Saturday, March 28, 2015

Fischer Applauds Passage of Senate Budget


WASHINGTON – Overnight, the United States Senate approved a budget for fiscal year 2016. U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) released the following statement regarding her vote:
“I’m pleased to support the Senate’s budget for 2016 – one that adheres to three basic rules: cut spending, balance the budget, and do it all without raising taxes.
“This budget forces Washington to live within its means – just as Nebraska families must do every day. To do this, our budget makes significant spending cuts over the next 10 years. It also ensures that taxpayer dollars are being used responsibly, so that each day we are moving our country forward – rather than adding burdens on our families.
“The American people have given elected officials a sacred trust – to be good stewards of their hard-earned tax dollars. This budget meets the government's core duties in a responsible manner.”
Click here to watch Senator Fischer’s floor speech on the budget from Wednesday.

Congressional Caseworker to Visit North Platte and Red Cloud

Constituents of Third District Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) who need assistance dealing with a federal agency are invited to attend “Caseworker in Your Community” events on Wednesday, April 1, in North Platte and Red Cloud.
“Caseworker in Your Community” is an opportunity for constituents to meet directly with one of Smith’s congressional caseworkers.  Caseworkers may be able to assist constituents who are having problems dealing with a federal agency such as the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Social Security, Medicare, passports and visas through the U.S. Department of State, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, or the Internal Revenue Service.
“Caseworker in Your Community” will be held on Wednesday, April 1, at the following times and locations:
North Platte Area Chamber of Commerce, Conference Room
502 South Dewey Street, North Platte, NE 69101
9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. (CT)
Red Cloud Community Center Conference Room
142 West 3rd Avenue, Red Cloud, NE 68970
2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. (CT)

For additional information, contact Congressman Smith’s Grand Island office at (308) 384-3900

Friday, March 27, 2015

Jazz Festival at Hastings College Tuesday, March 31

Jazz Festival
Tuesday, March 31
High School and Middle School Jazz bands will be performing on the HC Campus Tuesday, March 31 in the French Chapel
Guest clinicians and performers include: David Turnbull, trumpet; John Mills, trumpet; and Christopher Kocher, tenor saxophone.
HC Jazz Ensemble, featured guests,  and the Hastings High Tiger Jazz Ensemble will perform at 7:30 in the Chapel. HC Jazz Ensemble is under the direction of Dr. Marc LaChance.
*Come and support the schools participating and HC Jazz Ensemble!
 
Schools participating are:
Blue Hill - 8:00
Hastings St. Cecelia- 8:30
Hastings Middle School – 9:00
Grand Island Northwest – 9:30
Holdrege – 10:00
Waverly – 10:30
Gibbon – 11:00
Hastings High – 11:30
Stanton Community – 12:30
Platteview – 1:00
Nebraska City – 1:30
Norris – 2:00
Fremont Jazz II – 2:30
Columbus – 3:00
Fremont Jazz I – 3:30
 
Call 402-461-7448 to verify dates and times
 
 
Joy Gerdes
Department  Assistant | Music
Hastings College | 710 N. Turner Ave. | Hastings, NE 68901
o. 402.461.7448 | f. 402.461.7428 | jgerdes@hastings.edu
                Music  www.hastings.edu/music
 
emaillogo_hastingscollege

Nate Mohlman has lead role in Hasting College production.

Hilarity ensues in Theatre Department’s production of “Harvey”
 
As its final production of the 2014-2015 academic year, the Hastings College Theatre Arts Department will offer “Harvey” by Mary Chase. Students will perform at 8 p.m., Thursday-Saturday, April 30-May2 and at 2 p.m., Sunday, May 3 in Scott Studio Theatre (806 N. Turner Ave).
The Box Office opens Thursday, April 23 and will remain open Monday-Friday from noon to 5 p.m. Tickets are $8 general and $5 for seniors and non-HC students. To reserve tickets, call (402) 461-7380 or e-mail tickets@hastings.edu.
Hastings College Department of Theatre Arts presents, “Harvey” By Mary Chase.
Elwood P. Dowd, played by Nate Mohlman of Blue Hill,  is a mild-mannered gentleman from a good family. His best friend is an invisible six-foot tall rabbit named Harvey. Elwood's sister wants him committed. The doctors aren't sure who to commit. Hilarity ensues. Mary Chase's Pulitzer Prize-winning comedy was also turned into the hit 1950 movie of the same name starring Jimmy Stewart.
 
Cast and Crew List
Director and Technical Director – Annette M. Vargas, Assistant Professor of Theatre
 
Cast:
Ethel Chauvenet- Laurel Teal – Castle Rock, Colorado
Betty Chumley- Grace Rempp – Hastings, Nebraska
Dr. William B. Chumley- Robby Collins – Papillion, Nebraska  
Elwood P. Dowd- Nate Mohlman – Blue Hill, Nebraska 
Judge Omar Gaffney- James Bachman – Thorton, Colorado
Nurse Ruth Kelly- Sallie Myers – Custer, South Dakota
Dr. Lyman Sanderson- Aaron Pierce – Cozad, Nebraska
Myrtle Mae Simmons- Alyssa Rock – Denver, Colorado
Veta Louis Simmons- Emma Atuire – Denver, Colorado
Wilson- Jeff Burke – Colorado Springs, Colorado
E.J. Lofgren- Nathanael Sass – Hastings, Nebraska
Miss Johnson- Rebecca Holcomb – Parker, Colorado
 
