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The Long and the Short of It

Strong emotions surround school, reader responses show community cares PDF Print E-mail
Written by Wauneta Breeze   
Wednesday, 06 November 2013 22:17

By Sheri Hink-Wagner
The Wauneta Breeze


We’ve heard several comments at the Breeze since we ran a story about the school’s Nebraska State Accountability (NeSA) test results in the Oct. 17 issue.

Comments have varied and although they started off somewhat negative in nature, the majority of them were positive.

The readers who expressed positive comments were not by any means “coming down” on the school. Many of them thanked us for telling the “hard story.”

The way I see it, the performance of the local school is an issue for all of us, whether we have kids in school or not. Furthermore, it is the Breeze’s job to report on those “hard” issues.

The fact of the matter is that NeSA test scores do matter, whether we like it or not.

Personally, I’m not a fan of standardized tests, I don’t think any one test can adequately judge a child (or a school’s) potential for success. But, the Department of Education didn’t ask for my opinion and the importance of this test remains.

The Breeze does not pass judgement based on NeSA test results or any other topic in our paper. Our job is to report the news in an unbiased, fact-based manner.

NeSA tests are, unfortunately, the state’s yardstick to evaluate schools. That fact may not be popular, but it is a fact.

So, when we report the results of the local school’s NeSA scores we are just passing on information.

I attend school board meetings and the most common excuse I hear for W-P’s low NeSA test scores is “small school bias.”

Small schools, no doubt, face different challenges than do larger schools. However, I’ve looked at the statewide NeSA test results and small schools can succeed.

Perhaps a better explanation for Wauneta-Palisade’s struggles are the 50.96 percent poverty rate, 25.28 percent student mobility rate and 16.83 percent of the student body with special needs.

Studies have shown that any one of these issues can bring down a school’s test scores. Combined, they may create a steep uphill battle for the school.

Whatever the reason for W-P’s low test scores, I challenge the community to band together for our school and help in finding a solution.

In a column a while back I said that those of us at the paper celebrate as well as mourn with our readers, our community and our school. We also want to be a part of helping to find a solution.

Our business is, rightfully so, extremely closely tied to the community, including the school.

I heard from a number of folks who don’t have a child or grandchild in school these days. As tax payers they were thankful to know the results.

If I had my way, all the stories in the Breeze would be happy ones...stories of success, new life, successful business and high test scores. Unfortunately, that’s just not reality.

When I signed on to serve as editor of the Wauneta Breeze I signed on to tell the truth to the best of my ability–and that’s what all of us at the Breeze strive to do.

Occasionally our quest for the truth and unbiased reporting will probably upset a few of our readers and that’s ok.

I, for one, would rather we ruffle a few feathers from time to time than print a paper that glosses over the truth or avoids the hard topics.

For that reason, I’d like to extend an open invitation to each and every Breeze reader: If there is something happening in town that you feel your paper needs to cover, please let me know.

I’m always willing to talk with our readers and hear your feedback–good and bad. I can’t guarantee we’ll be able to run with every story or that we’ll change our stance, but I do promise to listen.

So I ask our readers to not be afraid to contact me if you have a concern, a joy, want to find something out or want to share something with the community. We’re your newspaper, that’s why we’re here.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 06 November 2013 22:32
A partnership worth celebrating PDF Print E-mail
Written by Wauneta Breeze   
Thursday, 10 October 2013 16:08

By Sheri Hink-Wagner

The Wauneta Breeze


This week, Oct. 6-12, is a big week for those of us who work in the newspaper industry. It marks National Newspaper Week when we celebrate the importance of newspapers to communities, large and small.

All of us at the Breeze take our service to the communities we serve seriously. We are committed to providing you honest, unbiased news coverage of local events, sports, happenings and even oddities.

We appreciate each and every call giving us a “heads up” of something going on in the community.

When community members ask me why something didn’t appear in the newspaper, I usually respond with regret, saying it would have been included if only I’d known about it.

So thank you for your calls, emails, facebook messages and every other “heads up” of happenings within Wauneta and Palisade. Your tips help us make the newspaper more interesting for all our readers, near and far. It’s a partnership we treasure.

Earlier this year, the Breeze put out a 125th anniversary edition which celebrated the first 125 years of Breeze coverage of Wauneta’s history.

We were with you for the past 125 years, and we want to be with you for the years to come.

We take pride in providing you with one source for all things local–from local interest stories to public notices and reports on public meetings to help keep our locally elected officials held accountable to their promises to community residents.

We especially enjoy sharing your personal news. We delight in celebrating new births in the community or with ties to the community and sharing in the mourning of departed community members. That is why we appreciate the community’s support so much.

Every subscription, ad from local businesses, birthday ad and anniversary ad helps us keep our doors open so we can continue to serve the community we know and love.

But, all this is not possible without the continued support of you, our readers. As a business, your support is vital to our ability to provide these services to the community.

From all of us at the Breeze–Sheri, Susan, Bert, Diane and Christi–thanks for reading and thank you for letting us be your partner in the community. We love serving Wauneta and being your source for local news.

Hard work and perseverance have gotten us through the past 125 years. With your help and partnership, we can continue to bring you the services you’ve come to expect long into the future.

A fair to be proud of PDF Print E-mail
Written by Wauneta Breeze   
Wednesday, 21 August 2013 18:11

Some of my fondest childhood memories took place at the Chase County Fair, now that I’m older I continue to be impressed with the quality of our local fair.

