Monday, November 30, 2009

A Nebraskan's View

by Senator Ben Nelson
As Nebraska’s Governor and Senator I have had the opportunity to visit most communities throughout our state. One of the things people like to point to with pride in virtually every town is their hospital. Most have been there a long time, have undergone periodic remodeling and updating, and are extremely important to the community for the town’s medical and economic health.
A modern health center is essential to the growth of a community. Without basic services such as health care, rural areas cannot hope to attract new residents or retain existing residents.
Small rural community hospitals throughout Nebraska are what we refer to in Washington as critical access hospitals.
Critical Access Designation is Important When a hospital is designated as critical access it means they are certified to receive cost-based reimbursement from Medicare. That helps improve their financial stability thereby reducing its chances of suffering from the kind of adverse economic problems rural hospitals have suffered from in recent years.
It’s important that Washington understands this but, as is often the case there, when it comes to rural living most people in D.C. just don’t get it.
Many of the bureaucrats who live and work there are used to crowded cities where hospitals are only a short distance away. They don’t appreciate that in states like Nebraska we have a lot of land but not so many people.
When our citizens have an emergency they have to travel further and further to get care. It may not be the most profitable venture to have a hospital in a small rural community, but it sure can mean life or death for local residents if that hospital’s doors were to close.
Nearby Hospitals are Necessary We want to make sure they don’t have to travel too far to get critical care, so I have fight to get the resources necessary to maintain the hospitals we have in rural Nebraska. It’s a never ending fight.
As a member of the Senate Rural Health Caucus, I have pushed legislation to end Medicare’s historic discrimination against states like ours that have to do more with less.
Rural hospitals are more dependent on Medicare payments as part of their total revenue. Medicare accounts for almost 70 percent of total revenue for small, rural hospitals.
Rural hospitals have lower patient volumes but must compete nationally to recruit providers due to the nursing and health professional workforce shortages.
Rural States Were Penalized Medicare’s complex funding formula penalized rural states like Nebraska for practicing cost effective medicine by reimbursing them at a lower rate. Health care providers and hospitals in our state received a lower reimbursement for the same procedure performed in New York.
That unfair practice created a disincentive for doctors and nurses to stay in rural areas. While I have continually fought for critical access hospitals, this year I also introduced legislation to equalize the reimbursement rate between urban and rural America for midsize, yet rural, hospitals like the Columbus Community Hospital.
The bill is entitled the Rural Community Hospital Demonstration Extension Act, and it is the kind of reform I was pleased to see included in the Senate’s health care reform package.
When I see beautiful, state of the art medical centers in rural communities throughout Nebraska it reinforces the work I do in Washington to make sure that the people of rural Nebraska have the health facilities they deserve. It requires constant vigilance but its well worth the effort.

A Nebraskan's View

Wednesday, November 25, 2009 FULL AND OPEN DEBATE VITAL ON HEALTH REFORM PROPOSALS by Senator Ben Nelson This past Saturday evening, I voted for the Senate to proceed to a full and open debate on health care reform with two goals in mind: The first goal is that the Senate, now able to follow normal parliamentary procedures, will produce a bipartisan bill cutting the cost of health care for Nebraskans and all Americans. The second goal is that by following normal procedures — allowing much debate, many amendments and even an opportunity to consider a complete alternative to the new bill offered by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid — we have avoided for now bringing up health care legislation by using the tactic known as budget reconciliation. There are partisans on both sides who will try to undermine efforts toward the first goal. However, if we don’t let the normal procedures prevail, it is likely reconciliation will prevail. Some, citing comments from Sen. Reid, say reconciliation is off the table. But it will be right back on the table if we allow the normal Senate parliamentary procedures to break down. Some who discount the possibility of reconciliation have used it to avoid a filibuster in the past. They were against filibusters before they were for them. Interestingly, there have been times in past years when obstructive efforts failed as the Senate leadership used reconciliation to win congressional approval of important legislation. Reconciliation helped pass a welfare reform bill in 1996, a 2001 bill cutting taxes by $1.3 trillion and another major tax cut bill in 2003. I was elected to the Senate in 2000, so I wasn’t able to consider the welfare bill. But I did play a key role in passing the tax-cut bills. Earlier this year, though, I voted against the 2010 budget resolution, in part because it contained language allowing health care reform to be brought up under reconciliation. Reconciliation is an extraordinary tool designed to help Congress do something very difficult: adjust revenue and spending levels to reduce deficits. While the Reid health care bill would reduce deficits, it would do a whole lot more. Reconciliation strictly limits content, debate and amendments to legislation. Debate is limited to 20 hours, the final bill cannot be filibustered, and only a simple majority is needed for passage. Any hope of bipartisanship would vanish, as would the need to develop consensus within the Democratic caucus. Moderates would be sidelined, along with likely all of the Senate Republicans. The result of the limits on debate and content could be a convoluted bill passed by only 50 senators. That’s not what the Senate is about. With thousands of Nebraska families facing ever-increasing health care costs, thousands more unable to even afford coverage and hundreds of Nebraska businesses struggling to cover their employees, it’s more important that we get health care reform right than it is to encourage a move toward reconciliation. Reconciliation not only makes it harder to change or stop bad legislation but in this case also makes it harder to pass good legislation. My vote Saturday evening supporting the cloture motion to proceed was to encourage a full debate with the hope it will develop a bipartisan bill that works for all Nebraskans. That may not be possible using normal parliamentary procedures. I would vote against a cloture motion — needing 60 votes — to move to approve the Reid bill today for a number of reasons, and I will do so if that’s what emerges from the upcoming debate. I also will vote no on a cloture motion — also needing 60 votes — to move to an up-or-down vote on a final House-Senate compromise health care bill if serious problems remain. But efforts leading to reconciliation likely mean that more government-run health care policies will win, while Nebraskans lose.

Governor's Column

Appreciating the Bounty of Nebraska Agriculture By Governor Dave Heineman Nov. 25, 2009 Dear Fellow Nebraskans: As Nebraskans across the state are gathering with family and friends around the dinner table this week, it is important to remember our agricultural producers that helped provide the food that are a special part of our holidays and meals around the year. Farmers and ranchers in our state are still harvesting in the fields. This year’s corn and soybean harvest has been hampered with a cold and wet October. It means additional costs are needed to dry crops. For many livestock producers, profits have remained slim – and in some cases elusive among beef, pork, dairy, and poultry sectors. Yet there have been positive developments as more sunshine and drier conditions have helped producers get back into the fields recently. Reports indicate that crop yields are very good. Some farmers have even had record-setting yields. There has also been very positive news from Taiwan, which has agreed to change some of its restrictions on U.S. beef, and China, where trade officials appear ready to resume imports of U.S. pork. These are two of Nebraska’s strongest overseas export markets, which should provide reason for optimism among livestock producers. Nebraska has built a strong reputation in all parts of the world as a reliable trading partner for agricultural commodities. That reputation is due in large part to the quality products produced in our state. During the past two weeks, Nebraska Department of Agriculture officials have met with buyers from China, Hong Kong, Korea, and Italy during visits to Nebraska. The visits are part of continuing discussions on increasing purchases of Nebraska agricultural goods. I had the chance to visit with Italian importers, where company representatives shared that Nebraska beef has the quality they want high-end restaurants and other food service operations. Their purchases of Nebraska beef have grown four-fold in the last six months, and they hope to increase sales using the beef produced in our state. Working together, the Nebraska Department of Agriculture and the Nebraska Beef Council have built the brand value of “Beef From Nebraska” in international markets. USDA Foreign Agricultural Service officials in Hong Kong and other overseas contacts report that foreign buyers for restaurants looking for U.S. beef are asking for beef from Nebraska. The reputation for quality products benefits our beef industry as well as the other commodities connected to Nebraska’s beef industry. We hear similar messages about the quality of other Nebraska commodities and we will continue to work with our agricultural industry to create opportunities for Nebraska products to be served in countries around the world. Our farmers and ranchers play a significant role in feeding families in Nebraska, across the country and around the world. I hope you’ll join me in giving thanks for the bounty they provide.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Blue Hill Holiday Bazaar

The Annual Blue Hill Holiday Bazaar will be held as usual on the first Saturday in December which this year falls on December 5. The Event will be held in the Blue Hill Community Center. This years offerings include crafts, gift ideas, food and live demonstrations. Doors will open to the public at 9 a.m. and it is expected to conclude at 3 p.m. The event has been a standing tradition in Blue Hill since the first such event organized by Alvin Willems approximately 25 years ago and has always attracted an appreciative crowd. Many consider it a essential part of the Christmas season in Blue Hill.

Quote of the Day

The character of every act depends upon the circumstances in which it is done. -- Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., US Supreme Court Justice.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


"Thanksgiving dinners take 18 hours to prepare. They are consumed in 12 minutes. Halftime takes 12 minutes. This is no coincidence. " Erma Bombeck.

