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Nebraska State High School Basketball Tournament

Three boys and three girls teams our newspaper covers in central Nebraska made it to the semifinal round during the state basketball tournament in Lincoln. Unfortunately all six of those team didn’t make it to the final championship game. Basketball is one of my favorite sports to photograph. I enjoy watching these boys and girls excel on and off the court and there is a lot of support from their communities. It’s not uncommon to see players form a circle hand-in-hand with opposing players and pray after a game. These kids get it and know what sportsmanship is all about.

Scottsbluff’s Gabriel Patton, left, battles for possession of the ball with Aurora’s Thomas Leininger during the Nebraska State Boys Basketball Championships at the Pinnacle Bank Arena Friday. Scottsbluff won 76-67.

Scottsbluff’s Gabriel Patton, left, battles for possession of the ball with Aurora’s Thomas Leininger during the Nebraska State Boys Basketball Championships at the Pinnacle Bank Arena Friday. Scottsbluff won 76-67.

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End of Year 2016 Images

Here are some of my favorite images taken in the latter part of 2016. It’s been a long year and I am looking forward to 2017.

Mark Wickard of Scottsbluff, Neb. talks on his cell phone while standing next to his Cessna, in which, he made an emergency landing on Bluff Center Rd. northwest of Cairo, Neb. Wednesday. The plane rolled back down a hill on a dirt road stopping several feet from railroad tracks.

Mark Wickard of Scottsbluff, Neb. talks on his cell phone while standing next to his Cessna, in which, he made an emergency landing on Bluff Center Rd. northwest of Cairo, Neb. The plane rolled back down a hill on a dirt road stopping several feet from railroad tracks.

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Game Day: Nebraska State Volleyball Tournament Nov. 10-12, 2016

Out of the six states I’ve worked at newspaper publications in I’d have to say Nebraska takes the cake as far as volleyball popularity. These girls play their hearts out and the coaches, student body fans and parents are all part of a collective support system. The level of intensity and talent that I saw this season was unlike any other I can remember.

Hampton celebrates their three straight set victory over WYNOT to capture the Class D2 2016 NSAA State Volleyball Championship at the Devaney Sports Center.

Hampton celebrates their three straight set victory over WYNOT to capture the Class D2 2016 NSAA State Volleyball Championship at the Devaney Sports Center.

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Our Veterans

This is the second post of a Veterans Parade. This one at the Grand Island Veterans Home, in which, Vets were brought out of their residences to watch as the parade. Veterans here in central Nebraska get a lot of recognition for their sacrifices as well as they should.

Alex Xiloj Lopez, a seventh-grader at Walnut Middle School, waves flags in the air while walking in the Veterans Parade along Old Glory Road at the Grand Island Veterans Home.

Alex Xiloj Lopez, a seventh-grader at Walnut Middle School, waves flags in the air while walking in the Veterans Parade along Old Glory Road at the Grand Island Veterans Home.

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Veterans Recognition Parade

So often when photographing a parade a lot of good images can be found at an assemble point before the parade route begins. I still photograph the actual parade, but more often than not I try to get there an hour early. This Veterans Recognition Parade in Hastings, Neb. was one of two Veterans parades I photographed in the area in lieu of Veterans Day. All of us who have our freedoms owe a great deal of gratitude for these servicemen and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

Brandon Woods with Cub Scouts pack 200 carries an American flag over his shoulder in route to the Veterans Recognition Parade in Hastings, Neb.

Brandon Woods with Cub Scouts pack 200 carries an American flag over his shoulder in route to the Veterans Recognition Parade in Hastings, Neb.

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Small Town – Big Time Football

Sometimes the biggest event taking place in a rural town this time of year is a hometown football team hosting a big game hoping to make it to the Nebraska State Football Championships in Lincoln, Neb. Thanksgiving week. Heartland is a consolidated public school in the town of Henderson with a population of under 1,000. The hometown Huskies senior running back Austin Stuhr is the first player in Nebraska history to gain more than 1,000 yards in the first three games of the season. Stuhr also leads the nation in eight-man rushing yards. No small feat.

Signs with Heartland football players names are lined up in front of the school on an unseasonably warm November evening.

