Friday, August 15, 2014

STRAIGHT FROM THE HORSES MOUTH

Duane A. Lienemann
UNL Extension Educator
 
     I was watching television the other night and made note of how many ads were on trying to get lonely, little old ladies or other tender hearted people to send them money.  It is no secret that many animal lovers are more deeply moved than normal by the pitiful sights and sounds of American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) commercials. The music of Sarah McLachlan plays in the background, and as strains of “Angel” flow through your living room, images of tortured, horrifically abused dogs and cats fill your vision. Fast forward to another national commercial featuring Wendie Malick. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B9gYL8Qz_cY . This is brought to you by the infamous Humane Society of the United States or HSUS. “If you donate today, lives will be saved!” – or so the advertisement claims.  People are moved to open their hearts – and their wallets – for the sake of helping animals in need. 
     This past couple of weeks has been rather interesting to me considering some news and activities concerning the Humane Society of the United States and the ASPCA. It is sweet music to my ears. I’ve written about HSUS and several other animal rights and animal welfare extremist groups many times over the years, and it’s quite clear to me, and now to many others, that these organizations, and especially HSUS are not friends to animal agriculture and are, in fact, downright enemies to animal agriculture, hunting, fishing and other animal related industries. They have spent millions of dollars to sue, legislate, antagonize and trying their best to cripple or eliminate farms, ranches and agribusinesses. What is even worse is that these despicable organizations try hard to motivate people who may not be able to afford it to reach for their wallet or purse and fork over millions of dollars to corrupt "charities". They have not had a good couple of months!!!
     The Humane Society of the United State is finally getting called out for being a “wolf in sheep’s clothing”, which they are! Maybe it’s the fact the organization spends a mere 1% of its $100+ million annual budget on animal shelters, or perhaps it was the $15.75 million settlement following a racketeering and bribery lawsuit. Whatever the catalyst for this change was, I’m pleased to see that not only did Charity Navigator drop HSUS’ four-star charity ranking to a three, but now they have dropped HSUS’ rating altogether, putting the organization on a “Donor Advisory” status. The HSUS has historically bragged about their 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, one of the most trust-worthy charity evaluators in the game. No more! The deceiving game of “bait & switch” has been played for years, with the HSUS and ASPCA inviting misplaced associations between themselves and local animal shelters (sometimes called Humane Societies or SPCA via ASPCA) which they are not involved with, or do they help beyond a small pittance, of in the case of HSUS less than 1% and ASPCA perhaps 11% of their total take. Both a travesty when it comes to the care of animals.    
      I mentioned an almost $16 million settlement. Well that lawsuit involved HSUS money allegedly paying a witness who lied to a federal court in a ruling that came out recently in favor of Ringling Brothers Circus under the related Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), the same law used to go after mafia. How fitting is that. It may interest you that ASPCA, a co-defender had to pay $9.6 million dollars for a total of $25 million. That is not all, aside from the lawsuit, it has come to light that the HSUS diligently moved money to several funds in the Cayman Islands, calling them "investments". They were caught moving $26 million to offshore accounts in the Cayman Islands. That is called stashing money, and that is shady and just wrong! HSUS uses and deceives people to promote corrupt agendas and the Cayman Island accounts confirm just how rotten HSUS has become. So much for helping all those animal shelters.       And to add to that, www.AwesomeOcean.com  has a beef with HSUS for the hidden role it played in the inflammatory documentary, “Black Fish,” their fingerprints were all over that documentary and they're currently leading the smear campaign against aquariums to raise money for their own selfish interests and now these groups are suing them. They may have to withdraw more of their money from the Cayman Islands! This is starting to feel like an old fashioned – pile on!
     Now for a little more sweetness, add to the list the loss they endured in the Right to Farm Amendments that passed in in North Dakota and more recently Missouri this past month. HSUS and its animal rights/welfare partners pumped hundreds of thousands of dollars into defeating it and the people of both states thankfully saw through them. You probably remember the Yellow Tail Wine episode where beef producers video went viral when they were shown dumping out their wine because of the support of this company of HSUS. I would imagine that most of you are aware of the MUCK Boot Company who have received outrage from farmers and ranchers, and especially social media Ag Tweeters, Facebookers and Bloggers for their support of HSUS and they are backing off or denying it. Thousands of people have signed a petition to ask the IRS to investigate HSUS’s 501(c)3 tax exempt status. BINGO! Keep an eye on that!
     The HSUS, PETA and ASPCA have essentially operated under donation-guise where a large portion of their funding comes from people who are clueless about their real agenda. The time has come for American citizens to open their eyes and for those of us in agriculture to educate people to help stop allowing them to misuse their victim’s hard-earned dollars, not for the welfare of animals, but for their own benefits. In the meantime it really fun to see them squirm. To quote Ralph Kramden from the old Honeymooners show, “How sweet it is!” or maybe more appropriate, “To the moon - Alice!”

The preceding information comes from the research and personal observations of the writer which may or may not reflect the views of UNL or UNL Extension. For more further information on these or other topics contact D. A. Lienemann, UNL Extension Educator for Webster  County in Red Cloud, (402) 746-3417 or email to: dlienemann2@unl.edu or go to the website at: www.webster.unl.edu/home   

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Gov. Heineman & First Lady Sally Ganem Encourage Parental Involvement in Education

 

Governor Proclaims August as Parental Involvement Month
(Lincoln, Neb.) With students across the state returning to school this month, Gov. Dave Heineman and First Lady Sally Ganem are encouraging parents to be more involved in their children’s education. Gov. Heineman has proclaimed August to be Parental Involvement in Education Month in Nebraska.
“Working together, parents and teachers can maximize students’ strengths and reinforce each other’s efforts to help children succeed in school and in life,” said First Lady Sally Ganem, a former elementary school teacher and principal. “Good teachers combined with strong parental involvement leads to good learning. We see the positive difference it can make in the life of a young Nebraskan.”
Studies show that when parents are involved in a child’s education, student attendance increases, student attitudes and accomplishments improve, and discipline problems decrease. This generally holds true regardless of a family’s socio-economic status, education level or cultural background.
“It’s important for parents to be actively involved in their children’s learning,” said Gov. Heineman. “Involvement doesn’t mean parents must be experts in math and science, but it does mean taking actions like setting high expectations, creating space at home where children are able to focus and learn, and meeting with teachers while taking an active interest in a child’s educational achievements.
Governor Heineman continued, “I hope parents will make an effort during the school year to work with their child’s school to identify resources that exist to support student learning in all Nebraska communities.”
Governor Heineman and the First Lady highlighted several projects of the Nebraska Children and Families Foundation promote parental involvement throughout the State and support ways communities and parents can work together to help students learn and grow. These include:
  • Sixpence grant programs, where parents across the state are empowered with information they need to support children’s education from birth through age three – critical years when early learning can pave the way for future success in school. 
  • Beyond School Bells, a program that supports community-driven efforts for parents to become more involved in the educational experiences happening outside of the classroom.
  An opportunity for learning in the community will take place at the Nebraska State Fair in Grand Island, where parents and children can learn how the application of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, commonly referred to as STEM courses, provide the foundation for much of our modern society. STEM education opportunities will be located throughout the fair and will be featured at Nebraska’s Largest Classroom, held at the Nebraska State Fair on Aug. 25th, 26th and the 28th.
“A parent’s involvement in a child’s education remains one of the most important factors in a child’s success in school,” said Jeff Cole, Vice President for School-Community Partnerships for Nebraska Children and Families Foundation. “We know that the structure and hectic pace of family life today presents many challenges for parents to participate in traditional parent involvement activities at their children’s schools. That is why Nebraska Children and Families Foundation believes it is vital for schools to work with community groups to develop new opportunities so all parents can be engaged in supporting their student’s education.”

