Observations all along the line - Kimball & the Southern Panhandle First

Articles written by Jim Orr

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  • Bushnell Gets Some YouTube Time

    Jim Orr, The Observer|Feb 1, 2024

    Little Bushnell is getting some big attention. Big Rig attention. The Kimball County village, population 115, has been a place of interest on three Big Rig Travels/YouTube videos that about 54,800 viewers watched from last Thursday through Tuesday. BigRigSteve (real name Stephen Michaels), the trucker star of Big Rig Travels for 16 years, even spent a night outside Bushnell. He had little choice. A tire on BigRigSteve's semi-trailer truck blew out heading westbound on I-80 out of Kimball that...

  • A Look At Area Offices Up For Election In 2024

    Jim Orr, The Observer|Jan 11, 2024

    The Kimball County campaign season is underway at this early date for the May 14 primary. Challenger David R. Hottell (not the sheriff) and incumbent Carl Stander are off and running. They already have filed as Republicans in the election for a seat on the county Board of Commissioners. No other candidate filings were received at the county courthouse as of Monday, but a good many area positions are up for election in 2024. The Kimball County Clerk’s Office provided this list of those positions, the incumbents and term lengths: • Kimball...

  • Operation Christmas Child Grows Significantly Here

    Jim Orr, The Observer|Jan 4, 2024

    Pastor Roger Gillming and Kathy Welfl, volunteer leaders with Operation Christmas Child in the Nebraska Panhandle, expressed gratitude to all who helped “this amazing ministry” grow significantly in the region this past Christmas season. Gillming and Welfl said 572 more shoeboxes were filled this year than last year thanks to assistance in the goodwill effort from volunteers, the Observer and other media. “With your help, 3,372 shoeboxes from the Panhandle were filled (with donations) and delivered to our central drop-off site in...

  • Big Mike Takes Another Career Step

    Jim Orr, The Observer|Dec 28, 2023

    Longhorns basketball legend Mike Daum, who turned 28 on Oct. 30, is still moving up. Daum has joined the high-level Anadolu Efes of the Turkish Basketball Super League and the EuroLeague after the Bertram Derthona team in Italy released him from his contract so he could try to further his career. This follows the Dauminator's fine performance in the 2023 NBA Summer League with the Sacramento Kings. "It was not easy to make this decision," Bertram Derthona president Marco Picchi said on the team...


    Jim Orr, The Observer|Dec 21, 2023

    Edith Dee Hall's gravestone at Kimball Cemetery is inscribed, simply, with 1897-1971. What's important, though, is not the birth and death years on one's grave marker. It's that dash between the years. It's how a person lived during the dash – and Edith Dee Hall lived quite the dash. She might be the most accomplished Kimball native that Kimball doesn't know much, if anything, about. "It's not every day that a little girl from Kimball, Nebraska, helps change the way surgery is done around the...

  • Busy Week For Horns After Nice Start

    Jim Orr, The Observer|Dec 7, 2023

    Kimball Longhorns boys basketball is looking good. The Horns continue the busy pre-Christmas stretch of their schedule this week after opening the season 2-0 with convincing wins over Bayard and Leyton. Next up for Kimball were Garden County in this week's Dec. 5 home opener, then games at Perkins County on Dec. 8, at home against Morrill on Dec. 9, and then Dec. 15 at Hershey. JV games open the action at 4:30 p.m. at Perkins County, 3 p.m. against Morrill, and 2 p.m. at Hershey. Here are...

  • Kimball Basketball On To Bayard, Leyton

    Jim Orr, The Observer|Nov 30, 2023

    The 2023-24 basketball seasons continue today, Nov. 30, at Bayard for the Kimball Longhorns and Lady Longhorns after their Nov. 27 debuts at the Hall of Fame Jamboree in Alliance. Both squads get right back at it Friday, Dec. 1, with a trip to Leyton to take on the Warriors. Their home seasons open next Tuesday, Dec. 5, when Garden County comes to K-Town. Play begins at 4 p.m. with JV action on all those dates. Both Kimball varsity teams look to build on their showings at Alliance, where they we...

  • Kimball FFA: A District Leader

    Jim Orr, The Observer|Nov 23, 2023

    Kimball FFA showed well – among the best – Nov. 15 during the District 12 Leadership Contest at Chadron State College. The top three finishers in each category qualified for the state contest in Lincoln next April – and Kimball was among the highest overall leaders in qualifiers. Potter-Dix and Banner County FFA chapters added to the southern Panhandle's fine showing with their own qualifiers. Hundreds of FFA students from 20 schools participated. Here are this area's state qualifiers:...

