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Going up

Crane operator Zach Oliverius, of Nebraska Crane, Kearney, Nebraska, lifted a new elevator motor onto the roof of the Keystone Hotel in downtown McCook, Nebraska in May 2010. The hotel was being repurposed into business office called "The Keystone Business Center."

Mark Rome, an elevator remodeling and modernization expert for O'Keefe Elevator, Omaha, said in May that the motor operates an almost-completely new elevator in the shaft of the hotel's original 1950's-era passenger elevator. An earlier freight elevator in the hotel was removed and not replaced. Connie Jo Discoe/McCook Daily Gazette

McCook Daily Gazette Monday, Feb. 21, 2011

Keystone: a monumental place in McCook history FORWARD, TOGETHER

2 – McCook Daily Gazette

The renovation of the Keystone Hotel into the Keystone Business Center could not be a more perfect example of how the visions of past, present and future leaders of a community intertwine for the benefit of all. The building, located at 402 Norris Avenue in McCook, has come to be known by several names in its 88 year history. Keystone Hotel, Defenders, and McCook Townhouse are a few of the monikers the stately six-story structure has been called. The Keystone name was originally chosen in 1922 because of its dictionary definition meaning “a part or force on which associated things depend for support.” Returning the “Keystone” name to the building seems more than appropriate for its new use. *** Information from the National Register of Historic Places, McCook Daily Gazette Golden Anniversary Souvenir Edition and McCook Daily Gazette Centennial Edition: Early in its history, McCook was a strategically located center of commerce serving southwest Nebraska, northwest Kansas, and northeast Colorado. It was the divisional point between Lincoln and Denver for the Burlington and Missouri Railroad and was the hub of many needed commercial ventures like the post office, lumberyard, general store, and drug dispensary. During the 1880s and 90s, McCook had a number of rooming houses and hotels, the largest of which was the Commercial Hotel. It was a huge wood frame, ornate Victorian Era structure. Early in the 1910s, that structure was rapidly becoming obsolete. Town officials were anxious for a new and modern hotel and in February of 1919, the Commercial Club authorized a new committee to push the matter. By May 1919, the Masons started a vigorous campaign to secure “a modern hotel for the City of McCook.” (McCook Tribune, May 22, 1919). The summer of 1919 signified the organization of all McCook boosters to campaign for a new hotel. In June of 1919, over $70,000 was raised at a Booster’s Banquet. That amount rapidly increased to $100,000. Stock was sold at this banquet in increments ranging from $100 to $10,000. Throughout the first night, over 120 people bought stock and $96,200 was raised. It was during this event that the boosters called themselves the “We Can Club.” Later in the same week, the boosters organized the Keystone Hotel Corporation and the stockholders elected a board of nine directors to adopt articles of incorporation, by-laws, and meet regularly to see the project through. Members of the boosters included many prominent citizens, judges, lawyers, senators, bankers, and A. W. Archer, the architect from Kansas City. By 1920, much of the $300,000 needed to construct the hotel was

Monday, Feb. 21, 2011

The historic Keystone Hotel on Norris Avenue in McCook, Nebraska, is now the Keystone Business Center.

raised. The only obstacle remaining was the current viability of the Commercial Hotel, which was still standing and operating on Main Street in McCook. When that hotel burned in 1920, efforts to complete the fundraising and resources for the new Keystone Hotel were greatly accelerated. *** Construction began on the building in 1920 and by December of that year the forms for the second story concrete were being laid, allowing the basement floors to be finished. Stockholder and supporters were scurrying trying to raise the last $100,000 to complete the building while it was under construction. People were asked to go to the McCook National Bank and the Ford Garage to make payments on delinquent notes and many building needs were being supplied at cost to help the project along. The building took two years to complete and the design was referred to as “six stories of concrete and steel.” A goal was set to have the building completed by June of 1922 in order to serve the Elks horse-racing event. The hotel opened to much fanfare for the event and the Keystone was solidly booked on a

regular basis thereafter. The hotel had all the modern conveniences and “service that is beyond the criticism of the most fastidious.” The completed hotel had 105 rooms, 70 of which had bathrooms, while each room had a toilet, telephone and “excellent” beds. There were 28 employees. Tables were provided in convenient places where the light is best for the businessman who need to do much of his work in the evenings. The lobby was “tastefully furnished with excellent furniture.” *** The executive board of the Keystone Hotel Corporation leased the building to Max Merrill and Mr. Poland in 1922 to operate the business. Completion of the Keystone Hotel was considered “the greatest undertaking and accomplishment in the life of our city.” Two prominent McCook citizens were on the board of the Keystone Hotel Company. Pat Walsh, founder of McCook National Bank, served as president of the company. A. Barnett, founder of Barnett Lumber was known as “The Builder” because of his involvement in many McCook building projects including the Masonic Temple, the old YMCA, the Keystone Hotel, the Fox Theater,

Nebraska Light and Power Company, Addams Hotel, the Hormel Chevrolet building, and the United Methodist Church. *** From the very beginning of its existence, the Keystone Hotel has housed a variety of business ventures. The McCook Cleaning Works was located in the southwest room of the hotel in the summer of 1922 and provided pick-ups and deliveries. During the same time, a liquor store was operated in the north room while D & M Groceteria was established in the prime southeast corner location. During its history, various businesses were part of the Keystone Hotel, including a beauty salon, barber shop, cab company, bookstore, and cigar store. Office space has been rented out in the past, including to the McCook Chamber of Commerce and the McCook Main Street organization. *** The hotel continued operating until the late 1960’s and was purchased by the Defenders of the Christian Faith in 1969 to be utilized as a retirement hotel. The hotel was sold two more times, in 1978 and 1992, and both new owners kept it as an assisted

Gazette photo

living center. Finally, in 1997, the McCook Townhouse, as it was known at the time, was closed for good. In 2000, the building was purchased by Dale Stewart of McCook. By that time, it had been empty for some time. While Stewart intended on restoring the building, finding investors who were willing to tackle such an enormous project proved to be difficult. The building continued to sit empty until it was purchased by the McCook Economic Development Corporation in June 2009. *** The Keystone Hotel has always been much more to the city of McCook than a place to rent a room. It has been the site of numerous social functions and club meetings, Political speeches have been made within its walls, including many by Senator George Norris. Parades and other important city events have been viewed from the second floor balcony. Young ladies have received instruction in ballet in the auditorium and barbershop quartets have sung their harmonies from the stage. The contribution that this facility has made to the social and economic well being of this community in the past is well documented.

Renovation of landmark building took time, money and more than a little dedication

In 2006, the McCook Economic Development Corporation received a $55,000 federal grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration Agency for design and engineering service to determine the feasibility of renovating the Keystone Hotel into office space and a business incubation center. They also awarded a matching grant that would pay for 50 percent of the renovation costs, provided that the costs were acceptable and the renovation would meet historic preservation standards. In announcing plans for the project, Rex Nelson, director of MEDC said, “The Keystone is symbolic of this area’s pride and heritage. We have before us an opportunity to make the Keystone a symbol of our determination to chart a new course, to re-create ourselves in ways that will keep us relevant in the new global economy that is growing around us.” That determination proved to be a vital ingredient to the project. The original estimate for the renovation was $3.1 million. However, in May of 2008, Nelson stated in a press

release that bids were more than $1 million more than estimates used to develop the required financial package. “We then worked with the architects and the general contractor with the low bid and found ways to cut costs, but those savings were not sufficient to bring costs back in line with the budget,” Nelson said in May, 2008. “We had to step back and re-evaluate everything. The project can still work but has gotten harder. The positive economic impacts of the business and entrepreneurship center, along with the other important benefits to downtown that would have come from restoring this grand structure, still suggest that we should find solutions to these challenges and move ahead.” Throughout the remainder of 2008, the staff and board of directors of the McCook Economic Development Corporation continued to focus on ways to make the project work. The MEDC receives economic development funds from the half-cent city sales tax which was approved by voters in 2007. In March 2009, the McCook City Council voted to

pledge a portion of those sales tax dollars for 10 years to pay back a $1.1 million bond for the renovation project. Other sources of funding included a bank loan of $750,000 provided by the local banking community AmFirst, First Central, McCook National, and Wells

Fargo. The MEDC also invested over $100,000 in MEDC contingency funds. Tax increment financing will also be used to cover operating costs for the building for the next 15 years. With those funding sources in place, together with the grant from the Economic Development Administration,

the project was a go. In June 2009, the MEDC officially purchased the building from former owners Joan and Dale Stewart and began renovations. Over the next 14 months, the old hotel rooms were gutted, preserving the historical integrity of the public spaces; new heating, air conditioning,

electrical and plumbing was installed; windows were replaced; new sidewalks poured; a new elevator and fire escape installed; walls and partitions were erected to create new office spaces; and paint, varnish, carpeting, furnishings and decor were applied to restore the building to shine again in historic downtown McCook.

“Growing Business in Southwest Nebraska”

402 Norris Avenue • Suite 301 • 308-345-1200

McCook Daily Gazette


Monday, Feb. 21, 2011 – 3

The tear-down

MEDC photos

The rebuild

MEDC photos

Left: Tons of rubble were removed from the Keystone Hotel in the early stages of the renovation project. Right: There were rooms underneath the sidewalk on the south side of the Keystone. The hollow sidewalks were removed, filled and replaced in the final stages of the project.

Left: The General Contractor for the project was EAD Construction of Omaha, with several local and regional sub-contractors providing support. Right: The heating and air conditioning system for the massive building takes us an entire room. The energy efficient system was a major undertaking for the renovation project.

An early Keystone tour

Connie Jo Discoe/McCook Daily Gazette

Left: Rex Nelson, right, director of the McCook Economic Development Corp., led, from right, McCook city council member Mike Gonzales, Nebraska Lt. Gov. Rick Sheehy and Andrea McClintic of the Nebraska Department of Economic Development through McCook's former Keystone Hotel, the center of a $4.2 million renovation project to create a downtown business center. Nelson told the lieutenant governor during the January 2010 tour that the creation of office spaces would be completed in the summer or early fall, and that he expected 40-some employees when the doors opened. 21st Century Systems, a developer of software applications for military and corporate purposes, now occupies the fourth floor and installed an unmanned lights-out data center in the basement. Offices for the MEDC, the McCook Area Chamber of Commerce, an attorney and an insurance agent also occupy spaces in the building. Right: The tour group stops to talk on the fifth floor. Nelson said during the tour that the sixth floor could be renovated into condominiums, but he wants to keep as much space as possible available for businesses that create jobs.

What is the Keystone Business Incubator?

Shary Skiles/McCook Daily Gazette

The training room located on the third floor of the Keystone Business Center provides state-ofthe-art facilities for meetings, with capacity for 22 in a classroom style setting. Another conference room is located on the second floor. All of the rooms are equipped with wireless internet access, dry-erase boards and markers.

The mission of the Keystone Business Center Incubator is to provide an environment that supports business growth and succession. Its vision is to help McCook create a community where new and growing businesses create jobs. In turn, these jobs will create opportunities for residents, improving the quality of life, increasing population, and building prosperity for the entire community. The incubator is designed to help small businesses get started or expand. The incubator can provide business support resources and services to the growing company. The Keystone Business Center Incubator offers limited office, general purpose, and co-working space at the Keystone. Other services available to incubator clients include marketing assistance, reception services, micro-loan programs, one-on-

one coaching, mentoring, entrepreneur network luncheons, and training in conjunction with Mid-Plains Center for Enterprise. The Keystone Business Center facilities include office space, which can vary from a part-time, drop-in desk with business center equipment support, to a stand-alone office of several hundred feet, depending on the needs of the client. All spaces are equipped with a desk, internet access, and phone capabilities. A shared break room is available on each floor. The business machines area is equipped with a fax machine, copy machine, paper shredder, binding machine, and various other office essentials. Successful completion of a business incubation program increases the probability that a start-up company will stay in business for the long term. Historically, 80 percent of incubator graduates stay in business.

