Editor’s Note: This is the first of a multi-week series on innovation at Stanton Community Schools.
After 24 years in education, Karla Renn knows she can teach without an interactive smartboard. She just doesn’t want to — not after seeing her students more engaged and hungry to learn.
“I’m probably considered one of the older teachers. It’s really amazing just how far technology has advanced over the years,” said Renn, who teaches a combination of technology, finance and marketing classes at Stanton Community School. “I love being a guinea pig because I can’t imagine teaching now without this technology.”
Renn, who is a graduate of Orchard High School, is in her sixth year at Stanton. After teaching at larger Class A schools, she returned to Northeast Nebraska to raise her family in a similar environment to where she was raised.
She knows first hand that a smaller school doesn’t mean a lesser education, and her students agree.
“If schools don’t have these, they’re missing out,” said eighth-grader Mia McNutt. “We got our first (interactive smartboard) in December of sixth grade. It was instantly awesome.”
Stanton students are 1:1 with a ThinkPad computers and have technology at their fingertips every day. That’s one of many reasons administration pushed the interactive smartboards several years ago, which are a step ahead of Promethium boards and other devices because the screen is actually a computer and can be updated without replacing the machine.
Jenn Davies, who teaches fifth grade, said the brainpower of the smartboard has actually increased efficiency for both students and herself. The smartboard is also touchscreen and has access to the Internet, Google Drive and everything a computer would. It just happens to be 72 inches.
“Everything on my computer is accessible on this smartboard. It would slow me and my class down if I had to get on my computer and go back and forth,” Davies said. “The students are engaged and seeing exactly what I’m seeing, and I don’t have to walk around and show them.”
Stanton Principal David Cunningham said the school has an interactive board in all but 12 classrooms. The Stanton Board of Education has approved adding four to five boards each year and was able to get an additional eight thanks to the generosity of the Stanton Education Foundation.
Board of Education President John Mandl said technology advances, especially the interactive boards, are key to Stanton preparing students for the future.
“When they first showed them to us and how they worked, I was immediately on board,” Mandl said. “The teachers loved them so much that they argued who could get them. At Stanton, we work hard to stay up with technology and the kids as much as we can, and this is one of many ways we’re doing that.”
Eighth-grader Garret Hansen said the boards are also used when watching football film.
“We can play back the plays and see what we can improve on,” he said. “Coach can mark on the board what we could have done differently. Instead of using a white board and drawing it, we can see it on the play. It’s actually really handy for football, too.”
Of all the uses, McNutt said she’s most surprised by agriculture classes.
McNutt said she appreciates teachers using the boards because then they don’t have to explain everything.
“She can show us because it’s what we have on our computers,” McNutt said. “It’s helpful in my perspective because it’s easy to use, and there’s no confusion.”
Morgan Schwartz, who has taught ag at Stanton for six years, said she uses the boards in every class and sees her students more engaged because of them.
“I was the first teacher to get one, and I love it,” Schwartz said. “The students are more engaged in education with them. I could teach without it, but that would be boring.”
Troy Hahlbeck made it clear: He's protesting the rules regarding nursing homes in regard to COVID-19 — not the facilities, and especially not Stanton Health Care Center.
As he prepared for a protest on Wednesday afternoon outside of the Stanton Health Care Center, Hahlbeck praised his local nursing facility for their efforts, especially the care provided to his 82-year-old mother.
"The Stanton nursing home does a fantastic job," Hahlbeck said. "This protest isn't about them at all. It's about the rules that govern nursing homes. I could have this same protest in Valentine, where Sen. Fischer lives, but it's here in Stanton because I live here."
While many other facilities across Nebraska have reported internal COVID-19 cases, the Stanton Health Care Center has not had any positive cases, according to administrator April Johnston.
"Every day there is new guidance or new hoops that a facility must jump through," Johnston said. "Stanton Health Care Center is more than willing to jump those hoops, just at a slower pace. We can proudly say we have not had a positive case of COVID for staff or residents in this building. As we discuss jumping the next hoop, we watch as facilities around us open and then go back to being closed. We watch as families call our residents and say that a family member is in the hospital dying from COVID."
