flag retirement. Greg “Doc” Schaefer, a Columbus native, has been retiring flags for many years. His ceremonies are personal, inspirational, and emotional. This year Doc has passed his duties on to a counselor who shared his passion for respectfully retiring the flag and all it stands for. With Docs guidance,



Community Happenings

By Amanda Polacek

Columbus Days 2017:

Wild, Wild, West

The area’s biggest block party is back: Columbus Days! Attendees will be able to discover the music, the food, and the fun August 17-20th in Downtown Columbus. This year, Columbus Days will tie into the Nebraska’s 150th Anniversary with a “Wild, Wild, West” theme. Events will include: a mechanical bull riding, a Historic Buffalo Bill tour, and a Cowboy and Cowgirl Party for the kiddos. We’ve also heard from our Chamber members that they have some great parade floats in mind to use the western theme as well. Speaking of the parade—leading off the parade on Sunday afternoon will be Bob Arp and Pat Anderson who have been selected as this year’s King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella XLIII. Any business, organization or family can enter a float in the parade. In fact, we even offer a float-building workshop if you’ve never constructed one before! The Chamber office and website can also help you find the entry forms for all of the Columbus Days events. Race your turtle or dachshund, enter a team in the rib-eating contest, run the C Town 5k…there are many different events to enter!

There’s something for everyone. The Columbus BBQ Classic is always a highlight. This year we welcome five great vendors: Papa Tom’s, Hickory Road BBQ & Catering, 9 South Char Grill, Wild West Bar-B-Que & Catering and Buresh Catering & Barbeque. They’ll be serving Friday evening and all day Saturday. Those nights will also have a street dance and beer garden with live music from “On the Fritz” and “Eckophonic.” There are also plenty of events for the kids too. The foam dance on Friday evening is always a hit. Then all weekend long enjoy inflatables, activity booths, and a pet show, talent show, drumline and dance studio performances, and so much more! To see a complete schedule of events go to www.thecolumbuspage. com or Special thanks to the Columbus Days committee who works extremely hard to make sure Columbus Days will be a great celebration this year. Also to our sponsors that make this event possible: Vishay Dale, Pinnacle Bank, Columbus United Federal Credit Union, Lotto Nebraska, Columbus Community Hospital, Marley’s Electric. •

Columbus Days Schedule of Events FRIDAY AUGUST 18 5 PM Columbus BBQ Classic - $ - North side of Frankfort Square 5-8 PM Foam Dance Party - South side of Frankfort Square for children 5th grade and younger 6 PM United Way Lazy River Duck Run at the Pawnee Plunge 6 PM Lynette’s Dance Studio - Frankfort Square stage 7 PM Pet Show - Frankfort Square stage Check in starts at 6 7:30-11:30 On the Fritz - 14th Street Stage Street Dance & Beer Garden 8-11 Foam Dance Party - South side of Frankfort Square 6th grade and older 9 PM Melodrama-Platte Valley Playhouse “The Perilous Passing of Prudence Proudwell”

SATURDAY AUGUST 19 8 AM All Ford Car Show - South side of Frankfort Square & 13 Street 8 AM “I’m a Little Cutie” Baby Show Frankfort Square stage 9-7 Inflatables - Frankfort Square - $



10 AM Daniel Christian (musician) Frankfort Square Stage 11 AM United Way - Lazy River Duck Run awards Frankfort Square Stage 11 AM Columbus BBQ Classic - $ - North side of Frankfort Square 11 AM Barb’s School of Dance & Desiree’s Dancers Frankfort Square Stage 11-1 Rocks in a Pocket -14th Street Stage 12:30 PM “Hall of Flame” Rib Eating Contest$-Two-person teams in front of Frankfort Square stage 1 PM Columbus Jazz Orchestra - Frankfort Square stage 1:30 PM Buffalo Bill Historical Tour 2:30 PM All - City High School Drumline In front of the Frankfort Square stage 2:30-4:00 Cowboy & Cowgirl Party - South Tent on 26th Avenue 3 PM Talent Show - Frankfort Square stage 3:30 PM Buffalo Bill Historical Tour 4 PM Car Show Awards - South side of Frankfort Square 5 PM Heartland Gymnastics - Front of Frankfort Square stage 5:30 PM Barrel House Blues Band - Frankfort Square stage

7 PM YMCA 1 mile Color Run 7:30-11:30 Eckophonic - 14th Street Stage Street Dance & Beer Garden 7:30 PM Lip Sync Contest - Frankfort Square stage 9-11 PM Teen Dance - Frankfort Square stage

SUNDAY August 20 9:15 AM First United Methodist Church service - Frankfort Square stage 11 AM Turtle Races - South side of Frankfort Square on 13th Street 11:30 AM iDance Project - Frankfort Square stage 11-1 Chamber Agribusiness Committee’s “Celebrate Ag Lunch”-North tent 12 PM Running of the Frankfurter-Wiener Dog Races 1 PM Root Marm Chicken Farm Jug Band Frankfort Square stage 1 PM Pedal Push Tractor contest - South tent on 26th Avenue 3 PM Columbus Days Parade ***Some Events require registration. Please visit for those forms.



