Focus 2019: What Makes Kearney Unique?

Past, Present and Future “Blessing Construction has been apart of Kearney’s growth for over 15 years. We are proud and honored to be apart of the city’s past and present expansion and look forward to also playing a vital role in future development.” Owner/President Office 308-237-7988 Fax 308-233-5531 “PAVING THE WAY” 109 E. 52nd Street, Suite 1, Kearney D ENISE E LOE 238-1155 N ICOLE S TRAKA 440-1386 KEARNEYREALTY.NET • 308-338-1090 Kearney Hub • Saturday, February 9, 2019 • Page 3 WHATMAKES KEARNEY UNIQUE? FO U S Erika Pritchard, Kearney Hub TAMI JAMES MOORE is the first woman on the Kearney City Council in 20 years. She won her seat after a four-year stint on the Kearney Planning Commission. Those four years were an affirming time for Moore, who lost her husband to suicide. She said her time on the planning commission was positive because her col- leagues respected her views and ideas. By MIKE KONZ Hub Enterprise Editor KEARNEY — Despite its size and remoteness, Tami James Moore describes her hometown, Wolbach, population 260, as the “center of the universe.” “We did have a swimming pool. We got that when I was a sophomore, so that ranked it up,” Moore said. On the surface, there may not have been much for Wolbach’s young people to do, but Moore stayed busy as a high schooler. She was involved in assorted extracur- ricular activities, including cheerleading and editing the yearbook. “I had to play in every sport because you had to fill the team,” she said about volleyball and girls basketball, which were just getting off the ground in Nebraska back then. “We won the first basketball game against Monroe 4-2, but they scored two of our points,” she said with a laugh. Moore performed many roles growing up. Today, she’s no different. She’s a college professor, author, busi- ness operator, traveler, mother, widow after losing her husband to suicide, and member of the Kearney City Council. Moore is the first woman elected to the council in 20 years and only the fifth female council member in the city’s 146-year history. Having served from 2014 to 2018 on the Kearney Planning Commission, Moore decided to campaign for council. She won her seat by finishing second in the Nov. 6 council election. “I didn’t want people to vote for me because I’m a woman. I wanted them to vote because of my qualifications,” Moore said. She was one of two women on the ballot. The other, former chamber pres- ident Marion McDermott, didn’t win a seat on the council but was appointed to fill Moore’s vacancy on the planning commission. Moore said the campaign felt awk- ward because McDermott was highly qualified, but the two women talked, and, according to Moore, they agreed to conduct friendly, issues-based cam- paigns. In addition to her four years on the planning commission, Moore brings to the Kearney City Council hands-on experience in the construction industry. She and her late husband, Pat, oper- ated Moore Construction, which built residential and commercial structures. Moore has other business experience. She taught five years at the Spencer School of Business in Grand Island, operated a clothing store in Greeley and was a fashion buyer for the Miller & Paine department store in downtown Lincoln. A 1976 graduate of Wolbach High School, she and Pat met the night of her high school graduation. She earned a bachelor’s degree in fashion mer- chandising at the University of Nebras- ka-Lincoln in 2½ years, and they moved to Greeley so Pat could help with his family’s farm. “I opened a clothing store in Gree- ley, and I thought it was going to be a hobby,” she said, but the business was so successful it kept her extremely busy as she cared for their young family. At age 2, son Patrick learned the names for colors helping his mom unpack mer- chandise at the clothing store, A Little Bit Moore. Today, Patrick owns the McCue’s building in downtown Kearney and is an architect for Wilkins Architecture Design Planning LLC of Kearney. Son Christopher works on communi- cations towers for the state of Oregon, and son Taylor is flipping houses in Omaha and planning his second back- packing tour of Europe. Life after Greeley took the Moores and their three boys to Kansas and Ari- zona where Pat continued to build and she continued to earn degrees. She taught one year as an adjunct faculty member at Northern Arizona University. They then moved to Empo- ria, Kan., for three years. He built and she earned a master’s degree in indus- trial and organizational psychology and directed the fashion merchandising department at Emporia State University. They moved to Kearney and she earned her second master’s degree, this time in human development through UNL, followed by a doctorate through UNL in postsecondary education leadership. Her specialty was in human diversity development, which she has taught to dozens of teachers. While she was building her education- al credentials, her husband was build- ing houses and commercial structures. Moore Construction began in 1981 in Greeley and arrived in Kearney in 1993. In 2009, when Pat Moore died by suicide, the company was a player in Kearney’s construction industry. “Pat was an amazing builder, but he hated the business side of it. He was the relationship person, and I was the ‘books’ person,” Tami said. “We built all over Kearney, but our con- There’s always Moore on her plate Courtesy MOORE’S FAMILY includes Patrick and Katie Moore, Taylor Moore, and Christopher Moore and Maryann Markes. centration is nearYanney Park,” she said. Before his death, Pat was on medicine for a heart condition. Tami said there were psychotic side effects, including hallucinations. She believes Pat was gravely disturbed by the drugs and that he may have been experiencing a hallu- cination when he happened upon a gun in a closet at a construction site. Pat’s funeral in March 2009 filled St. James Catholic Church while 300 attended the visitation. “He was just the kind of person peo- ple gravitated to,” she said. “With this being the 10th anniversary, I’m expect- ing some tough times.” Moore is a member of Kearney’s Local Outreach to Suicide Survivors organization. Two LOSS volunteers and FEMALE CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS According to records at Kearney City Hall, the following women have served on the Kearney City Council: 1982-85 Ann Tvrdik 1990-93 Janice Wiebusch 1994-96 Rhonda Walker 1996-98 Patty Shefte 2019- Tami James Moore Baer Studios, courtesy MOORE WITH HER grandchildren, Norah Moore and James Moore. MOORE, PAGE 10 “I didn’t want people to vote for me because I’m a woman. I wanted them to vote because of my qualifications.” Tami James Moore