Friday, October 30, 2009
A recent conversation with friends turned to the topic of crime. The consensus of the group was that criminal activity was out of control and rampant in our world. Some felt that a huge deterrent for criminal activity would be swift execution of the criminal sentence. An “Old West” type of vigilante justice. No more allowing death row inmates to sit in prisons for decades waiting for their sentence to be carried out. Not only did some feel that punishment should be immediate but should also be public. The community should be involved. They felt that public acknowledgment of crimes would make an impact that would make potential criminals rethink committing a crime. The knowledge that punishment would be immediate is a far greater deterrent than knowing it could be years before a punishment is given and when given would be prolonged even further. Children are taught at a young age that for every action there is a reaction, if you break the rules there is a punishment. When children witness punishments of their peers does it not help deter them from making the same mistakes? Not always but I believe it has an impact so why wouldn’t the same hold true with witnessing punishment for a crime? If the public witnesses the punishment of a convicted criminal could this not potentially deter someone from committing a crime? Public knowledge of crimes committed can be a deterrent. Media that reports facts apparently makes an impact. Obviously some are ashamed to have such information made public (I don’t think they would protest quite so loudly if they weren’t) Facts are facts and shouldn’t be hidden away behind glitz and glamour. Criminals should not get notoriety but should be acknowledged. The safety of a community depends on how aware it is of what is happening in and around it. We don’t want to live suspecting everyone we meet is a potential threat to our safety. Without adequate information what hope would we have that we wouldn’t become a victim. Hilarie Haack Woodbine, GA
Thursday, October 29, 2009
As a winter storm blankets the Nebraska panhandle, the Nebraska State Patrol reminds motorists to utilize the state's 511 automated road and weather condition information system. As of Thursday morning, October 29, 2009, the westbound lanes of Interstate 80 were closed from Big Springs (mm101) to the Wyoming line. The eastbound lanes of I-80 remain open.. Motorists however are advised to travel with caution. both east and west bound lanes of Highway 30 were closed at Big Springs, and Highway 20 westbound from Harrison to the Wyoming line was closed. By dialing 511 from any land line or cellular phone, motorists will be able to gauge how the weather is affecting travel conditions. The system can also be accessed via the Internet through the Nebraska State Patrol web site at (www.nsp.state.ne.us) click on "511 Traveler Information" in the Quick links box. Travelers outside of Nebraska wanting to check weather and road conditions in our state can dial 1-800-906-9069. As conditions change, motorists are reminded to adjust their speed and never travel faster than the conditions allow. Slick surfaces make it difficult to steer and stop. Do not drive in slick, wet, snowy weather with your cruise control on. Motorists are also encouraged to give themselves plenty of time and distance to react to others around them. Be sure to exercise caution on bridges and overpasses, keep your headlights on and make sure they are cleaned off. Travelers in need of emergency roadside assistance should dial the Nebraska State Patrol Highway helpline when safe to do so, at *55 on any cellular phone or 1-800-525-5555 from any land line.
at 3:24 PM
The Webster County Board of Commissioners met at 8:30 am on Tuesday, October 20th for a regular business meeting. The following Members were present for roll call: Jeff Ord, John Soucek, Roger Bohrer, Keith Buschow and Mary Delka. Motion was made by Buschow, second by Bohrer to approve the minutes of the October 6th business meeting. All Members voted to approve the minutes. Treasurer Reiher had submitted a resolution to replace expired pledged collateral. Motion was made by Delka, second by Soucek to adopt Resolution 38-2009: BE IT RESOLVED, that Peoples-Webster County Bank be permitted to substitute $200,000.00 in expired securities with current securities. All Members voted to adopt the resolution. Clerk Knehans discussed lighting for the jail area and parking lot. An estimate had been received from Chief Electric of $3,000 for 3 lights mounted on the courthouse capstone. Since there are not enough funds for such a project, the county could apply for a grant from NIRMA. It was the consensus of the Members that the County should make application for matching grant funds through the NIRMA ASSIST Program. Mike Clements of Lower Republican NRD met with the Board. Also present was NRD Director Nelson Trambly. Clements discussed proposals to limit use of irrigation waters in water-short (drought) years to comply with the Nebraska/Kansas Water Compact. They are asking for County Boards assistance to help protect water users in the NRD. Other options to limit water use were discussed. The Board will consider a resolution at the next meeting supporting a Best Water Management Practices Plan. County Attorney McDole met with the Board on the issue from the previous meeting on Animal Control Authority. They reviewed laws and requirements for an authority and possible animal control officer for handling dangerous dogs. After review, motion was made by Buschow, second by Soucek to appoint the Webster County Board of Commissioners as the Animal Control Authority for the rural areas of this County pursuant to Nebraska Statute §54-623.01. Any officer appointed by Board will be exempt from handling any animal problems occurring in any city or village of the County. All Members voted in favor of the motion. Linda Grummert, Highway Superintendent, met with the Board on two road easements. One was a Quitclaim Easement to Rita (Reiss) Grigg for a waterline under a county road. The other Quitclaim Easement was for SourceGas to cross under a county road with a natural gas pipeline. Motion was made by Soucek, second by Buschow to approve of the two road right-of-way easements. All Members voted in favor of the motion. Grummert reported on other road business, projects and activities. She discussed a refund to NEMA of $9,600 for a project that was paid by duplication. The following claims were approved for payment: Wages for 37 salaried & 7 part-time employees - $82,426.50 GENERAL FUND Alamar Uniforms uniform $ 490.27 Ameritas Life Ins retiremt $ 4,057.52 Nebr DAS Central fees $ 149.25 BlueCross BluShld health $ 12,711.64 Bostock Welding service $ 64.00 CDW Government monitor $ 327.23 Connie Clark sewing $ 30.00 Social Security FICA $ 4,377.72 Eakes Office supply $ 703.94 Farmers Coop Assn fuel $ 1,289.81 Farmers Coop GW supply $ 519.93 FCHM Pool Medical physicl $ 101.00 First Concord medical $ 6.00 Fleetpride health $ 420.00 Galls equipmt $ 459.98 Great Plains Comm 13 phone $ 746.80 Guide Rock St Bnk health $ 325.00 Holiday Inn lodging $ 206.85 Jared Auto Expert repair $ 952.79 Kenny’s Lumber supply $ 52.76 Lafayette Life Ins life $ 10.95 McDole Law Office rental $ 85.06 Bryan S. McQuay counsel $ 380.00 MIPS, Inc. supply $ 359.95 Labor Law Poster poster $ 47.25 Secretary of State fees $ 50.00 Nebraska Telecom long dist $ 146.35 NIRMA insurance $ 1,000.00 Nuckolls County fees $ 183.95 Platte Valley Comm repairs $ 82.25 US Postmaster box rent $ 70.00 Quality Red D Mix concrete $ 407.50 Red Cloud Chief publish $ 314.59 Reliable Office supply $ 70.18 Troy Schmitz expense $ 178.70 County Dental premium $ 2,832.00 SourceGas utility $ 124.52 South Central PPD utility $ 24.80 Theobald Law Off counsel $ 687.00 Nebr University supply $ 59.99 UNL Extension register $ 20.00 Village Pharmacy supply $ 164.67 W.C. Hospital medical $ 57.75 W.C. Sheriff expense $ 20.00 W.C. Transport’n handibus $ 769.00 W.C. Treasurer transfer $ 157,500.00 Robert Willicott contract $ 772.05 ROAD FUND A & J Service fees $ 368.00 ACE Machine Shop repairs $ 736.94 Ameritas Life Ins retiremt $ 1,577.47 BlueCross BluShld health $ 5,526.80 Country Corner fuel $ 140.98 Don’s Maintenance repairs $ 351.28 Social Security FICA $ 1,783.52 Eakes Office supply $ 60.98 Farmers Coop Assn fuel $ 7,371.87 Nebr Filter Care repairs $ 89.65 Great Plains Comm 3 phone $ 123.95 Linda Grummert expense $ 27.70 Jonesy Sharpg repairs $ 52.90 Lang Diesel repairs $ 405.81 Lawson Products supply $ 1,214.47 Martin Marietta surfacg $ 447.05 Martha Meyers expense $ 57.44 MSC Industrial repairs $ 86.62 NE Local Tech expense $ 85.00 NEMA expense $ 9,665.36 Nebr Machinery rental $ 900.00 Nebraska Telecom long dist $ 71.35 R & K Service tires $ 136.25 R & M Disposal service $ 33.00 County Dental premium $ 874.00 SourceGas utility $ 51.31 South Centrl PPD utility $ 57.93 Speece-Lewis engineer $ 9,885.00 Village Pharmacy supply $ 8.77 Winter Equipment tools $ 574.85 COUNTY DENTAL FUND Kearney Dental dental $ 99.20 W.C. Dental Clnc dental $ 14.40 MEDICAL/RELIEF Adams Co Dist Crt costs $ 1,099.00 Ameritas Life Ins retiremt $ 6.75 Social Security FICA $ 7.65 Health/Human Ser St Home $ 351.00 Region III Admin EPC $ 2,061.09 NOXIOUS WEED FUND Ameritas Life Ins retiremt $ 52.20 BlueCross BluShld health $ 552.68 Social Security FICA $ 59.16 Farmers Coop Assn fuel $ 56.31 Great Plains Comm phone $ 43.10 Nebraska Telecom long dist $ 1.03 County Dental premium $ 31.00 AMBULANCE FUND Farmers Coop Assn fuel $ 172.14 Great Plains Comm phone $ 43.81 SourceGas utility $ 13.91 Being no further business, Chairman Ord adjourned the meeting at 12:00 noon. The next regular business meeting will be held on Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009. A current agenda and complete minutes are on file in the County Clerk’s Office. Dated this 20th day of October, 2009.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
The three comments at the end of this article are also located in the comment thread associated with the the article Kort Leads law enforcement on High Speed Chase, Again! The comment rejected by the moderators included specific language generally considered vulgar and inappropriate for a public forum. The opinions of the comment were not rejected, just the language (actually only a couple of words) used to express those opinions. The opinions of the comment were similar to those expressed by Anonymous 1 below. The question that I pose to the readers is; "Is this a Community Blog?" Anonymous 1 expresses that she (or he) is of the opinion that it is. However, from the beginning, this forum has been opened up so that any individual can submit an article, editorial, news report, news idea, upcoming event, past event, or make comments to posted articles. You can even advertise on this blog for FREE. Fewer than five individuals have ever posted to this blog and fewer than 10 have ever commented on a post other than anonymously. What gives "the community" the right to lay claim to a blog that represents barely 1% of its population's contributions? Readership fairs only slightly better. The site has averaged 26 visits per day over the last month, sinking as low as 12 and rising as high as 90. Of course, the 90 hits were today, after a couple of controversial articles had been posted. Views reached all time highs, nearing 200 visits per day, back in August, immediately following the recall election. This blog was never intended to replace traditional media such as the Blue Hill Leader, but instead was intended to compliment or supplement the local paper, giving community members an opportunity to express their views and opinions, share their news, and comment on the happenings around the Hill in an interactive, real-time format. BUT .... without contribution from the community, the purpose of the blog has been lost and the mission