Lady Knights Season Ends

npcc logoThe North Platte Community College Lady Knights (15-16) women’s basketball team ended their season at the NJCAA DII National Championship falling in the consolation side of the bracket 93-55 to the Iowa Central Community College Lady Tritons.

The Lady Knights started out slow as the Lady Tritons raced out to a 40-14 lead in the first half. In the second half the Lady Knights found the basket more often as they scored 40 points. For the game the Lady Knights shot 21-60 for 35 percent from the field while the Lady Tritons shot 34-71 for 48 percent from the field. The Lady Tritons also forced the Lady Knights into 28 turnovers.

The Lady Knights had four players in double figures for the game led by Candice Shelton with 13 points. Courtney Widick contributed 12 points and both DaVontaye Merritt and Paige Hasty had 10 points and six rebounds. Babaye Oja led all scorers with 22 points for the Tritons.

The Lady Knights were the Region IX DII Champions after winning the regular season with a 3-1 record to earn the #1 seed and then defeating Southeast Community College in the postseason. The Lady Knights then went on to win the District F Championship to advance to the National Championship by defeating Dakota College at Bottineau.

NPPS 2013 Teachers, Staff and Administrator of the Year Are Named

The North Platte Public School Foundation has announced that Niki Ruda, Joshua Bruck, Ronda Richman and Matt Irish have been awarded the 2013 North Platte Public Schools Employees of the Year! These awards recognize and encourage superior professional effort to improve instruction and to cultivate the continuation of educational excellence in our schools.

Niki Ruda-Early Childhood Education

Niki Ruda-Early Childhood Education

Niki Ruda has been named the North Platte Public Schools 2013 Teacher of the Year, PreK-5th grade. Niki is a Speech/Language Pathologist for the North Platte Public Schools Early Childhood Program. Co-worker Melissa Foote nominated Niki for this year’s award. According to Foote, “Niki’s dedication to the students she serves, and to all the children of this community, is absolutely unprecedented! Niki is excellent at initiating and fostering relationships with providers and makes everyone feel they are part of the team. She never fails to come up with innovative and creative strategies to help children meet their fullest potential. Those of us that have the pleasure of being around Niki on a regular basis are in awe of her constant drive and willingness to help others, her genuine spirit and her enthusiasm for life.”

Niki is a 1990 graduate of Spencer-Naper High School. In 1994, she received her Bachelor of Science in Communication Disorders and her Masters of Science in Speech / Language Pathology in 1995, both from the University of Nebraska at Kearney. She is currently pursuing a Certificate in Autism and Severe Disabilities at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. Niki has been a Speech/Language Pathologist in the public schools for the past 18 years, the most recent 14 years with North Platte Public Schools. Niki is the wife of Jon Ruda and the mother of three children, Courtney (Junior), Amanda (Freshman) and Tanner (5th grader). School and related activities keep all of them quite busy and they enjoy those precious nights when everyone can be home as a family. Niki has hobbies too numerous to mention but learning is at the top of the list.

Joshua Bruck-10th Grade World History

Joshua Bruck-10th Grade World History

Joshua Bruck has been named the 2013 NPPS Teacher of the Year, grades 6th-12th grade. Joshua grew up in Manilla, IA. He graduated with a Bachelors of Arts in Education in Social Sciences 7-12 from the University of Nebraska at Kearney in 2006. He graduated with a Masters in Education from Doane College in 2012. Joshua has been a teacher at NPHS for 6 years, where he is the High School Social Studies Department leader. Joshua also coaches middle school football, girls basketball and track. Joshua is married to Nicole Bruck, a 3rd grade teacher at Washington Elementary. They have a 3 year old daughter Amelia and one on the way, Greta. According to Brett Joneson, who nominated Joshua, “Joshua is constantly looking for ways to improve his teaching and providing the best instruction for his student that he can. He is an exceptional leader and colleague, making my teaching better. Joshua is a great resource for his students and the district.”

Ronda Richman-Para Educator Early Childhood Education

Ronda Richman-Para Educator Early Childhood Education

The 2013 NPPS Staff Member of the Year is Ronda Richman. Ronda has been a para educator for the Early Childhood Special Education program for the past 33 years and was nominated by Jamie Holson,
Veronica (Missie) Seward and Trisha Hasty. Ronda joined the staff in 1980, after her daughter Laurie was diagnosed with a significant hearing loss and became one of the first home-bound students to receive services from the North Platte School District.