Signs with Heartland football players names are lined up in front of the school on an unseasonably warm November evening.

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Fall Favorites

This post pertains to some of my favorite photos I’ve taken this fall season. These particular images are not part of previous posts.

Stylists from Jeffery’s Salon and Spa Kari Chavez, Dawn Westpfahl, Stephanie Roberts, Rebecca Kothe-Eckhardt, Nicole Yarns and Karina Johnston give haircuts inside the Grand Island Evangelical Free Church chapel during Project Homeless Connect.

Stylists from Jeffery’s Salon and Spa Kari Chavez, Dawn Westpfahl, Stephanie Roberts, Rebecca Kothe-Eckhardt, Nicole Yarns and Karina Johnston give haircuts inside the Grand Island Evangelical Free Church chapel during Project Homeless Connect.

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Game Day: Purdue vs. Nebraska Football October 22, 2016

Ranked in the top 10 in national polls Nebraska beat Purdue 27-14 at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Neb. Subsequently, moving up in the national rankings to No. 6 in the Coaches Poll and No. 7 in the AP Poll with a 7-0 record. It wasn’t a considered a pretty win, but a win nonetheless.

Nebraska’s Devine Ozigbo walks through fog onto the field with his teammates at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln.

Nebraska’’s Devine Ozigbo walks through fog (created by fog machines) onto the field with his teammates at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln.

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2016 Harvest of Harmony Parade

Up to 10,000 people converge on the town of Grand Island, Neb. for the 75th annual Harvest of Harmony Parade. There were 107 marching bands from across the state of Nebraska competing in various divisions in a three-hour parade on a perfect sunny and 75 degree fall day.

An enthusiastic drum major, Dalton Elliott of Northwest High School, leads his bandmates along the 2016 Harvest of Harmony Parade route as one of 107 bands participating in Grand Island, Neb.

An enthusiastic drum major, Dalton Elliott of Northwest High School, leads his band mates along the 2016 Harvest of Harmony Parade route as one of 107 bands participating in Grand Island, Neb.

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Game Day: Oregon vs. Nebraska Sept. 17, 2016

Over 90,000 fans watched Nebraska defeat No. 22 ranked Oregon 35-32 in a come from behind upset at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Neb. This game was Nebraska’s 350th consecutive football game sellout which is a record in NCAA history.

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Nebraska cornerback Joshua Kalu jumps high in the air as the Nebraska black shirts defense stops Oregon on third down in the fourth quarter at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Neb.

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Game Day: Nebraska vs. Wyoming Football Saturday, September 10, 2016

I photographed Wyoming Cowboys athletics in the Mountain West Conference for five years while working at The Laramie Boomerang in Laramie, Wyo. In seeing the Cornhuskers 2016 schedule I was excited to see the Cowboys would make an appearance at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln. It was a perfect sunny and 75 degrees day and I ran into old friends making the trip due east on I-80 to cover the game.

The one out front a University of Nebraska Cornhusker Marching Band drum major performs as the band takes the field prior to the Wyoming Cowboys vs. Nebraska Cornhuskers NCAA football game at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln.

The one out front a University of Nebraska Cornhusker Marching Band drum major performs as the band takes the field prior to the Wyoming Cowboys vs. Nebraska Cornhuskers NCAA football game at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln.

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2016 Nebraska State Fair

It’s called Nebraska’s largest classroom, but it’s so much more than that. Grand Island hosted the seventh annual Nebraska State Fair. And for everything going on at once it can be overwhelming, yet a fun challenge. I spent nine of the eleven days at the fair taking in everything it has to offer. A special thank you to my colleague Zach Mayhew for helping with coverage of the fair, but as well as some unrelated assignments. A thank you to R.J. Post (The Grand Island Independent) assistant editor with keeping assignments organized. And a thank you to a couple of our freelancers Jimmy Rash and Lauri Shultz. And copy editors for designing a photo page every day of the fair who were also part of this team effort. Here are some of my fair favorites.

Katie Crecelius of Boston, Mass.,right, falls backwards off a Western Red Cedar log while competing with Sarah Perry in a Timber Tina's World Champion Lumberjills Show at the 2016 Nebraska State Fair.

