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Nebraska guard James Palmer Jr. (24) and center Jordy Tshimanga (32) talk before an NCAA college basketball game against Purdue in West Lafayette, Ind., Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018.

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Fair entertainment announced

Country music headliners and returning grandstand favorites will be the highlight entertainment at the 2018 Gage County Fair.

The annual fair will be held in Gage County from July 25-29.

Festivities will kick off Wednesday, July 25, with the band Two Way Crossing.

The following evening, Josh Turner will take the stage, with LANCO wrapping up music entertainment on Friday, July 27.

The annual Eve of Destruction will be held on Saturday, July 29. Fair entertainment organizer Lisa Wiegand said the event, which has included things like trailer races and a rollover contest, is a crowd pleaser.

“The Eve of Destruction is always a crowd favorite,” she said. “It’s a fun show. You can’t help be excited when planning for the fair and that opportunity for people to come to our community from all around the area. We pull a lot of business out of Kansas and Missouri because we’re so situated here by the state line.”

Wiegand added that Turner’s Thursday performance, which features opening act Jay Allen, will be another high point of the fair.

“Were really excited about the lineup,” she said. “We’ve brought a variety and Thursday having Josh Turner, that will be a great show that we know will be a very popular show with all ages.”

Turner is a multi-platinum Nashville recording artist. He has sold more than 8 million units, is a disciple of traditional country music and one of the youngest members of the Grand Ole Opry.

From his 2003 platinum-selling debut, “Long Black Train,” to his most recent 2017 Billboard number one release, “Deep South,” Turner has garnered multiple Grammy, CMA and ACM nominations.

Turner’s hits include “Your Man,” “Why Don’t We Just Dance,” “Firecracker,” “Would You Go with Me,” “All Over Me,” and “Time Is Love,” the most played country song of 2012, according to a press release.

Turner released his sixth studio album, “Deep South,” in March featuring the number one hit single, “Hometown Girl.”

“I’ve lived a lot of life since the release of my last album and I’ve learned a lot during the making of this album,” he said in a press release. “I have grown as a writer and as an artist. It’s been cool to see this culmination of life and lessons and age boiled down into this project and I am really proud of ‘Deep South.’”

Turner wrote four of the 11 tracks on the album. He’s also published a book, “Man Stuff: Thoughts on Faith, Family and Fatherhood,” which was released in 2014.

As highlighted in the book, the Hannah, S.C. native has been songwriting and performing since he was a young child, and in support of music education, created the Josh Turner Scholarship Fund to assist students interested in pursuing a future in arts and music.

LANCO will perform the Friday evening of the fair and feature opening act State Line Drive.

Lancaster & Company, better known as LANCO, is Brandon Lancaster (lead vocals), Chandler Baldwin (bass), Jared Hampton (keyboards, banjo), Tripp Howell (drums) and Eric Steedly (lead guitar).

Formed in 2012, LANCO was born of a chance meeting between Howell and Nashville native, Lancaster – each performing in bands at the same festival – just as Howell was readying a move to Music City the same week that Lancaster was returning from college. Once in Nashville, Lancaster met Steedly through mutual friends, while Hampton and Baldwin followed shortly thereafter.

Mining a catalog of songs written by Lancaster, the group began to develop its sound. Making the most of Howell’s day job in a carpet warehouse, the group would slip in at night to rehearse on the little-traveled second level, loading their gear up and down with a forklift until they realized they could safely hide it with carpet between rehearsals.

But it was Lancaster’s side job – working a concession stand at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena – that opened a big door for the band when he spotted producer Jay Joyce at a concert in 2014.

The conversation brought an invitation from Joyce for Lancaster to share some songs that he’d written, and shortly thereafter, for a band audition.

The first result of their collaboration is LANCO’s four-song, self-titled "EP." Featured tracks include the lead single, “Long Live Tonight,” as well as “We Do,” “American Love Story” and “Trouble Maker.”

“Again, the quality of this show will be excellent,” Wiegand said. “To have these kind of high-caliber acts come to Gage County, we’re very fortunate.”

Tickets to Two Way Crossing will cost $5, Josh Turner will be $35 and LANCO $25. Admission to Eve of Destruction will cost $15, and Sunday evening’s speedway races will cost $10.

Unlike in past years, there is no “passport” option to purchase tickets to all music shows at a reduced rate.

For ticket information, visit

hot top story
Students run robotic gauntlet at ESU 5

It can’t be bargained with. It can’t be reasoned with. It doesn’t feel pity, remorse or fear. And it absolutely will not stop—ever—until it runs out of batteries.

It’s the mBot, a whole army of them, programmed by students in the 10 school districts served by Educational Service Unit 5 in Beatrice.

On Monday, 40 students converged on ESU 5 for a robotics camp to show off the programming and design skills they’d picked up over the last month of working with their mBots.

The mBot is a happy-looking robot, but that’s only because it has a smile stamped into its metallic pink or blue chassis. It has two big wheels in the back and a mechanism with smaller wheels for turning underneath and it’s loaded with sensors and cameras. It can pick up ultraviolet light and can sense the difference between colors and react accordingly.

The kids programmed their robots on laptops, before plugging the mBot into their computers to input the code. It’s part of a goal to promote acquisition of digital age skills said Dr. Nick Ziegler, instructional technology specialist at ESU 5. It’s an attempt to engage youth with computational thinking skills like coding, and innovative design skills, Ziegler said.