Crew:
Stage Manager – Emma Parrish – Sterling, Colorado
Assistant Stage Manager – Rebecca Holcomb – Parker, Colorado
Scenic Crew Head and Designer - Jasmine Radetski – Calhan, Colorado
Scenic Charge Artist- Carolina Hall – North Augusta, South Carolina
Lighting Crew Head and Designer – Adam Neely – Lincoln, Nebraska
Costume/ Makeup Crew Head – Kat Amyot – Hastings, Nebraska
Sound Crew Head and Designer – Andy Jones – Bladen, Nebraska
Properties Crew Head – Tyler Donovan – Denver, Colorado
Run Crew Head – Cheyenne Knehans – Riverton, Nebraska
Box Office/ House Manager – Megan Lee – Hastings, Nebraska
Costume Designer – Margaret Marsh, Adjunct Professor in Costuming
Nathanael Sass – Hastings, Nebraska
Laurel Teal - Castle Rock, Colorado
Jordan Samuelson – Kearney, Nebraska
Elfie Forbes – Aurora, Colorado
Mason Lindbloom – Omaha, Nebraska
Sienna Athy – Kearney, Nebraska
Alex Goerner – Yuma, Colorado
Dodge Weishaar – Bison, South Dakota
Barrett Russell – Saronville, Nebraska
Doug Johnson – Clay Center, Nebraska
 
Founded in 1882, Hastings College is a private, four-year liberal arts institution located in Hastings, Nebraska, that focuses on student academic and extracurricular achievement. With 64 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.
 
 
 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Senate Passes “The Internet of Things” Resolution


S. Res. 110 Offers Strategy to Expand U.S. Global Competitiveness in the Digital Age

Washington, D.C. – This evening, the United States Senate unanimously approved a bipartisan resolution calling for the Internet of Things to promote economic growth and greater consumer empowerment. The resolution, introduced by U.S. Senators Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Cory A. Booker (D-N.J.), Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), and Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) generated from a Senate Commerce Committee hearing earlier this year titled “The Connected World: Examining the Internet of Things.”
Senator Fischer released the following statement regarding the resolution:
“The United States is well positioned to lead the world in innovation policy. Our bipartisan resolution commits our nation to a strategy for the Internet of Things. It incentivizes the use of new technologies and seeks to maximize consumer opportunity and economic growth. This forward-thinking initiative is an important first step in ushering new ideas and innovations for years to come.”
Senator Booker released the following statement regarding the resolution:
“The Internet of Things has unbounded potential to impact our economy, society, and individual well-being. Passing this resolution underscores our strong commitment to fostering innovation, protecting consumers, and finding solutions to our toughest problems through technology-driven solutions. I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, as well as public and private sector stakeholders, as we continue working together to build on this shared vision to ensure that America leads the world in cutting-edge technologies.”
Senator Ayotte released the following statement regarding the resolution:
“From New Hampshire to Nebraska and across the United States, the economic potential for the Internet of Things is truly remarkable because we have the most creative, capable and talented people in the world. Innovation and free-market principles must drive our hands-off regulatory approach, not overregulation. The Internet of Things resolution would encourage new opportunities to harness the power of the Internet and develop innovative solutions for people and businesses.”
Senator Schatz released the following statement regarding the resolution:
“The Internet of Things holds enormous potential. And with more and more devices connecting to the Internet every day, the United States has a unique opportunity to continue leading this technological revolution. As we work to advance the Internet of Things, we must remain committed to empowering consumers, developing technological safeguards while enabling innovation, and improving the quality of life for future generations.”
Over the past several months, Senators Fischer, Ayotte, Booker, and Schatz have worked on a bipartisan basis to explore new connected technologies and related public policy issues. Earlier this year, the Federal Trade Commission released a report on the Internet of Things following their 2013 workshop on the same topic.
A recent report by International Data Corporation estimates that the Internet of Things will generate nearly $8.9 trillion in global revenues with over 200 billion connected objects by 2020. In 2013, nine of the top 10 most innovative companies in the world were based in the United States. One recent study indicated that 90 percent of all data in the world had been generated in the previous two years. 
The senators’ resolution puts the United States Senate on record supporting a strategy to maintain U.S. global competitiveness in the digital age. It also calls for a modern framework around innovation, recognizing the importance of consensus-based best practices and the need for innovators to drive the future development of the Internet of Things. The rapidly developing market of health wearables, connected homes, and other novel solutions represents an expanding industry of consumer products.
Click here to view text of the Internet of Things resolution.Click here to view the joint press release on the resolution’s introduction.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Reject Obamacare in Nebraska

 