has failed. If Anonymous 1 is unhappy with the content of this blog, then I suggest she starts to post to it. Bury the articles that you find objectionable with news that you feel would be more appropriate for this forum. If the news is missing from this forum or if the news that is presented only represents a limited point of view, then you only have yourself to blame. Send us athletic scores and highlights, community club events, senior club activities, coffee house chatter and more. Tell us; Who sang karaoke at Blue Hill Tavern? Who won the Halloween Costume Contest at Klancy's? Who sold cattle at the sale barn? What new is coming to town? What have you done? What are you going to do? Anonymous 1, you do not see any posts "about upcoming events, fundraisers, etc" because YOU haven't shared them. If there are points of the website that are outdated, it is because YOU have not updated them. It appears that you are doing a great job at the complaining that you advocate for in your last sentence without providing any productive contributions. YOU and the rest of the community are the reporters for this blog. There is NO paid staff. If you are unhappy with the finished product, then I suggest you do something about it. Open up!! Share!! Share!! Share!! I don't pay for any ink. If you share it, we will post it. If you don't share it, then you have no right to lay claim to this blog. It will only become a community blog when the community contributes. Blue Hill Today said... A third comment on this post was rejected due to vulgar language. The comment expressed a different view point than either of the previous two. If the anonymous poster would like to try to resubmit the comment again without the fowl language, the submission could be published. October 28, 2009 11:05 AM Anonymous 1 said... How can the "third comment" not be approved but these can? I think it is a metter of "peronal opinion" of what comments are approved and which ones are not. Here is what the "third comment" said...This is supposed to be a community blog, not a blog where we complain about those we do not like in the community. If we are going to start posting indivduals that get in trouble with the law, then post them all, not just the ones we prefer to post. I am a former Blue Hill resident and have had thoughts about moving back to the community and raising a family there. But once checking this blog out have entirely changed my mind. Is this what a "community blog" is about? Is this how we bring in potential residents? Is this how we post things about our mayor (referring to the most recent post)? Any potential resident that reads this blog will definitely change their mind about moving to this community. I do not see anything on this blog about upcoming events, fundraisers, etc. Half of the houses you have listed for sale are sold. Really? Maybe we should rethink the idea of a community blog and just jump right to a blog regarding everything we can possibly think of to complain about. October 28, 2009 12:40 PM Anonymous 2 said... I would like to commend the staff of Blue Hill Today on there courage. It is good that we have a news media that is not scared to tell the truth about the news events around our community. People of the area have a right to know what type of activities can be expected, even if the activities include criminal behavior. Many of us around the area could hear the sirens or watch as the chase went on. It is good to have a media outlet that is willing to let us know what was going on. I also hope that the public will be informed as the case goes forward. We all (as law abiding citizens) should want to make sure this type of behavior is stopped.This is exactly the type of coverage that our local paper refuses to publish. The Hastings Tribune did report the chase that occurred during the Adams county fair, but when crime is committed in Blue Hill it is swept under the rug. I guess the Blue Hill Leader thinks it’s readers should not know about the criminal element in town. It is news and should be reported just as it is reported when the great thing happen. You can not make a community better by hiding the truth. You can only improve if you are well educated and informed.Thank you and please keep us informed
at 8:32 PM
By Sylvia Alber I recently read a “joke” on line. It read like this… A man was sitting in a town meeting, heckling the mayor as he delivered a long speech. Finally the mayor could stand it no longer, so he pointed to the man and said “will that gentleman please stand up and tell the audience what he has ever done for the good of the city.”“Well, Mr. Mayor,” the man said in a firm voice. “I voted against you in the last election.” In Blue Hill, while no one can brag about having voted against the Mayor in the last election, no one will have to admit to voting for her for mayor. Or most of the rest of the council. As we should all know the mayor was not elected to the position of Mayor by a vote of the people. The position was granted by default after the resignation of the previous elected Mayor when he was forced to decline the position because of his failing health. When a Mayor in Blue Hill is unable to fulfill that position and is replaced during the term that position falls to the president of the city council so I guess we can say that the members of the city council put the present Mayor in that position by making her the president of the council. In the last election, unlike the one just previous to it, there was a full slate of candidates, four candidates to be elected for two city council positions. Elected to the positions were incumbents, Keri Schunk, and John Schwab. They defeated candidates Ed Wademan and Tim Eiseman, who each received a significant number of votes during the election. So if an opening should occur during the term lots of thinking people would have thought one of these two individuals would have been a logical choice for that position as they were voted for by a number of people. Or even the additional two individuals who had put their names on the ballot in the primary election, Mike Hall or Jerry Hamik. But not, so according to Mayor Schunk. Now with the Mayor moved from her position on the city council to the position of Mayor there is a vacancy on the council, so an appointment must be made to fill that position. After a long and drawn out process finally a nomination is made by the Mayor, not nominated are the individuals who had expressed a willingness to serve in that position and had been voted for by many people, no election this time, the public did not vote, the council approved the nomination by a vote of 2 to 2, and with the Mayor casting the deciding vote another city council member was on board. A council member not elected by the public but put on the board by the mayor, hand selected. This council member is “elected” with three votes, the mayor and two council members. Then after a lot of name calling and lies are spread around a council member who was elected in a legitimate election, honestly elected, even though he was elected with five write in votes because there was no one willing to step forward to take the position, is recalled after stating in a public forum that he was through and had enough of the ridiculous process being called city government in Blue Hill . Again it falls to the Mayor to appoint someone to fill the open position. Again the Mayor does not discuss her selection with the council she advertises in numerous forums for a candidate for the position. She does not reveal the names or qualifications of those candidates who agreed to be considered for the position, even to members of the city council and with no fan fair whatsoever she announces her selection at the city council meeting saying, “ I nominate Albert Grey”. No introductions necessary, I guess. She does not state his qualification or any reason for her selection. She does not express any confidence in his ability to serve. So with five votes Albert Grey is on the council. Hand picked by the mayor. Later she is quoted in the Hastings Tribune "....I think there were some people that had a conflict of interest who wouldn't have worked, but they were all very qualified and would've worked fine." ???? they would have worked or they wouldn't have worked, which is it?. So let’s summarize, No one voted for Keri Schunk for Mayor, four council members voted for her for president of the city council, a position that she no longer holds. Mark Petska, who was appointed by Mayor Russ Willems to fill an open position on the council because no one would run for the position. He was put into place by a 2 to 2 vote with the tie broken by the mayor. Doris Hartman was put in place with a 2 to 2 vote after having been nominated by the Mayor, with the tie broken by the Mayor Keri Schunk. And finally the newest position was filled by Albert Grey who was not elected by the people but appointed and that appointment approved by the city council. We have two members of city government who received more than five votes to be in the position they hold. So we have only two honestly elected members of city government, Jesse Alber and John Schwab. What does that say about the people of Blue Hill? Several years ago I attended a city meeting when Mark McFarland was mayor, there was an open position on the council to be filled. He discussed all the candidates and their qualifications with the council, he did not make the decision all by himself but involved all the elected officials in the decision. I guess Mayor Schunk has enough insight she doesn’t need any input from the rest of the council but I was more comfortable with Mayor McFarlands methods. So where do we go from here.? I am looking forward to the next election. _______________________________________________________ The preceding comments are the opinion of the writer and should not be taken to reflect the views of Blue Hill Today or anyone associated with Blue Hill Today other than the author.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
What might have ended with a traffic ticket for failure to stop at a stop sign turned into something much more after State Patrol officers assisted by County law enforcement personnel ended up in a high speed chase that crossed county lines. Jeffery D. Kort, 22, of Blue Hill was apprehended by law enforcement at the residence of Ken Kort following the high speed chase. Kort was observed failing to stop at several stop signs and driving left of center. After he failed to stop at a stop sign and refused to stop when signal by a State Patrol officer several law enforcement vehicles pursued him for several miles before the chase ended with Kort being taken into custody at gun point. Arresting officer Monte Dart reported that he detected an odor of alcohol from Kort. Operating a vehicle to avoid arrest is a Class 4 felony punishable by up to five years imprisonment and $10,000 fine. Kort is scheduled to appear in Adams County Court on November 6 for a hearing on the incident. This is not the first time Law enforcement has been involved in a high speed case with Kort. July 26, following Adams Co. Fairfest Hastings Police choose not to apprehend Kort when he fled for officer safety reasons. “When a pursuit becomes more dangerous than it would be worth, you just terminate that pursuit.” said Sgt. Bill Mann at the time. The reason for not apprehending Kort at that time included excessive speed, other traffic on the road and visibility. The chase can also be terminated when the driver has been identified. A felony warrant for operating a motor vehicle to avoid arrest was issued for Kort in July. He was arrested and is scheduled to stand trial for that offense. A preliminary hearing on the matter (CR090000823) is scheduled for December 22, 2009. Jeffery D. Kort is scheduled to appear in Adams County Court November 6th at 9 am to answer to the latest charges (CR090001094).