Katie Crecelius of Boston, Mass., right, falls backwards off a Western Red Cedar log while competing in a log roll with Sarah Perry during a Timber Tina’s World Champion Lumberjills Show at the 2016 Nebraska State Fair.

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Flags and Flowers

Grand Island, Neb. native and Marine Pvt. Dale R. Geddes was given a proper burial at the Grand Island City Cemetery after his remains were discovered and identified 72 years after being killed during World War II Battle of Tarawa in Tarawa, Betio, Kiribati. Geddes casket was taken from Apfel Funeral Home to the cemetery by an original 1872 horse-drawn hearse with full military honors by Detachment I Maintenance Co. Combat Logistics Battalion 451 USMC of Omaha, Neb.

Detachment I Maintenance Company Combat Logistics Battalion 451 USMC Marines from Omaha, Neb are casket bearers for Pvt. Dale R. Geddes. The Marines transport Geddes casket from an 1872 horse-drawn hearse Monday, Aug. 22, 2016 at Grand Island City Cemetery in Grand Island, Neb. Bill Baasch, left, and Derek Apfel, right, stand on either side. (Andrew Carpenean/The Independent via AP)

Detachment I Maintenance Company Combat Logistics Battalion 451 USMC Marines from Omaha, Neb are casket bearers for Pvt. Dale R. Geddes. The Marines transport Geddes casket from an 1872 horse-drawn hearse at Grand Island City Cemetery in Grand Island, Neb. Bill Baasch, left, and Derek Apfel, right, stand on either side.

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Comfort Dogs

Four purebred Golden Retrievers are being trained to become comfort dogs as part of Peace Lutheran Church’s ministry. A training class is held every Thursday as dog handlers take their puppies to church for various training exercises. At the end of class the dogs are rewarded to play.

Dog handler Brad Keasling gives praise to his six-month-old purebred Golden Retriever Dinah during one of several training exercises inside the Peace Lutheran Church sanctuary.

Dog handler Brad Keasling gives praise to his six-month-old purebred Golden Retriever Dinah during one of several training exercises inside the Peace Lutheran Church sanctuary.

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Human Foosball

Human foosball would most likely fall into a category of a weird sport. Weird but, a lot of fun to photograph and fun to play by looking at the faces of those participating. And for a good cause, a fundraiser for a local hospital. Orie Friesen got the idea by seeing it online and built the plywood box which is the playing field. Human foosball was played after a town barbecue in conjunction with Henderson (Neb.) Community Days.

Spencer Friesen, right, kicks the ball during a game of human foosball at Henderson Community Days.

Spencer Friesen, right, kicks the ball during a game of human foosball at Henderson Community Days.

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Summertime Scenes

Here is an update from events I’ve covered lately that’s conducive with summertime.

The Kait Berreckman Band performs during Hear Grand Island at the Railside Plaza on a Friday evening.

The Kait Berreckman Band performs during Hear Grand Island at the Railside Plaza on a Friday evening.

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The Power of Social Media

Hannah Huston became a household name as a finalist on The Voice in the show’s 10th season. Being a Grand Island, Neb. native she attended a homecoming at her former high school, Grand Island Senior High in which a live broadcast was conducted. While on the popular show Hannah became a hit sensation and made a lot of Nebraskans proud. I tweeted a photo of Hannah that included her Twitter account. She re-tweeted it and it went viral.

A screenshot of the Tweet activity is below the main photo which currently has 18,062 impressions (times people saw this Tweet on Twitter) and 1,137 total engagements (times people interacted with this Tweet).

The Voice finalist and Grand Island native Hannah Huston has a selfie taken with Jack Sheard of Grand Island Public Schools during a homecoming at the senior high auditorium Saturday.

The Voice finalist and Grand Island native Hannah Huston has a selfie taken with Jack Sheard of Grand Island Public Schools during a homecoming at the senior high auditorium Saturday.

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Nebraska Truck Driving Championships

Grand Island is host to the Nebraska Truck Driving Championships which is held at Fonner Park. Ninety-eight truckers competed in six stations to show to officials their driving expertise. The stations were simulated as every day circumstances professional drivers face.