According to Seward, “when you see Ronda in action with children one can only say that she works hard, focusing on challenges with an all consuming compassion for the nature of each situation presented.” Ronda has always had a “can do” attitude and treats special needs children with the patience and respect all children deserve. She attends workshops and continues to address the changing needs and new strategies used to help special education preschoolers work toward their individual learning goals. Ronda is dedicated to the field of education, being a fixture in the District’s Birth to age 5 program. Her patience and kind heart continue to inspire those around her. Ronda is married to her NPPS sweetheart, Bruce. They have two daughters, Carmen and Laurie and two grandchildren, Alec and Brittney, all of North Platte.

Matt Irish-Principal

Matt Irish-Principal

Matt Irish has been named the 2013 NPPS Administrator of the Year. Matt Irish was born in North Platte, Nebraska where he has resided for his entire life except for a few years in which he moved away to attend college and to start his teaching career. He moved back to North Platte when he and his wife decided to start a family. Matt is married to Mellissa Irish and has three children; Peyton who is a freshman in high school, Madison who is a fifth grader and Isaac who is a kindergarten student.

Matt is the principal of Lincoln Elementary. “Matt leads the school as an educational coach, facilitating growth and harmony in his staff and students. He spends much of his time in each classroom making him a vital part of the team of educators helping our young ones to grow,” stated Stacy Wells. Jody Leisy notes, “Mr. Irish is respected by the staff at Lincoln Elementary. He works as a team player, frequently seeking staff input to decide what is best for students. He works hard to be available for students need during each and every week. Matt has worked in the North Platte Public School System for 9 years as an administrator, previously at Washington Elementary and Adams Middle School. Matt began his professional career as a middle school teacher in Ordway, Colorado and taught for six years at Platte Valley School District near North Platte as a third, fourth and fifth grade teacher. There he began his administrative career before taking a full time administrative position at Hall School near North Platte.
Matt received his High School Diploma from St. Patrick’s High School in North Platte, his Associate of Arts degree from Mid-Plains Community College in North Platte, his Bachelor of Arts degree from Chadron State College and his Masters of Arts degree from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln.

These individuals will be honored at the Foundation’s “Education after Hours” event on Friday, April 4th, at the Holiday Inn Express, beginning at 5:30 pm. The public is invited to attend this event to honor the North Platte Public School District’s 2013 Employees of the Year and the 2013 NPHS Distinguished Alumni Chuck Schwartz, Jim States, Byron Boslau and Jim McFarland. Tickets are $25 and can be reserved by contacting Jackie at the Foundation office at 696-3325 or at any NebraskaLand National Bank location.


Federal Judge Stops Missouri College from Drug Testing Students

Linn-State(AP) A federal judge is again blocking efforts by a central Missouri technical college to drug-test its students.

U.S. District Judge Nanette Laughrey in Jefferson City granted a preliminary injunction Friday. It temporarily prevents Linn State Technical College from screening all first-year students and some returning students for cocaine, methamphetamine, oxycodone and eight other drugs.

The two-year school also cannot report the test results from September 2011, when it began the program before the American Civil Liberties Union filed suit on behalf of six students. The lawsuit claims the program violates students’ Fourth Amendment rights against unlawful searches and seizures.

Laughrey’s ruling comes after a federal appeals court decision in January that overturned a previous restraining order she had issued. The ACLU quickly filed another challenge.

Whip It Good: Cali Auto Parts Stores Raided for Illegally Selling Nitrous Oxide

nitrous(AP) Hundreds of law enforcement officers are raiding Southern California auto parts shops and other businesses suspected of illegally selling nitrous oxide for use as a recreational drug, in one of the largest such raids to date.

Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Rod Armalin says nearly 300 law enforcements officers served 17 simultaneous search warrants Friday.

It’s the result of a year-and-a-half-long joint operation dubbed “No Laughing Matter” by the Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Criminal Investigations and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

FDA special agent Lisa Hartsell says the agency has recently focused on the illegal use of nitrous oxide.

The gas is legally used by dentists for anesthesia, to pressurize whipped cream canisters and to speed up race cars. But authorities say its illegal use has spurred fatal car accidents, rapes and teen deaths — all in the name of a temporary high.

(UPDATED) No Foul Play Suspected in Case of Missing NP Girl



Sabrina Perez was found at around 12:45 AM on Saturday morning.

According to family members, she was unharmed.

Details about where she was found were not given, but the Post is happy that this young girl is safe and sound.

Thank you to all of our loyal readers for helping spread the word.

There’s an old African saying that says “it takes a whole village to raise a child,” and North Platte is always unified when situations like this arise.


North Platte Police do not suspect foul play in the case of a missing North Platte girl.

12-Year-Old Sabrina Perez was last seen Thursday afternoon around 3:15 pm near Madison Middle School.

