Rural Wisdom: Do your best at any job, and if you canít or wonít, donít agree to take the job.
Rural Success Stories:
Queen of Cookies
by Michelle McCormick
It’s not every day you meet someone who could vie for (and probably win) the title Queen of Cookies. But that’s exactly who writer Michelle McCormick met in this month’s Rural Success story.
Eileen Harman started her successful cookie business in her home 32 years ago. She started with a dream of having fun and she continues to do that every day. Her business has grown to 20 franchises in eight states and her two sons help manage the business.
She’s come far from those early years of delivering cookies in a Cookie Monster suit, but every day, she goes to work with that same goal in mind: to have fun.
Rosa Maria Wellness and Astrology Center
Hastings entrepreneur reaches for the stars
Michelle McCormick was a bit skeptical as she met with Rosa Maria Brooks, owner and operator of the Rosa Maria Wellness and Astrology Center in Hastings, Neb. She conjured up images of Professor Marvel from the Wizard of Oz and wasn’t sure just what to expect.
What she found was a confident businesswoman who brought a successful business from Colombia to Hastings. Rosa Maria Brooks expanded her dream from a thriving web business into a full-blown wellness center that caters to people both near and far.
A Eustis-based snack that snaps
Betty Sayers followed tips from her intelligence grapevine to Eustis where she found a family of wise cracks are putting the snap into Nebraska-based snack food.
When six siblings met for a family gathering back in 2011, they decided the family should start a business together. Based on an idea from sister Laurie, the family decided to start making a wheat berry snack food and Wise Cracks was born.
Wise Cracks are whole grain, lightly crunchy wheat berries roasted with a touch of salt and oil. The wheat berries are grown locally and classified as an all natural snack food. Sayers was intrigued from the first crunch and dug into the family’s story.
GROW Nebraska CEO works to preserve rural lifestyle through global opportunities
Janell Anderson Ehrke left a tiny town in Nebraska for the city life, graduating from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and then working in Kansas City where she sold securities. But when her family asked her to come back to expand the family’s cattle business, she returned and found a new career where she has now helped hundreds of Nebraska entrepreneurs.
As CEO of GROW Nebraska, Janell works every day with the people who make Nebraska great, entrepreneurs who aren’t afraid to try something new to prove that you can live in a rural area and still have plenty of opportunities. It was Janell’s own childhood, filled with 4-H projects and speaking demonstrations, that gave her the courage to start GROW Nebraska after hearing about a similar project in Kentucky.
The Brilliance of a Nebraska Winter
Spring is right around the corner, but we are taking one last moment to pay homage to winter. It can be cold, it can be dark, it can be dreary. But it also can be spectacular. Breath-taking. Amazing.
That’s what we have collected in this month’s photo essay. The best of Nebraska winters. The snow may be almost gone, but you can capture its magic one last time before we fling the doors open wide to welcome spring.
Articles & Essays:
White Pelican Homecoming
It's for the Birds
Four years ago, Harlan County started the White Pelican Homecoming Celebration. This month, they are premiering “Pelican Frolics,” a work honoring the American White Pelican spring migration by combining chamber music and modern dance. The piece will be performed March 29 in Alma.
Central Nebraska Public Power & Irrigation District - Part One
Water - Nature's Ace
by Betty Sayers
Water is important in Nebraska. Central Nebraska Public Power and Irrigation District, otherwise known as Central, has played a key role in creating the Nebraska we all know and love. Starting this month, Nebraska Rural Living has begun a series delving deeper into Central’s history and its role in the state today.
Writer Betty Sayers takes us on a trip back in time to hear the story of one man’s dream to turn the plains of central Nebraska into a fertile oasis. His dream, laughed at by many back then, transformed the semi-arid prairie into a lush garden, growing food for America, food for export to world markets, and recently, grain into biofuels.
Why I love rural Nebraska
Why I love rural Nebraska
by Sierra Klein
Sierra Klein is a younger person living in a rural town, one of a rare, but much needed segment in our rural communities. In this month’s NRL essay, Sierra describes why she came back to rural Nebraska and why she loves living in a rural area.
