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January starts with so much promise. Fresh perspectives. Renewed intentions. A new year unfurling out in front of us. As 2017 starts, we are dreaming of new ways to connect with our readers. We are excited this month to share Kristine Jacobson's story about embracing diversity in Nebraska through the Center for Rural Affairs. And that thread of uniqueness continues with Betty Sayers' review of Indian food at Jay Bros. Truck Stop in Overton. Mike Vaughn Williams examines the lure of junior hockey in Kearney. And we are introducing a new writer to our blog, Meredith Fuller, who writes about being a stranger in a strange land. It's an issue of inspiration to start the new year off on a positive note. Enjoy!
As Kristine Jacobson writes, the faces of rural Nebraska are changing. For some, this is exciting, while others are apprehensive of the changes in their small communities. The Center for Rural Affairs understands the challenge this changing dynamic brings and is working to help towns across Nebraska embrace the diversity.
Through the Diversity Inclusion Leadership Program, community leaders are taught to work through differences to make decisions that impact their community without bias. It is not always easy work, but it is important to help leaders make decisions that impact their communities for the better.
Those who go through the program are taking what they've learned back to their own communities to spark change. Find out how that looks in action in Hastings and Schuyler, Nebraska, in this month's Rural Success Story.
Many travelers traverse Interstate 80 through Nebraska, but there is one stop that is rare among the gas pumps and usual convenience store snacks found along the thoroughfare. Betty Sayers leads us to Jay Bros. Truck Stop in Overton, Nebraska, where diners can get a tank of gas and tasty, transformative Indian food all in one stop.
Some might laugh at the combination of truck stop and Indian restaurant, but as owner Harry Chaudhari foretold, "They will see the sign and stop." And he's right. In fact, Jay Bros. was listed as a place to see on the website, Only in Nebraska, as one of the 21 Places You Should Go in Nebraska in 2017. Do it. You won't be disappointed.
Harry and his wife, Shelley, purchased the property in 2012, and they've focused their offerings on the food of northern India in the Punjab region. "The curry sauces are made fresh for each diner and are creamy, spiced to your taste, and each one seems better than the one before," Sayers writes. You'll long for just a taste after reading Betty's review so if you're ever on that stretch of I-80, stop for lunch at this month's Rural Foodie feature.
Yes, there are other sports played in Nebraska besides football. For instance, the Tri-City Storm hockey team has quietly (or not so quietly which you'll see if you ever attend a game) been making a name for itself for the last 16 years in Kearney, Nebraska. Mike Vaughn Williams admits he's not a hockey fan, but he wanted to find out what was behind the popularity of the sport in Kearney, so he did some digging.
What he found was loyal fans devoted not so much to the sport, as to the young players who make up the team. These young players often go on to play college and even professional hockey, and Nebraskans love to follow the careers of these players through the years.
Mike also visited with billet families, who open their homes to these players during the season. What he found was that Storm hockey is about more than a team sport. It's about family. Watch the game through his eyes and then meet some of the people who have helped support Storm hockey along the way in this month's essay.
What’s to like about Arapahoe? We asked Arapahoe businesswoman Becky Crawford, and it didn’t take her long to reel off an impressive, if eclectic, list.
Meredith Fuller published her first blog post, A Stranger in a Strange Land, on the NRL blog this month. As a non-native Nebraskan, Meredith looks at her state through wide-open eyes. She brings a fresh voice to the blog. Below is a little more to better introduce you to Meredith, in her own words:
Meredith Fuller, photo by Jeffry Hahn, Paradigm Media
"My heart is a migrant. Perforce I moved to Nebraska. By happy startled choice I live where the kindness of strangers is usually genuine, and niceness is like a nervous tic. I left the ocean and a big city for a home in Omaha, my lunge line tethered to a big sky. Rolling prairie makes me swoon, the edge of the world cresting, disappearing, and reappearing, and I might just end up driving right into the clouds and getting seriously lost. I like being a stranger in a strange land. We are all the other, even if we don’t know it. In the Mayan language, in la’ketch means I am another yourself. As a writer, I hope to make you fall in love with strangers, including people you might normally never talk to."
She has a way with words and we hope you will enjoy her first post. Visit the blog to read her post. You might just look at your surroundings a bit differently after hearing from Meredith.
Nebraska’s beauty shared with nearly 100,000 photo fans
Amateur photographer Steve Evans of Holdrege started a public Facebook group in June 2013 so he and a few friends could share their scenic Nebraska photos. Two years later, the Nebraska Through the Lens Facebook page boasts more than 99,600 members, on its way to 100,000.
Dreamy confections at The Enchanted Bakery
A cake draped in a layer of dark chocolate and topped with chocolate-covered cherries sits next to a cheesecake adorned with a flower made of fresh peach slices and kiwi in the cake display at The Enchanted Bakery in Grand Island.
Witness the annual spring migration
The annual spring migration is a sight every Nebraskan should witness at least once. March is the height of spring migration season and Betty Sayers has rounded up the best places and events to visit during this spectacular season.