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Feb 17
NPCC choir concert will focus on love

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"Love" will be the theme of an upcoming choir concert hosted by the North Platte Community College music department. 

The concert is scheduled for 7 p.m. March 3 in the McDonald-Belton Theater on NPCC's south campus, 601 W. State Farm Rd. The event is free and open to the public. 

"Our concert will be a very enjoyable evening for all who come," said Kristin Simpson, interim music instructor. "It has music for the hopeless romantic – longing, heartbreak, sacred love, a bit of comedic love – even songs about loving the weekend and our beautiful nature. The audience will have their emotions brought to the surface by the gorgeous melodies and energetic rhythms." 

Simpson will direct the choirs, and Jennifer Winder will serve as the collaborative accompanist. 

The performers are as follows. A * denotes Select Choir members. 


Emilee Gibson* - North Platte

Chelsea Leal* - North Platte

Lisa Pickett* - North Platte 


Christian Bartling* - North Platte

Bryce Grothman - Venango

Brandon Montgomery - Maxwell

Christopher Terry* - Grant 


Grace Ford* - Cody

Elizabeth Goentzel – North Platte

Alex McConnell - Paxton

Ashtyn Winder – North Platte 


Austin Leal – North Platte

Dylan Rogge* - Fairbury

Feb 17
New program combines nursing assistant/ESL instruction

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A new offering at Mid-Plains Community College will help non-native English speakers improve their communication skills and train for jobs as nursing assistants. 

"This is something we've been working toward for about nine months," said Robin Rankin, area director of Adult Education. "We've already had two area businesses come forward in support." 

Both the Linden Court nursing home in North Platte and Imperial Manor nursing home in Imperial have agreed to cover the cost of the course for some of their employees. 

Individuals don't have to be employed with one of the nursing homes or have previous experience in health care to take advantage of the program, however. It's open to almost anyone with limited English-speaking skills who is interested in becoming a nursing assistant. 

"Students do have to have some proficiency in English to be accepted into the program," said Renee Miller, area Adult Education instructor. "There's a pre-assessment they complete to determine their level of English. They have to be at level five or higher." 

That's because there is no translation during the nursing assistant portion of the program. All materials are also in English. 

"Basically, what we're doing is providing support with the English language and helping them if they don't understand a particular term," Miller said. "We have a distance learning curriculum that is designed to support nursing assistants, and it will be used to supplement learning. Students can access it at home or in the classroom." 

Students will spend a minimum of 76 hours in nursing assistant training and up to 16 hours per week in an English as a Second Language class. 

Exams will be a combination of written and hands-on skills. Students will be responsible for taking the nursing assistant certification test on their own. 

Financial assistance may be available for qualified applicants to help cover the cost of the nursing assistant instruction. The ESL portion of the program is free. 

Those interested in applying for the program can contact the Adult Education office at (308) 535-3637.

Feb 17
MPCC well-represented at “Trek Up the Tower”


Four members of Mid-Plains Community College's employee wellness program participated in the Trek Up the Tower: Presented by The Wellbeing Partners in Omaha on Saturday. They ran up the First National Bank Tower, a 634-foot, 45-story skyscraper in support of the Wellbeing Partners' mission to build wellbeing into the way communities grow and do business. 

Pictured left to right are MPCC employees: Amy Sabatka, area career placement coordinator; Erika Kampschnieder, area financial aid specialist; Bobbi Muehlenkamp, area director of Learning Commons and Jessica Sylte, Project HELP success coach. 

Kampschnieder placed 121st out of 1,208 competitors with a time of 7 minutes 56 seconds. In the women's division, she was 19th out of 673, and in her age division, she was fourth out of 86. 

The team trained at the Golden Spike Tower in North Platte leading up to the Trek. It was the first Trek for Kampschnieder, Sylte and Sabatka and the second for Muehlenkamp.