She describes how she has found ways to be involved while fostering a love of reading in her hometown. Her blog has gotten her in touch with readers and authors from around the world.
For Sierra, living rural gives her the time to follow her passions while also ensuring that when she needs a helping hand, she doesn’t have far to look. We hope you also might find a bit of yourself in Sierra’s story.
Central Nebraska Public Power & Irrigation District - Introduction
A Central part of Nebraska
Water is important in Nebraska. Central Nebraska Public Power and Irrigation District, otherwise known as Central, has played a key role in creating the Nebraska we all know and love. Starting next month, Nebraska Rural Living will begin a series delving deeper into Central’s history and its role in the state today.
As we were planning this story, we also heard about a new book from Nebraska-born author Jim Misko. “As All My Fathers Were” follows the course of two elderly brothers who stand to inherit a ranch along the Platte River if they follow their mother’s final directive in her will: a journey along the Platte to discover their heritage.
Much like the Barrett brothers, our readers will be taking a journey down the Platte with us over the next several months to see how Central’s hydro-irrigation project has impacted life in Nebraska from a variety of viewpoints: power, agriculture, recreation and conservation. We will look at all that has been done and what can be done in the future to keep our great state flourishing.
Mariscos Villarreal Seafood Restaurant
Tropical foodie trip curbs March blues
If you need another way to beat the wintertime blues, look no further than Betty Sayer’s feature on Mariscos Villarreal Seafood Restaurant in Grand Island. Since we can’t send everyone on a holiday trip to sunny Mexico, Mariscos Villarreal is the next best thing.
Owners Eduardo and Nelly Villarreal learned all about great seafood in their hometown of Bucerias, Nayarit, Mexico. They have brought those flavors to central Nebraska and the fare they offer is sure to awaken your taste buds.
“When the tropics and fine seafood call to me again, I will be traveling to Mariscos Villarreal for the fresh and flavorful experience of Chef Eduardo’s creative recipes and extraordinary seafood ,” Betty writes. Set sail with her in our March Rural Foodies feature.
Main Street Cafe
Blown away by Louisville cafe's comfort food
It was a strong Nebraska wind, and a dedicated diner’s high praise, that drove Scott Rager to Main Street Cafe in this month’s Rural Foodies trek. When he blew in the door, he found a port in the storm serving comfort food to rival Grandma’s.
The Poor Boy sandwich has people talking all the way from the muddy Missouri to the bluffs of the Panhandle. The Pork Tenderloin is Instagram worthy. And Waitress Jodie’s recommendation of onion rings and Grandma Chubb's Chicken and Noodles didn’t disappoint.
Ole's Big Game Steakhouse & Lounge
This taste tall tale begins in Paxton
by Scott Rager
After just one visit to Ole’s Big Game Steakhouse and Lounge, Scott Rager has his own tall tale to tell, one that features The Best in the West chicken fried steak, Omaha-worthy Ruebens and the Best Burger in the State.
All this can be found in a place with as much character as the safari adventures featured on the walls. A place that caters to outdoorsmen and nourishes them with a good meal at a fair price. A place where you can speak about your kill or your catch in the company of people who won’t second guess the details of your story.
With each retelling, Scott finds the tale of his dining experience there growing bigger, more elaborate. “The amazing thing about Ole’s is your experience there is rooted in a bit of fantasy,” Scott writes. “Much like being on an expedition or safari, Ole’s allows you to take home a story that is truly extraordinary.”
Experience Tru nighttime on The Bricks in Kearney
by Betty Sayers
Following a hectic week of too much to do and too many obligations, Betty Sayers finds an oasis where time seems to stand still when she tries out a nighttime dining experience at Tru Café in Kearney.
Tru Café is a unique family-owned restaurant which seamlessly melds five businesses into one. Roberta and Mark Loescher and their family run Tru as a place where diners find artful plates of wholesome and flavorful seasonal menu items.