Eugene H. Auten

Former area resident Eugene "Gene" Harold Auten, 77, of Phoenix, AZ, passed away Sunday November 22, 2009, at Hospice of the Valey in Tempe, AZ.
 Memorial services are 11 a.m. MST, Monday December 7, 2009, at Mountain View Lutheran Church in Phoenix.
In Lieu of flowers, memorials may be given to Hospice of the Valley, 2525 East Southern Avenue, Tempe, AZ 85282 or Banner Alzheimers Institute, 910 East Willeta Street, Phoenix, AZ 85006
Eugene Harold Auten was born May 6, 1932, to Henry Omer and Hilda (Kort) Auten in Ayr.
 He attended Roseland High school. He served in the U.S. Army as a sergeant during the Korean War from 1952 - 1954.
 Eugene was an excellent farmer and served on many church boards and various other committees.
He enjoyed family very much. He was preceded in death by his parents; and his brothers Donald and William.
Survivors include his wife, LaVelle; Sons and daughters-in-law, Ken and Sheri Auten of Ayr, NE, and Greg and Ann Auten of Blue Hill, NE, and daughter and son-in-law, Deb and Bill Schreck of Hampton, IA. Other survivors include stepchildren, Lynette and Rick LaFond, Mitch and Anne Krueger, Dave and Jackie Krueger, Crissa and Ton Snider, 14 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Straight from the Horse's Mouth

Duane A. Lienemann, UNL Extension Educator, Webster County November 25, 2009 Edition I am sitting here on the day before Thanksgiving with images in my mind of turkey with all the fixings and of course, all of the other foods that are certain to grace the many tables across this great land. I hope I don’t short out my keyboard as I salivate, just thinking of what may lie ahead for my gullet. I sometimes wonder how many of us bypass the thoughts of food, family, football and friends and actually contemplate what we are really thankful for. I am certain we all will have different takes on what we are most thankful for. It may be the upbringing that makes us all unique in our own way. It may be where we live, or the people that we associate on a daily basic. It may be for material things, or perhaps for things more spiritual. It may be the lives we live, or the country in which we are blessed to live. One thing is for sure, we do have many things that make this Thanksgiving time meaningful. We all are blessed in so many ways, even if we sometimes don’t take time to think about those blessings and bounties. Please take the time to count those blessings and thank your family, friends and God for providing you what you do have. I am thankful that I have the opportunity to share my thoughts and of course information that I feel may be beneficial to producers and other interested individuals in this area. Now towards that end I have some material and some upcoming events that may be of interest to you. Oh by the way “Happy Thanksgiving?” Crop Insurance Decisions Due December 10: This year’s harvest has been a challenge for many farmers with moisture content so high that it makes harvest in some fields impossible or at least improbable. With the extended harvest this year I think that many producers may have put some normal routines on the back burner including some paperwork. There is a significant date coming up that should be recognized. The crop insurance standard policy for corn and soybeans in the Midwest states that December 10 is the end of the insurance period. Now what if you are still in the harvest mode and didn’t even think of that? The good news is that farmers who aren't finished with their harvest by the deadline can ask for an extension if they plan to file any losses. Producers who can’t get into their fields would be well-advised to contact their crop insurance agents and report a loss and if needed, request additional time to harvest in order to protect their coverage. This can be granted if and when timely notice is given to the agent, and the delay is due to an insured cause, such as wet weather or snowfall. This allows any claims to be settled based on actual harvested production rather than an appraisal in the field. If you are in that boat, please remember that if losses are going to be filed due to loss in quality, such as moldy corn in a field, a strip must be left behind in the field so an insurance agent can make an assessment. You may want to note that the contractual date cannot be extended through the Risk Management Agency. Instead, farmers should review the conditions and requirements listed on RMA’s website that must be met before the crop insurance company is allowed to authorize additional time for harvesting the crop and settlement of any claims. The standard crop insurance policies cover quality losses due to low test weight, foreign material and mold, as well as low yields and prices. However, increased drying costs and charges are not covered. The Risk Management Agency (RMA), which regulates multiple peril crop insurance policies, issued a program announcement regarding wet harvest conditions. It’s online at Mold and other Problems in Grain: I have been getting several calls concerning the quality of corn that has been harvested and especially that which is still in the field. There is special concern especially about long season or late planted corn that was hit by a killing freeze prior to black layer stage, or delayed development due to drought and/or short growing degree days. I have put together some information on some of the molds and especially the impact they may have on feeding livestock. Please feel free to contact me if you want me to send you the information or stop by the office and we can take a look at it. I would also encourage you if you have an internet connection to go to , as there is some good material there as well. I did get a chance to watch the webinar that centered discussion on grain drying, mold, mycotoxins, aflatoxins, and feeding moldy grain to livestock on Market Journal and found it very useful. They did archive this show and you can access it at: Upcoming Events: We are rapidly approaching the winter programming season and you will undoubtedly find a lot of seminars, workshops, web-based and even satellite series that may be of interest to you or beneficial to your enterprises. Please look for the winter producer mailing that your local extension offices send out and watch for individual flyers, news releases and articles in your local newspapers for information on these events. As always feel free to contact our office for information on these as well as other events. Here is a couple that you may want to put on your calendar:
  • December 2 – “The Pulse of the Ag & General Economy” Featuring Dr. David Kohl at the Bruning Opera House in Bruning, NE from 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Go to for more info.
  • December 14 & 21 – “Staying Competitive in an Ever Changing Beef Cattle Industry”, Satellite series at Webster County Museum Exhibit Hall at 7:00 pm. Please pre-register by December 10 at 402-746-3417.

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: or go to the website at:

Quote of the Day

We have come far on our American journey since that early Thanksgiving. In the intervening years, we have lived through times of war and peace, years of poverty and plenty, and seasons of social and political upheaval that have shaped and forever changed our national character and experience. As we gather around our Thanksgiving tables again this year, it is a fitting time to reflect on how the events of our rich history have affected those we care about and those who came before us. As we acknowledge the past, we do so knowing that the individual blessings for which we give thanks may have changed, but our gratitude to God and our commitment to our fellow Americans remain constant. -- Bill Clinton, Thanksgiving Day Proclamation (November 25, 1999)

