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Sep 17
Registrations open for MCC's Burr Oak Canyon Tree Symposium

Registrations open for Burr Oak Canyon Tree Symposium

The 2019 Burr Oak Canyon Tree Symposium is set for Oct. 17-18 and McCook Community College is accepting registrations for the event. This has been a highly popular event in the past and space is limited to the first 100 applicants. This event includes several options to tour the relict stand of trees in nearby Burr Oak Canyon.

Symposium topics include: "Why Trees Matter," "Challenges and Tree Selections for the Great Plains," "Young Tree Planting and Care," Insects and Diseases," Tree Production Methods and Limitations," "The World of Fungi, Moss and Lichens," and "Fruit Trees and Berries."

Presenters include: Greg Morgenson, North Dakota State University; Eric North, University of Nebraska-Lincoln; Tim Buchanan, former Fort Collins City Forester; Lucinda Mays, Chadron State College; Heather and Brian Byers, Great Plains Nursery; Steve Rolfsmeier, Chadron State College Botanist; Scott Skogerboe, Fort Collins Nursery; and Tim McDonnell, Kansas Forest Service.

There are five ways to participate in conference activities ranging from $140 for the full two-day conference to $30 for the pre-conference workshop Thursday, $30 for the Thursday night BBQ at Commons Scents Nursery on South U.S. 83 or $30 for the Friday tour of the Burr Oak Canyon, which also includes lunch and transportation.

The Pre-conference workshop is Thursday, Oct 17 at the MCC Student Union from 9 a.m.-noon. This workshop is intended for both tree stewards and the general public and incudes hands-on activities related to planting, establishment, pruning and diagnosing biotic and abiotic stresses.

Conference Sessions are set for Thursday, Oct. 17 from 1-5 p.m. The BBQ at Common Scents is from 6-9 p.m. with craft beer and entertainment.

On Friday, Oct. 18, the morning sessions run from 9-11:30 a.m. with the Burr Oak Canyon tour set for noon-4 p.m.

Cost for the full conference is $140. The cost to attend just the Thursday morning pre-conference is $30. Conference cost to attend all events from Thursday at 1 p.m. through Friday is $120. Cost to attend only the Thursday night BBQ is $30 and cost to attend the Friday Burr Oak Canyon Tour is $30.

This event also sponsored by the Norris Institute and the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum with additional support from the Nebraska Forest Service and Nebraska Arborists Association.

Register by Oct. 10 to avoid late fees.

To register, under "Courses," type in Burr Oak Canyon Symposium at or call 308-345-8122.

Sep 17
Dog lends ‘energy’ for MCC physics experiment

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Dog lends 'energy' for MCC physics experiment

McCook Community College Physics and Chemistry professor Layne Sarvela is always on the lookout for interesting new ways to teach science – particularly when it comes to lab settings. Then one day when she was out for a walk with her dog, inspiration struck – or more accurately pulled on its leash.

Recently students in their Physics 1100 lab were able to quantify the power of an energetic dog, specifically Layne's youngest and energetic golden retriever "Taiga."

Since she was inspiration for the experiment, Taiga came to the physics lab to help.

Physics 1100 is a survey course in physical science with emphasis on scientific processes and problem solving. Areas of study include selected topics in physics, chemistry, astronomy, geology, and meteorology. A scheduled laboratory supplement classroom activities.

"It was a lab about power, how much work and time, and how efficiently Taiga retrieved a tennis ball," Sarvela said.

With Taiga starting from a sitting position, students launched a tennis ball across the lawn north of Barnett Hall, timed how long it took the dog to retrieve the ball, how far she ran to retrieve the ball and then calculated force, work and power.

Students in this lab include Brayden Cribbs, Shayne Coleman and Kyle Kinne.

"I think when most people hear the word 'power' they picture what it is, but in physics we define it and I think this was a fun way of doing it," Sarvela said.

She also teaches two chemistry classes and will teach the physics class on-line in the spring.

"I think the students really liked the lab and I know Taiga loved it," Sarvela said.

Sep 17
Conrad receives keys to auction house

House Keys-1 Olivia Conrad.jpg

Olivia Conrad, of Sutherland, receives the keys to the 2019 North Platte Community College Foundation Auction House. Conrad had the winning bid of $165,500 – a record high. 

Students in the college's Building Construction, Electrical and Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration (HVAC-R) Technology programs constructed the house from the ground up as part of their training.  

The project gave them hands-on, real-world experience and an appreciation for quality craftsmanship they can take with them into the workforce. 

Proceeds from the auction will go back to building trade students in the form of scholarships. 

