Diana Kottich was a person who had many interests in her life. None topped her love for children.
Not only were her children and grandchildren held in high esteem, but also the students she came in contact with over the years. After her recent passing from a long battle with cancer, Diana’s family gathered to determine what to do with the memorial monies given in her honor. A healthy donation was given to help support the efforts of the Richardson County Cancer Fund. A discussion ensued regarding the balance of the funds.
“It was decided (by unanimous vote) to establish a fund for the kindergarten kids, a group Diana dearly loved to work with,” her husband, Steve, said.
Consequently, “Mrs. Kottich’s Kids” was born.
Beginning with this week’s book fairs being held at Falls City Public and Sacred Heart Schools, each and every kindergarten student in Falls City will receive a free book courtesy of the Diana L. Kottich Memorial Fund.
Teachers and staff will select a group of books for the students to pick from. Kindergarteners will get to pick out their own books from this approved list. These gifts will be given every year during the spring book fair at the schools. It is reasoned that the spring book fair is the best time to do this as the youngsters have developed and acquired reading skills by this juncture of the school year.
Mrs. Kottich passed away last December at the age of 58. She was born and raised in Falls City and, after graduating from UNL, returned home and taught elementary education at North and South Schools. For more than 30 years, Diana was an endearing figure to the hundreds of children she taught, as well as a multitude of educators she worked alongside.
Upon being diagnosed with ovarian cancer, friends and family launched “Team Diana,” andFalls City was quickly painted teal, the color designated to promote ovarian cancer awareness. Boxes upon boxes of “Team Diana” shirts were sold last spring, as faculty members and students from all the schools for a day donned the uniform teal. Furthermore, the “Team Diana Merz Kottich” Facebook page garnered 600 fans in its first week.
“We are thrilled and excited to initiate this program for the kindergartners,” Diana’s husband, Steve, said.
“Especially thrilled because we know Diana loves this. She loved reading and loved the kids,” he said.
Noah Vasa, Sr.NCL
Austin Malone, Sr.FCSH
Hayden Albers, Sr.Southern
Nolan Schafer, Jr.HTRS
Logan Scheitel, Sr.FCSH
Ely Hroch, Sr.Diller-Odell
Tyler Gyhra, Sr.Pawnee City
Hayden Miller, Soph.NCL
Austin Lovell, Sr.Southern
Dalton Anderson, Jr.Lewiston
David Segner, Sr.Friend
Devon Clark, Soph.J-B
Tanner Shea, Sr.Sterling
Eli Herr, Jr.HTRS
Austin Vitosh, Sr.Diller-Odell
Tom Gress, Sr.NCL
Micah Erickson, Soph.Sterling
Dylan Benson, Soph.Sterling
Bladen Ahl, Jr.Diller-Odell
Nathan Derr, Jr.Friend
Schuyler Kuhlmann, Sr.HTRS
Jaxson Balm, Soph.J-B
Ryan Husa, Jr.Lewiston
Ted Gyhra, Jr.Pawnee City
Atreyu King, Sr.Southern
Bryant Jorn, Soph.FCSH
Abby Magdanz, Sr.FCHS
Taylor Cockerill, Soph.Sterling
Maggie Goltz, Jr.FCSH
Jenny Lawver, Sr.Friend
Raeleigh Menke, Fr.Friend
Elizabeth Magdanz, Sr.FCSH
Madison Jurgens, Soph.D-O
Laura Box, Soph.NCL
Jenna Habegger, Sr.Pawnee City
Erika Goracke, Jr.Sterling
Abbee Buss, Sr.Southern
Sam Heng, Sr.NCL
Josie Vitosh, Sr.Diller-Odell
Sam Due, Sr.Friend
Jessica Bohling, Jr.J-B
Bailey Kahler, Jr.Sterling
Jade Hill, Soph.FCHS
Lexi Ryan, Jr.Friend
Madison Hajek, Soph.D-O
Allie Binder, Fr.HTRS
Emily Zvolanek, Soph.Southern
Kendra Alberts, Sr.J-B
Brooke Wehrbein, Sr.Lewiston
Beki Warga, Sr.NCL
Shelby Hundley, Sr.Pawnee City
Becky Williams, Sr.Sterling
A 66-year-old Lincoln man was pronounced dead at Lincoln Bryan LGH West Monday morning, as a result of a violent collision between two Ford pickups at the Shubert corner, where Highways 67 and 62 meet.
Gary Ossenkop was eastbound in a Ford F-150 at about 8 a.m. and investigators believe the blinding rising sun on the horizon, combined with unfamiliarity with the local highways, caused him to run through the stop sign where the east-west Highway 62 meets north-south 67, just east of Shubert. When he did, a southbound F-150, driven by Charles “Chuck” O’Grady, 55, a Falls City native who lives in Omaha, traveling about 60 miles per hour, struck Ossenkop’s vehicle almost directly on the driver’s side door. All airbags in both vehicles deployed.