at 11:37 PM
Area hunters are anxiously awaiting the opening this weekend of Pheasant season in Nebraska.State Game and Parks officials say hunters can expect to find plenty of birds. The regular season opens Oct. 31, and only rooster pheasants may be taken. The daily bag limit is three, and the possession limit is 12. The season ends Jan. 31. Wildlife surveys in the spring and summer indicated a statewide increase in pheasant populations compared to 2008 even though some area individuals indicated that they believe local numbers of birds to be down. The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission credits a generally mild winter, followed by a warm spring, for the increase.
Health Care, Small Business, and You In the very near future, Congress will debate in earnest a health care bill which will have major impacts on nearly every industry throughout our economy, especially our nation's small businesses. Small businesses today represent 99 percent of all businesses in our country and provide a source of income for roughly half of the U.S. workforce. They have created more than 70 percent of the American jobs and are - quite frankly - the lifeblood of our economy. Earlier this week, President Obama announced several initiatives his Administration designed to boost credit for small businesses - specifically using a portion of the Wall Street bailout to support additional loans to small businesses. I can certainly understand the intention of this announcement - to create more jobs. Jobs are needed desperately because in the last year alone this economy has lost an average of 376,000 jobs a month. Nebraska has been more fortunate than most states, but our employers are still feeling the economic pinch. I have had the chance to hear firsthand from small business owners both when back in Nebraska and through my small business and entrepreneur advisory committee and they are concerned. Across the country companies - large and small - are putting off creating new jobs and filling empty positions amid this economic uncertainty. The potential costs of health care and cap and trade legislation which could drive up operating costs are very real hurdles small business owners must take into account. It is painfully ironic, then, that the House version of the health care bill (H.R. 3200) imposes $208 billion in taxes on businesses which cannot afford to finance their workers' health coverage, costing our economy as many as 5.5 million jobs. The Congressional Budget Office has stated this tax on jobs likely will reduce hiring and also could lead to wage stagnation as compensation is diverted to comply with new federal taxes and mandates. We must not push through a health care bill which hits small businesses with billions of dollars in new taxes. This costly government takeover of health care is already harming the confidence of the nation's small business owners and costing our economy good-paying jobs - before being passed by a single chamber of Congress. In addition to the tax on jobs, H.R. 3200 includes a $544 billion ‘surtax' on small businesses, punishing workers, employers, and families and leading to even further job losses. We all agree something has to be done to address the health care challenges facing American families. At the same time we must address the economic challenges facing our nation's small businesses. We must do both, however, in a reasonable and responsible manner. I support better solutions, including enacting genuine legal reform which cuts down frivolous lawsuits, and passing bills which give small businesses the freedom to join together to get health insurance at lower rates and to shop across state lines for insurance in order to find the best deal - similar to options already available to most large businesses and federal workers. We also should promote wellness and expanded health savings accounts to provide additional flexibility to small businesses. Small businesses need Congress to enact legislation which helps them create jobs and provide quality, affordable health care for their employees. Small business - not government - is the engine of job creation. Passing a government takeover of health care with massive new taxes on small businesses is the wrong plan at the worst possible time.
A Unique Story of Business Recruitment
Oct. 26, 2009 Dear Fellow Nebraskans: I recently toured the progress of a new project taking place in Beaver City, where a company still fairly new to Nebraska is finishing a new facility and its second expansion project in our state in the last four years.
While this is one of several new developments in Nebraska communities this year, this particular project is inspiring because it is an example of how personal connections can sometimes make the difference in attracting new business development to our state.
I toured the new space under construction and visited with company leaders and employees. It was a reminder of the difference a new employer can have on a small community and I wanted to share the story of how this company came to Nebraska.
Beaver City is located near Nebraska’s southern border and since 2006 the town has been home to a Kaufman Trailers facility manufacturing flatbed trailers for commercial customers and agricultural producers.
The story begins with a pastor in Beaver City. Instead of the first contact occurring between state or local economic development officials, the suggestion to bring the company to Nebraska was made by Beaver City resident, Rev. Wesley Russell, during a conversation with a colleague in 2005.
That colleague mentioned that a former classmate had started a successful trailer manufacturing company back east and was now looking to expand in the Midwest. The company focused primarily on customers east of the Mississippi River. In order to expand to the central plains and western states, Kaufman owners needed a Midwestern location.
Rev. Russell placed a call to company owner Robb Kaufman, encouraging him to make the investment in Beaver City. After several discussions, Kaufman leaders visited Nebraska to meet with state and local leaders and see firsthand what this town of 641people had to offer.
Community leaders used the opportunity to introduce the Kaufman team to the mayor and economic board, the local bank president, the editor of the local newspaper and others in the town’s private sector. The visit gave Kaufman leaders the chance to see firsthand the personality of the people living and working in the community and their work ethic.
Beaver City become the home of Kaufman Trailers in part because the town had the necessary tools in place to support the new facility, including an available site ready for development and a friendly, dedicated workforce. But what made the difference was the persistence and enthusiasm Rev. Russell and other Beaver City residents showed in their efforts to bring this business to their town.
Today, Kaufman Trailers is one of the largest private employers in Beaver City. With the expansion nearing completion, company officials envision the potential to triple the Kaufman workforce in Beaver City. Mr. Kaufman has said, “I remain grateful to the people of Beaver City and the people of Nebraska. It's been a good experience from the moment we first made contact, and I look for good things to keep happening in the future.”
The story demonstrates that new opportunities and connections can be made in unusual ways. It is also an example of the difference one person can make.
Beaver City benefitted because one resident took the initiative to make the case for the community. It’s a reminder that passionate and committed people are our best asset for growing Nebraska communities.
