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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

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Judge Owens to retire PDF E-mail

As a die-hard baseball fan, District Judge Mike Owens has long considered his role on the bench to that of an umpire behind the plate.
“If you have a big game and you don’t remember anything about the umpire or referee, I’ve probably done my job,” Owens said. “I try to do that. I don’t want these cases to be about me. It’s about people.”

Woman killed in accident on way to High Plains game PDF E-mail

A mother of two High Plains Community High School students was killed on the way to watch her daughters play in a basketball game.
Janelle M. Klassen died in a one-car accident between 2:10 and 2:20 p.m. Friday along County Road 12 three miles southwest of McCool Junction, said Fillmore County Sheriff’s Deputy Bob Hester.


McHargue retiring, selling pharmacy PDF E-mail

There is a new owner of the local U-Save Pharmacy as of midnight New Year’s Eve, though the name on the Highway 34 sign won’t have to change.
Owner Jim McHargue, who moved to Aurora in 1978 to take over the former Greg’s Drug Store operation on the downtown square, has announced plans to sell the business to long-time staff pharmacist Jim Morris. The name will remain Jim’s U-Save Pharmacy, beginning what both agree should be a smooth transition.
“All I can say is, ‘Thanks, Aurora,’ for being such a nice place,” said McHargue, who owns the business with his wife, Lou. “It’s been a blessing and we feel very fortunate to have landed here.”
As for the pending transition, McHargue said Morris is well known to the customers and community.
“Jim has all the tools,” McHargue noted. “He knows the people. I know he’s excited about it and I’m excited for him. I’m happy to have him carry it on.”
Morris said he too is looking forward to a title change, from pharmacist to owner.
“Jim was ready to make the move to retirement and it seemed like a logical thing to do,” Morris said. “I don’t know that Aurora was ever intended to be my final destination when we moved here, but I fell in love with the town and I can’t imagine being anywhere else.”

36 years in Aurora
A native of Marquette, McHargue said he couldn’t have picked a better place to spend most of his professional career. After graduating from the University of Nebraska in 1972, he worked in Lincoln at a retail pharmacy, then helped open a new store in Waverly, where he met his wife, Lou. After another move to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where he opened yet another new pharmacy, McHargue got a call from Jim McBride in Aurora.
“He offered me an opportunity to come back here and take over Greg’s Drug,” McHargue recalled. “It’s been an ideal community for us, with a good, strong medical community. The size of the town also fits me really well.”
McHargue operated the pharmacy initially on the southwest side of the square, then eventually moved Aurora Apothecary to the Temple Craft building at the corner of 12th and M streets. In 1990, the business moved two doors south to the former Morgan’s Clothing site.
“We had to adapt the model of how pharmacy services are delivered throughout the years because you just have to go with what the people need and what the people want,” he explained. “You have to try to adapt.”
McHargue’s business theory prompted a change in ownership structure in 2006, when he dropped the Aurora Apothecary name and joined a growing U-Save Pharmacy group, which allowed the store to be part of a larger buying consortium.
“These days you have to affiliate,” he said at the time.
In 2008, he made the final and perhaps biggest change, building a new drive-through location on Highway 34.
“Thirty years ago, the drive-through concept wouldn’t have been good at that time, but it’s very popular now,” he said. “We also give flu shots now and robotics (a drug counting and dispensing device) has allowed us to automate a certain percentage of the workload. Things have just worked out very well with this new location.”
Though the pharmacy has been Jim’s U-Save’s primary business, McHargue has offered a line of retail products at each of the four locations. The inventory now includes medical supplies such as surgical supports, braces, wheelchairs and walkers, in addition to a line of cards and gifts.
Among his highlight memories over the years was a retail promotion that sounded good, but ended up in chaos.
“We thought we would shoot all these ping pong balls off the roof of the courthouse and then people could take the balls to stores for discounts,” he recalled, laughing. “We had a huge crowd and it ended up being pandemonium, kind of like WKRP (in Cincinnati, a TV sitcom) throwing turkeys off the roof. It was a good idea gone bad.”
Among his most pleasant memories are getting together with the late Jim Schneider and other downtown retailers after staying open late on Thursdays.
“It was always fun to get together and socialize,” he said. “They didn’t call it networking in those days, but that’s what we were doing. I’ve been involved with a lot of fun activities throughout the years.”
In addition to his role as a pharmacist, McHargue has been active in the community. He has served for years on the Mather Foundation board, was a member of the Messiah Lutheran Church committee that helped build the new church, and is one of the original members of the A’ROR’N Days planning committee. He plans to stay active as a local volunteer.
“A’ROR’N Days was just one of the those think-outside-the-box type things that has become one of those mainstay things the community looks forward to,” he said. “It’s been fun to be part of that all these years.”
As he eyes his transition into retirement, McHargue said he and Lou plan to remain in the community. He’s looking forward to spending more time with his three children and three (soon to be four) grandchildren and may also work as a fill-in pharmacist as needed.
“I look forward to seeing people,” he said. “That’s what has been my biggest joy; working with a lot of good people and watching families grow up, serving people in good times and maybe not so good times, being a health partner.”
The McHargues have three children -- son Jason and daughter Lisa Luebbe, who both live in Lincoln with their families, and daughter Amy Miller of Aurora.

New owner
As of Jan. 1, Morris will become owner of the local business, noting that customers will see little if any visible differences in operation.
“Most people won’t see a lot of change from their side of the counter,” he said, adding that a staff of six full-time and one part-time employees will remain on board. “It will be a little different for me and I’m sure I’ll come across things I’m not aware of yet, but things will basically stay the same for the immediate future.”
A native of Lexington, Morris moved to Aurora in 1992, shortly after graduating from the University of Nebraska Medical Center pharmacy school in Omaha. He was first introduced to the community working for McHargue as a college intern and liked what he saw.
“About the time I was getting out of school, he was looking for someone and it worked out,” Morris said. “I’m obviously excited to continue the great service we’ve been providing to Aurora and Hamilton County and all our customers.”
Morris, age 47, lives in Aurora with his wife, Tammy. He has three daughters: Janet Carriker of Waverly; Beth, a freshman at the University of Nebraska-Kearney; and Amy, a sophomore at Aurora High School.

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