School News from Mrs. Kranau~ 11/22‏

Dear Parents/Guardians~ **We will have a Friday schedule on Wednesday, November 25, along with shortened core classes. (School is dismissed at 2:30.) No Band or Specials on Friday for the 4th-6th graders that afternoon. **FLASHCARDS: Please make sure your child is doing the required set of flashcards! I will not check Flashcard Calendars this short week. I told every class that they will have two weeks to do at least 2 sets (5th and 6th) and at least 7 sets (4th grade). I will be giving a "STAR" on Friday, December 4. **Math Treats (extra credit) are due Tuesday, Nov. 24. New Treats will be due December 8. **Scholastic Book Orders are due Nov. 30. 5th Grade Parents: PLEASE WRITE CHECKS TO: SCHOLASTIC!!! Book orders are on-line. **Please be watching for the PAW TRACKS newsletter that should go home every Tuesday. **Check office for clothing items. **Powerschool is available for you to see your child's grades and lunch accounts. **Make sure your child is correcting daily assignments! *****Every math student received, in August, a Math Activity Checklist that I have referred to before in my e-mails. 4 categories (Counting change correctly, Knowing the numbers 1-10 in the assigned foreign language, Using the Math on Call/Algebra to Go reference book, and Reviewing one of the assigned glossaries) on that sheet will be due on Friday, Dec. 11. Your child is aware of this. **Students should have all math vocabulary words, that were in bold from Les. 1-33, highlighted in his/her glossaries that I distributed at the beginning of the year. If words were not able to be found in the glossaries, students are to use two reference books found in my room: Math on Call and/or Algebra to Go. Students may also use the glossary at the back of the book, but do not highlight those words. (Students are well aware of these directions and criteria for "highlighting vocabulary words". Students need to continue to highlight vocabulary words from each lesson! **Please be saving Thramer's and Allen's receipts. You may drop your receipt in the box designated Blue Hill at Thramer’s or drop off the receipts at school. Continue to save Box Tops 4 Education, Campbell Soup Labels, old cell phones, and empty ink cartridges and other fundraisers. Thank you for all the fundraisers! **Students that have three or more strikes are in the "Reach for the Stars" program. He/she needs to be checking in with Mrs. Miller, Mr. Uridil or Mrs. Keogh each morning before school starts and before he/she goes home. --Our school website is --Thank you to Partners in Learning and the Parent Volunteers that brought food during American Education Week! We also appreciated the write up in the Leader from the Board of Education! 4th Grade: --Working more w/Multiplication problems, Subtracting w/Regrouping, Later-Earlier-Difference Problems, and Square Numbers will be covered the next two weeks. --Students will have time to work on Dynamath with partners. Most students are finished. Dynamath is due Monday at the end of the day. We will go over it this Wednesday in class. --Students will have a State Assessment Test this Tuesday. --Students had to write the basic facts that were difficult for him/her on index cards. These index cards should be reviewed every day. --Students NEED to know the 4 Steps of Problem-Solving, 5 Problem-Solving Strategies, and Vocabulary Words from the lessons. The 4 Steps of P.S. and the P.S. Strategies will be on every math quiz and test! Thank you to those students who have studied these Problem-Solving Steps and Strategies!!! These have been handed out. When your child has an upcoming test, he/she will have done a review/study guide sheet that will help on the test. --Work on Flashcards! Five 4th graders did not do 7 sets of Flashcards last week. --Students need to be correcting every daily math assignment!!! Some students are still making careless mistakes on math papers. See if your child is subtracting correctly. I write notes all the time on daily assignments and ask students to "See Me" during study hall. --Bringing necessary materials to class and being organized helps to become a better student. 6th Grade: --Writing Percents as Fractions, Decimal Place Value, Writing Decimal Numbers as Fractions, and Subtracting Fractions and Mixed Numbers from Whole Numbers are concepts that will be covered the next two weeks. --Students will have a State Assessment Test this Tuesday. --We will check Dynamath in class this Wednesday. --Students should continue to highlight math terms in glossaries to Les. 36. --Continue to work on flashcards! Four 6th graders did not get a star last week, because he/she did not have 2 sets of flashcards done. --Basic Facts that are difficult for your child were to be written on index cards. These index cards should be reviewed daily. 5th Grade~~Homeroom Class: --We will cover Picturing Fractions, Cents, Percents, Lines (Intersecting, Parallel, and Perpendicular), Drawing Angles, and Rounding Numbers the next two weeks. --Students need to know the 4 Problem-Solving Steps (Read, Plan, Solve, Look Back and Check) and 5 of the many Problem-Solving Strategies. --Test after Les. 30 is scheduled for this Monday. I gave the students a review sheet on Thursday of last week. I told the students to work on it before the Test on Monday. Some students had it finished last Friday. ;) Study vocabulary! --Students will have a State Assessment this Tuesday. --We will go over Dynamath this Wednesday in class. --Please review division problems with your child at home. We are working on them at school. Division is a concept that is difficult for some students. I tell the students to stay focused on a problem...starting and stopping or getting distracted during a division problem could lead to confusion. **Parents: The office gives me lunch money reminders for designated students, depending on how much money you have left in your account. I give these to the students in an envelope. I am hoping you are seeing your lunch money total. If you are not sure about your lunch money account, please call the office at 756.2085 or look on PowerSchool. --Work on Flashcards! --Students should also have Handwriting lessons each week. ***** We will be celebrating Kami's birthday on Tuesday, Dec. 1 from 2:15-2:30! ***** Kenzie will have her birthday party on Wednesday, Dec. 2 from 2:15-2:30! Wishing you a very nice Thanksgiving Break! ~Mrs. Kranau~

Muzzleloader Deer Season Opens Dec. 1

Lincoln, Neb. Excellent deer hunting opportunities remain in Nebraska as the muzzleloader season arrives, according to the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. The season runs Dec. 1-31. The recently completed firearm season proved that plenty of deer and large bucks are available. Those firearm hunters were hanpered somewhat by the lagging corn harvest, but conditions are improving for December as that harvest continues. A muzzleloader permit is valid statewide and has a bag limit of one deer of either sex and one antlerless white-tailed deer. The limit may be filled in any order. "We encouage hunters to take antlerless female white-tailed deer." said Kit Hams, big game program manager with the Commission. "The use of binoculars or scopes will help hunters avoid buck fawns, which often are more visible than adult does or doe fawns. By this time of year the small antler buttons are 1-2 inches in length and visible. There is an unlimited number of muzzleloader permits available again this year. Last year, 15,199 permits sold and 6,946 deer were taken. Now that the firearm season has closed hunters again have the option of checking deer electronically or at a check station. Hunters may check electronically by going to or calling toll-free (800) 405-7700 at any time. The deer exchange remains available too. Donors and recipients of venison may register for free at Open Fields and Waters Program lands popular with firearm hunters are a good option for muzzleloader hunters. This program has more than 36,000 acres of private land available for public walk-in hunting access. Check the 2009 Nebraska Public Access Atlas for tracts in each county. Premits may be purchased at Commission permitting offices and at A habitat stamp is required of all deer hunters, except residents age 15 or younger.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Senator's Column

As Health Care Bill Proceeds, Still Much To Do
by Mike Johanns Dear Nebraskans,
On Saturday, the motion to proceed to debate on the Senate's health care reform bill passed on a 60-39 vote. Next, amendments will be offered and voted on, then the Senate must vote to end the debate, which will also require 60 votes. Although this was the first step in the bill's approval process, studies show that 97 percent of bills become law after this type of vote passes. This is far from a foregone conclusion, as many of my colleagues who voted 'yes' on Saturday have already expressed concern over this bill.
While everyone agrees there are some positive things included in this legislation, Senators on both sides of the aisle are concerned that a number of provisions could make their final vote very difficult. These provisions include the government-run plan and increased health care spending. Over the next few weeks, the Senate will debate these issues and try to change the bill to satisfy their concerns. There are some fundamental realities about the bill that won't change unless it's virtually rewritten; this bill will lead to higher premiums, increased taxes, and cuts to Medicare. Anyone who is pro-life will be disappointed to hear that the door is now open to overturn a three-decade precedent banning federal funding of abortion. This was made possible after no pro-life Democrat took a stand to continue the ban before the bill moved to the floor. Because there are not 60 pro-life Senators who now would vote to continue it, there is little hope of a truly pro-life provision in the final bill.
Is that true reform? I don't think so. Majority Leader Reid touts the bill's price tag at $848 billion, and says it will lower the deficit by more than $100 billion. This is not the full picture. This cost is for the first 10 years of legislation, yet the first four years would be spent establishing the government-run program and putting infrastructure into place. So while you'd be paying 10 years of taxes and penalties, you'd only see 6 years of benefits. It's essentially a government layaway plan. The true ten-year cost for when the bill is fully implemented is $2.5 trillion.
Many have argued there needs to be a government-run plan to help lower premium costs and provide competition. However, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has stated that the government-run plan included in the Senate bill would have "premiums that were somewhat higher than the average premiums" compared to today's private insurance. Furthermore, it is widely acknowledged that all health care premiums will rise due to more mandates, restrictions, and taxes placed on insurance companies and employers. If costs are not lowered, I don't know how Senators can justify a "yes" vote in the future.
With the current political climate and a 60-vote requirement, it will be tremendously difficult to make enough improvements to the bill to make it acceptable. Even so, I will continue doing all I can to protect the interests and tax dollars of our state.

Quote of the Day

WHEREAS it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favour; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me "to recommend to the people of the United States a DAY OF PUBLICK THANKSGIVING and PRAYER, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness." -- George Washington, The First Presidential Thanksgiving Day Proclamation (October 3, 1789)

“Staying Competitive in an Ever Changing Beef Cattle Industry”

University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension Educators have planned the 2009-2010 Beef Satellite Short Course entitled, “Staying Competitive in an Ever Changing Beef Cattle Industry”. Cattle producers are highly encouraged to attend as there will be multiple sessions covering many different topics! Producers will get to see the latest research findings from UNL and will get to determine if utilizing such practices will assist them in their cattle operations. The series is scheduled to be held Monday evenings beginning at 7:00 p.m., on December 14 & 21, 2009 and January 11 & 18, 2010, at the Webster County Museum Exhibit Hall in Red Cloud. The sessions are presented over the satellite and will entail a question-answer session following the presentations. Each session should conclude around 9:00 p.m. It is required to pre-register for the series in order to make arrangements and provide material for the sessions. A minimal fee will be charged for all sessions. Please contact the Webster County UNL Extension Office, 402-746-3417 or email at to register or for further questions. The December 14, 2009 session is entitled, “Protein Supplementation: It’s More Than the Impact on the Cow.” The speaker for the evening will be Dr. Rick Funston, Beef Specialist on Beef Cattle Reproduction from the UNL West Central UNL Research Center. The December 21, 2009 session will cover, “Herd Bio-security – Keeping TB and Trich Out of Your Herd” and will be presented by Dr. Richard Randle, UNL Extension Veterinarian. On January 11, 2010, Dr. Chris Calkins, UNL Meat Scientist, will be presenting on, “What’s the Beef? – Impact on Feeding Distillers On Beef Quality & New Products On the Horizon.” The final date, January 18, 2010, will entail a presentation on, “Indexes, SNP’s & DNA Testing – Understanding the Complicated Genetics and How It Applies To the Cow/Calf Producer,” by Dr. Matt Spangler, UNL Beef Specialist. Other locations at which this short-course can be viewed along with the person & phone numbers to contact are as follows: Darci McGee - Nuckolls Co. @ 402-225-2381, Brent Plugge - Buffalo Co. @ 308-236-1235 and Tyler Williams - Phelps-Gosper @ 308-995-4222.


