Saturday, April 30, 2011


Duane A. Lienemann,
UNL Extension Educator,
 Webster County
April 29, 2011 Edition
One of the very first memorizations I did as a young student was a poem by Joyce Kilmer, named appropriately – “Trees.” I probably didn’t understand at the time why I had to do that, and how valuable learning how to memorize was to me for further education, so trees have special meaning to me. Let’s see if I can still bring the poem up from the recesses of my mind. “I think that I shall never see a poem lovely as a tree. A tree whose hungry mouth is pressed against the sweet earth's flowing breast; A tree that looks at God all day and lifts her leafy arms to pray; A tree that may in summer wear, a nest of robins in her hair; Upon whose bosom snow has lain, who intimately lives with rain. Poems are made by fools like me, but only God can make a tree.” You probably are thinking about now that the old guy has finally lost it. But as I sit down to write this column, it is officially Arbor Day, so take that for what it is worth. I don’t really have any places left to plant a tree, and perhaps don’t have the energy, so I will instead just dedicate today’s offering to trees.
First I might refer you to a very good article that appears in the Nebraska Farmer entitled “What's Wrong with Trees Around the Farm?” It really helps describe what we are finding in many places. Just go to I think it gives not only a rundown on condition of some of our trees, but makes you think what would happen if we didn’t have trees. I hope to convey during this session just a sampling of what trees provide for us beyond the obvious.
What comprises the benefits of trees? Just think about it for a minute. The very air we breathe is improved by the presence of trees. In order to feed themselves, trees absorb harmful chemicals such as carbon monoxide and in turn give off oxygen. As well, they filter and trap pollutants such as smoke, dust, and ash making our air cleaner. Where water is concerned, trees not only absorb water - preventing flooding, but also help disperse rainfall over a more even area. As well, by retaining water, trees help reduce the amount of topsoil the runs off into our streams. Leaves on the ground helps keep moisture close to the ground, aids growth, and traps chemicals, thus keeping them out of lakes and rivers.
On a larger scale, trees maintain our global environment in ways that we are just beginning to understand. By acting as enormous carbon sinks, trees absorb massive amounts of carbon dioxide from our atmosphere. Of course trees benefit us not only our physical environment, but also attract birds and other wildlife, making our urban centers a more pleasant place to live. Picture the eerie silence that would befall us were the song of birds entirely absent.
From an economic contribution standpoint, research shows that landscaping, especially with trees, can significantly increase property values. Trees reduce runoff and erosion from storms by about 7% and reduce the need for erosion control structures. The net cooling effect of a young, healthy tree is equivalent to 10 room-size air conditioners operating 20 hours a day. The shade from two large trees on the west side of a house, and one on the east side can save 30%, or between $100 and $250 annually, of a typical home’s annual air conditioning costs.

We, in Nebraska, know about the value of windbreaks. Trees properly placed around buildings as windbreaks can save up to 25% on winter heating costs. Compared with an open area, a good windbreak that does not shade the house will save about 15% of the heat energy used in a typical home. Rows of trees reduce wind speed by up to about 85%, with maximum reductions increasing in proportion to visual density. Because even a single row of dense conifers can cause large reductions in wind speed, effective windbreaks can be planted on relatively small areas and the owner can reap many benefits. Those individuals with livestock certainly know the value of windbreaks, especially in the winter.
If we look at environmental benefits, you would have to consider that leafy tree canopies catch precipitation before it reaches the ground, allowing some of it to gently drip and the rest to evaporate. This lessens the force of storms and reduces runoff and erosion. Research indicates that 100 mature tree crowns intercept about 100,000 gallons of rainfall per year, reducing runoff and providing cleaner water. A typical town with 10,000 trees will retain approximately 10 million gallons of rainwater per year from running off. One thing we don’t usually think of is that trees reduce noise pollution by absorbing sounds. A belt of trees 98 feet wide and 49 feet tall can reduce highway noise by 6 to 10 decibels.
Perhaps even more importantly individual trees, groves and even forests convey serenity and beauty along a number of sensory dimensions, often surrounding the individual with nature in an environment where natural things are at a premium. We have the tendency as humans to take many things for granted, and especially those things that come from nature. Perhaps because of their constant presence, most of us rarely lend much thought to the importance of trees in our lives, communities, and histories. We may take them for granted, or see them as mere decorations. Trees, however, are a vital and nurturing force. They benefit our environment, provide us food, medicines and building materials, and even inspire myths and stories. One of the best ways to realize the importance of trees is to imagine our world without them. I will end like the beginning – poetically: Ralph Waldo Emerson said it best: "The wonder is that we can see these trees and not wonder more." Here’s hoping that as you plant a tree on this special Nebraska borne holiday, that you stop and ponder the wonder of that tree!