Experience makes the difference at BJ’s Home Satellite FORWARD, TOGETHER

4 – McCook Daily Gazette


McCOOK, Nebraska – Longevity. That's what BJ's Home Satellite brings to the McCook area. Bill Grossman, the owner of BJ's Home Satellite, has been in business since June 1979. He moved the business from its original location in Culbertson to his current spot – 38404 Bluebird Trail, which is approximately 6 miles north of McCook on U.S. Highway 83 – 17 years ago. Grossman has been an eyewitness to the changes in satellite technology over the decades. From the original solid satellite dishes that had to be trucked in and came with free service (the customer just had to buy the dish), to the aluminum black-mesh six-foot satellite dishes, to the current two foot or less dishes that are light enough to be mounted on roofs, motor homes and even the tops of fences, he's seen it all. "The old satellites never had problems with rain; snow sometimes, but never rain," Grossman said in regard to the newer and much more compact technology. "But these new satellites can get more than 5000 channels on one dish. You just have to have the right code to get them all."

BJ's sells and services Dish Network satellite equipment, which is available from a number of different companies. What makes BJ's different from other providers is that Grossman installs the outdoor equipment and sets up the receiver system himself, usually within a day or two of talking to him. Because Grossman's business is locally-owned and operated, contacting him for satellite services has a distinct advantage over other installation companies – namely, he's close at hand when you need him. Other installers may "have a couple hundred mile radius to service," he said, adding that Dish Network only allows repair work to be done by the company that performed the installation. "I have had people call me asking if I can come out because they were told it could be a week or more before someone could come out," he said. In those cases, he has no choice but to decline, for both parties' sake. "If I help, then it will void their warranty and put me in violation," he said. When his own customers have a problem, however, Grossman can be there right away to solve the issue, whether it's "a broken dish, receiver problems or something else," he said. "I can fix it."

Monday, Feb. 21, 2011

Justin Bass/McCook Daily Gazette

BJʼs Home Satellite has been helping customers across the area get the most enjoyment out of their satellite television technology since June 1979. BJʼs is an authorized Dish Network retailer.

While home satellite service is the foundation of Grossman's business, BJ's also sells Toshiba and Sony HDTVs, as well as Yamaha home entertainment theater systems. "We

have a fun line of HDTVs, and even better is that we have quite a few wireless home theater systems as well," he said. After more than 30 years of being

in the business of bringing satellite television to the area, Grossman plans on continuing to do the two things that "the big guys can't do. Quality and service."

U-Save Pharmacy ‘proud to be a part’ of area healthcare team

McCOOK, Nebraska – U-Save Pharmacy and Medical Supply, owned by David Smith and Angela Langan, has been at its current location on North U.S. Highway 83 since July 2007, providing prescriptions, over-the-counter medication and home medical equipment. "We are proud to be a part of the healthcare team in Southwest Nebraska," Langan said. "It is nice to have the relationships that we have with our patients as well as with their physicians so that they can make an impact on their overall health," she said.

In December, co-owner Angela Langan, RP, was awarded the title "Certified Mastectomy Fitter," a designation awarded by the American Board for Certification of Orthotics and Prosthetics when a fitter has attended live training, completed more than 500 hours of mastectomy fittings and has passed a rigorous mastectomy fitter test. U-Save Pharmacy & Medical Supply also was proud to maintain its accreditation credentialing by the Board for Orthotics & Prosthetics. This organization credentials pharmacies and other

home medical equipment providers when they meet very strict criteria in areas such as patient care, record keeping and facility maintenance. Along those lines, U-Save Pharmacy has a complete line of bras and prosthesis' for people who have had a mastectomy, either partial or radical. They have a complete line of compression hosiery, both custom and prefabricated, for people who have or are trying to prevent vascular problems in the legs. They also provide shots for shingles and flu in as little as 15 minutes, without an appointment.

Jeremy Blomstedt/McCook Daily Gazette

U-Save Pharmacy and Medical Supply in McCook.

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Kabredlo’s sale leads to 3rd McCook Casey’s FORWARD, TOGETHER

McCook Daily Gazette

LINCOLN, Nebraska — The Kabredlo's convenience store on the corner of West First and B in McCook, Nebraska, was sold to the Casey's General Store chain in Nov. 2010. The Kabredlo's store joined two other Casey's stores in McCook. Ankeny, Iowa-based Casey's purchased the Kabredlo's chain of stores, which started in Lincoln in 1991. The chain has grown to 22 stores in Nebraska, 21 in Kansas and one in Oklahoma. Kabredlo's co-owner Mike Olderbak – whose last name spelled backward gave the business its name – told the Lincoln Journal Star that the time was ripe to leave the business. The deal was valued at $45.8 million. The acquisition "is an excellent fit to our existing store base and will add to our presence in Nebraska and Kansas, as well as allow us to penetrate a new state," said Robert Myers, president and CEO of Casey's.

Monday, Feb. 21, 2011 – 5

For the 12 months ended June 30, 2010, the Kabredlo's stores generated annual inside gross revenue approximately $52 million and sold approximately 36 million gallons of fuel, he said. All of the stores will be converted into Casey's General Stores, Myers said. Some signage at the McCook Kabredlo's store changed in late December 2010 and early January 2011, with further changes yet to come. "We are excited about this opportunity because Kabredlo's is a well established and managed chain in our market area," Myers said. Casey's, which – also in Nov. 2010 – turned down an offer of $43 per share of common stock from the 7Eleven convenience store chain, is a publicly traded company (NASDAQ symbol: CASY). Right: The newest Caseyʼs General Store location in McCook. Additional signage has yet to be installed.

Jeremy Blomstedt/McCook Daily Gazette

Gazette photos

A Kabredlo's convenience store (above) previously occupied the location at West First and B streets in McCook. That companyʼs stores were purchased by Caseyʼs in Nov. 2010. There are two other Casey's in McCook, one at East B and Eighth (top right), the other at West B and Seventh (bottom right).

April 2010: improvements at Kabredlo's

Spencer Walter of Walter Plumbing, McCook, used a backhoe in April 2010 to remove huge chunks of the parking lot at Kabredlo's Convenience Store (now known as Casey's Central) in the 200 block of West First in McCook, making way for repairs to a leaking pipe.

Hard Core Concrete and Construction, also of McCook, poured new concrete and — despite snow and rain — had the parking lot back to normal within a day. Another recent improvement at the store was the addition of updated registers with connections to Internet rather than phone lines, enhancing the processing of credit and debits cards.

Wells Fargo reaching out to provide customers with solutions Connie Jo Discoe/McCook Daily Gazette

McCOOK, Nebraska – What does APR really mean? If your credit card has a limit of $1,000, what’s a good rule of thumb for how much you should use the card to spend? How is a credit score calculated? These are among questions that Wells Fargo’s McCook team addressed with high school students as part of Get Smart About Credit Day, an American Bankers Association initiative to educate consumers about the importance of credit and how to use it responsibly. Bill Burton, Community Banking president for Wells Fargo in McCook, and Wells Fargo Ag Industry Specialist Mark Sabata spent an entire day at McCook High School in December, teaching seniors about smart credit use and answering questions about student loans, credit scores and other topics. It’s an initiative the company will again participate this year. “This is one of the many ways we reach out in our community and make a difference,” Burton said. “It’s more important than ever for students to learn about managing money so that they can make good decisions that will help them become financially successful long term.” In the last few months,

Wells Fargo introduced two new tools to help customers with money management. One of the tools – My Money Map – is a free, online tool that provides a dashboard view of a customer’s financial picture. The tool features easy-to-review bar charts that show monthly spending by category, current savings and monthly spending versus budget goals. Wells Fargo also introduced the ATM Cash Tracker tool to help customers track their ATM withdrawals. Customers can set a monthly withdrawal target and track their progress each time they use the ATM. Across our company and in McCook, Wells Fargo business bankers have worked hard over the past year to find solutions to help businesses small and large through this tough economy. In Nebraska, Wells Fargo extended $56 million in SBA loans in Nebraska last year and, for the seventh consecutive year, the company was the No. 1 SBA lender in dollar volume for Nebraska. Crop insurance also remained an area of focus in McCook with the addition of Paul Hoyt more than a year ago. Hoyt is a crop insurance specialist whose focus on working with agribusinesses on risk-management plans has resulted in growth

Jeremy Blomstedt/McCook Daily Gazette

Wells Fargo, located on West First and D in McCook, remains committed to serving its customers and the community. in the area. Celebrating a milestone this year is Mark Sabata, ag industry specialist, who is celebrating his fifth year with the company in 2011. The Wells Fargo team continued its commitment in McCook to investing in the local community both through volunteerism and charitable donations. The company donated about $1.6 million across the state in 2010, including to a number of McCook non-profit organizations.

Wells Fargo made donations to United Way of McCook, Southwest Nebraska Leadership Institute, Alliance for the Encouragement of Visual and Performing Arts, McCook Community College Foundation, Ed Thomas YMCA’s Partner with Youth Campaign, the Community Hospital Health Foundation to support their hospice efforts and the McCook Public Schools to support the Leadership Banquet to name a few. The company also donated $15,000 and volunteer time to

help rehab a Habitat for Humanity home in McCook. The Wells Fargo team worked alongside other Habitat volunteers to help ready the home for a couple and their children. The team installed installation during a work day this fall. The home was complete for the holidays. The McCook team once again worked with the community and customers for the Tree of Love campaign. During the campaign, customers and community member could donate gifts during the

holidays for families in need. The team collected 41 gifts and saw an outpouring of support. Even after the campaign ended, community members came to the banking store asking how they could help. “An important part of what we do as a company is invest in the local community,” Burton said. “Our team is dedicated to giving back by donating time and talent and providing financial support to local organizations. By doing so, we help the McCook community grow and thrive.”


Young Coppermill owner ‘not naive’ about restaurant biz 6 – McCook Daily Gazette


McCOOK, Nebraska – At just 25 years old, Adam Siegfried may seem young to own and operate McCook's premier restaurant. But Adam has no misconceptions about what it's going to take to run "The Coppermill Restaurant and Lounge," the fine dining establishment he purchased from Kevin Ord in May. "I've worked for Kevin off-and-on since I was 18 years old, and I've worked every job except food waitress," Adam said, with a grin. "I'm not naive about the work required to continue the Coppermill." Adam also credits working at Heartland Cattle Co., with his dad, Cal, and Dr. Patsy Houghton, for developing a traditional midwestern work ethic as he was growing up. And Kevin is sharing his 30-some years of restaurant expertise with Adam. "His experience is amazing," Adam said. "He's a fantastic mentor." While Adam intends to maintain the reputation of the Coppermill, he wants to add his own touch, and this month, will expand the menu with more steaks and entrees, and add pasta dishes. In September, he plans to offer a Sunday brunch. "We've never been open on Sunday before," Adam said. Adam also plans some interior remodeling and painting, and will eventually add outdoor dining.

"We've got the best view of the Heritage Hills Golf Course and Nebraska sunsets," he said. One thing that won't be changing – despite rumors to the contrary – is the Coppermill name. "I like the name. It's been a staple to Southwest Nebraska for 28 years," Adam said. Adam said he was excited when the opportunity arose a year ago to purchase the Coppermill. He was working six months of the year in Kansas as a hunting guide and four months of the year in Alaska as a deck hand on a sport fishing boat, and was getting tired of the vagabond lifestyle. Buying the Coppermill offered Adam the chance to move back to McCook, where he was born and raised and graduated from high school (in 2003), and where his parents live. "I was looking for an opportunity to move back to McCook," Adam said. "McCook's a great town – there's no place like it. And I love the people." *** The Coppermill is located under the spreading willow tree, on the eastern edge of the Heritage Hills Golf Course, on Coppermill Street accessible from North Highway 83. It is open Tuesday through Saturday; the dining room's hours are 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.; the lounge hours are 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. It will be open on Sundays, for Sunday brunch, starting in September. It's closed on Monday.