Monday, October 26, 2009 A FITTING TRIBUTE TO A NEBRASKA LEGEND J. James Exon served the people of Nebraska with great distinction for more than a quarter of a century. The legendary “Big Jim,” as so many people called him, was a very popular public figure during his two terms as Governor from 1971 to 1979 and his three terms as United States Senator from 1980 until his retirement in 1997. He endeared himself to Nebraskans for his outstanding leadership and for his larger than life public persona right up until the time he passed away in 2005. Last year, a bipartisan bill I introduced passed Congress and was signed into law to name the new regional FBI Headquarters Building in Omaha near 120th and I Streets after Jim Exon. Laws to Crack Down on Child Porn on the Internet The J. James Exon FBI building, which was dedicated this month, was named in his honor not just because of who he was but for what he did to help the FBI carry out its mission. Senator Exon identified a problem long before anyone knew it would become a problem: child pornography and exploitation on the internet. Back when Jim Exon addressed this problem the Internet was just emerging. As a senator and former governor with an interest in law enforcement, Exon knew that the FBI needed the legal authority to protect children from the abuses that were sure to come as a result of the World Wide Web. He introduced the Communications Decency Act of 1995 which passed with overwhelming support and was quickly signed into law by President Clinton. That bill was aimed at catching clever pedophiles and child pornographers who operate in the shadows as they use the Internet to prey on young people. They’re difficult to catch. They hide in the anonymity of cyberspace while committing their disturbing crimes against children. A First for Congress Exon’s landmark legislation was the first attempt by Congress to police the Internet against abuses that involve children. Despite huge public support, it was later ruled unconstitutional in a split decision by the U.S. Supreme Court. However, that ruling affirmed the principle that Jim Exon wanted to address. That principle was that government does have a legitimate, important interest in protecting children from pornography and predators on the internet. Thanks to Exon’s Vision the Internet is Safer for Children It was Jim Exon’s pioneering legislation that paved the way for laws that were passed after he retired from the Senate in 1997. Today, the FBI and other law enforcement agencies have the tools they need to stop Internet crimes against children while protecting 1st Amendment rights. Thanks to Jim Exon our children who use the Internet are much safer than they otherwise would have been. This building is a fitting tribute to Jim Exon’s contributions to law enforcement and public safety, his pioneering legislation, and his service to the people of Nebraska.
October 26, 2009 Don't Defy the Founding Fathers Dear Nebraskans, Each day I spend in the U.S. Senate representing you, I become more in awe of our Founding Fathers' remarkable system of government checks and balances. The difference between the House of Representatives and the Senate is a perfect example. The House was created to be a majority body. If there is a solid majority by either party, as the Democrat Party holds today, that party will almost never lose a vote. Our Founders, though, wanted something different with the Senate. First, it is the great equalizer. Each state gets two Senators no matter how large or small its population. Secondly, our Founders wanted the Senate to be a check on legislative power. At the start of our nation's history, there was really no way to end debate in the Senate, except by unanimous agreement. The minority, and even one Senator, had extraordinary power to extend debate. Just within the last 40 years, the Senate agreed that debate could be limited with 60 votes - a super majority. This is an important check on the federal government's power to impose its will on the American people. The practical application today is obvious. Voting on something as significant as health care reform, which impacts every citizen and 16 percent of our economy, actually involves two critical stages. The first, a vote on cloture, essentially asks whether the legislation deserves to move to a final vote or remain on the drawing board. If 60 Senators vote for cloture, debate and amendments on the legislation are restricted and a simple majority can pass it. Some will try to argue the cloture hurdle is an unimportant procedural vote. In reality, it is often the most important vote because it has the higher threshold and clears the way for ultimate passage. Once a Senator votes "yes" on cloture, it is even possible to vote "no" on final passage of the same bill. In fact, nine or more Senators can change their votes between cloture and final passage, yet the bill will still become law because final passage requires only a simple majority. These Senators can then claim they opposed the legislation (referring to their final vote), when actually they enabled its passage (through their cloture vote). This is how senators can be for a piece of legislation before they are against it. The sixty vote hurdle sometimes looks like an obstruction. It is not. It is a very critical piece of our great system of checks and balances. Had our Founders wanted two legislative bodies both governed by a simple majority vote, they could have created such a system. Thankfully, they created our U.S. Senate to ensure critical issues for our nation would only pass with careful deliberation. Many times in our history, legislation that was not in the best interest of our nation has had majority support in the Senate, but did not become law because 60 votes could not be mustered. The Founders were right to include such an important safeguard.
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Duane A. Lienemann, UNL Extension Educator, Webster County October 23, 2009 Edition Although it is a little late, this rain over the last couple of days is really good for our pastures and newly planted wheat. It will also go a long ways to helping build our soil moisture profile going into winter and for use for next spring. I also know that it hampers our harvest efforts. There are, of course, a lot of crops still out in the fields. Some of it is ready but the fields are not, other crops have a long way to go before they are dried down sufficiently to facilitate a successful harvest and storage even if the fields become solid enough to go.
One thing I have learned over the years is to never argue or complain about Mother Nature. There is after all not much we can do about it other than be thankful when things do go good. We always think we are never going to get those crops out, but quite honestly I cannot remember a year that we didn’t eventually get the crops out, however be it sometimes with some problems like lodging, muddy tracks and downed corn, beans and milo. Farmers have learned that they must deal with nature and they know about successes, failures and understand this way of life.
One of the things that most producers are not used to is being put in a position that they need to defend their very livelihood. I have to admit I never thought that we would see something like what is happening right before our eyes, or at least in front of mine.
It seems that my eyes have become trained to watch for those things that attack or confront agriculture. There is never a shortage of things that come down the pike on this. The past couple of weeks have been no exception. Humane Society of United States is continuing their all out assault on animal agriculture. HSUS and other environmental organizations this past month filed a petition with the EPA to govern air pollution emissions from CAFOs (Confined Animal Feeding Operations) utilizing a section of the Clean Air Act. I figured that was going to happen and it has.
It doesn’t stop there. They are continuing attacks on animal agriculture by another venue – by attacking people that utilize agricultural commodities at their businesses. The latest efforts I found out about this week are going against, believe it or not, Dunkin’ Donuts and International House of Pancakes for using so called “factory farm” produced eggs and a push for them to use “vegen” products. Now they are attacking donuts and pancakes. Now that is really starting to get me fired up!
I have been discussing for some time about efforts similar to Proposition 2 in California that was successfully brought about by the concerted effort by a plethora of animal rights groups. It of course hit several other states and more recently our friends in Ohio and Michigan. The efforts there by agricultural advocates are trying to head off the inevitable push by HSUS and other groups to petition for restraints on a big portion of animal agriculture in their states.
Can’t happen in Nebraska you say. Well I just finished reading an article from the Lincoln Journal and Star article by Art Hovey that ran on October 17 entitled “Some see animal welfare effort on Nebraska's horizon”. He quotes IANR Agricultural Law Specialist David Aiken as saying that the state could to be targeted for an animal welfare initiative similar to what other states are experiencing. Aiken sees several factors that can be expected to turn the attention of the Humane Society of the United States toward Nebraska about as quickly as it's finished with a similar mission in Ohio next year. The factors include the relatively cheap cost of advertising, top 10 rank in egg production, and the fact that Nebraska is one of about two dozen states where citizens can make law at the ballot box. "If the Humane Society of the United States mounts a ballot effort in Nebraska," Aiken said, "I think they will be able to get it on the ballot without difficulty and they will do a lot of TV ads in the Lincoln and Omaha markets." Furthermore, "I think they will have a strong shot at getting it passed," he added. "I think the crucial issue will be whether ag groups make a deal with them or not."
Dr. Aiken points out that they have already successfully carried out legislative action and citizen initiatives in the animal-welfare arena in California, Colorado, Florida, Arizona, Michigan and other states. Ag groups in Ohio are trying to make a pre-emptive strike by putting their plans for a Livestock Care Standards Board on the November 2009 ballot. He doubts that will be the last word there. "Even if that initiative passes -- and there's no reason for it not to pass -- next November (2010), the Humane Society will come back with its own ballot initiative," he said.
HSUS says it is the most effective animal rights organization in the United States. HSUS has an animal rights and protection litigation section that claims to conduct precedent-setting legal campaigns on behalf of animals. It does this with 13 staff lawyers in Washington, New York, San Francisco, and Seattle. It further claims to have a network of over 1,000 pro-bono lawyers (lawyers who work for free) and dozens of active cases. Agriculture has nothing like this to defend its interests. Have any of you ever seen USDA's lawyers intervene to help out a farmer?
