Wind farm phrasing causes confusion

Written August 13th, 2015

Stock photo


A 47-turbine, 81.5 MW wind farm has been a hopeful project for the Verdigre Land and Wind Partners, LLC, who have been working with Windlab Developments USA LTD., towards the goal of developing the aforementioned wind farm 8 miles west of Verdigre.

The Grande Prairie Wind Farm, owned by BHE Renewables (a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Energy) is a 400 MW wind farm project that will involve 173 to 266 wind turbines and roughly 54,250 acres of Holt County townships (Willowdale, Antelope, Grattan, Iowa, Scott and Steel Creek), approximately 12 miles northeast of O’Neill.

The confusing part is that both projects have been referred to as “the wind farm west of Verdigre.” Although they are both wind farm projects, they are very different – not just in size and location, but also situation.

According to Monica Jensen, vice president of development for Windlabs Development USA LTD, the Verdigre Wind Farm “does not have a commercial operations date defined,” and they “do not have a party identified to purchase the power.”

The Grande Prairie Wind Farm, on the other hand, has sold its power to OPPD (Omaha Public Power District) and is currently in the construction phase.

So, for the time being, the only wind farm that is to begin full-stage construction shortly is the Grande Prairie Wind Farm located 12 miles northeast of O’Neill.

Shearing day at Verdigre Livestock Market

Written August 7th, 2015


By Jason Wessendorf

The Verdigre Livestock Market had the feel of a boot camp barber shop Friday morning, July 31, as a team of
sheep shearers systematically dispensed buzz cuts to their somewhat hesitant clients.
Alex Moser and Kevin Hickman, both of Iowa, Emily Chamblin of Maryland and Terrance Pelle of South Dakota
brought their own shearing stations with them. The group travels around and just “go where the sheep are,” according
to Alex, who wanted to shear just one more sheep before stopping to speak with the local newspaper. The wait would
not be a long one…

Alex said that his record for an 8-hour day was 423 sheep. There are 480 minutes in 8 hours, so assuming he took
no break and ate no lunch, that’s roughly 1.13 sheep per minute. He said that he, Kevin and another fella had sheared
1,123 sheep in 8 hours – more than 3/4 a sheep per minute as a group. At a laid-back pace, Alex said a couple minutes
per sheep is pretty average.

My parents raised sheep when I was younger. A real nice guy from Bloomfield – Don Olson – would come by to
help us shear. He ran the clippers while the rest of us did the coralling. We took turns getting the next sheep “on deck”
(sitting the sheep down and holding them) while we waited for him to finish the one he was working on.
Fast forward several years, I was a teenager helping a farmer outside of Creighton shear sheep, and who should
show up but Don. He must have been everyone’s “go-to guy,” I thought. It just goes to show you, if you do something
few others do, and do it well, people will seek you out.

I don’t recall it being very easy, nor the sheep very willing. Some things never change, it seems, as the group at
the livestock market on Friday morning were soaked in sweat prior to 9:00, with 60 head already shorn in the short
time they had been there.

While it may just look like a simple trim, there is a lot more involved in shearing sheep than a person would think.
The wool must be harvested correctly so that the sheep suffer no damage and so the wool remains usable. A person
might be surprised to learn that there are sheep-shearing schools in Montana, California, New York (Cornell), Missouri
(Lincoln University Cooperative Extension) and elsewhere dedicated to teaching the craft.

There are only so many people willing and able to shear sheep these days, a skill which dates to around 3500
B.C. when man first learned to spin sheep’s wool. Curt Zimmerer, co-owner of the Verdigre Livestock Market, said
these people are just simply “getting harder to find.”

Luckily, there are still those who don’t mind wrestling sheep down for haircuts, and here’s hoping it stays that

The Verdigre Eagle celebrates 50th year

Written August 7th, 2015

IMG_4510 IMG_4511 IMG_4512 IMG_4513 IMG_4515 IMG_4516 IMG_4570 IMG_4572

By Jason Wessendorf

We thoroughly enjoyed visiting with everyone who stopped by during our 50th-year-of-publication open house Friday, July 17. We appreciate the support shown to us, not just during our open house but year-round by our advertisers and readers.

We know why The Eagle has thrived in Verdigre for the last 50 years, and we don’t take that for granted. We are blessed to have such loyal readers and advertisers in our community (and beyond!) who care so deeply and who are so connected to the past, present and future of the Verdigre area. If they (you!) didn’t care about the community and its people, we would not exist.

We set up a mini-museum for those attending our open house, to show where we came from and how things have progressed.

The last issue printed at The Eagle Office is still set up, each lead-and-steel page weighing what seems like an impossible amount for its size. Its front page was on a table beside the first-ever issue of Dan and Glenna’s Verdigre Eagle, the last paper that was ever pasted up and printed in O’Neill, and the first-ever color paper printed in Iowa. From molten lead to sending a digital copy off for printing – it’s just amazing how things have changed.