By Governor Pete Ricketts
 
 
This month marks the fifth anniversary of the enactment of President Obama’s healthcare law also known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) or Obamacare. As this controversial healthcare law has taken effect in the years following its passage, Nebraskans have witnessed its rocky rollout and have suffered from dramatic increases in insurance premiums. I have heard from Nebraskans that this law has rendered health insurance almost unaffordable for many people because of the high premiums and deductibles that have resulted from its mandates.
In spite of the ACA’s continued failures, proponents of the law have chosen to pursue its implementation at the state level here in Nebraska. This session, the Unicameral is considering LB472, also known as the Medicaid Redesign Act, which would expand Medicaid in Nebraska as proposed under Obamacare.
Proponents of Medicaid expansion tout the U.S. Federal Government’s promise to cover 90% of the cost of expansion as money that Nebraska cannot afford to leave on the table. Similar past promises from the Federal Government, however, have only proven short term. Promised federal funding for state administered programs has a history of evaporating, including federal funding for special education programming. Initially, federal funding was supposed to provide 40% of the funding for special education, but today in Nebraska it has dropped to 23%, leaving the State of Nebraska to pick up the difference.
Even at the current federal funding levels, Medicaid expansion in Nebraska would create major, new, ongoing state spending that would compete with priorities that Nebraskans care deeply about like tax relief, education, and infrastructure. A recent study showed that Medicaid expansion in Nebraska would result in spending $3.184 billion in taxpayer dollars including $158 million in state income and sales tax dollars over the first six years of the program. This would redirect money that otherwise could go towards property tax relief, additional education funding, or building better roads.
Medicaid expansion in Nebraska would also dramatically shift the focus of Nebraska’s Medicaid program which is centered on serving our state’s most vulnerable citizens. Currently, Nebraska’s Medicaid program provides coverage to young children, low-income families, persons with disabilities, and others who meet certain eligibility requirements. Expanding Medicaid beyond these individuals would shift the program’s focus away from serving Nebraska’s vulnerable citizens to providing taxpayer-funded health coverage to individuals outside these categories, which was never the original intent of Nebraska’s Medicaid program.
Expanding Medicaid as proposed under President Obama’s failed healthcare law is a dangerous financial risk to state government. Nebraska should reject the failure of Obamacare by rejecting LB472. Because of the ACA’s failures, it is critical that this Congress pursue real healthcare reform that is patient-centered and market-focused while also reversing the dramatic rise in healthcare insurance premiums and holding the line on consolidation in the health insurance market. Without real reform, it is likely the healthcare costs will continue to rise, and Nebraskans will continue to have fewer health insurance providers from which to choose.
Here in Nebraska, we should continue to seek innovative ideas on how we can make healthcare more affordable at the state level without major expansions of entitlement programs. One alternative that our Legislature should look at in the future is budgeting support for community health clinics. These clinics, such as One World Community Health Center in Omaha and Norfolk Community Health Care Clinic, provide quality healthcare to underserved populations who otherwise would have difficulty getting access to critical services. Additionally, with Nebraska’s low unemployment, there are numerous open jobs across our state with great healthcare benefits. We need to ask ourselves: How can we do a better job of helping people take advantage of these employment opportunities?
In the near future, I urge you to contact your state senator and ask them to oppose the expansion of Obamacare in Nebraska by rejecting LB472.
For more information on how you can call or email your senator, please visit www.nebraskalegislature.gov.

Friday, March 20, 2015

STRAIGHT FROM THE HORSES MOUTH

Duane A. Lienemann
UNL Extension Educator
      It is officially “Spring” as I write this edition, and it actually feels like it.  What a beautiful day to kick off another season of the year. It is Nebraska and things can change quickly. One thing we do need very quickly is some moisture.  I don’t think anyone would complain what form that came in right now.  We are dry and it looks to get dryer.  We have already run past at least one “fog day” with little to show for it. One thing is for sure, there is getting to be a bigger and bigger chance of a return to 2012 concerns. Keep your fingers crossed, send up your prayers, do the rain dance! We need it!
    We don’t have a lot of say in whether or not we get that moisture but we can have something to say about some of the things that constantly bombard the agriculture industry. It just seems to keep coming.  I get asked all the time if there isn’t something positive out there – and there is. I do try to point those things out too, but I quite honestly can hardly keep up with the news concerning the disconcerting, myth-laden, agenda driven bashing of the industry I love so much.
     I am going to center this week’s talk on the latest of several things that have really caught my eye. But first I suggest thinking back to your youth and start singing “Old McDonald Had a Farm.”  I have always seen a bit of innocence in that song and a hint of nostalgia, but to others it is an avenue to bring vitriol to our family farmers who try to make a living and feed an ever-hungering world.  I have no beef (no pun intended) with people who raise organic food. We need choices in this world and there is room for all of us in the production of food, but it angers and saddens me when one of our own try to discredit the conventional farmer with myths, lies and mindless theatrics that deepen the chasm between farmer and consumer and within our own ranks and this latest thing isn’t Chipotle’s or HSUS but just as negative.
     “Only Organic”, a coalition of organic food brands including Organic Valley, Stonyfield, and Annie’s Homegrown, recently launched the “New MacDonald” movement, a campaign encouraging consumers to take a pledge to add one additional organic product to their grocery cart each week. That in itself is OK, but here is where I draw the line. The campaign’s big kickoff was this dark video, in they use schoolchildren to give a rousing rendition of Old MacDonald’s Farm, except in this version the song has refrains such as: “with a hormone here and a hormone there”, “a small cage here and a tight cage there”, “here a spray [of pesticides], there a spray, everywhere a spray spray”. You can find the website and the video at: http://newmacdonald.onlyorganic.org/ . This follows an earlier cartoon type video that also shows a disdain for what we do and how we produce our product without much credence, education or in my mind morals. That particular one can be found at: www.youtube.com/watch?v=3PY4tGmdtU8 . That was bad enough, the New McDonald is worse!!
     In agriculture, sometimes we can be a house divided, especially when it comes to marketing our products. When the only competitive differentiation in a commodity is how it was produced, it’s nearly impossible to herald its benefits without disparaging your neighbor’s different production methods, and I believe the end goal of their ill-willed campaign is to drive demand for their products and at the expense of those that are conventionally grown, without regard to their neighbors or honesty that they should be bringing to the total ag industry. It makes an already thin trust, perpetuated by people like Food Babe, Dr. OZ and other charlatans, into an even lesser defined divide. People have a tendency to believe what they see on the internet and are too lazy to research, and of amazement to me is that they don’t listen to science! These types of things seem like hate to me. Farmers may not always agree on all aspects of agriculture, but at least I hope that we all can agree on one thing: hate should not prevail.  Americans should be free to eat safe, quality food regardless of whether they eat organic, natural, or not. What real good comes from this sort of bologna?  And I don’t mean the processed meat type!!
     Speaking of another type of McDonalds, I am sure most of you are aware that McDonald's restaurants is recognized as a founding member of the newly formed U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef. While that is a rather tough topic to put your head around, they have not wasted time in dealing with another hot topic – antibiotics. This time with poultry--but you know what is around the corner. They not only announced last week that it will buy only chickens raised without antibiotics that are important to human medicine, but also that they will serve milk from cows not treated with recombinant bovine somatotropin (rbST) which is a hormone, to evolve its menu to better meet the changing preferences of today's customers. McDonalds introduced a new policy - "Global Vision for Antimicrobial Stewardship in Food Animals" - and added it to the list of new menu sourcing initiatives. You know that a lot of this is being created by the food activists like Food Babe and Animal Rights groups, not with the intent of marketing animal products, but an agenda of no animals at all.
     Oh, maybe we should close today’s edition by also admitting that March 20 is also a very important day for those kind of people. I will have to admit, that I almost missed this utterly pointless and annoying red-letter day on the vegan calendar. Today (March 20) has been proclaimed “World Meat-out Day” by Vegan groups.  It is no surprise that this whole thing is orchestrated by the Farm Animal Rights Movement (FARM) http://www.farmusa.org/ . Here is their Mission Statement. “FARM is a 501(c)(3) national non-profit organization working to end the use of animals for food through public education and grassroots activism. We believe in the inherent self-worth of animals, as well as environmental protection and enhanced public health.”  What you are seeing here is the continuation of an ideological agenda which is not favorable to Old McDonald as we have known him!  I will not wish you a “Meat-Out Day” but will say instead -- Welcome to Spring!!

