|Nursing home, fires and State football top local news in 2012|
|Written by Wauneta Breeze|
|Thursday, 10 January 2013 18:07|
By Sheri Hink
The Wauneta Breeze
Wauneta and the surrounding area had a lot to celebrate during 2012. First, the Village of Wauneta successfully purchased the local nursing home in July.
Second, area citizens benefited from skilled, and perhaps overworked, volunteer firemen who kept them safe from the many fires that sprung up due to the hot, dry conditions.
Third, the Wauneta-Palisade Bronco football team qualified for and won state in football. An impressive feat as this was their first year as a six-man team.
Fourth, changes in Wauneta’s business community were big stories during 2012. Rogan and Ashley Einspahr purchased one of Wauneta’s landmark businesses, the Wauneta Roller Mills, from the founding Maxfield family. A new nonprofit organization, Mercy Meals of Southwest Nebraska, opened its doors in Wauneta.
Fifth, 2012 saw changes and continuation in local leadership within the Village Board, School Board and County Commissioners.
Nursing home: cause to celebrate
During 2012, the pages of the Wauneta Breeze were filled with news regarding the ongoing effort of the Village of Wauneta to purchase Heritage of Wauneta from Vetter Health Services.
In July, the news changed from reporting progress of how to make the purchase happen, to celebrating the completed purchase and renaming of the facility to Sunrise Heights of Wauneta.
The undertaking succeeded, thanks to tremendous effort by the village, dedicated volunteers and the community at large.
VHS originally announced their intent to cease operations at Heritage of Wauneta by mid 2012 in July 2011.
The community resolved not to let their nursing home close and a campaign to save the nursing home unfolded.
The campaign proved successful, thanks to the overwhelming support of Waunetans and Waunetans-at-heart, both near and afar. On July 1, 2012, the Village’s purchase of the nursing home was complete.
The funding which made the village’s purchase of the home came from three distinct sources.
First, local and local-at-heart individual and corporate donors contributed over $240,000. Second, the Village of Wauneta put up $150,000 to help fund the project. Third, the Village undertook $500,000 in revenue bonds.
These three sources of income provided the capital needed to both purchase the facility and provide initial operating expenses.
Since the purchase, nursing home staff and Village Board members have continued to report what appears to be a seamless transition from private to village ownership for the residents and staff at the nursing home.
Hot, dry weather created a busy fire season
The second most seen topic in 2012 news was coverage of the many fires that sprang up in the area during the hot, dry year. It seemed that Wauneta’s volunteer firemen were out fighting a fire more often than not at times.
The WVFD was busy fighting fires at home as well as responding to calls for mutual aid from neighboring fire districts.
In June then Fire Chief, Donny Allen, sent out a call for the public to use extreme caution. He urged people to take care and practice caution when considering if they were going to use fireworks over the Fourth of July holiday, in their farming and ranching operations and day-to-day activities.
The Wauneta area was in and out of red flag warnings, issued by the National Weather Service, which indicated the area was at extreme risk of fire due to weather conditions that posed the possibility of explosive fire growth.
The Wauneta Volunteer Firemen went out on a total of 22 fire calls, five mutual aid assists and four rescue calls during 2012, making the year a busy one for these volunteers.
Wauneta’s volunteer fire department members deserve thanks from the entire community for their dedication and quick response to the community’s emergency needs.
Dream football season for Wauneta-Palisade Broncos
The Wauneta-Palisade Broncos’ 2012 football season was one that many only dream about.
Entering its first year in six-man football with a 14-game losing streak, the Broncos dominated throughout the season and into the playoffs.
Behind coaches Randy Geier and Joseph Frecks, the team finished the fall undefeated, capping the season with a 26-16 win over Sioux County in the State Championship game.
“We were very fortunate to work with such outstanding student/athletes this season,” said coaches Geier and Frecks.
Traveling to Minatare, Hyannis, Arthur County (Tryon), Elba/North Loup-Scotia and Kearney, coaches and players were grateful to the fans who made the long trips around the state to support the team.
New ownership and new business
In addition to the change of ownership of the nursing home, Wauneta’s business community saw other big changes in 2012.
First, one of Wauneta’s landmark businesses, the Wauneta Roller Mills, changed hands in early January 2012. Rogan and Ashley Einspahr purchased the business from the Maxfield family.
The mill had been in the Maxfield family since it was built by Bert and Edna Maxfield in 1925.
Now the historic Roller Mills will enjoy a new era of family ownership with the Einspahrs.
Wauneta is now home to a new nonprofit business. Mercy Meals volunteers package nutritious meals which are sent throughout the world to feed hungry children and families.
The organization is run by a volunteer board of directors from throughout Chase County and uses volunteers from throughout the region to package for hungry people throughout the world.
There are both new and familiar faces on the Wauneta Village Board, Wauneta-Palisade Public Schools Board and the Chase County Commissioners.
Lloyd Sinner was reelected to the Village Board in 2012 and remains as the Village Board Chair for the upcoming year.
Village Board member Lynn Brunkhorst chose to retire from the board and Rick Einspahr was elected as a write-in candidate to take his spot.
The Wauneta-Palisade Schools board also saw changes in the 2012 election.
Existing board members Jon Anderjaska and John Jutten were reelected to the board, Jutten as a write-in candidate.
Jason Hicks of Palisade was also elected to the board as a write-in candidate. Hicks will fill the position that was opened when Stuart Bartels decided to retire from the board.
The race for the District 1 seat for Chase County Commissioner was wrapped up during the May primary when four republicans vied for the spot.
Those who sought the seat included Theodore “Ted” Brewer, William “Bill” Greeley, Gary Grimes and Charles “Chuck” Vette.
The primary decided the race and Chuck Vette was voted to remain on the County Commissioners for another term.