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:


City officials have declared 'CLEAN-UP" will be held from May 14th through May 21st.  A large dumpster will be located at the brush dump for the disposal of items.  Tires can be disposed of for a fee ranging from $2 for a car tire to $30 for a large tractor tire.
These fees are due at the time of disposal to Rod Buss, Dump Supervisor.  Checks should be payable to the "City of Blue Hill.".  Access to the dumpster and designated tire location will be during the regular scheduled hours for the city dump to be open.
Meyer Salvage will be accepting appliances and metal items at a designated area on Greeley Street in Blue Hill.
Also as part of "clean-up" , the City of Blue Hill will be issuing notices to residents with unlicensed vehicles parked on streets and alleys.


The city of Blue Hill has sent out a notice to remind all residents of ordinance #619.  AN ORDINANCE TO PERMIT THE OPERATION OF ALL TERRAIN VEHICLES (ATV) AND UTILITY TRANSPORT VEHICLES (UTV) WITHIN THE CITY LIMITS OF BLUE HILL.  The following are the safety requirements for the above ordinance and apply to any person operating an ATV/UTV within Blue Hill City Limits.

Operator MUST have and possess during time of  operation a valid drivers license or farm permit.
Operator shall have liability insurance coverage for the vehicle being operated.
No person shall operate an ATV/UTV at any time other than between the hours of sunrise and sunset.
Operator shall obey posted speed limit signs and never exceed fifteen miles per hour on side walks.
Operator is subject to all motor vehicle rules of the road and traffic laws and is subject to trqaffic infraction penalties.
During operation of an UTV (golf cart, John Deer Gator, etc.) the operator must be  in the seated position, and if on an ATV (4 wheeler, etc.) the operator must be straddling the vehicle with one leg on each side.
The vehicle MUST be equipped with the following:
    A brake system and muffler system both maintained in good operating condition.
    Headlight(s) and taillight(s) wich shall be on at all times when in operation.
    A triangular safety flag, with an area of not less than thrity square inches and day glow in color, which extends not less than five feet above the ground and attatched to the rear of such vehicle.


"We have no energy policy, and none on the horizon. Candidates serious about the issue of high energy prices should be discussing increased CAFE standards, capital gains tax waivers for alternative energy investments, greater offshore drilling, Pigou taxes, rapid nuclear plant approvals, a huge increase in the basic R&D the government does on energy -- a Manhattan project for energy and transportation science. Instead, we hear proposals about waiving an 18-cent tax."

-- Barry Ritholtz, The Big Picture  (2008)


April 28, 2011 – Nebraska’s Senator Ben Nelson has called on the U.S. Department of Education to abandon enforcement of a burdensome regulation on colleges and universities across Nebraska that would jeopardize distance learning programs for students.
In a letter this week to Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Sen. Nelson said he is disappointed in the regulation that would expand federal requirements for colleges and universities across the country to receive state certification of distance learning programs.
“It is unfortunate and disappointing that officials at the Department of Education failed to adequately consider the impact of this regulation before creating uncertainty amongst higher education leaders in all 50 states, an error in judgment which ultimately led to the Department having to delay enforcement of this provision,” Nelson wrote to Duncan. “…I do hope your agency will abandon further efforts at enforcing this misguided rule and instead pursue more cost-effective means to assist our nation’s colleges and universities, rather than deterring them from providing post-secondary educational opportunities.”