Saturday, August 9, 2014

UPCOMING EVENTS:

UPCOMING EVENTS

 
 
Aug. 19: South Central Cattlemen’s Assoc. Meeting on USDA Forage Disaster Program & Calcutta at American Legion in Nelson at 7:00 pm
Aug. 20: State Fair Static Exhibits to the Nebraska State Fairgrounds, Fonner Park, Grand Island, NE
Aug. 21: West Central Crops and Water Field Day, Brule South Farm, Brule, NE Contact: Chuck Burr - chuck.burr@unl.edu  308-696-6783
Aug. 22-Sept. 1: Nebraska State Fair, Fonner Park, Grand Island, NE http://www.statefair.org/fair/
Aug. 27: UNL Precision Ag & Soil and Water Properties Clinic, ARDC, Mead, NE http://ardc.unl.edu/cmdc.shtml
Aug. 28:  Crop Management Diagnostic Clinic, ARDC Mead, NE  http://ardc.unl.edu/cmdc.shtml
Aug. 28: High Plains Nutrition & Management Roundtable, West Central Water Research Lab, Brule, NE http://www.nutritionroundtable.org/
Aug. 31: South Central Cattlemen Association at Nebraska Cattlemen’s Beef Pit at the Nebraska State Fair
Aug. 31: Quilts of Valor Presentation”, Nebraska State Fair beginning at 10:00 a.m. in the 4-H Building. 
Sept. 1: Labor Day
Sept. 3: IANR All Hands Meeting, 9-11:00 a.m., Nebraska East Union, Great Plains Room at http://ianrhome.unl.edu/ianr-2025
Sept. 7: National Grandparent's Day
Sept. 7: CASNR Reunion, UNL East Campus Union, prior to the Nebraska vs. Illinois Homecoming football game
Sept. 9-11: Husker Harvest Days
Sept. 11: National Patriot’s Day
Sept. 11: Webster County Fairboard Meeting, Webster County Fairgrounds, Exhibit Hall, Bladen, NE 8:00 pm
Sept. 13: Red Cloud September Fest, City Park and Community Center, Red Cloud, NE www.redcloudnebraska.com  402-746-2211
Sept. 17: Silver Lake Farm Safety Day, Webster County Fairgrounds, Bladen, NE
Sept. 22: Autumn Officially Begins - 3:44 pm CDT
Sept. 23: Animal Science Open House at East Campus, UNL  6 – 8 pm at the Animal Science Complex at UNL
Sept. 26: Nebraska Expanded Learning Conference, LaVista Embassy Suites, TBA
Sept. 26-29: Ak-Sar-Ben River City Roundup, CenturyLink Center, Omaha, NE http://www.rivercityrodeo.com/
Sept. 30: Webster County Government Day, Webster County Courthouse, Red Clous, NE
Oct. 5: Harvest Celebration, Prairie Loft Center, Hastings, NE 1:00 – 6:00 pm, Amy Sandeen amy@prairieloft.org
Oct. 5: World Teacher's Day
Oct. 8: South Central Land Judging, Little Blue NRD TBA
Oct. 9-10: UNL Extension Front Door Forum - TBA
Oct. 13: Columbus Day
Oct. 13: Webster County Fairboard Meeting, Webster County Fairgrounds, Exhibit Hall, Bladen, NE 7:30 pm
Oct. 29-30: Nebraska Wind and Solar Conference and Exhibition La Vista Conference Center, www.NebraskaWindandSolarConference.com
Oct. 29-Nov. 1: National FFA Convention, Louisville, KY
Oct. 31: Halloween
Nov. 2: Daylight Savings Time Ends, Turn Clocks Back
Nov. 3; 2014 ELAP notice of loss and application for payment deadline, Contact local FSA Office
Nov. 4: Election Day
Nov. 4-5: The State of Beef Conference, Sandhills Convention Center, North Platte, NE Rick Funston rfunston2@unl.edu
Nov. 11: Veteran’s Day
Nov. 17: Final acreage reporting date (2015 perennial forage and fall seeded crops) Contact your local FSA Office
Nov. 22: CSI Barn Brewski, Bladen, NE
Nov. 27: Thanksgiving Day 
Dec. 4: Webster Co. Christmas Greenery Workshop, Webster County Fairgrounds, Exhibit Hall, Bladen, NE ckumke2@unl.edu 402-746-3417
Dec. 6: Webster Co. Christmas Greenery Workshop, Webster County Fairgrounds, Exhibit Hall, Bladen, NE ckumke2@unl.edu 402-746-3417
Dec.10-12: Nebraska Cattlemen Annual Convention, TBA, Kearney, NE
Dec. 11: Webster County Fairboard Meeting, Webster County Fairgrounds, Exhibit Hall, Bladen, NE 7:30 pm
Dec. 25: Christmas
 
 

Friday, August 8, 2014

STRAIGHT FROM THE HORSES MOUTH


Duane A. Lienemann
UNL Estension Educator
     About a couple of months ago I made the statement –“What a difference a year can make!” In regards to the condition of our grass and crops.  Well, now I have to say – “What a difference a month can make!” in regards to the same thing, but now to the negative. I never did believe that we were out of the drought, and were actually just on the precipice of the possibility of a recurring drought.  We must remember that we did not get much of anything for fall moisture and certainly not much snow this winter.  We did get some nice rains this spring and early summer that made you think that we were back to normal, but that did nothing to replenish the subsoil moisture that is critical for this time of year.  
     I am not so sure that the crops didn’t root down like they should and now are suffering because of it.  And there just isn’t much water down below for them to go down too, now that they really need it. I would imagine a lot of you have notices the withering, browning or at least the bluish color that permeates throughout our dry land farms. I am a little afraid that we are back to the normalcy we have experienced the last couple of years, and if you really think about it – much of the same that we have experienced since 1999 or 2000. Gosh, if we were in that 15 year dry cycle they talk about, we should be getting close to a wet cycle. I am getting tired of this abnormally dry and extreme drought humdrum!
     One only has to walk through the pastures and hay-land, especially in the southern half of the bottom tier of counties in South Central Nebraska and the bulk of Southwest Nebraska to see the effect of shortage of rain. Dryland crops are also suffering and if you are in “irrigation land” then you just need to look at the pivot corners to see what our rainfed farmers are experiencing. We will likely be running out of grass, and hay will be short as we get to the last couple months of the typical grazing season. I started to notice the change during our County Fair. When we had the horse show on July 19, I noticed that the grass at the rodeo grounds was as nice and green as I had seen it in years.  One week later when we were cleaning up after the fair I noted how brown that grass had turned, a complete turn-around in a few days. Now I can say. “What a difference a week can make!” And that difference is not good news to our crops or our livestock.
     I would imagine that many of our cattle producers are looking at alternatives to help stretch what they do have left including perhaps early weaning and supplemental feeding as well as rotations between or within pastures. It does not look pretty right now, and don’t be surprised if we slip back into the drought notation.  You may want to keep track of the progress of this downturn at:  http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/  which is a part of the National Drought Mitigation Center http://drought.unl.edu/ . I doubt anyone would holler too loud if any of you want to volunteer to do the Rain Dance.
     This brings me to something I would hope that most of our livestock producers have already done, and if not should definitely look into applying for these benefits afforded to us. The 2014 Farm Bill included funding for livestock emergency programs that encompasses most of our area. Depending on the size and type of farm or ranch operation, eligible producers can enroll in one of three programs administered by the Farm Service Agency. The Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP), and the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) will provide payments to eligible producers for livestock deaths and grazing losses that have occurred since the expiration of the livestock disaster assistance programs in 2011, and including calendar years 2012, 2013, and 2014. The Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP) provides emergency assistance to eligible producers of livestock, honeybees and farm-raised fish that have suffered losses because of disease, severe weather, blizzards and wildfires.
     Because of the uncertainty of funding with the possibility of ramifications from the sequester, officials suggested not waiting until October to sign up for LFP or LIP or you might not get the coverage you think you should. I suggest getting your records together and make an appointment ASAP if you qualify for any of these programs. And with the higher chance for the last half of 2014 being drought affected, be sure to keep records on forage production, grazing and particularly if you have to sell livestock or make major changes that qualify under these emergency assistance programs.
     Most of the producers in our part of the country will more likely qualify for LFP which is further explained at: www.fsa.usda.gov/Internet/FSA_File/lfp_long_fact_sht_2014.pdf  . This program provides compensation to eligible livestock producers that have suffered grazing losses due to drought or fire on land that is native or improved pastureland with permanent vegetative cover or that is planted specifically for grazing. LFP payments for drought are equal to 60 percent of the monthly feed cost for up to five months, depending upon the severity of the drought which is set by the aforementioned Drought Mitigation Center for your county, or even if you are in any contiguous counties.
     It is possible that we could have some producers who qualify for LIP which is further explained at the USDA website at:  www.fsa.usda.gov/Internet/FSA_File/lip_long_fact_sht_2014.pdf   which provides benefits to livestock producers for livestock deaths in excess of normal mortality caused by adverse weather or by attacks by animals reintroduced into the wild by the federal government. LIP payments are equal to 75 percent of the average fair market value of the livestock. This usually comes from weather related events like freak blizzards, extreme cold or heat and yes - tornadoes. If you have had livestock and were affected with your grazing over the last couple of years – you may want to “Git-r-done!

