By Dennis L. Morgan
Through the years I’ve been fortunate enough, through my profession, to meet and visit with some really special people. I’ve covered presidential speeches, interviewed legendary coaches and gotten to meet many of my sports heroes. I’ve been allowed to steer the USS Nebraska submarine underwater off the Continental Shelf, I’ve witnessed history in the making and I’ve watched grown men and women cry bitter tears.
I mention this because, over the weekend I had the opportunity to meet and visit with two Nebraskans whom we all should be very proud of. Attending the annual convention of the Nebraska Press Association I had the pleasure of meeting Olympic Gold Mediast Curt Tomasevicz and reigning Miss America Teresa Scanlan.
Tomasevicz gave those attending the Saturday brunch a first-hand account of how he went from being a Husker football standout to a member of the U.S. Olympic four-man bobsled team which won the gold medal at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Canada. Many have heard his story before, he has visited the schools here in Elgin during the past year.
Then, Saturday evening, I was given the opportunity to have a few moments with Miss America. She said she’s looking forward to coming to Albion later this year for the Boone County Health Center Gala to be held at the Albion. Anyway, she was my first Miss America to meet and talk to. Later, during the evening banquet, she made brief remarks before heading out into the night to prepare for her next engagement.
For Tomasevicz and Scanlan, they have one thing in common. They are Nebraska ‘kids’. Each grew up in, what many would consider, small towns. Tomasevicz was raised in Shelby, Miss America is a native of Gering. The bobsledder said his teammates find it hard to believe and to understand his upbringing – growing up in Polk County where there isn’t a traffic light in the entire county. The other members of the bobsled team hail from cities with populations of one million or more persons. Scanlan told NPA members that one year ago, on April 16, 2010, she was bagging groceries at a local supermarket. Each had a goal, a dream which drove them. Their Nebraska ‘values’ of hard work and common sense sustained them when times were challenging, all the while making them strong so that when opportunity knocked — they were ready.
Each, she is 18 and he is 30, has already achieved more than many of us will in our lifetimes. But, to their credit, they have not forgotten where they have been, where they are now and where they one day want to be in the future. For Scanlan, the money she has received for being crowned Miss America will go a long way towards completing her undergraduate and graduate education. She hopes to one day be a lawyer. Tomasevicz is continuing his bobsled career at the same time he is a spokesperson for the Nebraska Corn Board.
As if I didn’t have enough banquets to attend at the convention, we returned home Sunday afternoon, then headed out that night to attend the 25th annual Pope John Development Banquet held in Petersburg at Werner Hall.
The night was a special one as more than $70,000 was raised to support Catholic education at Pope John and St. Boniface Schools. Organizers received a big boost towards that goal when they accepted two checks from the Pearle Fritz estate totaling nearly $50,000.
When she passed away, she left her entire estate to charity. A small portion went back to Humboldt, Iowa, where she was born. The remainder stayed here to help continue Catholic education.
I first met Pearle shortly after moving to Elgin in April 2007. She was truly one of Elgin’s characters. She loved to tell stories and she loved to make people laugh. Her last act on this earth was to make the folks at Pope John and St. Boniface smile. She wasn’t in the room when everyone stood and applauded. But, I’m sure she was looking down and smiling, having once again made us smile.
Once again, Mother Nature has shown us just how much she likes to play tricks — a snowstorm on April 15. The wet stuff is nearly all gone as of this writing. So far in my life, I have seen snow fall in Nebraska in nine out of 12 months of the year. If it’s all right with you, I’d just as soon keep it that way and not add a tenth month to the list.
In this space several months ago, I shared how efforts were underway by some state senators to try and have public notices removed from newspapers and placed on government websites. I’m happy to report that through the efforts, primarily of the Nebraska Press Association, proposed legislation which would have made that happen has been defeated — for now.
The association is now focusing its efforts on doing the necessary legwork to encourage every newspaper in the state which publishes legal notices to also make them available on a website so that they may be viewed in the paper and, if citizens choose, on the Internet.
Through the NPA, electronic subscriptions to The Elgin Review are now possible. To the best of my knowledge, we are the only paper in Antelope County to be doing that at the present time.