I hope we can take a lesson from that. Notwithstanding these successes on initiatives, these groups need to be watched carefully because they are smart, have excellent lawyers, and are dedicated to the dissolution of animal agriculture as we know it. HSUS, and the many other organizations I have described in earlier editions of this newsletter, with their enormous foundation support, financial resources, legal resources, and close contacts in the current Federal administration, are worthy adversaries and agriculture must organize itself in a similar fashion to protect its interests. We need to practice our 15 second elevator speeches, make sure we do things right and be ready for another battle! 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: email@example.com
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Hastings resident and former Blue Hill businessman, Paul W. Petska, Sr., 80, passed away Monday, October 19, 2009 at Mary Lanning Memorial Hospital. Rosary will be Thursday, October 22, 2009; 7:30 P.M. at Butler-Volland Chapel, and Mass of Christian Burial will be Friday, October 23, 2009; 10:30 A.M. at St. Cecilia’s Catholic Church with Father Joseph M. Walsh officiating. Burial with military rites will be in the Ord City Cemetery on Saturday, October 24, 2009 at 1:00 P.M. Visitation will be Wednesday, October 21, 2009; 3:00 P.M. – 9:00 P.M., Thursday, October 22, 2009; 9:00 A.M. – 9:00 P.M. at Livingston-Butler-Volland Funeral Home; and Friday, October 23, 2009, one hour prior to service at St. Cecilia’s Catholic Church. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given to St. Cecilia’s Catholic Church, Good Samaritan Village of Hastings, or the Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Blue Hill, Nebraska. Paul was born to Stanley and Mary Ann (Adamek) Petska in Ord, Nebraska. He graduated from Ord High School in 1947. After high school he worked on the family farm, the Farmers Store in Ord, and then went to work for Safeway. On June 12, 1951 he married the love of his life, Geneva Benson. He received his orders to report to service the same day and spent three years serving in the Korean War. He was in the U.S. Army from July 3, 1951 until June 11, 1953, and was in basic training at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. Paul served as a Surgical Orderly in Germany. A son, Paul Jr., was born while overseas. Upon return from active duty, Paul was employed by Safeway Stores and the couple lived in Ord, Cozad, and Grand Island. Four more children were born, Jack, Cynthia, Kim, and Mark. In 1970, they purchased a grocery store in Blue Hill and ran P & G Market for 18 years. They semi-retired in 1988, managing the X-L Motel in Hastings for three years. Paul then worked part-time for Herbergers until he became ill. Paul truly enjoyed his family along with fishing, hunting, bowling, and especially polka dancing with his wife. After retirement he spent as much time as possible with his grandchildren. Family reunions, special occasions, and holidays with his family were a priority in his life. Paul was preceded in death by his parents; daughter, Cynthia Sue; and three brothers, Richard Petska, LaVerne Petska, and Stan Petska. Survivors include:Wife: Geneva Petska – Hastings, NE Children & Spouses: Paul Petska, Jr. – Hastings, NE Jack Petska – Blue Hill, NE Mark & Rita Petska – Blue Hill, NE Kim & Greg Beam – Fremont, NE Grandchildren: Amanda Petska, Nathan Petska, Amelia Petska, Brianna Beam, Brennan Beam, Step-Granddaughter: Desiree Pierce – Kansas City, MO Sisters: Lorene Meese – Ord, NE Mary Ann Larson – Republican City Betty Kusek – Boring, OR , Sisters-in-law: Lois Petska – Hershey, NE Mary Petska – Portland, OR Many nieces & nephews.
October 19, 2009 Back Door Deals Undermine Democratic Process Dear Nebraskans, Part of what makes our country great is the transparency that exists between citizens and their government. We make laws at the will of the American people; therefore it's your right to be as informed as possible about the laws that will significantly impact your life. Unfortunately, it doesn't appear that the health care reform debate will permit this level of transparency. Since the pertinent committees have passed their versions of the legislation, they must now be blended into one bill. This is where our transparent democratic process gets clouded by special interests and private deals, hidden from view from the public. For the next step, Democrat leaders, Democrat Committee chairs, and even the White House will deliberate in closed-door policymaking sessions. It appears the bipartisan minority will not be invited to the table. The real outrage lies in the back-room deals these meetings will produce. This isn't a hypothetical. This is what's actually happening in Washington to shape health care reform. We're already seeing it. For instance, under current proposals to pay for an expansion of Medicaid, the federal government will pass $37 billion in costs onto states already struggling to balance their budgets. Yet recently a deal was hatched for Nevada and four other states to have their entire Medicaid expansion costs paid for by the federal government. Furthermore, current proposals also levy a tax on high-value insurance plans-except in New York and a few other states where similar insurance plans are exempted from taxation. Why is it okay for Nevadans and New Yorkers to benefit from carve-outs while those in Nebraska and elsewhere foot the bill? Unfortunately, some promote true reform when the cameras are on, but cut special interest deals once the doors are shut. The fate of health care reform now lies in the hands of a few members of Congress, with little accountability or transparency. These deals will be occurring at a time when our budget deficit is soaring to a record $1.4 trillion for 2009-that's triple the amount of money we borrowed in 2008. It's an injustice that this deficit could increase further because of decisions made behind closed doors. After all, this is indeed a government, as so movingly put by Abraham Lincoln, "of the people, by the people, for the people." The bottom line is this: closed-door deal-making undermines our democratic form of government and manipulates the budget process to hide the true costs. It is a disservice to the American people. I imagine the product that emerges from that room will be loaded with special carve-outs at the expense of taxpayers. I support reform that increases access to insurance, brings down premiums, and provides care for pre-existing conditions. I support subsidies for those who truly cannot afford insurance to help them buy down premiums, deductibles, and co-payments. I support real malpractice reform that would curb costs by reducing defensive medicine. But I do not support "reform" that results from back-room deals and broken promises.
A New Century Begins at UNO
Oct. 19, 2009 Dear Fellow Nebraskans: The University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) this year marked 100 years of academic excellence in our largest city.
As UNO completes a year-long centennial celebration honoring its past, the campus continues to build and plan for the future. The largest of several projects currently underway include the creation of a new $30 million College of Business Administration building on the old Aksarben racetrack property. Known as Mammel Hall, it will be a cutting-edge and environmentally-friendly building ready for students next September.
UNO officials expect this and other new campus buildings, including a renovated recreation facility, to help attract even more students in 2010.
More than 15,300 students chose to become Mavericks. While 90 percent of UNO’s students are from Nebraska, students from around the world also come to Omaha. More than 1,300 of UNO’s students are from 117 countries, with international students and scholars contributing more than $29 million to the local economy each year.
Other facts and figures on the current student body indicate that more than half of all UNO students are the first in their families to pursue higher education. To help make the transition from high school to college more comfortable, UNO leaders have developed learning communities, such as the Goodrich, Honors and the Thompson Scholarship Program, that provide a support system to help students new to the college environment. These support systems have been shown to increase the likelihood of student success.
Since the 1999-2000 school year students receiving degrees from UNO are up 25 percent. In 2008, 2,735 students received a UNO diploma. Statistics show that most of these graduates have made career and life choices that keep them in Nebraska. Of the 70,000 living UNO alumni, nearly 60 percent currently live in Nebraska with more than 50 percent of these residing in the Omaha area. The university’s annual total economic impact for the state is calculated to be more than $2 billion.
UNO’s impact extends beyond dollars to include partnerships with non-profit organizations, governments and businesses that help improve the quality of life for UNO students and Omaha residents. These partnerships provide students with real-world experiences through internships and a wide variety of service projects. Some of Omaha’s largest corporations have enjoyed having UNO students in their organizations for years. UNO’s Nebraska Business Development Centers have helped more than 375 rural Nebraska communities create or save more than 2,400 jobs.
I’m very proud of the work being done under the leadership of UNO Chancellor John Christensen and his team. Each of the four University of Nebraska campuses has a unique mission and UNO has committed to providing a dynamic and diverse higher education experience for students. With the majority of UNO graduates remaining in Nebraska and contributing to our state’s economic vitality, it’s clear that UNO students are mastering the academic skills needed to be successful in their future careers.
"Czars" Need to be Held Accountable Presidents always have surrounded themselves with advisors and counselors. Beginning with President George Washington, these individuals play an important role in public and foreign policy. To date, the Obama Administration has appointed more than 30 new advisors to oversee various industries and governmental functions. Though each position has its own official title, these advisors have been commonly referred to as "czars" for their large areas of oversight responsibility. For example, the President has appointed advisors to oversee U.S. energy policy, border security, stimulus accountability, and safe schools, among numerous others. These positions are in addition to his Cabinet and sub-Cabinet. Though czars have offered advice and counsel to presidents since the administration of President Richard Nixon - who appointed the first "Drug Czar" - through President George W. Bush and while these appointments claim to provide more government oversight, the recent expansion and increased numbers of czars represent an unnecessary expansion of the federal government and its bureaucracy. Moreover, there must be more transparency regarding the job functions of these advisors, particularly because many of these individuals - unlike Cabinet secretaries, judges and other presidential appointments - have bypassed Article II, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution, which mandates the advice and consent of the Senate when the President appoints principle officers. Specifically, the article reads the President "shall nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, judges of the Supreme Court, and all other officers of the United States." Without this oversight, answers to important questions about a person's motivations, professional conflicts, and qualifications are not known at least until a czar is already ensconced in office. Especially in these tough economic times, taxpayers deserve to know what these new offices are costing. The median czar salary, paid out of the White House's administrative fund, is $172,000. Each office also includes a staff and transportation and travel budgets. Recently a number of controversies have arisen over several of the czars appointed by President Barack Obama, drawing attention away from important issues such as health care reform and economic recovery. Van Jones, the Administration's "green jobs" czar, created a firestorm in September when - among other revelations - it was shown he signed a petition asserting the American government had foreknowledge and was complicit in the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. Jones stepped down amid heavy criticism from both Democrats and Republicans. I have heard from many of my constituents echoing my concern our country is turning too much power over to individuals who were not elected by the people and who do not answer to Congress. With this in mind, I have cosponsored H.Con.Res. 185, which requests the President report to Congress the responsibilities and qualifications of each of his czars. Another bill I support, the Czar Accountability and Reform Act (H.R. 3226), would prohibit the use of funds to pay either expenses or salaries of members of task forces, councils, or similar offices established by the President without the advice and consent of the Senate. The Constitution of the United States grants Congress the responsibility to advise and consent in numerous areas of public policy, including the appointment of high ranking officials by the President. It is important Congress live up to that responsibility to ensure the American public knows exactly who is helping craft the policies which govern our nation.
