Mimi Ruvalcaba is back to back Dixon County Spelling Bee champion The 2024 Dixon County Spelling Bee was held at Allen Consolidated Schools on Monday, January 29th. Nineteen top spellers from four schools participated in the contest. Mimi Ruvalcaba, a student from Wakefield Public School out spelled everyone to be declared the 2024 Dixon County Spelling Bee Champion. This marks her second consecutive Dixon County Spelling Bee win after winning the 2023 event as well. Mimi will compete in the Omaha Sports Commission Spelling Bee on March 9th in Omaha. Second place winner Chloe Peters from Emerson-Hubbard will act as an alternate. Along with Mirella and Abrahm, trophies were awarded to third place winner Brooks Kephart, Ponca Public School, fourth place winner, Cheyenne Sullivan Allen Consolidated Schools, and fifth place winner Kole Krusemark Ponca Public School. The Dixon County Spelling Bee was sponsored by Allen Consolidated Schools. John Street of Ponca Public School selected and pronounced the words. Mike Pattee, Superintendent of Allen Consolidated Schools and Dustin Nielsen, principal at Emerson-Hubbard Community School served as the contest judges. Students participating in the spelling bee were: Wakefield: Mirella Ruvalcaba, Matthew Metzler, Madelyn Herting, Annabelle Armenta Reaves, Asher Geiser Ponca: Luke Jackson, Kole Krusemark, Abrahm Krusemark, Skyler Pick, Brooks Kephart Emerson-Hubbard: Ty Nielsen, Chloe Peters, Keegan Hightree, Abe Mueller, Kaydance Perez Allen Consolidated Schools: Cora Ridenour, Ellise Niemann, Emma Waldo, Cheyenne Sullivan, Sam Johnson
Wakefield Community Club is hosting “First Friday After 5” networking event this Friday, Feb. 2. The event is meant to provide community members with an opportunity to network outside of the office/business in a casual environment. The event is open to the public, and participants do not have to be a member of the Wakefield Community Club to attend. “Because it is open to the public, we hope people that would not traditionally attend a Community Club meeting will come and socialize,” said Megan Weaver, economic development director with Wakefield Progressive. “I'd love to see some new faces that have maybe just moved to Wakefield or started working in Wakefield.” Wakefield Community Club is providing one free drink to the first 50 people to come through the door. Attendees will also have a chance to enter a raffle for $25 Wakefield dollars that can be spent at any current Wakefield Community Club businesses. Appetizers are being provided by local businesses. “We have two more dates on the calendar including April 5 and May 3 so we are hoping it goes over well, stay posted,” Weaver added.
Teammates holding recognition night Tuesday, Feb. 6th The local chapter of the statewide Teammates mentoring program is holding a mentor recognition night at Wakefield Community Schools on Tuesday, February 6th during the Trojans basketball game versus Winnebago. Mentors, and their mentees, will take to the court to be recognized for their participation in the program. The organization wants to highlight the importance of mentoring in our community, and also reach out to other community members who may want to “give back” by being a mentor. Teammates is a school-based mentoring program that was developed in 1991 by UNL Head Football Coach Tom Osborne and his wife Nancy. It began with a small group of athletes meeting with middle school students, but the program has grown considerably in impact and scope since then, having served for 46,000 youth across multiple states since its inception. The mission of TeamMates is to “. . .positively impact the world by inspiring students to reach their full potential through mentoring.” It’s a big mission, but the program meets it in a relatively simple way – just by “being there”. Mentors who take part in the program are matched with their “teammate” through common interests. Throughout the school year mentors meet weekly with their matched student at the school, doing various activities of their choice. Matches work on craft projects, some play games, read, shoot hoops, or any other activity that encourages interaction. The goal is to just “be there,” as a consistent presence and positive influence. Mentors and students are “matched” for the entire duration of the students’ school career, beginning in elementary school through graduation – and the impact of just “being there” over time can be transformative. The Wakefield Chapter of TeamMates currently has 50 matches participating in the program, but also has 14 students who are waiting to be matched with a mentor. The program encourages community members who are interested in the program to fill out a mentoring application at teammates.org, or to reach out to program coordinators Timarie Hansen and Tiffany Lamprecht. The chapter is also currently fundraising to help cover costs associated with the program and is holding a “2024 Super Bowl Squares” raffle. You can buy squares at the game this Friday or reach out to a board member of the local chapter; Ben Donner, T. Adam Goos, Kari Rooney, Sophia Sebade, Kelsy Thomas, Matt Farup, Timarie Hansen, or Tiffany Lamprecht.