Feb 17
Tony Marsden wins MCC's 21st annual Dick Driml chili cookoff

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Tony Marsden was named top chef at Saturday's 21st annual Dick Driml Chili Cookoff held in the auxiliary gymnasium at the Peter and Dolores Graff Events Center at McCook Community College.

The event – named in honor of former music instructor Dick Driml -- raised money for the MCC Music Department.  

Second place went to Fred Petsch and third place went to Chris Smith. Sara Wells received the People's Choice award from all those who tried the various roasters prepared by chili cooks.

In addition, MCC honored all former and active-duty military personnel at the event, held in conjunction with the MCC women's and men's basketball games. Veterans and their spouses attended the games for free, watched them from the VIP room, and were guests of the college at the chili feed. Fans at the game stopped by the VIP room to express their appreciation and the MCC softball team made Valentine's for the Veterans as well.

Phi Beta Lambda, which has been part of the chili cookoff tradition for several years, made and sold dessert items as well as offering desserts on a silent auction. The group has also been collecting money for the "March of Dimes."

Feb 13
MPCC Visit Day planned for Feb. 26

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Mid-Plains Community College is giving prospective students and their families an opportunity to experience its programs first-hand. 

The college is offering a Visit Day Feb. 26 to showcase its campuses, offerings and services. Among other things, participants will be able to tour their programs of interest, sit in on a class, meet instructors, join in hands-on projects, learn about the various services MPCC offers and meet new friends through fun activities led by current Mid-Plains students. 

Specialists from a variety of departments will be available to answer questions and provide information about financial aid, housing and credit transfer among many other topics. 

"Visit days are a great opportunity as they offer a different take on the typical campus visit and include several activities students might otherwise have to plan individually," said Mindy Hope, area director of recruiting and admissions. "They provide a more complete perspective on what it's like to be a college student. Visit Days let prospective students experience a lot of what the college has to offer, from academic programs, instructors and potential classmates to student organizations, residence halls and life outside of the classroom. Visitors get a complete view of the college's resources in a single day." 

Anyone thinking about taking college classes is encouraged to attend. Lunch will be provided, and all prospective students will receive a free hoodie. 

Visit Day will be from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. in North Platte and McCook. Check in will begin at 9 a.m. RSVPs are required at

Feb 12
NPCC students eye the future at transfer fair


North Platte Community College students mill around the Spring 2020 College Transfer Fair Wednesday at NPCC. Representatives from 10 four-year colleges and universities were on campus to discuss the programs they offer and to answer questions from students interested in continuing their education after NPCC. 

Feb 12
Dick Driml chili cookoff set for Saturday; MCC to honor Veterans

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The annual Dick Driml Chili Cookoff is set for Saturday at the Peter and Dolores Graff Events Center auxiliary gym, in conjunction with the McCook Community College Basketball games. MCC is also honoring veterans at the games.

Members of the MCC Music Department will begin serving chili at 1 p.m. and will continue as long as the food lasts. This event is a music department fund-raiser. Phi Beta Lambda will sell individual dessert items along with having other items available on silent auction. The conclusion of the silent auction will be at half-time of the men's game. The group is also collecting monies for the "March of Dimes."

Also all active duty and military Veterans and their spouses will be admitted for free and are invited to watch the games from the VIP room. In addition they will receive a voucher to eat free chili.

The MCC basketball teams will take on Otero in a women's/men's doubleheader starting at 2 p.m.

Area chili cooks compete for top prize at this annual music department fund-raiser honoring former MCC Music Instructor Dick Driml. 

Feb 11
Diagnostics kit will help with HVAC/R certifications

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New equipment at North Platte Community College will help students in the Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Technology program achieve industry-recognized NC3 certifications.

Students now have a Snap-On Residential Energy Diagnostics Instrument Kit to train with. The toolbox has numerous instruments technicians need to test, repair and maintain residential HVAC systems. 

Those include dual port digital manometers, hot wire and vane type anemometers, K-type thermocouple test clamps, clamp-on multimeters, digital psychrometers and manifold gauge sets. 

