Monday, April 28, 2008

Great Nebraska Mushroom Festival

Trail Head, Peru, Nebraska

On Saturday and Sunday, April 26 and 27, Peru hosted the inaugural Great Nebraska Mushroom Festival (The preceding link includes a schedule of events) centered at the Steamboat Trace Trail Head.

The event was dedicated to the memory of Charlie Hahn, Mushroomist Extrodinaire.

I did not get to see much of the action on Saturday, as I spent a good part of the day in Lincoln a the NSEA Delegate Assembly (just scroll down); however, I visited the Trail Head late Saturday afternoon to catch some of the entertainment provided by the Bunky Christensen Band; many folks continued then the search for the Morel Mushrooms pictured on the right.

Linda Tynon, pictured on the far left, organized the event with help from Beth of Canfield's Sporting Goods in Omaha, the store that sponsored the event and supplied the $100.00 first prize awarded on Sunday.

And Mark Davis, Omaha World Herald Outdoor Photographer, took part in the event on Sunday and served as a judge for the many awards:

Largest mushroom by weight
Largest mushroom by size/biggest
Smallest mushroom

Best Mushroom Jig (hope you can dance)
Best Tall Tale (accuracy counts)
Youngest hunter

Oldest hunter
Sportsmanship – Grand Prize $100

As you can see from the left to the right, the Youngest Hunter enjoyed his prize as did the winners of the Sportsmanship Grand Prize provided by Canfields.

Check out the slide show of the event and a post-awards-ceremony walk along the Trace Trail and into the woods. You should have no problems downloading photographs that appeal to you.

Linda Tynon invited me to take part in the festival, and I was glad to help out on Sunday afternoon from 1:00-2:00. I brought along photographs of common birds and showed a film about the Trace Trail. And I talked with many people about birds and other things the Trace Trail features, including the Roland Sherman Memorial Area.

Eight of my bird photographs were awarded as prizes, and I joined the group after the
awards ceremony for a walk on the trail and a search for mushrooms.

And while we did not discover any Morel Mushrooms, I enjoyed the walk and did manage to take a photograph of a Rufus-sided Towhee that flitted amidst the branches of a bush along the Trace Trail; these birds possess wonderful red eyes.

Rufus-sided Towhee

Sunday, April 27, 2008

2008 NSEA Delegate Assembly

NSEA Delegate Assembly in Lincoln

The 2008 Delegate Assembly of NSEA, the Nebraska State Educational Association, took place in Lincoln at the Cornhusker Marriot hotel this past Friday and Saturday, April 24-25. The Delegate Assembly brings together NEA K-16 delegates from across Nebraska. I attended only my fourth assembly, but many in attendance have taken part in thirty or more of these interesting gatherings.

Pictures here between Roger Davis, Higher Education Academy President and Delegate for UNK, and Kelly Asmussen, a Negotiator for Peru State College, I went to Lincoln as a non-voting delegate, for I serve as president of the State College Educational Association (SCEA) and as secretary for the NSEA Higher Education Academy; you can learn more about the HEA at this site and see some highlights of the first HEA Conference this past summer at this link.

Peru State was well represented. In addition to me, Kelly Asmussen, At-Large Member of the HEA and the SCEA, and Negotiator for Peru State College, and Mary Goebel-Lundholm, President of the Peru State Local. Mary served as the voting delegate. I enjoy the Delegate Assembly for a variety of reasons, including the opportunity to see friends from across the state and to talk with people from K-16 about the issues of central concern to education in Nebraska.

This year's central issue concerned a proposed hike in union dues. Last year, contrary to the recommendations of the NSEA committee that the union move to a new location, the members voted to renovate the existing building across the street from the state capital.
The renovation costs required a hike
in our yearly dues, and the Assembly approved an increase of 16.00 to cover the renovation costs and to maintain the NSEA's existing programs.

You can see a brief slide show
here from the Delegate Assembly.