Hassler family starts pet supply donation campaign A local family has started a campaign to help Wakefield and surrounding areas furry friends, called the “First Annual Kenzo’s Kindness Campaign”. The Hassler family: Tara, a nurse at Wakefield Health Care Center; Mike, a teacher and coach at Wakefield Community Schools; and daughter Laura, are collecting pet supplies to help pets in need. “We love animals and love to give back to the community. We both feel it's important to teach our daughter this and to help her learn that some are not as fortunate as she is,” said Tara Hassler. The Hassler family has experience with the joys that come from pet adoption, having adopted their first dog a Schnauzer Scottie from the Siouxland Humane Society, and the current furry member of their family, Kenzo, from Noah’s Hope Animal Rescue in Sioux City. Local food banks can help pets as well, but donators aren’t always aware they can donate pet supplies. “When people donate to the Food Banks I don't think that pets are often thought of as being in need, too,” said Hassler. Items donated will be divided between the Wakefield Food Pantry, the Wayne Food Pantry, and the Animal Shelter of Northeast Nebraska in Norfolk. Donations may be dropped off at the Wakefield Health Care Center, Wakefield Community School at Mr. Hassler’s room, Canine Design in Wayne, or sent to the Hasslers at 600 Oak Dr. in Wayne. Items needed include: Non clumping cat litter; Diamond Naturals dog food; Purina One dry kitten or cat food; canned food; tri-fold paper towels; Kleenex; 55 gallon heavy duty trash bags; dryer sheets; Dawn dish soap; liquid laundry detergent; Swiffer dusters and refills; pill pockets; squeezy cheese; Kong toys; Nyla bones (medium and large); heavy duty dog leashes; and collars. The donation campaign is on now until Wednesday, February 7th. Questions can be directed to Tara Hassler at 402-469-1651. “We love our furry pets and consider them family. We want to teach our daughter the importance of taking care of our furry friends too!” said Hassler.
Storm cleanup continues Throughout this past week of winter weather, temperatures have dropped well below zero, and the snow has fallen. While nearly the entire state of Nebraska got a taste, some areas received more than others. Northeast Nebraska was one of the main targets of the storm, with some areas receiving over a foot of snow, causing school and community cancellations and postponements of activities left and right. It has been estimated that the Wakefield area received around 7.5 inches of snowfall, enough to cause disruption in the community. While Wakefield was definitely affected by this recent storm, they didn’t receive the worst of it. Areas south of Norfolk were reported to have anywhere from 12 to 13 inches. The result of this heavy snowfall caused numerous breaks in resident’s regular schedules. This snowstorm also caused numerous traffic incidents across the state, leaving everyone with a reminder of just how dangerous the roads can be in the wintertime. Wakefield Community Schools were closed on Monday and Tuesday, Jan. 8 and 9, before the kids were able to return to classes with a late start on Wednesday, Jan. 10. After returning to classes, the students and faculty were asked to stay home again with another cancellation on Friday, Jan. 12, with the students having an E-Learning day.
On Saturday, December 2nd the holiday season kicked off in Wakefield with a pair of events at the Wakefield Civic Center. First was the annual Covenant Church’s CROWN program fundraiser “Breakfast with Santa.” In addition to breakfast there were holiday activities and Santa was on hand to greet everybody as well as take pictures with the kids. Second was the Wakefield Holiday Market. Like the regular markets held throughout the year there were a variety of vendors on hand selling various wares but there was a distinctly holiday twist to the event as well as the offerings on hand.