Nelson said he hoped this concern and others raised by Nebraska educators and constituents about the Department of Education will be addressed by Duncan in his visit to Nebraska this week.
“The flawed distance learning regulation is just one example of the disconnect that seems to exist between the U.S. Department of Education and Nebraskans,” Nelson said in a statement. “Nebraska education leaders and constituents have also raised concerns about several other federal proposals they say are not in the best interests of students.”
For example, at the elementary and secondary education level, the Department of Education’s proposal for the reauthorization of No Child Left Behind—which Nelson voted against—includes proposals that are built for urban cities, not rural states such as Nebraska. The Department would link federal funding for struggling schools to reform proposals that would require the school district to fire the school’s principal, fire half of the school’s teachers, create a charter school or shut down the school entirely. These so-called “turnaround” models are not reasonable options for success in rural Nebraska, where charter schools don’t make sense, personnel numbers are limited and high schools represent the community hub for entire counties, Nelson has heard from Nebraska educators.
Furthermore, the Department also pushes for a greater reliance on competitive funding. Rather than spending hours filling out grant applications to compete against more well-funded school districts, Nebraska educators would rather spend their time teaching students and running their schools, Nebraska constituents have told Nelson.
Concerning the distance learning regulation, it affects many colleges and universities that offer distance learning programs where students can earn a degree online, including the University of Nebraska.
In many states, distance education allows nontraditional students and students in rural communities to complete degrees with more flexibility and at a lower cost. The University of Nebraska, for example, has one of the longest running distance education programs in the country. It has operated continuously since 1909.
Today, the University offers approximately 80 bachelor’s, master’s, doctorate and specialist degree programs to more than 20,000 students in the United States and around the world.
“Requiring the University to seek approval in every state where they have a student enrolled imposes an unnecessarily cumbersome and costly process on an institution whose distance learning program has thrived for more than 100 years,” said Nelson.
In an April 19, 2011, letter to Nelson, J.B. Milliken, President of the University of Nebraska, said the new regulation is causing “great uncertainty” for states, colleges and universities. The ability of reputable and established institutions to continue distance learning programs “is now in doubt,” he wrote.
“Prospective students face confusion and uncertainty about on-line degree programs authorized in their state and the implications for their educational and career goals,” Milliken wrote. “The impact and timing—when on-line education has become such an important means of student access and the President wants America to lead the world again in educational attainment—could not be worse.”

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Blue Hill Man Wins $35,000 Playing Bonus Crossword

April 26, 2011– Henry Seeman of Blue Hill won $35,000 playing the $3 Scratch game Bonus Crossword from the Nebraska Lottery.
Seeman purchased his winning Bonus Crossword ticket at Ampride, 310 North Wilson in Blue Hill. Scratching the ticket, he revealed 10 complete words for the $35,000 top prize.
There are six $35,000 top prizes available in Bonus Crossword. Seeman is the fourth person to claim a Bonus Crossword top prize in this edition of the game. He plans to pay bills using his winnings.
Bonus Crossword is a $3 Scratch game that offers players the chance to win $5,617,600 in cash prizes from $3 to $35,000. The odds of winning the $35,000 top prize in Bonus Crossword are 1 in 480,000, while the overall odds are 1 in 3.40.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Sunday, April 24, 2011


Duane A. Lienemann,
UNL Extension Educator, Webster County
April 23, 2011 Edition

Before I even start thinking about this week’s discussion, I have to comment on the “God Send” we got this past week. Most of our area got a very much needed reprieve from above. It is amazing what 2-4 inches of rain can do to quench the thirst of our land and the organisms that depend upon it. I think most everyone that lives in south central Nebraska and northern Kansas knows that we have been very dry. I was starting to think that we were on the verge of losing our wheat crop, not to disease or winter kill, but to lack of moisture. It also looked like grazing season was going to get a late start and we would be short on grass. It is amazing what a good drenching rain and a week will do. The wheat has “exploded”. Those pitiful looking wheat fields are coming back like gangbusters, as are the pastures.