The preceding information comes from the research and personal observations of the writer which may or may not reflect the views of UNL or UNL Extension. For more further information on these or other topics contact D. A. Lienemann, UNL Extension Educator for Webster  County in Red Cloud, (402) 746-3417 or email to: dlienemann2@unl.edu or go to the website at: www.webster.unl.edu/home  

Gov. Heineman Seeks Applicants for Natural Resources Commission to Represent Ground Water Irrigators

 

 
(Lincoln, Neb.) Gov. Dave Heineman is seeking qualified candidates for one position on the Natural Resources Commission to represent ground water irrigators.  The open position is due to a vacancy.
The Natural Resources Commission is charged with helping to conserve, protect, and utilize the water and related land resources of the state through the oversight of seven state aid programs established for these purposes. The Commission consists of twenty-seven members who represent diverse water and land conservation and related natural resources management interests.
Individuals interested in applying for the Natural Resources Commission should send a resume, along with a completed application form to Kathleen Dolezal in the Governor’s Office, at P.O. Box 94848, Lincoln, NE 68509 or Kathleen.Dolezal@nebraska.gov. The application form can be completed on the Governor’s website or requested by calling the Governor’s Office. Applications will be accepted through close of business on August 29.
Nebraskans with questions about the position may call the Governor’s Office at (402) 471-2244 and ask for Ms. Dolezal.

Governors Column


It’s “back to school” time. Whether you are an educator, parent of a school age child or a student yourself, you are keenly aware that summer vacation is about to come to an end.
We have made it a priority to invest in Nebraska’s young people by strengthening Nebraska’s education system and growing educational opportunities. Educating the students of today for the jobs of tomorrow is critical to Nebraska’s continued success.
Today, students need a quality high school education, and they need a good college education. A two year associate’s degree or four-year college degree is more important than ever before.  The world is changing, and we need to make sure that we are preparing our young people to compete in a knowledge-based, technology-driven, global free-market economy.
Regarding K-12 education, the State of Nebraska now has statewide assessments for reading, math, science and writing so we compare school districts, and help them do better in the future. I believe that we should be sharing best practices among schools just as businesses do all the time. Our focus is on academic achievement and academic improvement. 
Scores are improving. Nebraska’s statewide graduation rate has improved from 87.6 percent to 88.5 percent. We have the second best high school graduation rate in America. Our P-16 Initiative (preschool through college) goal is for every high school in Nebraska to achieve a 90 percent high school graduation rate.
We are witnessing a greater focus on academic achievement and academic improvement than we ever have had before and that’s good news. We’ve strengthened high school graduation requirements and now every student in Nebraska is required to take four years of English and three years of math, science and social studies.
I want to encourage parents to be involved in your children’s education. When parents are involved, decades of studies have shown over and over again that children achieve higher grades, and higher test scores. Graduation rates increase. There’s better school attendance, increased motivation and self-esteem and even decreased use of drugs, alcohol and destructive behavior.
Nebraska is now a top ten college going state and we are focused on affordable access to college and improving college graduation rates. I’m proud of where Nebraska is, but we have more work to do in the future. It’s essential that we eliminate the academic achievement gaps that exist in our state for our future workforce.
Education is a priority for me and it is an investment that will pay dividends for individuals, families and communities across our state. Our goal is to make Nebraska an even better place in the future to live, to work and to raise a family.

- Dave Heineman
    Governor of Nebraska

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Addressing Challenges to Rural Air Service

For rural America, access to commercial air service is more than a convenience; it helps connect us to the rest of the nation and encourages economic growth.  I have worked to maintain access to commercial air service for the Third District because of its importance to rural communities and because maintaining transportation infrastructure is one of the primary responsibilities of the federal government.
However, this year many small airports around the country are facing a barrage of flight cancellations.  At one Third District airport, 59 percent of the scheduled flights have been cancelled this year – while more than one in three flights have been cancelled at others.  I have heard from many Third District residents upset about the unreliable flight schedule and its impact on travel plans and businesses.
Cancelled flights and unreliable air service cause disruptions in our local economy.  Businesses and entrepreneurs are more likely to invest and expand in communities with dependable transportation services including aviation.
There are many causes for the flight cancellations, but certainly new federal regulations which require co-pilots to have at least 1,500 hours of flight time are contributing to the problem.  It is difficult for the small regional airlines which serve rural communities, to hire and retain pilots which meet this certification.  Airlines are then forced to cancel scheduled flights if they are not able to comply with this arbitrary rule.
Cancelled flights also threaten funding for small airports through the Airport Improvement Program which helps pay for projects to improve infrastructure, including runways, taxiways, noise control, navigational aids, safety, and security.  To qualify for program funds, airports must reach 10,000 enplanements per year.  Many small rural airports which previously qualified for the program are unlikely to reach this target because of cancelled flights.
Last week, I introduced legislation which would ensure these small airports are not penalized twice by the unintended consequences of these new rules.  The Small Airport Regulatory Relief Act would require the Federal Aviation Authority to use enplanement numbers from 2012 – before the regulations took effect - when calculating appropriate annual funds for airports through the Airport Improvement Program for the next two years.
While more must be done to address the underlying causes of the flight cancellations, including the new pilot regulations, this legislation is a good first step to spare small airports from more unnecessary harm.  I will continue fighting to prevent further flight cancellations to benefit travelers, communities, and to encourage rural economic growth.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Hastings College planning investments for future growth