The early-bird Webster County 4-H/FFA Beef weigh-ins will be held December 5 in Red Cloud and December 6 in Blue Hill. Exhibitors wanting to show market steers or market heifers at the Webster County Fair, Nebraska State Fair, and/or Ak-Sar-Ben must identify and weigh in their projects. This weigh-in is designed for exhibitors who want to attend early progress shows with their animals and need the weigh-in information, tags, and identification on their animals. The beef will be weighed in Red Cloud at the South Central Herd Health Services on Saturday, December 5 from 9:00 am till 11:30 am and in Blue Hill at the Blue Hill Livestock Sale Barn on Sunday, December 6 from 1:30 pm till 4:00 pm. The extension office asks that all exhibitors have your animals identified and tagged by that date if at all possible. Electronic Identification for all beef will be done at each weigh-in. This will be a second tag in addition to the 4-H/FFA tag. EID is voluntary, but highly suggested. They further request that if you put your tags in before weigh-in, that you reserve the one-third of the left ear closest to the head for the EID tag. 4-H tags and market beef affidavits are available from the Extension Office in Red Cloud. FFA tags and affidavits are available from agriculture education instructors including: Melissa Bonifas, at Blue Hill high school; Joe Strickland, at Red Cloud high school; and Dave Barnard at Superior. For those that cannot get the tags or affidavits prior to the weigh-in, they will be available at the weigh-in sites. 4-H exhibitors are reminded that if they intend on going on to State Fair or Ak-Sar-Ben, they must have their beef nose-printed and DNA sampled. There is a $6 per head charge for DNA samples. This will also be done at the weigh-in site for those that so desire. FFA requirements are somewhat different, for instance beef going on to State Fair must either have a nose print or EID tag plus their FFA tag. When in doubt, or not sure of their intentions, we suggest that exhibitors DNA or nose-print your market beef to be on the safe side. Exhibitors do have until April 10 to DNA any beef animal that may go to State Fair or Ak-Sar-Ben. Please note that all other market livestock that may go to Nebraska State Fair or Ak-Sar-Ben will need to be DNA sampled this year, with a later due date to be announced. In planning for market beef enterprise, exhibitors should try to match the size of the calf that they pick out to match their intent. If it is the intent to “dead-end” the calf at the county fair then exhibitors should figure from December 5 to July 13 for time on feed, which computes to 220 days. Figuring that you want to gain at least 2.5 lbs a day (2.2 is required) then assuming a county fair weight of 1300 lbs then the biggest calf that you should weigh in on the first December weigh-in would be about 750 pounds. If you figure 3# per day ROG, then a 600 lb steer (today’s weight) would be about right. If you plan to hit State Fair with the 1300 pound calf then you have 264 days to feed and at 2.5 #/day then your calf should not weigh more than 650 on Dec. 6. The regular Webster County market beef weigh-in will be held in its usual time slot for all others who need to weigh, tag, and ID their cattle. The second round of market beef weigh-ins will be held on January 30 in Red Cloud and January 31 in Blue Hill with the same locations, time frame and inclement weather schedule.
Please contact Dewey Lienemann at the Webster County Extension office in Red Cloud at (402) 746-3417 for more information.

Nebraska State Patrol Promotes Safety with "Be Here for the Holidays" Initiative.

(Lincoln, NE)- The Nebraska State Patrol (NSP) is reminding all motorists to "Be Here for the Holidays," by promoting voluntary compliance with all traffic safety laws, in an effort to reduce fatalities during the holiday season. "Be Here for the Holidays," is a special traffic safety initiative which includes the posting of times and locations of selected NSP traffice enforcement efforts across the state of Nebraska. Drivers can access the calendar from the NSP web site at "Many of us travel to be with family or friends during the holiday season," said Field Services Commander, Major Russ Stanczyk. "We hope by drawing attention to enforcement efforts, travelers will choose to voluntarily comply with the traffic safety laws and avoid crash causing behaviors such as driving impaired." A monthly calendar can be found in the Quick Links box on the NSP website under NSP Enforcement Activities, the link takes visitors to a monthly calendar, with each day listing the type of enforcement planned and the location of the special enforcement. Major Stanczyk said, "It is the goal of the Traffic Services Division to hld at least one traffic safety enforcement operation somewhere in the state daily."

Monday, November 23, 2009

Cattlemen Steer Showdown

The South Central Cattlemen Association will once again be sponsoring a Pen of Three, Steer Showdown for area cattlemen. Check-in for steers will be on Tuesday, December 1, from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm at the Real Cattle Company West located 2 miles east on hwy 6 then 1.5 miles north of Grafton, NE.
Steers will remain on feed at the Real Cattle Company West for approximately 185 days. Cattlemen pay a $10 entry fee per steer which is applied as an expense on the final billing statement. Participants are asked to be or become members of the Nebraska Cattlemen Association or the South Central Cattlemen Association. Feeder financing is provided at a low interest rate by the York State Bank. There will not be any feed bills to pay, although cattlemen will receive monthly feed statements. A net check will be mailed to steer owners at the time of close out.
Steers are tested and ranked in three different categories;
  • Average Daily Gain (ADG)
  • Carcas Value (CV)
  • Total Performance (Combined ADG & CV)

Cattlemen should have steers weaned and pre-conditioned prior to entry date. Vaccinations should include Modified Live and no steers with horns will be accepted. It is recommended that steers weigh between 700 and 800 lbs. Steers must be delivered to Real Cattle West on the entry date.

A Calcutta will be held; announced at a later dater. Last years Showdown paid out $1,800 in prize money.

Any and all cattlemen are encouraged to enter a pen (3 steers), two, or three into the Showdown. Please contact Brian Shaw @ 402-984-7359 or Randy Lemke @ if you have any questions or need further details.

Quote of the Day

Thanksgiving has become a day when Americans extend a helping hand to the less fortunate. Long before there was a government welfare program, this spirit of voluntary giving was ingrained in the American character. Americans have always understood that, truly, one must give in order to receive. This should be a day of giving as well as a day of thanks. --Ronald Reagan, Thanksgiving Day Proclamation (November 12, 1981)

Congressman's Column

The Internet and Rural America by Adrian Smith Through my work with the Science and Technology Committee as well as the Agriculture Committee, I have had the opportunity to examine issues concerning new communication technology and the impact the Internet can have on our communities. Unfortunately, many rural states like Nebraska have seen a "brain drain" in recent years as our younger generation leaves for other areas of the United States. As the depletion occurs, we lose our most vital economic assets to more populated areas. Broadband - or high speed Internet access - is one of the many tools we have to counter this brain drain. As the Internet economy has matured, more web sites now require broadband access to handle higher data transmission rates, even for basic applications. In the last few years, rural businesses and consumers have caught up with our urban counterparts when using the Internet - with one major difference. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), broadband access is less prevalent in rural areas than in those more densely populated. While an estimated 55 percent of U.S. adults had broadband access at home in 2008, only 41 percent of adults in rural households had access. The USDA also found rural counties which have had broadband access for some time had higher employment growth, and nonfarm private earnings were greater than counties without access. Recognizing the importance of rural broadband access, I worked to reauthorize USDA's telemedicine, distance learning, and rural broadband access grant and loan programs. Through my work as co-chair of the Congressional Rural Caucus, I have joined with colleagues from both sides of the aisle to ensure rural communities have access to up-to-date broadband services and other important technologies. Despite the popular misconception, the bandwidth which makes the Internet possible is not infinite. Think of it along the lines of irrigation pipes: each pipe can hold only so much water. As the use of the Internet becomes more prevalent, network providers must innovate in order to accommodate the ever-increasing traffic. For example, in 2007 the popular video site YouTube used as much bandwidth as did the entire Internet in 2000. This has led to a new debate over "net neutrality" - legislation which would establish broadband policies and require the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to enact far stricter rules for private Internet service providers in managing their networks. Under the proposal, the FCC also would be required to regulate the marketing of Internet providers' products. Proponents of net neutrality state they are only trying to minimize the barriers to entry by ensuring market leaders cannot block smaller rivals' access to consumers through exclusive deals. Detractors worry net neutrality could lead to slow connections due to a small percentage of individuals using a vast majority of the available bandwidth. The broadband market is dynamic, and I fear new FCC regulations could hamper this growth. These regulations also would serve to reduce the vital capital investments required to expand the nation's broadband networks by limiting the ability of providers to ensure a quality experience for their customers. Sparsely populated rural areas already have difficulty attracting broadband service providers. As an example, few telecommunication companies sought stimulus funding to expand rural broadband. Increasing federal regulations may further discourage private sector investment from taking part in rural broadband development. To combat brain drain in Nebraska, we have to take pride in our heritage while at the same time making the most of new opportunities. Technology is changing and advancing every day, and it is essential rural Americans have the resources they need to successfully compete in today's high tech world for tomorrow's high tech economy.