The specialized tools allow for the testing of ambient and surface temperature, pressure and vacuum. They represent the most up-to-date technology on the market. 

The kit was paid for with Perkins Grant funds.

Feb 11
NSP trooper to discuss human trafficking


North Platte Community College will host a lunch and learn on human trafficking next week. The presentation by Nebraska State Patrol trooper Tim Flick is open to the public. 

It will be from noon to 1:30 p.m. Feb. 20 in Room 203 of the W.W. Wood Building, NPCC North Campus, 1101 Halligan Drive. The cost is $15. 

"I think there's a lot more human trafficking going on than most people realize," said Jeff Smeltzer, NPCC's Business and Community Education coordinator. "Trooper Flick is going to talk about how big of a problem human trafficking has become, not only nationally, but locally and regionally as well." 

The program will include a definition of human trafficking, examples of trafficking businesses, local and regional issue locations, what traffickers are looking for in a victim and safety tips.

Registration can be done through the Business and Community Education website at:, by calling the BCE office at 535-3678 or by emailing Smeltzer at

Feb 10
MCC establishes scholarship with Blue Out proceeds

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Several McCook Community College groups and members of the community celebrated students with disabilities Saturday at the annual Blue Out basketball games to raise money and awareness locally.

This year enough money was raised to create a special education scholarship for a sophomore majoring in Special Education at MCC. The scholarship was created through McCook's "Walk In My Shoes" organization and the process involves filling out a simple one-page scholarship form. The priority deadline is April 1. For more information about the scholarship contact Shannon Corder, PTK sponsor at corders@mpcc.edyu or call (308-345-8871).

Also as part of Blue-out activities a pair of MCC sophomores were crowned Mr. and Mrs. MCC. KC Carlson, Delta, Colo., a member of the MCC golf team was crowned Mr. MCC and Kiera Barr (Granby, Colo.) was crowned Ms. MCC -- although she was unable to attend the game Saturday as she was on a college visitation trip in North Carolina but followed the ceremony on her camera phone.

Named as second runner ups were Makenna Bodette (Colorado Springs), representing women's basketball and Kade Wroot (North Platte) representing the MCC baseball team, which was also on the road in games in Texas. Third runner ups were Mallory Brown (Colorado Springs), volleyball and Braden Babcock, baseball (Oshawa, Ontario). Brown accepted the crown on behalf of her teammate.

This year's crown bearers were Ethan Svoboda and Braylynn Powell. MCC's Office of Student Life conducted the royalty vote count and purchased the crowns.

2020 marks the fifth year Phi Theta Kappa and Walk In My Shoes sponsored Blue Out event for disabilities awareness.

Both MCC basketball teams wore the official Blue-Out shirts during pre-game warm ups that were purchased by the Walk In My Shoes group. The shirts were provided by McCook lettering at a discounted rate.

Players from both teams tossed miniature basketballs to the crowd during player introductions and those were also provided by Walk In My Shoes. PTK members sold the mini- souvenir balls and blue pom poms during the afternoon. During halftime of both games PTK and the MCC volleyball team held free throw contests to help raise additional money for the scholarship

MCC's Phi Beta Lambda also distributed baby bottles around the event center to collect money for their national organization's charity – the March of Dimes, an organization which helps support babies born with birth defects. PBL and PTK members ran concessions and the ticket booth.

"This is a true McCook community and MCC event," said PTK sponsor Shannon Corder. "It wouldn't be possible with the collaboration and ideas of so many on and off campus.

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Heather Johnson
Area Communications Specialist

Heather produces and distributes press releases for the college. She began work at MPCC in 2014. Prior to that, she spent five years as the news director/web manager for Eagle Radio in North Platte. From 2009-2014 she worked as a reporter/photographer for The North Platte Telegraph. Heather has a bachelor's degree in journalism from Chadron State College.

Brent L. Cobb
McCook Community College News Bureau Coordinator​