 
(Hastings, Neb.) – As Hastings College wraps up significant investments on campus this summer and prepares to welcome another record number of first-year students to the community, it remains focused on plans for future growth and development.
“The $6 million residence hall projects this summer are the first step in important changes to campus, changes that keep Hastings College competitive and a desirable choice for young people and their families,” said Don Jackson, a 1970 Hastings College graduate and President of the College.
Plans for future growth include creating a unified campus through an official campus entrance point on 9th Street between Elm Avenue and Ash Avenue next summer, upgrades and expansion within the Art Department, building a new residence hall and an expanded student union that houses an official welcome center, admissions staff and more.
 “All of these are investments in the College and community as a whole,” Jackson said. “And I don’t think I can understate the importance of the next step, of redeveloping one block of 9th Street, to the overall plan. It will help the College continue to grow, and that has an important economic impact on the entire community.”
 Closing 9th Street was unanimously approved July 14 by the Hastings City Council, after discussions that began more than four years ago, and becomes effective June 1, 2015. Jackson said converting a block of 9th Street to a pedestrian mall and gathering spot for students, as well as an entrance point that shows off the beauty of campus, allows the College to create the atmosphere students seek in smaller liberal arts colleges.
Unifying the Hastings College campus will create a new center of campus that’s flanked by residence halls and the student union.
 “It’s a sensible way to make a dramatic change to campus. It’s an exciting opportunity and will offer students new outdoors space for meeting and will help us present an even more beautiful and open campus to prospective students and those that use our campus during the summer months,” Jackson said.
 The agreement with the City of Hastings includes that the College:
·         Construct new off-street parking spaces to make up for those lost by closing 9th Street, work for which is already underway;
·         Pays for reconstructing 9th Street for two blocks east of the 9th Street and Ash Avenue intersection, and
·         Bears all costs associated with relocation of utilities required in connection with closing the street, including street lighting.
“These costs are not insignificant, but because we believe strongly in this project and its importance to the long-term growth and success of Hastings College, we are willing to make this investment,” Jackson said.
 Jackson recognized the change may increase traffic on 7th Street, and said the College will work with the City to develop a sound plan for 7th Street and any changes the City believes are necessary.
 “We are thankful that 12th Street between Elm Avenue and 6th Avenue was improved, and that, too, may alter how people drive through this part of Hastings,” he said. “Ultimately, we want to be good neighbors and see improvements made to 7th Street should the City believe they are necessary. In the end, closing a block of 9th Street is simply part of a bigger picture for growth and success, for both Hastings College and the community of Hastings.”
 
 
Founded in 1882, Hastings College is a private, four-year liberal arts institution that focuses on student academic and extracurricular achievement. With 60+ majors in 32 areas of study and 12 pre-professional programs, Hastings College has been named among “America’s Best National Liberal Arts Colleges” by U.S. News & World Report, a “Best in the Midwest” by The Princeton Review and a “Best Buy in College Education” by Barron’s. Visit Hastings.edu for more.

Monday, August 4, 2014

OSHA Steps Back In Line with Law

 
Sen. Mike Johanns

 

Drive down nearly any Nebraska country road and you will see bushels of examples of our farmers’ hard work coming to fruition. Clean cut wheat fields mark the near end of a bountiful harvest, and rows of towering corn point to a sky-high yield this fall. But any farmer will tell you that their hard work does not end at harvest.
There’s also the drying and storing of grains as farmers prepare to meet the growing demand of livestock feeders, ethanol plants and food manufacturers throughout the year. It’s an important part of a strong agriculture economy, and a central part of the farming operation. I’m happy that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) formally recognized this reality last week.
Since 1976, OSHA has been prohibited by law from regulating farms with 10 or fewer employees—farms like many family operations in Nebraska. But in 2011, despite this longstanding policy, OSHA surprised one small Holt County farm by showing up and issuing a number of fines totaling roughly $132,000.  Their reasoning: grain storage and other postharvest activities do not count as farming activities, and therefore are not covered under the Congressional exemption.
Of course, OSHA’s claim was about as absurd as a trying to get milk from a bull. Grain bins and family farms have gone together like county fairs and 4-H for generations.
When this was brought to my attention, I was disturbed to learn of yet another demonstration of this Administration’s reckless regulatory agenda. This circumvention of the law could have led OSHA inspectors to just about any farm in Nebraska.  Because of this alarming possibility, I led a bipartisan group of 42 Senators in calling on OSHA to immediately halt their unlawful regulation on small farms.  I also introduced language in a government funding bill earlier this year directing OSHA to follow the 3-decades-old small farm exemption. The language called on OSHA to work with Congress, the Department of Agriculture and ag organizations so that they could better understand what activities are integral to farming operations and should be exempt from OSHA regulations.
OSHA later announced that it had dropped all the fines against the Holt County farm. Just last week, OSHA revised its guidance, clarifying that postharvest activities like grain storage, drying and fumigating are, in fact, part of farming and exempt from OSHA regulations on small farms. OSHA further directed its inspectors to check with its headquarters before stepping foot on a farm if there was any uncertainty about the application of the small farms exemption.
I applaud OSHA’s decision to listen to the concerns of the ag community and step back in line with the law. I hope other federal agencies take note.  Time and again, this Administration, with its overreaching regulatory agenda, has demonstrated a lack of understanding or concern for the burdens it imposes on Americans across the nation. I will continue to pressure federal agencies to reverse their history of backdoor rulemaking.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