I feel like I’m cheating when I use Photoshop to resize photos, looking at all the equipment Dan used in his dark room to do the same. Even a polaroid picture had to be resized, re-developed, and then sent off Monday morning to a place (in Fremont?) who would run it through the photo lathe for letterpress printing (with lead type), and mail it back. It would arrive Wednesday via USPS in time to be set up and printed in that week’s Eagle.

Everyone enjoyed looking through old photos and negatives, as well as the old letterpress advertisements. The letterpress is a mirror reflection of what is to be printed (so it will be correct when transferred to paper), but it can still be read with some practice. One advertising piece called attention to the new, stainless-steel Speed Queen dryers – “The appliance for the ’70s!”

Marv Ziska stopped by the open house. “I just had to,” he said.

There was one Linotype machine at The Eagle when Dan and Glenna bought the place from Edward S. Pavlik, who had bought it as a package deal from former Verdigre Eagle publisher, Jankiewicz. The Linotype was an improvement to setting the lead or wood type by hand – letter by letter, space by space. It was able to set an entire line at a time, using brass matrixes and complicated mechanical processes. Dan and Glenna enlisted the help of Dan’s dad, Edwin D. (Slim) Pavlik, who assisted with the machine’s maintenance.

It was a mess of a machine, just starting out; you could type a “s” and a “t” would come out instead. They needed someone to get it to a point where it could be used for its intended purpose. That’s where Marv came in.

Marv was working in O’Neill at the Holt County Independent, along with his wife, Blanche. Dan had, at some point, inquired there as to who fixes Linotypes – who fixes the Independent’s? Marv told us that he was pointed out and the rest was history.

Marv spend a lot of time fixing up The Eagle’s Linotype. Blanche would pack them a lunch and they’d head to Verdigre after they got off work in O’Neill. Slim, especially, would assist and learn as the machine was being repaired.

“When they called for a repair, Slim would watch how it was fixed, ” said Marv. “If it happened again, they didn’t have to call me. He was a very sharp man.”

A little side note: When Lisa was a small child, she thought Marv was “Mr. Rogers,” and called him such. He was soft-spoken and mild-mannered, so it only made sense to her. Neither Marv nor Dan corrected her.

The Ziskas said they were here “when it all began” and knew they couldn’t miss the open house. As he walked through the mechanics of the old Linotype, you could tell that he could probably get the ol’ gal running yet today if given enough time. Marv said it would come back to him, “just like riding a bike.” Of great importance, he said, was to ensure the lead temperature was as close to 350 degrees as possible – too cool or hot would equally cause problems, such as hot squirts of lead.

Glenna, too, remembers how the machine works, so many years later. If it were in running condition, she could no doubt operate and troubleshoot it. Telling people how it worked and how they (she and Dan, employees and family who helped) did things during the early years; you could see a certain nostalgia there. Not that anyone would desire going back to a laborious printing method where being squirted on the shirt, hands or on sandaled feet by molten lead was a likely occurrence, but the memories of such hard work are still something to be treasured.

When I started out at The Verdigre Eagle, so many long years ago (just kidding… it was 2011), I remember looking at some of the old-time equipment in the back room and asking Lisa, What did they use to use this for?”

“Used to? I just used that yesterday,” she replied.

Mixed in with the “obsolete” technology is equipment that does its job too well to be replaced. If you’ve held any sort of perforated ticket originating from The Eagle, it was perforated (most likely by me if recently) on a 120+year-old machine, patented in 1888. It was here when Dan and Glenna bought the place. Its brochure offers a motorized option as well, but you must specify to the manufacturer if you would like the motor to run on either AC or DC current. There are newer replacements for it, none which are better, in our opinion.

I think newspapers, in general, are a lot like our perforator. Throughout the years there have been many changes in technology which allow the sharing of information unlike any other time in the history of man – television, radio, internet, and so forth. There may be “newer replacements” for the printed news, but none which are better.

We appreciate all of you who have made it possible for this family-owned, local newspaper to exist these 50 years. With your support, we will continue our duty of informing, connecting, promoting and caring about our fine community, its citizens and its future.

From the bottom of our hearts, we thank you.


Lottie Randa honored on 103rd birthday

Written June 17th, 2015


Lottie Randa took a break from Kolach Days events long enough to be celebrated by friends and family on her 103rd birthday. On Sunday, June 14, an open house was hosted by Berta Kinnison and Dan Kinnison at Berta’s bar (The Bohemian Lounge building) where 103 cupcakes from the Verdigre Bakery were enjoyed by Lottie and her friends on her special day.

After the party-goers sang “Happy Birthday” to her, she thanked them politely.

Calls for a speech were heard -“Speech!!…Speech!!”

“They want you to make a speech, Lottie,” said someone near her. “It doesn’t have to be a very long one.”