Governor's Column

Holiday Highway Safety By Governor Dave Heineman Nov. 23, 2009 Dear Fellow Nebraskans: With the holidays approaching and winter weather settling in, this is a good time to highlight several safety tips for those who will be traveling on Nebraska roadways. In 2008, there were fewer traffic fatalities in Nebraska than any time since 1944. During each of the past three years, Nebraska’s road fatality rates have declined. By buckling up and taking basic precautions over the next few weeks we hope to close 2009 with a fourth consecutive year with fewer fatalities. The best and most effective way to prevent an injury in a crash is wearing a seat belt. In 2008, 182 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes on Nebraska roads, and114 people were not wearing their seat belts. Drivers can help prevent accidents by ensuring their full attention is on the task of driving. As winter approaches, devoting our full attention to driving becomes even more important. The Nebraska State Patrol Highway Helpline is a way for motorists to report impaired or reckless drivers on state roads to law enforcement officials *55 from any cellular phone or 1-800-525-5555 from any landline phone. Motorists can also get updates on road conditions by dialing 511 from any landline or cell phone. During the past five years several state agencies, including the State Patrol and the Nebraska Departments of Motor Vehicles, Roads and Health and Human Services, have developed and implemented strategies to prevent crashes, reduce injuries and save lives. Their efforts to make state roadways safer include the partnership of local and county law enforcement and those in the private sector who’ve supported state safety campaigns in recent years. During the holiday travel season, the State Patrol, police departments and sheriff’s offices will use federal grant funds for safety campaigns across the state. The “Click It or Ticket” campaign runs the week of Thanksgiving. State Patrol troopers will use a number of safety and seat belt checks along Interstate 80 and several highways. The special enforcements coordinated as part of the “Click It or Ticket” and the “You Drink and Drive. You Lose” initiatives have helped improve Nebraska’s safety belt use to an all time high of 85 percent. They’ve also been a factor in helping reduce the number of fatalities in alcohol-related crashes to an all-time low in 2008. Highway safety is a partnership. The most important steps are taken by drivers and passengers who commit to staying safe, sober, focused, and buckled up each and every time they are in a vehicle. I encourage every Nebraskan to take the small steps that can help ensure the safety of their families and fellow travelers arrive safe.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Straight from the Horse's Mouth

Duane A. Lienemann, UNL Extension Educator, Webster County November 20, 2009 Edition It was very interesting with all of the responses that I received on last week’s article on the “Food Fight” and especially about PETA’s not-so-subtle expose on 4-H and 4-H exhibitors. I heard some very good comments and received some excellent emails concerning where our country seems to be going concerning agriculture and particularly animal agriculture. I hope that we got some mileage for animal agriculture from this positive thrust for the industry. I applaud the Beef Council for thinking outside of the box and bringing some very good activities and tools to the producers who probably feel pretty helpless in all this. During the past week it is amazing how much more stuff has come down the pike concerning animal rights and the agriculture industry as a whole. I feel that I need to take some more column space and dedicate it to giving my take on what I see happening. The first thing that caught my eye this week was another effort by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), this time to stop the ‘Happy Cows come from California’ advertising campaign. I find the ads to be fun and entertaining, and as I understand it, the promotions, which include television and online ads, are credited with boosting demand for dairy products, notably those with the "Real California Cheese" seal. I am in favor of any boost that we can give to foods that come from the animal ag industry. PETA filed a complaint last week with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) against the California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB) 'Happy Cows' campaign. PETA alleges that the advertising campaign is lying to consumers. Now in my opinion that is the fire calling the kettle black! Give me a break! Actually PETA contends that the ads mislead consumers by depicting cows in lush green pastures, when in reality “Cows are not happy, they live mostly in manure-filled dirt lots and suffer udder infections because of a lack of veterinary care”. To make their point they offered this assessment. "The truth is that conditions commonly found on California's factory dairy farms have been scientifically proven to cause cows extreme physical pain and mental distress." It makes me wonder if they have a local psychiatrist sitting on a couch with one of these “unhappy cows”. I have that picture in my mind right now…. Now that is funny! It would make a good cartoon for a beef magazine. I suppose in their minds that is possible since they have taken the route of humanizing every animal inhabiting this earth. It just goes to show the ignorance that some “experts” have about agriculture in general and animal agriculture in particular. The real truth is that the California cows, and I would contend most dairy animals across the country, spend most of their time in stalls with straw or other suitable material for bedding. Manure is flushed out regularly and farmers are often in contact with veterinarians. The CMAB countered with this statement. "Because dairy herd performance reflects the quality of care received at every stage of the production cycle, dairy farmers throughout the state rely on proven best management practices to maintain the health and welfare of their dairy cows." That is an example of one of the messages that all of us in animal agriculture need to get out to consumers, and it needs to be done as a proactive form rather than reactive. I found another excellent website for your reference in researching this story that does a nice job of agriculture promotion and that site: gives you a chance to do a web poll about “happy cows”. We of course also have to be good stewards and make sure things don’t happen or that we encourage these animal rights agendas by allowing bad things to happen. There have been several “You-Tube” type events that were secretly taped over the past several years that have come back to haunt us, and it happened again this week. The animal rights group “Mercy For Animals” just released a video alleging animal abuse at a Country View Family Farms hog facility in Fannettsburg, Penn., which supplies hogs to pork processor Hatfield Quality Meats. An employee of this animal rights group applied for a job at the farm and then wore a hidden camera while he worked inside the pig barns for three months earlier this year. It did not paint a pretty picture. We don’t know if it was set up, or staged, but we must assume that it was as it was portrayed. We as animal industry representatives must work hard so those things just don’t surface, and if they do we have to have a better story to tell. What is difficult is that it seems we can make one step forward and then something like this sets us two steps back. We all have to remember that we live in a constant “Candid Camera” society. (For you younger readers, ask an older person on what that means!) We have to take steps to insure that those things don’t happen and there is nothing like that to film. If that wasn’t enough, the attack on animal agriculture got some more momentum this week after Stanford University biochemist, Patrick O. Brown, who invented the DNA microarray, announced he would take a break from his normal scientific work in order to change the way the world farms and eats. He wants to put an end to animal farming, or at least put a significant dent in our global hunger for cows, pigs and chickens. Brown says growing crops to feed animals requires a lot more land, energy and fertilizer than growing them to feed people. Go to and search for the article entitled “Drop That Burger”. Oh and by the way he is a vegetarian and a vegan. Hmmmm. 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:

Quote of the Day

“As long as you believe in what you're doing and you stay on the path that you believe in, then you're going to be fine. The problem you have is when you start letting outside pressures and outside influences change you. We're going to stay focused no matter what.” -- Bo Pelini Go Huskers!!! (7-3) -- vs Kansas State (6-5), Big XII North Championship. Go Lopers!!! (11-1) #6 -- vs #3 Minnesota-Deluth (10-1, defending D2 Champs), NCAA Div II Playoffs, Round 2. Go Broncos!!! (9-2) #13 -- vs #5 Ottowa, KS (10-0), NAIA Playoffs, Opening Round.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Quote of the Day

"The great and invigorating influences in American life have been the unorthodox: the people who challenge an existing institution or way of life, or say and do things that make people think. " -Justice William O. Douglas

