On Friday, Tri County kindergarten and first grade students got to bring their grandparents to school to show off their classrooms and point out some of the work they've done, but Carson Rahe had other ideas.
Sitting at lunch in the cafeteria with his grandmother, Karen Rahe, Carson said he was a big fan of the chicken noodle soup, the cinnamon roll, the banana and chocolate milk on the tray, but he was adamant about one of the items on the menu.
“I'm not going to eat the beans,” Carson said.
“I'm going to eat the beans,” Karen told him. “That's probably my favorite part.”
Then, just as his grandmother turned to look the other way, Carson started ladling his green beans onto her plate, laughing.
March 2 was grandparents day at Tri County, and it was more than just an excuse to not eat beans. Students had the chance to eat lunch with their grandparents, but they also went out to recess together, celebrated the legacy of Dr. Seuss and even sang a few songs together.
This is the pilot year for the event, said Principal Jesse Gronemeyer. They wanted to try it out with kindergarten and first grade students and gauge how it did with a limited run.
"We didn't think we'd have many grandparents," Gronemeyer said. "And, 113 signed up. It was very well received."
Rhonda Drewes, the guest and grandmother of Bayne Drewes, said it was great to see Bayne in action. Grandparents only come to the school on special occasions, she said, and spending time with the kids on their own turf is a lot of fun.
Nancy Pohl and her granddaughter, Macie Kaelin, were just finishing up lunch and about to head out to recess. It was a great time, she said, and she enjoyed being able to see the kids going about their daily routines. It was a lot like she remembered, she said, she just didn’t remember it being that much fun.
“I'm sure enjoying every bit of it,” Peggy Neuman said, having just sat down to lunch with her granddaughter, Ally Pearson. “You bet.”
The invite-only event was bigger than school officials expected, Gronemeyer said, and he’s planning for it to become a regular event. Grandparents day offers a way to tell grandparents how much the school appreciates everything they do for the school and the students, he said.
"We do so many activities out here where parents are able to come," Gronemeyer said. "We honor the parents, but grandparents are very special people in these kids' lives, too, and play a very important role in a child's life."
Police arrested a woman they found asleep behind the wheel of a vehicle on Thursday.
Jessica M. Leach, 34, was arrested by Beatrice Police for driving under the influence of drugs, two counts of possession of a controlled substance, driving under suspension and two counts of possession of narcotics in an unauthorized container.
Just before 1 a.m. on Thursday, Beatrice Police officers were called to the parking lot of a Beatrice Casey’s General Store by employees who reported a woman who had passed out in a vehicle in front of the store.
When officers arrived, the vehicle, which was fitted with license plates from Howard County, was found to be running and the driver was asleep in the driver’s seat. Police said there was a prescription pill bottle in the woman’s hand and several white tablets had spilled into her lap and onto the floorboards.
Police woke the driver and asked her what was going on, the police report said.
According to police, Leach responded by saying, “I fell asleep, I guess, I don’t really know.” Leach identified herself and said she had a suspended license.
Officer Natasha Nesbitt asked her about the pills in her lap and Leach told her they must have dumped out of the bottle. Leach told police that the last time she’d taken any of her prescribed medication was the night before.
Police said that Leach had very slowed movements with her hands, eyes and head and her speech was also slowed and slurred. Leach said she hadn’t had any alcohol and submitted to perform field sobriety maneuvers, during which police said she exhibited impaired movements.
Leach then told police that she’d taken a Percocet and an Ultram ER at 10 p.m. A breath test showed no trace of alcohol.
Leach was arrested for driving under the influence of drugs. Police performed a search of the vehicle and discovered several prescription bottles and loose pills throughout the vehicle.
There were 24 loose acetomenaphin/oxycodone pills located on the driver’s side floorboard, driver seat and center console area as well as 1.5 Alaprazolam pills. Leach could not produce a prescription for either. A bottle labeled as Tramadol contained seven acetaminophen/oxycodone pills, one Tramadol pill and one Tradnazone pill.
Leach was taken to the Beatrice Police station before being transported to the Gage County Detention Center where she was booked and lodged.
On Friday morning, Leach’s bond was set at $5,000.
On Wednesday, Erin Chadwick, who works as marketing coordinator for NGage, filed to run for the Beatrice Board of Education.
Chadwick has one daughter in the district and another just about to start, she said, and with a new superintendent coming on board in the near future, she thought this would be a good time to get involved.
Chadwick is from Hutchinson, Kan. originally, but said that Beatrice is the place she considers home. She works for NGage and gets a peek behind the scenes of economic growth and said that schools are a big part of an area’s growth.
“My husband and I moved here, we chose to live in Beatrice,” Chadwick said. “We chose to own a business here. I believe in this town and I believe in this community, and I do want what's best for it. I think the school system is absolutely an asset to the community.”
Chadwick said that while the district is facing a tight budget and some contentious issues like elementary restructuring, a big key to making it work is communication.
Whatever the future holds, whether it’s constructing a new school building, which Chadwick said she voted in favor of twice when it was on the ballot, or trying to figure out how to work within the existing buildings, communicating with the parents and the community at large will go a long way, she said.
Since her daughter started in the district two years ago, she said, she’s seen an increase in communication. There are more social media posts from the schools, which is getting a different part of the population engaged and involved, she said.
Before moving to Beatrice, she said that she and her husband looked around at different communities and school districts and eventually decided on Beatrice. Making schools that work well will be a big part of bringing more people to town, she said.
“This is home for me,” Chadwick said. “I'm invested in the community and I think that having that outside perspective might be something I can bring to the table.”