Random observations on area success

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Look nationwide and it's doubtful you will find a community in the 1,000-population category with more successful artists and sculptors than Cambridge.

The recent achievements of Gary Ginther, Jon Leitner and Sondra Jonson are exceptional ... and they keep on coming.

Most recently, Ginther has produced a twice life-size Bison sculpture for Ted Turner's Montana Grill restaurants; Leitner has been chosen as the featured artist for the 2005 Nebraskaland Days celebration in North Platte; and Sondra Jonson's bronze sculpture, "The American Farmer," has been dedicated and unveiled at Falls Park in Sioux Falls, S.D.

When you observe the artists' work and you will see why they are so highly acclaimed. Their artworks are not only creative in approach ... they are precise in their attention to detail.

We are fortunate to have such outstanding artistic craftsmen in our midst. We congratulate them for their continuing success.

Many long-time residents of Southwest Nebraska still have vivid memories of what life was like in rural areas before electricity arrived on the scene. Many farm chores -- for both men and women -- were an ordeal.

That's why the arrival of Rural Electrification was such a heralded happening. The Rural Electrification Administration was created 70 years ago, in 1935, and ten years later -- 1n 1945 -- the Southwest Electric Membership Corp. was established.

Now known as the Southwest Public Power District, the area utility is launching its 60th anniversary celebration. During Palisade Pioneer Days this weekend, attention will be called to SWPPD's founding. But Southwest REA's big celebration is planned for 2006. We should all make plans to join Southwest in paying tribute to the men and women who brought electricity to rural America.

Through the vision and leadership of the late U.S. Sen. George W. Norris of McCook, and the tireless efforts of many power pioneers in this area, REA has revolutionized rural life in Southwest Nebraska.

Although Edith Robbins lived in Stratton for only a few years, she grew to love the community. Her devotion became known at this year's Stratton Alumni Banquet, when Beth Kollmorgen announced that Mrs. Robbins had left a residual bequest from her estate to the Stratton Community Foundation.

In a report in last week's Hitchcock County News, Jason Frederick reported that Mrs. Robbins lived in other places most of her life, including Vandergrift, Pa.; Oakland, Calif.; and Bay City, Mich. But it was Stratton, Mrs. Robbins' home in later years, which became special to her. Mrs. Robbins passed away Nov. 11, 2004, at the Sarah Ann Hester Memorial Home in Benkelman. Her gift to Stratton is expected to amount to between $15,000 and $18,000. The money will be used to endow future projects.

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