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Happy Valentine's Day!

Elmwood, Nebraska Community E-News
“Growing Together”
February 14, 2007

The History of Valentine’s Day
Every February, across the country, candy, flowers, and gifts are exchanged between loved ones, all in the name of St. Valentine. But who is this mysterious saint and why do we celebrate this holiday? The history of Valentine’s Day—and its important saint is shrouded in mystery. But we do know that February has long been a month of romance. St. Valentine’s Day, as we know it today, contains vestiges of both Christian and Roman tradition. So, who was Saint Valentine and how did he become associated with this ancient rite? Today, the Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred. The most popular legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret.

What became of Valentine? And how does that that little chubby guy with the wings and arrow fit into all this? …Hmm, I just wonder…..

Congratulations to Whitney Koehn, a second grade student, who won first place in a short story writing contest. The contest, the 10th annual Written and Illustrated By Short Story Contest, is sponsored by Lee Booksellers in Lincoln.

There were over 500 entries in several age categories. Whitney’s story, “The Crazy Adventure” was chosen for first place from all entries in the Kindergarten – 2nd Grade age categories. Contestants were given the first few sentences of a story about Mr. Lee, the bookstore owner, and then had to complete an original short story with illustrations. Whitney’s winning story is currently on display at Bennett Martin Public Library in downtown Lincoln.

Whitney was recognized at an award program for the contest winners on January 27th. Contest coordinator Doris Leikham presented Whitney with a certificate and several prizes that included a Lee Booksellers gift certificate, Runza Restaurant gift certificate, tickets to a performance at the Lied Center, passes to the Omaha Henry Doorly Zoo, and a special behind-the-scenes tour to meet some of the animals at the Lincoln Children’s Zoo. Whitney’s story was the first one entered in the contest from any student in Elmwood, Murdock or Cass County. Congratulations Whitney!

(Details about next year’s short story contest and an upcoming poetry contest can be found on the Lee Bookseller website at, or you can contact Doris Leikham at (402)420-1919.)

2nd grade student Whitney Koehn with Doris Leikham, Short Story contest coordinator

Editor Note: It makes me feel warm and fuzzy seeing what wonderful things our community youth are involved in and accomplishing! Until I started editing this newsletter I was unaware of many of these things. I’m really proud to be able to publish these success stories to share with all of you!

The Omaha Shootout was indeed a success! The Elmwood-Murdock boy’s basketball team carried the game into overtime. Though they did not win what an exciting and great opening game to start the Shootout! Most important is that these young men gave themselves, the school, and the community something very special and memorable to be proud of and remember. It’s not the winning that makes the memory, it’s the game. Congratulations to the team and coaches!

Here are a few pictures from the Qwest Center:

A little Birdie told me to wish Happy Birthday and Happy Anniversary (includes belated) to these people for the month of February!

Joseph Todd Dan & Mabel Crume
C.J. Ronhovde Garrett Brummer
Joann Hill Sam Burtch
Pete Petersen Justin Furgerson
Don Hoffman  

Mark Your Calendar for these upcoming events:

February 16 – “Rookie Night” at Flying Wheels.

February 17 – Bess Streeter Aldrich Birthday Celebration Open House. Honoring the 126th birthday of the author. Enjoy cake and punch, a guided tour through the historic Aldrich home. Admission $3 adults, $2 children.

February 24 – “Twister Tournament” at Flying Wheels @ 9pm. Skating and dancing as usual before.

February 28 – deadline for softball/baseball registration. Contact the elementary school.

March 18 – Junior Youth Fellowship talent show. Supper, games, and talent showcase to help raise funds to participate in mission trips, camps and other fellowship/spiritual activities. (POC Cynthia Sheldon, Christian Church – more info as this gets closer.)

March 25 – Open House/Pancake Breakfast in Murdock’s NEW Fire Barn! 10:00 – 2:00pm. All you can eat pancakes, sausage, eggs, juice & coffee. Door Prizes drawn every half hour and Raffle Drawing at 2:00pm. Free Will Offering at the door. (If you are a non-community member reading this, Murdock is a neighbor 5 miles North of Elmwood on Hwy 1. They are a Mutual Aid partner. Come join the activities!)

FOR SALE! “Knight” window decals, $6 each. Limited supplies. Contact a freshman volleyball player or the Murdock school site at 867-2341.

Hy Vee Grocery Receipts are valuable to our school. For every $100 in receipts turned in, the school will earn $1. Turn receipts in to either the Elmwood or Murdock school site.

Church Contact Needed: I’m still in need of a church contact for the Catholic Church. All you need to do is contact me with info to update on the web site under the church link.

Family Activity – Count the Birds! The Great Backyard Bird Count takes place starting this Friday through Feb 19th. It’s simple! Details and checklist at Nebraska reported the second-highest number of birds in the country in last year’s event with the Northern Cardinal as the most frequently reported bird in the U.S.

From the Editor, Again…. Okay I’m desperately your seeking Help! I know that a lot of you out there have, or know someone who has, lived in Elmwood for at least 50 years! I need a story (remembrances) of what Elmwood was like 50 years ago! We would like to add another feature to our web site home page, History and Traditions, by looking back on Elmwood 50 years ago. Pictures would be good too if anybody has any they can scan and send?

Special Valentine Messages:

So, what happened to St. Valentine?

There are varying ideas about what actually became of Valentine. While some say he was beheaded, others contend that he became sick in prison and died. In 1835, the remains – or what are believed to be the remains – of St. Valentine were given to an Irish priest named Father John Spratt by Pope Gregory XVI, after Spratt impressed the Pope with his passionate preaching during a visit to Rome. The gift, in a black and gold casket, can still be viewed every Valentine’s Day at the Whitefriar Street Church in Dublin, Ireland.

Cupid, the child-like, winged deity associated with our modern Valentine’s Day, is the son of Venus, the Roman goddess of love.

Personally, I don’t care for most likenesses of Cupid. But I guess he has a much better presence on a greeting card than, for lack of a better way to say it, the likeness of what became of St. Valentine.

I hope each of you has a “special someone” to share this day with!

Happy Valentine’s Day Elmwood!

*Special Thanks to Karey Koehn, Linda Glantz, Tim Allemang, Mike Winters, and Wire Built, for your contributions to this weeks newsletter!

Shhh! …We’re being watched! (Details next week.)

Gina Fahrenholz

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Village of Elmwood, NE, 2006- 2007