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: http://www.webster.unl.edu/home 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Evelyn Alvina Buss Magarin October 21, 1921 to March 17, 2015

Evelyn Alvina (Buss) Magarin died Tuesday March 17, 2015 at Blue Hill Community Care Center in Blue Hill, Nebraska.  Services for Evelyn will be held Saturday March 21 2015 at 10:30 am at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Blue Hill.  Pastor Darrel Wissmann will officiate.  Burial will be in the Blue Hill Cemetery.  Visitation will be Friday March 20, 2015 from 9 am to 8 pm at the Merten Butler Funeral home and one hour prior to services at the church.
Evelyn Alvina Buss was born to John and Anna (Johnson) Buss on their farm East of Blue Hill on October 21, 1921.  She attended the Plum Valley country school east of Blue Hill until 3rd grade then the family moved and she attended the Lampman school south of Rosemont for 2 years.  She graduated from Trinity Lutheran School in Blue Hill.  She then stayed home to raise her three younger siblings, Harold, Melvin and Maybel Buss.
Evelyn and Gilbert Henry William Magarin were married on June 25, 1943..  They had three children, Gilbert Eugene (Lorraine Sue) Magarin of Blue Hill, Terry Lee (Carol) of Holstein and Connie Milrae (Glenn) Schultz of Milbank, South Dakota.
They farmed south west of Blue Hill until 1980.  Then they moved into Blue Hill.
Evelyn worked at the Blue Hill Community Care Center for 42 years loving every moment caring for the residents.  She moved into Blue Hill Community Care center in January 2011.
She is survived by her three children and spouses, 6 grandchildren, 13 grand children, one brother Melvin Buss of Hastings and one sister Leona Ruhs of Blue Hill.
She was preceded in death by her parents, husbands, two brothers, Arthur and Harold and two sisters Maybel Schieding and Adealine Goos and a great granddaughter Bethany Grace Schultz.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Fischer: Time to End Wasteful Federal Bonuses

 

Renews Support for Bill to Prohibit Bonus Pay for Federal Employees Who Have Not Paid Taxes, Have Conduct Problems

WASHINGTON – This afternoon, U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) renewed her support for bipartisan legislation introduced by U.S. Senators Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), The Stop Wasteful Federal Bonuses Act. The bill would prohibit bonus pay from being awarded to federal employees who have violated agency rules or the law. Senator Fischer released the following statement today regarding the bill:
“Federal employees who have broken the law should not receive bonuses at the expense of hardworking American taxpayers. Our bill takes meaningful steps to stop this outrageous practice while helping ensure taxpayer dollars are being used more efficiently and effectively.”
Last year, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration released a report revealing that $2.8 million was paid in bonuses between 2010 and 2012 to 2,800 employees with conduct violations - including more than $1 million for over 1,100 IRS employees who have not paid their taxes. Certain federal agencies, including the IRS, don't consider conduct problems, including tax compliance, when determining bonuses.
The Stop Wasteful Federal Bonuses Act would prohibit the head of an agency from awarding a bonus to an employee if the agency inspector general, a senior ethics official of the agency, or the Government Accountability Office makes a determination that the employee's conduct either violated agency policy for which the employee may be fired or suspended, or violated a law for which the employee may be imprisoned for more than one year. The bill would maintain the prohibition for five years.
Last year, Senator Fischer sent a letter to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen demanding answers about IRS mismanagement and wrongful bonuses. In the letter Fischer asked for specific answers to a number of questions, including exactly how many employees received bonuses and what steps, if any, the IRS plans to take to recover the bonus pay awarded to its tax delinquent employees. She also called for the termination of all tax delinquent employees, pursuant to current law.
Click here to view the text of The Stop Wasteful Federal Bonuses Act.  