This year for the first time, the Higher Education Academy occupied its own tables and did is own registration.

HEA Members from Across Nebraska at the Delegate Assembly

Thursday, April 24, 2008

PSC Jazz Band on the Patio

To mark the semester's conclusion, the Peru State College Jazz Band led by Dr. Pat Fortney gave an energetic and entertaining performance on the patio in front of the Fine Arts Building.

A good and appreciative crows gathered to
listen to the music and take advantage of the chips, dip, and drink provided. And on a day that threatened rain, the sun even made a brief and welcome appearance on an otherwise pleasant spring day.

Everyone appreciated the band's efforts and the opportunity to gather outside on this spring day.

I took and posted pictures of the band and the folks who gathered to hear the Jazz Band's performance.

As usual, you should have no trouble downloading images that appeal to you.

Take a moment and listen to the band's rendition of the familiar Van Morrison tune, "Moondance":

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Art Homer at Peru State College

On Tuesday at 12:30, Art Homer began his musical poetry reading and discussion in the ARC Conference Room, an appearance sponsored by the Creative Writing Series and the resurgent English Club.

Those who attended enjoyed a very special treat. Art Homer discussed poetry and music and played a number of his works, including "The Poet's Rag" to a "Hedge," both of which you can hear on this posting.

In addition to hearing and watching a couple of Art Homer's works, you can also view a quick slide show of his appearance at Peru State College.

And to hear and watch Art Homer play dobro in Sum Guise when I recorded the fellows at the VFW, check out this site on the blog.

Now, listen to "The Poet's Rag" and read along--just click on the words to the left to enlarge them if necessary and to appreciate all the more the following video of his performance. (And clicking here will take you to You Tube, where I uploaded the video.)

As the words indicate, the song/poem includes all that the narrator claims to know about poetry--and more.

To commemorate Earth Day, Art performed his poe
m, "Hedge, a Requiem for John Fahey"; as with all his performance pieces, Art provides an effective introduction that ensures the listeners' better appreciation of the poem and, especially in this case, the music.

To learn more about Fahey, check out this site; and to hear him play guitar on "Poor Boys a Long Way From Home," a tune to which Art makes reference, just click here.

And at this site, you can connect directly with Art Homer's song on You Tube.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

2007-2008 Student Senate Awards Banquet

Peru State College Student Senate Officers for 2007-2008

This Sunday, April 20, I attended this year's Student Senate Banquet, a gratifying highlight of my first year as serving with Ted Harshbarger--pictured with me on the far left and Student Senate President Brandon Prater in the middle--as co-sponsors of this group of excellent and hard-working students.

In addition to an excellent meal, the evening featured the return of two former Student Senate Presidents, last year's president Cody Witt and Russell Crouch (from left to right) who served as president a number of years ago.

Student Senate will continue this new tradition, and I enjoyed greatly the opportunity to talk with both Cody and Russell them.

This banquet features as well each year the announcement of the Barb Lewellen Award and the Scroll of Service Award. Student Senate members shoulder the difficult task of choosing a winner from a list of worthy candidates.

This year, Ted Harshbarger won the Barb Lewellen Award and Tammy Myers garnered a well-merited Scroll of Service Award.

I loved working this year with this fun-filled and serious-minded group of students and look forward to another gratifying year.

Enjoy the slide show of the evening's events. And you can download images that appeal to you.

2007-2008 Student Senate Members

Arthur, NE, for Feathers and Verses

Welcome to Arthur, Nebraska
On Thursday afternoon, April 17, I drove to Ogallala and spent the night, getting ready for the next morning when I drove to Arthur, forty miles to the north, to spend time at the elementary schools there.

I spent from 9:00 am until 1:00 pm working with the K-6 graders as part of my Nebraska Humanities Council's Speakers Bureau program Feathers and Verses--click here to learn a lot more about the program and my other sessions over the past few months.