Unofficial results show bond election fails to pass Unofficial results on Tuesday evening from the $46.8 million bond vote indicated that with a near 62 percent turnout, the bond has failed to pass. County Clerk Cathy Stilwell’s office reported that the Tuesday night numbers fell against the bond by a 3-to-1 margin of: For: 129 Against: 513 The $46.8 million bond was proposed by the Wakefield Board of Education to address shortages in classrooms, renovations to the existing building, expansion for a proposed population growth and new construction of some facilities. With a 54 cent levy price tag to meet the $2 million-plus per year payments on a bond of that size, and total payoff on the $46.8 million over 30 years at 4.2% of around $82 million, voters rejected the plan by a 384 vote difference. The Dixon County Clerk’s office reported that there were 1,010 eligible voters in the election, and with 624 sending ballots back by mail or drop off by the 5 p.m. Tuesday deadline, resulting in a 61.7% turnout. The last number of elections, since Dixon County went all mail-in voting, have been returned with a near or at 60% rate, as a large increase from the polling station voting percentages of the past. The Board had originally passed the notice of special election at a meeting on September 13, calling for the election to be ended on November 14. Wakefield’s School district resides in three counties – Dixon, Wayne and Thurston – with a voter breakdown from each county of: Dixon: 652 Wayne: 321 Thurston: 37
Wakefields One Act team hosting two shows this weekend Wakefield Community Schools One Act season began on November 8th at the Wynot One Act Festival. This season the cast and crew are putting on the show ‘By Zeus, Olympus’ Next Top Hero’. By Zeus, Olympus’ Next Top Hero is about a group of various ancient Greek heroes and heroines com- pete on the reality show Olympus' Next Top Hero. Hosted by sun god Apollo, stage managed by goddess of wisdom Athena, and judged by huntress Artemis, lord of the dead Hades, and queen of the gods Hera, mortals and immortals alike compete to be Olympus' ‘Next Top Hero’. This years cast includes Jackson Pommer, Bianca Castillo, Jazmynn Scott, Miguel Ibarra, Ashlyn Vazquez Catalan, Sawyer Brudigam, Nathaniel Johnson, Colt Lynn Lortz, Grisielda Zacarias Nicolas, Mileny Romero Hernandez, and Dorothy Sullivan. Donna Johnson will be coaching again this year and her assistant is Katelyn Pommer. Crew members are: Vicki Galindo, Maribel Fernandez, Jonathan Ibarra, Bailey Kai, Blake Haase, Maria Salcedo, Camden Geiser, Jaden Sievers, Tiffany Surber, Maria Salcedo, Davidsin Lortz, Jaden Sievers, Oliver Sievers, Brynn Ladley, Shelby English, Katelyn Anderson, Stephanie Sarmiento, Melanie Gonzalez, and Carter Klein. The production will be hosting Allen on November 10th for a duet. The very next evening is Wakefield One Act’s public event will be a change of pace from previous years as it will consist of dinner and a show. The price of admission for both is $10.00 and for that holders are treated to both a meal as well as the production. The show will be held in the main gym of the school and begins at 6:00 p.m. Tickets are available from One Act members as well as the high school office. “This is a small fundraiser, but also a way to get the public to come see the show.” said coach Donna Johnson. The rest of the season consists of the Lewis and Clark Conference competition in Homer on November 14th, and the District C1-3 One Act competition in Ponca on November 28th.