STRAIGHT FROM THE HORSES MOUTH

Duane A. Lienemann
UNL Extension Educator

     Can you believe that it is August?  We can count on it being dry, and it is. We just can’t seem to buy a shower right now. It really dampens the enthusiasm we had just a month ago when things looked so good.  A bunch of hail and a week of hot dry weather and no measurable precipitation can really take a toll on crops and a producer’s attitude as well.  Unfortunately I believe that a lot of our crops didn’t root down like they should have and we are now paying the price for that. For “being out of the drought”, this sure looks eerily familiar.  It is disconcerting to see the blue color to the pastures and the dryland soybeans and the corn showing the pineappling and discoloration effects. We at least got further into the season this year and we can still hold out hope for timely and saving rainfall.
The good news is that Husker football will give us hope for another long over-due National Championship. Always something to look towards.
     Alignment of the Planets: I am not much into astrology or the alignment of planets, but I did read that this August is a month for planetary pairings with Saturn meeting Mars in the evening sky, and an amazingly close conjunction of Jupiter and Venus in the morning sky. I vaguely remember a song by the Mama’s and Papa’s about planets aligning or something like that. Well, I guess that kind of information is probably useful to some people, but August means several other things that are more important to me and a lot of other people I know.  Let’s look at a few of these things.
     It means that most County Fairs are done, that two-a-days in athletics will be starting shortly and  that school will begin. Oh how I remember, as a past teacher, the anticipation of summer vacation and the rush that came with the anticipation of a new school year. Believe it or not, I miss that. It to me was the metamorphous each year that gave you a fresh start-- and fresh new faces to blend in with the familiar faces. It is hard to describe, but teachers know exactly what I mean. Good Luck to the teachers as they prepare for a new year.
     August also brings the Nebraska State Fair and it will soon be upon us. I know that our office will be taking down the 4-H static exhibits in just a little over two weeks. All 4-H and FFA livestock entries are hopefully in and I know that we have several open class exhibitors that attend, so I thought it prudent to remind them that all applications for entry must be made online at www.statefair.org   or on an official Nebraska State Fair Entry Form which may be obtained from the State Fair website, or the Nebraska State Fair office (photo copies are acceptable). Using the online method is preferred as it is the most accurate way of entering. All Livestock entries must be made through the State Fair website by August 10, or if mailed in, must be postmarked by August 10. Entries must be accompanied by all fees and other sums due the State Fair or entry will not be accepted. All FFA and 4-H advance entries are due electronically at midnight on August 10. So that does not give any State Fair exhibitors much more time. If you need help please feel free to call our office.
     South Central Nebraska Association Activities: The South Central Cattlemen’s Association has several activities coming up in August as well. If you have an interest in the USDA Forage Disaster Program and how it can help or effect you, there are two meetings coming up that may be of help.  On Tuesday, August 5, come to the KO Bar in Bladen at 7:00 pm to learn about what you may have available to you for help for your livestock considering the loss of forages and hay from the last two years due to the drought and the designation of our area as a drought disaster area. You will also get the chance to listen to Clay Mead from Boehringer-Ingelheim on “Pre & Post-Weaning Health in Calves.” A popular and fun time is involved when the SCCA Steer Showdown Calcutta Results are presented during this meeting.  If you can’t make that one, you have a second chance as a similar meeting on USDA Forage Disaster Program and the SCCA Steer Showdown Calcutta Results will be held on Tuesday, August 19 at the Nelson American Legion starting at 7:00 pm.
     Golf Tournament: For the golfers out there, the South Central Cattlemen’s Annual Golf Tournament 4-person Scramble will be held on August 15 at the Crooked Creek Golf Course in Clay Center with registration at 2:30 pm and a shot gun start at 3:00 pm. You can even have a practice round that starts at 12:00 noon for $10. NOTE: If you bring your own golf cart you can get a $10.00 per person credit. Cost is $30.00/person which includes: 9 holes of golf; Flag prizes; Flight Prizes; and Steak Supper (following golf). If you would like further information on the tournament or on any of the SCCA meetings please contact our office or directly to Hans Burken at hansburken@gmail.com or call 402-469-1966. 
     Nebraska State Fair Beef Pit: I mentioned the Nebraska State Fair coming up. Each year the South Central Cattlemen have a day that they man the Nebraska Cattlemen’s Beef Pit and once again it is on Labor Day Weekend on Sunday, August 31. If you are not afraid of a little intense work, interested in meeting lots of people, serving some great Nebraska Corn-Fed Beef and most importantly- having a great time, contact Hans or any other SCCA officers and they can give you the particulars. If I wasn’t busy with the 4-H shows I would love to be a part of this activity promoting the beef industry!
     Locusts Singing? August obviously brings us a lot of things. I hesitate to mention it, but last night was the first time I noticed something that also is associated with August….How many of you have heard the locusts sing? That’s right, we can start thinking about what many believe will be an early frost.  According to folk legend, when you hear the first song of the dog-day cicadas (we call them locusts), it means there's just six weeks until frost. Grabbing my calendar now!

The preceding information comes from the research and personal observations of the writer which may or may not reflect the views of UNL or UNL Extension. For more further information on these or other topics contact D. A. Lienemann, UNL Extension Educator for Webster  County in Red Cloud, (402) 746-3417 or email to: dlienemann2@unl.edu or go to the website at: www.webster.unl.edu/home  

Friday, August 1, 2014

Hearing From You This August

Deb Fischer 

 

By U.S. Senator Deb Fischer
I am looking forward to spending the month of August meeting with Nebraskans across the state.  This time is important for me to hear from constituents and listen to how federal policies are impacting your daily lives. It will also allow me the opportunity to gather input from you. That is invaluable to my ability to represent your interests in Washington.
I was pleased the Senate took steps before the start of the state work period to ensure our nation’s veterans receive the care they were promised. Both the House and Senate approved an agreement to address the crisis at the VA, which I supported. The bill provides funding to hire more doctors, nurses, and medical staff. It authorizes funding for leases to use medical facilities at 27 existing sites around the country, including an outpatient clinic in Lincoln.
Importantly, the legislation allows veterans to get care from non-VA physicians who participate in Medicare if they live more than 40 miles away from a VA facility, or if agency doctors cannot see them within 30 days. To improve transparency, the department would also be required to conduct regular audits on the care provided and staffing levels at each major medical facility.
The compromise also grants the VA secretary new powers to fire employees. The Senate recently confirmed Robert McDonald as Secretary of the VA. New, bold leadership is critical to fixing this broken agency’s systemic problems, and I am confident in Secretary McDonald’s ability to implement needed reforms and enhance accountability.
These steps to fix our badly broken VA system are encouraging, but our work to keep our promises to veterans is not done. While in Nebraska this month during the state work period, I will be sitting down with veterans to hear their personal experiences and how we can further achieve progress in resolving the VA’s problems to better serve our nation’s heroes and provide them the care they deserve.
I will also be holding listening sessions in more than a dozen communities, hosting roundtables with various groups, visiting local businesses, and speaking with families about a number of different issues impacting our state.
As I’ve mentioned in this weekly column before, I have been focused this year on working to promote more opportunities for the middle class in education, healthcare, and the workplace through my Strong Families, Strong Communities plan. I look forward to discussing this agenda with Nebraskans and hearing your feedback about additional ways we can help hardworking families and strengthen our communities.
Part of my plan seeks to provide Americans more control over their healthcare. Obamacare remains an ongoing challenge for individuals, businesses, and families. I will visit with health care groups and local hospitals across the state during the state work period and will continue to share your stories in Washington of how this law is hurting Nebraskans.
Slow economic growth and overregulation also continue to stifle job creation and create uncertainty for businesses large and small. As I meet with business owners and job creators throughout this month, I will be asking for specific federal regulations that are holding back growth in our private sector, which Nebraskans know is key to jumpstarting our economy.
Finally, I hope you will be able to attend one of the many listening sessions I am holding to hear directly from you about your views and concerns. This constituent input is vital to our legislative process at the local, state, and federal level. The sessions will take place throughout the month in Omaha, Lincoln, Schuyler, Columbus, Norfolk, O’Neill, Stuart, Gordon, Rushville, Curtis, Lexington, Cozad, and Ogallala, More details are available in the schedule of public events I am holding this month on my website: http://fischer.senate.gov.
Thank you for taking part in our democratic process; I look forward to visiting with you again next week.

Johanns’ Opposes EPA’s Attempt to Gain Wage Garnishing Authority

 
WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mike Johanns (R- Neb) this week wrote a letter to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy opposing a proposed rule granting the agency the power to garnish the wages of citizens without a court order. A copy of the letter is available HERE.
“Given this Administration’s regulatory zeal—especially in ag circles, I find it troubling that a federal agency can have the authority to garnish wages for unpaid fines or penalties without a court order,” Johanns said. “If EPA has a legitimate reason to issue a fine, and the fine is past due, the agency should have no problem getting a judge’s blessing to collect it.”
Johanns is also crafting legislation requiring a court order before garnishing the wages of non-federal workers.
The 1996 Debt Collection Improvement Act (DCIA) gave federal agencies the authority to garnish up to 15 percent of a worker’s wages to pay debts owed to the federal government without a court order. Federal agencies seek this authority via regulations and set up hearing procedures before they may garnish wages, which is the process EPA is currently undertaking.