Monday, Feb. 21, 2011

Connie Jo Discoe/McCook Daily Gazette

U.S. Navy veteran launches welding business in McCook

McCOOK, Nebraska – JLB Welding, located at 109 East 6th in McCook, opened for business July 15. The welding shop, owned by McCook resident Jeremy Bain and his wife, Laura, offers mig, tig and stick welding services to Southwest Nebraska and Northwest Kansas. "We are equipped for shop as well as portable, on-location welding and can handle repair or fabrication work," said Bain. The business is servicing both industrial and residential customers with an emphasis on the industrial aspect. Bain is an accomplished welder, experienced in working with stainless steel, black iron as well as aluminum. He learned the welding trade in the U.S. Navy. He was stationed on a repair ship in the Persian Gulf after Desert Storm, completing three six-month WestPac cruise tours. He returned home to Ft. Morgan, Colorado, after his military service and began working as a foreman for Protech Fabricators. "We did repair and fabrication

Adam Siegfried of McCook purchased The Coppermill from Kevin Ord in May 2010. The Ord family opened the Coppermill in 1982. Adam is a native of McCook and a 2003 graduate of McCook Senior High. He is the son of Beth Siegfried and Cal Siegfried, both of McCook.

work at Protech, primarily working with stainless steel and aluminum. A lot of food grade stainless work for a cheese factory. It was great experience for me," said Bain. Bain eventually left Protech and transferred to McCook in 1999, taking a job with Kugler's Welding of Culbertson as the company welder. He has remained a McCook resident ever since, working as an engineer for Union Pacific Railroad for the last several years. The JLB Welding shop number is 345-5527, open Monday thru Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. They also offer an inventory of black iron for retail sale to individuals and ordering access to stainless steel and aluminum as needed. Bain says he always wanted to open his own welding business: "I am very excited to have an opportunity to finally be doing it." Right: Jeremy Bain, owner of JLB Welding, is an accomplished welder who learned the trade while serving in the U.S. Navy. He has been a McCook resident since 1999.

Bruce Baker/McCook Daily Gazette

BAKERY 345-1787

Honor business

Connie Jo Discoe/McCook Daily Gazette

Rose Chancellor (front, center), owner and manager of Acme-Touch Printers & Designers in McCook, and her employees received the banner of the "Honor Business of the Quarter," designated by the McCook Area Chamber of Commerce in January 2010.

The business started in downtown McCook in 1975, moved to North Highway 83, and relocated to the top of the hill on West Highway 6 and 34, at 1009 West B, in 1991.

The firm specializes in printing and promotional products, and was represented during the banner presentation ceremony by (front, from left) Nancy McKenzie, sales; Chancellor; and Kristen Harms, bindery; and back, Travis Bieker, designer; and Rich Dack, press. Attending the banner presentation were representatives of the McCook Chamber and the McCook Cordials.


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McCook Daily Gazette


Muscle meets science

Top left: Doug Stewart, of Stewart Construction, Indianola, Nebraska, operated an excavator in August 2010 to remove three 4,000- and 5,000-gallon underground gas and diesel storage tanks from the former Bunstock Oil Co. location, now owned by Janssen Kool Honda, on West B Street in McCook, Nebraska.

Top right: With the transfer of ownership, the new owners were required by the Department of Environmental Quality to remove any unused or out-of-service underground fuel storage tanks. Before removing the tanks, each was checked for liquids and leaks, and Chad Stewart, right, and Marty Conroy of McCook, a certified tank inspector with RDG Geoscience and Engineering Inc., poured dry ice (solidified carbon dioxide) inside.

Right: Conroy and Dr. Bob Kalinski of Omaha, left, engineer and senior vice president of RDG Geoscience, then took readings of carbon dioxide, oxygen and fuel vapors as the carbon dioxide displaced the oxygen in the tank and forced the vapors out of the tank. Bottom: Janssen Kool Honda uses the lot for its Buy Here, Pay Here credit re-establishment car sales. Connie Jo Discoe/McCook Daily Gazette Bottom photo: Jeremy Blomstedt/McCook Daily Gazette

Monday, Feb. 21, 2011 – 7

8 – McCook Daily Gazette


Monday, Feb. 21, 2011

Ribbon-cutting welcomes insurance agency to McCook

Connie Jo Discoe/McCook Daily Gazette

The McCook, Nebraska Area Chamber of Commerce, McCook Cordials, City of McCook and McCook banks and businesses welcomed the Lela D. Ladd Agency/American Family Insurance to the McCook business community with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Nov. 18, 2010, at the agency's new location in the Keystone Business Center at 402 Norris Avenue.

Lela Ladd, holding the ribbon on the left side, said that she and her husband, Jim, wielding the scissors, moved to McCook from Douglas, Wyoming, three years ago, to be closer to their daughter, Brandi, who is married to Tyler Schmick, of Schmick's Market. "McCook became home very quickly," Lela told those gathered for the ribbon cutting.

Lela owned an insurance company for 10 years in Wyoming, and took over American Family Insurance in McCook from Jim Dusatko on July 1, 2010. She moved into the Keystone on Aug. 1. Lela's customer service representative (CSR) is Lynn Rhods. With the move to McCook, Jim Ladd retired from the Wyoming Law Enforcement Academy after 24 years; he is employed at Schmick's. Lela's motto for her new office is emblazoned on the wall above her desk: "May all who enter as clients leave as friends."

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McCook Daily Gazette

Root beer for everyone

Connie Jo Discoe/McCook Daily Gazette

Tyler Loop of McCook, Nebraska, discussed his and his wife Tyler's new business venture, "The Loop Brewery Co.," while sharing his homemade root beer with a fairgoer in the merchants' building at the Red Willow County fair in McCook in July 2010. The new business — which won the first-place $25,000 investment award from the 2010 Hormel Business Plan Competition — will be a brew pub offering craft beers made on-site, as well as a restaurant.

Great Plains installs new equipment hut

Great Plains Communications

With the help of Hixsonʼs General Contractors, Inc. of McCook, Great Plains Communications recently installed a new hut that will house equipment that connects the fiber-optic network from McCook to company headquarters in Blair and on to Omaha. This network will carry HighDefinition television services and increase Internet speeds to McCook.

The Good Life ‘castle’ still McCook’s home for Chinese food FORWARD, TOGETHER

McCook Daily Gazette


McCOOK, Nebraska — After 17 years of serving their Chinese food to Southwest Nebraska and Northwest Kansas customers, Foon and Ada Chiu have earned a reputation for serving wonderful food in a clean, healthy environment — in "the castle" at the corner of West B and Tenth in McCook, Nebraska. Although Foon's sore shoulder is forcing the couple into an early retirement, he and Ada are helping friends who have moved from California to McCook continue the legacy of the Good Life Restaurant. Foon and Ada have sold their restaurant to Xize Wang and his family, but the couple plans to stay in McCook to help the new owners as they become accustomed to McCook and diners learn that the new owners are as concerned with good taste and cleanliness as Foon and Ada were. Xize is a head chef trained at a very prestigious government cooking school in China. He worked in restaurants in China and for 14 years in restaurants in San Jose, California. "Xize is very wellknown in San Jose," Ada said. "When he changed restau-

rants, his customers follow him to the new restaurant." Xize is excited about expanding the Good Life's menu with his own brand of traditional Chinese cooking. "It is very good, very special cooking ... a little bit different style," Ada said. "Xize will introduce new foods from China and new tastes from California," Ada said proudly. "You in this small town can enjoy big-city taste." Xize plans "Chef's Speincluding honey cials," chicken, five flavor chicken, General Hot chicken, salt pepper spare ribs, Mandarin fish, Kung Pao hot fish fillet. The specials join a menu highlighted by appetizers, fried rice, soups, vegetables, lomein and chicken, beef, pork, shrimp and fish entrees served with steamed rice and soup. The menu offers 30 lunch specials and "Family Dinner A" and "Family Dinner B." All foods can be prepared to go. The Good Life Restaurant is located at 305 W. Tenth in McCook; the phone number is (308) 345-4117. The restaurant is open seven days a week, for lunch from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. and for dinner from 5 p.m. until 9 p.m.

Concrete choreography

Monday, Feb. 21, 2011 – 9

Connie Jo Discoe/McCook Daily Gazette

Ada Chiu, right, stands with Xize, Fengli and Cally Wang, from the left, the new owners of the Good Life Restaurant, the Chinese restaurant formerly owned by Ada and her husband, Foon (not pictured). While Chinese restaurants in McCook have come and gone, Foon and Ada's restaurant — located in "the castle" at West Tenth and B — is 17 years old. Ada said that she and Foon hope that diners throughout Southwest Nebraska and Northwest Kansas will accept the new owners as they have accepted the Chius. Ada said that Xize's enthusiasm for sharing Chinese cuisine will offer regular customers and new diners, "a taste of traditional and big-city Chinese cooking."

The crew of Hard Core Concrete and Construction, McCook, Nebraska — from left, Heath McDonald, Bear Pesall, Lirin Yost, Elliott Ferneau, Mike Pesall and Bill Davis Sr. — worked wet concrete poured at the warehouse door of the McCook Daily Gazette newspaper office in McCook in October 2010. Gazette production manager Lloyd Shields said the new concrete was part of a repair needed because a sink hole had developed in the sand used to fill a hole when an underground gas storage tank — buried and put into use in the early 1980's — was removed 20 years ago.

Shields said that concrete poured over the sand settled through the years, and dropped five inches with abundant rains the past two years. "It was a lake there every time it rained, and the concrete would have just kept sinking," Shields said. Hard Core raised the new rebar-reinforced concrete nine inches so that rain and snow melt drain to the street. Gerhold Concrete delivered about 26 yards of concrete for the project.

New Christian daycare opens its doors in McCook

Connie Jo Discoe/McCook Daily Gazette

Gazette photo

Kingdom Kids Christian Daycare opened in McCook on April 26, 2010.

McCOOK, Nebraska — Less than two months after purchasing the property from a Baptist church in North Platte, owner Kim Tietz opened the doors of Kingdom Kids Christian Daycare for business on April 26, 2010. Tietz, who has 12 years experience doing inhome daycare, said a lot went into getting the former church ready in such a short period of time. "We have a really unique location being so close to McCook Elementary and Little Bison Preschool, but we had to put in a full fire system, converted an office into a bathroom," among other projects which included the prudent conversion of the church's stage into a puppet theatre. More remodeling and landscaping projects will be taking place this spring. The abundance of space in the daycare is a welcome sight, with Tietz saying the facility has the square footage to license for the care of up to

75 children. The room has come in handy. “Over the last ten months,” Tietz said, “God has increased our number of children from five to 65 kids, with approximately 30 a day coming through the doors.” That growth has led to an increase in staff from two to seven people, ranging in positions from full-time to substitute. Tietz said that she and her staff are looking forward to the upcoming summer programs. "We did something with the school-age children every day in the afternoons. These things included each week, bowling, swimming, free movies, tours of downtown businesses, kite flying and read-ins," said Tietz. "We have a lot of people to be grateful to, but without the support of my husband Glen and God, none of this would be possible," said Tietz.

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10 – McCook Daily Gazette

Monday, Feb. 21, 2011

Community Hospital’s growth could help McCook grow

Connie Jo Discoe/McCook Daily Gazette

Community Hospitalʼs beautiful new patient wing offers many benefits to patients, visitors and staff.