Hahlbeck said he understands all nursing homes must abide by the rules set forth by the government, which is why he phoned Sen. Deb Fischer at her home a few days ago, complaining about nursing homes in Nebraska not allowing visitors inside due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"It was Fischer who suggested the protest," Hahlbeck said. "I'm protesting the rules that govern all nursing homes. I want them to open up and families to be able to see their loves one who are there."
At the Stanton Health Care Center, multiple rules are in place to protect their residents. They've also found ways to provide to increase communication during this trying time, including by constructing a portable visitor's center. While Johnson said nothing is as ideal as opening their doors to the public, her residents continuously offer encouragement and appreciation for the efforts.
"When you sit down at the dining table to visit and a resident looks at you and says, ' You've done a hell of a job kid. You've kept us safe,' " that says a lot," Johnston said.
She said the State of Nebraska gives longterm care facilities direction and makes the "rules" on how to re-open. Johnston said she understands the frustrations felt by families, which is why she is grateful to have such support within the Stanton community.
"We thank you for trusting us in a such a critical time. Please pray for the safety and health of every resident, every team member, and each other's families," Johnston said. "We also agree that people should be heart. Just ensure the right people are listening. Elderly lives matter Write your local senators, congress, CMS."
Walking into The Uptown in downtown Stanton, something is clearly missing. More specifically, someone.
With Rosaline “Roz” Lamson’s sudden death last month, speculation grew on whether Adam Staib would close the doors of their restaurant. Instead, he’s doing the opposite and pouring his heart and soul into building it even bigger — in honor of his wife.
“It’s her legacy,” said Staib, choking back tears. “No, we’re not closing. We’re going to showcase a legend.”
Staib readily admits he’s heartbroken and angry that his partner of 44 years was taken so quickly from him. But just the mention of their love story immediately changes the tone of his voice and brings a smile to his lips.
“We were opposites,” he said proudly. “I could never have done any of this without her. She brought so much out in me.”
The “Roz and Adam” love story began in the 1970s when she was working at the Villa Inn. She fell in love with the restaurant business and him as well. Their idea was unlike anything in Norfolk. They wanted to prepare meals from organic, locally sourced ingredients.
“I knew how to make it successful. She was the face of it. No one could resist her,” Staib said with a sheepish grin.
Together they opened The Uptown Restaurant in Norfolk in September 1981. Staib said his wife enhanced downtown Norfolk’s appreciation of fine wines, music, and art, including the artwork of John Lennon, and Claude Monet.
Staib said her Normandy Tomato Bisque was world famous with the recipe desired by more than he can name.
In 2001, the pair moved The Uptown to Stanton, where they continued providing fine dining and unique dishes.
Working exhausting hours, Staib said The Uptown may be as busy now as it’s ever been. For him, it’s a much-needed distraction.
Another way to deal with his grief, Staib said, is by working on several projects to ensure his wife’s legacy, beginning with offering new items.
Staib said they decided months ago they would start serving Hong Kong Ball Pancakes. They never wanted to serve salsa and chips, but the idea of serving the pancakes with glaze intrigued them both.
“It packs so much flavor and leaves so many things we can do in terms of catering,” he said. “This is something Roz wanted to do, so we’re going to.”
He’s also working on other new baked items, not to mention a cookbook full of her favorite recipes.
While he’s heard many people say some of their favorite dishes are gone, Staib said that’s absolutely not so.
“She had every recipe written down,” he said. “Her legacy lives here in the book.”
A few minutes with Staib talking about his late wife quickly can turn into hours. He has nearly five decades of stories to share from how she started working for him after leaving a difficult work environment to her befriending celebrities, such as Johnny Carson, Doc Severson, Arlo Guthrie, Alexander Payne, and the cast and crew of the film Nebraska, which filmed four days at The Uptown.
Some of Staib’s favorite memories include that of her father, a war hero he had much in common with. That’s another legacy Staib hopes to share with people. But most of all, he wants to create a way to continue talking about his late wife for years to come.
“I cry myself to sleep, but I’ll never forget. Our 44 years were absolutely wonderful,” Staib said. “I’m doing everything I can to keep her legacy going.”
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At about 6:35 a.m. on Wednesday morning the Stanton County Sheriff’s office responded to and investigated a two vehicle traffic accident on Hwy 24 about three miles West of Stanton, that sent one driver to the hospital for treatment of injuries.
