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Our sincere condolences to the family and friends of Steve Backemeyer.  Steve was a fifth generation farmer who passed away Sunday.  Steve was only 54 years old but he had many friends and family who will greatly miss him.






Elmwood G.A.R. Hall
1967 - 1994 - 2010

The Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.) was founded in 1866 in Illinois and became the largest group founded for the benefit of former soldiers.  It was open to any honorably discharged Union veteran who had served in the Union army or navy during the great rebellion.  Unlike many other groups of its kind, membership would never be expanded or opened to any others, not even wives, mothers, or sons. If you wore the badge of the G.A.R., it could mean only one thing, you had served your country during the war, had defended the Union, had been one of the "Boys in Blue."

Taking advantage of special provisions in the Homestead Act of 1862, thousands of former soldiers, both Union and Confederate, came west to Nebraska in the 1860s and 1870s.  Many of the early settlers in the Elmwood area were Civil War Veterans. Sixteen of those veterans formed the Elmwood chapter of the Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.) and became its charter members on Nov. 8, 1882. Amos Sniff, one of the charter members, had been a POW near Atlanta.  The post was number 123 and named Kenesaw after the Battle of Kenesaw Mountain which was fought on June 27, 1864, during the Atlanta Campaign.  Four years later, they built a building, a simple, white frame structure, which they used for meetings and social events. The G.A.R. Post met at the Hall every Saturday night and remained an active part of the community, until  the last member, Peter Eveland, died on January 2, 1933, at age 87.  Peak membership was 41 in 1893 and overall there were more than 71 members throughout the life of the post. 

At one time there were over 100 G.A.R. Halls in the state; today only four remain. The Elmwood Hall saw many uses in the years after the G.A.R. Post was disestablished.  The community municipal band held its practices there, as Elmwood author Bess Streeter Aldrich described in an essay about small-town life that ran in the Ladies' Home Journal in 1933:  "(Elmwood) is so small that whether you choose to or not you are obliged to hear the band practice every Monday night in the old G.A.R. Hall."  More recently it was used as the fireworks stand to sell fireworks for the Fourth of July.             
Upon hearing the dreams of American Legion Post 247 of turning the G.A.R. Hall into a veterans' museum, the Elmwood-Murdock chapter of the Future Business Leaders of America through a Learn-and-Serve Grant in 2003 began raising money to refurbish the hall - new drywall and windows, a new bathroom, and carpet.  This past year new siding and gutters were installed - funded by a fund raising drive, Community Enhancement Funds, the VFW Post, and Cass County Tourism Board.

A testament of the confidence placed in the American Legion's dream of turning the G.A.R. Hall into a museum was the donation by the members of the Elmwood Christian Church of the lot adjacent to the museum - the site of the Christian Church which burned to the ground in 1994.

Today thanks to the donations and support of many community members, the G.A.R. Hall has become the Elmwood G.A.R. Hall Veterans' Museum and is once again a proud structure within the streetscape of Elmwood.  Within its walls are the stories of many veterans and the role they have played in helping to preserve the many rights and freedoms we all enjoy today.  One tradition of the G.A.R. Post which has been reestablished in recent years is the march from the Hall to the Cemetery on Memorial "Decoration" Day to decorate the graves of comrades.   Afterwards, the museum has become a gathering place as family members from near and far gather to remember and get reacquainted.

In addition to celebrating the 125th birthday of Elmwood this year, we will also celebrate the 125th birthday of the G.A.R. Hall.  Plan now to help us celebrate by visiting the Elmwood G.A.R. Hall Veterans Museum over the Memorial Day Weekend.




Future Skater Arrives in Elmwood!

Former Flying Wheels Fun Center employee, Lacey Reed is the proud mama of a beautiful baby girl, Annilei Grace, born March 10th, weighing in at 6 lbs 10 oz. 
We first met Lacey when she was 16 and offered to help the little kids learn how to skate.  It didn't take long to figure out she would be a great employee.  Lacey was the sweetest kid and she is going to be a great mother.