Sep 16
MCC collects 32 units at Red Cross blood drive

PBL-PTK bloodmobile.jpgMcCook Community College students Mary Osborne (left) and Autumn Miller greeted donors during the early hours of the blood drive last week. The fall semester of the Red Cross Bloodmobile took place at the Student Union and was sponsored by Phi Beta Lambda and Phi Theta Kappa. The drive collected 32 good units.

Sep 16
MPCC Rodeo Team wins men’s team championship - twice

Danielle Wray Stampede.jpg

The Mid-Plains Community College Rodeo Team made its hometown proud following three nights of competition at the Wild West Arena in North Platte. 

The team hosted the MPCC Stampede Thursday through Saturday. The Stampede added a day of competition this year – essentially cramming two full rodeos into three days. 

MPCC placed first in the men's team standings at both rodeos, and the women's team split second and third in the second rodeo. 

The individual results are as follows: 

Rodeo One 

Tie down roping - JD Draper, Oakley, Kan., seventh 

Team roping - Danielle Wray, Ord, fourth; Wynn Schaack, Wall, S.D., and Riley Reiss, Manning, N.D., fifth; Wyatt and Chance Williams, both of Ord, eighth 

Bull riding - Koby Jacobson, Hershey, split first and second; Teran Sharman, third 

Steer wrestling – JD Draper, second; Austin Madison, Whiting, Iowa, third; Riley Reiss, seventh 

Rodeo Two 

Steer wrestling - Riley Reiss, first; JD Draper, fourth; Marshall Still, Oconto, fourth 

Team roping - Wynn Schaack and Riley Reiss, second; Danielle Wray, sixth 

Breakaway roping - Danielle Wray, first 

Tie down roping - Wynn Schaack, third 

"I'm just really proud of the kids overall," said Garrett Nokes, MPCC timed event coach. "When you have to put on a rodeo, it's hard to do it well and also stay focused and compete. The kids did awesome in both. In six years of putting on college rodeos, this was the easiest one I've helped with. That's because all the kids did what they were supposed to do and jumped in and helped each other out. They even had twice as much work because they put on two rodeos instead of one. My hat's off to them." 

He was just as impressed with the level of competition the team brought to the arena. 

"When you win back-to-back men's team championships - how awesome is that?" said Nokes. "How do you get much better than that?" 

He would have liked to have seen the girls' team place a little higher, because they struggled a bit. However, now they know what they need to work on. 

"Danielle had one heck of a rodeo," said Nokes. "She won the breakaway roping then placed in the team roping. With the guys – I can't single anybody out. All six guys on my points team scored points in the second rodeo and five got points in the first rodeo. I've got to hand it to Schaack and Reiss. For freshmen to come in and work hard putting on a rodeo then compete at the level they did – I can't say enough good things about them. I'm looking forward to the future with all these kids."

Sep 16
MPCC Rodeo Team member honored with scholarship

MPCC Rodeo scholarship Marshall Still.jpg

Marshall Still, of Oconto, is the recipient of a $1,600 scholarship from NEBRASKAland Days and the Buffalo Bill Rodeo committee.

Still, a team roper and steer wrestler for the Mid-Plains Community College Rodeo Team, was recognized with the award Saturday night during the 2019 MPCC Stampede at the Wild West Arena in North Platte. 

Garrett Nokes, timed event coach for the MPCC Rodeo Team, said Still's selection was based on his performance in the arena and classroom as well as his leadership skills, volunteerism and promotion of the team. 

"Marshall is a very unique individual," Nokes said. "He's an art major studying to be an art teacher, and he's been getting outstanding grades in the classroom. He's a lot of fun to have around, and he tries hard everywhere." 

Nokes cited Still's dedication to the rodeo events he competes in – both in the practice pen and the competition arena. Those efforts qualified Still for the College National Finals Rodeo as a freshman. 

"He's come a long, long way in the past year," Still said. "Marshall's also the one that, if he's available and the team needs something, he's the first to jump in and help out. He's always willing to volunteer on behalf of the team and has been very instrumental in fundraising. He's just a great, all-around kid, and I'm loving the fact that he gets to receive this scholarship." 

Money for the scholarship came from entry fees from the NLD Cowboy Kickball Competition in June. 

Sep 16
KIDS Klub members learn about rodeo

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The Mid-Plains Community College Rodeo Team gained a new wave of fans Friday.

Members of the Kids Klub Rough Riders Horse Club spent the afternoon at the Wild West Arena in North Platte learning how to rope, petting a bull and timing themselves running through a barrel racing pattern among many other activities. 