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October 13, 2009 Flawed Health Care Plan Would Affect Many Nebraskans Dear Nebraskans, As I write to you, the Senate Finance Committee has acted on the latest version of health care reform. I continue to believe we need to reform our health care system to bring down rising costs and shore up our delivery system. Paying for this reform is a big part of the debate. While tough financial decisions will have to be made, they must be made wisely. Therefore, it's important to look beyond Washington to determine how these decisions will affect you and all Americans, and your ability to access quality health care. In particular, I'm concerned about the proposed Medicare and Medicaid program cuts being targeted to pay for this legislation. Specifically, the proposal passed by the Finance Committee outlines more than $517 billion in cuts to current Medicare and Medicaid programs. These cuts will affect the quality of care in Nebraska. For example, more than $40 billion in cuts would be made to home health care services. Home health provides skilled nursing care and other health care services in the home to individuals who have an illness or injury. Preliminary estimates reveal two-thirds of Nebraska's home health agencies will lose money if these cuts become reality. Rural areas would fare worse, where an estimated 80 percent of home health agencies would be operating in the red. According to the National Association for Home Care and Hospice, Nebraska home health agencies can expect to lose more than $126 million over ten years under this legislation. Hospice, which provides care for the terminally ill, is another Medicare program targeted for cuts. Currently, 97 percent of Nebraskans have access to 38 hospice programs across the state. However, under the proposed legislation, hospice programs nationwide could see $8 billion in cuts by 2019, an 11.8 percent reduction in hospice reimbursements. Nebraska hospice providers could be forced to reduce service areas, leaving portions of Nebraska without hospice care. These cuts would not be welcome news in Nebraska. A 2007 study shows nearly 100 percent of Nebraskans believed it was important that the terminally ill have the choice to die at home and 83 percent felt it was important to have health care professionals come to their home. Many Nebraska hospitals are in the Finance Committee's bullseye. $45 billion in cuts are outlined for hospitals that serve a disproportionate share of Medicare and Medicaid patients. This includes nearly half of all Nebraska hospitals, which are already underpaid by current government programs and are struggling to stay open. These facilities would face up to $145 million in cuts, which would undoubtedly affect health care for Nebraskans. If there is waste or fraud in the Medicare and Medicaid programs we must address it, but we must ensure access to quality care and services is not compromised. Savings found by eliminating waste or fraud should be reinvested in the programs to address their pending bankruptcy. I'll continue to examine these proposals, carefully assessing how Nebraskans are impacted by the decisions made in Washington.
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Get to Know the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services
Oct. 16, 2009 Dear Fellow Nebraskans: The mission of the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services is to serve and protect the public by providing humane care and program opportunities to the 5,300 inmates and parolees placed in its custody. The department’s chief responsibility is to protect Nebraska citizens. Correctional officers and staff fulfill this duty through the operation of safe, secure, clean, and orderly prisons and community centers, and by offering programs and treatment that reduce the rate of reoffending behavior.
One of the major achievements within the department is an effort that has more than doubled the number of substance abuse treatment beds at correctional facilities, and developing new male and female acute mental health care units that provide clinical services to violent and sex offenders.
Both initiatives target high-risk inmates with programs and services designed to reduce the likelihood of individuals returning to prison. Inmates diagnosed with substance abuse issues receive treatment that prepares them for less restrictive facilities and, then, as a step back into society upon their release or parole. By addressing substance dependence issues and other factors, these services help reduce the likelihood of future offenses and recidivism by help inmates develop skills to live a responsible life.
Research shows a correlation between the lack of education and incarceration. Another significant and successful effort within the department has been the expansion of educational services.
With the help of the Nebraska Department of Education, the Nebraska Correctional Youth Facility became a special purpose high school. The focus on inmate education has produced a dramatic increase in the number of students completing their General Educational Development (GED) test. By offering opportunities for inmates to obtain their GED or high school diploma, corrections officials are helping inmates develop the skills to become law-abiding, responsible citizens. These skills have a direct impact on lowering recidivism.
Inmates have jobs assignments during their incarceration. Whether working in prison food service, being part of maintenance and grounds crews, or sewing clothes as part of the Cornhusker State Industries program, inmates are expected to fulfill the responsibilities that come with their jobs. The department offers meaningful opportunities for inmates to learn job skills essential for the majority of inmates who will one day look for employment in our communities.
Inmates earn a daily wage beginning at $1.21 a day. Five percent of wages paid are placed into individual accounts to use upon release or parole. All inmate amenities like TV, radios, recreation equipment, and self-improvement activities are paid for by inmates or through profits generated by commissaries at state facilities. Those employed in private industry jobs pay taxes and deposit an additional five percent of their wages in the State’s Victim Compensation Account.
As a result of these and many other efforts, Nebraska has one of the lowest incarceration rates in the nation and a corrections budget that, as a percentage of the state budget, is one of the lowest in the country. The low confinement rate is due in large part to the low return rate of inmates released from Nebraska prisons, which compares very favorably to a recent national study.
The Department of Correctional Services remains committed to keeping our state safe by providing security and care for Nebraska’s prison population.
72 Hours is Not Too Long to Read the Bill Congress has the responsibility to craft reasonable legislation which serves the American public. Many of the issues Congress deals with on a regular basis are simply too important to be rushed. Unfortunately, Members of Congress are too often asked to make decisions on bills which can have more pages than major novels with only a few hours to actually read them. On at least two dozen occasions in the 111th Congress, accepted transparency rules have been shelved in order to rush legislation to a final vote. These hasty votes can have severe consequences, such as the provision tucked into the Troubled Assets Relief Act (TARP) - a trillion-dollar package passed in just 15 hours - which had the effect of authorizing retroactive bonuses to executives of bailed-out insurance giant AIG. According to the Sunlight Foundation, this year 24 pieces of legislation have been passed in less than 72 hours - including the Medicare Premium Fairness Act (7 hours), Consumer Assistance to Recycle and Save Act (10 hours), and legislation to impose an additional tax on the bonuses awarded by TARP to the very AIG executives described above (11 hours). I voted against such legislation as the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act and the Auto Industry Financing and Restructuring Act in part because these spending measures were passed with haste and lacked the transparency in which sound legislation should be crafted. The stimulus package which spent $790 billion (and which clocked in at 1,073 pages) wasn't posted on the government's website until after 10:00 p.m. the day before final passage. The infamous cap-and-trade legislation included a 316-page amendment added at 3:09 a.m. on the day of its passage. When Minority Leader John Boehner attempted to educate his fellow members by reviewing passages before the final vote, he was criticized for holding up the debate. On June 17 a resolution was introduced to require legislation be available on the Internet for 72 hours before consideration by the House of Representatives. This measure (H.Res. 554) emerged in response to Congress passing the rushed, unsound legislation I have described above, which has radically expanded the government's role in our everyday lives and intruded on our free-market system. The legislation would require all non-emergency legislation to be posted online, in final form, for at least 72 hours prior to a floor vote. Like many of my constituents, I believe Members of Congress should be given enough time to properly read and evaluate legislation before voting. This bipartisan resolution merits consideration, and I have joined 182 of my colleagues in signing a discharge petition which, with 218 signatures, would automatically place H.Res. 554 on the House schedule for a vote, moving it out of the committee in which it has been languishing for months. The "read the bill" push has gained the support of an overwhelming majority of Americans, government watchdog groups, and a bipartisan group of elected officials. Both parties have been guilty of rushing through legislation without giving Members of Congress and the American people an opportunity to actually read the legislation before it is brought up for a final vote. Now we have a bipartisan solution. It is an effort to bring greater accountability and transparency to how Congress spends the taxpayers' money. The American people and their representatives should have a reasonable opportunity to read a bill and understand its impact and cost before a vote occurs. With health care reform legislation making its way through Washington, having the opportunity to review the legislation and to hear from constituents is not a luxury - it is a necessity.
The Blue Hill Bobcat Youth Football team completed their season with an 18-14 win over Hildreth-Wilcox. The Bobcats struck almost immeadiately when James Fuller ran for a 40 yard touchdown strike on the Bobcat's first possession. Kyl Rouse carried for the 2 point conversion. The Bobcats scored again early in the second quarter on a 40 yard run by Jayden Hamel. Adam Krueger caught the pass from Austin Rose for the 2 point conversion. Hildreth-Wilcox scored later in the quarter and the bobcats took a 16-8 lead into half-time. The Bobcat defense increased the lead to 18-8 early in the third quarter with a safety. The Bobcats mishandled two punts, including the punt following the safety, and had three fumbles during the second half to allow Hildreth-Wilcox to stay in the game. Hildreth-Wilcox scored on a double reverse in the 4th quarter to make the final score 18-14.