Winter Weather can't stop Halloween in Wakefield! Despite the unseasonably cold weather Wakefield Elementary went ahead with its annual Halloween parade on Tuesday, October 31st. This year the parade was brought inside to allow the kids to celebrate Halloween with members of the Wakefield Community that came to hand out treats and see all the great costumes. Wakefield’s preschool through third grade classes first took a trip to the Wakefield Health Care Center to help the residents there celebrate the holiday before returning to the school to continue the parade around the school gym. More pictures from the parade can be found on the Republicans Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=821559729970731&set=pcb.821565486636822
Luke Hoffman inducted into Wayne State Hall of Fame From Wayne State College The 2023 Wayne State College Athletic Hall of Fame Class was recently inducted during Hall of Fame Day activities on Saturday, October 14th. Four individuals, one contributor and one team will be honored during the Wildcat home football. Among this year’s chosen were Wakefield graduate Luke Hoffman as well as the 2008 Wildcat football team of which he was a member. Wakefield graduate Luke Hoffman started every game in his four-year career at linebacker for the Wildcats from 2005-2008. He led Wayne State in tackles as a freshman and sophomore and was second on the team as a junior and senior. Hoffman ranks third all-time in tackles at WSC with 385 and was consistent performer with 98, 100, 90 and 97 tackles in his four seasons. Hoffman helped turn around a WSC football program that went from 3-8 at the start of his career to 9-3 as a senior and NCAA Division II playoff appearance along with playing in the Mineral Water Bowl in 2007 during his junior season. Hoffman was First Team All-NSIC and First Team All-Super Region #3 as a senior. Academically, Luke was an ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District selection as a junior and senior and was First Team All-American as a senior with a 3.87 GPA majoring in elementary education. Hoffman resides in Pender with his wife Liz and four children – Sloane, Neely, Bryce and Linden. He is the 7-12 principal at Pender Public Schools and serves as head boys golf coach for the Dragons who won the Class D state title in 2023. The 2008 Wayne State football team went 9-3 and qualified for the NCAA Division II Playoffs for the first time in school history and shared the NSIC South Division title (the only one since joining the NSIC) with Minnesota State. The nine wins tied a school record for most wins in a season, matching the 1949 team (9-0), 1993 team (9-1) and last year’s team (9-3). The team earned its first national ranking since 1995 (13 years) and finished the season ranked 19th in the final AFCA DII Coaches Poll and 20th in the final D2Football.com Media Poll. Coach Dan McLaughlin was named AFCA Region 5 Coach of the Year. 16 Wildcat players were named to the 2008 NSIC All-Conference Team with eight on the first team, four on the second team and four honorable mention selections. Defensively, the ‘Cats were led by Luke Hoffman (97 tackles) and Troy Pribnow (14 sacks/22 TFL, five forced fumbles). Hoffman was named to ESPN the Magazine’s Academic All-American First Team. Pribnow earned Daktronics Second Team All-American honors and was named to the AFCA Division II Coaches’ All-America Team. He was also named to the First Team Associated Press Little All-America Football Team and was selected to D2Football.com’s All-America Team. Pribnow was also named NCAA Division II Defensive Lineman of the Year by Don Hansen’s Football Gazette. Pribnow was Wayne State’s first All-American in football since Brad Ottis in 15 years (1993). Wide receiver Logan Masters earned Honorable Mention honors by Don Hansen’s Football Gazette and was also an Honorable Mention selection on D2Football.com’s All-American Team. Masters, Hoffman and Pribnow were all First Team All-Region selections and linebacker Ryan Reeves was a Second Team All-Region selection.
Wakefield Volunteer Fire called to field fire The Wakefield Volunteer Fire Department was called northwest of town to fight a hay bale fire in the early hours of Wednesday, October 4th. Fire department memeber Lyle Ekberg says the fire was likely started by lightning.
Borg and Walsh named Queen and King of Homecoming Wakefield Community Schools concluded Homecoming festivities on Saturday night, September 30th, although it was originally planned to be Friday. Though the afternoon parade and celebration on Main Street enjoyed warm but otherwise agreeable weather the football game later in the evening versus the Bears couldn’t say the same. Shortly after halftime mother nature put the game on hold for a bout of strong storms and a consistent downpour, and when the game did finally resume the Bears bested the Trojans 12-48. The delay in the game caused the dance scheduled for Friday night to be moved to Saturday instead. This years homecoming court consisted of freshmen Montse Avila and Sawyer Brudigam, sophomores Gracyn Keagle and Jacob Borg, juniors Mikkie Mogus and Timothy Kaufman, and seniors Ashlyn Boeckenhauer, Sam Chase, Brad Haglund, Katie Borg, Jordan Metzler, Juan Martin, Daveigh Munder Mc-Afee, and Issac Walsh. During the downtown Homecoming celebration with students participating in activities and snacks supplied by businesses in town Katie Borg and Issac Walsh were named queen and king of Homecoming for 2023.