According to family members, she was wearing a red zip up sweater, blue jeans and black boots.  Perez is 5’5” and weighs approximately 130 pounds.

Officer John Deal with the NPPD told the Post in an email that they do not expect foul play in the case, and they believe that this is more of a runaway case or simply a juvenile that did not want to return home.

Police did not give the Post any further details on the case.

If you have any information regarding the whereabouts of Sabrina Perez, please contact the North Platte Police Department at (308) 535-6789.

NPPS Names New Washington Elementary Principal

NP-Public-SchoolsNorth Platte Public Schools Human Resources Director Tami Eshleman and Superintendent Marty Bassett have recommended Greg Fruhwirth to the North Platte Public School District’s Board of Education, to become the new Principal at Washington Elementary.

The interview team included district administrators, elementary principals, building staff and teachers.  The candidates were also given a tour of Washington Elementary.

Certified positions are posted on the school website, as well as on the “Teacher in Nebraska” website, Nebraska Council of School Administrators website and the Nebraska Board of Education website.  All candidates apply online.

Candidates were screened by administration and contacted for interviews after reference checks were completed.

According to Human Resources Director Tami Eshleman, “Greg will bring fresh perspective to Washington Elementary.  He will provide valuable leadership with his high level of energy and proven experience.”

Fruhwirth has 33 years experience at the elementary level and was a Special Education, fourth grade and sixth grade teacher in Fowler, CO for 25 years.  He has spent the last eight years as an elementary principal in Wray, CO.  A native of North Dakota, he received his teaching degree from the University of North Dakota and has an Educational Leadership degree from Colorado State University.

Fruhwirth holds teaching certificates in Nebraska and Colorado and is a certified in school administration.

His wife, Barb, is a first grade teacher in Wray and they have three grown children.


Lincoln Firefighter’s Wife Charged with Welfare Fraud

April Houchin

April Houchin

A Lincoln firefighter’s wife has been charged with felony welfare fraud.

Online court records list a Fremont address for 32-year-old April Houchin. But an affidavit from a Nebraska Health and Human Services Department official says the couple bought a house in Lincoln in February 2008, sold it in April 2012 and bought a Fremont home in December 2009.

The records say the couple married in September 2010 but had lived together longer.

The affidavit says Houchin fraudulently obtained nearly $15,000 in benefits over varying time periods by lying about her relationship with her husband and failing to list the homes and car she owned with him.

Nevada Woman Gets Over a Year in NE for Meth and Weed Possession


Ashtyn Thomas

Court records say a 20-year-old Nevada woman has been given 360 days in jail following convictions for possessing methamphetamine and marijuana in southeastern Nebraska.

Ashtyn Thomas, of Sparks, Nev., was sentenced on Thursday in Lancaster County District Court. She’d pleaded guilty to lesser charges after making a deal with prosecutors. Prosecutors also dropped two charges.

Prosecutors say Thomas and two other Nevada women were arrested after a traffic stop by a Nebraska state trooper in November 2011 along Interstate 80 in Lincoln. Officers say they found 22 pounds of pot, some meth and a gun in the vehicle.

Valerie Bailor, of Washoe Valley, Nev., was given five to 10 years in prison. Ashley Rapisura, of Reno, Nev., was given two to four years.

Hot Sheets (3/22): Take Me Down to the Cadillac Ranch

Robert Glen Cheever: Driving Under Influence of Liquor (2nd), Driving Under Suspension

Robert Glen Cheever: Driving Under Influence of Liquor (2nd), Driving Under Suspension

Scott Christopher Crooks: Driving Under the Influence of Liquor (2nd)-Over .15

Scott Christopher Crooks: Driving Under the Influence of Liquor (2nd)-Over .15

Chandra Rae Olson: Fugitive from Justice-Nance County

Chandra Rae Olson: Fugitive from Justice-Nance County

Richard Paul Weiss: Driving Under the Influence of Liquor (2nd), Carrying a Concealed Weapon, Refusal to Submit to Breath/Chemical Test

Richard Paul Weiss: Driving Under the Influence of Liquor (2nd), Carrying a Concealed Weapon, Refusal to Submit to Breath/Chemical Test

Austin Micheal Welch: Conditional Release Violation (x2)

Austin Micheal Welch: Conditional Release Violation (x2)


Click Here To See Past Hot Sheets


This information is not criminal history. All individuals included in this post are innocent of crimes until proven guilty in a court of law. The North Platte Post assumes no legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, or completeness, of this information. Any person who believes information provided is not accurate may submit a complaint to