McCOOK, Nebraska Communities that have access to good health care can survive and grow, according to Mary Wakefield, head of the Health Resources and Services Administration. On the other hand, she said, communities that do not have good access to health care can lose their ability to prosper. Every health care dollar recycles through the local economy one and a half times, Wakefield said. Sen. Ben Nelson, who attended a ribbon cutting ceremony in early January in McCook for Community Hospital's $30 million building and remodeling project, said the $17 million in low-interest loans from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act did exactly what it was supposed to do. If health care provides 10 to 15 percent of the jobs in McCook as it does in other rural counties, then the secondary benefits from those jobs account for 15 to 20 percent of all jobs. Judging from Community Hospital's new patient wing, plus plans for future phases, McCook should be well prepared for the foreseeable future. Patients and staff are beginning to feel at home in the new wing, which features 25 large, all-private patient rooms with wheelchair accessible bathrooms. The rooms are strategically planned to offer three zones of care for the comfort, efficiency and and care of all who are supporting the patient: The patient zone, nursing zone and family zone. The patient zone includes the bed area, a comfortable recliner and closet for personal belongings, generous bathrooms so multiple caregivers are able to assist patients. Other room amenities include a flat-screen HDTV and wireless Internet access, plus multi-levels oflighting designed for sleeping, reading and nursing care. The nursing zone provides an area to freely and efficiently work near the patient's bedside, including a computer in every patient room to allow the nurse to enter admission assessments, care plans and charting as well as ordering and viewing patient test results. All 25 patient rooms are identically laid out so that no matter what room the nurse is caring for, it is familiar. Supporting a decentralized nursing model, a built-in desk and computer outside every two patient rooms allows providers to electronically chart. At this desk, the nurse can also view the patients in two rooms at once through small monitoring windows without disturbing the patients. Built in blinds provide privacy for the patients. Finally, the family zone includes a large, comfortable

couch under the room's window, designed to expand into a wider-sized bed. Built-in cushioned benches and handrails spaced along the hallway allow patients or families to rest. Nourishment centers adjacent to family rooms offer beverages and light snacks for patients and guests to help make their stay more comfortable. The north end of the new patient wing houses the obstetric department with two labor, delivery, recovery rooms, four post-partum rooms, a large, well-equipped nursery and an OB waiting room. The south end of the patient wing houses two hospice rooms. A comfortable waiting area with a fireplace will overlook the healing garden through floor-to-ceiling windows. Both hospice rooms also can be used as isolation rooms. One of the hospice rooms offers a patient lift with a track installed in the ceiling that allows the patient to be moved from bed to the restroom or shower. Offices in the patient wing are equipped with energy efficient lights, which automatically come on when someone enters the room and go out after a period of inactivity. But the new, 25,000 square-foot patient wing is only the beginning of a new two-phase project. Phase 2, which gets under way this spring with a targeted completion date of summer 2012, will connect the new patient wing with 26,000 square feet of space housing a new surgery wing, spacious pharmacy, dedicated outpatient area for patients receiving injections and infusions, a large community and staff meeting room for wellness programs, and a beautiful healing garden. The garden will be funded in part through donations to the Community Hospital Health Foundation, giving patients, family members and hospital staff a chance to interact with nature. The state-of-the-art surgery wing will be located between the labor and delivery and ER areas, and will offer:  Private pre- and postsurgery rooms.  Three larger technologically advanced operating suites  A departmental layout that allows for a fourth operating suite in the future  Communication systems for surgeons in adjoining surgery suites.  Two fully-functional endoscopy suites.  Surgery located between labor, delivery and the emergency room.  New heating and cooling systems  Equipment booms to increase safety  Integration with equipment.

Community Hospital

A ribbon-cutting ceremony held in Jan. 2011 marked the opening of the new patient wing at Commuunity Hospital. Once the surgery department and other areas move into their newly constructed space, the former surgery area will be renovated to house the respiratory therapy, radiology, laboratory, business office and health information management departments. But the new building is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to improvements at Community Hospital. Medical staff such as certified registered nurse anesthetists now have the use of a new mobile anesthesia RX cart which allows them to dispense supplies and medication in the LDR to perform epidurals on patients in labor. Three new automated supply cabinets were introduced in the spring of 2010, allowing the nurse to select the patient name from the system and the product needed by pushing the green button related to that product. Once the button is pushed, the item is charged to the patient and the par level of the product is decreased to alert the materials management department when restocking is needed. Patient health and safety is the hospital's highest priority, which is why new bedside medication administration with pharmacy medication bar coding in the new patient wing will be introduced sometime this year. Medication errors can be avoided by using barcode technology in bedside medication, helping ensure the "Five Rights" of the patient: the right patient gets the right medication in the right dose through the right route at the right time. Wristbands with barcodes given at the admission point are vital in tracking the right patient throughout the treatment period in the hospital. Scanning the barcode label on the medications prescribed to

a patient enables accurate treatment. The device used in barcode-enabled medical administration is a handheld scanner connected to a wireless mobile computer. These devices automatically communicate with other information systems to record and update transactions. They also store medical information. As a result, it is possible to more accurately check and confirm that the right medication process is being followed. Community Hospital also plans to introduce computerized physician order entry this year as part of the technology used in the new patient wing. CPOE is a process of electronic entry of physician instructions for the treatment of patients under the doctor's care. The orders are communicated over Community Hospital's computer network to hospital departments such as the pharmacy or laboratory responsible for fulfilling the order. CPOE decreases delay in order completion, reduces errors related to handwriting, allows order entry at the hospital or from a clinic, provides error-checking for duplicate or incorrect doses or tests, and simplifies inventory and posting of charges. Community Hospital was one of the first hospitals in Nebraska to obtain a new automated chest compression system called AutoPulse. The system provides automatic, consistent chest compressions by using a band that wraps around and tightly squeezes and releases the entire chest. Since the system was purchased with Community Hospital Health Foundation funding, it has been used to treat several cardiac arrest patients in the emergency room and throughout the hospital,

according to Darcie Johnson, RN, BSN, Community Hospital Emergency Room coordinator. "The AutoPulse actually moves more blood more effectively than is possible with human hands, " Johnson said. "A person trained in CPR and doing the best cardiac compressions possible can achieve only 20 to 30 percent cardiac output. The AutoPulse is much more effective, increasing cardiac output up to 128 percent," she said. "It gets blood to the heart, body and most importantly, the brain." Renovations to improve access to the emergency department entrance began in October and will be completed soon. The former ER entrance opened directly from the north, allowing elements of weather to enter the building. Changes were made to move the ER entrance door for walk-in traffic so it opens from the east into an Lshaped vestibule. An ER waiting area will soon be added by the entrance doors to allow more room for patients and visitors. Community Hospital's newly updated mammography suite features full-field digital breast mammography equipment which captures crystal-clear images within seconds, allowing early treatment when it is most effective. Benefits include a greater field of view, a lower radiation dose, the ability of images to be enhanced to assist in proper diagnosis and better use for women with dense breast tissue or implants. The hospital added four new FROG – Fitness Reaching Older Gens – schools in 2010, in Stratton, Trenton, Curtis and Culbertson, in addition to those already taking place in McCook and Indianola. More recently, classes were added in Hayes Center and Palisade.

400 one-hour About classes were conducted at FROG schools last year, including 200 hours conducted by volunteer instructors and 200 by Community Hospital employees. Benefits include increased flexibility, better sleep, digestion and bladder control, improved strength, balance, endurance, alertness and social interaction. Community Hospital's new obstetrics department is more efficient for the medical staff and more comfortable for the patient. The OB department includes:  Family room waiting area  Security system which allows entry only through security card access.  HUGS® security system to protect against infant and pediatric abduction.  Large central hospital nursery between the LDR and post-partum areas.  Step-up viewing window outside the nursery for young siblings to see their new baby. The new LDR suites provide:  A calming atmosphere with a homelike setting to bring new life into the world.  A whirlpool tub in each LDR room  Close proximity to the surgery area for planned or emergency C-sections  One-to-one nurse/patient ratio Each all-private post-partum room is equipped with a couch for family members to sit or sleep on in addition to a flat-screen HDTV, wireless Internet access, large restroom/shower area. Six family medicine physicians provide obstetric care at Community Hospital: Jason Blomstedt, D.O.; Wade Fornander, M.D.; Lorinda Reece, M.D.; Rose Remington, M.D.; Mark Serbousek, M.D.; and John West, M.D.

McCook Daily Gazette


Monday, Feb. 21, 2011 – 11

Wing ‘outline’ photo highlights hospital’s key resources

Community Hospital

Many of Community Hospitalʼs employees, key resources for providing excellent patient care, outline the footprint of the new patient wing just prior to the groundbreaking in September 2009. The patient wing runs the length of a football field. Members of the McCook Fire Department took the picture using one of their ladder trucks.

‘The foundation of Community Hospital’

Community Hospital

Left: Community Hospital employees were invited to demonstrate, “We are the foundation of Community Hospital” last February when staff, board of directors and medical staff were invited to sign two steel beams prepared for the new patient wing. Their signatures were forever captured into the steel foundation framework when the beams were incorporated into the facility later in the week. Signing one of the beams are (from left) Nicetas (Nenette) Eilenberger, Darla Wilson, Karen Morthole, Sarah Wolford and Larisa OʼBrien.

Right: Two signed beams are raised at the north end of the new patient wing by steel workers. The horizontal beam already in place on the left was signed by medical staff and board of directors. The beam just being set was signed by Community Hospital employees. A majority of employees participated in the signing with the top, sides and underside of the beam filled with signatures.

Phase 2 of construction to begin in spring 2011 COMMUNITY HOSPITAL

McCOOK, Nebraska – Now that the new patient wing is complete, Community Hospital begins the next phase of our building project. Phase 2 will connect the new patient wing to the current hospital with 26,000 square feet of space housing a new surgery wing, pharmacy, dedicated outpatient area for patients receiving injections and infusions, a large community and staff meeting room for wellness programs and a beautiful healing garden. To prepare the area for construction, the three current patient pods will be demolished. In spring 2011, new construction will begin. This phase is scheduled for completion in the spring of 2012, containing the state-of-the-art surgery wing, which will feature: I Private pre- and post- surgery rooms I Three larger operating suites I A fourth operating suite shelled in for future growth I Communication system for surgeons in adjoining surgery suites I A second endoscopy suite I Surgery located between labor, delivery and ER I New heating and cooling system I Equipment booms to increase safety I Integration with equipment Illustration courtesy HDR

Following demolition of the three patient pods, Phase 2 of the building project begins this spring and ends one year later, in the spring of 2012.

Once the surgery department and other areas move to their newly constructed space, the former surgery area will be renovated to house the respiratory therapy, radiology, laboratory, business office and health information management departments.

McCook Daily Gazette


New Guard/Reserve center construction begins

Monday, Feb. 21, 2011 – 13

Connie Jo Discoe/McCook Daily Gazette

The McCook Armed Forces Readiness Center went up during 2010 on a 34-acre hilltop east of McCook. The $8.5 million facility will be used to train soldiers of the Nebraska National Guard and the Army Reserve, and will be completed in 2011. More photos inside.

/716/ 3/?Q\P3<PM36M_3 716/ 3/:--69 Front:Bart Monnahan, Traci Bieker and Lester Bieker; Back:Dennis Pelton, Leeland Bieker and Jason Bieker.


14 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; McCook Daily Gazette


Groundbreaking celebration

Monday, Feb. 21, 2011

Connie Jo Discoe/McCook Daily Gazette

Special guests, including Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson and Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman, tossed spadesful of dirt in May 2010, celebrating the $8 million "Armed Forces Readiness Center" under construction on 37 acres cut out of a wheat field on the eastern edge of McCook. The facility will be the home of the McCook-based units of the Nebraska Army National Guard and the Army Reserve, and will provide administration, supply and training for the approximately 100 Guard and Reserve members who drill and are stationed in McCook.

Special guests speak at groundbreaking

Connie Jo Discoe/McCook Daily Gazette

Gov. David Heineman, left photo, said the training center will provide the opportunity for soldiers to remain close to home as they receive quality training and prepare for deployment. Sen. Ben Nelson, pictured at right, said the new facility will improvement homeland defense, adding that the collaborative effort of the Guard and Reserve will make training and deployment more efficient and cost-effective for tax payers. This cooperative effort serves the mission of both the Guard and the Reserve, Sen. Nelson said. He said the readiness center will ensure that soldiers get the quality training, equipment, health care, funding and support required for a modern military. "The facility is money well-spent on a commitment to our soldiers," he said.

