Nebraska Through Song and Story

157The North Platte Public Library’s second Celebrate Nebraska 150 brown bag program is a historical music program at 12:00 PM on Thursday, January 19th.  This free program,  Nebraska Through Song and Story by Dan Holtz,

is part of the Humanities Nebraska Speakers bureau.  Room space is limited to 70, so please call the library at 535-8036, Ext. 3310 to make seat reservations.


Nebraska has not only a rich tradition in literature but also a rich, less-publicized tradition in music. Dan Holtz interweaves songs, accompanied on guitar and harmonica, with excerpts from works by Willa Cather, John Neihardt, Mari Sandoz, and Bess Streeter Aldrich. In a narrative from about 1850 to 1904, he tells the stories of the people who came to and through early Nebraska, the pioneers who crossed the overland trails, the settlers and the Native Americans. Dan plays original songs he composed as well as historic folk songs from the late 1800’s.


Funding for the 2017 Brown Bag programs is provided by Humanities Nebraska, the Nebraska Cultural Endowment, Friends of the Library, the North Platte Public Library, and the Faith Fisher Memorial Fund.


Dan Holtz is a recently retired professor of English from Peru State College in southeast Nebraska, where he taught from 1987 to 2016.  He is a past president of the Nebraska State Historical Society Board of Trustees and a member of the Nebraska 150 Nebraska Foundation, which is helping to plan the Sesquicentennial celebration/commemoration for 2017.  He is also a recipient of the Nebraska State College System Teaching Excellence Award and the Addison E. Sheldon Memorial Award for the preservation and interpretation of Nebraska history.


Dr. Holtz has presented his musical, historical, story-telling programs hundreds of times all across the state, including performances at the State Capitol, the Bob Devaney Sports Center, Chimney Rock, Scottsbluff National Monument, and Ft. Robinson.   He also performed on the Millennium Stage at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., for Nebraska State Day in 1999, and, along with the band Flatwater Highway, has produced a CD of his music titled All Original, All Nebraska.  He will have copies of this CD at his program.


In 2004, he was a bonus-round winner on the Wheel of Fortune television game show.  He lives in Nebraska City with his wife, Alice.


North Platte’s Country Bluegrass Festival is sponsoring a bake sale on January 14 from 10am to 2pm at the Platte River Mall, 1000 S. Dewey. Not only will there be a variety of baked goods for sale, customers will also have the opportunity to purchase tickets for the Bluegrass Festival!

The North Platte Country Bluegrass Festival is scheduled for April 27 – 29 at the Lincoln County Fairgrounds. Headliners include The Spinney Brothers, Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver, Little Roy and Lizzy Show, Bluegrass Mountaineers, Kathy Kallick Band, the Baker Family, and Back Country.

West Roundhouse at Union Pacific Railroad in North Platte

West Roundhouse at Union Pacific Railroad in North Platte

The North Platte Public Library is joining Nebraska’s 150 Years of Statehood Celebration with special programs throughout 2017. Their noon Brown Bag Series kicks off at 12:00 PM on Thursday, January 12th with “Iron Horse Stables: The History of the North Platte Railroad Roundhouses.” Kaycee, a library staff member, will share the history of the Union Pacific roundhouses in North Platte, illustrating her talk with historical photos, which she has found through extensive research. All programs are free to the public but the library requests seat reservations. Please call the library at 535-8036, ext. 3310 to reserve your seats.

The history of the roundhouses began when the Union Pacific reached the confluence of the North and South Platte rivers 150 years ago. General Grenville Dodge, the chief engineer, platted the city for the coming of the railroad, initially ordering a bridge to be built across the North Platte River.

The first buildings to go up were temporary — a warehouse, bunkhouses, a wash house and mess hall. Wells were dug and a large windmill and water tank were built for the railroad crews. The first permanent, and most important, building to be constructed in town was the roundhouse, which could turn locomotive engines around, so they could go back east. That roundhouse, located near the middle of town, served Union Pacific for 50 years. It was also used at times as a shelter for the town’s residents when a catastrophic storm or fire threatened. Ironically, that first building blew down in a wind storm in 1885 and had to be rebuilt. A final roundhouse was built and put in service 1913, relegating the former roundhouse to a storage building. This building was used through the 1960s. The massive roundhouses were integral features of North Platte for nearly 100 years.


Local business experts will share their tips and techniques to repair and improve your home. On Saturday, January 7th at 10:00 a.m. at the North Platte Public Library, Nicky Weitzel, manager at the North Platte Sherwin-Williams store will talk about the difference between paint brands and types, share tips on painting techniques and the fastest way to paint a room.