Lacey wasn't the only one in her family giving birth last Thursday...8 hours after Annilei was born her cousin, Elijah James was born.  Lacey's sister, Angie Benes, had a baby boy!  More cousins sharing birthdays.





We'll be having a baby at our house soon, too.  No, I'm not pregnant, I shudder at the thought, and NO, Millie is not pregnant.  Millie is in a Parenting class and each senior takes a turn being a "parent" to a simulator baby.  It will behave just like a real baby.  It will cry, coo, burp...just like a real baby.  The kids have to stay with the baby and care for it just as if it were real.  The baby has a computer chip that records what happens to it.  If it ends up in a trunk then the teacher will know.  Millie will have her baby over the weekend and she is totally responsible for it.  After this weekend she will be ready to baby sit for a real baby!  Heads up, Brooke, Julee, and Lacey!! Smile












Suitehearts Opens at Mahoney State Park

KBC Productions and Mahoney State Park announces that the romantic comedy, "Suitehearts" will begin its winter theater season run on March 25.  The story revolves around two newlywed couples who are mistakenly double-booked in the same honeymoon suite.  The Taylor's are very young, naive and visiting the big city for the first time.  The Bellamy's are older and have a more jaded outlook on life and romance.  With the help of a meddlesome bellboy, the couples find themselves in some impossible, but hilarious situations.  Adult audience members will all see a little of themselves in each of these characters as they learn the difference between a wedding and a marriage.

Starring in the production are Director Kevin Colbert from Weeping Water, Shari Hoelker from Omaha, Marikita Payne, Emma Hoffman and Adam Kovar all of Lincoln and Dave Hibler of Manley.  Performance dates are March 25-27, April 1-3, 8-10, 15-17, 22 and 23.  Tickets $8 for adults and $6 for children.  Curtain times are 7:30pm on Fridays and Saturdays; 2pm on Sundays.  Please call Mahoney State Park for reservations:  (402) 944-2523 ext. 7122.  A state park sticker or day pass is required to enter the park.

Pictured below:  Shari Hoelker, Marikita Payne, Dave Hibler, Kevin Colbert and Adam Kovar all star in "Suitehearts" opening at Mahoney State Park on March 25th.












Community Lenten Service

Everyone is invited to the Comunity Lenten Service on Wed., March 16 at 7 p.m. at the Elmwood United Methodist Church.  We will hear from Max Lucado by way of a video as he talks about being fearless in our living.   On Wed., March 23 at 7 p.m. the Community Lenten Service will be held at the Murdock United Methodist Church.





Farm Safety

Safely Transporting Farm Equipment


Each spring the rural countryside blossoms with a wealth of moving farm machinery as farmers begin transporting machines from one field to the next. The birds may be singing a warning song to both the farmers and those that share the roads with them.

Each year incidents involving tractors and other farm machinery occur on public roads, causing death and injury to those involved, as well as involving untold costs in damage to equipment. Nearly half of these incidents involve a collision with another vehicle. The remainder involve running off the road, overturning, striking a fixed object, or falling from equipment.

The roads can be a dangerous place for anyone. Adolescents who are just learning to operate a tractor may be at an even greater risk. This is also true of the adolescent operating the approaching car or truck. Their experience level and subsequent skill in handling emergencies is less than that of those who have been driving for many years.

Here are some points you may want to consider when transporting farm machinery:

? When assigning driving tasks to adolescents make sure they have a valid drivers license and have proper training in operating farm machinery.

? Obey all traffic laws, including speed limits, traffic signals, and signs.

? Have clean and bright slow-moving emblems on all tractors and implements.

? Be sure brakes are in good working condition.

? Don't move farm equipment on public roads anytime between sunset and sunrise.

? Farm equipment must be properly lighted, including turn signals, headlights,

? Flashing amber and taillights.

? Equip all tractors with ROPS and instruct all operators to wear seat belts. Never tow more than one trailer over the road and always use a least one-safety chain in addition to the hitch bar.