Defending the Constitution

Rep. Adrian Smith
Weekly Column
The Constitution of the United States has served our nation well since its adoption in 1789.  This document defines the roles and limits of three separate but equal branches of government, and includes checks and balances to prevent any branch from gaining too much power.  The legislative branch, made up of Congress, has the responsibility to make laws; the executive branch is responsible to implement and enforce the law; and the judicial branch is responsible for interpreting the law.
Unfortunately, the growing power of the executive branch is eroding the division of powers and threatening our system of representative democracy.  The House of Representatives is now taking action to defend the Constitution and restore the balance of power envisioned by our founders.
Our founders envisioned a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.  After all, they fought and won independence from a repressive monarchy.  They knew all too well the consequences of giving total power to one individual.  They designed a representative government to protect the rights of all Americans by making it difficult to pass new laws.  A deliberate legislative process would ensure new rules had broad support and were well thought through.
While the pattern of executive overreach is nothing new, the Obama Administration has taken this practice to a new level.  Rather than pursuing his agenda through the legislative process, the President has repeatedly chosen to go around Congress.  The President has proposed new regulations through the Environmental Protection Agency to advance a cap and trade scheme which failed in Congress, has refused to enforce certain immigration laws for political purposes, and has made numerous changes to the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.
Most notably, the President has unilaterally delayed Obamacare’s economically painful employer mandate until after the midterm elections, when the law clearly states it must be enforced beginning in 2014.  The President does not have the authority under the Constitution to decide which laws he will enforce, nor to make changes to existing laws without going through the legislative branch.
I and many others oppose the employer mandate, as well as the individual mandate, included in Obamacare.  However, these changes must be made through Congress.  Allowing the President to remove the legislative branch from the legislative process would undermine the rule of law and the constitutional balance of power.
In order to defend the Constitution, this week the House of Representatives passed a resolution authorizing litigation against the President for acting outside of his authority to delay the Obamacare employer mandate.  Our case will be narrowly tailored to this instance, rather than a list of grievances, in order to give the best chance of success in court.
The Obama Administration has clearly overreached its authority.  I am hopeful a successful case will begin the process to restoring constitutional principles to our government now and in the future.

Smith Votes to Address Border Crisis

Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) today voted in favor of legislation which would begin to address the crisis of thousands of unaccompanied minors crossing the southern border into the United States.

“This legislation, while not perfect, would be an important first step to provide resources to address this crisis without writing the President a blank check as he requested,” said Smith.  “The House of Representatives has acted.  It is now time for the Senate to either pass the House bill or to find an alternative solution.  The well-being of the children and the security of our national borders are too important to ignore.”
Congressman Smith has also introduced H.R. 5129, legislation which would require the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to give states advanced notice when unaccompanied minors are to be placed in a state.
HHS recently announced more than 200 unaccompanied immigrant minors have been moved to Nebraska this year.  However, the State of Nebraska was not given this information by HHS, and the department has not provided details about the children and where they are living in the state.

August Birthdays

August 1 Daniel Kinley
August 4 Alicia Gibson & Walter Witte
August 5 Robbey Willicott & Terry Schunk
August 6 Maintainer man, Toby Alber
August 7  Mildred Willems & Torey Kranau
August 8 Agnas Britton &  Lois “Blondie”Mohlman
August 9 Andy Alber
August 11 Clint James & Amanda Wademan
August 12 Elmer Rae Krueger & Ron Hartman
August 13 Darlene Engel & Kevin C. Kort
August 14 Robert Meents & Sammy Jo Lemke
August 15 Marilyn Alber,  Bryan Groves & Marla Coffey
August 16 Nickol Frazier-Dirks
August 17 Johnny Kearney & Krista Olson Karr
August 18 Mary Schliesinger,  Danece Meyer & Nancy Kort
August 19 Kelli Gilbert & Bessie Skarin
August 20 Roger Bunner
August 22 Tami Wells Zubrod,  Chuck Hewitt, Hulda Scheiding
August 22 Gerald Toepher
August 23 Kim Hargis Ernst,  Ron Faber & Jeff Coffey
August 24 Brad Johnson
August 25 Sheila Hesman & Jerry Shaw
August 26  Kelly Brady Willicott
August 27 Jeff Toepher
August 28 Jane A. Moore
August 29 Tim Hoffman
August 30 Kay Jordening, Rocky Premer, Ted Armstrong

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Troop C Plans Hall County Special Enforcement

 
(Grand Island, Neb.)- Efforts to reduce serious injury and fatality crashes with an emphasis on impaired driving will be the focus of a special enforcement planned for Hall County over the weekend.

Troopers with the Nebraska State Patrol Troop C-Grand Island, in conjunction with the Hall County Sheriff’s Office, will conduct high visibility patrols in and around Grand Island and Hall County during the evening hours on Saturday, August 2.

“There is a lot going on this time of year and that means the potential for increased traffic volume,” said Troop C Commander, Captain Chris Kolb. “By increasing our visibility we hope to encourage voluntary compliance with all traffic safety laws.”

Motorists are reminded to obey the posted speed limits, pay special attention in work zones, never drive impaired or distracted and always buckle up.

A $2,375 grant from the Nebraska Office of Highway Safety (NOHS) will help pay for overtime hours used by troopers and communication specialists during the special enforcement. ###

Monday, July 28, 2014

EPA’s Murky Water Rule

Weekly Column

Sen. Mike Johanns

A far-reaching water proposal by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would open the floodgates to expensive permits and compliance costs for a variety of industries and individual land owners. And as concerned citizens weigh in on the proposal before it is finalized, EPA’s unwillingness to provide details has muddied the water on its downstream implications.
Congress gave EPA regulatory authority in the Clean Water Act over navigable waterways, but EPA’s proposal would go way beyond what I believe Congress intended. The rule would redefine federal regulatory reach to include everything from farm ponds to drainage ditches to low lying areas that are dry for most of the year. Basically, if EPA believes there’s a chance that a drop of water could eventually make it to a navigable water, they want to regulate it.
American agriculture stands to be particularly hard hit by this federal overreach. EPA claims the rule will clarify what the agency can and cannot regulate, but it actually has created confusion and ambiguity in ag circles. When faced with specific questions during listening sessions with producers, EPA has failed time and again to provide adequate responses. In fact, the agency has refused to discuss specifically how the rule would work. This lack of transparency makes participating in the democratic comment process to improve the rule virtually impossible. Even EPA’s attempt to clarify exemptions for certain federal Clean Water Act permits has led to a boatload of confusion.
Last week, I joined my Republican colleagues on the Senate Agriculture Committee in a meeting with EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, and let her hear the concerns our constituents voice to us virtually on a daily basis. At the heart of our discussion was this proposed water rule. The fact that Senators who represent producers across the nation all expressed common concerns illustrates just how far-reaching and problematic this proposal is.
Although the Administrator was meeting with Senate Republicans, ag producers’ beef with the ambiguity surrounding EPA’s water rule spans political perspectives. For example, some of the rule’s early supporters within the industry recently asked the Administrator for greater clarification of what would fall in EPA’s new and expanded scope.
The reality is, this confusion could have been avoided had EPA opened a meaningful dialogue with ag producers and actively sought to address their concerns before putting pen to paper. When I was Secretary of the Department of Agriculture (USDA), we hosted farm bill forums in all 50 states to better understand the concerns of the folks our policies would impact.  We made it a priority to work with stakeholders and find the best solution for all involved before writing a proposal.
EPA has a long way to go to improve its strained relationship with the ag community.  Administrator McCarthy acknowledged that she needs to do a better job of working with producers.  If she is sincere in this desire, she would scrap this flawed proposal and engage in a robust discussion with America’s farmers and ranchers before pursuing new, potentially-burdensome regulations.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

