When Chris Twibell left the Winnetoon branch of the Brunswick State Bank, he never thought he’d be back.
The Orchard High School alum spent the first five years after graduating from Dakota Wesleyan University at Winnetoon before taking a banking job in Chambers. But 12 years ago, Twibell returned as president and has increased its assets by about $100 million.
“If you would have told me we’d grow to have $130 million (in assets) when I walked in the door almost 12 years ago, I would have laughed,” he admitted.
Twibell said he attributes the growth to the new ownership looking for business and being competitive. Twibell has been with the organization since shortly after it was purchased by the current owners.
“We strive to have good customer service and take care of our customers. They’re our bread and butter,” he said. “We have a different mentality and became a bank.”
Twibell said under new owners the bank became more aggressive in deposits and more competitive with rates. They’ve also diversified their loans and offer commercial and real estate loans, besides agriculture and auto loans.
“We’re trying to show that we can provide you with what you get with the big boys,” he said. “It’s all a balancing act trying to get the right mix.”
Twibell said it was a learning curve as he moved into the presidency. Much has changed under Twibell’s leadership, especially on the digital side of banking.
Although the Brunswick State Bank is located in two small communities, the bank offers online banking and bill pay, something not many small banks offer.
“I’d say 99 percent of people who open an account, that’s the first thing they want to know is how do they get online and what can they do,” Twibell said. “I don’t know if it’s driven a lot of business, but it’s kept a lot of business.”
Another high-tech option customers are taking advantage of, Twibell said, is remote deposits.
“We offer remote deposit for businesses, where they can deposit right from their computers. We provide the scanner, and it’s handy for remote customers,” he said.
Twibell is quick to credit his staff with the organization’s growth and for the technology the bank offers.
“We’re fortunate to have a good staff. They have the expertise and put the time in to make sure we have the right vendors. We’re pretty lucky to have the staff that we do,” Twibell said.
In 2017, the Brunswick State Bank celebrated its 100th anniversary.
“It’s hard to believe a bank in Brunswick has been around for more than 100 years and more successful now than it has been in a long time,” he said. “Winnetoon is also an active branch. Things are going in the right direction.”
Tim and Aaron Nielsen should have coached against one another at wrestling districts. Instead the assistant coaches — Tim of Creighton and Aaron of Randolph — faced off on a more historic mat.
The father and son coached against one another during the Class D 170-pound state championship match as Noah Scott of Randolph defeated Bryce Zimmerer of Creighton. Aaron, an assistant at Randolph, claimed the win over his father, Tim, as assistant at Creighton.
“He’s a pretty calm guy. He taught me to be calm,” Aaron said about his father. “Just focus on the match. We’ve been coaching against each other since I was at Wayne, so we’ve been coaching against each other for eight years now.”
This season marked Tim’s 30th year coaching at Creighton. The Bulldogs are no strangers to the state tournament, and even Aaron made three trips to state wearing a Creighton singlet in his youth — placing fifth at 171 pounds as a junior and third at 189 as a senior, finishing with a 125-40 record.
The pair would have met on opposite sides of the mat during district finals between Scott and Zimmerer, but Aaron’s wife, Jill, was delivering their twins.
“They were born early Saturday morning, so I didn’t make it to districts at all,” Aaron said.
But a week to the day of becoming a father, Aaron sat across the mat from his father. It was no surprise to Tim.
“We figured it might work out this way, even coming from the same district,” he said. “It’s an added incentive between us, that’s for sure. There’s been some ribbing back and forth.”
It was an evenly-match championship with Scott edging Zimmerer for the title. Tim said both wrestlers were incredible athletes and it could have gone either way.
When Scott and Zimmerer faced each other in the state championship match, it was the sixth time they had met this season.
“Two years ago, when they were both sophomores, Noah went 0-6 against him. Then, they both tore their ACLs and neither of them wrestled last year,” Aaron said.“That was pretty good for him (Noah) to do that this year. To never beat him (Bryce) until the conference meet and then go 4-2 against him.”
There was no hard feelings between the two after the match. The three generations even celebrated the next day in the hospital.
“The very next day, we both went up to Yankton to see the kids and we each were holding one, talking about the finals match the next day. So that was pretty neat,” Aaron said.
The Creighton Historical Center has been moving and shaking a few bricks lately.
A hole in the wall was gently and slowly created last week between the Historic Center Building on main street and the adjoining former Farnik’s Shoeland Building.
A larger opening was completed by the Scott Fuchtman masonry crew with Milne Electric from Center moving the wiring. A fireproof door was installed last week and will help save on utility costs and provide a fire barrier Virginia Buerman, the building committee chair stated.