? Always slow down on turns and curves. A tractor's turning radius is much smaller than that of most automobiles.

Remember, you may be preoccupied on planting the next cornfield when transporting machinery. Stay alert and make it there in one piece. Also, remind young operators to watch out and stay safe.

Keep spring a safe and pleasant time of the year. Keep those birds singing for joy-not alarm and caution.

Article provided by Farm Safety 4 Just Kids, Earlham, Iowa www.fs4jk.org




UNL agronomist: food security hinges on ag research targeting key issues


Lincoln, Neb., March 9th, 2011 -

Rising food and energy prices, possible water shortages and changing climate have led many scientists to predict a global food crisis by 2050.

Despite dire predictions, University of Nebraska-Lincoln agronomist Ken Cassman is optimistic that a resurging interest in agricultural research will help both small farmers in developing countries and larger producers in developed countries grow more food.

Yet such research investments will be effective only if scientists address the most critical issues and find practical solutions, especially in places with the greatest need for more food -- parts of Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa and South America, Cassman said.

Cassman is thinking a lot about global food security these days. He recently was named to head the council responsible for advising a major network of international ag research centers. As the first chair of the new Independent Science and Partnership Council, Cassman will provide critical advice and expertise about the scientific merit and feasibility of global agricultural research projects to the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research, known as CGIAR.

CGIAR is a consortium of 15 international research centers funded by governments, foundations, and international and regional organizations. The CGIAR research centers work to improve agricultural productivity, conserve natural resources and promote policies that stimulate agricultural growth in developing nations. The research centers include organizations such as the International Rice Research Institute, the International Water Management Institute and the International Crop Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics.

The CGIAR Fund appointed Cassman in January to lead the seven-member council, which includes leading researchers in agriculture, environmental sciences, rural affairs and economics. Cassman is an internationally recognized expert in local and global food security, crop yield potential and biofuels.

The council's job is to help CGIAR funders identify agriculture development projects with the highest scientific quality and the greatest potential to increase farmers' incomes in poor, rural areas.

"To increase investment in agricultural research, we have to know our research priorities are correct and the science is being done well," Cassman said. Despite the billions of dollars invested in agriculture worldwide, he said Sub-Saharan Africa faces food shortages because crop yields haven't kept pace with rapidly growing populations. Getting new technologies from the laboratory to the field, and educating farmers about how to use them, is another challenge.


A similar scenario existed in the 1950s and 1960s, he said. International agricultural research centers responded by developing new "miracle crop" varieties and expanded irrigation infrastructure and use of fertilizers. Together they sustained a green revolution that rapidly improved agriculture production throughout the world. By the late 20th century, food was plentiful and inexpensive partly because of scientific advancements made decades earlier, Cassman said.

"Now we have a new set of challenges, and business as usual won't result in enough food supply to feed an incredibly dynamic world population," said Cassman, UNL's Heuermann Professor of Agronomy and Horticulture.

During his three-year term as chair, Cassman is helping the CGIAR Centers establish a portfolio of proven research projects that leverage various organizations' capabilities. For example, he said, a CGIAR research center may have expertise in improving rice varieties in Southeast Asia, but that expertise is also needed in Africa and even Latin America. The issue is how to establish global research partnerships with institutions around the world to get the job done.

Even with increased international concern for food security, he said, "this momentum will be a flash in the pan if we can't show that these projects address hunger and protect the world's environmental resources."

The council also is identifying emerging issues that need further research. For example, scientists need to develop ways to measure the environmental performance of cropping systems that address both the need to increase productivity and to reduce agriculture's environmental impact. Cassman said that addressing this challenge will shape his research priorities at UNL. It also will complement the work of the university's new global Water for Food Institute, a research, education and policy institute that focuses on the efficient use of water for agriculture.

"This is a huge opportunity for UNL to be at the forefront of emerging issues and it could expand our opportunities for international partnerships," he said.