Firearm Deer Season Opens in Nebraska

Lincoln, Neb. - Deer hunters encountered decent weather overall but were challenged by a large percentage of corn standing in fields during the opening weekend of firearm season Nov. 14-15, according to the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. Expect hunting to improve as the corn harvest, which was set far behind schedule by a wet October, progresses. The state has an ample deer population, including many older bucks. "We are seeing an older age class of deer being taken in the south-central district," said Jerry Pecha. District VI law enforcement supervisor. "It appears the 2 1/2 year-old-class buck numbers have been growing in numbers for the past few years. Many of our hunters realize that with the ample numbers of deer we have, they do not need to shoot the first buck they see and are becoming more selective." The most common complaints received by consevatin officers ovaer the weekend were hunting without permission and shooting from the road. Officers wrote citations for those violations, as well as others, including hunting without permit, and taking antlered deer with an anterless-only permit. No hunting accidents were reported. The firearm deer season closes Nov. 22. The electronic checking system is not available during this season, but the Deer exchange is available for all deer seasons. Here is a region by region roundup of the opening weekend. Northwest The season opened Saturday with normal hunting preassure. Hunters had good success, with some good books taken. Light snow fell periodically throughout the region over the weekend. Consevations officers in District I seized about a dozen deer. Two Californians were arrested for falsifying permit applications to obtain deer and turkey permits. There were 262 deer checked at the District I office in Alliance over the weekend and 310 as of midday Monday. Northeast Some officers reported a good number of does taken with season choice permits. Hunters reported seeing good numbers of deer with most of them passing up deer so they could have a change to shoot a bigger one. Hunters are making good use of the Open Fields and Waters lands. Officers reported high activity on most of the areas checked. One area had 11 vehicles parked on it opening morning and another had eight. Thre were 19 citations and 13 warnings issued in District III. There were 470 deer checked at the District III office in Norfolk over the weekend and 544 as of midday Monday. There were 242 deer checked at the District II office in Bassett over the weekend and 296 as of Midday Monday. Southwest Several officers indicated there was a large harvest of mule deer and whitetails still were in the corn. One District IV conservation officer checked 16 deer but seized five. Hunting without a permit was an issue. A person shot a deer without a permit, then said he intended to purchase a permit if he could hit a deer. Another person shot a buck and dumped it in a ravine stating the deer was not as large as he thought it was when he shot it. There were 275 deer checked at the District IV office in North Platte over the weekend and 317 as of midday Monday. Southeast Open fields and waters Program lands were busy Saturday, with some complaints of hunters driving onto these walk-in only sites. There were 149 deer checked at the District V office in Lincoln over the weekend and 182 as midday Monday. South-Central Hunter success in District VI was down somewhat from last year. Out of 310 hunters checked by mid-after Sunday, officers observed 70 deer in the bag. The weekend was a memorable for one young hunter, who was checked with his first deer, a 7 by 7 whitetail. There were 390 deer checked at the District VI office in Kearney over the weekend and 450 as of midday Monday.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Blue Hill resident Harold T. Boettcher, 88, died Tuesday November 17, 2009 at Mary Lanning Hospital in Hastings. Services are 10 a.m. Saturday November 21, 2009 , at Merten-Butler Mortuary chapel in Blue Hill with Pastor Dan Cosson officating. Burial with Military rites by A.L. Shirley Post #176 of Blue Hill will be in Blue Hill Cemetery. Visitation is 1-8 p.m. Friday and one hour prior to services Saturday all at the mortuary. A memorial has been established. Harold was born February 15, 1921 to August W. and Helen (Kort) Boettcher at Blue Hill, Nebraska. He graduated from Blue Hill High School in 1940. He served in the Navy during World War II from June 1942 to November 1945. He spent three years in the Pacific Theatre aboard the USS San Francisco. He was an Electrician's Mate First class. After returning from the War he was able to do the love of his life, raising Polled Hereford cattle and farming with his family. He was a member of the USS San Francisco Association, the Polled Hereford Association, and a member of A.L. Shirley Post #176 of Blue Hill, Nebraska. He is survived by one sister-in-law, Violet Boettcher of Blue Hill, Nebraska, two newphews, Alvin Boettcher and family of Dickinson N.D. and Gale Boettcher and family of Blue Hill. He was preceded in death by his parents, five brothers, Louis, Clarence, Ervin, Arthur,sr. and Howard. one sister Evelyn Boettcher and one nephew.

Quote of the Day

"You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life." Winston Churchill

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Eat in Ruskin

Fairbury Steaks, Inc. a Fairbury, Neb., establishment, is recalling approximately 90 pounds of fresh ground beef products that may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today. The products subject to recall include:
  • 10-pound packages of "BULK FRESH GROUND BEEF."

The packages were placed in boxes and bear the establishment number "EST. 5726" inside the USDA mark of inspection on a label. The products were produced on November 16, 2009, and were distributed to a restaurant in Ruskin, Neb.

Quote of the Day

"Freedom of the Press, if it means anything at all, means the freedom to criticize and oppose." -George Orwell

House Passes Fire Department Grant Bill

WASHINGTON, DC-Rep. Adrian Smith (R-NE), Ranking Member of the House Technology and Innovation Subcommittee, today led the debate to pass H.R. 3791, the Fire Grants Reauthorization Act, legislation which reauthorizes the Assistance to Firefighters (AFG) and Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) programs. Included in the legislation is an amendment Smith successfully offered ensuring rural areas will continue to have adequate access to the grant programs. The bill passed by a vote of 395 to 31. The Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) and the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grants provide much-needed assistance to fire departments across the nation. The AFG program competitively awards funds to local fire departments to purchase emergency response equipment and training. The SAFER program funds the hiring, recruitment, and retention of firefighting personnel. Both AFG and SAFER are administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and serve to defray the cost to local governments by helping purchase firefighting equipment and to pay salaries. The House Science and Technology Committee maintains legislative and oversight responsibility for AFG and SAFER through its jurisdiction over the Federal Fire Prevention and Control Act of 1974. Earlier this year, Ed Carlin, Training Officer for the Spalding Rural Volunteer Fire Department, offered testimony before Smith's subcommittee regarding the reauthorization of the AFG program and the challenges facing rural fire departments. "These grants provide needed assistance to fire departments across the nation. More specifically the AFG grants are absolutely necessary for small, rural fire departments. As my subcommittee learned from experts like Ed, the AFG program is frequently cited as a ‘lifesaver' and is often the only means by which many smaller departments acquire equipment and training for their firefighters. This legislation is tremendously important and I am proud to have helped move it forward," Smith said.

Congressman's Column by Adrian Smith

Serving Our Nation's Veterans Last week, our nation took time to thank, honor, and remember the men and women who sacrificed - and continue to sacrifice - for our great nation. In parades and services, we saluted the courage, resolve, and love of country exemplified by those who wore and wear our nation's uniform, as well as their families and loved ones. We celebrated their service - from those who served in World War II and Korea, to those who defend freedom around the world today. Our liberty is owed to the bravery of our veterans. Nebraska has approximately 165,000 veterans - many of whom live in the Third District. According to a recent study, some rural areas can have as many as two veterans for every 100 adults, by far the highest proportion in the country. About three million veterans enrolled in the VA Health Care System live in rural areas and often times faces challenges to accessing care and services. Distances and long wait times are continuing hardships they should not have to bear. Veterans in rural areas deserve the same quality care offered to those living in urban population centers, which is why I co-founded the Rural Veterans Caucus - to give a voice to veterans who are too often overlooked. I also have worked to establish an Office of Rural Health within the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The Office of Rural Health works to refine policies to improve care and services for rural veterans and to improve health care for enrolled rural veterans. For more on the Office of Rural Health, visit Recent action in the House of Representatives puts our veterans' care at risk. On November 9, 2009, the House of Representatives narrowly passed the Affordable Health Care for America Act (H.R. 3962), legislation which will reduce Medicare spending by nearly $500 billion over the next ten years. This legislation could significantly affect veterans' health care. Current law bases rates for TRICARE (the Department of Defense's health care program for members of the uniformed services, their families, and survivors) on Medicare rates, and reducing the growth of Medicare payments to hospitals and health care providers could trigger a similar reduction in TRICARE payments. In turn, the number of doctors accepting new TRICARE patients or continuing to serve the program could sharply reduce. This sudden loss of access would be devastating to veterans and their dependents, particularly those who are elderly or reside in rural areas. While I fully support sound health care legislation which will promote affordable health care coverage, I have serious concerns this bill will put the federal government between America's servicemembers and their doctors. For a number of reasons, including the threat this measure posed to our veterans, I voted against this bill. Congress owes these men and women our very best. Ensuring our nation's veterans receive the care they deserve is critically important. It is but one of the rewards our nation owes to those who have selflessly served our nation.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Letter from Congressman Adrian Smith

Knowing of your interest in energy security, I am writing to update you on recent developments.
Our nation, at both federal and state levels, has begun adopting energy policies which will require a substantial increase in the generation of electricity from renewable resources. As these policies take hold, we will be tasked with improving transmission infrastructure to move this generated renewable power to consumers, and we must do so without overburdening ratepayers.
As a member of the House Natural Resource SubCommittee on Water & Power as well as the Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency Caucus, I am pleased to have the opportunity to oversee the deliberation and implementation of ideas for more affordable, diverse, and reliable electricity. On November 5, 2009, the Subcommittee held a joint hearing to address transmission concerns facing states like Nebraska. Unfortunately, the hearing revealed disorganization at a number of levels which has prolonged indefinately the implementation of much-needed infrastructure projects.
Nebraska has tremendous wind energy potential, but lacks the infrastructure to transmit out of remote, renewable-resource rich areas. The export of wind-powered generation will require a significant amount of investment and cooperation from all sides. Establishing the necessary infrastructure is a primary, tangible step toward meeting our energy independence goals.
Rest assured, as Congress continues to examine energy policies, I am committed to delivering, renewable sources of energy to home and business owners at an affordable rate. I welcome your feedback and appreciate the opportunity to share my thoughts on such an important matter.