“Tru comes from our desire to prepare the truest form of any food we put on the table,” Spencer said. “We believe in being true to ourselves, true to our roots, and we believe in sourcing foods close to their true source, the local farmers and growers.”
Nebraska Rural Living is latest entrant to the Blogosphere
We’ve been e-publishing Nebraska Rural Living since 2006, and in that time we’ve built a community of almost 40,000 readers from all 50 states and 12 countries abroad.
We decided to begin a blog to tell you more about life and lifestyle in rural Nebraska and our small town, but in a more personal way that we hope will spark dialogue with readers. Three creative writers will relate their unique rural lifestyles, their interests, and the activities they pursue in words and pictures.
Dynamic Towns & Cities:
Cambridge opens its arms, offering high-tech capabilities and new housing development
Cambridge is the kind of town where canopies of maple, ash and oak trees shade sturdy wood-sided homes and walkers, bicyclists and runners enjoy wide sidewalks, a park with a creek, and miles of well-kept trails. It’s a town known for a friendly, front-porch culture and a healthy lifestyle, opportunities to prosper in business, quality schools, and a strong sense of community.
At the same time, some of the latest and best internet technology available between Omaha and Denver fuels business start-ups, telecommuters and entrepreneurs. PinPoint Communications, headquartered in Cambridge, made fiber optic cable available to every home and business in Cambridge and brought wireless access to the public park and campgrounds.
Cambridge’s main street is a portrait of productivity in small town America. Every store front is currently leased and open for business. more...
Curtis, Maywood are beautiful spots to live the Nebraska good life
Nestled in the beautiful Medicine Creek Valley, Curtis and Maywood are roughly equidistant between McCook, Lexington and North Platte. Separated by only seven miles, both communities proudly proclaim excellent school systems and today, as it has been for millennia, the primary business in Frontier County is farming and ranching. Archaeological evidence suggests the population of the valley is roughly the same now as when it was occupied by Native Americans 1300 years ago.
Today, Medicine Creek Valley is home to the progressive Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture, a new community center, an abundance of community spirit and an indomitable drive to thrive.more...
Indomitable spirit keeps Bertrand vibrant and dynamic
“To make a small community thrive, you work together.”
Bertrand is thriving in great part because this solidarity message is spoken in many different ways and by people of all ages and occupations in Bertrand. The town is bustling with committees planning the Bertrand Rodeo, the famous Bertrand craft show, a talent show, theater, music and sports activities, and fund raising events for families in need. Businesses also thrive in Bertrand. Over 72 businesses handle most wants and needs in the community, including a medical clinic and a weekly newspaper, the Bertrand Herald, which was recently sold to new owners.
If the perfect small town exists, it just might be Minden
If you could sit down at a drawing board to design the perfect small town, you’d start with a superb education system, then add in gracious and affordable homes. You’d want to make sure you had a prosperous manufacturing sector so there would be good jobs and a sound economy, then perhaps you’d want to add some interesting retail enterprises on wide, safe streets. You’d want to make sure to design in a strong sense of community, with a lot of citizen participation in community decisions, quality healthcare facilities and nearby opportunities for camping, hunting and fishing. Put down your pencil. You’re describing Minden.more...
Also Featured This Month
It's prime time for bird watching on the Chicken Dance Trail
Right now we are in the midst of a vast and fascinating natural phenomenon, the annual migration of birds from their winter habitat in the south to their spring and summer feeding and breeding grounds in the north.
Benkelman’s Skyline Grill offers authentic Nebraska fare
We’re on our way to Benkelman, and one of the last places to eat in Nebraska before you pass over into Colorado — or, looked at another way, one of the first opportunities eastbound travelers have to sample real Nebraska fare. Our goal is the Skyline Grill in Benkelman, which has been intriguing us since their grand opening in November, 2011.
Tech Center Help Desk keeps high-tech machinery working for farmers
The technology in modern farm equipment would have astonished our grandfathers. But as with any technology, glitches in the system are bound to crop up from time.