Minden looks to restrict private pool placement, require fences

*This story was featured in the Hastings Tribune on August 5, 2016. 

MINDEN — The Minden City Council has approved a second reading of a proposed ordinance to help combat safety concerns associated with private swimming pools.

Ordinance No. 1211 would require all private swimming pools and hot tubs be placed in the side or backyard, with pools required to be surrounded by a fence. The ordinance also states that hot tubs or spas are required to have a cover when not in use, but don’t have to be enclosed by a fence.

Minden City Administrator Matt Cederburg said the ordinance started because of an increase in the number of pools within the city limits.

“I think it came to the forefront because there have been a lot of above-ground pools going up,” he said. “It seemed like there were two or three going up this year.”

Cederburg said Minden modeled its proposed city ordinance off similar ordinances in Hickman and Grand Island. He also said the ordinance should help keep homes more aesthetically pleasing by requiring owners to keep pools or hot tubs in the side or backyard.

At the previous two City Council meetings, no one came forward to express displeasure with the proposed ordinance. Still, Cederburg cites a potential concern associated with the costs of building a fence.

If the ordinance passes as expected, city officials plan to create a user-friendly pamphlet that clearly explains the requirements associated with the ordinance.


The third and final reading of the ordinance is scheduled for Aug. 15. If the ordinance is approved at that meeting, citizens will have 30 days to get up to code.


Lawrence-Nelson’s Miller ready to pad up once more

*This story was featured in the Hastings Tribune on June 15, 2016. 

After learning that he had been invited to participate in the 2016 Nebraska Eight-Man All-Star Game, Brennan Miller received a bit of advice.

That advice was simple.

“I was told by a coach last week, in all-star games, you do your thing and let everyone else do their thing, but you help them along the way,” Miller said.

This week, he’s trying to take that advice to heart and is enjoying his time on his new team.

“Practice has been fun. The practices are laid back, but you get to be with a lot of good people who you played against,” he said. “The whole environment is great and everyone wants to be your friend and do something great for one another.”

That camaraderie that has been forged between Miller and a few of his West teammates came long before Sunday’s introduction to the team.

Despite being the only Lawrence-Nelson player participating in the game, Miller had the opportunity to work with a few of his new teammates a week earlier.

“We just got finished playing in a TWC All-Star basketball game last week and coming into this, it’s good coming back and playing with those guys,” he said.

Miller, a two-sport standout for the Raiders who plans to walk-on to play basketball at Chadron State College in Chadron, thought his career was over after a 38-0 loss in the 2015 Class D-2 playoffs against Wynot.

While the final loss during a senior season can be crushing for some, for Miller, it was just a part of life.

“It’s not the end of the world for me,” he said. “I didn’t really think about it, because I had basketball to look forward to.”

Since he accepted his invitation to join the West team, he has been able to look forward to praise from his community back home.

 “During our successful season, people were supportive, and now, people walk around and say ‘hey, nice job on going to the all-star game.’ It’s nice to be a part of that,” he said.After just one half-pad practice, Miller feels good about his team’s chances on Saturday.

“I feel solid on offense and defense from what I’ve seen this morning,” he said.

He even went so far as to guarantee a win.

“(We will win), it ain’t no question,” he said. “Guaranteed.”

The East vs. West game starts at 1:30 p.m. at Lloyd Wilson Field at Hastings College.

Pine Patch Tree Farm embraces family-like atmosphere

*This story was featured in the Collegian and on HCMediaOnline on Dec. 3. 

Time-honored Christmas staples can be found at every turn during the holiday season. Christmas lights, Santa figurines and tall evergreen trees are must-haves embracing the Christmas spirit. But how do those trees come to fruition and make it into the homes of families across the Midwest? This is where the Glass family comes in.

Nytha and Dave Glass, owners and operators of the Pine Patch Tree Farm on 26th and Elm, have spent the past 10 years cultivating a number of different types of trees, while also perfecting the growth and sale of them. The Pine Patch offers a number of different types of trees and wreaths, including Canaan Fir, Scotch Pine and Spruce trees. The Glasses have taken their dedication to the farm to the next level by living in the house adjacent to the farm and fully embracing the entire process that comes with operating the farm.

“During the year, the main thing is to make sure [the trees] get enough water. We have to supplement the rain a little bit. I have a pump, so I’m able to overhead sprinkle the farm,” Dave Glass said. “It takes about five days, night and day, to put an inch [of water] on the farm.”

That extra effort to ensure proper hydration is imperative to the long-term health of the trees. Dave Glass emphasizes that the Christmas tree business is not a quick-fix business model and that it takes years before an owner actually sees any finished product.

“It’s two weeks of selling trees and 50 weeks of making them live,” Dave Glass said. “At the end of April we plant about 600 trees on the farm, and they’re about 18 inches tall. In the first year they don’t grow a whole lot. They grow about a foot a year, so it takes seven or eight years to grow six or seven-foot Christmas tree.”