Global Water for Food Conference in Lincoln May 1-4


Sunday, May. 1, through May. 4


Cornhusker Marriott Hotel, 333 S. 13th Street [map]

Lincoln, Neb., March 7th, 2011 -


International experts will explore potential solutions for growing more food with limited water to feed the world's rapidly growing population at the third annual global Water for Food Conference May 1-4.

"Paths to Solutions" is the theme of this year's conference at Lincoln's Cornhusker Marriott Hotel, hosted by the Robert B. Daugherty Water for Food Institute at the University of Nebraska and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The conference fosters international dialogue on key issues related to the use of water for agriculture. It provides opportunities to learn from speakers with extensive experience and perspectives from diverse cultures.

Registration is $250, which includes all conference events, materials and meals. Online registration, schedule and the latest information on speakers are available at the conference website: http://waterforfood.nebraska.edu/wff2011.

"This conference attracts experts from across Nebraska and around the world who are committed to developing solutions to one of mankind's great challenges: how to feed a rapidly growing global population with finite amounts of land and water," said James B. Milliken, University of Nebraska president. "The University of Nebraska's Water for Food Institute, which builds on the university's long history in water research and policy analysis, is taking a leadership role in this important international issue."

Featured speakers will include Jeff Raikes, CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Anil Jain, managing director, Jain Irrigation Ltd. of India; Anders Berntell, executive director, Stockholm International Water Institute; Pasquale Steduto, principal officer, United Nations/FAO Water; Andras Szollosi-Nagy, rector, UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education; and others.

More than 30 speakers and panelists will discuss diverse approaches to meeting the challenge of producing enough food with limited water supplies. Sessions will include panel discussions featuring agricultural producers from several countries; a CEO panel offering industry perspectives on water for food challenges; technical sessions on "Quantitative Food Security: Yield Gaps, Water and Nitrogen Productivity," "Maximizing Water Use Efficiency in

Agriculture," and "Evaluation of Aquifer Resources in Sub-Saharan Africa" and a case study on "Securing Water for Agriculture: California's High-Stakes Challenge."

The 2010 conference drew more than 300 representatives from universities, agriculture, industry, government and nongovernmental organizations worldwide and more are expected this year. The conference is the preeminent event of the university's Water for Food Institute, a research, policy and education institute established in 2010 and committed to efficiently using the world's limited freshwater to ensure a reliable food supply. Participants in the 2011 Water for Food Conference will help inform the institute's work.

"The University of Nebraska is proud to join with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to host what is surely becoming the leading conference in the world focused on the strategic use of water for food," Milliken said.














Otoe County Genealogical Society

2nd Annual Otoe County Rural Schools Reunion

"The Otoe County Genealogical Society will host its 2nd Annual Otoe County Rural Schools Reunion from 10:00am to 2:00pm on April 2nd, 2011, at Harmony School, which is located at 6265 'Q' Road (8 miles south of Nebraska City on Highway 75, and ½ mile west on 'Q' road). Harmony School is a rural schoolhouse that was built in 1879 and was eventually closed in 1997. It was purchased at a public auction in 1999, and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2005.

This reunion will include a picnic-style lunch provided by the society, a Spelling Bee, and a tour of the 130-year old rural schoolhouse. In addition, it will also give visitors a chance to assist the society in identifying numerous unidentified rural schoolhouse photographs from several different school districts throughout the county. The society received these photographs through a donation made by the Otoe County Clerk's office, where these photographs had been stored in their vault for several decades and were just recently discovered last year. So please come join us at the Harmony School and help us pay tribute to the outstanding contributions that these rural schoolhouses made in the education of our county's youth for the past 100 years now!"

The Lofte is proud to announce that it has been selected as host site for the 2011 Nebraska Association of Community Theatre's Festival competition. There will be a total of ten community theaters from across the states of Nebraska and Missouri competing in a one-act play competition. This marks the largest number of registered participants in recent years. Winners earn the opportunity to advance to the American Association of Community Theaters Region V competition in Salina, Kansas in April.