O’Grady was wearing his seatbelt and escaped severe injury. Richardson County Sheriff’s Deputy Jeff Frederick, who responded to the scene with Sheriff Don Pounds, said it’s unknown if Ossenkop was wearing his seatbelt.
Both men were transported to Community Medical Center in Falls City by Nemaha County Rescue and Ossenkop was then taken by Life Flight to Lincoln. He was pronounced dead at 11:14 a.m.
Immediately following the accident, Ossenkop was in a great amount of pain, but was able to communicate with rescue personnel.
“He was coherent - he knew what medical personnel were telling him,” Dep. Frederick said.
In addition to the members of the Sheriff’s Dept., members of the Stella Fire Dept. and RC Emergency Managment Director Brian Dixon were also on the scene.
Falls City Sacred Heart and Falls City High School boys’ basketball teams are both District Champions and both will take No. 5 seeds in their respective classes in this weekend’s State Basketball Tournament beginning Thursday in Lincoln.
The 22-3 Tigers will play 20-5 Columbus Scotus at 3:45 p.m. Thursday at the Devaney Center in Lincoln. School will dismiss early: North and South Schools will dismiss at 11:15 a.m; Middle School at 11:20 and the High School at 11:30. If the Tigers win on Thursday, there will be no school on Friday, March 13. If the Tigers lose, school will go ahead as planned on Friday with a normal schedule.
The public is invited to attend a pep rally at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 10, at McIntyre-Henderson Field House in FCHS.
Sacred Heart, 20-6, will be at Lincoln Southeast at 8:45 p.m. to face Riverside on Thursday. Sacred Heart School will dismiss at 11:30 a.m., giving the Irish fans a chance to support the Tigers. Sacred Heart will not have school on Friday due to the late game on Thursday night. A pep rally is planned for Sacred Heart at 11 a.m. Thursday.
The Tigers are making a second straight trip to the state tournament and 28th overall in school history. It’s Falls City’s third trip under the direction of Coach Don Hogue, who is the school’s all-time winningest coach and earned his 200th win in this season’s opener. FC went 47 years before taking the District Title in 2010.
Thursday’s first-round game with Columbus Scotus is the first-ever meeting between the schools in boys basketball. Scotus, which earned a wildcard after losing the district final by nine points to top-ranked and No. 1 Wahoo Bishop Neumann, is only appearing at state for the sixth time ever and last year’s third-place finish was it’s highest finish. The winner of Thursday’s game at Devaney will very likely face the defending champs at 10:15 a.m. Friday.
It’s been 52 years since the Tigers won at the State Tournament - they beat Minden 56-51 to win Class B in 1963. The game, played at the Lincoln Coliseum, was a sellout and Bill Schock of The Journal reported at least 250 Tiger fans were turned away at the gate, forced to either watch the game on TV or listen to the car radio on their way back to FC. Scalpers, he noted, were asking for as much as $2.50 for the 75-cent tickets.
The Tigers, as it turned out, didn’t need to beat Boys Town in last week’s District Final - and perhaps shouldn’t have. FC would’ve earned a wildcard berth and might have appeared in the other side of the bracket with a No. 6 or 7 seed. As it stands, FC has to beat C1’s top two teams to advance to Saturday’s title game.
The Irish are making a fourth straight trip to the state tournament and 19th overall in school history. It’s Sacred Heart’s 15th trip under the direction of Coach Doug Goltz, who is 29-6 all-time in state tourney games. He went 19 tourney games that spanned a period of more than 15 years before first suffering the agony of defeat in 2003 (Spencer-Naper, semifinals). Goltz’ teams have captured eight championships (1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1999, 2001, 2004, 2008).
Whether it’s Karma or coincidence, it’s worth noting that the Irish finished third in both the 2013 and 2014 state tournaments - just like the Lady Irish, who Saturday captured the 2015 D2 State Title with a five-point win over four-time champ Wynot.
— Sophomore big man Bryant Jorn, a 6-4, 270-pound round mound of rebound, has found a different gear in the ‘15 postseason. He averaged 16 points in the two subdistrict wins, scoring 17 in FCSH’s 57-53 double-overtime win over Lincoln Parkview Christian, then had nine points and nine rebounds in his team’s 57-42 blowout victory over Exeter-Milligan in the District Final. Senior Logan Scheitel was on fire in that one, hitting 11-of-12 free throws and 3-of-5 threes in a 24-point effort.
— Sacred Heart’s first round opponent, Riverside, located in Cedar Rapids, is making just its second state tournament appearance ever and first since 1927. The Chargers handed Wilcox-Hildreth, D2’s second seed, just its second loss of the season in the District Final, 48-36.
An Irish victory late Thursday night sends them to the 3:45 p.m. Friday semifinal likely against top-seeded, top-ranked defending Class D2 State Champion Bancroft-Rosalie at the Devaney Center. It would be a rematch of last year’s semifinal, where the Panthers beat FCSH 58-50 en route to the D2 title.