KIDS Klub is the official after school program of the North Platte Public Schools. The event at the Wild West Arena was an educational opportunity the rodeo team hosts every year to teach KIDS Klub members about the sport of rodeo and the western way of life. 

The team's athletes gave a brief description of the events they compete in, demonstrated how various equipment is used in rodeo and talked safety and animal welfare before working with the children one-on-one. 

KIDS Klub members also received autographs from the team and visiting rodeo queens. They were given a commemorative cowboy hat, a t-shirt and a ticket to the MPCC Stampede. 


"We are so thankful for Dustin Elliott, Garrett Nokes, their rodeo team and everyone who works behind the scenes to make this all possible," said Carrie Lienemann, KIDS Klub director. "The lessons learned and experiences gained from this opportunity will last the students a lifetime." 

Funding for the Rough Riders Horse Club was made possible through a competitive Nebraska Department of Education grant. Each year a percentage of Nebraska Lottery proceeds are given to NDE and established 21st century after school programs are then eligible apply for those funds.

Sep 12
Koch selected as NPCC Business Student of the Month

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Gary Koch has been named the Business Student of the Month for September at North Platte Community College. 

Koch graduated from North Platte High School in 2004 and is currently studying business with an emphasis in logistics at NPCC. 

"For the past six years I have worked as a diesel technician with Crete Carrier Corporation," Koch said. "I originally decided to enroll in school to become a shop manager. After exploring the different opportunities I will have after graduation, and through the things I have learned in school, I found that is not the path I want to take. I have a passion for marketing and sales and I have decided to pursue opening my own business." 

Koch said he chose NPCC because he knew he could get a quality education at a lower cost than at a four-year college or university. His credits will still transfer toward a bachelor's program if he chooses to go that route in the future. 

"The faculty at NPCC have been great," Koch said. "The business instructors are always there to answer any questions and help in any way they can. Beyond academics, I have received guidance and advice about different things going on in my life from them. I truly appreciate everything they have done for me." 

The faculty are equally appreciative of him. 

"Gary is a very hard-working and dedicated student," said Jean Condon, business and office technology instructor. "He has a positive attitude and contributes to class discussions and team-building activities. It has been a pleasure having Gary in class, and he is very deserving of this award." 

Koch works full-time and attends college full-time – all while raising a 3-year-old daughter, Rosalie, and 4-month-old son, Ezekiel, with his wife, Luci. His busy schedule doesn't leave much time for other activities, but when he can, Gary enjoys reading – especially about business. 

"I will be starting an exterior cleaning company in North Platte in the spring of 2020," Gary said. "In the meantime, I have accepted a position with Nebraska Truck Center which will allow me normalized scheduling so that I can focus on building my business slowly on the side. My plan is to grow on a part-time basis until the business allows me to transition into a full-time owner operator. I will then focus on the long-term success of the company and, hopefully, expansion." 

Gary is on track to graduate from NPCC in May of 2020. 

Sep 12
MLT students learn about fire safety

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George Lewis, fire marshal for the North Platte Fire Department, shows medical laboratory technology students how to use a fire extinguisher Wednesday on North Platte Community College's south campus. The students also learned about the different types of fire extinguishers. 

"In a laboratory setting there are a lot of instruments that have the potential to catch fire," said Jamie Perry, MLT program director. "Learning how to use a fire extinguisher before an actual fire helps the students be more prepared."

Sep 11
North Platte couple wins MPCC raffle car

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Isai and Chawnta Zuniga, of North Platte, stand next to the 2019 Mid-Plains Community College raffle car Saturday. The couple's winning ticket was drawn during Colonel Cody's Cruise Show and Shine in Memorial Park.

They had purchased 12 tickets for the 1969 Ford Mustang Convertible at Modern Tire Pros in North Platte earlier in the summer. About 7,000 tickets were sold altogether.  

"It feels great," Isai said about winning the car. "I had good vibes all along." 

It's the third year the Zunigas purchased tickets to support students at the college. Proceeds from the raffle will be used for scholarships for students in MPCC's transportation programs and to help offset the cost of producing the next raffle car. 

"Of course, you always want to win," Chawnta said. "But, it's pretty easy to spend the money on tickets when you know it's going to a good cause like scholarships. We both had scholarships that helped us get through college. Now we have the opportunity to help out someone else."

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Heather Johnson
Area Communications Specialist

Heather produces and distributes press releases for the college. She began work at MPCC in 2014. Prior to that, she spent five years as the news director/web manager for Eagle Radio in North Platte. From 2009-2014 she worked as a reporter/photographer for The North Platte Telegraph. Heather has a bachelor's degree in journalism from Chadron State College.

Brent L. Cobb
McCook Community College News Bureau Coordinator​