IMPORTANT EMERGENCY ALERT: Today, Wednesday, 10/04/2023, at 1:20 p.m. there will be a nationwide emergency alert test on all cell phones, wireless devices, radios and TVs. https://www.fema.gov/press-release/20230803/fema-and-fcc-plan-nationwide-emergency-alert-test-oct-4-2023
Galles named boys basketball head coach Wakefield High School has announced the hiring of Austin Galles as the new head coach of the boys basketball program. Coach Galles has been an employee of Wakefield Community Schools for more than 10 years as an Elementary teacher and assistant boys basketball over the last 10 plus years. “We are excited to have Coach Galles lead our high school boys basketball coaching staff,” said Matt Brenn, Activities Director at Wakefield High School. “He has a proven track record of success and we believe he is the right person to lead our boys basketball program to new heights.” Coach Galles is a graduate of Wayne State College and earned his master's degree in education from Wayne State College in Wayne, Nebraska. “I am excited to get the chance to be the head coach of these boys and to help them learn and grow as basketball players and men,” said Coach Galles. “We graduated a lot of talent from this past year so it will be fun to see who will step up and how these boys will respond to the challenges they will meet on the varsity floor.” Coach Galles will begin his duties as boys basketball coach during the Winter sports season on November 13, 2023.
New Dixon County Clerk sworn in The Dixon County Courthouse recently welcomed the newly appointed Dixon County Clerk Cathy Stillwell when she officially took over duties being sworn in as the clerk for the county. On Tuesday, September 5th, 2023 in the courtroom at the Dixon County Courthouse Clerk Stillwell was sworn in as the Dixon County Clerk by the honorable Judge Edward Matney. Stillwell takes over for the long serving but recently retired Cindy Purucker.
A new year started at Wakefield Community Schools The new school year began last week at Wakefield Community Schools with the traditional meet and greet for students and parents on Wednesday, August 16, as well as the annual flag raising and bell ringing ceremonies on the first day of school. In addition to students getting a chance to drop off their supplies, meet their teachers, and see their classrooms, there was also a meal grilled and served by the Wakefield Board of Education. The morning’s event also gave people the opportunity to view the recently installed temporary classrooms located on the north side of the school. The first day of classes for Wakefield began on Friday, August 18th with the annual of the raising of the American flag accompanied by members of the Wakefield Legion Post 81, and the bell ringing by the sixth grade class. The ceremony started with Superintendent Matt Farup giving some opening remarks, followed by Pastor Jill Craig of the Covenant Church and Jim Litchfield of Legion Post 81.
At the recent Dixon County Fair Kurt Rewinkle received the 2023 Dixon County Volunteer of the Year Award. This award is sponsored by the Dixon County 4-H Council and was presented by 4-H Council Member Martey Stewart and Dixon County 4-H Youth Ambassador Isabella Mellick. In the above picture present at the award presentation were back row (l to r): Deb Rewinkel, Ashley and Mike Rewinkel, Kurt Rewinkel, Martey Stewart, and Isabella Mellick. Front row (l to r): MacKenzie and Gracelynn Rewinkel.
