NET Television Adds Variety to Couple’s Cultural Landscape

When Hal and Mary Holoun sit down at the end of the day to watch television on their new flat screen, invariably the channel is set to NET Television.

“NET has been our lifeline,” said Mary, receiving a confirming nod from Hal.

Now living in Bellevue – they moved there from Grand Island in 1992 – the Holouns, who are longtime donors to NET Television, enjoy watching perennial favorites like PBS NewsHour, NOVA, American Experience, Masterpiece, Mystery, and any historical documentaries by Ken Burns, particularly last fall’s three-part series Prohibition. They also appreciate locally produced programs like Nebraska Stories and local sports, especially Nebraska Women’s Volleyball and the NSAA high school championships. 

“NET offers an alternative,” Hal said, “one of the very few choices different from the deluge of commercial television.”

The couple also recently joined millions of Americans swept up in the Downtown Abbey rage. Having watched every episode of the popular new series, Mary prefers the broad historical perspective – from World War I to the sinking of the Titanic – to the less global perspective presented in the earlier PBS Masterpiece series Upstairs Downstairs.

As an impassioned traveler, Mary also cites Rick Steves’ Europe as one of her favorites. After retiring from the Veterans Administration in 2005 from her 30-year career as a registered nurse, Mary shifted gears to teach English as a Second Language (ESL) classes, most recently during a year-long stint in western China. “I was in the biggest town you’ve never heard of,” Mary said laughing. 

She’s already planning their next trip, a Scandinavian cruise. Hal added playfully that his wife’s wanderlust must stem from her Viking heritage.

Of Czech heritage himself, Hal, a landscape painter who trained in abstracts, is content to stay closer to home. He is currently working on a series of sunrise paintings for an upcoming exhibit at Kiechel Fine Art in Lincoln in May, so lately he rises well before dawn to experience the beauty, enchantment and power of each day’s sunrise. 

Hal contends that the vast, changeable and magnificent Nebraska sky has kept him documenting Nebraska’s landscapes all these years. 

“My outlet has been the rigid power of the land against the freedom of the sky,” he explained. “That is the essence of these paintings.”