The accident occurred when an eastbound straight truck driven by Gregory Anderson, 54, of Norfolk was turning into a driveway off Hwy 24 and was struck in the rear by an eastbound car driven by Chelsea Musquiz, 24, of Stanton as she went to pass. Musquiz was taken to FRHS by ambulance and Anderson was not injured.
The accident blocked Hwy 24 for more than an hour as the scene was cleared and traffic rerouted. Seatbelts were not in use by Musquiz and airbags did deploy preventing more serious injuries. The Musquiz vehicle was a total loss. Stanton Fire and Rescue and Stanton County Emergency Management also responded to the scene.
Seatbelts are being credited for saving the life of a 37-year-old Stanton woman.
According to the Stanton County Sheriff's Office, Adriana Pinkston was westbound in a pickup on Highway 32 early Tuesday morning when she crossed the eastbound lane and entered the south ditch, rolled the pickup onto its top in a deep ravine.
Pinkston was later transported to FRHS by ambulance. The pickup is a total loss.
The Madison County Sheriff’s office also responded to the accident scene about 7 ½ miles East of Madison.
An Oakland man was arrested Thursday on drug charges
At about 11 p.m. Thursday, the Stanton County Sheriff’s office arrested a 40 year old Oakland man of numerous drug charges following a traffic stop near the Hwy 15 and Hwy 32 junction. Joshua Miller was found to be in possession of Methamphetamine, Hashish, Marijauna and Drug Paraphernalia.
Miller was booked on the charges and released after posting a $1,000 cash bond.
Gannon Tighe, a 2017 graduate of Stanton Community School, was officially sworn in as a new Stanton County Sheriff’s Deputy.
Tighe will began his career next week when he begins 16 weeks of law enforcement training at the Nebraska Law Enforcement Training Center in Grand Island.
Gannon is a graduate of Northeast Community College and follows a family tradition, as his father is a Norfolk Police Sergeant and his mother and step father are employed by the Nebraska State Patrol.
On Wednesday morning, just after 9:30 a.m. the Stanton County Sheriff’s office responded to and investigated a one vehicle accident that sent the lone driver to the hospital. Elijah Schoonover, 21, of Omaha was westbound on U.S. Hwy 275 about seven miles East of Norfolk when he lost control of his straight truck and it rolled into the median.
Schoonover was transported to FRHS by ambulance for treatment. Traffic in the area was affected for over an hour as the scene and wreckage was cleared. Stanton Fire/Rescue and Norfolk Fire/Rescue also responded to the scene as did Stanton County Emergency Management. The truck and its contents were a total loss.
Just after 7:30 p.m. on Sunday night the Stanton County Sheriff’s office was dispatched to a physical disturbance at a residence in the Country Village trailer court near Woodland Park. Deputies arrived within minutes and found that an adult female had been stabbed in her upper left chest. A 16 year old female was taken into custody after initially being combative.
It was found that she had allegedly stabbed her mother with a pair of scissors during a physical confrontation inside the residence The victim was treated at the scene by Woodland Park rescue and declined medical transport. The juvenile female was booked into the Northeast Nebraska Juvenile Detention Center on felony charges of 2nd Degree Assault, Use of a Weapon to Commit a Felony and Terroristic Threats.
On Thursday afternoon at about 5:30 p.m. the Stanton County Sheriff’s office responded to and investigated a two vehicle that sent one Norfolk man to the hospital for treatment of internal injuries.
The accident occurred at the intersection of U.S. Hwy 275 and 561st Avenue about three miles East of Norfolk, when a pickup driven by Douglas Risinger, 60, of rural Norfolk turned south off Hwy 275 into the path of an eastbound SUV, driven by Kurt Hansen, 56, of West Point. Risinger was transported to FRHS from the scene by Norfolk Fire and Rescue and Hansen was treated at the scene and declined medical transport.
The Hansen vehicle started on fire and the front end was completely engulfed in fire on arrival of the first Sheriff’s unit. Both drivers were wearing seatbelts and airbags deployed in both vehicles lessening more serious injuries. The eastbound lanes of Hwy 275 were blocked for over an hour as traffic was rerouted.
Stanton County Emergency Management also assisted at the scene. Both vehicles are a total loss.