STRAIGHT FROM THE HORSES MOUTH


Duane A. Lienemann
UNL Extension Educator

       This next week has a lot of potential. My reasoning is that you have to think green! I don’t necessarily mean the “green” we usually associate with the effort to go to solar/wind energy or extreme environmentalism. I am thinking of the green associated with St. Patrick’s Day which I believe falls on March 17-- and then we can stay green in honor of National Ag Day which is the very next day. It is placed in the middle of National Agriculture Week (March 15-21), which I think is very appropriate as “Spring” officially arrives the same week. That is when we in agriculture become excited about the greening up and new life! The theme for National Ag Day is "Agriculture: Sustaining Future Generations." I think we will dedicate this week’s edition to the importance of agriculture and why we should celebrate it.
     National Ag Day is designed to encourage every American to: 1) Understand how food and fiber products are produced.   2) Appreciate the role agriculture plays in providing safe, abundant and affordable products. 3) Value the essential role of agriculture in maintaining a strong economy. 4) Acknowledge and consider career opportunities in the agriculture, food and fiber industry.  What I feel is important about these four statements is that we in agriculture have make sure that we advocate for our very way of living, each and every day. Farmers and ranchers need to tell their story, and it is a great story to tell. Consumers are much more informed that they were just a few years ago and they want to know about what their food is and where it comes from. We cannot afford to let others, who do not understand - or have an agenda that for some reason is anti-agriculture, to mold the thinking and dialogue about what we produce.
     You hear constantly about the question of – “Do you as a farmer or agri-businessman have a 15 second elevator speech about what you do and how important it is to our society?”  Can you sit down and have a fact or science based discussion with individuals who are one or more generations removed from the farm and have had their view of what we do obscured by the messages brought to them by things like Food Inc. Chipotle’s, PETA, HSUS and so many others who call us “Big Ag” or “Factory Farms? Can you express how hard we work to provide safe and healthy food for their table? Can you convey to the masses how the farmer has always been the original caretaker of the soil and animals and that “sustainable” originated on the family farm? We have a solid tradition and we have a huge undertaking to feed and clothe their families!
     Agriculture provides almost everything we eat, use and wear on a daily basis. But too few people truly understand this contribution. This is particularly the case in our schools, where students may only be exposed to agriculture if they enroll in related vocational training. By building awareness, I would hope that we can be encouraging young people to consider career opportunities in agriculture. Each American farmer feeds more than 150 people ... a dramatic increase from 25 people in the 1960s. Quite simply, American agriculture is doing more - and doing it better. As the world population soars, there is an even greater demand for the food and fiber produced in the United States. We must not forget that!
     A lot of people know the commercial featuring a couple of camels about “Hey Mike, do you know what day it is?” Well I am going to change that a bit and say….”Hey consumers, do you know what week it is?” Join the celebration of agriculture as we celebrate National Agriculture Week! Why not? Agriculture is everywhere! Take a look around and ask, where did this come from? Whether it is food, clothing, shelter, transportation, personal and household items, medications, or school supplies, what we use in our daily lives has a connection to agriculture.
     Agriculture is important to the economy not only hear in Nebraska but the nation. Today's farmers grow more food and do it with fewer resources than any other time in history. Consumer demands change and farmers work hard to meet those needs by providing an increasing variety of goods. According to the United States Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service, technology and innovation in agriculture allows one U.S. farmer to provide enough food and fiber for 154 people. Farms come in all sizes. Some are highly specialized while others are diverse. Did you know that 97 percent of the farms in the United States are family owned? They are “Family Farms”!  Statistics show farm families make up less than 2 percent of the U.S. population, yet they provide for themselves and the other 98 percent. That is just amazing.
     As consumers shop for food, clothing and other essentials, it is easy to overlook the fact that agriculture and the farmer play an important role in making these items available. Grocery shelves are filled with an overwhelming number of food product choices, restaurant menus are filled with delicious offerings and racks of clothing beckon us. Yet, many people fail to connect the dots to realize farmers are the source of their supply of food and much more. Consumers in the U.S. spend less than 10 percent of their disposable income on food, based on USDA figures. That amount is less than any country in the world. What is amazing is that we not only have the most plentiful, but we have the safest food in the world.
     When you think about it farming is about more than just food. From medical items to manufacturing and construction, agriculture is part of the formula. Seldom do we stop and ask ourselves, “Where did this come from?”  We don’t think about the hard work and risk that is involved each and every day. Instead of denigrating the very hands that provides us with all that we have, we should praise them. Farmers and what they provide should not be taken for granted. Farmers are not the type to toot their own horn, so all of us who benefit from the labor of the land need to applaud them, speak up and honor them. We should be able to stand up and answer Mike…. We know what week it is….. National Ag Week!!      

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: http://www.webster.unl.edu/home  

Friday, March 13, 2015

Senators ask Administration How many illegal Immigrants have already recieved Social Security Benefits

U.S. Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) joined with Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest, in sending a letter Thursday to Social Security Administration Commissioner Carolyn Colvin. In their letter, the Senators request information about how many illegal aliens have received Social Security numbers and benefits thus far under President Obama’s unlawful and unconstitutional executive amnesty.
“The American people have a right to know the full costs of President Obama's unlawful executive amnesty,” said Sasse. “The White House unilaterally re-wrote the laws and taxpayers are just beginning to learn the full scope of these actions. Congress has a duty to conduct oversight and hold the Administration accountable for its actions and use of taxpayer dollars.”
The text of the Senators’ letter is found below:
Dear Commissioner Colvin:
We write today to ask for current information about the number of individuals who have been granted Social Security Numbers pursuant to the administration’s deferred action policies.
It is our understanding that through January 8, 2013, the Social Security Administration had granted approximately 90,000 Social Security Numbers (SSNs) to noncitizens who were granted deferred action pursuant to the President’s “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” (DACA) program. To assist us in our constitutional oversight responsibilities with respect to these matters, we ask that you provide us with the following information:
· How many individuals have applied for SSNs as a result of the June 15, 2012, memorandum issued by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano entitled “Exercising Prosecutorial Discretion with Respect to Individuals Who Came to the United States as Children”?
· How many individuals have obtained SSNs as a result of the June 15, 2012, memorandum?
· How many individuals have applied for SSNs as a result of the November 20, 2014, memorandum issued by Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson entitled “Exercising Prosecutorial Discretion with Respect to Individuals Who Came to the United States as Children and with Respect to Certain Individuals Who are the Parents of U.S. Citizens or Permanent Residents”?
· How many individuals have obtained SSNs as a result of the November 20, 2014, memorandum?
· Have any of these individuals applied for and received benefits under either the Social Security Disability Insurance program or the Supplemental Security Income program?
Thank you in advance for your efforts to assist us in this matter, we look forward to your response.
Sincerely,
Ben Sasse 
U.S. Senator
Jeff Sessions
U.S. Senator