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Blue Hill Mayor, Keri Schunk nominated Albert Gray to fill the City Council seat recently vacated by recalled councilman Andy Alber. Schunk made her nomination at the Blue Hill City Council meeting on Tuesday, October 13. The council voted unanimously to approve the nomination. Gray will serve the remainder of Alber's term which expires in December of 2010. Three council seats currently held by Mark Petska, Jesse Alber & Albert Gray will all be up for election in 2010. Candidates for these seats have until March 1, 2010 to file to have their names placed on the ballot for the state wide primary election on May 11, 2010. Candidates may file in either the office of the city or county clerk. The top 6 candidates receiving votes in the primary election will have their names on the ballot for the November 2 general election.
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Duane A. Lienemann, UNL Extension Educator, Webster County October 16, 2009 Edition We have been seeing an influx the last several years of winter annuals that have worked their way into lawns, garden areas and even crop fields. Those lawn weeds in the winter annual category include that ugly purple flowered plant called Henbit, as well as Chickweed, Black Medic, Oxalis, Pepperweed, and White Clover. Winter annual broadleaf weeds in crop fields include the same Henbit we find in lawns, as well as Marestail and several species of Mustards, such as Field Pennycress, Shepherds Purse, Tansy Mustard, Blue Mustard, etc. What makes this weed a “Winter Annual” is that it germinates in the fall, overwinters as a green plant, begins growing again in early spring, then completes their life cycle and go to seed in the spring or early summer. These weeds have become more of a problem each year and in fact Henbit was all over the place last spring and I expect to see even more this year. One of the most often asked questions for lawns and crops is “When is the best time to control these weeds?” Well, right now or even a little later is a pretty good answer. According to Dr. Bruce Anderson, UNL Forage Specialist, the best time to apply post-emergent control measures to winter annuals is in the fall when the seedling plants are small and the plant has not had time to store much energy in the root system. Timing is not critical, so there is an extended window to apply herbicides especially when harvest may be a little late for crop producers. Best control will be achieved if daytime temperatures are above 60 degrees, but good control can be obtained even when temperatures are in the 50s most years. Anderson indicates that too often, farmers and/or homeowners wait until spring to attempt control of winter annual weeds. Unfortunately, several factors are working against you in the spring. In the early spring, the weather is more unpredictable. It can be warm one day and cold the next. Another factor is the growth stage of winter annual weeds. In the spring, winter annuals are in the reproductive mode. They bolt quickly, flower and before you know it, they are setting seed. The plant is larger with a more developed root system and is flowering, so is less likely to receive a lethal dose of herbicide from your application. In the fall, the weather usually is more cooperative and weeds are in the rosette, or vegetative stage and more susceptible to herbicides. Winter annuals can typically be sprayed from late September to early December, weather permitting. As far as rates are concerned, fall applications typically require less herbicide and thus are less expense. Make sure that you follow label rate recommendations and remember that Atrazine is not labeled for fall application in Nebraska. The common winter annuals can be readily controlled with the following products: Crop production field applications: 1.5 to 2 pints of 2,4-D ester per acre ; 1 pint 2,4-D and 4 ounces dicamba per acre; 24 ounces of glyphosate per acre; 1 pint 2,4-D and 16 ounces glyphosate per acre. Home lawn applications: selective, 3-way products, such as Trimec, Triamine or Ortho Weed-B-Gon, containing herbicides like 2, 4-D, dicamba and MCPP. Since we are talking controlling weeds, how about those thistles? Gosh I wish I had a dollar for every one of those evil things I have cut or dug up. Well, timing is everything and that's particularly true with thistle control. October to early November is one of the best times to use herbicides for thistle control. If you had a thistle problem this year, check infected areas for the small, flat rosette seedlings typical of fall growth. Seedlings are especially sensitive to certain herbicides and are more effectively controlled in the fall so this time of year is perfect to control them. There are several products out there. Milestone, one of the newer herbicides, is very effective from tests that I have seen. Two other effective old standby herbicides are of course Tordon 22K and Grazon. You need to be careful with them however, as they can also kill woody plants, including trees. While it’s still warm 2,4-D will work well, but you will get better thistle control by using a little less 2,4-D and adding a small amount of Banvel or other dicamba product to the mix. Herbicides to help control thistles in pastures include Redeem, Ally, Curtail. When using any of these herbicides, read and follow label instructions, and be sure to spray on time. Next year, avoid overgrazing these pastures so stands thicken and can better compete with thistles. Now is a great time to go after those winter annuals and thistles. Last but certainly not least I want to point out several upcoming programs that you my want to attend if at all possible. If you are interested in any of these programs please contact the # provided, or our office and we will get the info to you. “Ag at the Crossroads Conference” – Agriculture and the Environment, Animal Welfare, Social Media; Thurs., Nov. 5, at Lancaster Events Center in Lincoln for info contact the Nebraska Ag-Relations Council @ 402-472-2821 “Nebraska Wind Power 2009 Conference” - Mon., Tues, Nov. 9-10th , at the Holiday Inn Conv. Center in Kearney for registration and information contact: Terri Donahue at Nebraska Farmers Union - 402-476-8815 “2009 Beef Producer Roundup Tour” – Wed - Thurs, December 2nd & 3rd: Meet the bus at 8 am, North Platte; 9 am at KRVN in Lexington; 10:00 am Kearney at NE Beef Council Office on 2nd. Call Ne Beef Council - 800-421-5326 “The Pulse of the Ag and General Economy" - Featuring Dr. David Kohl of Va Tech, Farmers/Ranchers College, Wed., Dec. 2, at the Opera House in Bruning. Call Fillmore UNL Ext. at 402-759-3712 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: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Webster County Board of Commissioners met at 8:30 am on Tuesday, October 6th for a regular business meeting. The following Members were present for roll call: Jeff Ord, John Soucek, Roger Bohrer, Keith Buschow and Mary Delka. Motion was made by Buschow, second by Delka to approve the minutes of the September 15th business meeting. All Members voted to approve the minutes. After discussion of the vacancy on the Hospital Board of Trustees, motion was made by Bohrer, second by Soucek to appoint Mike Buschow of Blue Hill to the Webster County Hospital Board of Trustees with his term expiring January 1, 2013. Upon roll call vote, voting in favor of the motion: Bohrer, Soucek, Delka and Ord. Voting nay or absent: none. Abstaining: Buschow. The appointment was approved. Upon review of County Treasurer Fund Balances, motion was made by Buschow, second by Delka to adopt Resolution 35-2009: BE IT RESOLVED, that $140,000.00 be transferred from the County General Fund to the County Road/ Bridge Fund as the first quarterly transfer of funds as stated in the 2009/10 Webster County Budget Document. Upon roll call vote, All Members voted to adopt the resolution Motion was made by Soucek, second by Delka to adopt Resolution 36-2009: BE IT RESOLVED, that $17,500.00 be transferred from the General Fund to the Noxious Weed Control Fund pursuant to 2009/2010 Budget. All Members voted to adopt the Resolution. The Board discussed capital improvements for building and grounds. With there being sufficient funds available in this budget, motion was made by Bohrer, second by Buschow to accept the proposal by Summit Masonry to erect a concrete block wall for the courtyard garage addition at the proposed cost of $3,260. All Members voted in favor of the motion. The Board discussed a previously introduced Wellness Program through South Heartland Health Department for County Employees. The Board reviewed long term costs and other requirements. The Board would take no action on this matter. Commissioner Delka reviewed information from a recent Central District Meeting. Assessor Krueger met with the Board and presented calculations for the tax levies for the various political subdivisions. She reviewed recent valuation changes. Motion was made by Buschow, second by Delka to approve of the 2009 Property Tax Levies for the political subdivisions of Webster County. All Members voted in favor of the motion. At 10:30 am, the Board held their Public Hearing to set the county’s tax request at a different amount than last year’s request. No public appeared. After discussion, motion was made by Buschow, second by Delka to adopt Resolution 37-2009: WHEREAS, Nebraska Revised Statute 77-1601.02 provides that the property tax request for the prior year shall be the property tax request for the current year for purposes of the levy set by the County Board of Equalization unless the governing Body of the County of Webster passes, by a majority vote, a resolution or ordinance setting the tax request at a different amount; and WHEREAS, a special public hearing was held as required by law to hear and consider comments concerning the property tax request; and WHEREAS, it is in the best interests of Webster County that the property tax request for the current year be a different amount than the property tax request for the prior year. The Governing Body of Webster County resolves that: 1. The 2009/2010 property tax request be set at $2,028,400.00. 