2020 year in review: January to June


January

FBLA kicks off year

LUSK – At the beginning of the school year, FBLA had a rush party to get people to join. The rush party was held at The Tiger Plunge and 25 people attended. The people who attended Nationals in San Antonio this summer presented about State FBLA, National FBLA, and facts about FBLA. After the presentation there was food and we watched the movie “The Meg” while swimming or sitting around the pool in the pool chairs. It was a fun and successful rush party, most of the people that attended the rush party ended up joining FBLA.

During homecoming week, we decided to raise money for the March of Dimes. We raised money by putting jars at the office with teacher’s names on it and whoever had the most money had to get a pie in the face. At the end of the week when we raised the money all the teachers that participated got a pie in the face. This was a good way to raise money because the kids loved seeing teachers get pie in the face. 

Niobrara County enjoys a
Ladies’ Night Out

LUSK – In today’s DIY crazed society, the phrase “Trash to Treasure” has become synonymous with Pintrest boards, DIY Network, Menards and flea markets. On Monday night, ladies of Niobrara County and the surrounding area focused on a different trash to treasure concept when they gathered for a Ladies Night Out.

Sponsored by Prairie Hills Community Church, the Ladies’ Night Out event has grown from the first one with around 40 women to more than 100 attendees at the most recent event. These events are typically held in January and feature a meal and a speaker. The entire event is free and open to any woman, “School age to senior saints,” as one organizer put it.

First addition of the decade

TORRINGTON – Torrington Community Hospital has welcomed the first baby of 2020.
After a long two week wait, Goshen County finally saw the arrival of this year’s New Year’s Baby.
Caleb and Rachel Shaner of Lusk welcomed Easton Riley Shaner to the family at 2 p.m. on Jan. 14, weighing 7 lbs. 4 oz. and measuring 19 1/2 inches long. He was delivered by Dr. Bonnie Randolph, with the assistance of Ali Hart, a medical student from Rocky Vista University in Parker, Colo. 

February

Library hosts book signing for Wyoming author

LUSK – The Niobrara County Library held an evening event for the community to come talk with an author with ties to eastern Wyoming.

That man is known by many titles – neighbor, Representative, athlete, teacher and more. He’s also known as Marine Capt. Doug Chamberlain, author of the book, Bury Him: A memoir of the Viet Nam War. 

Chamberlain was born in Scottsbluff, Neb., but came home and continues to reside on his family’s land near LaGrange. He was elected to the Wyoming House of Representatives in 1976, rising through the ranks of the Republican membership to become Majority Floor Leader and, eventually, Speaker of the House. He served in the Legislature until 1994.

Bringing history to life
with John Voehl

LUSK – Whispering, giggles and fascination followed Abraham Lincoln through the cafeteria at Lusk Elementary and Middle School. From his beautiful top hat to his size 14 shoes, Abe commanded the attention of all the students. Then he crouched down, slid onto the bench of a cafeteria table and entered the world of those kids.

Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States and also known as John Voehl visiting LEMS and the Niobrara County High School presenting information on the constitution of the United States and offering anecdotes about his life both before and during his presidency. 

Oh Baby! Niobrara Hospital welcomes a newborn in the ER

LUSK – When the pains first started Shilo Sherman was worried that she was miscarrying the baby she had only discovered she was carrying 17 days before. Sherman had found out she was pregnant on Dec. 30. Doctors calculated that she was around nine  weeks and scheduled her for a dating ultrasound on Feb. 3. Sherman was excited and shared the news with her family and close friends.

Then, on Jan. 17 she began to worry. She hadn’t felt quite right for a day or two and began to have significant back pain and cramping. As the pain increased she decided to go into the emergency room at Niobrara Community Hospital. With no other symptoms and after an exam, she was advised to continue Tylenol and see her primary care physician if the pain didn’t go away. 

Lickety Stitch receives
national recognition

LUSK – A local quilting shop in Lusk will be featured in a national magazine in May.

The May edition of Quilt Sampler, a special interest publication of Better Homes and Gardens, will feature Lickety Stitch of Lusk. 

“They feature 10 shops in each magazine and they put it out twice a year,” owner Karen Wisseman said. “We applied to be in their magazine. They said nearly 3,000 quilt shops we’re eligible. So it’s a very great honor to be in the magazine.”

Wisseman said this year is the shop’s 10-year anniversary. They will be celebrating both a decade and a national recognition in May. 

Beef, beef the magical meat

LUSK – Last week’s 4-H Friday had the kids talking all about beef.

Kicking off the class held at the Niobrara County Fairgrounds by the Extension Office, the kids got to play a game of bingo while they talked about the different aspects of beef.

Sparking the kids’ creativity, each child designed their own, one-of-a-kind brand using markers and ear tags they took home afterwards. 

March

Council approves K-9,
nixes community garden

LUSK – The Lusk Town Council approved going ahead with procuring a new K-9 for the police but failed to approve continued support for the local community garden project during its regular meeting Tuesday.