Local Contributor

By Jason Breed

DFi -- Tackling a Big Issue

with a National Solution

Technology, devices and social media are re-defining the way our children learn, engage, interact, explore and mature – both in positive and challenging ways.

For all these reasons, we brought together parents, schools and law enforcement to create a digital village (Digital Futures Initiative) to help raise our children to be successful in a modern, digital world.

In school, students are required to have devices, take tests, receive grades and manage homework online. At home, they are leaned on as the “tech support” of the family (much like we programmed VCRs for our parents) providing guidance on wireless networks, teaching parents online banking, social media and everything else. In their personal lives, our children know more of what is happening at every moment for everyone in their schools, families and towns thanks to the instant nature of technology and their growing reliance on social media and devices to stay in touch – all the time.

Digital Futures Initiative (DFI) was created to deliver digital life skills to students and parents in an innovative, consistent way. These digital life skills are taught to students in school by Teachers and School Resource Officers (Law Enforcement). Parents are taught through our Parent Academies. Lessons are designed by curating the best content available in the world and the curriculum is made available for FREE to any school, county or group who needs it. A quick overview on Digital Futures Initiative:

Our children are the first generation of digital natives, yet they receive no guidance on things like: what is appropriate use of technology, how to stay safe and aware online, what digital relationships mean and why their personal brand matters. In addition, many kids are losing common skills of having empathy, being able to carry a meaningful conversation in person or simply being able to eat a meal without staring at a device. BESIDES OUR CHILDREN: • Parents - are figuring out how to raise kids with the likes of devices, social media and the Internet - all for the first time. What age do you give them a device? How invasive should you be in their digital lives? How do you keep them safe in a digital world? How do you set digital examples when they are the ones teaching you? • Teachers – are inundated with bringing technology to the classroom like tablets, computers, online assessments, homework, online communications, meeting teaching standards and more. They have not been able to spend much time on teaching appropriate use or the opportunities and dangers of all this new capability we are putting at the fingertips of our children. • Law Enforcement – work to stay ahead of all the bad things like predators targeting unaware children, the rise of human trafficking sprouting up through sites all over the dark web, new drug and vaping trends being shared through online videos and more and more dangerous “challenges” being spread around the Internet like the Blue Whale Suicide challenge that can carry grave consequences.

• Digital Life Skills centered around 4 teaching areas: Digital Citizenship, Relationships, Substance Use, Distracted Driving • Curriculum is all evidence based and updated annually • Initial approach was developed by Douglas County (Colorado) Sheriff’s Office and Douglas County Schools in front of 20k+ students over 8 years • Formative styled approach & meets most District & State standards nationally • Progressive content available from K-12th grade • Parent Academies to empower parents with the same digital knowledge • Collaboration between Educators and Law Enforcement (SROs) by design • Best of Public, Private and Education Sectors - all brought together

Watering Tips for Lawns and Landscapes

Local Contributor

By Kelly Feehan, Extension Educator (

irrigation. These signs include a darker cast to the lawn or footprints remaining after you walk across the lawn.

August can be one of the hottest and driest months of the year. To prevent lawns and landscapes becoming drought stressed, correct irrigation and mulching are needed.

Newly planted or young landscape plants require more frequent irrigation until they establish roots. However, a healthy root system will not develop without soil oxygen so it is important not to keep soil saturated.

Correct irrigation is not easy to do, especially when automatic sprinkler systems are used. And plant owners tend to err on the side of applying too much water or watering too often. Overwatering is just as stressful for plants, if not more so, than underwatering. And it is a waste of a valuable resource we should conserve. Yellowing in plants, lush succulent growth, browning of leaf edges and even frequent wilting of plants can all be signs of overwatering. Roots grow and function best when they have an equal amount of water and oxygen in the soil. And plants perform best with an even supply of soil moisture. Not too wet and not too dry. The best way to know if watering is needed is to check the soil before irrigating. If it feels dry or almost dry, irrigation will be beneficial. If the soil is fairly moist or wet, irrigating can do more harm than good. This means automatic lawn irrigation systems should be kept off and turned on only when the soil is dry or grass shows signs of needing

