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BRAN, business growth, school news top 2015 news PDF Print E-mail
Written by Wauneta Breeze   
Thursday, 07 January 2016 17:52

Wauneta served as a host community for the Bicycle Ride Across Nebraska (BRAN) for the first time in 2015. The event, which doubled the population of Wauneta for one night, required large-scale effort of the entire community. (Breeze file photo)


By Sheri Hink-Wagner

The Wauneta Breeze


The New Year offers a chance to look back over all that has been accomplished. When looking back at 2015, Waunetans have a lot to celebrate.

Top accomplishments last year include Wauneta’s first stint as a Bicycle Ride Across Nebraska (BRAN) host community, a feat that required large-scale participation of the entire community.

The arrival of the 400-plus riders, 60 BRAN staff members and supporters nearly doubled the population of Wauneta the night of Saturday, June 6.

Many different community groups came together to make the BRAN guests feel welcome, with efforts led by BRAN committee chairman Joey Large.

Efforts included the Wauneta-Palisade FFA, cheerleaders, junior class and some younger students as well. Community organizations including the Bronco Boosters, Mercy Meals, Wauneta Volunteer Fire Department and Wauneta EMS, Wauneta-Palisade Lions Club, Wauneta Roller Mills, Palisade VFW Auxiliary and Palisade Fire and Rescue as well as local businesses which pulled together to feed all the guests during their stay.

All-in-all, the event went very smoothly. Large and BRAN staff members agreed the community did an excellent job hosting the guests. In fact, Wauneta earned second place honors when BRAN riders voted for the best host community. When BRAN organizers announced the award on their website they stated Wauneta was a “first time start and host community in the long history of BRAN” and said, “They did it right.”

The site goes on to say the designation is “quite a feat” for a first-time host community. Wauneta’s second place award also marks the first time a starting community has earned the second-place honor.


Business growth

Growth in the business community was another accomplishment for 2015.

Wauneta is luckier than many small towns in Nebraska and beyond; it features a thriving business community and has a main street with few vacant buildings.

However, this “luck” is much more than that, more likely than not, the successes of Wauneta’s business community should be attributed to the hard work and never-ending effort of community leaders and business leaders to make Wauneta a good place to do business.

During 2015, Wauneta’s business community saw two new businesses—The Beauty Bar in June and MissC Liquor in September.

The Beauty Bar is owned and operated by Crystal Yearous who fulfilled a dream when she opened the doors to her new salon. Services offered include all-over body waxing, a full-line of hair services, color, spray tans, tanning bed, pedicures and retail sales.

MissC Liquor is owned and operated by Missy and Corey Holmes. They renovated the old Corner Cupboard building on Highway 6. The store specializes in off-sale liquor, pop and snacks. They also regularly offer tastings to allow customers to try new products.

Another change seen in the business community was a transition of management at the local grocery store. John Johnston, Jacob and Amanda Pankonin leased the business and assumed management of the store in October. The transition allowed many members of the Walgren family to retire, however Scott Walgren stayed on in his role behind the meat counter at the store.

Another transition that topped the news in 2015 was when the American Legion gifted the Legion Hall to the Village in July. The building, on the north end of Tecumseh, is now known as the Wauneta Community Building and continues to host community and individual events. The village began making plans to update the building the latter part of 2015.

During 2015 Bruce Kramer Farms also moved their office from Wichita Street to Tecumseh Avenue. New construction seen in 2015 included a new county shop in Wauneta, completed in April. The building houses a Wauneta Chase County Transit bus along with Chase County Equipment.


School news

Wauneta-Palisade Public Schools also saw exciting things in 2015. In April the WP FFA team took first place in vet tech at the Nebraska State FFA Convention.

Seniors Nicole Strand and Lesley Towery led the way for WP, individually finishing first and second, respectively. Junior Ellie Lee also earned a purple ribbon and junior Cameo Rector a red. As a team, WP blew out the other 34 teams, earning 397 points. Second place Cross County finished with a score of 385 and third place York scored 378.

In August, the district saw a record enrollment level when the 2015-2016 school year began with 232 students enrolled. The school year marked the first time in nine years when K-12 enrollment topped 200 students.

Other exciting school news was the installation of two new play structures at the Palisade Attendance Center. The first was installed in April after two years of planning. The second, a play structure for preschool- and kindergarten- aged students, was installed in September.

The initial idea for a new playground structure in Palisade came from the Wauneta-Palisade Parent-Teacher Organization (PTO). The idea became a reality thanks to school staff, board members, PTO members and volunteers who worked to make it a reality.

The majority of the funding needed for both projects was provided with grants from the Albert G. and Bernice F. Hansen Charitable Foundation. The school was awarded a $30,000 grant to build the larger play structure, $15,000 to construct a shade structure for the playground and $20,000 for the preschool/kindergarten play structure.


More in print

See the print and e-edition for photos of new businesses and construction in 2015. The issue also includes a walk back through the milestones seen throughout the year by looking back at births, deaths and weddings reported to the Breeze during 2015.

We hope you enjoy this walk back through 2015 and that you will be reminded of just how far Wauneta has come!