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Victor August Alber March18, 1926 to March 9 2015

Victor August Alber was born March 18, 1926 to Paul and Emma Benker Alber at the family farm home in Webster County Nebraska. 
Vic attended a country  grade school near the family home and in 1944 he graduated from the country High school known as Eckley High School near Guide Rock in 1944.
After graduation Victor proudly served his country in the United States Army during WWII.  He served from January 27 1945 to November 18 1946.
Vic was a devout member of Calvary Lutheran Church in Rosemont, Nebraska.  He served the congregation as an Elder and was a member of the Lutheran Laymen's League there. He was also a member of Kent Kailey American Legion Post  #45 in Lawrence, Nebraska.  He served on the Lawrence Coop board for many years.
Vic was a farmer and cattle rancher in Webster county all his life..  He made many close relationships with his neighbors .
In the Spring of 2011 Victor left the farm and moved into a home in Blue Hill, then in November 2012 he moved from that home into the Blue Hill Community Care Center in Blue Hill. 
Surviving Victor are two sisters, Alvera Beach of Hastings, Nebraska and Ruby Gobel of Burlington, Wisconsin, one sister-in-law, JoAnn Alber of Blue Hill, Nebraska.  He is also survived by a number of nieces and nephews who cared deeply for their Uncle Vic.
Preceding him in death were his parents, his sister and brother-in-law LaVeda and Austin Cummins, his brother and sister-in-law, Edgar and Barbara Alber, brother Chester Alber, and Brothers-in-law, Edgaray Beach and Fred Gobel. 

Gov. Ricketts: “Nebraska’s Farmers and Ranchers Need Property Tax Relief Now”


Lincoln – Today, Governor Ricketts reacted to the Revenue Committee’s decision not to advance a key property tax relief measure:
“I look forward to continuing to work with Chairman Gloor and the Revenue Committee as they consider options available to the Unicameral to provide Nebraskans with property tax relief. Nebraska’s farmers and ranchers need and deserve meaningful property tax relief because taxes on agricultural land have dramatically increased in recent years. This morning’s decision by the Revenue Committee not to advance legislation to reduce agricultural land valuation from 75 percent to 65 percent for taxation purposes is disappointing because this measure is a key component of providing meaningful property tax relief this year. I urge the Revenue Committee to reconsider and move this proposal forward.”
 

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Barbeque at Webster Co Fairgrounds to Honor Terry Plambeck



     The Webster County Junior 4-H Leaders and Agriculture Association will host a Barbeque at the Webster County Fairgrounds on Saturday, March 14 to honor long time Webster County Fair Board member, Terry Plambeck, who lost his battle with cancer this past week and was laid to rest. His memory however is to live on with a celebration of his life, coupled with a fund drive to garner resources to build a new announcer’s box in his name at the Webster County Fairgrounds Rodeo Arena. It is something Terry always wanted to have replaced and what more fitting memorial could there be than a new facility in his name - or as many will refer to as “Terry’s Perch”!

     Terry dedicated 18 years of his life to serving on the Webster County Agriculture Association and particularly was heavily involved as the driving force behind the Rodeo that is held in conjunction with the Webster County Fair. He also was a huge supporter of the 4-H and FFA livestock program serving as livestock superintendent as well as fair board member. He was instrumental in developing the very successful market beef carcass contest and the Webster County home bred and raised heifer program.  The 4-H and FFA Programs benefitted from his hard work, vision and support and they want to give back to him in supporting this event in cooperation with his fellow members of the Agriculture Association (Fair Board) to put a lasting memorial to his hard work and dedication to the fair, the rodeo and the youth of our county.

     Please consider coming to the barbeque that will be held at the 4-H and FFA Exhibit Hall at the Webster County Fairgrounds in Bladen, NE.  A meal consisting of hamburgers, brats, hot dogs, chips, beans, desserts & drinks will be served from 5:00-7:30 pm and attendees may bid on many outstanding items that will be on display for a silent auction.  A dance will be held starting at 8:00 pm with music provided by “Complete Music”.  All proceeds from the meal, dance and auction will go towards building the new announcer’s box that will replace the current one. Not only is the facility used for the rodeo, it is used for the Webster County Fair 4-H Horse Show as well as other horse shows, penning and roping contests as well as other events. The new facility will be named in memory of Terry Plambeck.  Come join us in Bladen on March 14!