Sponsored by Habitat for Humanity, the Lincoln County Community Development Corporation and the North Platte Public Library.

skate-nightThe staff of Maranatha Bible Camp invites your family to Community Skate Night! Camp Maranatha is located at 16800 E Maranatha Rd Maxwell.

January through April, Friday nights from 6:30 to 9:30 pm, the gym transforms into a roller skating rink for the whole family to enjoy. Don’t have skates? No worries! They are stocked with sizes from toddler clip-ons to men’s 13.

At the back of the gym, the 30 ft. climbing wall will be open and ready for scaling. Through the hall to the south, the Maranatha Center houses a bounce castle, games including 9-square-in-the-air and gaga ball, and a large space for kids to run around and play. Refreshments are available for purchase at the snack bar in the gym.

The cost is $6 per person, ages 4 and under are free.

When you arrive at Maranatha Bible Camp, please park on the south or west side of the Dining Hall and enter past the pergola through the south doors.

For more information call (308) 582-4513.

One of the top hypnotists in the business will perform at North Platte Community College on Jan. 17.

Dr. Jim Wand is known as a living legend in the world of hypnosis – thanks in part to his background in psychology, sociology, counseling and neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) coupled with his many years of experience. He’s spent the past three decades as a clinician, stage performer, trainer and mentor.

Wand performs more than 200 shows throughout the U.S. every year. He has worked with eight NFL teams and numerous celebrities, including Jay Leno, George Strait, Conan O’Brien, Chris Rock, Jeff Probst, Sylvester Stallone and Michael Jordan.

Wand was featured on the FOX special, “WOW,” and on “Judge Joe Brown,” and has made numerous appearances on the Discovery Channel, Comedy Central, ABC, NBC and CBS.

He is a regular at casinos, clubs, colleges and corporate events. More than 95 percent of his bookings are either repeats or referrals. Wand’s performance in North Platte will be his fourth at NPCC.

“Dr. Jim Wand puts on a great show time after time,” said Augie Sanchez, NPCC assistant director of housing. “He always keeps performances new and fresh, leaving audience members in awe, laughing hysterically and wanting more.”

Wand’s performance will begin at 7 p.m. in the McDonald-Belton Theater on NPCC’s South Campus, 601 W. State Farm Road. It is free and open to the public.

Come celebrate the New Years with a first day hike. Enjoy the beauty of the Buffalo Bill SRA while grabbing a few new caches that will only be available that day. This is a great event for beginners to experienced geocachers, groups to the individual cacher. Meet at the picnic shelter located in the SRA at 2pm to begin this journey. A piece of paper will be handed out with the caches GPS coordinates, along with questions that can only be found in the caches.

For those who are new to the experience, expert cachers will be on sight to help guide you to the caches and explain what to expect during a caching adventure. Once the hike is completed, join us for some prizes, hot coco, and roast a marshmallow or two around a campfire, sharing stories of geocaching experiences and adventures.

Please bring:
– GPS or Smartphone. For those who are just beginning a GPS app can be downloaded on to your phone.
– Water
– Pencil/Pen
– Trackables are permitted (A tag with a unique code that can be attached to an item. The trackable is then carried from cache to cache (or person to person) in the real world, and its progress can be followed on

– Swag, optional (swag is tradeable items to put into the caches onces you find it).

This event is outdoors which means please dress warm and appropriate (you might be walking through snow) for the weather… this is Nebraska!!

You do not need to be part of the geocaching community to participate. This event can be done with just a smartphone and a GPS app that can be downloaded for free. More information on geocaching can be found at

Here’s what we know so far about local celebrations ringing in 2017!

The Dappermen Society is hosting a Masquerade Ball at Another Round Sports Bar and Grill, 1008 West 18th Street. The evening starts at 7pm with social hour and all night hors d’oeuvres. Dinner will be served at 8pm. Following dinner enjoy dancing. Tickets are $80 per couple or $50 per individual.


Enjoy a family celebration at Wild Bill’s Wings and Bowling with a dance party, laser tag, arcade, bowling and more!


Sculley’s Shooters will be hosting their third annual Masquerade Ball!


Get a jump on breaking your New Year’s resolutions at the Longhorn Bar in Sutherland.


Ring in the New Year high above North Platte’s Bailey Yard at the Golden Spike Tower. Tickets include food, beverages and party favors.

A unique twist on a holiday tradition. Enjoy ringing in the New Year from 8 stories up, overlooking the world’s largest rail yard. The first floor of the tower includes appetizers and games throughout the night, while the music and lights shine bright on the 8th floor for dancing and fun.

Food, beverages & party favors are all included.

$50 per person/ $75 for a pair. Special discounts for YouGEN members. Must be 21 years of age or older. Valid ID is required at the door.