Officers Joe Clingen and Court Bolton presented the Lusk Police Department plan to continue the K-9 program. It was determined that K-9 Sasha was not a suitable animal for the department’s program, but another canine has been found, they said. 

An 18-month-old black Malinois has been selected and offered to the Lusk department. K-9 Loki would go through the 12 week program with Officer Gordon. Clingen said Loki shows every indication of the drive and personality to be a successful K-9 officer. 

April

Neither rain nor sleet nor COVID-19

LUSK – After five days of spring weather Mother nature decided enough was enough. 

Sunday dawned cold and snowy, but not even a winter storm warning could keep Pastor Ty Desenfants and his worship team from holding church on Easter Sunday. 

Prairie Hills Community Church held their first drive-in Easter service in spite of cold temperatures, blowing wind and falling snow. The church service had originally been organized as a drive-in function because of the COVID-19 restrictions for social gatherings. 

When word came down the weather was not supposed to be exactly sunny, Desenfants and his wife Sara simply donned more gear and set up their tent.

4-H Fridays in full swing

LUSK – Adapting to the current norm, the Niobrara County Extension Office is still hosting virtual 4-H Fridays.

STEAM events are hosted on Facebook Live and can be found by searching for Niobrara County 4-H Fridays.

Kellie Chichester the 4-H & Youth Development Extension Educator said they are able to upload the information onto the page for participants to do when it fits into their schedule and they can upload videos and take polls later to talk about the projects each week.

“We’ve asked the kids to then go back in and post videos or picture of them doing this stuff,” Chichester said. “Last week we did cookies—cake mix cookies—and then two little like Easter crafts. So they posted pictures of their cookies in progress, cookies finished and then their crafts.”

May

Rollicking Ranchers honor
Memorial Day

LUSK – Honoring the past is part of 4-H. The Rollicking Ranchers 4-H club does this and serves their community every Memorial Day weekend by assisting with the placement of flags on the gravesites of veterans at the Lusk cemetery.

The American Legion provides the flags and lists of names and the 4-H members place the flags. They spend a few hours on a Friday morning learning more about the history of community members and making sure that their memory is properly honored.

A Lance Creek legacy

LANCE CREEK – Hamburgers, family and rodeo – not necessarily in that order – were all things that Patrick Miller, known by friends and family as just Pat, loved. 

Pat Miller was a cowboy in every sense of the word and it is the legacy he left behind that prompted the committee to nominate and award him an induction into the Wyoming Cowboy Hall of Fame.

Pat grew up in Niobrara County, attending school in Lance Creek and Lusk. His childhood reads like a western novel. 

Raised on a ranch out at Lance Creek with his six brothers and sisters, Pat was the baby of the family. He was a little spoiled being so much younger than some of his older siblings and developed a taste for hamburgers at an early age. 

Pat was his father’s sidekick, known to accompany his dad into the bar. He was just a tiny kid, maybe 3 or 4 when he went in with his dad one day, sat down at the bar and said, “Gimme a drink” and when he was denied his beverage of choice he threw a handful of coins. 

Ramsey delivers more than UPS

LUSK – Scott Ramsey is known for his friendly, fast service as a UPS delivery driver for Niobrara County. 

He is from Douglas, but many in the county consider him as good as one of our own. He has developed many friendships in his years delivering packages around the area.

In fact, he is considered so much of a local that Ramsey is currently the featured artist at the Niobrara County Library. 

Ramsey’s photography obsession started in high school when several images were used in the yearbook. When he went on to college, he continued his interest, pursuing photography as a degree. As photographic technology has changed, Ramsey has stayed current in both style and equipment while remaining true to his own vision.

June

Wyoming Food Bank of the
Rockies hosts
COVID-19
response pantry

LUSK – Wyoming Food Bank of the Rockies brought its mobile food bank to the Niobrara County High School on June 20 for a COVID-19 Response Pantry. 

The distribution process was slightly different from prior events due to social distancing guidelines implemented to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus. In drive-thru fashion, families remained in their cars while a volunteer signed them in through rolled down windows and additional volunteers stocked their cars with boxes and bags of various fresh, frozen and dried foods. 

Main Street
coffee shop open
under new ownership

LUSK – Patrick Turner and Sara Sherlock moved from Denver to Lusk last August. Turner, having worked in the hospitality industry for over nine years, noticed an empty storefront that was once a drive thru coffee shop. 

After hearing from the community that several other people ran the shop before them, Turner and Sherlock approached the owner in January about taking over. Six months later, the pair is one week into serving coffee from the small building they now call “Bean Grinders.”

County reopens buildings 

LUSK – May 19 couldn’t come fast enough for many people. 

That was the day the county officially reopened their courthouse for the public. While some may question if it is too soon, the majority of residents feel it was time. 

Niobrara County never fully closed to business during the most restrictive time of the COVID-19 social distancing measures. They continued, as many counties did, to provide all the services they could. With the exception of fingerprinting and VIN inspections, business continued via mail and curbside services. Niobrara County was fortunate no staff were ill or diagnosed with the novel coronavirus, so could continue to be fully staffed during that time.

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