"People may not remember exactly what you said. They may not remember exactly what you did. But they will remember how you made them feel." Maya Angelou

Senator's Column by Mike Johanns

November 17, 2009 Health Care is Still a Hot Topic Across Nebraska Dear Nebraskans, Last week I hosted town hall meetings in Grand Island, Lexington, Kearney and Lincoln, where I outlined my principles for health care reform and heard feedback from Nebraskans on the latest proposals in Congress. In Lexington, I heard from a small businessman who provides health care to his employees but is concerned that the House bill will raise his taxes and compromise his ability to stay in business. It's a good lesson. The House has approved a bill that independent analysis says will raise costs and taxes. How will this legislation give this businessman the flexibility to adapt and grow his business? It doesn't. In Lincoln I heard from a woman who wants a government-run insurance plan-the so-called public option. While I respectfully disagree with her, I do understand her concern that something must be done about encouraging competition and lowering insurance premiums. However, a government takeover of one-sixth of our economy is not the way to achieve this. A better approach would be to allow insurance companies to compete across state lines, resulting in lower premiums and more choice for our citizens. The problems with the bill reinforce the point that setting a Christmas deadline risks rash decision-making and legislation that harms more than it helps. We need to be thoughtful and thorough in the details of any health care reform plan. Many of you shared concerns that the process has lacked transparency. You want the opportunity to read the bills and have reasonable time for feedback before Congress votes on reform. I agree. I heard from a hospital administrator in Kearney who flat out said his hospital could not stay open if it had to get by on Medicaid and Medicare payments. Yet the current House bill cuts tens of billions of dollars from Medicare and expands Medicaid. How will rural medical providers and health care facilities survive? Critical access hospitals in rural Nebraska provide essential services, but lack a large population to help absorb cuts to Medicare. These cuts are a reality, as reported in a recent analysis by the Obama Administration's Department of Health and Human Services' experts on Medicare and Medicaid. We must ensure legislation passed in Washington doesn't hurt the Nebraska health care delivery system. A young man in Grand Island expressed concern that Congress is passing legislation that will compromise future generations' ability to live the life that many of us have enjoyed. He spoke of the debt Washington is placing upon him and his children, and how that will burden his pursuit of the American dream. His point rings true. We can't afford to implement another huge government program that doesn't control costs, takes our taxes, and doesn't even do what it promised do. We need health care reform. We need it to be well thought out, carefully considered and done right. It must protect Medicare, bend the cost curve, protect rural access to medical services, protect present and future taxpayers as well as protect life. And the development of health care reform legislation must be clear and transparent.

Monday, November 16, 2009

A Nebraskan's View by Senator Ben Nelson

HUNDREDS OF NEBRASKANS MISSING HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS If there’s anything I hate to see, it is Nebraskans losing out on money, especially when it’s their money. I was very concerned when the Internal Revenue Service notified me that they sent tax refund checks to nearly 400 Nebraskans only to have them returned as undeliverable because of mailing address errors. My hope in writing this article is to alert Nebraskans who filed their tax returns earlier this year, if your refund hasn’t arrived yet there is a reason and you need to contact the IRS again. More Than $900 Due The average refund due the 397 Nebraskans whose checks were returned to the IRS amounts to $904. The 397 Nebraskans live in 50 different counties. The total due Nebraskans is $359,002. Nationally, nearly 108,000 refund checks amounting to more than $123 million were returned because of mailing address errors. Average undeliverable refunds rose by 16 percent this year. According to the IRS, that is in line with the 16 percent rise in average refunds for all tax returns in the latest filing season. They say that several changes in tax law likely played a role in boosting refunds, including the First-Time Homebuyer’s Credit and the Recovery Rebate Credit, among others. The IRS says the vast majority of checks mailed out each year reach their rightful owner. Only a very small percent are returned by the U.S. Postal Service as undeliverable. If a refund check is returned to the IRS as undeliverable, taxpayers can generally update their addresses with the “Where’s My Refund?” tool on The tool enables taxpayers to check the status of their refunds. A taxpayer must submit his or her social security number, filing status and amount of refund shown on their 2008 return. The tool will provide the status of their refund and in some cases provide instructions on how to resolve delivery problems. Taxpayers checking on a refund over the phone will be given instructions on how to update their addresses. Taxpayers can access a telephone version of “Where’s My Refund?” by calling 1-800-829-1954. When people over pay their taxes they certainly are due a refund. I hope this notice helps reunite a few Nebraskans with their hard earned dollars!

Governor's Column by Dave Heineman

November is Adoption Month Nov. 13, 2009 Dear Fellow Nebraskans: It is very important that our children are safe and in homes that provide support and love. It’s a privilege and an honor to recognize the caring families who are choosing to adopt children who are state wards. All children deserve to grow up in a loving and stable family, and National Adoption Month is a great opportunity to personally thank all of the wonderful foster and adoptive parents in our state who have made a difference in a child’s life. I especially want to thank the families who have opened their hearts and homes to children in foster care who are looking for forever families. Many of these foster parents have adopted the children in their care. They have made a life-long commitment that will absolutely transform the lives of children in our state. I’m pleased that Nebraska courts, advocates, caseworkers and others within the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services are working together to focus on finding permanent homes for the children who need them. Their efforts are evident in the more than 92 percent increase in adoptions of state wards during the past five years. Last year alone, there were 572 children adopted from foster care in our state. Those adoptions represent the most adoptions of state wards Nebraska has achieved in any year so far. To commemorate National Adoption Month, Juvenile judges across the country will open their court rooms on a Saturday in November for special adoption hearings for children who are state wards. This month, judges in Lincoln, Hastings and Omaha will finalize the adoption of nearly 100 of these children in Nebraska. Several other judges, churches and community groups in cities across state are planning celebrations to honor families touched by adoption this year. Additionally, courts in O’Neill, Grand Island, Kearney, and Scottsbluff/Gering are celebrating all of their adoptions for the year. I’ve attended these events in past years. It’s a heart-warming and exciting day. I have special admiration for the families that have welcomed new children into their lives. I appreciate the dedication of the juvenile judges who make sure that children in need have permanent loving families. If you’d like to make a difference in the life of a child who is a state ward, please call 1-800-7-PARENT for information about becoming an adoptive or foster parent. Adoptive families are needed for approximately 100 children in foster care who are available for adoption and looking for permanent families. Information about many of these children is available online at and

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Schroeder Tapped with ESPN Honor

Rosemont area native and Blue Hill High School Alumnus, Garrett Schroeder was named to the Academic All District 7 Football Second Team by ESPN The Magazine. Schroeder, who carries a 3.94 GPA in Psychology had 191 rushing yards on 58 carries, 60 receiving yards on 12 receptions, and 26 passing yards on 1 attempt in 11 games this past season. Schoeder is a medical redshirt Sophmore runningback for the Doane Tigers. Schroeder was the #2 back for the Tigers this season following a season ending knee injury at the beginning of last season.
Schroeder is the son of Robert & Barbara Schroeder and is Doane's first recipient of this honor. Schroeder was selected from all players at NCAA Division II & III, NAIA, and Junior College institutions in Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming and Alberta and Saskatchewan in Canada.