Both Nelson and Heineman honored the memory of Sgt. Randy Matheny, a Nebraska National Guard soldier from McCook who was killed Feb. 4, 2007, during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Nelson said it is appropriate to remember and mourn those soldiers who have given their lives for their country and to thank American veterans, those serving their country now and the families who support their dedication. "Remember their sacrifices," Nelson said. "May God continue to bless America."

Current exterior of the new facility

The exterior of the new training center as it stands in Feb. 2011. The building is scheduled to open this summer.

Jeremy Blomstedt/McCook Daily Gazette

McCook Daily Gazette


Storm drain for training center constructed

Monday, Feb. 21, 2011 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 15

Connie Jo Discoe/McCook Daily Gazette

Working for Snell Services of North Platte, Andrew Hedke of McCook (right photo) ran a tamper and Jeff Lytle (left photo), also of McCook, operated a track-hoe recently to build a 10-inch storm sewer for the new training center.

Exterior and interior work on new center

Connie Jo Discoe/McCook Daily Gazette

Left: On the opposite corner of the new Armed Forces Readiness Center building, Remcon Erectors of Omaha used a crane to install precast wall sections made of four inches of Styrofoam sandwiched between three-inch slices of concrete.

Right: In the center of the building, Andy Gilmore of Lottman Carpenter Construction of Diller, right, and Roberto Hernadez of Grand Island, left, and Pedro Belmondes of Omaha poured concrete for a rebar-reinforced gun vault. Bruce Niesen, Sampson Construction's job site supervisor, said a geothermal ground loop will heat and cool the building. Niesen said they've drilled 200 holes 250 feet deep to use the ground as a natural resource to heat and cool the new building.

Big Red Agency owner happy she accepted opportunity FORWARD, TOGETHER

16 – McCook Daily Gazette


McCOOK, Nebraska – Kristie Winters hadn’t steered herself onto a career path that would have normally led to becoming an insurance agent. But when State Farm contacted her just over two years ago about an opportunity to join them, the owner of McCook’s Big Red Agency – located at 201 W. Fourth – found herself actually interested in the possibility. Winters, a life-long area resident and the former owner of Nebraska Concrete Coatings, said that she decided to take a chance and accept the challenge of joining one of America’s largest insurance companies. The process of becoming an agent began in July 2008 with a two-month long interview process with State Farm executives. Then, after she was officially on board, there was training and education in corporate offices in Lincoln and an agency in North Platte until March 2009. Then she was ready to open her own office, taking over retired agent Ron Penner’s clients. When it came time to select a space for her offices, she chose to locate her agency on the corner of W. Fourth and B. “I wanted to own my own building,” she said, adding that she wanted to provide a more spacious, open and customer-friendly environment. The size of the building also allowed Winters and her staff to have more space to work,

as well as provide a measure of additional privacy for clients when dealing with personal issues. “When we’re dealing with things like life insurance, it’s more comfortable for them,” she said. Another big plus? “It’s a great location,” Winters said. “You really can’t miss seeing it.” Winters said that her agency’s business is staying strong. “We have grown from when we started,” she said. Part of that growth she credited to the fact that she isn’t just selling insurance to people in McCook, but also serving surrounding towns and farms. “I like supporting the rural area,” she said. It also doesn’t hurt to be affiliated with State Farm, a well-known and respected member of the insurance industry, which insures more cars and homes than any other insurer in the United States. “We’ve been the No. 1 auto insurer in the United States since the 1940s,” she said. The reason for that success is simple, Winters said. “We’re a conservative company.” Being thought of as conservative can have its drawbacks, however. “State Farm is often considered ‘your parents’ insurance company,’” Winters said. New national advertising is attempting to change that perception. To that end, iPhone apps which help people find State Farm agents have been created, the company has a presence on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube

Monday, Feb. 21, 2011

Jeremy Blomstedt/McCook Daily Gazette

The staff of Big Red Agency, from left: Sheila Eden, Kaila Kressin, Angie Burns and agency owner Kristie Winters. and Winters is developing her own agency’s Facebook page. “We’re trying to reach the younger generation,” she said. There are some newer services State Farm offers that the younger and older set might not know about, no matter their social networking status. “A lot of people have no clue that we offer financial services,” Winters said. Winters said that while she and her three-person staff – Sheila Eden, Kaila Kressin and Angie Burns – are wellversed in all of State Farm’s products and services, each has a particular focus. Win-

ters’ focus is on farmers and ranchers. She said she owed that to her own upbringing. “I grew up out in the country,” she said, adding that she’s “not afraid to go out and ride in a combine” if it’s the only time a farmer might have to talk over a policy. That commitment to service appears to be paying off for her agency; Winters said that when it comes to new customers, “I find a lot of farmers recommend me to their friends and neighbors.” Winters is also quick to credit her staff for the agency’s success. “We’re in a

relationship business,” she said, adding that everyone who works at Big Red Agency is more than willing and able to spend as much time as necessary talking with their customers to find out which products and services they need. “We will talk with you, not at you,” she said. Ultimately, the woman who didn’t know if she even wanted to be an insurance agent only two years ago, is quite proud of the business she and her staff have built since then. “My name might be on the building, but it’s not just me. I’m not just an

agent,” Winters said. “I think we’re a good agency. We work as a team. I am in and out of the office meeting clients a lot and am fortunate to have a team that will make sure my clients’ needs are met even when I’m not there.” Big Red Agency’s office hours are 8 a.m to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday; appointments outside of those hours are available by request. The agency’s phone number is (308) 345-3400; the fax number is (308) 3457512. The Web address is

New owners bring fresh energy to New Life Christian Bookstore DAWN CRIBBS ASSOCIATE EDITOR

McCOOK, Nebraska — Nearly a full year after taking ownership of New Life Christian Bookstore, Lisa Wilcox continues to add to her inventory, still discovering what works and what doesn't. The store, at 212 Norris Ave., fulfills a variety of needs in the faith community, for individual believers as well as for area churches and ministers. "The VBS kits are in," Wilcox said, "And we've added the DaySpring card line to the inventory." DaySpring provides individual and boxed sets of Christian greeting cards for a variety of special events. Wilcox has embraced her role as proprietor with passion, hosting book signings, and remote broadcasts from area radio stations. She is looking forward to the oneyear anniversary next month with a special re-appearance of Todd Burpo, the author of the New York Times bestseller

"Heaven is For Real," reviewed in Oct. 27, 2010, edition of the McCook Daily Gazette. "I can hardly keep it (the book) in stock," Wilcox said. Copies are available now, and Burpo will be signing books during his appearance in March. Home decor items, books, both fiction and non-fiction, Bibles, music CDs, sheet music, T-shirts, games, puzzles, even pocket knives and jewelry, fill the store. Wilcox has a table set up between the display of Bibles and devotional materials so that browsers can have a seat and take a long look before making a purchasing decision. Her sister, Gloria Tinkham, also has a miniature tea boutique in the store, adding to the ambiance and to the vast gift selections already in the store. When Wilcox first opened the store, she was astonished to hear so many first time visitors remark, "I thought all you had were Bibles." Wilcox admits, "We do

Dawn Cribbs/McCook Daily Gazette

The Wilcox women – from left, Jessica, Lisa, Allison (Wilcox) Marts and Sarah Wilcox, stand at the cash register at New Life Christian Bookstore, 212 Norris Ave. Lisa and her husband, Rick, took ownership of the store on March 17. have a large selection of Bibles, and also a unique collection of just about everything else."

Divine Productions: ‘exciting’ plans for 2011

McCOOK, Nebraska – "Lots of exciting things" are planned for 2011, according to Divine Productions owner Cody Dame. The company has started a new remodeling project that will be completed sometime before summer 2011 with new specialized rooms that allow for client viewing of images/consultations, as well as a new front desk greeting area. "We expanded our photography services by adding more employees, more times for sessions, lots of new image related products, and an entirely new lineup of Senior and Wedding Photography packages," Dame said.

He and his staff also recently upgraded their video editing software. "Our videography services have been busy with multiple projects including weddings and other events," Dame said, "as well as corporate video projects for different organizations." Divine's DJ Services has also just added a new audio system to their previously existing pair of systems, allowing the company to be able to provide audio for three different events on any given day. Divine Productions is headquartered at the corner of West First and C in McCook; their phone number is (308) 354-4734.

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McCook Daily Gazette




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Customer service the key to Longnecker Jewelry’s success McCook Daily Gazette


Buying jewelry is usually considered a nerverattling experience. Besides having the twin concerns of selecting that "just right" piece of jewelry and calculating the sheer dollars-andcents cost, consumers often feel the pressure of dealing with a salesperson who might see them as a potential payday first, a human being second. Bill Longnecker, owner of McCook's Longnecker Jewelry – on the other hand – spends a lot of his time swapping stories and laughing with the people who come from near and far to visit his jewelry store. It's a major part of a customer service strategy that has proven successful for him time and time again: treat everyone who comes into the store with respect and fairness – and help them enjoy the experience. "We treat everyone the same, mud on their boots or dressed to the nines," Longnecker said. His ideas about taking care of the customer trace back to his childhood and to a possibly surprising place: the corner gas station. "I can remember when they'd pump your gas, check your oil, wash your windshield," he said. "It didn't cost extra. They just did it. That's what I think customer service needs to be." Longnecker aims to provide that kind of service through doing whatever the customer needs, including cleaning, polishing, repair work and even custom design, all from his location at 314 Norris. He compared custom work to another automotive service – body repair. "It's a labor-intensive process," he said. "We can do casting and mold-making, but it does take time." He also empowers his employees to provide the same kind of sales and repair service that he gives the store's customers, just in case he's busy or unavailable. "I want the staff to feel that they can take care of things," he said. Longnecker Jewelry sells all types of fine jewelry with an eye toward providing the styles that people want to buy. His cases are wellstocked with items that gleam and sparkle, but aren't overpowering to a visitor. "Having the right mix of quality items and amount of merchandise" is another part of Longnecker’s business philosophy. “We try to carry a large selection that appeals to a wide variety of customers, regardless of their budgets,” he said, adding, “If we don’t have it, we can get it.” Longnecker's combined commitment to outstanding customer service at all times, along

with carrying a great selection of superior merchandise, not only ensures his store's success, but is also likely among the reasons he was among the 27 jewelers in North America awarded the title of "America's Best Jeweler" by Jewelers of America (JA). They are an industry group that "advocates professionalism and adherence to high ethical, social and environmental standards," according to their Web site ( "That wasn't some pat on the back or 'attaboy' or 'thanks for being part of our organization,' either," he said. "It was a true competition open to all jewelry stores in the United States and Canada." The prize was based on ratings in a survey that measured 5 different performance categories. "The winners were top-rated in all 5 categories," he said. The award was presented to him in March 2010 during a JA-sponsored conference in New York City. He also was one of the panelists during a discussion about inventory control at that same event. Longnecker said that in this part of the world, people might tend to think they can't get the best products and services. "They'll drive to Denver or Omaha thinking that's the only place to get what they want," he said. He hopes that the recognition he's received will convince people to shop closer to home. He's also trying to let people know about his operations with a page at the social networking site Facebook ( o o k - N E / L O N G N E C K E R JEWELRY/122626016808). He said, in particular, that the Facebook page has been a great way to let people know what he's up to and help potential customers one-on-one, as well as direct traffic to his full e-commerce Web site ( Longnecker said that he believes that, for the customer, purchasing jewelry "shouldn't be a nervous experience." That's why he believes in taking care of his customers – and having fun with them, too. "We don't charge for customer service," he said, “because if we stare too hard at the nickel, we’ll miss the dollar behind it.” *** In November 2010, Longnecker was named a recipient of the “America’s Best Jeweler” award for the second year in a row. He was one of only 22 jewelers nationwide to receive the industry honor this year. *** Longnecker Jewelry is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The store's phone number is (308) 345-1742; the toll-free number is (800) 780-6801.