This time around, I worked with an enthusiastic group of people.

The youngsters' enthusiasm reflects obviously on their teacher's professionalism and care for the eleven students I had the pleasure to meet in the seventy or so minutes in which we worked together.
group of youngsters in first and second grade--pictured to the left. They learned a lot about common birds and then spent time coloring pictures of their favorite birds.

And an identical atmosphere greeted me when I arrived down the street at the other school, a small converted three-room chapel that houses excellent teaching and two rooms, one for third and fourth graders and the other for grades five and six. I think that I worked with 26 students for just under three hours.
The high quality of instruction and the energy of the students I encounter on these trips inspire me.

And the students always make me smile when they put their imaginations to creative work.

In addition to watching bird images, listening to bird songs, and sharing bird songs, the students wrote some wonderfully creative material, using various poetic devices, from simile to hyperbole.

They wrote about what their hair looks like in the morning, a favorite and often crazy
bird each adopted for a poem, and then wrote a brief narrative about a couple birds on a "balderdash" trip that included anacondas and a few things puce.

You can view a slide show of the trip and the fun. I look forward in a couple years to visiting this remarkable area again.

School for 3rd-6th Grades in Arthur, NE

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Madrigal Singers on Broadway

Peru State College's Madrigal Singers

This year's energy-charged Madrigal Singers on Broadway took place on Tuesday evening in Benford Hall and featured Stephen Sondhiem's wonderful music and lyrics from a number of his musicals, including the always and again popular Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street. I am very happy that other responsibilities did not preclude my taking pictures and some video of this year's performance, for last year's date found me out of town.

At any rate, the performance matched the hard work that
Dr. Tom Ediger's group put in to prepare for this non-stop 70 minutes of music and color.

I posted a number of photographs from which everyone can download favorite images from this evening of fine songs.

Following these photographs, you will find a brief (seven minutes) video of the closing numbers from this year's installment of Madrigal Singers on Broadway.

Alpha Chi Induction Ceremony at Peru State College

2007-2008 Alpha Chi Induction Ceremony

On Sunday, April 13, I conducted in Benford Hall, this year's Alpha Chi Induction Ceremony. Enjoy a short slide show of the event.

Alpha Chi, a National Honor Society, celebrates academic achievement in all disciplines and invites only the top 10% of students from the three schools at Peru State College to join. This year, 36 students got inducted in to Alpha Chi--those pictures at the top of this entry took part in the ceremony. Many others could not attend because they attend Peru State on line and live all over the country.

To learn more about Alpha Chi, visit this blog entry about my trip to Indianapolis for an Alpha Chi Executive Council meeting at which we planned next year's National Alpha Chi Conference in that city.

Dr. Spencer Davis and Dr. Mike Barger helped with the short and elegant ceremony.

Next year's Induction Ceremony for undergraduates will take place during the Fall Semester. And at some time in the Spring Semester, Alpha Chi will for the first time induct students from the School of Graduate Studies.

At the following link on my Peru State College homepage, I will add the names of all those inducted and of this year's officers.

2007-2008 Inductees to Alpha Chi

Piano Extravagaza at Peru State College

At 7:00 in the evening on April 12, Dr. Tom Ediger directed this year's Piano Extravaganza that
includes fifteen pianos and 176 players from the very young to the seasoned practitioners.

The Extravaganza began in 1990, and as the slide show available here
indicates, the celebration remains very enthusiastic. At the Gallery site linked in the previous sentence, you can download large files of all the images that appeal to you.

For this performance, the 176 participants, which included Peru State Music students, arrived early in morning and practiced all day long to prepare for the evening's performances.

As the images indicate--and I tried to get as many close-up shots as possible of each
team--the players got divided into eight groups, beginning with the youngest performers. Proud parents and other enthusiastic viewers filled the Peru State Theater for this annual event that provides wonderful entertainment and brings many people from the surrounding area to the Campus of a Thousand Oaks for a day of work and play; the warmth the entertain generated inside contrasted with the snow that spit outside the theater.