When I lived in Lincoln and attended the Lancaster County Fair for the first time, I remember going back to work the following Monday and my coworkers were anxious to see what I thought of a “big” county fair.

Many of them were surprised when I said I was a little disappointed. It wasn’t that the Lancaster County Fair wasn’t big and exciting or full of fun things to do and see–it just wasn’t as “big” or exciting as I expected.

Having grown up in Chase County, the Chase County Fair set the bar, so to speak, of what I expected to see at a county fair.

So, when I attended my first “big city” fair, I expected it to blow the Chase County Fair away. Honestly, it didn’t seem that much bigger or better than the fairs I grew up attending.

So, I guess the moral of my story is that we should be proud of the fairs we have here in Chase County, they really are great.

My perspective of fair has also changed now that I have children to drag around the fair instead of being the kid simply enjoying all the fair has to offer.

Wow, but is the fair a lot of work!

Working for the newspaper, I spent quite a bit of time on the fairgrounds, probably more than I ever have, and I’m always amazed by the number of Fair Board members who are there from first thing in the mornings until the last event closes in the evenings. That’s got to be tiring, not that I’ve ever heard one complain about it.

Another thing that amazes me about the fair is the work that our young 4-Hers put into their exhibits. The only people who might put more work into the fair than the fair board members are the 4-Hers and their families.

Most of us think of the fair really starting around Wednesday and ending on Saturday night. Not the 4-Hers, especially those with animal exhibits. They show up on the fairgrounds on the first Sunday of the fair and are there until the very last day.

I had the good fortune of attending the 4-H Beef Show and the 4-H Rocket Launch this year. I so enjoyed watching the excitement of youngsters’ faces when analyzing wind direction and speed to maximize the result of their rocket launch or looking at other 4-Hers rocket designs. What a great way to get kids excited about science and physics!

When I watch the kids showing animals, especially beef, I’m just plain amazed. They have put in so much work in the months prior to the fair, it’s great to see their efforts pay off when they perform well at the fair.

Not to mention, the awe of watching a 60- or 70-pound kid lead (or drag, yank and sweet talk) a 1,000+ pound steer around the ring during the beef show.

As far as my own kids, we kept it pretty simple. Their favorite parts of the fair were the pony rides, carnival rides and playing in the sand. Who could ask for a better time?

What a celebration! PDF Print E-mail
Written by Wauneta Breeze   
Thursday, 02 August 2012 17:51

By Sheri Hink

The Wauneta Breeze


When I think back to last weekend’s Harvest Festival the first word that comes to mind is, “Wow!” The second word that comes to mind is, “Whew!”

It’s been close to 20 years since I’ve attended one of Wauneta’s Harvest Festivals and I was taken aback by the number and variety of events offered this year.

As a former event planner I must commend the Harvest Fest Committee...that’s a whole lot of activities to keep tabs on. I know it was no easy feat so, Thank You for all your hard work.

It was great to see Waunetans and Waunetans-at-heart get together and have a good time at the many events–the B&D/Brophy fast-pitch softball team, the water fights, all the kids activities. I could go on and on.

Events aside, there was something that struck me while in town on Saturday. Sure, there was some healthy competition going on in the event but even more so, was an overall feeling of camaraderie.

I think my favorite part was watching friends and neighbors reconnect in the spirit of celebrating the town we live in.

Taking time to appreciate the place where you live and the people you see everyday isn’t done often enough in my opinion.

It was great to see and I can’t wait to watch and participate in next year’s Harvest Festival. It just goes to show, Wauneta really is a great place to live.

Whew, it’s hot out there! PDF Print E-mail
Written by Wauneta Breeze   
Thursday, 28 June 2012 16:52

By Sheri Hink

The Wauneta Breeze


It wasn’t too long ago I was anxiously waiting for the warm days of summer. I think my wish has been granted, and then some. It’s definitely been hot out there lately.

The High Plains Regional Climate Center reports that the region has experienced temperatures four to eight degrees F higher than normal. It feels that way and more so to me!

One thing I’m thankful for is the dry heat of western Nebraska over the humidity of eastern Nebraska. I’ve spent the past ten years in eastern Nebraska and central Illinois and I much prefer high temperatures in Chase County. Humidity is not my friend.

But, one of the disadvantages of the dry heat we have here is the stress it puts on crops and gardens. It seems I’m constantly watering something and I’ve pretty much given up on keeping my few outside potted plants alive.

This year is also the first year since I was 18 I’ve attempted to “tough out” the heat without air conditioning. I think the heat is winning, air conditioner shopping moved up on my list of “musts” after this past weekend.

I’d planned great outdoor activities for our nearly three-year-old, Ty. So far, our outdoor activities have been limited to a few short sessions with his prized toy golf set and a little running around in the cooler evenings.

We ventured to the bowling alley in McCook Saturday night to have some air conditioned family fun.

It was Ty’s first time bowling with non-plastic pins and balls. He had a blast, so much so I only took my turn three times so he could have more chances to roll his ball down the lane.

Our entire family enjoyed the outing in the nice, air conditioned facility after the hot temperatures on Saturday. I know I had fun watching Ty’s excitement when his ball would come up, signifying it was again his turn, even if it wasn’t.

I also got a kick out of watching Brad’s 15-year-old daughter, Marissa, out score her dad fair-and-square. I guess bowling on the Wii pays off. Our little Leo didn’t bowl but he enjoyed the lights and noise in the alley.

All-in-all, I’d say it was a great escape from the heat. Maybe next time we’ll hit the lake or pool.


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