“Today's competition is the culmination of that work inside the districts,” he said. “Districts could engage as many students as they desired, but today, only four students are allowed from each of our 10 school districts that ESU 5 serves.”

There were two events on Monday. In the first, students had to teach their robot to navigate around an octagon without running into a cardboard box in the middle. The robots would sense the masking tape lines that surrounded the box and make their way through the space.

Students from the Bruning-Davenport district were having a little bit of trouble as their mBot seemed to take a liking to the cardboard box and danced it in a circle in the middle of the octagon. A quick systems check later, they were able to get a top score in the event.

At the Freeman School District octagon, Grayson Gibbons, Ian Alberts, Tandon Buhr and Zach Robeson were having their own issues. They’d removed the robot from the course and were tinkering with its coding.

“Right now we're just working on how to figure out how to get the sensors to sense the tape on the ground and not to go over it,” Grayson said.

It looked like the problem was in both the coding and with the mBot itself, Ian said.

“The ultrasonic sensor part was messing with the line sensor for some reason,” he said. “Then, it would just keep turning and turning and turning.”

After few code changes and tightening a few screws, they too were earning a top score.

In the next conference room over, students and their mBots were trying to navigate a maze. Each zigzagging course was covered with different colored sheets of construction paper, though a lot more difficult that it sounds.

Madeline Swanson, Madelyn Meyerle, Mallory Denner and Esdon Weers from Diller-Odell were trying to work out how to make their mBot go through all the necessary steps to make it to the end.

“We've got to get through a maze, changing the colors of the bots and playing different sounds,” Madeline said.

“And it can't hit any lines, so they gave us a measurement of how many feet we're supposed to go and the degrees we're supposed to turn,” Madelyn said. “Then, at the end, after you're done going through the maze, you're supposed to do a dance.”

They’d been working with their robot for a couple of months, so far, but it was being kind of a pain on Monday. They had the wheels off for some quick adjustments before putting it back down on the masking tape course.

The robots eyes lit up with each piece of paper it hit, red, blue, yellow, orange and green, each light matched with a sound.

“At the beginning, when we first started with the robots, it was pretty easy, but the more challenges we went through, the harder it got,” Madeline said. “So far, it hasn't been that hard. We've just had to make minor fixes.”

“There's always a few bumps in the road,” Esdon said. “Trial and error.”

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Beatrice man arrested for attempted murder

A Beatrice man was arrested Sunday morning for attempted murder after allegedly shooting another man in the neck.

Shortly after 4 a.m. Sunday, Gage County deputies Were dispatched to 27522 S.W. 32nd Road, on the southwest outskirts of Beatrice, for a reported shooting. Deputies and Beatrice police officers arrived on the scene and there were multiple people standing on a porch at the residence.

According to a press release from the sheriff’s office, the victim of the shooting was lying on the front porch with a serious injury to his neck. The victim was bleeding from the back of his neck and a female subject was holding his head and applying a towel to the wounded area.

Beatrice Fire and Rescue treated the victim at the scene and then transported him to Bryan Health in Lincoln for further medical treatment. As of Monday morning the victim was in critical condition with a severe injury to his neck and spinal cord.

The investigation revealed that 32-year-old Nathan King of the residence was arguing with the victim on the porch. Authorities believe King threatened to shoot the victim, then went in the residence and fired a shot through the front door, hitting the victim.

Arrest documents state that while the victim was receiving treatment, he told deputies King had shot him. Additionally, two female witnesses told authorities King shot the victim through the glass door of the residence.

King was located at the scene and placed into custody. King was transported to the Gage County Detention Center where he was lodged for attempted murder, second-degree assault, use of a deadly weapon to commit a felony, and terroristic threats.

Sheriff Millard Gustafson said more charges are possible, depending on the victim's recovery.

“It depends on what happens to the individual at the hospital,” he said. “That could change everything, but right now it’s where we’re at. It’s unfortunate, but (the victim) is lucky he’s still alive. That’s the main thing.”

Gustafson said the argument occurred during a party at the residence, and around half of his staff was involved in the investigation.

King's bond was set at $100,000 with a 10 percent deposit on Monday morning. His next hearing is set for April 6.

Man arrested for assault after standoff

A Beatrice man was arrested for assault after a two-hour standoff where he refused to exit a residence.

At around 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Gage County deputies responded to S. 51st Road in southern Gage County to a report of domestic assault.

The victim told deputies she was assaulted by Sidney R. Williams, 57.

Williams had allegedly been drinking when he grabbed the victim and threw her to the ground. He then allegedly kicked her in the ribs and stomach before she was able to get out of the house, according to court records.

The victim was transported to a Marysville, Kan., hospital. Before being transported the victim said Williams was still in the residence and mentioned he may be getting a firearm.

Deputies attempted to contact Williams over the PA system in a patrol vehicle for around two hours. He was eventually convinced to come outside and ad was arrested without incident.

Williams denied assaulting the victim, but said they had been arguing verbally for the past two days.

He was placed under arrest for third-degree domestic assault. His bond was set at $5,000 with a 10 percent deposit and a hearing is scheduled for April 10 in the case.