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JEWELL COUNTY NEWS

Aug. 25, 2016 issue

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Rock Hills welcomes 4 new teachers

Ribbon-cutting held for new playground equipment at RHES

County board discusses procedures, personnel with sheriff

World-renowned musician, conducter hails from Jewell County

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The Superior Express & Jewell County News 25 Aug 2016

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Rock Hills welcomes 4 new teachers

The Rock Hills School District welcomes four new teachers for the 2016-17 academic year.
Matt Railsback will be teaching all vocational agriculture courses and serve as the FFA advisor at the junior-senior high school.
Matt is a high school graduate of 3A Northern Heights, which is located north of Emporia. Matt was an 11 year member of 4-H with all 11 years being enrolled in beef, swine and sheep, with swine being his favorite. He attended college at FHSU graduating with a degree in ag education. While in college, Matt was a member of the college livestock judging team and swine show team, which traveled all over the United States to competitions.
Matt has been the ag teacher and FFA advisor for the past three years at Clyde. He was also the high school boys basketball coach for one year, junior high boys basketball coach for two years and football for one year.
His duties this year at Rock Hills other than ag and FFA will be assistant high school football coach, high school head girls basketball coach.
Matt was recently married. His wife, Allison, is an LPN instructor at Beloit VoTech, They will be at home at the country home of their grandparents, Ray and Faryl Lange. Matt's parents are Barbara and Burton Railsback.
"I'm excited about moving to Jewell County, continuing my teaching career and hope to have a great year," said Matt.
Cody Miller will be teaching chemistry, physics, physical science, eighth grade science, scientific research and design. For extra assignments he will serve as assistant high school football coach and a class sponsor.
This is Cody's first year of teaching. He grew up living in the country around the Pamona area. He graduated from West Franklin High School, which is located south of Lawrence. West Franklin was a 3A school and they played football against Northern Heights, which is where Matt Railsback attended and played. The two did not know each other at the time.
Following his graduation from high school, Cody attended Fort Scott Community College for a year and a half on a football scholarship as a linebacker. After receiving his associate's degree, he transferred to Wichita State where he graduated in May 2015 with a bachelor of education in chemistry 6-12. Last year's school term he was a substitute teacher for eight different schools.
"I look forward to this school year and am really looking forward to teaching and coaching. I'm anxious to get started and know it will be a learning year for me," said Cody.
Cody is living in Mankato. His parents are John and Michele Miller. He has three sisters who are all living in Kansas.
Amy McDill is not new to Rock Hills, but she is new to the teaching staff. Amy will be teaching grades 6 through 9 English. Extra assignments this year for Amy will be assistant junior high volleyball coach.
Amy grew up in Salina, graduated from Ell-Saline High School, and then graduated from Fort Hays State University with a bachelor's degree in elementary education and a master's in special education. Amy taught special education for six years in Hays at Wilson Elementary. For the past six years she has been employed at USD 107. For Amy's first year of employment with Rock Hills she was Title I at the elementary and since that time has been the at-risk para at the junior-senior high school.
As for this school year Amy has this to say, "I truly believe this is God's plan. He brought it to me when I was supposed to have it."
Amy lives in Mankato with her husband, Landon McDill, and two sons, Daniel and Cooper. Landon is a PTA with nursing homes in Concordia and Clyde. Daniel will be in 7th grade and Cooper will be in 4th grade, both at Rock Hills.
Amy's parents are Mike and Pat Zadina and her grandmother is Alma Zadina, all of Mankato.
Sheila Bogart is from Kirwin and will be special education teacher for USD 107 this year.
Sheila grew up and graduated from high school in Agra. She is married, has two grown sons and two grandchildren. Sheila graduated college from FHSU with a bachelor's degree in elementary education and a master's in special education. She was employed at Thunder Ridge for five years. She has not taught for the last five years, just subbing and then in 2015 served as a para at Thunder Ridge. All in all, Sheila has 12 years of teaching special education between Western Smith County and then at Thunder Ridge.
"It's going to be a great new year here at Rock Hills and I'm looking forward to working with great staff, meeting all the students, getting involved with the Rock Hills School and getting to know the community," said Sheila.
She will continue to live in Kirwin and drive back and forth to Mankato.

From left to right, Amy McDill, Cody Miller, Matt Railsback and Sheila Bogart

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Ribbon-cutting held for new playground equipment at RHES
Monday evening, in addition to the Rock Hills Elementary School meet and greet session held for the district's students, parents and teachers, a ribbon cutting ceremony was held to celebrate the school's new playground equipment.
From the attendance of all the children running from one apparatus to another, squills of laughter, words of approval shouted by the youths, it could be gleaned that the children approved of their new playground. A whistle was blown to assemble everyone for the ceremony, but that didn't decrease the noise level. The children were so excited to see their old friends, play together, and the anticipation of the first day of school the next morning with a brand new teacher, a brand new room, brand new books, maybe a new book bag, new shoes. Give the noise level a 10. Bring them on! The teachers are ready.
Prior to the ribbon cutting, Nadine Smith, elementary principal and superintendent, had a short reading about the playground equipment. Gina Jeffery was recognized for her major roll in the purchase of the equipment.
"The development of this new playground started at an elementary teachers' staff meeting last spring, when the teachers said the students need new playground equipement," Smith said.
A Dane Hansen Grant was also obtained for this project. Jeffery presented information to the school board, contacted equipment contracting companies and provided estimates for the board. It was eventually approved for APC Play to provide and construct the new playground equipment. APC brought in a three person crew and, with the help of Bob Roush, district facilities director, Larry McMains and Tandra Shultz, the playground was constructed.