For established Kentucky bluegrass (KBG) and landscape plants, about one inch of water per week is ideal. When it is extremely hot or windy, more water may be needed. Let the soil and the plant be your guide. Along with about one inch of water, use deep irrigation to encourage roots to grow as deep as they genetically can. Again, roots grow where there is moisture and oxygen. The idea that withholding water will force roots to grow deeper in search of water does not work. A deep irrigation varies for plant types. For naturally shallow rooted KBG, moisten the soil 4 to 6 inches deep. For most perennial flowers, moisten the soil 6 to 8 inches deep; and 8 to 12 inches deep for trees and shrubs. Insert a sturdy dowel stick into the soil to gauge if you are watering deep enough at each irrigation. And keep in mind that as roots grow deeper, frequency between irrigation should decrease. For other timely tips for August, you can access a monthly calendar of yard and garden tasks on the Backyard Farmer website at: •

The four teaching areas cover all of the skills, information and teaching for kids to make informed decisions growing up. Informed decisions are not always better decisions though. For better decision making we incorporated emotional intelligence into our digital life skills. From our experience, we have seen that digital has been negatively impacting traditional life skills like emotional intelligence. You have probably heard of IQ which is the measure of intelligence. IQ determines how smart you are and how well you do on tests. We can debate nature versus nurture, however what we do know is that IQ’s stay relatively the same from ages 15 to 50, they simply don’t change much. Emotional Intelligence (EQ) on the other hand, DOES change over time. Sometimes referred to as street smarts, EQ is seen as a strong key to success and is used to identify leaders, good team players and productivity levels. EQ is influenced by lifelong experiences and can be improved (or destroyed) over time. Therefore, in addition to the obvious device, technology and social media skills, DFI incorporates all of these digital capabilities on a foundation of emotional intelligence (EQ) to provide our youth with the life skills they will need to succeed and prosper in a fast-paced digital world. Digital Futures Initiative is fully ready to scale from the roughly 20k students we taught last year mostly in Colorado, to well over the 150 communities (representing a projected 500k students) across the country that have expressed interest in bringing DFI to their communities. We are proud to say that schools in Columbus and surrounding areas will be included in the first expansion group to get certified this summer. Learn more about Digital Futures Initiative and stay on top of our expansion at We will continue to have new resources for children, parents and instructors coming online throughout the summer. •





Expert Contributor

The Importance of Your Thermostat By Suzi Zwick The Thermostat. That boring little box on the wall. Most every home has one, but many people don’t realize that how it is used can greatly affect home energy costs. While most homes have a digital thermostat, many in our area still use a traditional mercury one. It is difficult to set temperatures accurately with these old units. Digital thermostats measure temperatures more precisely and can help prevent wide temperature swings in your home. If you have a traditional mercury thermostat, it may be time to consider replacing it with a newer model. A programmable thermostat is a great tool to help lower your energy bills. If you program the thermostat to scale the temperature back in the winter months and up in the summer for at least 8 hours a day, you could see an energy savings of 5-10%. Most efficiency experts recommend no more than a 5 to 10 degree variance in temperature for the most energy savings on a traditional system. If your home has a heat pump, setting back the temperature in the winter more than 2 to 3 degrees will cause the resistance heat to engage which could offset those energy savings so make sure to program the thermostat accordingly. A wi-fi thermostat gives homeowners the ability to control their home HVAC system through a cell phone or computer, even from a remote location. You can even program them to “sense” when you are near your home and adjust the temperature to your preselected comfort

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level. While there are advantages to this, they can be cost prohibitive, costing as much as $500 installed. If you don’t plan to stay in your home at least 5 years, make sure to weigh the benefits versus the cost before investing in one. If you do chose to upgrade your thermostat, make sure that you are familiar with the functions and can program it yourself. Paying a technician to program your thermostat every time the power goes out can be expensive. Thermostat placement can also have an effect on your energy usage. It should be placed on an interior wall away from direct sunlight, windows, and furniture. These things can create “ghost” readings on the thermostat causing it to “think” that it’s hotter or colder in the house than it is. According to, a thermostat should be set at 68 degrees in the winter and 78 in the summer for maximum energy savings. For every 1-degree difference, you will see about a 1 percent change in your bill. Turning your thermostat to extreme temperatures to heat or cool the house “faster” is never a good idea. The output temperature of a furnace or air conditioner doesn’t change according the temperature on the thermostat. It remains constant. Doing this simply causes the unit to run longer and increases the likelihood of wasting energy. And finally, don’t forget that most thermostats use batteries. It’s a good idea to replace them once a year to prevent any unwelcome surprises. •

Have something to sell or give away? It might be just the thing your neighbor is looking for! To place your free classified, go to and click “Submit Content.” For free listings, ads must be 40 words or less, non-business related. You will receive email confirmation.




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