“I already made it,” responded Lottie. “It was ‘thank you.'”

197 turtles come out of shell for race

Written June 17th, 2015

turtles 0061392 turtles 0161402 turtles 0231409 turtles 0441430 turtles 0551441 turtles 0711457 turtles 0741460 turtles 0901476 turtles 1061492 turtles 1381524 turtles 1391525 turtles 1431529 turtles 1451531 turtles 0301416 turtles 0391425 turtles 0571443


The annual Doc Walstrom Memorial Day Turtle Race was held Friday, June 12, during the Kolach Day festivities. It began with Jean Walstrom honoring a few special ladies with beautiful flower arrangements, namely Lottie Randa, Liz Maly and Sheri Vech. Lottie was honored for her 103rd birthday (two days away), and Liz and Maly for their years of work keeping the turtle races running smoothly.

A five-generation race started the event with Lottie Randa, her son Don, grandson Kevin, great-grandson Cory and great-great-grandson Ethan. It wasn’t a shock when Lottie’s turtle won, especially considering emcee Gary Vesely wouldn’t let any of the other turtles get near the “finish line.”

Check out this week’s paper for the list of winners!

The Verdigre Eagle, Thursday, April 23

Written April 27th, 2015

If you haven’t received April 23 edition, download it here!

Marlene Grim honored for service

Written April 22nd, 2015


Marlene Grim was honored for 30 years of service on the Alpine Village Board of Directors. She was presented a plaque on Monday, April 20.

Marlene is pictured with Mitch Mastalir who took over her position as president. Ryan Vesely has filled the vacancy on the Alpine Board of Directors.

Thanks for your years of service, Marlene!

Heavy rain causes two freak vehicle accidents

Written April 22nd, 2015

This washout was the cause of two vehicle accidents in the same spot west of Verdigre the morning of Sunday, April 19.

According to a report by Don Henery, Know County Sheriff, on April 19, 2015, at 5:43 a.m., the Knox County Sheriff’s Office received a report of a two-vehicle accident with injuries.

The Knox County Sheriff’s Office investigated the accident which was located ¼ of a mile south of 876 Rd. on 515 Ave. A
2003 Chevy pickup driven by Brian Oglevie of Seward, Neb., was northbound on 515 Ave. en route to go turkey hunting in
rural Knox County. Due to heavy rain, the road and culvert were washed out sometime during the nighttime hours.

Oglevie’s vehicle drove into the washout and hit the embankment on the north side of the washout. Oglevie was trapped inside the
vehicle. The second vehicle, a 1996 Chevy Corsica driven by Amy Clemens of rural Knox County, was southbound on 515
Ave. Clemens didn’t see the pickup owned by Oglevie, which was partially hidden after driving into the washout. Clemens’
vehicle ramped over the top of the pickup, collided with the opposite embankment and then overturned on the roadway.
Clemens was then trapped inside of her vehicle.

Verdigre Fire and Rescue responded to the scene and extricated both drivers from their vehicles. Both Clemens and Oglevie were transported to the Avera Creighton Hospital by Verdigre EMTs. They were both treated and transferred from there by air ambulances. The status of Oglevie and Clemens is unknown at this time.

Both vehicles were totaled in the collisions. Jimson towing of Orchard and Butch’s Towing of Royal were both needed to
recover the vehicles which were towed to Butch’s Towing in Royal.

K.O.C. hosts free-throw championship

Written January 29th, 2015


Eleven boys and girls from the area, ages 9 to 14, were named local champions of the 2015 Knights of Columbus Free Throw Championship held Saturday, January 24, and have earned the right to compete at the district level. The St. Francis of Assisi Council 5218 in Verdigre sponsored the local competition at Verdigre School gymnasium. All youngsters ages 9 to 14 were eligible to participate. Deacon Keith Pavlik was happy to report that there was a record number of 21 contestants.

Nine-year-old champion for the girls was Ava Chohon. There were no boys signed up to compete in that bracket. Alexis Bartling was the 10-year-old girls’ champion and Walker Kotrous won for the boys. In the 11-year-old bracket, Chaney Konopasek won for the girls and Rane Vesely for the boys. Twelve-year-old winners were Abby Frank and Max Hollmann. Rachel Pavelka and Hunter Kotrous took the honors for the 13-year-olds. Ashlyn Hamilton and Anthony Vakoc won the 14-year-old competition.

The Knights of Columbus is most grateful to Verdigre Public School for the use and preparation of the gym and basketball equipment.


Author Angela Vesely holds book signing

Written January 29th, 2015



Jason and Angela Vesely of Verdigre were at the Verdigre Public Library on Saturday, January 24, to autograph her book, “Not What We Were Expecting.”

The book was released just before Christmas and are available at The Verdigre Eagle, from and from the author.

Pictured with the Veselys is Jill Stark, library director.

All rights reserved
©2018 The Verdigre Eagle