County board discusses procedures, personnel with sheriff

The Jewell County Board met Monday with commissioners Steve Greene, Dwight Frost and Mark Fleming present. Carla Waugh, county clerk, was also present.
Minutes of the Aug. 15 meeting were approved as corrected. Added was: Commissioners went into executive session to discuss non-elected personnel with Shannon Meier and Carla Waugh present. Resuming regular session, no action was taken.
Don Jacobs, sheriff, discussed standard operating procedure for his department. He also discussed personnel.
Darrell Miller, county attorney, discussed the county tax sale held on Tuesday.
Joel Elkins, general superintendent, reported on road and bridge maintenance. The commissioners reported road concerns.
The meeting was adjourned at 11 a.m. to attend the multi-county meeting at the veterans building in Osborne, hosted by Osborne County with Mitchell and Jewell counties. Sherry Koster, sanitarian, provided a financial report. The group discussed the following topics: budgets from each county, KWORCC policies; Solomon Valley Transportation; IT person for the counties to share. The next multi-county meeting will be in Smith County with the date and location to be announced.
Jewell County Board met last Monday with commissioners Steve Greene, Dwight Frost and Mark Fleming present. Carla Waugh, county clerk, was also present.
Minutes of the Aug. 8 county canvassers and county commissioners meetings were approved.
Don Jacobs, sheriff, said the Nex-Gen 911 system is up and running. Jacobs said he received a letter from Steven Melby, Melby Mortuary, saying that effective Sept. 1 the mortuary will be using another answering service.
The commissioners approved Resolution 16-06 pertaining to the property tax policy with respect to financing the 2017 budget.
Board members reviewed and approved abatement numbers 2239 and 2240.
Shannon Meier, ambulance director, had a grant application for advanced level training. The commissioners approved the memorandum agreement for the education incentive grant program.
Chairman Greene opened the 2017 budget hearing at 10 a.m. with Arnold Ross and Bill Schumacher present. No objections were voiced so Mark Fleming moved and Dwight Frost seconded to approve the budget for 2017 as printed. Motion passed unanimously.
Joel Elkins, general superintendent, reported on road and bridge maintenance. The commissioners reported road concerns. Erma Dillon telephoned to inquire when the road sides will be mowed.
Carla Waugh presented the IBM one year hardware and software agreement, which was approved by the commissioners.

World renowned musician, conducter hails from Jewell County

It's time for the Grammy Awards in Los Angeles. And the winner is ... Jerry Blackstone, a renowned musician and choir director who comes from rural Kansas. Blackstone is a two-time Grammy winner and internationally known conductor. His roots are found in rural Kansas.
Jerry grew up on the family farm in the northern part of Jewell County. His family consisted of farmers, not musicians, although his grandfather played the harmonica and his dad would sing for fun while driving the tractor. Jerry's mother liked to play piano and sing also. His parents always encouraged and supported his interests.
Jerry grew up going to a one-room country school. His first teacher was a young woman named Miss Lippe. After he completed first grade, Miss Lippe told his parents, "He is a bright little boy and I'm afraid he's going to get bored. Why don't you get him piano lessons?" They did so and Jerry liked it. He grew up playing and singing in church.
Jerry's sisters enjoyed music as well. Sister Marilyn now lives in Iowa and sister Ruth lives at Manhattan.
After four years in the one-room school, Jerry went to the school in town, but it was still quite rural in nature. The town was the nearby rural community of Burr Oak, population 249 people.
By the time Jerry was a sophomore in high school, he knew he wanted to pursue music as a career. He took music lessons at K-State while still a high school student. "Those teachers broadened my perspective and encouraged me, 'You can do this,'" Jerry said.
After high school graduation, Jerry went to Wheaton College in Illinois to begin a long and distinguished academic career in music. At Wheaton, he studied piano performance and met his wife. He went on to get a master's in choral performance at Indiana University. "I had some wonderful music teachers through the years," Jerry said.
Jerry's first teaching position was at what is now Huntington University in Indiana. The head of the education department there was named Emmet Lippe. One day Jerry said, "My first teacher was named Miss Lippe." When he explained, Emmet replied, "That was my sister." What a remarkable connection through the years.
Jerry went on to get a doctorate in choral conducting at the University of Southern California. He worked at Westmont College in California and Phillips University in Oklahoma.
In 1988, he joined the music faculty at the University of Michigan. He has risen through the ranks to become the university's director of choral activities and professor and chair of conducting. He is responsible for 11 choirs at the university and still conducts the chamber choir. He was a long-time conductor of the men's glee club as well as the 180-member university-community choir named Choral Union.
Jerry Blackstone has served as chorusmaster on several internationally-acclaimed music projects. One of those, a recording of William Bolcom's "Songs of Innocence and of Experience," earned him two Grammies, for best choral performance and best classical album in 2006. Another project earned him a nomination for best opera recording in 2015.
Blackstone is a highly sought-after guest conductor and workshop leader. He has fulfilled that role in 30 states plus New Zealand, Australia, Hong Kong and Shanghai. He has received a lifetime achievement award from the Michigan chapter of the American Choral Directors Association. Through the years, he has touched the lives of thousands of musicians and their audiences.
"It's a privilege to work with people to create a community and make music come alive," Jerry said. "These choirs become more than people on stage, they become a family."
What is his advice to aspiring musicians? "Play your best, sing your best," Jerry said. "If you love it, go out and play and sing at church and school. Put yourself in positions to be challenged."

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