  • Rebuild Year For Football Program Ends Friday In Bayard

    Jim Orr, The Observer|Oct 12, 2023

    The Kimball Longhorns travel to Bayard on Friday, Oct. 13, for a matchup of football teams tied for third place with 1-2 records in D1 District 11. Both teams are 2-5 overall entering this 2023 season finale. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. Kimball has dropped two straight and scored 140 points and allowed 358 on the season. Bayard has lost three straight and scored 232 points and allowed 291 on the season. The Tigers came up short last week, 36-34, in a non-league game against Cambridge, while the Horns l...

  • Open House Oct. 11 At Kimball Fire Hall

    Jim Orr, The observer|Oct 5, 2023

    The Kimball Volunteer Fire Department invites the public to its annual open house celebration from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 11, at the fire hall, 200 W. 2nd St. KVFD members will provide a light supper and refreshments to show appreciation for the community's support. The event also is in conjunction with National Fire Prevention Week from Oct. 8 to 14. Free will donations will be accepted during the open house. They also can be sent to Kimball Volunteer Fire Department, c/o Jordan...

  • New Hospital On Track For Dec. 22 Completion

    Jim Orr, The Observer|Sep 28, 2023

    Folks visiting for Farmers Day weekend will see a dramatically changed landscape on the old West Elementary School grounds. Construction of Kimball's new $43.6 million hospital there is on track for completion by Dec. 22, Kimball Health Services community relations director Kerry Ferguson told the Observer. Jeff Van Es, project manager with Haselden Construction, said last week that the project is 85 percent complete. The facility is 61,200 square feet in size. Finish work has begun, Ferguson...


    Jim Orr, The Observer|Sep 7, 2023

    Lincoln Highway painters Jessica Rocha, left, and Jaime Bright were back at it on Labor Day, laboring to highlight the historic old roadway that runs throught these parts with a fresh coat of red, white and blue. Last week, their painting posse gave Kimball's corner of Chestnut and 2nd the Lincoln Highway makeover. This week, they painted the bridge, shown above, on the west end of Bushnell and north side of the tunnels. It was part of the original Lincoln Highway route – and now it's a...

  • New Year Opens With New Faces At Banner County School

    Jim Orr, The Observer|Aug 31, 2023

    Banner County School opened the new academic year with a number of new staff members and the distinction of being the first Panhandle school to establish the JAG NE program for students to explore career options. Superintendent Evelyn Browne told the Observer on Tuesday that JAG NE, which stands for Jobs for American Graduates Nebraska, is a program supported by United Way of the Midlands. Browne said JAG NE students in grades 7-12 take part in problem-based learning activities to help them explore career options, identify interests, and...

  • More Water Woes For City

    Jim Orr, The Observer|Aug 17, 2023

    The aging process for Kimball's old water system is showing again. This time it happened when a small leak in a 1-inch waterline under 2nd Street, which goes to the fire hall, became a big problem. City crews tried to turn off a water valve Friday at 2nd and Chestnut streets so they could make repairs, but the valve broke and started spewing water, Mayor John Morrision told the Observer. He said since all the water was going into a sewer and not damaging businesses, the decision was made to not...

  • Game On For Longhorns, Wildcats, Coyotes

    Jim Orr, The Observer|Aug 17, 2023

    Go time is here for Longhorns, Coyotes and Wildcats. High school and junior high fall sports seasons open this coming week for this area's cross country, football, girls golf and volleyball teams. Here are the schedules for Kimball, Potter-Dix and Banner County through the first full week of September. Kimball Aug. 18, 2023 Tailgate Sports Kickoff. Volleyball scrimmage at 5:30 p.m., cross country showcase at 5:45, golf showcase at 6:30 and football scrimmage at 7. Aug. 21, 6 p.m., football,...

  • Event To Help Small Businesses Succeed During Sentinel Project

    Jim Orr, The Observer|Aug 3, 2023

    Kimball City Administrator Annette Brower has distributed information about the next STAR Roundtable session to help small businesses make the most of working with the federal govvernment and large contractors during the Sentinel missile project. The idea is to strategize. STAR is an acronym for Strategic Team Alliance Roundtable. The roundtable – a webinar being hosted by the Wyoming SBDC – will hegin 8 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 10. Small business representatives will be able to connect with panelists successfully performing as prime and... Full story

  • Daum Finishes Well In NBA Shot

    Jim Orr, The Observer|Jul 20, 2023

    Mike Daum finished the NBA Summer League playing well enough to stay in the conversation for making a regular season NBA roster with the Sacramento Kings, his summer team, or another franchise that liked what it saw in the Dauminator. On July 11, Daum scored 22 points for the Kings against the Chicago Bulls. He scored on 5 of 9 three-point shots and brought in seven rebounds. On July 13 against the Minnesota Timberwolves, he had 8 points, but shot under 20 percent, and 4 rebounds. On July 15... Full story

