Author: stuart

Nick Muir

Nick Muir, Wayne city council member, IT educator, mentor and community-minded leader talks about community, student and town integration, tough civic choices and people that care. Listen to full audio below:

Busting Stereotypes

Butch called to me across the street. I went over and sat on the sidewalk in the midday sun while he regaled me with a miscellany of disjointed though entertaining stories about Neligh and small town life. At times, Butch’s comments set me on edge with what seemed like casual ethnic and gender stereotyping, yet as our conversation developed and matured Butch spoke with more nuance and warmth, busting his own stereotypes. He also spoke about a life hard lived, racing horses down Main Street, working in a pig slaughterhouse, being kicked in the mouth by a horse at a young age and now being wheelchair bound. Listen to the audio below

Andrea Rising

So captivating and invigorating a personality is Andrea Rising that I was compelled to write about her here during the project trip. In the audio vignette below, you can listen to excerpts from my conversations with Andrea. She talks about the nature of community, including her love for getting to know and learn from people and creating safe and inviting spaces for people to gather and relate. Andrea also talks with ebullience about her love of ranching and the natural world. “I like to just go ride. And I could be alone for months. I don’t have to have people because I have nature. I love plants, I love gardening, I love flowers and I love building and I love livestock. And…and I like to be alone sometimes. I love to be, to just hear the, hear the curlews and just smell the meadow… “ Listen to the audio below

Alliance’s Krazy Lady

Gerta is a Krazy Lady! The proud possessor of the famous Alliance Bismark recipe, Gerta talks about her business in a small Midwest town and reflects on community and life. An immigrant to Alliance, like me Gerta found her way there in an RV. Since I enjoyed this conversation with Gerta in August last year, the bakery has closed its doors, though hopefully temporarily. For the record, the Bismark was delicious. Listen below to the conversation

Energizing Valentine

As Chris Hernstrom in Valentine told me, there is a lot of energy around the Arganbrights. Here Kyle and Kurt talk about entrepreneurial advancement of the Valentine community, its pioneering spirit, world-class environment, clear-eyed socio-economic development and, of course, Americus Liberator. Listen below to audio excerpts

The Best Steak at Mrs T’s

Tama Sundquist runs Mrs. T’s in Loomis, NE, a town of less than 400 people. I confess to my embarrassment that I nearly passed straight through Loomis, even though it was a scheduled stop on my four-week project. A quick drive through the town, which was indeed a quick drive, revealed few places to stop and fewer people to speak with. However, I stumbled across Mrs. T’s and encountered a vibrant personality in Tama. Exuding warm assurance, she welcomed by name all the patrons that came into her convenience store and lunch stop. I am ashamed to say that I assumed that the lunch would be mediocre and said I would stop just for coffee. Once the steak lunch special started sizzling on the grill, however, I rapidly succumbed. It was the best steak I have had for years. Tama is the kind of person that fills a room with energy and she was a highlight of this project. In this audio vignette, she touches a little on how she came to be in Loomis, …

Law Enforcer – Servant to Community

Dale has particular perspectives on community, not least as a retired law enforcement officer: “I think I did a good job of community relationships and stuff, and that was the most enjoyable part of it. And I think that’s the part of it I still miss the most.” Dale believes law enforcement is a servant of community and, despite several brain injuries resulting from his duties, chooses not to see people as adversaries. Dale also reflects upon the benefits of tourism in Valentine and contributing to a healthy community. Listen below to Dale’s story: