Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Blue Hill School goes into Lockdown as Authorities Process Shooting Threats.

  "This was a strange and unnerving experience for everyone"  Superintendent Joel  Ruybalid
Michael D. Head, a 47-year-old resident of  Blue Hill.  was arrested by Webster County Sheriff's department officers Monday after allegedly having threatened to shoot children at the school.  He had also threatened harm to Blue Hill city council members because his dogs had been killed.
According to the arrest affidavit, Michael D. Head was in the Blue Hill Tavern on Friday evening  ranting about city officials. He was upset saying that he felt that city officials were involved in the death of three of his dogs.  Witnesses overheard his comments and reported the incident to local authorities.
City official had in 2012 declared Head's dogs to be dangerous.  An inspection warrant was obtained to remove three dogs from Head's residence on Ash street in Blue Hill.
Witnesses who were at the Blue Hill Tavern Friday evening told Webster County Sherriff's authorities that Head said, “And if they think they are going to do anything to this dog I have now, I’m going to the next city council meeting and starting to shoot them all. Then, I’m going to work my way to the school.”
Head is alleged to have said he was going to show people what mass murder looked like by going to the school.  He said he intended to start with the youngest class and work his way up in grades. Head  said he had two pistols and an assault rifle to carry out his threat, according to witnesses.
Head accused children of lying about being bitten by his dogs because he said his dogs would never hurt kids.  That he said was his reason for intending to go to the school to shoot children.
Head was asked to leave the bar, but returned about 45 minutes later only to be turned away. Head was reported to have threatened to fight and to kill a bar patron with whom he had been discussing his plans.
Early Saturday morning this incident was reported to the Webster County Sheriff’s Department.  Sunday Webster Co. authorities took four calls from concerned Blue Hill citizens about Head walking around town with his daughter writing in a note pad at the addresses of city council members while consuming alcohol.
These activities were considered suspicious considering the events Friday in the tavern. These incidents combined to cause concern among many citizens which led to the Blue Hill Community Schools being  locked down for about three hours Monday morning.   Parents of some Blue Hill students gathered around the school Monday morning out of concern for students safety.
Superintendent Joél Ruybalid issued a statement to patrons Monday.  He tried to explain that students of the school weren’t in imminent danger. A precautionary lockdown was used to err on the side of caution.
Head was arrested about 10:40 a.m. Monday morning. 
Webster County Sheriff Troy Schmitz, posted a statement on the Webster Co. Sherriff's facebook page.  The post indicated that an arrest warrant was issued about 10:15 a.m.  Head was found walking down the street with his hands in his pockets. He was arrested without incident.  He is being held on a $500,000 bond with 10 percent cash needed for his release.
Head is being held on one charge of making  terroristic threats.
Terroristic threats is a Class 3A felony punishable by up to three years imprisonment and a $10,000 fine.
Click on this link to read the letter to Patrons issues Monday 4/11/16 from the school superintendent about Monday's incident.  https://goo.gl/IrHP2r
This statement was issued by the Webster County Sheriff's Department on their facebook page Monday.

The Webster County Sheriff's Department investigated some threats that were made over the weekend. This morning the Blue Hill Community Schools were placed in lock down as a safety precaution. The students were at no time in danger this morning, again the school did this as a safety precaution. At approximately 1015 this morning an arrest warrant was issued for a male in his late forties for Terroristic Threats, (Class 3A Felony) in connection with the investigation. This man was taken into custody by the Webster County Sheriff at approximately 1040. The male was walking down the street with his hands in his pockets. He complied with all orders given by the Sheriff and he was placed in handcuffs without incident. He is being held in the Webster County Jail on a 500,000.00 Ten Percent Bond.
We want to thank the Blue Hill School Administrators, staff and community members for helping the Sheriff's Department in keeping our community safe! Sheriff Troy R. Schmitz



Below is a letter to school district patrons from the school superintendent about Monday’s incident and the decisions behind a precautionary lock down and the release of information:
Patrons,
The school received a report from the Webster County Sheriff’s Department of verbal threats made against Blue Hill Community Schools. The decision was made to go into a precautionary Lockdown for today’s school day (4/11/16). From what we knew and understood at the time, students were not in imminent danger and there was no immediate threat to their safety. We do, however, always want to error on the side of caution by being mindful of the best available and most accurate information.
By having the Lockdown procedure in place, we were very confident in the teacher and staff’s ability to keep students safe. The idea of Lockdown is to follow the best practices for a possible intruder as described by the National School Safety Center. This includes having students in school and not out and about roaming the community when a suspect is in the community. Our Critical Incident (CIT) Committee has received training and all Lockdown procedures were reviewed with staff prior to the start of the day. Our intention was to stay in Lockdown until we were contacted about a change in status from the Sheriff’s Department. In this incidence, there were two Sheriff’s Deputies and later on State Patrol in town. After receiving the word that the suspect that made the threats of violence towards the school was arrested, the Lockdown was lifted.
I know some parents were upset about not being notified of the Lockdown prior to its happening. The school was informed that there was not an immediate threat. Doing so would have compromised the effectiveness of the procedure of law enforcement. The school did not want to put information out that would interfere with or compromise the investigation of the Sheriff’s Department. Although many times we may feel the wheels of justice turn slowly, we do want to make sure that when the time comes and charges are made that the charges will “stick.”
This was a strange and unnerving experience for everyone and I understand the reluctance of parents to send your students to school today. If your student did not attend today they will not be counted as unexcused absent but they will be responsible for missed work, notes or assignments.
Also, there were no incidences of violence at the school this morning. We heard from concerned patrons who asked about the violent incident that occurred at the school today. We had high school students who were driving to school who were stopped at a street corner and were being told to go home because there was a shooting at the school.
I know many of you dealt with a “Roller Coaster” of emotions today, but rest assured the safety of our students is the utmost priority of the teachers, staff and administration of Blue Hill Community Schools. After today’s occurrence, we will meet again to review today’s events to be better prepared for the future.
Joél Ruybalid
Superintendent

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Verna Mae Siebrass Koepke May 1929 to April 9, 2016

Verna Koepke
Verna Mae Koepke, 87, of Blue Hill, Nebraska, died Saturday, April 9, 2016, at the Blue Hill Care Center in Blue Hill, Nebraska.
Verna Mae,  the daughter of Fred W. Siebrass and Alvine Augusta Kranau was born May 14, 1928 on the family farm near Blue Hill, Nebraska.  She had one brother Kenneth Siebrass. 
She married Melvin Koepke June 22, 1952  at Trinity Lutheran Church in Blue Hill.
The Koepke's  farmed and raised polled Hereford cattle south of Blue Hill.
They were the parents of three children,  Eldon, Dale and Elgene
Verna Mae was preceded in death by her parents, her husband of 57 years (on July 19, 2009) her son Dale, ( May 7, 2007)   and her brother Kenneth (May 28, 1994) .
She is survived by her son Eldon, Daughter Elgene Grafel and husband Mike,
Services were at  10:20 a.m. Thursday, April 14, 2016 at Trinity Lutheran Church in Blue Hill, Nebraska, with Rev. Joshua Lowe officiating.
 Burial was in the Blue Hill Cemetery in Blue Hill, Nebraska.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

STRAIGHT FROM THE HORSES MOUTH


Duane A. Lienemann
Nebraska Extension Educator
         I find myself really struggling to keep my mind on task and my eyes open as I write this week’s column. I actually have a pretty good excuse for this as I rolled in late last night after an intense couple of days at the 88th Nebraska State FFA Convention. No, I have not been at all of them. I was however privileged to join many people who volunteer their time and efforts in helping to run the convention and the accompanying agricultural education contests and leadership contest events. I have now had this opportunity for several years and look forward to it each and every year.  I come away every year so highly impressed with the young men and women across our state whom I get to know a little better through these highly competitive and inspirational events. The last couple of years has been a little different than the many I previously attended, as this convention and its events were held at the Pinnacle Bank Arena, hotels in the Haymarket, and on East Campus. I believe that it is a good change. I have always been blown away by both the National and State FFA Convention and this year was even better. You could feel the enthusiasm and the electricity in the arena – the goosebumps always come!
     I spent the first 29 years of my agricultural career on the other side of the FFA convention, coaching, monitoring and hauling kids to where they needed to be, and of course reveling in the accomplishments of my “kids”. So working the convention from another point of view is more than interesting.  I had the opportunity once again to work with the FFA “Cream of the Crop” by helping with the Legislative breakfast, the State Proficiency finalist interviews and the Star State Degree finalist competition. It was also gratifying to see a former student, Scott Heinrich, once again take the stage as a 25 year Past State FFA Officer – what a kick that was! I have always known the innate and developed skills of these young people because as a teacher I had the privilege to work with some of the best in the land in my ag education classes and local FFA Chapter. I have to tell you that this event keeps me grounded and reaffirms my faith in the future of agriculture and our country with the talents and skills exhibited by these outstanding young men and women. And the legacy continues.
     This year’s State FFA Convention theme was “Amplify!” I like this buzzword because when you think about it the definition of amplify is: “To make larger, greater, or stronger”, and after witnessing more than 4600 young men and women all dressed in the Blue & Gold, with the enthusiasm, spirit and unbridled anticipation for their future that they bring, you cannot help but feel really good about our future. I believe that the FFA does indeed amplify the impact that our young people can and will have on the future of agriculture and the future of our state and nation because of the spirit, confidence, energy, work and determination that just oozes from these young adults. I believe in these young people and what they offer. I can tell you that our area young people in Nebraska represented us all very well and that they make us all proud.          
     These students had the chance to “Amplify: Boost the Impact” that they have accomplished at his years State FFA Convention. It was amazing to see these young people compete in Career Development Events (CDE) and of course Leadership Skills Events (LSE). It is unbelievable how many dollars these young people contribute to Nebraska’s economy and the hundreds of thousands of hours of service and volunteerism that they contribute to our local communities. “Amplify,” is designed to encourage youth to “boost their impact” on their community and the world. FFA gives these young people the tools to pump up their involvement and become a positive force for change. It is no secret that the organizations like the FFA and 4-H have contributed mightily to the future of countless thousands of young people all across our State and our Nation. I am so blessed to be associated with both. It doesn’t get any better than that for someone like me. I have personally had the great opportunity to see the impact that these organization have had on these young people and future leaders, but even more importantly the impact that these young people have had on our farms, ranches, small towns, cities and our state. So many have of these young people have gone on to be important contributors to society, businesses and even the legislative processes in this State. FFA of course is all about agriculture, but of utmost importance – Leadership!
     My former students will tell you that I always tried to instill in them that “It is not so much what you know in this world, but who you know!” What I was referring to of course was the networks that they can form in their activities and membership in both of these great agricultural organizations. This networking was so obvious at this year’s Convention. Not only at the convention sessions but all the activities that were provided for those that were in attendance. You saw blue jackets from all over Nebraska with different chapter names on it gathered together. That is really no different than when I was in FFA. Some of my best friends today are those that I made from other chapters 50 some years ago when I was in their shoes.
     I was personally touched, and felt good about one of the Keynote Speakers, Dr. Ronnie Green, who was this week announced as the new Chancellor for the University of Nebraska, who had one of the State FFA Officers come out with an FFA jacket. This jacket was special to him as it was his retiring jacket that he wore as a Virginia State FFA Officer. He attributed his growth in knowledge and leadership to his time in FFA and challenged the young people in the audience to take advantage of those opportunities afforded them, as the future is there for them. He reiterated the need for individuals in our Number One Industry – Agriculture. He pointed to the youth and said “Someone out there is just like me. Your future is ahead of you!” Dr. Green is an excellent choice for Chancellor and we as a State and a University are very fortunate to benefit from not only his love of FFA, but his background, his passion, his wisdom and especially his leadership! 

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

Monday, April 4, 2016

LaVona D. Borwege February 18, 1916 to April 2, 2016

LaVona D. Borwege, the daughter of Margaret (Blum) and John Armstrong, was born February 18, 1916 at Blue Hill, Nebraska. She departed this life on Saturday, April 2, 2016 at the Heritage Care Center in Red Cloud, Nebraska at the age of 100 years, 1 month and 18 days.
A lifelong resident of Webster county, LaVona grew up in the Blue Hill area and graduated from the Blue Hill High School in 1934 with a certificate in normal training. As a young girl she was baptized at the Blue Hill First Christian Church. Her father died when she was twelve and she dedicated herself at a young age caring for her siblings and working around the home. She was united in marriage with Norbert A. Borwege on February 4, 1934 at Osborne, Kansas. They made their home north of Bladen. In 1990, the farm was sold and LaVona moved to Westgate Manor in Blue Hill to live. Later in life after her family was raised she was employed with the Blue Hill Care Center as a nurse's aide and also a cook.
LaVona was a member of St. Paul's Lutheran Church and was active for many years with the Nebraska Hereford Women's Association. In her leisure time she enjoyed fishing, golf and bowling. Her love for her family was immeasurable, and she was happiest when they were spending time together. Her personality was pervaded by a strong work ethic and a devotion to her family and friends.
Preceding her in death were her parents; her step-father, Charles Stowers; her husband, Norbert on December 24, 1989; a granddaughter, Tracy Jane Borwege; brothers, John, Burdette, Marvin and Robert Eugene Armstrong; and sons-in-law, Derald Burgess and Larry Sanford.
Left to cherish her memory are her children, Sharon Burgess of Red Cloud, Nebraska; Bonna Vance and husband Larry of Inavale, Nebraska; Diane Overy and husband Larry of Pauline, Nebraska; Colleen Kucera and husband Leonard of Deweese, Nebraska and Norbert Scott Borwege and wife Sonja of Miltonvale, Kansas; 11 grandchildren; 2 step-grandchildren; 24 great grandchildren; 5 step-great grandchildren; a brother, Lyle Armstrong and wife Anne of Folsom, California; half-brother, Charles Stowers of Hastings, Nebraska; other relatives and friends.
Funeral services will be held Wednesday, 10:30 a.m., April 6, 2016 at St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Blue Hill with Pastor John Dinkins officiating. Interment will be at the Blue Hill Cemetery.
Visitation will be held Monday and Tuesday, 8:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m. at the Williams Funeral Home in Red Cloud, and Wednesday, 8:00 a.m. to service time at the church.
In lieu of flowers, a memorial fund has been established by the family.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

STRAIGHT FROM THE HORSES MOUTH

Duane A. Lienemann
Nebraska Extension Educator
       This isn’t April Fools…it actually is April! Can we really be in the fourth month of the year? No matter what, the spring season is full upon us along with all that goes with it. I am sure our area farmers are getting the chemical and fertilizer on and readying their tractors and planters. With one eye on the weather and one on the soil temp, it won’t be long and it will be “Katie bar the door!” Sometimes we also forget that our ranchers are getting cattle ready to move to pastures. Fences be checked and fixed if necessary; tanks and water systems checked and ready to go; animal health protocols being implemented or at least planned; and of course preg-testing for open or late calving cows; and possibly procuring new bulls for the herd.
     In talking beef I think we should be cognizant of what the beef specialists are saying what may be ahead as we plan for the future. Those farmers who studied and utilized the 2014 Farm Bill became very familiar with something called the Food and Agricultural Policy Institute (FAPRI) at the University of Missouri. We utilized their benchmarks to help make decisions on which direction to go between ARC-CO and/or PLC. In light of the troublesome outlook for grain production I wanted to see where we might be with the livestock industry and brought up the FAPRI projections. I was a little afraid of what they are looking towards and there is both good and bad news in the same sequence. We will also peek at crop projections.
    FAFRI Beef Projections: Unfortunately the FAPRI projections are also not an April Fool’s joke, but have both bad and good news. First the good news. Though profitability in the cow-calf sector is down sharply, it is still above historical levels. I think sometimes we get lulled into thinking we have not been in good straits these last couple of years. Maybe not so bad. It is likely that this will promote further small increases to the herd in coming years. At least that is what the analysts with FAPRI indicate in that organization’s ”U.S. Baseline Briefing Book” that was released earlier this past month. If you want to read it yourself you can go to: http://www.fapri.missouri.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/FAPRI-MU-Report-02-16.pdf .
     I for one find it disturbing that the FAPRI projects net returns per cow this year at $211.53 per head which doesn’t sound too bad, but then declining to $85.55 next year and to $9.63 in 2018, showing a downward trend. And even worse entering negative territory in 2019 and 2020 (-$21.91 and -$14.02 respectively). That is the bad news for our cattlemen. However, the light at the end of the tunnel is that these same projections call for annual returns growing from $10.45 in 2021 to $98.32 in 2025. Not big gains by any means but at least not in the negative. But we have to look at the lean years in between. 
     In terms of specific prices, FAPRI projections see fed steer prices (all grades, 5-area direct) declining from an average of $133.41 per cwt this year to a period low of $117.94 in 2018. Prices increase from there to $135.74 in 2025. Feeder steers (600-650 pounds, Oklahoma City) average $194.34 per cwt for this year in the projections. They decline to a period low of $155.12 in 2019 and then increase to $189.51 by 2025. The FAPRI baseline model uses different variables to project a wide range of market outcomes for 2017-2025. Analysts note some of the resulting 500 outcomes are much higher or lower than the averages in the report. As we know from the Farm Bill with grain, FAPRI depends on a model that takes 500 samples to replicate potential for prices. I am hoping that later draws of 500 will be much more bullish, but I am not holding my breath.
     FAFRI Crop Projections: If you have been keeping up with the saga that is the Farm Bill you most likely are interested in what is projected for crops. What stood out is that the analysts suggest that the increasing carryover stocks from hefty global crops of grains and oilseeds the past couple of years continue to pressure crop prices in the FAPRI projections.
As an example, projected corn prices in the FAPRI projections average $3.75 per bushel for the 2016-17 marketing year. Corn prices average less than $4.00 per bushel for the 2017-2025 period. Corn prices exceeded $5.00 per bushel in about 10% of the 500 FAPRI outcomes for each year, and fell below $3.00 per bushel in more than 10% of the outcomes.
     Now just what does that mean? I think it appears that we are looking at several years of pretty tight financial situation for U.S. agriculture. I think most everyone, or at least those intimately involved in farming, know that farm income is less than half of the 2013 peak. I am certain both farmers, bankers and land owners are very nervous about this and unfortunately we can probably expect it to remain low for the next several years. It is true that we’ve had some cost reductions, but not nearly enough to offset the decline in receipts. Most input costs have stayed pretty much status quo and some have gone up.
     When you analyze all of this, with farm income below peak levels and interest rates forecast to increase, it doesn’t take an MBA to determine that there will likely be continued pressure on farm finances and farm real estate values. And as a matter of fact in order give some perspective, FAPRI analysts explain that U.S. average farm real estate values increased by 50% between 2007 and 2015. But according to USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). FAPRI projections call for farm real estate values declining by $250 per acre between 2015 and 2019. That’s on average, of course. The FAPRI folks note that actual results will differ across the country and will be sensitive to developments in agricultural markets and the economy. As we face these uncertainties we also have to contend with the property tax issues that don’t help the situation at all. Folks we may have a serious situation that we are just entering. What can we do to offset these challenges?
     One thing is for sure, we are going to have to be the best managers we can be. We will need to make some very tough decisions, perhaps tighten our belts a little and evaluate some practices we have implemented when crop and livestock prices were significantly higher. Work with your lender; communicate with landowners and family; and above all – Pray!

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

Friday, April 1, 2016

April Birthdays

Happy Birthday to these former and current residents of Blue Hill
April 2 Terri Golter
April 2 Ron Lampman
April 3 Mark Kumke
April 3 Dick Schmidt, Jr.
April 4 Christa Alber
April 4 Terry Jordening
April 4 Lori Toepher
April 4 Jan Wells
April 4 Nina Colburn
April 4 Shalene Medina
April 4 Wanda Wright
April 5 Patty Uden
April 6 Jordan Mack
April 7 Pat Kort
April 8 Penny Witte
April 10 Kristen Ostdiek
April 11 Deb VanBoening
April 11 Jesse Alber
April 11 Clair Duval
April 13 Ruth Elaine Goodrich
April 14, Jennifer Gaede
April 15 Jill Coffey
April 15 Rodney J. Buss
April 15 Ken Skarin
April 15 Wayne Strasberg
April 18 Judy Grandstaff
April 23 Tami Kort
April 23 James W. Mackin
April 24 Peggy Meyer
April 24 Colleen Karmazin
April 24 Kristin Rose Kohmetscher
April 25 Cody Bland
April 26 Lamira Karsting
April 26 Marah Leigh Jensen
April 28 Charlene Feeley
April 29 Larry Gianokas
April 29 Marvin Harrifeld
April 29 Gary Stertz
April 29 Kevin Toepher
April 29 Beverly A. Meyer
April 30 LaMar VanBoening
April 30 Dick Schmidt, Sr.

Friday, March 25, 2016

STRAIGHT FROM THE HORSES MOUTH

Duane A. Lienemann
Nebraska Extension Educator
      Well, there is no doubt! We live in Nebraska and it is definitely March! This unsettled weather and its extremes has always been a landmark for all of us that have grown up here. It is kind of hard to explain to others that have not experienced. Only in Nebraska can you have four seasons within a week or for that matter a few days. One thing is for certain with the passing of the first day of Spring….we are well into the busy season for our farmers and ranchers. 
      With that heavy snow from February we are seeing the dividends with the moisture that it brought to a parched soil. The wheat and cool season grasses are both greening up and looking good.  However, as is the nature of this part of the country we will soon need more moisture to get where we would like to be. This early and heavy growth of wheat does bring some concerns that we may want to be aware of if you raise or manage wheat acres. I just read a CropWatch article that I think is pertinent to our wheat growers and might should be heeded as I do concur with their predictions.
     Last week stripe rust was found in several counties in southern Kansas and leaf rust was found in northeast Kansas, indicating the likelihood that leaf rust overwintered in Kansas due to mild winter temperatures. Stripe rust overwintered in western Colorado. The most recent update from Colorado indicates that stripe rust has been confirmed in the eastern part of the state, just northeast of Denver. The risk of stripe rust spores blowing into western Nebraska from northeast Colorado is real and adds to the risk of spores blowing in from Kansas. If you wonder about the wind, think of March 23.
     Development of the wheat crop, as was predicted due to the warm temperatures that have prevailed in January, February, and March, to be earlier than normal. It doesn’t take much to see that! Given that stripe rust and leaf rust have been confirmed in Kansas, it is recommended that growers start scouting their wheat fields for early disease detection. Other diseases to look for include powdery mildew and leaf spot diseases such as tan spot and Septoria tritici blotch. You can see pictures of the diseases by going to: http://cropwatch.unl.edu/2016/wheat-rust-kansas-start-scouting-nebraska-fields  
     According to Nebraska Extension Crop Pathologist, Stephen Wegulo, current and projected weather conditions over the next several weeks are favorable for development and spread of wheat diseases. He highly suggests that you monitor the disease situation in your field and consider an early fungicide application at the jointing growth stage especially if you see stripe rust and in cases where powdery mildew and leaf spot diseases are developing to moderate or severe levels. If you make an early fungicide application, it will most likely be necessary to make a second application at 50-100% flag leaf emergence to protect the flag leaf. To maximize returns, consider a low cost generic fungicide for the earlier application and a higher cost fungicide for the flag leaf timing. In the event that the weather becomes favorable for Fusarium head blight, a third fungicide application may be warranted in some fields.  If you make two or three applications, ensure compliance with label restrictions. Each fungicide has a maximum amount and number of times that it can be applied in one growing season and these limits should not be exceeded. I suggest that you don’t just do a windshield tour - get out and look at the wheat!
      GMO Labeling: Last week I talked about consumers and pressures from groups that can really make a difference in how we raise and market agricultural crops. There is a lot of misinformation and downright myths and lies out there concerning Genetically Modified Organism or GMO’s. I cannot even describe the vitriol that some people show when they discuss this issue. It would take hundreds of pages and hours to talk about all that is going on in this arena. If you want to know more about the true science I suggest that you go to.  Long overdue, a biotechnology website has been developed to enlighten the public concerning questions consumers might have about genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and their engineered incorporation into the world’s food supply. Launched by the Biotechnology Industry Organization, a trade association that represents biotechnology providers, the site is called “GMO Answers” and seeks to dispel myths about so-called “Frankenfoods” while at the same time educating non-farm types about the many benefits of GMOs.      Interested readers can visit the new website at www.gmoanswers.com, which will provide answers on a wide range of questions regarding GMOs, including benefits, health and safety issues, regulatory requirements, international approval status, and many other worthwhile topics. The past couple of years have been a challenge in terms of legislation, ballot initiatives and media articles aimed at agricultural biotechnology. The attack on GMOs has taken several forms in the western states – from proposed mandatory labeling requirements, to proposed bans on the planting of GMO crops, to proposed state and local permits and environmental impact statements for GMO seed production and crop research.
     There are of course a lot of different thoughts on labeling of GMO’s in food products but I can tell you what can happen when misinformation ends up, when states pass legislation concerning just that. Hawaii passed a law concerning GMO’s and it has had dramatic effect on food production and farming. Vermont just passed a GMO labeling law that is having far reaching effects on food manufacturers. A domino affect happens, and we have to look no further than this past week when a fourth major U.S. food maker reportedly will put GMO labels on foods that contain genetically modified ingredients. Kellogg’s label reportedly will say “produced with genetic engineering” to comply with Vermont’s labeling law that goes into effect this summer. Campbells, General Mills, and Mars are the other three food companies that say they’ll label their products containing GMO foods. More food makers are expected to follow suit. Here we go… Hold on to your hat!

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

Saturday, March 19, 2016

STRAIGHT FROM THE HORSES MOUTH

Duane A. Lienneman
Nebraska Extension Educator
 
    
     As I write this, we are less than 24 hours from the official first day of Spring! We have already seen the robins, greening up of grass in the lawns, brome in the road ditches and even the wheat in the fields. I have also noticed all the buds on the trees swelling and even some early flowers. I know it got pretty cold over the night, so am keeping my fingers crossed that it did not do much damage. This is one of my favorite times of the year with the new baby calves running around with their tails in the air, the fresh smells of a new beginning. You see the tractors on the ready and the fertilizer being applied. It will not be long and planting season will be upon us. One thing is certain, which seems to be a continual anomaly, we need some rain. Folks it is dry out there again. I know it is still early but we may want to offer up some prayers!
     Unfortunately this new season has also brought on some new challenges for agriculture from our antagonists at HSUS (Humane Society of the United States). I am really discouraged to hear that they will be using their vast resources collected from unknowing people, not knowing where their dollars are going, are paying for a full scaled attack once again on animal agriculture. There is word from very good sources that HSUS will be publishing an 8-12 page, full-color paid insert on farm animal welfare on Wednesday, March 23, in USA Today. This is significant because it is the number one U.S. daily newspaper with a circulation of over 2.3 million. The insert will be distributed in several major markets and online. 
     Their stated goals of the insert include: To raise concern about the care of animals raised for food and to call into question animal confinement in what they describe as the shift from family farms to industrial agribusiness. They go on to charge that "factory farms" jeopardize the welfare of animals, damage public health and harm the environment. Does that sound familiar? That still irritates me as the census shows that in the U.S. there are 2.1 million farms and in Nebraska there were 49,100 farms, 97% of which meet the USDA definition of a “family farm.”  They are not “factory farms!” 
     Incidentally, the USDA considers a “family farm” any farm where the majority of the business is owned by the operator and his/her relatives. They leave out the part of how we care for the land, water and animals.  Of course the animal rights groups have their definition of a “Factory Farm”. Note: I print this just for your information: “Factory farming is an attitude that regards animals and the natural world merely as commodities to be exploited for profit. In animal agriculture, this attitude has led to institutionalized animal cruelty, massive environmental destruction and resource depletion, and animal and human health risks.”  If you want an organized view of how farms are seen go to: www.foodandwaterwatch.org. 
     Unfortunately, that is how the people who associate with groups like HSUS, PETA, SHARK, etc. view our farms.  If you desire to see a map of all the “Factory Farms” in the US go to:  http://www.factoryfarmmap.org/. Even though we know this to be false, millions of consumers and especially young people are led to believe that this is agriculture (Big Ag) and we are not seen in a view of being transparent -- and transparency leads to trust. So basically we are not trusted, and groups like HSUS utilize that to their benefit at the expense of our farmers and ranchers across this state and this nation.
     The Center for Food Integrity is a group that I follow in regards to agriculture advocacy. They recently conducted a survey that is pretty telling when it comes to consumers versus farmers/ranchers. You can access that survey and learn a lot more about what is driving things like this by going to: http://www.foodintegrity.org/  According to that survey engagement is important in light of the trends seen in CFI's annual consumer trust research. Sixty percent of the people surveyed strongly agreed with the statement, "If farm animals are treated decently and humanely, I have no problem consuming meat, milk and eggs."  This survey should tell us something, and more importantly should be our guide as farmers/ranchers.
     Now here is the troubling point of that survey. Only one in four in the same survey strongly agreed with the statement, "U.S. meat is derived from humanely-treated animals." It is obvious that engagement from the food system is needed to close the gap. It's important that we balance the conversation, particularly at a time when consumer trust research shows that while most say they'll consume meat, milk and eggs from animals treated humanely, only 25 percent believe they are. That means 75% of those consumers surveyed believe we do not!! We have to tell our story and we should have started years ago. As I have repeatedly said – before someone else does, and now they are …and it is not the story we want to tell!
     This insert that tells the story in HSUS eyes, is not a USA Today story or editorial, it is a paid insert just like a paid advertisement insert. So, we as an industry should not target USA Today for the information of the insert. We cannot afford to shoot the messenger. Instead we need to be prepared as questions may arise in discussions we might have. The silver lining in this cloud is that it does give us a chance for engagement and for dialogue. Remember a balanced conversation utilizing the science based information around the production practices that we routinely employ is a key element to the discussion. We were not proactive in this matter. We should not now in desperation become reactive, and especially not antagonistic. We have to play with the cards dealt us. Unfortunately because we have not done enough as farmers and ranchers to be AgVocates and not do the things we should, our detractors now hold the commanding hand in this card game. I don’t see this as a poker game that we can afford to lose. We as an industry must unite, we must join groups that can help protect and lobby for us. There is strength in coalitions and organizations that have similar interests – join them!


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

Anita M. Kucera April 1, 1938 to March 16, 2016

Anita M. Kucera, 77, Lawrence, died Wednesday, March 16, 2016 at Mary Lanning Healthcare, Hastings.  Rosary is Sunday, March 20, 2016, at 7 p.m. and Mass is Monday, March 21, 2016 at 10 a.m. both at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Lawrence, with Father Thomas Bush officiating. 
Burial will be in the Sacred Heart Catholic Cemetery, Lawrence.  Visitation will be Sunday March 20, 2016 from 3-8 p.m. at the Lawrence Visitation Chapel, Lawrence. 
Memorials may be directed to Sacred Heart Altar Society. 
.
Anita was born on April 1, 1938 to Aloysius and Emilia (Miller) Kimminau at Lawrence.  She graduated from Lawrence High School in 1956.
 Anita married Wenceslaus (Wencil) Kucera on February 12, 1957 at St. Stephen Catholic Church, Lawrence.  She was a member of Sacred Heart Catholic Church and Sacred Heart Altar Society.
 Anita was a devoted wife, mother and grandmother.  She enjoyed doing quilts, scrapbooking, teaching people how to sew, was a devoted caregiver to her husband and enjoyed her grandchildren.
Anita is survived by two sons:  Irvin (Dee) Kucera, Lawrence, Wray (Barb) Kucera, Wichita, Kans., three daughters:  Sharon (Fred) Ousey, Aurora, Rita (Mark) Petska, Blue Hill, Karen (Rick) Hubl, Lawrence,  three sisters:  Mary Jane (Ted) Schlick, Grand Island, Lois Ann Kimminau and Betty Pohlmeier, Pahrump, Nevada, three sister-in-laws:  Gail Kimminau, Fairfield, Agnes (Alfred) Miller, Superior, Bonnie (Don) Himmelberg, Lawrence, brother-in-law:  Valerian (Virginia) Kucera, Red Cloud,  16 Grandchildren, two step grandchildren, 11 great grandchildren, four step great grandchildren, two step great great grandchildren.  Anita was preceded in death by her parents, husband, one granddaughter:  Elizabeth Hubl, one brother:  James Kimminau, one sister:  Elizabeth Kimminau, one brother-in-law:  Jack Pohlmeier.
 

 
 
 

Friday, March 18, 2016

After School 4-H 101

 

The Webster Co. Extension is excited to be offering a new after school program in coordination with the Adams County Extension & the Blue Hill Library. For the seven Mondays in March & April, we will have be engaging youth to learn about the different aspects of 4-H. We will cover a broad range topics from insects to ice cream! We will provide all supplies and a healthy snack each session. We will be having a staff member walk down with the kids afterschool, so if you are interested in having your child participate, please contact our office at 402-746-3417.
Schedule is as follows:
  • March 21st – Embryology (Incubate Eggs) & Livestock/Small Animals
  • March 28th – NO SESSIONS – HAPPY EASTER
  • April 4th – Six Easy Bites/Tasty Tidbits
  • April 11th – Design Decisions
  • April 18th – Safety

Friday, March 11, 2016

STRAIGHT FROM THE HORSES MOUTH

Duane A. Lienemann
Nebraska Extension Educator
     This next week is pretty special to people like me. For you that don’t know there are a several of things that are happening. First we “Spring Ahead” with our clocks in observance of Daylight Savings Time. That always has an effect on me. It seems it takes this old body and brain a while to adjust to that. You might also notice the new life emerging; baby calves, grass greening up and even some early flowers blooming. I also want to point out to you another thing that occurs which is the 43rd anniversary of National Ag Day. Oh and by the way, it is the precursor to the first day of Spring!
     The theme this year is “Agriculture: Stewards of a Healthy Planet.” The goal is simple: to establish, or enhance the understanding of how food, fiber and renewable resource products are made, and through that understanding, build a growing appreciation for the contributions of agriculture as a: source for safe, abundant and affordable products; a positive force in the local, national and global economy; and a vital part of meeting the growing global challenge of hunger. We must remember that the farmer and rancher are the original caretakers or “stewards” of our animals and our earth!
      I think it's important - particularly on a day like today - to show our gratitude to the many men and women who make agriculture possible. We know that food and fiber doesn't just arrive at the grocery or clothing store or magically appear on our dinner table or in our closet. There's an entire industry dedicated to providing plentiful and safe food for consumption as well as a wide range of comfortable, fashionable clothing choices. We rely on agriculture for the very necessities of life. From beef and pork to cotton and corn, agriculture is working harder than ever to meet the needs of Americans and others around the world. And it's important to remember that American agriculture is not just doing it, but doing it better and more effectively! They are doing more with less and what is even more amazing is the fact is that each American farmer feeds and clothes about 144 people. Plus new technology means farmers are more environmentally friendly than ever before. That's really what this day is all about, recognizing the role of agriculture and celebrating the role they have on our planet.
     I have always been a proponent of agricultural literacy and in fact have made a career of it. I have had the opportunity of the last couple of weeks to talk towards “Protecting Nebraska Agriculture” with the basis of my talk about how and why we are facing the issues we are and what we as producers can do about it. I firmly believe that one of our largest enemies is illiteracy in agriculture, and I think we can use this week to expound on that a bit more. I firmly believe this could be a very good reason for the question: Why Celebrate Ag Day? I see the key reasons to recognize and celebrate Ag Day each year as the opportunity for increased knowledge of agriculture and nutrition allows individuals to make informed personal choices about diet and health. That leads to this year’s theme of a healthy planet. We also need informed citizens who will be able to participate in establishing the policies that will support a competitive agricultural industry in this country and abroad and not be sucked into the sewer of misinformation and myths when it comes to production agriculture. 
     Beginning in kindergarten and continuing through 12th grade, all students should receive some systematic instruction about agriculture. Agriculture is too important a topic to be taught only to the small percentage of students considering careers in agriculture and pursuing agricultural studies. Agricultural literacy includes an understanding of agriculture’s history and current economic, social and environmental significance to all Americans. This understanding includes some knowledge of food and fiber production, processing and domestic and international marketing. To me it has always been for youth and potential careers. Careers in agriculture are widely varied. Beyond the traditional view of agriculture as strictly crop or livestock farming, opportunities exist in finance, communications, law, government, sales, technology, and more. A knowledge of modern agriculture can translate into almost any career discipline. Simply put I believe that all Americans need to understand the value of agriculture in their daily lives. We need to understand what it takes to be the actual stewards of a healthier planet! We need the tools of technology along with hard work to produce for an ever increasing populace.
     Agriculture is one of the fastest-changing industries today, embracing cutting-edge technologies in the pursuit of sustainable food, fiber, and fuel production. High school students today will very likely be employed in careers after college that don’t even exist at the present time! One of my favorite quotations reads: “Once in your life, you will need a doctor, a lawyer, a policeman, and a preacher. But every day, three times, a day, you need a farmer.” I would add that you also need all of the people who support the farmers in myriad ways. Agriculture is vitally important to each and every one of us, and for a young person looking for a stable, interesting, and fulfilling career, choosing agriculture is the way to go!
     As we celebrate this week the bounty of the land and our livestock, I encourage you to take a moment and connect with a local farmer or rancher if you are a consumer, and if you are a farmer or rancher – connect and talk with a consumer. Share your story and answer their questions. Farmers and ranchers continue to feed and fuel our lives and consumers are a vital partner. We hear a lot about being advocates for agriculture. I firmly believe we must be but we have to be much more than “AgVocates”, we should be celebrating the strengths of our industry as well as listening, learning, and responding to the concerns of the public. We need to be forward thinking, willing to adapt and change with the concerns and demands of the public without sacrificing best practices based on science. Above all be proud of being a farmer or rancher! You deserve it!

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

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Blue Hill Resident Amanda Cox places in Hastings College Speech tournament

Hastings, Neb.) – On the second day of the Bronco Bash collegiate speech tournament hosted by the Hastings College Bronco Forensics team and the team’s alumni, the current Broncos finished second. Trischia Ruekert, a senior from Beloit, Kansas, paced the Broncos on February 21 with first place finished in three categories: Communication Analysis, Persuasive and Extemporaneous Speaking.
 
Individual results are as follows:
 
Bronco Bash, February 20:
Ruekert: 2nd Place, Impromptu Speaking; 2nd Place, Communication Analysis; 3rd Place, Persuasive; 3rd Place, Informative
Dianna Rulon, a freshman from Arcadia, Indiana: 3rd Place, Extemporaneous Speaking; 7th Place, Communication Analysis
Austin Heinlein, a freshman from Hutchinson, Kansas: 1st Place, Dramatic Interpretation; 4th Place, Impromptu Speaking
Sabrina Maxwell, a freshman from North Richland Hills, Texas: 4th Place, Poetry
Carly Cremers, a freshman from Columbus, Nebraska: 3rd Place, Poetry
Carly Spotts-Falzone, a freshman from Wayzata, Minnesota: 1st Place, Poetry
 
Broncos Bash, February 21:
Eunice Adounkpe, a senior from Omaha, Nebraska: 6th Place, Impromptu Speaking
Ruekert: 1st Place, Communication Analysis; 1st Place, Extemporaneous Speaking; 1st Place, Persuasive; 3rd Place,Informative Speaking
Amanda Cox, a junior from Blue Hill, Nebraska: 5th Place, Prose; 6th Place, Program of Oral Interpretation
Caleb Merritt, a sophomore from Brookings, South Dakota: 2nd Place, Poetry
Kenzie Shofner, a sophomore from Maple Plain, Minnesota: 1st Place, Impromptu Speaking
Heinlein: 2nd Place, After Dinner Speaking
Spotts-Falzone: 4th Place, Poetry
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.

Monday, February 29, 2016

March Birthdays

Happy Birthday to these present and past residents of Blue Hill.
March 2 Addison Grace Spencer
March 2 Eric Hubl
March 3 Edgar Schmidt
March 5 Jason Kort
March 5 Veldon Nemacek
March 6 David Wademan
March 6 Ryan Meyer
March 6 Roger Schunk
March 6 Carolyn Willicot
March 7 Chelsy Wilhelms
March 7 Leigh McAliff
March 8 Larry Kort
March 8 Margret Armstrong
March 9 Tony Krueger
March 11 Jessie Ann Menke
March 12 Jenny Faimon utecht
March 12 Skyler Ericcson
March 12 Shelly Auten
March 12 Albert Gray
March 13 Daneca Dawn Buschkoetter
March 13 Steph Bonifas
March 14 Grant Alber
March 14 Lonnie Kort
March 14 Tim Allen
March 14 Trisha Allen
March 16 Austin Rose
March 17 Clayton Mohlman
March 21 Myrtis Alber
March 22 Anthony Toles
March 23 Emily Harrifeld
March 24 Tandi Porter
March 24 Bruce Eckhardt
March 24 Clint Shipman
March 25 John Kinley
March 25 Terry Burge
March 26 Lois Mohlman
March 28 Erin Kinley
 
March 29 Taylor Premer
March 30 Trevor Alber
March 30 Joseph Smidt
March 30 Dona Krueger
March 30 Jeff Kort
March 31 Sara Skinner

Nebraska BQA and VFD Meeting in Bladen, Tuesday – March 8


     Nebraska Extension and Beef Quality Assurance are offering BQA Certification and Veterinary Feed Directive Informational Meetings across Nebraska for beef producers. One of them will be held in the 4-H and FFA Exhibit Hall at the Webster County Fairgrounds on Tuesday, March 8. The meeting will start at 7:00 pm. This meeting will qualify regional beef producers for Nebraska BQA certification. It can also be used for past BQA qualifiers to recertify. Topics that will be covered include: BQA Best Management Practices; Animal Health Stewardship; and Veterinary Feed Directives.
     The Nebraska Beef Quality Assurance program is a voluntary educational program for beef producers statewide. The program is managed and administered by Nebraska Cattlemen and is jointly supported by the Nebraska Beef Council (NBC), the University of Nebraska - Lincoln (UNL) and the Nebraska Veterinary Medical Association (NVMA). The mission of BQA is to maximize consumer confidence and acceptance of beef by focusing the producer’s attention to daily production practices that influence the safety, wholesomeness and quality of beef and beef products. BQA certification is available for attendees with a fee. 4-H and FFA beef producers/exhibitors may also qualify for YLQA by attending this meeting at no cost.
     In order to secure the proper material we are asking that attendees pre-register for the meeting by Monday, March 7. To register, or for more information contact the Webster County Nebraska Extension Office at 402-746-3417 or email Dewey Lienemann at dlienemann2@unl.edu  or Rob Eirich, Nebraska Director of Beef Quality Assurance at 308-632-1230 or email at reirich2@unl.edu  .

Farm & Ranch Business Succession & Estate Planning Workshop in Blue Hill March 4



     Farmers and ranchers are cordially invited to attend a free workshop on business succession and estate planning for farm and ranch owners, families and beginners that will be held on Friday, March 4 at the Blue Hill Community Center. The workshop will run from 9:30 am to 2:30 pm (including lunch break) with registration and coffee at 9:00 am. There is no charge for the workshop and the lunch is provided. We just ask that you pre-register.
     The workshop is about farm and ranch business succession, family estate planning and beginning farmer programs. It is intended to be useful for established farm and ranch owners, for their successors, and for beginners. Topics include: The stages of succession planning, contribution & compensation, balancing the interests of on-farm and off-farm heirs; the importance of communication, setting goals, analyzing cash flow, and balancing intergenerational expectations and needs; beginning farmer loan and tax credit programs; the use of trusts, wills, life estate deeds and business entities (such as the limited liability company) in family estate and business succession planning; buy-sell agreements, asset protection, taxation (federal transfer taxes, Nebraska inheritance tax, basis adjustment), and essential estate documents.
     Presenters Include: Dave Goeller, Deputy Director, UNL Northeast Center for Risk Management Education; Joe Hawbaker, Agricultural Law Attorney, with Hawbaker Law Office, Omaha. The workshop and meal is FREE to the public. Because a meal is included we do need for individuals to pre-register by Wednesday, March 2. To register (and for questions) please call the Rural Response Hotline at 1-800-464-0258 or contact the Webster County Extension Office in Red Cloud at 402-746-3417.
     This workshop is made possible by the Nebraska Network for Beginning Farmers & Ranchers, the Farm and Ranch Project of Legal Aid of Nebraska, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, the Nebraska Department of Agriculture’s Next Gen, Nebraska Farmers Union Foundation, Nebraska Extension Office in Webster County, and a meal will be sponsored by South Central State Bank.

Evening of one-act plays caps collegiate careers for HC theatre majors


Hastings, Neb.  By directing one-act plays, Hastings College theatre majors in their junior or senior year have the opportunity to demonstrate all they have learned through their courses and as part of other productions. This experience, known as a capstone, is a significant undertaking -- the kind of large project from which Hastings College students benefit when they graduate and move into careers in theatre and other fields.
 
For 2016, the capstone one-acts will be produced on Thursday, March 10; Friday, March 11; and Saturday, March 12 at 7:30 p.m. and on Sunday, March 13 at 2:30 p.m. All performances will be in Scott Studio Theatre (806 N. Turner Ave.) General admission tickets are $7 while seniors and students can purchase tickets for $5. Admission is free for Hastings College students, faculty and staff and for Crimson Connection members. To reserve tickets, contact tickets@hastings.edu or call the box office at 402.461.7380 starting on Thursday, March 3.
 
These plays contain mature subject matter.
 
CAPSTONES 2016: An Evening of One-Act Plays

DON’T LOOK DOWN-By Jay Folb
Directed by: Tyler Donovan of Broomfield, Colorado

Paul- Dodge Weishaar of Bison, South Dakota
Adele- Carly Creamers of Columbus, Nebraska
Silvia- Laurel Teal of Castle Rock, Colorado
Officer- Alyssa Rock of Denver, Colorado
Morty- Barrett Russell of Saronville, Nebraska
Dr. Wright- Nate Mohlman of Blue Hill, Nebraska

Stage Manager – Elfie Forbes of Aurora, Colorado
Costumes – Amanda Miller of Woodland Park, Colorado
Props- Miranda Aschroff of Hastings, Nebraska

THE NEW PLAY- by William Saroyan
Directed by: James Bachman of Thornton, Colorado

The Writer- Nathanael Sass of Hastings, Nebraska
The Secretary- Emma Atuire of Denver, Colorado
Dinah- Carly Creamers of Columbus, Nebraska
Folger- Colt Hoselton of Juniata, Nebraska
“Abe”- Austin Phillips of North Platte, Nebraska
Professor Of Everything- Dodge Weishaar of Bison, South Dakota
 
Stage Manager – Shane Schultz of Hastings, Nebraska
Costumes – Ginger Ball of Marysville, Washington
Props- Rachel Garn of Broomfield, Colorado
Run Crew- Barrett Russell (Head) of Saronville, Nebraska
Arthur Pettigrew of Valentine, Nebraska
Anna Flairty of Omaha, Nebraska

WHY?- by Hannah Conlon
Directed by: Hannah Conlon of Lisburn, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom

Niamh- Sabrina Maxwell of North Richland Hills, Texas
Siobhan-Cami Sharratt of Savage, Minnesota
Finn- Alex Rieflin of Doniphan, Nebraska
Jack- Colt Hoselton of Juniata, Nebraska
Stage Manager – Randy Scoggins (Understudy) of Grand Island, Nebraska
Costumes – Rosa Ochoa of Holyoke, Colorado
Props- Austin Heinlein of Hutchinson, Kansas
Joe Prickett of Hastings, Nebraska
 
CREW HEADS
Scenic– Nate Mohlman of Blue Hill, Nebraska
Cheyenne Knehans of Riverton, Nebraska
 
Lighting – Mason Lindbloom of Omaha, Nebraska
 
Costumes/Make-Up – Rebecca Holcomb of Parker, Colorado
Rebecca Ralston of Sutherland, Nebraska
 
Sound– Alex Dominguez of Grand Island, Nebraska
Jordan Samuelson of Kearney, Nebraska
Public Relations – Anna Flairty of Omaha, Nebraska
 
Box Office/House Manager – Jordan Samuelson of Kearney, Nebraska
 
Founded in 1882, Hastings College is a private, four-year institution located in Hastings, Nebraska, that focuses on academic and extracurricular achievement. With 64 majors and 15 pre-professional programs, Hastings College has been named among “Great Schools, Great Prices” by U.S. News & World Report, a “Best in the Midwest” by The Princeton Review and a "Best Bang for the Buck" school by Washington Monthly.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

STRAIGHT FROM THE HORSES MOUTH

Duane A. Lienemann
Nebraska Extension Educator
Can you believe that February is over and we are headed into March? It is hard to believe how fast time flies. It seems that everything is a little early this year, or is it just me?  When you see the geese and cranes in the air and even some grass greening up it gives you pause to wonder what all of this means. As we bask in nice warm weather right now and you hear the weather report that we may get snow in a few days – it all seems surreal. But then we in Nebraska have come to expect the unexpected in March. It is only a few days until we put our clocks ahead for daylight savings time.
     This time of the year also brings the fast paced educational seminars, clinics, workshops and other events that are created to get ready for the upcoming year. I look at my calendar and marvel at all the stuff that is on each little square. There seems there is a little bit of something for everyone. There are a couple of upcoming events that I want to highlight this week. I realize that it is difficult to keep track of all the things that are available so perhaps a reminder or two is appropriate. 
     Private Applicator Training: Bladen will be a popular destination this coming couple of weeks as there are a couple of important meetings that are scheduled at the 4-H and FFA Exhibit Hall at the Fairgrounds including a private applicator certification meeting. A valid certification is needed to allow the purchase and use of restricted use pesticides on the farm. Producers will therefore need to attend a training session for initial certification, or to renew their certification for another three years. If you need a Private Applicator license, you can come to Bladen on March 2 starting at 9:00 am.
     Chemigation Class: You can get more bang for your buck the same day (March 2) as the private applicator training as we will also be having a Chemigation class at the same location. It is slated to start at 1:30 pm. So if you are interested in Chemigation or need to certify or re-certify you may want to keep that in mind. For you that don’t know, Chemigation is the practice of applying agrichemicals to cropland using an irrigation system to distribute both the water and chemicals. Individuals whose Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality chemigation certificate expired on December 31, 2015 can become recertified by attending training and successfully completing an exam. 
     The Nebraska Chemigation Act of 1987 requires a person directly involved in calibrating and monitoring a chemigation system to be certified by NDEQ. Chemigation training and certification help ensure that applicators are well informed and can avoid ground and surface water contamination from backflow of nutrients and pesticides. Attendees should pre-register at the Adams County Extension Office at 402-461-7209. You will need to do this quickly however as participants will need to get a training manual and calibration workbook to review before the training session. On the day of the session, participants should bring the manual, calibration workbook, No. 2 pencil, and a calculator.
     Farm & Ranch Business Succession & Estate Planning Workshop: There is a free workshop on business succession and estate planning for farm and ranch owners, families and beginners. The workshop will be held in Blue Hill, March 4th at the Blue Hill Community Center. The workshop runs from 9:30 am to 2:30 pm. The workshop is about farm and ranch business succession, family estate planning and beginning farmer programs.  It is intended to be useful for established farm and ranch owners, for their successors, and for beginners. Topics include: the stages of succession planning, contribution & compensation, balancing the interests of on-farm and off-farm heirs; the importance of communication, setting goals, analyzing cash flow, and balancing intergenerational expectations and needs; beginning farmer loan and tax credit programs; the use of trusts, wills, life estate deeds and business entities (such as the limited liability company) in family estate and business succession planning; buy-sell agreements, asset protection, taxation (federal transfer taxes, Nebraska inheritance tax, basis adjustment), and essential estate documents..  Lunch will be provided. To register (and for questions) call the Rural Response Hotline at 1-800-464-0258 or the Webster County Extension office at 402-746-3417.
     South Central Region Beef Quality Assurance and VFD Meeting: This meeting will qualify regional beef producers for Nebraska BQA certification. It can also be used for past BQA qualifiers to recertify. Topics that will be covered include: BQA Best Management Practices; Animal Health Stewardship; and Veterinary Feed Directives. March 8 is the date for another meeting at the Webster County Fairgrounds. The meeting will start at 7:00 pm. In order to secure the proper material we are asking that attendees pre-register for the meeting by Monday, March 7. Please contact the Webster County Extension Office at (402) 746-3417 or email dlienemann2@unl.edu to register, or if you have any questions.
     Little Blue NRD Mandated Classes: Operators of both dryland and irrigated cropland located in the Little Blue NRD District's Water Quality Management Areas are required to obtain or renew their LBNRD Operator’s Certificate which must be obtained before 2017 and then be renewed every four years. If you own or operate a farm in this area and are not certain if you need to get a certificate you may want to contact the Little Blue NRD Office in Davenport at 402-364-2145. There has been several of these meetings already and if you didn’t know about them, or haven’t been able to get to one it may be useful for a small reminder that there is still one coming up at the Webster County Fairgrounds in Bladen, NE on March 10 from 8:30-11:30 am. A flyer is available from our office at http://extension.unl.edu/statewide/webster/ . I hope to see you at any of these important meetings in March! Now I am going outside to listen to the cranes!! Is Spring here??  

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

Friday, February 19, 2016

STRAIGHT FROM THE HORSES MOUTH

Duane A. Lienemann
Nebraska Extension Educator

     Last week I discussed the “sweet and sour” story of a blind steer that was shown and sold at the Fort Worth Stock Show. I did receive quite a bit of feedback on this and I felt that we should give an update to the story, so let’s start with that and then take a look at some upcoming meetings that requires some attention. I thank Amanda Radke of Beef Daily for this update. She pretty much mirrors my thoughts on this issue and I think it is best just to parrot what she has determined.
     According to what Amanda found out, Oatmeal was being held at a feedlot until he was cleared to be processed at Kane Beef located in Corpus Christi, Texas. Unfortunately 13-year old Kendyll Williams was still getting calls, hate mail and personal attacks on social media. Then on February 11, Kane Beef indicated on social media that “Kane Beef will not be processing Oatmeal the steer.” No further explanation was offered, leaving many to speculate about Oatmeal’s whereabouts. But then the very next day a Texas A&M University news release indicated that Oatmeal was donated to Texas A&M, where his cataracts will be studied by the Colleges of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences and Agriculture & Life Sciences. Fort Worth Stock Show officials most likely thought this was a great way to solve a problem. 
     They did not take the offering from the activists but instead decided to donate the steer, thus negating Kane Beef’s obligation to process the steer. In other words gave Oatmeal a temporary reprieve, plus meets a goal for education purposes of the FWSS. I think that is a great way for this story to take a detour. I agree with Amanda that while there is no word on how long Oatmeal will be used in the classroom; however, you would hope that Texas A&M would use him at least one semester for veterinary studies and perhaps the livestock judging team before ultimately being harvested to be studied and used by the meats classes and sold in the university’s meat lab — as that is the true intent and purpose of a market steer. 
     Unfortunately this story may have garnered too much attention for something so small in the grand scheme of things. We must remember that this is just one show steer at one show, but I am afraid things like this creates too much negative press for the beef industry. It’s gone way over the top but is an indication of how some people in our society view animals — as beings that shouldn’t be owned, managed, reproduced, studied, eaten, etc. We need to remind people that the ultimate goal of these folks is to eliminate the entire livestock sector, and while they probably think that is a compassionate point of view, they absolutely want to see the end of cattle altogether instead of enjoying them while they are here and benefiting from them nutritionally, medically and in our everyday tasks, after we respectfully harvest them. 
     I imagine we can never change their minds on that point, but it’s some good food for thought for those of us in the beef cattle business. Some say we need to understand their point of view, which is valid, but I guarantee these sort of people will not meet you half way, they will never see the way we raise and utilize animals in any other means than evil, perverted and inhumane. If you have ever gone toe to toe with these people you would find this to be true. While the solution for Oatmeal with the donation that will be used for research and for use by agricultural students makes sense in many regards; I also agree with Amanda’s question that “On the other hand, is it good that they in some ways caved to the pressures of the media and animal rights activists? By caving, it may send the message that perhaps the beef industry does assume some “guilt” about harvesting steers for meat, and it gives every kid who shows a market animal a bad reputation as someone who chooses to slaughter their animals for beef instead of donating them to sanctuaries and/or keeping them on their own farms until they die of natural causes.” We in the livestock industry will see much more of this in the future. Be prepared!
     Mandated Classes for Little Blue NRD: I have been getting a lot of questions from farmers located in the Little Blue NRD about mandatory classes. Here is what I have found out: Operators of both dryland and irrigated cropland located in the Little Blue NRD District's Water Quality Management Areas are required to obtain or renew their LBNRD Operator’s Certificate which must have been obtained before 2017. It must then be renewed every four years after obtaining your certificate, either by attending a class/seminar or on-line. This project is a joint effort with the Nebraska Extension and the Little Blue NRD. The Little Blue district includes all of Thayer County and portions of Adams, Webster, Clay, Nuckolls, Fillmore and Jefferson counties. Irrigated and dryland farmers in certain Little Blue Natural Resources District water areas can fulfill their four-year training requirement for water quality management certification by attending a couple of meetings that are coming up in this area including: the Elks Club in Superior on February 23 from 1:30-4:30 pm, and another at the Webster County Fairgrounds in Bladen, NE on March 10 from 8:30-11:30 am. For a full list of classes in the LBNRD and other options you can go to: www.littlebluenrd.org or contact the NRD office at 402-364-2145. 
     South Central Nebraska Beef Seminar: Kearney Co Fairgrounds in Minden on Friday, February 26. There is no cost to attend; however, pre-registration is requested by February 24 as a Prime Rib dinner is included with the meeting and we will need a head count. Registration and coffee will begin at 10:30 am with the seminar starting at 11:00 am and going till 2:30 pm. Topics include: Increasing Reproductive Efficiency of the Cow Herd; Matching Your Calves to a Backgrounding System; From Mineral Supplementation to Cattle Transportation; and Issues Facing Cattlemen - What Can We Do As Producers? Call Kearney Co Extension Office at 308-832-0645 or Franklin Co Extension Office at 308-425-6277.

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

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Hastings College offers Sumer Camp for Gifted Middle School Students


Challenges students in different areas of study
 
(Hastings, Neb.) – Gifted seventh and eighth grade students have the opportunity to participate in the Hastings College Scholars Academy (HCSA). From Sunday, June 26 to Friday, July 1, 2016, intellectual students have the chance to work in challenging academic classes with mathematics, speech, robotics and science.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for students to interact and learn in a college environment, where they can make new friends and expand their knowledge with our course offerings,” said Dr. Constance Malloy, Director of HCSA and Professor of English at Hastings College. “Working with the instructors through challenges, the students have a chance to test their skills while having fun at the same time!”
Under the supervision of HCSA’s directors and eight college students, scholars have the opportunity to preview college life by staying in the campus residence halls and eating in the dining hall. The registration is available online at http://www.hastings.edu/hastings-college-scholars-academy.
To be eligible to attend, students must:
·         Participate in a gifted program at school,
·         Score at the 95th percentile or above in at least one area on a standardized achievement test such as the Iowa Test of Basic Skills, ACT, SAT, CAT or CTBS,
·         Have one letter of nomination from school official
Registration Deadlines for 2016:
·         April 1 – Early Bird Applications Due ($100 deposit due with application)
·         May 6 – All Applications Due ($100 deposit due with application)
·         May 11 – Program Balance Due
If students apply for the Early Bird Application, there is a $50 discount from the total $550 fee due, which covers tuition, room, board, activities and professional staff and educators. The Nebraska Association for the Gifted has scholarships available for students, available on their website: http://www.negifted.org/NAG/Scholarships.html.The scholarship application is due April 1.
Courses offered to students include:
Mathematics
Math and ArtThis course offers an integration of math and art, to better understand mathematics. Students will learn about M.C. Escher and tessellations, the geometry embedded in math, fractals, Fibonacci and the Golden Ratio, the number Phi, polyhedra, perspective drawings, origami, architecture, mandalas and crop circles. The course is taught by Andrea Volf, M.A., 7-8th grade math teacher, Lincoln Public Schools.
Introduction to Computer ScienceStudents will learn what computer science really is. They will learn basic Web page structure through XHTML and write programs with JavaScript. Mathematical programs will also be covered, including basic input/output, decision structures and looping. By the end of the course, students will have finished their own large programming project. The course is taught by Dr. John Schneider, Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science, Hastings College.
Robotics
Through advanced hands-on work, students will design, build and program various types of robots like Lego NXT, VEX and CEENBoT. Students will also build their own Vincent Van Gogh Scribble Robot out of scratch using materials supplied by the instructors. This hands-on work will give students the chance to learn and utilize skills and strategies related to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math while incorporating the Engineering Design Process. The course is taught by Anthony Reisdorff and Travis Simpson, STEM educators, Papillon-LaVista Middle School.
Science
Nutrition
Students will learn about human nutrition and the relationship between nutrition and health throughout the life cycle. General wellness and recommendations of current food and nutrition for health promotion will also be covered. The course is taught by Dr. Susan Oliver, Nutrition Instructor, Central Community College.
GeneticsThis course gives students the chance to play with the inheritance of simple and complex genetic traits. They will go through exercises that distinguish genetic makeup from physical appearance, talk about genes, what they are made of and how we know. Students will isolate DNA from their own cells and will use PCR and electrophoresis to determine specific DNA makeup for the ability to taste a certain compound. The course is taught by Dr. Amanda Solem, Associate Professor of Biology, Hastings College.
Speech

 Through personalized workshops, students will learn how to use their voices to enrich their own communities. They will be taught the basics of oral performance and original speech writing. Students will learn how to find literature, cut pieces into 10 minute performances, develop characters fitting of the literature and write introductions that explain the essence of the program. They will also learn how to choose topics, learn criteria for finding effective research, develop an outline and create a manuscript speech with an informative, persuasive or entertaining focus. Delivery skills and acting skills will also be polished. The course is taught by Dr. Kittie Grace, Professor of Communication Arts and Director of Forensics, and Dr. Austin McDonald, Instructor of Communication Studies and Associate Director of Forensics, Hastings College.
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