Friday, March 6, 2015

STRAIGHT FROM THE HORSES MOUTH

Duane A. Lienemann
UNL Extension Educator

       It won’t be long and we will be seeing equipment out in the field, perhaps putting on anhydrous or dealing with some of the residue that we just talked about. When I think of this time of year, my memories link back to when we used to plow. Even though I hated having to sit out on the tractor going around and around plowing up that straw stubble, one thing I did like was the aroma that came from that freshly turned soil. I remember my ag teacher at the time telling us that what we were smelling was the microbes that lived in the soil, many of which were anaerobic and perished when exposed to oxygen. I oftentimes thought it would be great if someone would bottle that smell and put it in a bottle for when you were feeling a little down. Gosh, if they made aftershave out of that I would buy a jug of it. It probably wouldn’t smell quite the same, but I have always loved that aroma! I thought that smell was therapeutic and maybe it is, let’s find out in the discussion below.
     Did you know that there’s a natural antidepressant in soil? It’s true. Mycobacterium vaccae is a substance that is currently under study and has indeed been found to mirror the effect on neurons that drugs like Prozac provide. So the actual Prozac may not be the only way to get rid of your serious blues, maybe we should just go to our fields. Here is why. 
     It has now been found that soil microbes have been found to have similar effects on the brain and are without side effects and chemical dependency potential. The bacterium is found in soil and may stimulate serotonin production, which makes you relaxed and happier. What was of interest to me is that studies were conducted on cancer patients and they reported a better quality of life and less stress. Serotonin has been linked to depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder and bipolar problems. The bacterium appears to be a natural antidepressant in soil and has no adverse health effects. These antidepressant microbes in soil may be as easy to use as just playing in the dirt. There may be more to kids loving to play in the dirt than what we knew.  Now I know why playing in the dirt makes a lot of farmers happy!
     I, like many others like me who grew up on the farm, were used to getting dirt under our fingernails, between our toes and perhaps taking a bite out of some mud pie. We were surrounded by nature and I don’t really remember many people suffering from the things we do today. I found it of high interest along that line that some researchers have proposed that the sharp rise in asthma and allergy cases over the past half century stems, unexpectedly, from, get this, living too clean! 
     The idea is that routine exposure to harmless microorganisms in the environment, soil bacteria for instance, trains our immune systems to ignore benign molecules like pollen or the dandruff on a neighbor’s dog. Taking this “hygiene hypothesis” in an even more surprising direction, recent studies indicate that treatment with a specific soil bacterium may be able to alleviate depression. Studies have found that treatment with “Mycobacterium vaccae”, the inoffensive soil bacterium, eases skin allergies, and other reports from cancer studies show that it can improve mood in cancer victims. Scientists think that the bacteria activate immune cells, which release chemicals called cytokines that then act on receptors on the sensory nerves to increase their activity. 
      We all know that natural remedies have been around for untold centuries. These natural remedies included cures for almost any physical ailment as well as mental and emotional afflictions. Ancient healers may not have known why something worked, but simply knew that it did. Modern scientists have unraveled the why of many medicinal plants and practices but only recently are they finding remedies that were previously unknown and yet, still a part of the natural life cycle. Soil microbes and human health now have a positive link which has been studied and found to be verifiable.   
      Most avid gardeners will tell you that their landscape is their “happy place” and the actual physical act of gardening is a stress reducer and mood lifter. The fact that there is some science behind it adds additional credibility to these garden addicts’ claims. The presence of a soil bacteria antidepressant is not a surprise to many of us who have experienced the phenomenon ourselves. Backing it up with science is fascinating, but not shocking, to the happy gardener. Mycrobacterium antidepressant microbes in soil are also being investigated for improving cognitive function, Crohn’s disease and even rheumatoid arthritis. They can cause cytokine levels to rise, which results in the production of higher levels of serotonin. The bacterium was tested both by injection and ingestion on rats and the results were increased cognitive ability, lower stress and better concentration to tasks than a control group. I think perhaps a lot of us already knew the therapy of soil.
     The results so far suggest that by just simply inhaling Mycobacterium vaccae you get a dose. It could, by just taking a walk in the wild or rooting around in the garden help elicit a jolly state of mind. Anyone who loves nature can see how that could be and probably have even experienced it unwittingly. You can also ingest mycobacteria either through water sources or through eating plants like lettuce or carrots that you pick from the garden. When you think of it, by stirring up that soil, digging, plowing and working the soil it is no surprise that farmers and gardeners would end up inhaling the bacteria, have topical contact with it and get it into their bloodstreams when there is a cut or other pathway for the bacterium to enter the body.  Now that sounds kind of weird, but think about it. It does make sense. What is even better is that the natural effects of the soil bacteria antidepressant can be felt for up to 3 weeks if the experiments with rats are any indication. So get out and play in the dirt, or open the windows of the cab on your tractor and improve your mood and your life!!

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: http://www.webster.unl.edu/home 

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Smith Seeks Answers on Administration’s Efforts to Ban M855 Ammunition

Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) joined 238 colleagues in sending a letter to B. Todd Jones, Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), seeking answers on ATF’s recent efforts to ban the production and sale of M855 ammunition.
The most recent unilateral decision by the Obama Administration, this time to restrict Second Amendment rights, is deeply troubling,” Smith said. “M855 ammunition has always been rightfully exempt from bans due to its common, primary use by hunters and sportsmen for target shooting. This proposal by ATF distorts the law and opens the door for further violations of Americans’ constitutional rights. The letter to Director Jones expresses my opposition and requests answers in order to stop this egregious executive overreach.”

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Fischer Reacts to Netanyahu’s Address to Congress

      

 

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) released the following statement after the completion of remarks by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to a joint meeting of Congress this morning:
“We live in a world of danger, terror and evil – a reality that forces us to judge our enemies by their actions, not their word. Prime Minister Netanyahu knows this, and I commend him for his courage to do everything in his power to protect his people – and ultimately the free world – from the dangers of a nuclear-armed Iran. The Prime Minister’s words reinforce the fact that a bad deal with Iran is worse than no deal at all.”

Monday, March 2, 2015

Hastings College Studen Mandie Cox of Blue Hill places in Forensics competition

Forensics offers strong performances at Battle for the Capital
 
 
  On February 28-March1, 2015, the Hastings College Bronco Forensics team competed in Omaha, Nebraska, at the Battle for the Capital. On the first day, the Broncos finished third while finishing second on the tournament’s second day.
 
2015 Battle for the Capital
 
Saturday, February 28:
 
Sierra Walker, a senior from Gering, Nebraska: 2nd place, Duo Interpretation with Henk
 
Tommy Hendrix, a junior from Omaha, Nebraska: 3rd place, Program Oral Interpretation
 
Corbin Henk, a junior from Doniphan, Nebraska: 2nd place, Duo Interpretation with Walker
 
Mandie Cox, a sophomore from Blue Hill, Nebraska: 5th place, Poetry Interpretation

Michaela Wright, a sophomore from Colorado Springs, Colorado: 7th place, Persuasion
 
Micala Burns, a freshman from Bloomington, Minnesota: 3rd place, Dramatic Interpretation; 2nd place, Poetry Interpretation
 
Aika Hughes, a freshman from Itoshima-shi, Fukuoka, Japan/York, Nebraska: 7th place, Poetry Interpretation -- This was her first collegiate final.
 
