The Beatrice Public Library is kicking off its 125th anniversary as a city department this year with an art exhibit that was provided by longtime library supporters.
The first art exhibit of 2018 at the library is “What the Snowbirds Saw, An Exhibit of Maurice and Dorothy Hevelone’s Southwest Art.”
Library Director Laureen Riedesel said the Hevelones annually traveled to Arizona in February and brought back original works of art from that area.
“The Hevelones used to go to Arizona every February and they would come back with a work of art from that location,” she said. “Some people buy postcards, they would buy beautiful pieces of original art and that was their snowbird vacation.”
This marks the first time the paintings have been shown in this combination. The series will be on display until March in the lower level of the library. Riedesel said that since the lower level was remodeled, there’s now an adequate amount of space to house such a display.
“This was an exhibit that we dreamed about being able to do once we had this space available to just show off these landscapes and have the exhibit focus on them,” she said. “It seemed like this was the time of year to do it when we could all appreciate the look of blue skies and warm locations.”
Works by John Aaugustus Annus, John Hilton, Dick Williams, Bill Freeman and Norman Yeckley are featured.
Riedesel said the artists have fascinating back stories, and that Annus is internationally known.
“He’s got this incredible reputation,” she said. “This was kind of like the piece in their collection. We thought of all of these people as southwest artists and were quite astonished when we started researching this man to realize he had been involved with showings in Germany, he went to school in Italy.”
The Hevelone’s intention to donate their art collection influenced the development of the design of the library. A generous bequest resulted in the naming of the facility “The Hevelone Library Building” in 2005.
Other art displays in 2018 will include the annual exhibit featuring artists at Southeast Community College in April, an exhibit in June featuring images of the three buildings that have housed the Beatrice Public Library, including the old post office, the Carnegie Building and the current site and a November exhibit featuring the poetry of Ted Kooser and the Studio Art Quilt Associates’ exhibition, “Passages.”
Not so long ago, multimedia in schools meant students sitting in front of a desktop computer.
Today, Beatrice Middle School students can spend their afternoons exploring virtual reality, programming robots and flying drones through the media center.
Providing students with the latest opportunities in coding and working with technology is part of an ongoing effort to better prepare them for programing and computer-related jobs by giving them firsthand experience.
On Thursday, School Board members got to experience these programs for themselves during the monthly committee of the whole meeting, in which they got to explore the international space station and create their own works of art in virtual reality from behind an Oculus VR headset.
“We know that our current strategic plan has technology as a huge piece of it and really figuring out ways to help our students and teachers integrate technology to more than a computer that’s in front of them,” said BPS Director of Curriculum Jackie Nielsen. “It’s helping them move to that next step with helping them understand how to use it, how to use it well and how it redefines their educational experience.”
Beatrice Middle School media specialist Karen Dittbrenner said that six years ago, the school had three computer labs and a desktop computer in each classroom. Today, all teachers have laptops and the technology center has 12 Oculus units, achieving a two to one student ratio.
At one time, she thought Beatrice was behind the curve in terms of technology, only to find out after attending a conference the district is actually well-equipped compared to many other schools.
“Through some guidance and some supportiveness from Jackie and our administrators, we’ve got some great technology happening in our buildings,” she said. “I’m excited by it. It’s fun to come to work. It’s fun to see the kids engaged and that’s something that we’re really seeing. If you ask the kids if they’ve been in the VR lab, played with the drones, done programming with the robots, they can tell you.”
Schools are also implementing Chromebooks, limited-use, affordable laptops available to students at a modified one to one ratio, where the computers remain in the classrooms after use.
Nielsen said the ongoing efforts to bring technology into the classroom is helping BPS stay ahead of the curve, and let parents know the district is embracing the new way of teaching.
“I feel that Beatrice, in the last six years that I’ve been here, has really started moving toward starting to lead in the area of technology rather than following,” she said. “We are starting to become the schools that try things out. We want to be that leader.”
Omaha Skutt Catholic 48, Beatrice 38.
Freeman 43, Mead 6.
Tri County 56, Lewiston 29.
Freeman 39, Diller-Odell 27.
Johnson-Brock 33, Pawnee City 23.
Meridian 68, Giltner 46.
Milford 50, Wilber-Clatonia 12.
Sterling 58, Lewiston 37.
Weeping Water 64, JCC 19.
Beatrice 70, Ralston 65.
JCC 48, Weeping Water 37.
Freeman 52, Diller-Odell 24.
Johnson-Brock 64, Pawnee City 40.
Lewiston 44, Sterling 42.
Milford 67, Wilber-Clatonia 57.
Norris 61, Gretna 46.
Bennington 64, Norris 62 (OT).
An eclipse is about to take place over Gage County again.
And while Wednesday’s lunar eclipse likely won’t have the tourism impact of the total solar eclipse last August, Homestead National Monument of America is once again hosting an eclipse-themed event that visitors can experience.
“It’s fun watching people just explore the skies using the park as place to view them,” said Homestead park ranger Susan Cook. “We will have a viewing site set up and volunteers will be set up to escort people back and forth to make sure people are safe and having a good time. It’s another unique way people can use the park and another one of nature’s spectacles for us to enjoy.”
On Tuesday, Homestead's Heritage Center will remain open until 7 p.m. On Wednesday, the facility will open early at 5 a.m. All viewing events are being held at the Heritage Center building.
Cook added the event is a rare occurrence when three different lunar events will be visible from Homestead.
A super moon and a blue moon will also be visible as the moon appears larger and brighter. As the second full moon of the month, Cook said the moon will also appear red.
Park officials are asking visitors to dress appropriately and bring a blanket for the event.
The moon will enter the penumbral shadow of the earth at 5:48 a.m. on Wednesday and totality will begin at 6:52 a.m. The moon may set during the time it is in totality.