STRAIGHT FROM THE HORSES MOUTH

Duane A. Lienemann
UNL Extension educator

     The ribbons and trophies have been awarded. Pictures have been taken. All the livestock have been loaded and the static exhibits have vacated the exhibit hall. The trailers and pickups have left the grounds. The panels, tents, scales and miscellaneous items have been stored away and the livestock barns and fairgrounds have been picked up and are back to their pristine condition as BF - (before fair). All is quiet and serene after a much different scene from the previous days!
     It has been a very long, intense and hectic week that we have basically prepared for in various ways since the post fair meeting one year ago. It was a yo-yo effect for weather. We kind of figured it would be with the very nice, cool weather that we had the week before. In Nebraska it seems things always even out, or as one old timer said last week – “We will pay for this!” and boy did we ever on the last official day of the fair. The heat and humidity was incredible and it seemed that you couldn’t walk across the fairgrounds without working up a good sweat, or in my case a “lather”, as our horse enthusiasts will say. The only saving grace was that everyone else was experiencing the same condition.
     I know that the heat keeps some people from coming and enjoying all the activities at the fair, but I have never seen it keep these young people and their parents from the duties of caring for their livestock or tending the barns. It was gratifying to see everyone pulling together to see to the welfare of the animals, kids and everyone that was in attendance. You saw teams of individuals providing water for animals when their owners were otherwise detained, you saw individuals taking out frozen bottles of water to place in the poultry and rabbit cages. You saw 4-H parents and grandparents taking the time to mist down cattle, sheep and swine or placing fans to make the most of moving air. There is something about a fair that, for the most part, bring out the very best in people. It is a tribute to tradition and the ethics that are innate in our citizens.
     It was gratifying to see adults and kids working together to put soaker hoses on the roofs of the beef barns to provide a cooler environment inside for the calves and humans inside. It was fun to see young people pitching in with older folks with that enthusiasm that youth brings as well as the lack of fear of anything that may happen should they slip or fall. I was impressed on how people work together, not only to pull off a big undertaking such as all the events and shows within the fair, but all the collateral responsibilities and behind the scenes activity that routinely happen each and every day. It was a testament to the collective care that rural people take with animals when they take care of those that don’t even belong to them. They are after all God’s creatures and the farmer was placed on this earth to be their caregivers. It is not only innate with the people whom frequent the fairs all across the country, but of our rural populace who knows the importance of these animals to their own welfare, livelihood and even their emotions and/or psychology.
     Not lost in all the fuss, weather concerns, etc. was the pure joy of seeing a first time exhibitor lifting his arms to the heavens and say “Yes” after winning a class or receiving a trophy. It never gets old seeing the smiles on the faces of these young people no matter if they have a red, blue, purple ribbon or even the treasured trophy or “gold” as some people will call it. Also in the equation is the pride and joy you can see in the faces and hugs of parents and grandparents – no matter how well their offspring have done. The curtain and sign that provides a background for pictures is not reserved just for the champions, everyone makes use of the area to record their personal memories of this fair or to share via scrapbooks or social media like Facebook. This time of the year is special for many reasons for many people, and all are fulfilling.
     I always marvel at the hard work and dedication these families put towards their projects and know full well that many consider the County Fair as their “vacation”. It is a time when they can put other things aside and work and play as a family. I absolutely love seeing the campers forming a little community with the smell of hamburger or “cream can stew” cooking over a fire. I love hearing the giggles and chatter of kids, as well as the laughter of adults as they sit in lawn chairs or on the tailgates of their pickups, discussing issues, farm concerns, weather, or the judge’s placings of the day. The sight of a young exhibitor draped over his/her show box or a strategically placed lawn chair or even perhaps laying up against their market steer – exhausted from the activities of the day-- or perhaps the night before.
     Although our Carnival backed out of their contract and we had to scramble for the midway entertainment, the supplemented attractions like the “Zip Line”, Mechanical Bull, Rock Climb, Inflatables, and little “Choo-Choo train” seemed to keep the young ones happy and bouncing around the grounds. You, of course , cannot get by without experiencing the aroma coming from the Methodist Church or 4-H Food Stands or the wonderful, salivating smell of a funnel cake. You cannot help hearing the distinct voice of the rodeo announcer calling everyone to come see the heroics of the cowboys, the “oohs and ahhs” coming from the stands during the bull ride or the laughter coming from the crowd during the traditional “Wild Cow Race” and even the roar of engines coming from the Mud Drag pit on the last day of the fair and the sound of the dance band that plays late into the evening, surrounded by the voices of adults enjoying their friends, neighbors and even “competitors” over their favorite beverages. Yes, County Fair is much more than ribbons, trophies and hot days. It is a part of Americana, the rural landscape and what makes our little niche of the world so special and unique. This one is over, but I am already looking forward to next year! Oh – when is State Fair?

The preceding information comes from the research and personal observations of the writer which may or may not reflect the views of UNL or UNL Extension. For more further information on these or other topics contact D. A. Lienemann, UNL Extension Educator for Webster  County in Red Cloud, (402) 746-3417 or email to: dlienemann2@unl.edu or go to the website at: www.webster.unl.edu/home  

Gladys M. Lampmann November 4, 1917 To July 25, 2014


Gladys M. Lampmann, 96, of Blue Hill, Nebraska, died Friday, July 25, 2014, at the Blue Hill Care Center in Blue Hill, Nebraska.
Services will be 2 p.m.vWednesday at the UnitedcMethodist Church in Blue Hill,cNebraska, with Pastor Dan Albers officiating. Burial will be in the Blue Hill Cemetery in Blue Hill, Nebraska. Visitation is 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday and 9 a.m. to noon Wednesday at Merten butler Mortuary and one hour prior to services at the church.  In Lieu of flowers memorials can be directed to the Blue Hill United Methodist Church.
Gladys was born on November 4, 1917, to George and Anna (Benker) Meents in Rosemont, Nebraska. She was baptized and confirmed at the St. Paul Lutheran Church,  Blue Hill, Nebraska. She attended school at District 37 and Rosemont High School through the 10th grade and then had to quit school to help her Dad at the Farmer’s Union grocery store in Rosemont, Nebraska.

She was united in marriage to Harry Lampmann on July 7, 1940, at Rosemont, Nebraska. They were married for 42 years and to this union 3 children were born, Janice, Ron and Bonnie. She lived in the Rosemont and Blue Hill area all of her life. She was a member of the Rosemont Presbyterian Church and then the Blue Hill United Methodist Church.

Gladys worked for 25 years at the Crocker Home and then the Blue Hill Care Center. She went to make her home at the Blue Hill Care Center  March 2, 2012.

Gladys is survived by two daughters: Janice (Edward) Skrdlant, Bladen, Nebraska, Bonnie (Kevin) Scribner, Hastings, Nebraska, one son: Ron (Joyce) Lampmann, Blue Hill, Nebraska; grandchildren: Jerry (Linda) Skrdlant, Bladen, Nebraska, Connie (Danny) Williams, Fritch, Texas, Diane (Patrick) Rynearson, Hastings, Nebraska, Randy (Melinda)
Skrdlant, Topeka, Kansas, Stacey Scribner, Hastings, Nebraska, Stephanie (Chad) Summers, Copperas Cove, Texas, Shantee (Esadore) (Izzy) Chavez, Grand Island, Nebraska, Morissa Lampmann and friend Mike, Hastings, Nebraska; 28 great-grandchildren; five great-great-grandchildren; one sister: Sylvia Oye, Hastings, Nebraska; and a host of nieces, Nephews and friends.

Gladys was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Harry (January 8, 1983); brothers, Ernest and Woodrow Meents; sisters, Golda Stuehrenberg and Loretta Crawford; brothers-in-law, Henry Stuehrenberg, James Crawford and Harold Oye; sister-in-law Elvira Meents and grandson, baby boy Skrdlant.