To get a feel for the evening's festivities, take a look at the following video that features songs from Groups Six, Seven, and Eight. And watch for next spring's event:

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Trace Trail Celebration

Picture on Canvas in the Peru Museum Window

On Saturday morning, April 12, the Peru Museum featured my photographs of flowers, the Roland Sherman Memorial Area, and Birds of the Trace Trail and Area.

The image that heads this post comes from the window of the museum that showcases a large blowup on cavas one of my photographs of the Trace Trail in high summer--a deer in the distance watches me carefully.

The actual presentation took place from 10:00-11:00 and featured my Trace Trail Trilogy, films that I have worked on since this past October that you will find described at this blog entry

I enjoyed the chance to show the films made from my images and will make this summer and next fall, a similar video for NRD about the entire Trace Trail, a project about which I am very exited.

I also appreciated the large number of people who came to the presentation on a snowy April morning.

The Trace Trail continues to enchant me. You will find a short slide show here of the event dedicated to the memory of Roland and Jean Sherman.

You can also view and even purchase photographs at the Peru Museum--all money collected for the images goes to the Peru Musuem.

Alpha Chi National Council Meeting and 2009 National Convention

April 2-6, I spent at the Hyatt Regency in Indianapolis, attending the Alpha Chi National Council meeting. As Secretary-Treasurer, I serve on the National Council and at the meeting also served as a judge for this National Honor Society's H. Y. Benedict Fellowships of $2,500, of which the society gives a dozen.

Hyatt Regency in Indianapolis

Read more here about Alpha Chi's generous and various scholarships.

In addition, I serve on the Convention Planning Committee. And early next April, Alpha Chi will hold its 2009 National Convention at the Hyatt Regency in Indianapolis; I will supply the specific dates in the near future. When time permitted, I walked around Indianapolis and visited places such as the Eiteljorn Museum of American Indians and Western Art and beautiful Liberty Field, where I watched cross-town rivals Marist College and Butler University play baseball.

All the places I visited, from the monument dedicated to War Veterans pretty much in the city center, to the memorial to Medal of Honor Winners along the beautiful
canal, require only a short walk from the hotel.

I put together a slide show that features many of the attractions the city offers everyone who attends the conference. The pictures presently on my Gallery Collection also includes views from inside
the Hyatt and of the National Council Meeting, featuring all who took part in the meeting--including the new Student Representatives, who play a huge role in organizing the conference.

You can also download any pictures that interest you.

I enjoyed the time in Indianapolis with the council members and believe that Indianapolis offers an excellent environment for next year's Alpha Chi National Convention.

To showcase some of the excellent attractions within a sort walk from the hotel, I created the following video from images you will also find in the slide show. Among other things, I enjoyed the Indianapolis Canal Walk, the Indiana State Museum, the State Building, NCAA Headquarters, the Indiana State Historical Society, and the USS Indianapolis War Memorial, all located along the Canal Walk--you can rent a canal boat; click on the preceding picture of the boat in the canal to get a good idea of what these craft look like.

At the start of the Canal Walk, you will also find White River State Park, a most
pleasant place through which to wander--or you can rent a multiple-person bicycle vehicle with which to explore the area.

Not far from the entrance to the White River State Park, walking over a bridge to the other side of the White River lands you at the
Indianapolis Zoo and, a place that I enjoyed a good deal, the White River Gardens, which features a botanical garden full of all manner of butterflies and a fine place to sit down to watch the whirl of colorful wings of all manner of sizes and colors.

In addition to these and many other features, Indianapolis offers other and interesting fare, from theater to steaks. All to say that I look forward to next year's conference at which those who attend will also have an opportunity to visit the site of the Indianapolis 500.

Take a look at the following brief film made from images I took during breaks at the National Council Meeting.