Monday, Feb. 21, 2011 – 17

Photo courtesy Longnecker Jewelry

Bill Longnecker, the owner of Longnecker Jewelry – located at 314 Norris Ave. in McCook – is now a two-time recipient of the title of “Americaʼs Best Jeweler,” awarded by Jewelers of America, an industry organization.

Automotive Sales and Service: 60 years in McCook FORWARD, TOGETHER

18 – McCook Daily Gazette

Monday, Feb. 21, 2011


McCOOK, Nebraska — Automotive Sales and Service in McCook, Nebraska, celebrated its 60th anniversary in October 2010. Sixty year ago, engines in cars and pickups were simple; owners who wanted to could work on their own vehicles. Also that year, "shade-tree mechanics" and professional mechanics alike could get the parts they needed at a new parts jobber, "Automotive Sales and Services," in McCook. The owner of the new shop, Swedish immigrant Otto Nilsson, promised service with every sale, something unique among parts jobbers which, in McCook's mid-century, came-and-went quite regularly. Sixty years later, many things had changed. Cars are much more complicated, shade-tree mechanics are practically non-existent, and more auto parts businesses have come and gone from McCook's business directory. Over the past 60 years, even Automotive Sales and Service has changed — the building itself has expanded from a small alley building to a quarter-of-a-block complex; diesel and small engine repairs were added; computers have become commonplace in the offices. The biggest change at Automotive has been the passing of the torch in August 2009 from Otto, who turned 93 in April, 2010, to his daughter,

Connie Jo Discoe/McCook Daily Gazette

Staff members of Automotive Sales and Service in McCook celebrated the 60th anniversary of the business on Friday, Oct. 8, 2010. Staff members are, from left, Nate Stoney, Annette Nilsson Irwin, Laura Gohl, Bill Irwin, Cheryl Ruff, Deb Cacy, Matt Wickizer, Rich Johnson and Joe Titman. Annette Nilsson Irwin. What hasn't changed, however, is Otto Nilsson's promise of fair pricing, name-brand merchandise and service with every sale.

Annette said, when she and her husband, Bill, moved from Omaha to McCook in August 2009, "I'm continuing, and building upon, what Dad has done. I want to continue his


*** Otto, Annette, Bill, and their staff celebrated the 60th anniversary of Automotive Sales and Service with

decorated cake and giveaways on Oct. 8. Annette said in preparation of the observance, "It's a new beginning. Come join the celebration."

New boutique offers area wide variety of specialty items CONNIE JO DISCOE REGIONAL EDITOR

McCOOK, Nebraska — To introduce "Nel's," a new petite boutique in downtown McCook, Nebraska, owner Nel Walker hosted a holiday showcase at Willow Ridge Dec. 1. Residents of the retirement and senior living community were treated to glimpses of the products — costume jewelry, purses and clothing — that Nel will offer in the shop that she shares with her auctioneer-husband Johnny Walker at 205 W. First. Nel hosted a grand opening open house at her downtown location Dec. 14, with holiday specials, holiday cookies and candies, and coffee and tea. Tucked into the multitude of drawers in two jewelry cases nearly six feet tall are "ahh-inspiring" necklace and earring sets — "bling" — the chunky designs seen in all of today's fashion magazines and catalogs. Purses — bright colors and saturated black, and, like the jewelry, oversized and hugely popular — hang on the walls and fill an antique pew.

"Popcorn" shirts in solid colors and paint-swirled pallets of muted washes and vibrant tones peek from display baskets and climb circular displays. Although the tissue-soft, "popcorn" super-stretchy shirts appear to be tiny childor even doll-sized, they really do stretch — comfortably — w-a-a-a-y beyond imagination. At a "Cowboy Christmas" showing in Las Vegas in early December, Nel supplemented her inventory with sterling silver jewelry, painted Brazilian glass jewelry, more purses and clutches, and "WaterBeads," colorful water-conserving "marbles" to hold and water plants and cut flowers in clear glass vases. Nel is also a distributor of "SeneGence," a line of total body care products, including make-up and tanning lotions. Nel will have her shop open on Mondays and Tuesdays, from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Her friend, Donita Limper of McCook, will help out in the shop on Fridays, also from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Call (308) 345-2615 for more information or to schedule special showings.

Connie Jo Discoe/McCook Daily Gazette

During a holiday showcase set up in the conservatory of the Willow Ridge retirement and senior living community in McCook, Nebraska, Nelʼs owner Nel Walker, right, and her friend, Donita Limper, drew the names of the three women to win a free necklace-earring set, purse and "popcorn" shirt.

New storage building for Wilcox Insurance

Donny Nichols of Gerhold Concrete of McCook, Nebraska, delivered concrete (upper left), and the crew of Hard Core Concrete and Construction of McCook, Nebraska (lower left), smoothed it out at the new addition/storage building to Wilcox Insurance and Financial Services in the 100 block of West Third in McCook in September 2010. From the left are Bill Davis, Michael Pesal, Mike Pesal, Lirin Yost and Heath McDonald. A falling-down brick building was cleared from the lot earlier this summer and Schilz and Sons Complete Construction put up a new metal building. Pictured above, Lonnie Schilz raised the east wall of the new structure. It is used by Wilcox Insurance for storage. Connie Jo Discoe/McCook Daily Gazette

Doak: part of McCook for over 50 years FORWARD, TOGETHER

McCook Daily Gazette

Monday, Feb. 21, 2011 – 19


McCOOK, Nebraska – Over 50 years ago, Wayne Doak decided to return to the area and settle his family in McCook, Nebraska. After being on the road building concrete grain elevators throughout the Midwest, he was ready to call somewhere home on a permanent basis. Ten years later, his son Sid joined him in the business and they began building a solid reputation for prompt quality service to the area farmers, feeders and grain handling facilities within 120 miles of McCook. In 1998, Sid bought the business from Wayne and began operating under Doak Construction, Inc. From two crews operating throughout Southwest Nebraska, Northwest Kansas and Northeast Colorado, Doak Construction, Inc., now employs over 20 people on a full time basis and operates 5 fully equipped welding millwright trucks, a crane service and parts business for the same area. 2010 ushered in the addition of Bob Fritsch as a full time estimator/job manager for Doak Construction, Inc. With 26 years experience working with Doak Construction throughout the tri state area, Bob easily transitioned from the field to the office, bringing with him a new enthusiasm for providing answers or designing new facilities for area grain operations. Bob joined Ken Groves, office and parts manager, and Caroline Lawson, accounting manager in the office. Ken, who celebrated his sixth year with Doak Construction in 2010, has the “dubious” title of being the “parts wizard” for grain handling operations in a 120 mile radius of McCook. If the part is still available, Ken can find it and have it in a customer’s

Jeremy Blomstedt/McCook Daily Gazette

Doak Construction, Inc. of McCook is celebrating 50 years in business this year. Staff members pictured above are, from left, Office and Parts Manager Ken Groves, Estimator Bob Fritsch and Lead Foreman and Safety Compliance Officer Mike Baumfalk. hands, usually within 24 hours. Mike Baumfalk, lead foreman and Safety Officer with over 23 years of experience, remains dedicated to providing the best millwright service in the safest manner possible. Darrin “Red” McClain, also a lead

foreman and a 14-year employee, provides experienced in field answers for customers problems. Brett Halloway, lead foreman and a talented fabricator, can build pieces to replace worn out steel and fit existing equipment. Mark Capple returned to Doak

Construction after a brief period away from McCook to take over the crane operator position and received his NCCO certification as such in 2010. Mike Baumfalk also received his NCCO certification in 2010 and two other employees are presently in

schooling for certification. Experience, safety and service to their customers continues to be the core objectives of Doak Construction, Inc., and Sid Doak understands how important it is to provide that for the tri state area surrounding McCook.

Frontier Home Medical values service above sales JEREMY BLOMSTEDT MCCOOK DAILY GAZETTE

McCOOK, Nebraska – Darren Esch doesn't think of himself or his staff as salespeople or dealers – at least not in the conventional sense of the word. Sure, the business he manages, Frontier Home Medical, located at 708 East B in McCook, sells and services a wide variety of home healthcare products – many of which are on display in the store. But the way Esch sees it, this place isn't just a showroom for the latest and greatest in power mobility equipment or respiratory therapy devices or any number of the other products they offer. "Are we a dealership? Yes," Esch said, providing the answer to his own question. "But I feel like I'm a provider, not a dealer. We aim to provide a service to those who need it." He added that when he works with any of his customers, the first question that crosses his mind is, "What would I want for myself?" With that in mind, Esch and his staff work to provide outstanding customer service after the sale – and before the sale, too. "It's important to put a customer into the right equipment," he said. To do that, he takes the time to make visits to the individual's home, travel with that person to consultations with doctors and therapists and do the appropriate follow up work with all the involved parties when necessary. That level of professional interaction and personal interest in each individual who comes into the store not only keeps customers satisfied, but significantly reduces the possibility that the product purchased will ultimately become unsuitable for their needs in the future. "If I’m working with a person with a progressive disorder – multiple sclerosis, for example – I have to consider what features that person will need in two years, not just today," Esch said. He also said that while those extra features do carry a higher price tag, there is

a financial benefit in them for the customer. "That person will not have to come back and spend even more money to replace equipment," he said. Esch added that making sure an individual is given the right equipment for now and the years to come is one of the most important things he can do – and when a company fails in that regard, it does real harm to someone who doesn't need the additional hardship. "To me, you're doing that person an injustice," he said. Frontier Home Medical moved into its current McCook location in February 2008. Having the building's additional floor space has been beneficial, Esch said, because it allowed for better organization of merchandise and more room for the staff to do their jobs. The expanded shop area continues to be a plus, he added. "We service our equipment on-site; we assemble equipment here," Esch said. "Having room – floor space, work-bench space – is a benefit." Esch also said he's proud that his staff has stayed relatively unchanged over the last couple of years. "We haven't had too many problems with turnover," he said. Esch's staff includes Barb Brown, Kristine Stritt, Hailey Esch, Nicole Strecker, Brian Thomas and Roz Buddenberg. The most recent addition to the staff happened right around the time the business moved; a full-time certified respiratory therapist (Stritt) joined the McCook office in 2008 to provide assistance to people suffering from sleep disorders due to chronic, serious breathing problems. Sleep disorders have had a larger focus at the business in recent years, Esch said. Stritt works directly with the patient after they've been through a diagnostic sleep study and helps them find ways to be comfortable while using a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) or bi-level positive airway pressure (BiPAP) machine.