 
 
 
 
 

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Burnell H. Kottwitz August 21, 1927 to July 24, 2014


Burnell H. Kottwitz, 86, of Blue Hill, Nebraska, died Friday, July 25, 2014, at Mary Lanning Healthcare, Hastings,

Nebraska. Services will be 10 a.m. Wednesday at Trinity Lutheran Church in Blue Hill, Nebraska, with Rev. Joshua Lowe officiating.
Burial will be in the Blue Hill Cemetery, Blue Hill, Nebraska. Visitation is 4-8 p.m. Tuesday at Merten-Butler Mortuary and one hour prior to services at the church.  Memorials can be directed to Trinity Lutheran Church.

Burnell was born on August 31, 1927, to Walter H. and Merle G. (Henry) Kottwitz at the family farm east of Blue Hill. He graduated from Blue Hill High School in 1945. He was united in marriage with Vivian M. Ahrens on March 21, 1948, in Guide Rock, Nebraska. Burnell lived on and tended the Kottwitz family farm throughout his life, extending the tradition established by his ancestry to over 100 years. He enjoyed the many camping trips with his family to Rocky Mountain National Park and telling stories to his grandchildren. After retirement he enjoyed woodworking, including applying his talents towards making crosses and keepsakes for family and friends, as well as a number of special items for Trinity Lutheran Church.
He enjoyed and always gave his grandchildren rides on the tractor.
Burnell is survived by his wife of 66 years, Vivian, Blue Hill, Nebraska; one daughter: Angela M. (Roger) Duering, Hastings, Nebraska; five sons, David K. (Soona), San Antonio, Texas, Steven W. (Shirley),  Lincoln, Nebraska, Daryl A. (Debora), Omaha, Nebraska, Dennis D. (Theresa), Lincoln, Nebraska, Eugene R. (Teresa), Omaha, Nebraska; 20 grandchildren; 22 great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his parents; an infant brother; one brother, Cecil; two grandsons,Benjamin A. and Dean K. Kottwitz
 



Friday, July 25, 2014

Unrest Overseas


By U.S. Senator Deb Fischer
As Nebraskans continue to monitor ongoing conflicts overseas, I’d like to offer some thoughts on just a few of the troubling events occurring around the world. The recent attack of Flight 17, a commercial airliner filled with nearly 300 innocent passengers, over Ukraine is deeply concerning. Russian-leaning separatists, those responsible for the attack, denied access to the crash site for days, delaying the return home of the bodies to grieving loved ones. I know many Nebraskans join me in offering prayers for the families of the passengers who were lost, which include an American citizen.
While many questions remain unanswered, we do know the missile came from separatist-held territory within Ukraine. We also know Russia has provided separatists with advanced weapons, including anti-aircraft weapons, training, financial support and other assistance.
Russia has made statements in support of an investigation, but it remains to be seen whether it will stop supplying the separatists with weapons. The conflict is now much larger than just a regional dispute between Russia and Ukraine. As a result of Russia’s recklessness, 300 innocent people are dead.
Sanctions against Russia, which President Obama announced before the attack on Flight 17, were a step in the right direction. However, in light of recent events, I believe we must do more. For example, we could expand restrictions and prohibit Russian entities from using U.S. dollars in their financial transactions. This action would send a strong signal from the United States that Russia must abandon its territorial ambitions and respect the rule of law.
We should also consider providing more material assistance to the Ukrainian military. To date, we have only provided “Meals Ready to Eat,” radios, and body armor. We can do more to help Ukraine deter Russia, including assistance with intelligence sharing, fuel, and ammunition.
Violence is also raging in the Middle East, including in Israel and Gaza. The deaths of both Israeli and Palestinian civilians are truly tragic, and I completely support Israel’s right to defend itself from the rocket attacks launched by Hamas.
These attacks on Israel are a reminder to the world that Hamas is undeniably a terrorist group – one that is committed to Israel’s destruction and willing to use indiscriminate violence to achieve its goals. Hamas is firing rockets from civilian areas and hiding rockets in mosques, hospitals and schools. They even tried to hide rockets in a school run by the U.N. This latest round of violence should galvanize the entire international community to press Hamas to renounce violence and commit to peace.
Lastly, I would like to update you on my ongoing efforts to offer commonsense solutions for problems impacting Nebraska’s communities. In addition to introducing legislation to strengthen workplace flexibility and economically empower middle class families, I recently offered a bipartisan bill to explore how to increase local television programming.
Nearly one-third of counties in Nebraska currently face challenges receiving local broadcast programming, including local news, weather, sports, and emergency alerts. This has limited access to important local information, negatively impacting our communities.
That’s why I worked with Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.) to introduce The Let Our Communities Access Local TV (LOCAL TV) Act. Our bill requires the FCC to study how designated market areas affect access to local and in-state broadcast television programming. The bill requires the FCC to provide a report to Congress with recommendations on how to increase local coverage in states served by out-of-state media markets.
I believe this legislation is an important step toward ensuring all communities have access to local, relevant information from Nebraska broadcast outlets. Rest assured I will continue to work to strengthen consumer choice and control over video programming.
Thank you for taking part in our democratic process. I look forward to visiting with you again next week.

American Leadership Needed in the World

Rep. Adrian Smith
President Ronald Reagan is known for ending the Cold War without armed conflict with the Soviet Union through a policy of Peace through Strength.  The Reagan Administration deterred the Soviets, terrorists, and others with military resources and a well understood willingness to defend our allies, freedom, and humanity around the globe.
The Obama Administration too often has taken the opposite approach: disengaging from the world, appeasing bad actors, and alienating traditional friends and allies.  The result has been growing chaos around the globe.
Among the President’s first acts in office was to “reset” relations with Russia.  Now, our former Cold War enemy seems to be reverting to its old ways.  Russian President Vladimir Putin has suppressed opposition and the free press.  Russia bullies its neighbors by withholding oil and gas supplies, and has seized the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine.
It appears very likely Ukrainian separatists armed by Russia shot down Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 killing 298 innocent civilians including a U.S. citizen last week.  There have so far been no consequences for the separatists nor Russia for this atrocity.
Nor were there consequences in Syria when the dictator Bashar al-Assad gassed his own people in open defiance of the “red line” set by the President.  Regardless of whether setting this red line was a good idea or not; by stating a clear position and then failing to enforce it, he has undermined U.S. credibility with friends and foes alike.
Even areas once boasted as foreign policy successes have resulted in failures.  The United States helped topple the regime of Muammar al-Gaddafi in Libya, only to have our Ambassador and three other Americans murdered in a terrorist attack which the Administration refuses to answer questions about.  The country remains mired in violence and instability and most of the terrorists remain at large.
After the near defeat of the Iraq insurgency because of the 2007 surge, President Obama removed our troops against the advice of commanders on the ground.  Now Islamic extremists have taken over large sections of the country which is on the verge of a renewed civil war.
Our greatest ally in the Middle East, Israel, is currently under attack from a barrage of Hamas rockets.  Rather than defend Israel’s right to protect itself, the only response of the Obama Administration has been to urge a cease fire.  Not surprisingly, the Hamas terrorists have not complied with calls for peace and civility.
All of these problems are rooted in a foreign policy lacking a strategy or overarching principles to guide our approach to world affairs.  As we disengage from the world, refuse to support allies and friends in need, and fail to enforce our own policies – our enemies are emboldened.
Engagement in world affairs and being a force for good does not mean we have to be the world police, or put boots on the ground in every conflict.  America is understandably war weary.  However, we must have principles and goals to advance our interests in the long-term, not just tactics to avoid immediate conflict.  As President Reagan proved, the best way to ensure peace is through American strength and resolve.