Students at Beatrice High School got a first-hand view of a courtroom Friday, without ever having to leave the building.
For one day only, the Hevelone Center at BHS was transformed into a functioning courtroom, giving students a rare glimpse into the workings of the court system as two cases were heard before the Nebraska Supreme Court.
The event wasn’t merely an exercise, but real hearings with real officials surrounded by real security.
Gage County District Court Judge Rick Schreiner discussed the differences between the trial and appellate court systems with the students, and stressed how special it was to have court hearing at the high school.
“All seven justices of the Nebraska Supreme Court are present today,” he said. “They’re going to be hearing oral arguments in two cases… It’s an honor and privilege to have them here today.”
The event was available to American government, business law and law enforcement career academy students, in addition to the general public.
Students from Lewiston, Falls City, Fairbury, Johnson-Brock and Beatrice Middle School were also among those in attendance, according to BHS Principal Jason Sutter.
Sutter said the idea of bringing the hearings to Beatrice came from former student Corey Steel, who works for the Supreme Court.
“When he called and asked if we would be interested in hosting this event, it was an easy decision,” Sutter said. “It’s very gratifying to be able to see Beatrice High School graduates seek further education and become, in this example, a Nebraska state court administrator.”
Sutter added the event is part of an ongoing effort to bring unique learning opportunities to Beatrice High School.
“The strategic plan for Beatrice Public Schools charges educators to continue to create learning opportunities for our scholars,” He said. “Most in attendance today would agree that having the Supreme Court from the great state of Nebraska, holding appeals hearings in our school, is truly unique.”
The visit was also an effort by the Nebraska Supreme Court and the legal community to raise awareness of court processes and the importance of civics education in American society, according to a press release from the Nebraska Supreme Court.
For more than 30 years, the Supreme Court has traveled annually to each of Nebraska’s law schools for the purpose of making the Court’s business accessible to students on their campuses.
More recently, the Supreme Court has expanded argument sessions to high school campuses. Justices will also spend time after the argument session talking to students about the appellate process and career opportunities as lawyers. Cases are selected to demonstrate the variety of legal arguments that face the court system on a regular basis.
The new Gleason Dental office is located on Crest Drive in Beatrice, but they insist it’s not named after the toothpaste.
Gleason Dental opened the doors to its new home in late September after moving from its old location on Lincoln Street. The office was previously housed in a three-bedroom house purchased by Dr. David Gleason in 1967, but now, after fifty years, they’re moving into a space built just for them.
David Gleason opened the practice and was joined 25 years ago by his son, Tim Gleason. His other son, Dan Gleason, then joined about 10 years ago.
With all-new equipment in their new building, including some of the latest in dental technology, the Gleasons are fairly certain their practice will be a much more comfortable place for everyone.
They’ve got a 3D X-ray machine, which—kind of like a CAT scan—takes a three-dimensional picture of the teeth, allowing the dentists to make better diagnoses, Tim said.
Then there’s the computer-aided crown machine. It looks kind of like a droid from “Star Wars”—a lot of their new equipment has a very futuristic, sci-fi look—and it can save weeks' worth of time, Dan said.
Previously, when installing a crown, impressions had to be made, followed by installing a temporary crown. The impressions would then be sent to a lab where the crown would be built, before returning to the office for installation.
“We can do a crown right now, same day,” David said.
“It used to be a three-week deal,” Tim said. “Now, it's an hour and a half. In fact, I just got done doing one. Start to finish, all in one appointment.”
With the crown machine, a ceramic ingot goes into a milling machine where it’s cut and milled. Then it's fired in a furnace, cured and cemented into the mouth.
“Dentistry evolves like everything else,” Dan said. “Techniques evolve and materials evolve, so Tim and I tend to be on the forefront of that stuff. We’re probably early adopters to a certain degree.”
The office features eight fully finished rooms, three for routine hygiene work like cleanings and exams and five of which are reserved for more in-depth dental procedures with room for more, should the need arise.
The old office only had four treatment rooms, which, Tim said, hindered their ability to grow.
At the new office, he said, they can see upwards of 50 patients in a day, and there’s room to expand and hire more employees if they need to.
Currently, there are seven employees working for the Gleasons, two of whom have been working with David for over 40 years.
Deb Ferguson, who started working for Gleason 40 years ago, said she’s stayed there because it’s a great family environment. Everyone gets along great, she said.
Trudy Roche has been a dental assistant for Gleason for 47 years and said she’s really enjoying the new office.
“I'm loving it,” Roche said. “It's very nice. A lot more walking, my legs are a lot more tired.”
With all the technological improvements and the increased space inside the office, it’s the parking that patients have been most excited about, David said.