Jeremy Blomstedt/McCook Daily Gazette

The staff of McCookʼs Frontier Home Medical are, front row, from left: Barb Brown, Kristine Stritt, Hailey Esch and Nicole Strecker. Back row: Brian Thomas, Roz Buddenberg and Darren Esch. Stritt's efforts are improving the quality of life for her patients, Esch said. "She's helping people get a good night's sleep." Frontier Home Medical also sells non-powered mobility items such as wheelchairs, walkers and canes; additional powered equipment such as

lift chairs and stair lifts (which they also install); plus offers home oxygen service. A new line of diabetic footwear has just been added to the store's inventory, something that Esch said he's glad to offer. Older designs for these special shoes tended to fall short in terms of looks,


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regardless of their functionality. The new footwear his store now has on display is, in Esch's words, "sharp-looking." Styles range from dressy to casual and include athletic shoes and work boots. Frontier Home Medical, which has locations across Nebraska, is open from 8 a.m. to

5 p.m. Monday through Friday and closed Saturday and Sunday. The McCook store phone number is (308) 345-2068; their fax number is (308) 3456921. Their toll-free number is (888) 345-2068. They also can be found online at

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Area trio’s seasoning, barbecue sauce products are ‘just right’ 20 – McCook Daily Gazette


McCOOK, Nebraska — These men are really cookin', and they even do their own dishes. Scott Carlin, Leigh Hoyt and Cal Siegfried, owners of Willow Creek Meats on the promontory hill south of McCook, have developed their own special seasoning and are bottling a Carlin family barbecue sauce. The "Just Right" seasoning blend and "Just Right" barbecue sauce are available at the Willow Creek Meats Store and at several retail outlets in the McCook area. The trio's special rub is available with the purchase of a prime rib from their meat processing plant. Each one of the men had a favorite rub and seasoning, Scott said recently. "We thought each was good, but wondered if it might be better with ... oh, what? More onion? Maybe more celery?" After fiddling with the proportions of the seasonings in their mixture for about two years, the three guys finally agreed it was perfect ... it was "just right." It didn't take 57 versions or varieties — like legend says Heinz 57 sauce did — "but we're probably close to that," Scott laughed. The men used their seasoning, barbecue sauce and prime rib rub on the meats they were preparing for catering jobs, Scott said, "and we were getting such great feedback, we know we were onto something." The label may reveal the ingredients in the seasoning, but not the proportions, and the "secret ingredients" are listed as "spices," Scott says with a mischievous grin. The barbecue sauce is a family recipe that's been passed down through Scott's mother's family, Scott said. "It took quite a while to convince Mom to let us use it." The three men are back in the

kitchen cookin' up a spicier version of the sauce as well. "Everyone's taste is so different," Scott said, explaining that he and Cal lean toward spicier tastes, while Leigh prefers his sauce a little milder. After each session of experimenting, the three men clean up the kitchen and wash their own dishes. The trio has teamed up with the Excalibur Co. of Pekin, Illinois, to prepare and bottle the seasoning, and for now, Leigh is cooking and canning the barbecue sauce. "The barbecue sauce is truly homemade," Scott said. *** Catering was a natural extension of the three men's meat processing business, Scott said. "Each of us had little-bitty Traeger pellet grills, and were being asked to prepare the meats for some event," he said. A gathering at Heartland Cattle Company of rural McCook was their first catering gig, he said, "and we got a good response." So, the three moved up to a commercial-sized grill and now are available to cater for gatherings up to 1,200 people. While Scott, Leigh and Cal prepare the meats for a catering job, Marlene Bedore of Trenton provides the salads, vegetables, breads and desserts. Her signature dishes are homemade dinner rolls and buns, calico baked beans, cheesy potatoes, cheesecakes and pies. All of her dishes are made from scratch, using many recipes passed down from her mother and her aunt. Scott said the catering partnership with Marlene "works out wonderful: our meats and her sides and desserts." "And," he added, "I've never had anything of Marlene's that wasn't good." Marlene's husband, Lowell, helps cook, Marlene said, and he provides the muscle for the lifting and carrying at a party. "And," she chuckled, "he does the dishes too."

*** The seasoning, the barbeque sauce, the catering, the partnership with Marlene and Lowell — Scott said it's all been fun. "The feedback has been phenomenal," he said. "And it's been great for Willow Creek's business." Leigh Hoyt, above left, Lowell Bedore and Scott Carlin prepare the meat, while Cal Siegfried (pictured near right) and Marlene Bedore (at far right) make and serve the sandwiches at the McCook Senior High Bison Fever all-class reunion the first weekend of July 2010. Hoyt, Carlin and Siegfried own Willow Creek Meats of McCook; the Bedores own “Marleneʼs Kitchen' in Trenton.

McCook’s Peterson Jewelers honored with “America’s Best Jeweler” award in 2010

Connie Jo Discoe/McCook Daily Gazette

Jeremy Blomstedt/McCook Daily Gazette

McCOOK, Nebraska — Peterson Jewelers of McCook, Nebraska, has been selected to receive the “America’s Best Jeweler Award” by the ‘National Jeweler’ for the year 2010 in recognition of their successful implementation of business strategies and high customer satisfaction. Terry Peterson has been providing his professional trade in the Southwest Nebraska and Northwest Kansas area for more than 26 years and holds memberships in the two largest buying groups in the jewelry industry; the Independent Jewelers Organization (IJO) and the Retail Jewelers Organization (RJO). Peterson said, “I would like to thank all of my customers and employees who helped

McCook native opens floral shop on Norris Peterson Jewelers, on the corner of Norris and B in McCook, received the prestigious “Americaʼs Best Jeweler” award in 2010.


McCOOK, Nebraska — Sharing the gentle lighting and warm welcome of a downtown gift, antique and book shop, "Weskamp Floral" joined the ranks of locally-owned businesses nestled along the brick main streets of McCook, Nebraska, in late 2010. Pat Weskamp said he fell in love with the creativity of a floral shop while working in an innovative flower shop in Omaha, but it was in his hometown that the opportunity arose to own his own shop. Pat purchased the floral department of "Accents Etc." on Oct. 4, 2010, and is busy incorporating his own touches and ideas he developed working in the Omaha shop. Pat was born and raised in McCook, and graduated from high school and college here. He studied elementary education and earned a bachelor's degree in human resources management in college, but he explains that the floral shop calls upon his more creative skills. "My mom says my dad's responsible for my creativity, because she doesn't have any," Pat said with a smile, and added with a laugh, "I think Dad agrees." Weskamp Floral offers live plants, fresh-cut flower arrangements, candy bar bouquets, balloons and "Keepers of the Light" candles. Pat's parent, Faith and Dean Weskamp, also of McCook, help make Pat's deliveries and, although Pat says he's his sole employee, he can always "call on friends, as needed," to help out in the shop that's scented by fresh-cut flowers and earthy potting soil and studded by vibrant green live plants. Weskamp Floral, which is joining the McCook Area Chamber of Commerce, is located at 307 Norris Avenue, inside Accents Etc., and is open Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. until 5:30 p.m., and Saturday, from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. It is closed on Sunday. Call the shop at (308) 345-4065, or Pat on his cell phone at (308) 737-9606. A Web site will be announced at a future date.

Monday, Feb. 21, 2011

me obtain this award. Without them, all of this would not have been possible, and it helps me to continue to give the highest customer service we can provide for many more years to come.” Peterson Jewelers is located at Norris and B Streets in downtown McCook. Their website is and the store is on Facebook. The designated winners were selected from retail jewelers that participated in a survey conducted through the “Jewelers of America’s cost of doing business and ‘National Jeweler’ survey.” All independent retail jewelers are eligible to enter by filling out the survey and submitting it to their system.

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Connie Jo Discoe/McCook Daily Gazette

In November 2010, Pat Weskamp stood among the live plants in his new shop, Weskamp Floral, at 307 Norris Avenue, in downtown McCook. Pat is a McCook native.



Boutique operator wants people to take time for tea FORWARD, TOGETHER

McCook Daily Gazette


McCOOK, Nebraska — Perhaps the secret is in the preparation. Water steams while you measure loose tea leaves into an infuser, preparing cups while visiting with a friend. The tea steeps while you find your place in a favorite book, the aroma emanating from the steaming pot. Most likely, it's the ingredients themselves that provide the calm, the serenity, the healthful effect, both physical and mental, that can be found in a simple cup of tea. Stressed out? Try a cup of "Meditative Mind," a blend of pure Chinese white tea, rosebuds and jasmine pearls that creates an aroma that sharpens the mind and arouses the senses. Or there's "Thin Mint Green Tea," rich in powerful anti-oxidents, and reputed to fight viruses and slow aging. Need to relax before turning in? Try a little "After Seven Rooibos Tea." For tea that's really good for you, try Gloria Tinkham's personal favorite, "Fitness Curve," a black and green infused tea with guarana, nettle, mate leaf and red currant. Fitness Curve helped Tinkham, owner of Tink's Tea and operator of the Gourmet Tea Boutique in the New Life Christian Books and Gifts at 212 Norris Ave., lose 40 pounds and cut her insulin dosage in half. "I've been drinking Fitness Curve for two years," said Tinkham, "and I can't recommend it highly enough. It's very good hot or cold."

According to Tinkham, all teas are good for you, enhancing immune function, lowering LDL cholesterol levels, increasing HDL cholesterol levels, reducing blood pressure, boosting longevity, aiding digestion, increasing metabolism, even preventing cavities and gingivitis. Tinkham knows her teas. She has more than 75 gourmet loose leaf teas, as well as tea cups and pots, complete with infusers. She offers free samples and is more than happy to answer any questions about the teas. Her cast iron teapots are very popular, especially as gifts and there seems to be no end to the array of tea sets available for purchase, along with tea cozies and other tea accessories. She even has recipes for cakes, dips and smoothies, all made with tea. Tink's Teas has become Tinkham's second career. After she retired from Community Hospital, she and her daughter, Debra, who lives in Omaha, were looking for something to do that would keep them in contact with others. "I missed the social aspects of work, and the tea business more than meets that need," explained Tinkham. "When my sister, Lisa (Wilcox) bought New Life, she offered me space for my teas, It's worked out well and the teas are gaining quite a following." Lisa and the other staff members at New Life are fully trained in the teas as well, so if Gloria isn't available, they're happy to help. For more information, contact Gloria at She also is busy developing a Web site.

Monday, Feb. 21, 2011 – 21

Dawn Cribbs/McCook Daily Gazette

Gloria Tinkham has a full line of at least 75 loose gourmet teas, teapots, cozies, infusers and tea sets for sale in her store within a store at New Life Christian Books and Gifts at 212 Norris Ave., in McCook.

Salon and spa ‘continues to be on the cutting edge,’ says owner

Courtesy photo

Keri McIntosh of Kearney, second from the left, demonstrates a new technique during an in-service for employees at Renalle's Classic Hair Design in McCook.


McCOOK, Nebraska — Renalle's Classic Hair Design and Spa continues to be on the cutting edge of salon and spa services and styles — expanding and upgrading every year. We recently added a new "Turbo Air Brush Tanning System," so you can now receive a tan in 20 minutes featuring cancer-free, anti-aging

solution. We have also expanded our yoga class offerings to three classes a week, with Gerri Jardine, certified instructor. We are also now offering the newest in natural nail shellac treatment, making manicures and pedicures lass for weeks. In the spa, Renalle's offers deluxe facials and the latest in anti-aging chemical peels. And with a steady stream

Connie Jo Discoe/McCook Daily Gazette

Swanson Sign Co. workers, from left, Jake Sensel, Tom O'Neil and Ryan Meyers climbed 3032 feet in the air Oct. 5, 2010, to tape in place a lettering guide and take measurements before hanging new letters for the McCook, Nebraska, law firm of Mousel, Brooks, Garner & Schneider PC, LLO, at 300 Norris, in downtown McCook. The new letters hang on the C Street side of the two-story brick building. The letters "First National Bank" will remain on the Norris Avenue side, paying homage to the building's history.

Two McCook law firms merge

McCOOK, Nebraska — Two longtime general practice law firms in McCook, Nebraska, have launched Mousel, Brooks, Garner, & Schneider, P.C., L.L.O., with offices in the old First National Bank building on the corner of Norris Avenue and C Street in downtown McCook. The new firm is a merger of local attorneys from Mousel & Garner, L.L.C., and Brooks Law Offices, P.C., including John F. Hanson, “of

counsel”, J. Bryant Brooks, D. Eugene Garner and Nathan A. Schneider. The office will focus on the legal needs of individuals, families and businesses. Principal practice areas are real estate, estate planning, civil litigation, corporate/business development and general contracts. The staffs of both offices, which include Connie Padgett, Jenny Ryan, Sherrie Rogers and Jessi Keslin, will continue at the new location.

108 West D Street McCook (308) 345-1575

of continuing education classes, the stylists at Renalle's stay a cut above with the newest cuts and color. Visit Renalle's on Facebook. *** Renalle's Classic Hair Design and Spa is located at 219 Norris Avenue, on the bricks in downtown McCook. It was established by owner Renalle Loshbaugh in 2002. The phone number is (308) 345-1234.