Sunday, March 1:
Walker: 2nd place, Duo Interpretation with Henk
Hendrix: 1st place, Program Oral Interpretation
Henk: 2nd place, Duo Interpretation with Walker; 3rd place, Communication Analysis; 5th place, Impromptu Speaking
Cox: 4th place, Poetry Interpretation
Wright: 5th place, Persuasion; 5th place, Dramatic Interpretation
Burns: 2nd place, Dramatic Interpretation; 7th place, Poetry Interpretation
Hughes: 8th place, Poetry Interpretation 
 
Founded in 1882, Hastings College is a private, four-year liberal arts institution located in Hastings, Nebraska, that focuses on student academic and extracurricular achievement. With more than 60 majors in 32 areas of study and 13 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.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

STRAIGHT FROM THE HORSES MOUTH

Duane A. Lienemann
UNL Extension Educator
 
     This has been a busy, eventful - but also a sad week. The sad part was the loss of a good friend who was a huge part of the Webster County Fair and Rodeo, but even more importantly to me – an even bigger supporter of the 4-H and FFA and the kids within. Terry Plambeck lost his valiant battle with cancer this week and was laid to rest. One cannot hardly begin to list what this good-hearted man meant to those of us who knew him and worked with him and to all of the people who benefitted without even knowing the work behind the scenes. Terry never looked for recognition and in fact was embarrassed for being singled out. He did everything for the community, but especially the kids! He always saw the big picture, and that picture was his community, agriculture, the beef industry and of course his family and friends. 
     He was well known for the work he did on the Ag Association and particularly with the rodeo for the past 18 years, but what a lot of people didn’t know is that he put a tremendous amount of support towards the youth program. That was one of his many loves. You could not miss him, leaning on the panel of the show arena, not only watching his own kids, but all the others. If he wasn’t there, he was out back helping take care of the critters, giving advice and seeing to the needs of the shows. He delighted in that part of his life and his bigger than life humor, smile and laugh confirmed that. He also was a visionary, being on the front line in conceiving and funding the Webster County Beef Carcass Contest and more recently the Webster County Home Bred and Raised Heifer program. Those programs will continue in his remembrance.
     You could always count on Terry! He was always on call it seemed. He was the first one there to help clean out the beef barn, deftly running his skid-steer or grabbing a shovel - moving chips with a purpose. He was the first one there to help set up the show arena or to help put things away after the fair had run its course. Our kids knew him as a gentle giant. They all respected him and better yet, trusted him. You cannot replace someone like Terry, but you can bet your bottom dollar that everyone will miss him. On behalf of the 4-H and FFA youth of Webster County we salute him. Rest in Peace good friend!
     Farm Bill Decisions Deadline Extended: This past week exhibited a flurry of farmers trying to figure out if they wanted to update their yield, which to me is a no-brainer; and more importantly if they should reallocate their base acres, which in many cases is not such an easy decision. The deadline was supposed to be February 27. This is not really a great surprise, but USDA has extended the deadline for the base and yield update decisions from today to March 31, consistent with the ARC vs. PLC election decision deadline. I never could understand why there were two deadlines as all three decisions are inherently linked with each other, so making the deadlines the same and extending the base and yield deadline is logical and should have been done long ago before people were so squeezed in making these important decisions.        
     Adding to the benefit of this extension is that some of the program details relating to yields were not available until very recently, such as yield histories for hybrid seed corn and also popcorn production. And, the county yields for 2014 that factor into the ARC-CO revenue guarantees and payments were just released last week as well. Technically, NASS released yields per harvested acre while FSA still has to calculate yields per planted acre for purposes of the program, so the yield data is still not exact but approximate. Those yields can affect the performance of ARC-CO relative to PLC and potentially affect the ARC/PLC decision and the base acreage decision as well. All of that means pushing the base and yield update decision back to March 31, in line with the ARC/PLC election, will give producers time to digest this latest information. So if you made a hurried decision or have second thoughts about reallocation or even your election decision you now can re-evaluate those decisions and have this one time opportunity to change or alter them. I suggest you take advantage!
     HHS & USDA 2015 Dietary Guidelines: Last week I wrote about the new Dietary Guidelines that was put out, and promised that I would revisit it this week to add some thoughts that I did not have room for last week, so here goes. I did a little study on what led to this final conclusion by the committee and it left me scratching my head. For you that did not read last week’s edition the short take on this new guideline is that the committee has excluded or at the very least diminished red meat from their considerations of what makes up a healthy dietary pattern. Many people like me feel that the recommendation to cut red meat is based on misinformation about the healthfulness and sustainability of meat production and has an agenda based on ideology and views on global climate change rather than concentrating on human health.
     They have failed to offer new ideas for losing weight and reversing diabetes. And they have ignored sound science and based their advice on personal ideals and inaccurate observational data.  Proof of that is in the minutes of one of their meetings. The sole presenter on sustainability wasted no time in pushing the vegetarian and organic agenda, and overlooked all of the benefits that science and technology in agriculture are bringing to reduce water and pesticide use and address volatile weather conditions. The presenter barely mentioned future food security, and conveniently ignored the inconvenient truth that the world faces an immense food security challenge: feeding an additional two billion people by 2050. Fortunately, we still have time to voice our concerns. Public comments will be accepted through midnight on April 8. Written comments can be submitted to: http://www.health.gov/dietaryguidelines/dga2015/comments/ . If you believe, like I do, that red meat is an important part of a healthy diet, I encourage you to share your experiences and personal testimonies.  
     Last but not least I want to give a shout out to all our FFA members and chapters for National FFA Week! Go get em!!

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: http://www.webster.unl.edu/home