Straight from the Horse's Mouth

Duane A. Lienemann, UNL Extension Educator, Webster County November 14, 2009 Edition Have any of you ever participated in a “food fight”? As an old teacher, I certainly was cognizant of the possibility of that behavior, and actually witnessed some small food oriented battles. When you hear that phrase you think of high school students “spoon launching” peas to another table or perhaps a roll or other ammunition traveling at light speed across the cafeteria towards the back of an unsuspecting head. Now what does that have to do with this column or the things I usually write about? Well I just had some information come across my desk from the Beef Council that really caught my attention, and felt I needed to share it with the readers of this column. The National Beef Council is encouraging producers to join them in a “Food Fight”! This call to action was timely for me, and here is why. I have to tell you, I am ready! I have touched on several things that get my blood boiling when it comes to the actions of anti-agriculture groups, vegans and especially the likes of HSUS and PETA and other groups with the same agenda. There is always something coming up it seems. Just a couple of weeks ago PETA released “Downed”, its latest video designed to malign the animal industry by telling the story of "one anonymous cow" that was allegedly abused at Walton Stockyards in Kentucky. PETA packaged this video as a new case of animal abuse, but Walton Stockyards, where the supposed abuse occurred, has been closed since August 22, 1979. No surprise to me, I expect things like that from them. However, PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) really took the cake this past week when the Chicago Tribune printed an article written by Jennifer O'Connor who happens to be a writer for the “Animals in Entertainment Campaign” for PETA. The article – ready for this---is entitled “4-H: Cruel to Animals and Kids!” It has since been about everywhere on the web and it certainly caught my eye and my ire. I will write a rebuttal to this in the near future, but think we need to perhaps look at this food fight. I know that I am spoiling for one. With a virtually constant flow of misinformation in mainstream media of late, it’s easy to get frustrated when you’re working your land and your livestock in environmentally sound and caring ways. Of particular concern is the fact that so many of the attacks on our industry are based on emotional pleas rather than facts or science. As producers you certainly can’t personally pull together and disseminate the vast amount of research based and unbiased information to consumers nationwide and still run your day-to-day operations. For the most part, the folks delivering these messages have no idea what it’s like to be a farmer or rancher, and they are contributing to the confusion about how you raise their food. We must give consumers access to the facts about our industry so they can draw their own conclusions. It’s a fact of life that the connection between consumers (often living in cities or urban areas) and the farm grows ever more distant. There are those who are simply unaware and there are activist groups who are constantly working to cast doubt and suspicion on production practices, as well as the safety and nutritional profile of our products. The activist groups are intense, vocal and very well-funded. If you meet an anti-agriculture militant who insists for instance that beef production is the major source of global methane emissions or ag production practices that negatively affect the CO2 balance in the world, what would you say? If a neighbor or friend or a consumer you happened to talk to at the grocery store told you he or she doesn’t eat much beef because of its fat content, could you share a few basic beef nutrition facts that could persuade this person otherwise? What if a consumer says that the price of their food has increased dramatically because of ethanol made from corn? Do you have a 15 or 30 second “elevator speech” that you can use to advance the positive side of agriculture? The good news is – there are answers you can give these people if you are armed with the facts. You can get a wealth of info from the web at sites like:,, and Agricultural producers need to be as passionate, confident and vocal in telling their stories as the activists are. Part of doing this will be easy. For example, if you’re intensely proud of your operation, or it’s been in your family for generations, there’s sure to be passion in your voice when you talk about your business! Beef producers, through beef check-off monies and the Beef Council, are taking the lead beginning November 16, by starting a five-day “FOOD FIGHT”. The thrust will involve speaking up to help Americans realize what they have to be thankful for as they prepare for the Thanksgiving holiday. They join me in insisting that we as producers need to get our voice heard in the debate and put a face on our industry. It is a great start and I hope some of you participate. If nothing else download the ag business card template that you can use to hand out to people to give a message or start some dialogue. You can also get involved through sending a viral e-mail (ask your friends to pass it along and participate, too!) and letters to the editor, posting on Facebook and Twitter, ads placed in local newspapers or online, and ideas and messages you might want to deliver. Get involved or find more tools by contacting our state beef council at and click on the Food Fight link to get the material and timeline for this event. Here is your chance to make a difference. Join in the Food Fight! 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. Some information this week is taken from the Beef Council. 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:

School News from Mrs. Kranau~11/14‏

Dear Parents/Guardians~ **Thank you to the parents and community members that attended our Veteran's Day Program on Wednesday! **The 4th, 5th, and 6th grade math students will have 1-minute Timed Tests, as homework, that was given on Friday and is due Monday, November 16. Many students did it during study hall or free time on Friday. **The 4th and 6th grade math students had a Math Review (after Les. 30) given to them on Friday. It is not a grade but just a review for the upcoming Test scheduled for Monday, November 16. Please make sure students know vocab!!! Some students turned in the review Friday afternoon. **FLASHCARDS: Please make sure your child is doing the required set of flashcards! **Math Treats (extra credit) are due Tuesday, Nov. 24. **Scholastic Book Orders are due Nov. 30. 5th Grade Parents: PLEASE WRITE CHECKS TO: SCHOLASTIC!!! Book orders are on-line. **Please be watching for the PAW TRACKS newsletter that should go home every Tuesday. **Some students are not dressing appropriately for recess. If it is chilly in the morning, a jacket or sweater should be worn to school. Please be checking the office for clothing items. **Powerschool is available for you to see your child's grades and lunch accounts. **I believe some Character Council Students will be absent Friday due to a Leadership Workshop. Please make sure your child has made up the assignments before he/she leaves. **Make sure your child is correcting daily assignments. I hope you are seeing ALL graded papers from math class. Students need to check mailboxes daily! **Flashcard calendar is due EVERY Friday. 4th Graders need to have at least 7 sets of flashcards completed along with signatures. 5th and 6th graders need to have completed at least 2 sets of flashcards. A grade will be given to each child at the end of the 9 weeks for the amount of "Stars" they receive. A "Star" is given each Friday if he/she has completed the required amount of flashcards for the week. Students need to pick up calendars after I have starred them each Friday. **Students should have all math vocabulary words, that were in bold from Les. 1-30, highlighted in his/her glossaries that I distributed at the beginning of the year. If words were not able to be found in the glossaries, students are to use two reference books found in my room: Math on Call and/or Algebra to Go. Students may also use the glossary at the back of the book, but do not highlight those words. (Students are well aware of these directions and criteria for "highlighting vocabulary words". Students need to continue to highlight vocabulary words from each lesson! **Please be saving Thramer's and Allen's receipts. You may drop your receipt in the box designated Blue Hill at Thramer’s or drop off the receipts at school. Continue to save Box Tops 4 Education, Campbell Soup Labels, old cell phones, and empty ink cartridges and other fundraisers. Thank you for all the fundraisers! We do not seem to have as many fundraiser items brought to school like we did last year. Double value cash register receipts are from November 16-21! Please make sure you shop Thramers, especially during that week, and save your receipts for Blue Hill Schools. **Students that have had three or more strikes are in the "Reach for the Stars" program. He/she needs to be checking in with Mrs. Miller, Mr. Uridil or Mrs. Keogh each morning before school starts and before he/she goes home. We have 1 4th grader, 2 5th graders, and 2 6th graders that are in the "Reach for the Stars" program at this time. --Our school website is ~~~American Education Week is this week-- November 15-21! We appreciate the parents that volunteered to bring food to school. We also thank parents as we couldn't do our job without the support given to us!!! 4th Grade: --Drawing Pictures of Fractions, Multiplication as Repeated Addition, Elapsed Time, and Multiplication Table will be covered this week. --Test after Les. 30 is scheduled for Monday. I will review with the students for a few minutes and then the test will be distributed. --Students had to write the basic facts that were difficult for him/her on index cards. These index cards should be reviewed every day. --Students NEED to know the 4 Steps of Problem-Solving, 5 Problem-Solving Strategies, and Vocabulary Words from the lessons. The 4 Steps of P.S. and the P.S. Strategies will be on every math quiz and test! Thank you to those students who have studied these Problem-Solving Steps and Strategies!!! These have been handed out. When your child has an upcoming test, he/she will have done a review/study guide sheet that will help on the test. --Work on Flashcards! Four 4th graders did not do 7 sets of Flashcards last week. --Students need to be correcting every daily math assignment!!! Some students are still making careless mistakes on math papers. See if your child is subtracting correctly. I write notes all the time on daily assignments and ask students to "See Me" during study hall. --Students need to be bringing necessary materials to class!! 6th Grade: --Area of a Rectangle, Comparing Differences, Expanded Notation, and Elapsed Time are concepts that will be covered this week. --Test after Les. 30 is scheduled for Monday. I will review with the students for a few minutes and then the test will be distributed. --Students have Friday to work on Dynamath with partner. --Students should continue to highlight math terms in glossaries to Les. 30. --Continue to work on flashcards! Three 6th graders did not get a star last week, because he/she did not have 2 sets of flashcards done. --Basic Facts that are difficult for your child were to be written on index cards. These index cards should be reviewed daily. 5th Grade~~Homeroom Class: --We will cover Reading and Drawing Number Lines, Reading and Writing Time From a Clock, and Muliplying by Multiples of 10 and 100 this week. --Students need to know the 4 Problem-Solving Steps (Read, Plan, Solve, Look Back and Check) and 5 of the many Problem-Solving Strategies. --Guidance Class with Mrs. Jeffery is scheduled for Tuesday from 8:10-8:45. **Parents: The office gives me lunch money reminders for designated students, depending on how much money you have left in your account. I give these to the students in an envelope. I am hoping you are seeing your lunch money total. If you are not sure about your lunch money account, please call the office at 756.2085 or look on PowerSchool. --Work on Flashcards! --Students should also have Handwriting lessons each week. Happy American Education Week, ~Mrs. Kranau~

Friday, November 13, 2009

Soup and Pie Supper

Calvary Lutheran Laymen's League of Rosemont will hold their annual soup and pie supper on Monday November 23rd from 5 - 8 p.m. at Calvary Church in Rosemont. Free will offering will be taken. Everyone is welcome! For more information call 402 756 3838. Donation will be going toward District Mission Project. Mark your calendar.