2. A copy of this resolution be certified and forwarded to the County Clerk on or before October 13, 2009. Upon roll call vote, all Members voted to adopt the resolution. County Attorney McDole met with the Board on a request from the City of Blue Hill for the County to designate an animal control authority pursuant to Nebraska Statute 54-623. The Board discussed this matter and asked McDole to research the issue in order to place any action on the agenda for the next business meeting. The following claims were approved for payment: Wages for 10 part-time and 17 EMTs - $ 9,110.29 GENERAL FUND Ameritas Life Ins retirmt $ 356.20 Troy Anderson mileage $ 24.20 Nebr DAServices fees $ 149.25 Nebr DAServices telecom $ 448.00 Robert Beardslee maintnc $ 242.00 Bladen Sand/Gravl sand $ 240.83 Blue Hill Leader publish $ 389.31 Cherie Bonifas mileage $ 9.90 Business World supply $ 11.84 Richard Calkins counsel $ 565.80 Carpenter Report service $ 206.70 Cash-Wa Candy supply $ 7.36 Cash-Wa Distrib supply $ 151.97 Contryman Assoc audit $ 4,000.00 Social Security FICA $ 444.39 Eakes Office supply $ 540.34 Garwood Law Off counsel $ 762.60 Ronald Gestring expense $ 323.90 Glenwood Teleco cables $ 16.98 Grainger repair $ 25.92 Great Plains Co 11 phone $ 737.20 Kenny’s Lumber material $ 672.52 Myrtle Knehans service $ 25.00 Lancaster Co Shrff fees $ 37.16 Duane Lienemann mileage $ 861.70 Maximus, Inc. service $ 2,250.00 MB Construction labor $ 2,295.00 MIPS, Inc. service $ 1,169.09 NE DOL/Boiler inspect $ 36.00 Olson Enterprises repair $ 164.66 Ostdiek Printing supply $ 35.75 Quality Red D Mix concrete $ 1,016.25 Red Cloud Auto repair $ 262.45 Red Cloud Chief publish $ 28.00 R.C. Hardware repair $ 173.10 Red Cloud utility $ 1,339.70 Region III Admin funding $ 1,879.09 Donna Rose mileage $ 13.20 Seiler & Parker counsel $ 28.50 Share Corp supply $ 350.46 Simply Whatever service $ 1,325.00 Spencer/Fane/Britt traing $ 36.00 Joe Strickland mileage $ 22.00 US Postal Service postage $ 1,000.00 Univ of Nebraska DVD $ 6.00 USDA, APHIS funding $ 1,410.75 Marty Wackerla maintnc $ 47.50 Web Co Dist Court fees $ 222.00 Web Co Sheriff petty cash $ 189.40 Web Co Court costs $ 77.50 Whelan & Scherr counsel $ 743.74 Robert Willicott mileage $ 72.05 Robert E. Worman appraisl $ 240.00 ROAD FUND Ameritas Life Ins retirmt $ 29.46 Anderson Construct bridges $ 13,355.00 Paul Bencken misc $ 57.50 Bladen Sand/Gravel gravel $ 45,144.02 City of Blue Hill utility $ 92.44 Business World Prod supply $ 40.44 Catherland Auto repair $ 875.04 Century Lumber repair $ 61.14 Country Corner fuel $ 362.85 DAS/Surplus equipmt $ 15,592.00 Social Security FICA $ 33.39 Eakes Office supply $ 42.80 Farm Plan repair $ 2,467.31 Farmers Union Coop supply $ 3.29 Glenwood Teleco phone $ 134.35 Great Plains Co phone $ 123.95 Guide Rock Village utility $ 41.63 Jim’s OK Tires tires $ 229.95 Kelly Supply Co repair $ 97.54 Kenny’s Lumber repair $ 18.36 Kudrna Bobcat Ser maintnc $ 542.50 Lawson Products supply $ 10.24 LRNRD Rural Water water $ 20.00 Nebraska Machinery repair $ 1,300.09 Newman Traffic Sign signs $ 1,074.58 Olson Enterprises repair $ 205.55 Orscheln’s repair $ 12.99 Quill Corp supply $ 94.18 R & K Service fuel $ 1,705.62 R & M Disposal garbage $ 33.00 Ragland Trucking maintnc $ 367.44 Red Cloud Auto repairs $ 998.76 Reliant Transport maintnc $ 248.85 Road Builders Machin repair $ 778.76 South Central PPD utility $ 52.50 Timm’s Service repair $ 5,717.79 Windstream phone $ 57.87 ZEE Medical Ser medical $ 353.72 VISITOR PROMOTION WC Visitor Bureau salary $ 500.00 COUNTY DENTAL FUND Sean Daly dental $ 78.40 WC Dental Clinic dental $ 56.00 NOXIOUS WEED FUND Ameritas Life Ins retirmt $ 77.33 Lynn Collison mileage $ 121.00 Great Plains Comm phone $ 43.10 Jared Auto Expert repair $ 59.79 Social Security FICA $ 87.64 Timm’s Service fuel $ 132.10 AMBULANCE FUND Campbell Village 911 $ 120.00 Great Plains Comm phone $ 45.11 Linweld rent $ 153.45 Social Security FICA $ 131.55 Being no further business, Chairman Ord adjourned the meeting at 12:00 noon. The next regular business meeting will be held on Tuesday, October 20th, 2009. A current agenda and complete minutes are on file in the County Clerk’s Office. Dated this 6th day of October, 2009.
at 9:30 AM
Monday, October 19, 2009
Death is never a punishment! by R. Tone Kister Most of us have been conditioned to believe that, somehow death is a punishment. We hear people say, “I hope he gets the chair for what he did”, or “Killin’s too good for him”. Meaning, of course, they are condemning them to the ultimate punishment by the very act of the person dying. On the other side of this anger is love, and how often do we express our ultimate love for someone by demanding that everything be done for them to keep them alive. Even at the expense of their quality-of-life. Does this not imply that death is the supreme awful. But wait, our thinking becomes convoluted when a beloved pet becomes irreversibly ill, and we “humanly” choose to “put-them-down”. Many, many people are convinced that animals do not have a continuation of life after death, but are equally convinced that humans do. More convolution, if animals don’t live on after death and people do, then how can rationally, death be a punishment for humans and a kind release for animals? Unless not continuing life is better than continuing. Plum goofy thinking it seems to me. Death is merely graduating from mortality. Death is never a punishment! No one can die until it is time. To do so, would imply that perhaps God is not in control all of the time, and that is not even a consideration for me. I do believe a person can make choices that will impair their abilities adversely. But death does not ever result unless it is time for them to graduate. Conversely, I believe nothing can be done to prolong “quality life” when it is time to graduate. I believe the medical profession can improve or retain a better quality of life for anyone destined to stay in mortality with medications now. In the future, cloning one’s individual parts, will be a much more desirable solution to the aging of the body. I believe all good comes from Heaven. I also believe Satan always attempts to turns the good from Heaven to evil. Satan was long ago cast out of Heaven along with a third of the Angels, and sent to Earth to rule. It is no wonder to me that he and his demons have so much influence in all areas, and must be constantly monitored. Because Satan and his demons are spirits and are invisible, it is easy for them to convince the unwary they don’t even exist. This of course, makes it possible to move about the mind freely and spread their evil wantonly, like germs and bacteria. If ya can’t see it, it ain’t real, right? I believe Satan and his demons cannot influence us unless invited, and that’s where it gets really tricky. How many ways can he be invited? After all, right now this is his turf and he has been properly described as the master of deception. . . Heavenly Father allows Satan and his followers to tempt us as part of our experience in mortality. We do not have to give in to Satan’s temptations. We have the power within us to choose good over evil. Satan is the enemy of righteousness and those who seek to follow God. He is a spirit son of God who was once an angel , but in the premortal Council in Heaven, Lucifer, as Satan was then called, rebelled against Heavenly Father and he persuaded a third part of the hosts of heaven to turn away from the Father. As a result of this rebellion they were all cast out of Heaven and sent to earth to rule, without bodies, until the millennium. Neither Satan nor any of his demon followers can influence us without our permission. How do we grant permission? That’s where the tricky part comes in. He tries to lead us away from righteousness through ridicule and discrediting Holy things. He casts doubt on individual accountability and undermines the sense of family. Like the frog and hot water story, he supplies us with small samples of corruption so we don’t even realize until it is too late, we have been trapped. This can come to us in a multitude of ways including; through our associations, and of course television and the internet. Evil has no conscience! It will use us for as long as we are useful to it’s end, and then cast us off as so much worthless junk. Satan can reign supreme by convincing mortals he does not exist. Those so convinced, are helpless to his influence, because no one can fight against something they think does not exist! There is no defense. There is a strong defense for those that do not fall for the Satanic lies, and continually monitor their own behavior. Keeping it simple, like; “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”, or “Am I hiding this from others because it would embarrass me if they found out”. We can place red flags up in our minds and abide by them with a greater assurance of success. The single most important word to live by is “Respect”! If everyone respects themselves and every one else, all the time, we will not have spouse abuse, child abuse, crimes of theft, crimes of passion, war, dishonesty, cheating, fleecing, quick uncontrolled tempers, insults, enemies, put-downs, ridicule, or untrustworthiness, and any sense of misery will be reduced to physical pain and or monetary inadequacies. Which can be monumental !