The Farnik building was purchased by the center recently after a late 2018 campaign began to raise funds for the expansion.
The goal of $50,000 has recently “put the effort within reach,” said Burerman, treasure for the campaign.
Buerman had applied and received a $1,000 Knox County tourism grant and with many donations and individual interest, funds are being received.
The present museum space has been outgrown and crowded and with this purchase space will more than double.
Members are sponsoring a hole in the wall luncheon/fundraiser on Friday, Feb. 22. Taverns, scalloped potatoes, bars and drinks will be served from the former Farnik building from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. This will be a free will offering. Funds will be used for renovations of the building and general upkeep.
Stop in on Friday to see the before space, have lunch and see what and why this group is excited about the future.
For 12 years this very active organization has had a vision of “preserving the past for the future,” stated Bev. Schwindt, president-elect.
The Center will take ownership of the building April 1 with the final payment to Jim and Merna Farnik. The Farnik’s have also been active members of the Historical Center and have been long time contributers to the success of the organization.
Soil quality remains high on Sen. Tim Gragert’s radar as the legislative session continues.
The District 40 representative from Creighton spoke during a town hall meeting on Friday at Creighton Community Schools, spending much time on LB 243 — his bill which proposes to create the Healthy Soils Task Force.
“Having worked with the Natural Resources Conservation Service for more than 30 years, I have a deep interest in soil health and water quality,” Gragert said. “Healthy soils are fundamental for the healthy and sustainable food production.”
Gragert said the bill proposes to create a healthy soil task force that would consist of the director of the department of agriculture or his designee and the following members appointed by the governor—two representatives from NRD, two academic experts in agriculture and natural resources, five from production agriculture (producers), two from agri-business and two from environmental organizations.
“The purpose of LB 243 is to promote a widespread use of healthy soil practices among farm and ranch owners and operators in Nebraska in order to improve the health, yield and profitability of the soil; increase its carbon sequestration capacity and improve water quality,” Gragert said.
He said the task force would develop a healthy soil mission statement as well as an action plan to carry out the initiative.
Gragert, who spent 40 years in the military and was deployed to the Middle East four times, retired in 2017.
He said LB 243 is one of 739 bills introduced this session and is now in the hands of the natural resource committee, which is one of two committees Gragert serves on. He also serves on the banking, commerce and insurance committee.
Gragert told those in attendance that as a rookie senator, he has a lot to learn in a short amount of time.
“It’s like I’m a freshman and soon to turn 16,” he said.
The Knox County Farm Bureau will host a town hall meeting with Sen. Tim Gragert of District 40 and Tony Baker Legislative Aid to Sen. Tom Brewer. The town hall meeting will take place Fri., Feb. 15, from 5-7:00 p.m. at Creighton Public School in Creighton. The meeting is free and open to the public.
Sen. Gragert and Mr. Baker will answer questions from constituents and give an update on their work at the Legislature and what to expect during the upcoming legislative session. The meeting will also allow District 40 constituents to meet and visit personally with Sen. Gragert.
“We are excited to hold a town hall meeting for Sen. Gragert and the constituents in District 40,” said Amber Endres, president of Knox County Farm Bureau. “The town hall meeting will allow citizens to ask questions that matter to them and hear responses from Sen. Gragert.”
For questions, please contact Amber Endres, president, Knox County Farm Bureau, (402) 841-2720 or Jason Kvols, Northeast regional manager, (402) 360-0112.
Creighton Public Library will be hosting a cemetery Q&A on Monday, February 4 at 7 p.m. Everything you wanted to know about cemeteries and were too afraid to ask. For example, Why do we bury six foot under? Why do we wear black to funerals? Are cemeteries really haunted? Do all headstones face east? These and many more questions will be answered by Judy Carlson of Wausa (formerly of Creighton). She will talk about burial customs and the strange myths that put into motion some of the same burial rituals we still do today. She will present a slideshow of many of the unusual headstones that she has researched around the country and in other countries. Judy has spent years researching cemeteries and has a few ghost stories to tell as well. Many humorous and famous epitaphs will be shared.
The Creighton Community School will be dismissing at 12:30 p.m. today due to the inclement weather that is scheduled to hit the area.
There will be no afternoon junior kindergarten classes or any activities tonight, including Creighton's basketball game at Elkhorn Valley which will be rescheduled to a different day.
Students who are driving need permission from a parent/guardian before driving from school.
Stay locked in to KCN for any other updates on cancellations or postponements.