Alan Rogers, safety director with Wynne Transport Service, motions for driver Joe Busch to come up to the starting line during the Nebraska Truck Driving Championships at Fonner Park Saturday. Ninety-eight drivers competed in six stations that are simulated challenges drivers face every day.

Alan Rogers, safety director with Wynne Transport Service, motions for driver Joe Busch to come up to the starting line during the Nebraska Truck Driving Championships at Fonner Park Saturday. Ninety-eight drivers competed in six stations that are simulated challenges drivers face every day.

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Fifth Generation Wedding

A recent assignment was to cover a fifth generation wedding in which five brides were all married in the same church, Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran. Once a country church located outside of the town of Hampton, Neb., relocated at the Stuhr Museum in 1966. It was a beautiful ceremony with a young couple.

Mrs. Laura Goodwin and her husband Shawn smile as a couple after getting married at Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church at the Stuhr Museum. (Independent/Andrew Carpenean)

Mrs. Laura Goodwin and her husband Shawn smile as a couple after getting married at Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church at the Stuhr Museum.

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Recent Favorites

Here is a variety of single images taken throughout this spring in central Nebraska.

A Sandhill Crane stretches it's wings a cornfield during an annual migration through central Nebraska.

A Sandhill Crane stretches it’s wings a cornfield during an annual migration through central Nebraska.

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Nebraska State Track & Field Championships

I had an enjoyable and demanding opportunity to photograph a two-day state track & field championship at Omaha Burke High School. It was neat to see the sportsmanship held with rural athletes from opposing schools as I saw just as many teammates embracing as I did certain rivals schools.

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Sand flies as Grand Island’s Mackenzie Puckett lands while competing in the Class A triple jump during finals Saturday. Mackenzie won with a leap of 39-1 1/2.

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Structure Fire

The Winfrey Plumbing and Heating building became fully engulfed in a fire after an explosion on a late Sunday night at 808 W. North Front St. in Grand Island, Neb. This as a result of the business owner, Mike Winfrey, who was making homemade bombs in which he lost his life. Three businesses and a residence were without power because of the fire.

Firefighters gather while battling an overnight fire.

Firefighters gather while battling an overnight fire at  Winfrey Plumbing and Heating at 808 W. North Front St. in Grand Island, Neb.

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Easter Eggstravaganza

One of my many enjoyments and strengths as a photojournalist is going to what may be considered an ordinary event and coming back to the newsroom with good images. I had to improvise a little in which there weren’t many people at the event to start, but also the events were stretched out across the afternoon. Having two other assignments later that afternoon I saw how a small photo essay would come together with a beginning (children and their families constructing devises for an egg drop). Secondly, the egg drop itself from the rooftop of Edgerton Explorit Center and lastly reactionary images as a result.

Kris Yockey, left, helps her granddaughter Micole with preparing an egg for a drop from the Edgerton Explorit Center rooftop during Easter Eggstravaganza in Aurora, Neb.

Kris Yockey, left, helps her granddaughter Micole with preparing an egg for a drop from the Edgerton Explorit Center rooftop during Easter Eggstravaganza in Aurora, Neb.

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2016 Nebraska State Boys Basketball Championships

The Nebraska State Activities Association held the state boys basketball championships in Lincoln, Neb. Our publication The Grand Island Independent cover city and area teams that make the three-day tournament. The event can make for some early mornings and very late nights depending on timeframes within the bracket. It’s can be a lot of fun, but also very draining. However, I appreciate the opportunity to go as there are any number of newspapers in my past that don’t cover the finals or hire a freelancer. Arriving back home at 2 A.M. on my second wind I realize it’s all worth it. Here are some of my favorites:

The arena lights are turned off as part of a pregame effect and Adams Central students use their cell phones to illuminate the darkness during the NSAA State Boys Basketball Championship game against Bishop Neumann at the Pinnacle Bank Arena Saturday. Bishop Neumann won 63-54.

The arena lights are turned off as part of a pregame effect and Adams Central students use their cell phones to illuminate the darkness during the NSAA State Boys Basketball Championship game against Bishop Neumann at the Pinnacle Bank Arena Saturday. Bishop Neumann won 63-54.

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