22 – McCook Daily Gazette

New paint system at Bieker’s

Monday, Feb. 21, 2011

Jeremy Blomstedt/McCook Daily Gazette

Biekerʼs Quality Collision Repair & Service Inc., owned by Lester and Leeland Bieker, installed a new painting system in their McCook shop on Aug. 19, 2010. The system, which features waterborne color painting, reduces volatile organic compounds by water reduction, decreasing solvents by up to 60 percent. The environmentally friendly system is the wave of the future, and according to Lester, “should result in better repairs and a quicker turnaround on vehicles. Biekerʼs works with all insurance companies and offers warranties on all repairs. Located at 1604 West Q, Biekerʼs is a member of the Certified First Network. For more information, call (308) 345-6782 or check them out on Facebook.

MNB Insurance ribbon cutting

Kenneth Morgan/McCook Daily Gazette

Personnel of MNB Insurance Services Inc. celebrated the remodeling of their offices at 217 W. First in McCook with a ribbon cutting ceremony in March 2010. Members of the McCook Area Chamber of Commerce and McCook Cordials participated in the ribbon cutting and open house.

Brown's, a part of McCook since 1975

Bruce Baker/McCook Daily Gazette

Shalynn Holliday, sales representative for Brown's Shoe Fit Co. on Norris Avenue, demonstrates the Aetrex orthotic machine that the business added in May. It uses state-of-the-art technology to give customers information about their feet and arch support, also suggesting the proper orthotic when necessary.

New location for Cowboy Up

Jeremy Blomstedt/McCook Daily Gazette

Cowboy Up Tack has settled into its new location at 1008 West B in McCook. Owners Bob and Sharon Harvey moved their business from its original space on East Third to a storefront previously occupied by the now-defunct Movie Gallery.

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Wheel Chair evaluation by Certified Staff.

Installation and Service: In-Home Delivery, Assembly & Instruction, and Certified Technicians. We bill Medicare, Medicaid and many private insurances! 24-hour Emergency Service Delivery and Set-up Equipment Sales Our team of health care professionals is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Back Row: Darren Esch, Brian Thomas, Roz Buddenberg Front Row: Nicole Strecker, Kristine Stritt, Barb Brown Not Pictured: Hailey Esch

About Our Company

Frontier Home Medical is a name you can rely on when it comes to providing high quality medical equipment, supplies, and service. We started in Cozad, Nebraska in 1996 and expanded to McCook in 1997 and moving to our current location in February 2008. Our goal is to make home based care as simple and easy as possible for our patients and their physicians. Frontier Home Medical carries an extensive selection of medical equipment and supplies at a reasonable price backed by caring, professional, and courteous staff. So please remember Frontier Home Medical the next time you have a need for home medical supplies or equipment. You can be assured that we won’t let you down.

• Beds • Patient Lifts

~Ambulatory Equipment

• Walkers; Seat Lift chairs; Rollators

~Diabetic Euipment

• Test Strips • Lancets • Therapeutic Shoes

~Patient & Bath Aids

We now have a full time R e s p i r a t o r y T h e r a p i s t t o h e l p wi t h a l l y ou r re s p ir at o r y n ee ds .

Specializing in Home Healthcare Equipment 708 East B Street McCook, Nebraska 69001 (308)345-2068

Also Serving You In... North Platte, Grand Island, Gothenburg, Cozad, Lexington, , Kearney, Lincoln & Omaha

CES providing state-of-the-art technology solutions FORWARD, TOGETHER

McCook Daily Gazette


McCOOK, Nebraska — Every advance in electronics ... every upgrade in the technology world — Rob Henry has integrated them into his business, offering his customers state-of-the art computer and electronic sales and service for more than 25 years. Henry promotes his company — Commercial Engineering Services LLC, "CES" — as "Your Technology Solutions Provider." And, as of early summer 2010, he's providing solutions from new offices in downtown McCook. Henry, his wife, Mary, and CES staff members moved from 301 W. Third into a store-front office at 210 Norris Avenue — sandwiched between the Sports Shoppe and New Life Christian Books and Gifts — in June. The move provides more space and easier access for customers, Henry said. Henry was a kid who built radios at age 10 and an electronic clock as a teenager. Robotics became a hobby, and then a passion. He built computers before he knew how to operate one. He got into the computer and technology industry when computers were room-sized and internet was dial-up. "You're dating yourself," his secretary, Tangie Carfield, laughed. "That's okay," Henry replied, with a smile. He's proud of keeping abreast of an industry that moves at the speed of cyberspace and whose technology becomes obsolete as quickly as the next upgrade is marketed. He warns customers, however, "I won't necessarily sell the latest equipment on the market. I want to make sure all the bugs are worked out before I recommend something to a customer. My customer's needs

always come first. I won't sell something the customer doesn't need or can't use." CES sells and services everything electronic — consumer and commercial — from cameras and computers to telephones and televisions. The list of "technology solutions" available at CES is long — digital cameras, PC tune-up and repair, virus removal, custom-built computer systems, computer network design, server sales and support, printer sales and service, business and home telephone equipment, video surveillance and security systems, home entertainment systems, wireless networking, teleconferencing, flat screen televisions, home theater custom installations. In McCook, starting in the early 1990's, Henry created computer systems for Cornbelt Chemical (now Van Diest Supply Company) — "I worked for Sharon (Snyder) as systems administrator for five years," Henry said — and for the Kugler Company, where he installed new computer hardware and software and designed networking systems among locations in Nebraska, Kansas and Colorado, for 11 years. Over the years, CES clients have included: I The McCook Economic Development Corporation, an NEC business telephone systems in the new Keystone Business Center. I McCook National Bank, security and surveillance systems. I GoLight Inc. of Culbertson, Michaelis Chiropractic Clinic and Burrows Visions Centers, computers systems. I 21st Century Systems Inc., networking and voice cabling during construction of new offices on the fourth floor of the Keystone. I Outdoor Sports and Sehnert's Bakery and Bieroc Cafe, security

Connie Jo Discoe/McCook Daily Gazette

Rob Henry, co-owner with his wife, Mary, of Commercial Engineering Services LLC, stood in front of the business's new location, at 210 Norris Avenue in downtown McCook, in October 2010. Rob, Mary and staff members, secretary Tangie Carfield and technician Mike Light, moved into the new location in June.

camera systems. I Jerry Gohl, Culbertson, and Griff Malleck, McCook, custom home entertainment systems. To provide the best solution for customers, Henry said, he partners with local providers such as and Pinpoint, and with contractors like Dame Construction and D&T Electric. CES also partners with major

Locally-owned and operated video store opens in McCook

McCOOK, Nebraska – Movie House, a new video store located at 220 West First in McCook, just opened its doors at the end of 2010 and has been busy filling their shelves with new DVD, Blu-ray and Blu-ray 3D releases to satisfy area film lovers. The home entertainment outlet promises to have the latest titles ready to rent on the day they're released (usually every Tuesday). "We have hired Colby Dethlefsen as our main manager and he has hired two former Movie Gallery employees to part time positions to fill hours," said Cody Dame, who co-owns the video store with his father, Doug. "Movie House is a locally owned and operated independent business," Dame added. "We are not a franchise."

Spotlight Studios adds classes

McCOOK, Nebraska – Spotlight Studios, located at the corner of West First and C in McCook, has hired new instructor Adrian Casados to take over the day-to-day operations and all instruction. "We added martial arts classes and breakdance classes to our line up of Hip Hop, Ballet, Jazz and fitness classes," added owner Cody Dame. The studio has started a competition dance team and the team is scheduled to perform at two competitive meets this Spring in Denver and Omaha. "During the summer, we will start a new fitness class schedule as well as

Coming tomorrow: 2010 Area Progress

Monday, Feb. 21, 2011 – 23

providers such as Dell, Microsoft and Wild Blue. Henry is a certified installer for Dish Network. Henry is also a service technician available through, the leading nationwide on-site services marketplace that matches major companies and local businesses with professional technicians qualified to provide project rollouts, technology upgrades, warranty services, multi-

vendor service contracts, cabling and infrastructure and break-fix services. *** Commercial Engineering Services LLC is located at 210 Norris Avenue, in downtown McCook. CES is open Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. For more information, call (308) 3405155.

The store's owners have already implemented multiple promotions and rental packages to give customers some great values for renting movies from them. Additionally, the store is open late into the evening for the customers' convenience, plus will be able to special order movies that people may want to purchase. The owners also plan to add more rental categories and even more movies as the store grows. Dame said, "We appreciate the support we have already seen in getting the store up and running." For more information, call Movie House at (308) 345-6000. Right: A glimpse of the well-stocked aisles at McCookʼs new video store, Movie House.

Jeremy Blomstedt/McCook Daily Gazette

Your source for local news – on-line.

Now Is The T ime to get ready for swimsuit season!

Jeremy Blomstedt/McCook Daily Gazette

Spotlight Studios, located at West First and C in McCook.

have multiple camps and classes for kids and adults to continue martial arts/dance/fitness classes through the summer," Dame said. Additional plans include

expanding the studio's competitive teams; open auditions will be held at the end of the regular year of classes. The studio's phone number is (308) 345-4734.

40 Years in Business

Mason Insurance Services Hal D. Mason

110 East C • McCook, NE 308-345-1504 308-345-5355

Pam Hartwell

Autos - Crop Insurance - Homeowners Farmowners Crop Hail - Bonds - Commercial Fire Commercial Trucks - Life - Health

We have the equipment and tanning facilities to get yourself in shape and looking good for swimsuit season.

The Body Connection

301 West 2nd McCook, NE 69001 (308) 345-7293

24 – McCook Daily Gazette


McCook bakery outlet store celebrates 30th anniversary with food and fun for all ages

Top: The Sara Lee Old Home Bakery Outlet — represented by retail sales manager Dave Wojahn of Hastings, store manager Monica Conroy and employees Linda Hall and Shelley Kefales — celebrated its 30th anniversary in McCook, Nebraska, with drawings and giveaways, decorated cake and balloons, and a ribbon cutting with the McCook Area Chamber of Commerce, McCook Cordials and City of McCook representatives Aug. 25-28, 2010. Wojahn said that the bakery outlet's bread, bun and cake products, available at reduced prices, "present a value to our customers, helping them with their shopping budgets." Wojahn called Conroy and Hall, "the backbone of our business. They generate our success." Conroy said a recent remodeling project created a bright, fresh, cheerful atmosphere. The store is located at 1228 East B, and is open Monday through Saturday, from 8:30 a.m. until 6 p.m., and Sunday, from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m.

Right: Two-year-old Emma Cappel and her four-year-old brother Grant qualified for free loaves of bread as they donated school supplies that were be distributed to McCook-area schools on behalf of the bakery outlet. Conroy and retail sales manager Dave Wojahn of Hastings also passed out balloons, as well as gave away snack cakes, Moon Pies, gravy mixes, jellies and fig bars to the first 100 customers.

Lower right: 2 1/2-year-old Christopher Pennington balances his cake while smiling for the camera during the celebration. The little ones ate cake while their parents signed up for drawings for a chance to win free bread for a year, tickets to the Nebraska State Fair demolition derby and four nights' hotel accommodations in Las Vegas.

Lower left: Serving Sara Lee hotdog buns and barbecued hotdogs to Marjorie Carter and other bakery outlet customers, KICX/High Plains Radio helped the Sara Lee store celebrate on "Wiener Wednesday," serving free lunch. Throughout the anniversary celebration, store manager Monica Conroy hosted special anniversary deals – not only on the Sara Lee bread, buns and cakes for which the store is well-known, but also on grocery items like pop, ketchup and freezer pops.

Story and photos by Connie Jo Discoe/McCook Daily Gazette

Monday, Feb. 21, 2011

Progress 2/21/11  

Read about the people, businesses, and organizations who have invested in Southwest Nebraska and Northwest Kansas to improve the quality of...

Progress 2/21/11  

Read about the people, businesses, and organizations who have invested in Southwest Nebraska and Northwest Kansas to improve the quality of...