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.
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
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, her community, family life and farming.
Listen below to the audio vignette:
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:
Garry Clark describes his role as the economic development director for Cuming County being much more than that. He is a community developer whose role is really about benefiting people. Garry candidly discusses his experiences growing up in Washington D.C. and his perspectives on life as an African-American resident in a smaller town. Garry also reflects intelligently on choosing a community-focused lifestyle in West Point. He also told me he is a mean ball player too!
Listen to Garry below:
A set of 20 images drawn from the project have been selected for exhibition at the Michael Phipps Gallery situated on the first floor of the W. Dale Clark main branch of the Omaha Public Library. Accompanying the images will be audio vignettes drawn from the conversations I had with people during the project. These audio vignettes are downloaded on MP3 players that can be checked out from the library! It is an intriguing interactive experience for exhibit attendees and I am grateful for the insightful curation of Alex Priest and the support of Omaha Public Library.
The exhibition is on display from January 8 through February 28 with an opening night reception from 4 – 6pm this Friday January 8. At around 5pm I shall deliver a short presentation regarding the project. I hope to see you there!
The inimitable Gordon Howard talks about Chimney Rock, the Oregon Trail and his own trail company adventures, bison tongue, rattlesnakes, the official Nebraska State Quarter and more.
“Everybody just wants to be appreciated.”
As Christmas beckons, Owen’s courage, personality, warmth and candor is a tangible reminder of the festive season. Without sentimentality, he earnestly wished for universal peace and harmony, while also reminiscing about his own lost love and reflecting upon his own experiences. Owen is an exceptional, wonderful person.
Listen to Owen below:
Samantha, studying at Wayne State College, confesses that though she grew up in a small town and sees herself back in David City, she does well in the city… perhaps New York?
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