A combination of rising costs and long-term work associated with owning a tree farm can be attributed to the dwindling numbers of farms across the state and country. Despite the decline in numbers, Glass still manages to have fun on the farm.

“Ten years ago there were 45 farms in the state, and today there are about 20. For the size of the tree farm I have, it’s more than just a hobby,” Dave Glass said. “It’s been a lot of fun and we really enjoy it.”

Dave Glass isn’t the only one who enjoys his time on the farm. Hastings College Senior Joe Kindig has been working at the Pine Patch for four seasons now and accredits Dave Glass for its warm and friendly environment.

“I would definitely say that working here is a pleasant atmosphere. [I’ve] tried to go to a couple different tree farms locally in Nebraska, and it’s just pushing customers in and out the door to get their Christmas trees,” Kindig said. “It’s just a fun atmosphere to hang and work with Dave.”

That atmosphere established by Dave Glass, coupled with the personal attention to detail, keeps customers returning each season.

“It’s not an exchange of money, but really an exchange of friendship. Half of our clients we know somehow or we will deliver to their house personally,” Kindig said. “It’s more of a personal basis, and Dave has really set the foundation for that.”

Both Dave Glass, the Secretary Treasurer of the National Christmas Tree Association (NCTA), and Kindig have recently been involved with the NCTA’s Trees for Troops program. The program provides real Christmas trees to armed forces members and their families in the U.S. and stationed overseas.

“I like the fact that we can give a troop something that was home grown right here in the U.S.,” Kindig said. “[It’s] something that reminds them of home and not only home, but the memories that surround a Christmas tree and what they are fighting for.”

At the end of the day, the family atmosphere is what really stands out about the Pine Patch Tree Farm. Many businesses claim this dynamic, but rarely do people embrace it quite like they do. Kindig and other employees even refer to Dave as grandpa.

“Dave is obviously the veteran of the group and we like to give him a hard time. [Even though] he’s 63, he can still haul a Christmas tree. He’s a professional Christmas tree wrangler,” Kindig said. “He can handle his own with all of the young guys here, and in the last couple years we’ve started calling him grandpa because he’s a figure to look up to.”

Briar Cliff Dominates Menlo in Opening Round Game

*This story was posted to MyNAIATourney.org on March 11, 2015. 

The Briar Cliff University Chargers dominated the Menlo College Oaks 80-61 in the first round of the NAIA DII Women’s Basketball Tournament at the Tyson Event Center in Sioux City, Iowa. Junior Jessi Corrick led the Chargers with 14 points and 10 rebounds on the day.

Briar Cliff maintained their flawless first round track record, and now hold a 12-0 all-time record in first round matchups. The Chargers entered the tournament with a 23-9 overall record, 14-6 conference record and fourth place regular season finish in the GPAC.

Menlo College entered the tournament with a 22-5 overall record and undefeated regular-season in the California Public Conference.

The first half was a battle of conflicting styles. Menlo, with their run-and-gun, perimeter-orientated offense against Briar Cliff’s half-court, interior-orientated offense.

Briar Cliff shared the wealth in the first half, with three different players coming through with sizeable offensive contributions. Freshman Julie Targy led the charge with 10 points and two steals, while senior standout Slone Masters added nine points, two assists and two rebounds of her own. Corrick also helped shoulder the load, finishing with eight points and four rebounds in the half.

Menlo didn’t put up the offensive numbers they’re accustomed to, with senior Laurel Donnenwirth being held to zero points and only two rebounds in less than seven minutes of first half action. Junior guard Vanessa D’Amico picked up the slack for the Oaks, leading the team with 11 points, two rebounds and one assist in the half.

At halftime, Briar Cliff sat on a 10-point lead, leading by a score of 42-32.

Briar Cliff’s unselfish offensive game plan continued to flourish in the second half as they built upon their lead. They finished the game with four different players in double figures.

Donnenwirth got it going in the second half for the Oaks and finished with six points and eight rebounds. Junior Jacki Bateman dropped 11 points and six rebounds, while D’Amico finished the game with a team-high 14 points.

Briar Cliff’s unselfish play on offense and their ability to adjust defensively was ultimately the decisive factor. Briar Cliff Head Coach Mike Power credits their rigorous GPAC schedule with giving his team the ability to adjust to different of types of offenses.

“In the GPAC we run into a lot of different types of teams, so we have to be ready for different teams,” Power said. “We just felt like if we could buckle down, keep them from penetrating and hitting gaps and make them a three-point shooting team, we’d be alright.”

Along with Corrick’s 14 points, Masters finished with 14 points, six rebounds and two assists for the Chargers. Targy also finished with 12 points, four rebounds and four assists of her own.

With the win, Briar Cliff moves on to the second round where they’ll play the winner of the No. 2 Davenport and No. 8 Clarke (Iowa) game this Friday at 10:15 a.m.