NACT Festival March 16-20

The NACT was founded in 1966 and is dedicated to the growth and development of community theaters throughout Nebraska. The organization holds an annual conference at rotating locations across the state. Every other year, they hold a festival competition in addition to their business meetings and workshops. 2011 marks the first year that the Lofte Theatre has been selected as a festival site.

The state of Missouri has a similar organization, MoACT, but they were unable to organize their own festival activities this year. When NACT extended an invitation to some of the Missouri theaters to join in the fun, several accepted the offer with enthusiasm.

Closed rehearsals will be held at the Lofte on March 16 & 17. Performances begin at 6pm on Friday, March 18. All performances are open to the public. Admission is $10 per person, per day. Therefore, for a cost of $10, an individual can choose to see just one performance or stay for the entire day! On-site concessions will be available during the course of the competition.



Help us thank our 2010 Democratic Candidates at a "Roast for Those Who Ran"

Featuring: Ivy Harper, Mike Meister, Tom White, and Vince Powers as MC

Saturday, March 19, 2011

6:00 pm - Reception and cash bar

7:00 pm - Dinner and Program

The Exposition Center on the Cass County Fairgrounds

132nd St. and Highway 1, north of Weeping Water

Tickets: $25/individual, $40/couple

May be purchased at: http://www.actblue.com/page/casscountyroast/

Or purchased directly from many Cass County Democrats.

Call (402) 434-2180




Registration still open for Agri/Eco-Tourism Workshop

Workshop rescheduled for March 22-23

The 2011 Governor's Agri/Eco-Tourism Workshop is rescheduled for March 22-23 at the Ramada Inn & Conference Center in Kearney.

The workshop, originally scheduled for the first week of February, was postponed due to hazardous weather and travel conditions. All of the original speakers will be presenting at the March workshop, including keynote speaker Stan Meador.

Meador-founder, owner and general manager of the X Bar Ranch Nature Retreat in Eldorado, Texas-will share 15 years worth of experiences with starting and running a tourism enterprise on his family's fifth-generation ranch. This "nuts and bolts" presentation will help participants better understand why and how to diversify, how to manage various businesses operating on the same piece of land, and how to market a recreation product.

Previous registrants do not need to re-register. Those who now are unable to attend can contact Tom Tabor at

tom.tabor@nebraska.gov This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it for a refund. Others interested in the workshop can register at www.VisitNebraska.gov/industry. Lodging is available at the Ramada Conference Center. A discounted block of rooms is being held for the Governor's Agri/Eco-Tourism Workshop until March 8.

The rescheduled workshop falls during the peak of the annual sandhill crane migration. Participants interested in viewing the cranes while in the area, can reserve a blind through the Rowe Sanctuary & Iain Nicolson Audubon Center, 308-468-5282,
www.rowesanctuary.org; or the Nebraska Nature & Visitor Center, 308-382-1820, www.nebraskanature.org

Horizon Is Changing on D Street


Kelly Jensen is preparing his property on West D Street for a new house.  His kids, Alyssa and Christopher watch as the trailer is dismantled and put into a dumpster.





Elmwood Murdock School Calendar

3/14-18/ 11 Terra Nova Testing -- Grades 4,8,11
3/16/11 ECNC MS Quiz Bowl @ E-M
3/17/11 FBLA Meeting
3/17/11 FCCLA Meeting
3/18/11 2010-2011 Kindergarten Registration @ Elmwood
3/18/11 Malcolm Music Contest
3/19/11 Class "C" State Band @ Kearney
3/21/11 ECNC HS Quiz Bowl @ Palymra
3/22/11 10-12 Honor Roll Trip
3/23/11 ECNC Art Clinic @ Weeping Water
3/24/11 HS Track @ Platteview
3/25/11 7-9 Honor Roll Trip
3/29/11 HS Track @ Yutan
3/30/11 Boys Golf @ Syracuse
4/2/11 HS JV Track @ Tekameh






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