Hassler and Wakefield students complete new mural at Sacred Heart By Roxy Ekberg Republican Staff A new mural in Emerson was painted by Wakefield Community Schools art teacher, Mike Hassler, and four of his students. Work began on June 21st and the mural was finished on Thursday, July 20th. Hassler approximates 170 hours went into the project, and the students added an additional 50 hours. Hassler attended the elementary school at Sacred Heart, and the Sacred Heart Parish Council was interested in having alumni paint the mural. He requested an additional fee to hire and pay four art students: Ashlyn Boeckenhauer, Bella Andrade, Gracyn Keagle, and Adrian Flores. The process began by power washing and priming the wall surface, then creating a grid, and mapping out the picture in proper proportion and location. The entire mural was hand drawn and used “good old-fashioned” exterior paint with paint brushes used after. The color scheme was based on colors that go well with Sacred Heart’s red and white, and also tied in well with colors used in stained glass windows, said Hassler. The mural features a painting of the old school, the Sacred Heart School’s mascot, the crusader, and an image of the sacred heart-a heart pierced by a flaming sword. A sunset with the replicated Emerson skyline is placed in the bottom middle with Sacred Heart’s name and the year it was founded written above. “To tie it all together, I thought back to the beautiful stained glass windows in the church and used that motif to tie it all together,” said Hassler.
Traci Haglund selected for national organization Nebraska Health Care Association (NHCA) announced that Traci Haglund, administrator of Wakefield Health Care Center has been chosen by American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) as a national, future leader in long term and post-acute care. Haglund will join AHCA/NCAL’s Future Leaders program, a year-long program that offers training and guidance to industry professionals. “I want to extend my sincerest congratulations to Traci and our new class of Future Leaders,” said Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of AHCA/NCAL. “These individuals have distinguished themselves with the potential to guide long term care into the future, and I am excited to watch this class grow into the profession’s leaders of tomorrow.” “Growing the workforce of Nebraska’s nursing homes and assisted living communities starts by growing strong leaders,” said Jalene Carpenter, president and CEO of NHCA. “Traci cares deeply about our state’s seniors and, as the administrator of a rural, city-owned facility, truly understands the urgent need to recruit and retain team members who will care for this growing population. She will represent Nebraska well.” In her role as Administrator, Haglund works to ensure the residents and staff of Wakefield Health Care Center feel safe and that they are a vital part of the community. Haglund received a master’s in nursing from University of Nebraska Medical Center, where she followed an executive leadership track. She served as a nurse manager at a critical access hospital for three years before beginning in long-term care administration. Haglund also served on Wakefield Health Care Center’s board of directors prior to becoming the facility’s administrator. AHCA/NCAL developed the Future Leaders program in 2004. Selected participants demonstrate leadership potential and represent the interests of state and national long term care providers. The program covers the latest theories and practical applications in quality management, customer satisfaction, and leadership. The year-long program kicks off with the Future Leaders of Long-Term Care in America Symposium held each year in Washington, D.C.
Class of 88 holds reunion From Dwight Fischer Members of the Wakefield High School class of 1988 celebrated their 35-year class reunion with events in Wakefield and Ponca over the weekend of July 15 and 16. The reunion was attended by 16 of 23 classmates. The WHS alumni traveled from Iowa, South Dakota, Minnesota, Kansas, Arizona, and Tanzania (Africa), in addition to various locations in Nebraska. The classmates were joined for the weekend by Dennis and Paula Mitchell of Norfolk, NE. Dennis was a member of the class until his family moved to Norfolk in the seventh grade. The reunion officially kicked off on the evening of Friday, July 15, with a get-together at Sidelines in Wakefield that lasted until the early-morning hours. Classmates were joined by Doug Roberts of the WHS class of 1989. Also attending were Gaylen and Teresa Fischer and Lyle and Marvene Ekberg, parents of class members Stephanie (Fischer) Hogan and Lana (Ekberg) Wood. Much to the surprise of those in attendance (and those who remember the Class of ’88), law enforcement was not required at the scene. The next evening, Saturday, July 16, the classmates rallied and reconvened for dinner and drinks in the beer garden at Cedar Hills Bar & Grill in Ponca. The event was hosted by class member Todd Kratke and his wife, Carol, owners of Cedar Hills. The class is already looking forward to their 40 year reunion in 2023!