  • Daum's Summer Gig: NBA

    Jim Orr, The Observer|Jul 13, 2023

    The Dauminator is back in the states playing ball. The Sacramento Kings signed the Kimball basketball legend to their roster for the 2023 NBA Summer League. The 6-9 Daum, also a double-digit scorer with Derthona Basket in the Italian LBA league, plays center with the Kings and scored 6 points in the team’s 80-70 loss Monday to the Los Angeles Clippers in Las Vegas. He hit a pair of 3-pointers and contributed four rebounds, two assists and two blocks. Daum, now 27 and 235 pounds, continues to... Full story

  • Annexation On City's Front Burner Next Week

    Jim Orr, The Observer|Jun 15, 2023

    The Kimball City Council has two special meetings scheduled for next week to address and possibly approve the annexation of land along Highway 71 south of the city where Clean Harbors proposes a 60-acre, 120-lot housing development to help accommodate added workers due to its expansion. The first meeting is scheduled to begin 4 p.m. Wednesday, June 21, at the City Council Chambers. The main item on the agenda is the second reading of Ordinance 821 to annex the land. A public comment period also is on the agenda, but any comments would be for... Full story


    Jim Orr and Daria Anderson-Faden, The Observer|May 25, 2023

    Kimball's Memorial Day observance will begin at 10 a.m. Monday at the Kimball Cemetery. The VFW also will serve burgers and fixings at their hall at 227 South Chestnut. Donations will be accepted for the meal. Kimball resident and Kimball High School social studies teacher Matthew Shoup will be the speaker for 2023 service. Shoup served in the Army for 10 years with the 101st Airborne. He was deployed to Afghanistan from 2001-02 and Iraq from 2003-04. Shoup spent another year in Iraq with the... Full story

  • Horns, Coyotes Make All-State

    Jim Orr, The Observer|May 11, 2023

    A dozen students from Kimball and Potter-Dix high schools made the grade this spring on a statewide list for excelling in academics and activities. The Nebraska School Activities Association released the names of students who received the Spring 2023 Nebraska Chiropractic Physicians Association Academic All-State Awards. Here they are: Kimball Boys Golf – Kyler Lusche, Landon Norberg. Music – Charlotte Hargreaves, Emma Patterson. Boys Track & Field – Justin Klosterman, Xavier Thomas Lewis. Girls Track & Field – Grace Anderson, Julia...

  • Broomfield Has Medical Emergency In Mexico

    Jim Orr, The Observer|Mar 23, 2023

    Dr. James Broomfield, a familiar name in Kimball healthcare circles, is recovering after suffering a medical emergency while on vacation in Mexico, according to a statement from his clinic. Broomfield most recently has practiced at Hometown Medical Group in Kimball, formerly known as Arrow Medical before a recent change of direction, and before that he was at Kimball Health Services. In a statement provided to the Observer, Hometown Medical said Broomfield would be “out of clinic for an... Full story

  • Late 2023 Completion Still Expected

    Jim Orr, The Observer|Mar 9, 2023

    Kimball Health Services still expects its new $43.5 million hospital to be completed in late 2023, but this winter's severe weather has slowed construction work that's now past the halfway point, KHS told the Observer. "Due to extreme cold and snow, construction crews were unable to work for seven to 10 days in the last few months, said Troy Kurz, KHS facilities director and project manager. The new structure fills much of the city block that was home to West Elementary School for so many...

  • Bob Pinkerton Dies

    Jim Orr, The Observer|Jan 26, 2023

    Bob Pinkerton, a giant in the world of community newspapering and a pillar of his own community in Kimball, has died. The former Western Nebraska Observer editor and publisher died at the age of 90 in Anthem, Ariz., where he lived in retirement. Mr. Pinkerton owned the Observer from 1962 to 1993, when he sold the Kimball paper to his daughter, Sherry. Under his direction, the Observer was a force in the glory days of print journalism, winning seven national newspaper awards and 71 state... Full story

  • Another Midweek Storm For Kimball

    Jim Orr, The Observer|Jan 19, 2023

    Here we go again. Another midweek dose of severe winter weather was forecast for Kimball County and surrounding areas this week. The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning and forecast on Tuesday that 6 to 9 inches of snow could hit the area. Some other forecasts called for more snow. The City of Kimball made changes Tuesday morning in anticipation of the storm, canceling its 5:30 p.m. Tuesday City Council meeting due to the forecast – and also a lack of quorum of council members available to attend the meeting. In... Full story

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