The parking lot at the previous office saw about four fender benders just one month. When he moved in in 1967, parking on Lincoln Street was abundant, but, as that dried up, they had to make due with the small lot out back.
Tim knew from an early age that he wanted to be a dentist—or maybe a doctor—but it took Dan a few years to come around. He got his degree in business and from 1997 to 2001, he worked in the business world.
“I worked for a financial planning firm,” he said. “I had a change of heart and realized that's not what I wanted to do, so I quit my job and went back to school. I took a little bit of a roundabout path.”
The Gleasons have regular patients coming in from Fairbury, Hebron, Chester, Tecumseh, Lincoln, Firth, Hickman and Marysville, Kan., and they’ve even got regulars from Colorado and one family from Pennsylvania who come for a checkup when they’re back visiting family in Beatrice.
Tim attributes that to the dentists and staff being outgoing and friendly. Dentistry can be kind of a daunting thing, he said, but they do good work in a gentle fashion.
“I think it's more of a blessing than anything that we're able to spend this much time together and be together and hang out and work toward a common goal,” Dan said. “In the 10 years I've been around, I don't remember any conflict or fight.”
Area youth will be able to experience free activities over three days as part of an annual event aiming to give back to the community.
The Beatrice Optimist Club will host its annual youth appreciation event Nov. 7-9.
Club member Burt Foreman said the promotion is a chance to give back to area children, and is one of the group’s biggest annual events.
“This has been a tradition for Optimist International to do something to recognize kids and appreciate the kids,” he said. “They did that once a year, so different communities do different things. For us, the tradition was to have events during the week.”
On Tuesday, Nov. 7, youth can experience free swimming at the YMCA at 801 Scott St. from 6:45-8:15 p.m.
There will be a free movie screening at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 8 at Beatrice Cinema, located at 615 Court St., and free skating will be offered on Thursday, Nov. 9 at the Rolla-Rena at 1133 S. Sixth St. that evening.
These activities are available to kids in eighth grade and younger.
Foreman said the events have been scaled back compared to previous years, largely due to funding.
“We’ve always picked up the total cost of everything there but refreshments, but as far as the events, we pay for the cost of the tickets and that stuff,” he said. “It’s our biggest event from a budgeting standpoint. What we had to do is scale back because of financial situations.”
Beatrice Optimist Club also works with groups to host fishing tournaments and other activities for kids throughout the year.
Foreman said Beatrice has hosted an annual event for children for more than 50 years, and those who attend have come to look forward to it.
“I think some of the kids who have been around for a while look forward to it every year,” he said. “Those are events they really enjoy, so we want to keep it going as much as we can and are always looking for other things we can have them do.”
It’s been 50 years since Dr. David Gleason started fixing teeth in Beatrice.
Gleason opened his dental practice in 1967 when he was two years out of dental school. Over the past half-century, Gleason has been filling cavities, fixing dentures and making smiles brighter for residents of Gage County.
Gleason—who works alongside his sons, Dan and Tim—only practices about one day a week, but he’s in the office most days working in one capacity or another.
Born in Red Oak, Iowa, Gleason moved to Beatrice with his family when he was 10. He graduated from Beatrice High School in 1959, finished dental school in 1965 and joined the Air Force right at the height of the Vietnam War.
His dad was a pipeline supervisor when he was growing up and he thought about becoming an engineer until he met Dr. Jim Winchell, a Beatrice dentist.
Gleason started watching Winchell’s work and talking with him about the industry, eventually deciding to become a dentist himself.
After leaving the military, Gleason bought a three-bedroom house on Lincoln Street and set up shop.
At first, it was just him, performing basic dentistry: fillings, extractions, dentures and the like. He added a hygienist, followed by other staff and eventually, his son, Tim, joined about 25 years ago. His other son, Dan, also joined around 10 years ago.
The office started doing implants, laser surgeries and orthodontics, things Gleason said he would never have considered 50 years ago.
He still takes continuing education courses to maintain his dental license, he said. It requires putting in 30 hours of education every two years, but it’s a way to keep up on the latest in dentistry.
“The surgical part was always one of my favorite things,” he said. “Although, we're trying to save teeth, we hate to be taking them out. There are certain things that you do that are kind of more interesting.”
Doing fillings all day can get to be monotonous, he said, so being able to do some light surgery and getting to restore people’s teeth is a little more exciting.
He still gets patients who first came to him 50 years ago, he said. He’s treated them, as well as their children and grandchildren.
Gleason likes working with people, he said, which is one of the best parts of the job. However, he’s thinking about retiring soon, he said, as he and his sons recently opened up a new dental office in town.
“I'm 76 years old, so I don't know how much longer I'm going to keep going,” Gleason said. “I'm not going to go too much longer. They're doing so many techniques that I don't have any experience in now that I've kind of let them take over most of the tough stuff.”