I am not so naïve to not recognize that this could shut off again. But it sure feels good right now, but this rain and cool weather since, is starting to make some of our corn farmers a little nervous. Some had corn planted before this moisture event, and I kid those guys that maybe they need to run the planter back over the planted fields and deliver little “kernel coats” to keep the seed warm and viable. I am sure the soil temp is back into the “too cool” category. That being said I am always reminded that even when the early planted corn hits this kind of weather, and takes forever to emerge, it still seems to yield better than later planted corn. Either way you certainly see tractors and planters at the ready and farmers nervously keeping one eye on the calendar and the other on the sky or perhaps the thermometer.

This time of year not only brings planting season, but the time to work the cows and calves, going around pasture fences, and pretty much seeing to the business of the cow/calf operation. I remember from a very young age fencing chores, and quite honestly, I volunteered for that duty many times, because I really didn’t enjoy sitting on a tractor all that much. I spent a lot of time with fencing pliers, barbed wire, posthole diggers and lots of recycled – rusty and bent - fencing staples or “steeples” as my grandfather called them. Everyone in those days knew they had to keep up their fences. Times have changed and so has the principles of fencing and even the Nebraska Fence Laws. The old law had not changed much for decades but has evolved over the years and just one year ago Governor Dave Heineman signed LB 667 which clarified the pre-existing “new” 2007 fence law. I actually have had two queries this past couple of months on fences and the rules that apply, and with the “fencing” season upon us I think it good to take a look at these clarifications.
There are two basic types of fence laws in the U.S.: “fence-in” and “fence-out.” The difference between them lies in who ostensibly benefits from a fence. Nebraska is a “fence-in” state and law requires livestock producers to confine their livestock. Historically, neighbors have maintained division fences regardless if each are confining livestock or not. For more than a century, disputes over fencing were solved by a group of three people (county fence viewer committee) who would determine how specific adjoining landowners would share costs for maintaining a fence. In 2007, that process was replaced; landowners were to resolve disputes through lawsuits filed in county court or by mediation.
With the erosion of number of cattle in many areas of the state and of course the resulting loss of pastures, fences have been relegated to the category of a “pain in the southern region of the body”. I think this evolution was having an unfortunate affect on livestock producers and their neighbors. The value of LB 667 and the clarification is that it is designed to “relieve an undue burden on livestock producers when it comes to division fences”.

In practice, neighboring landowners who both owned livestock usually split maintenance costs evenly. The easiest and most common method was the “right-hand rule,” under which each landowner would maintain the fence “to the right” of a specified center point (landowner’s right as he faced the other). Challenges have arisen when one property owner does not have livestock and felt they were not required to contribute to the maintenance of a division fence, thus LB 667.
LB 677 establishes clear legislative intent in the changes in resolving fencing disputes at any level. It generally requires the person benefiting from a fence to bear the burden of building and maintaining, but clarifies that the responsibility will be borne in “just proportion” to the benefit received by the fence. For example, a division fence between cattle grazing property and a crop field is the responsibility of the livestock owner since he is required by law to confine his livestock. However, there is some benefit to the crop property owner helping to maintain the fence that protects his crop. In a dispute, the new legislation would allow the mediator to apply a just proportion to the maintenance of the division fence rather than it simply being construed that the livestock owner bears the entire burden.

In essence, the bill amended the 1943 and 2007 Nebraska’s fence law to require neighboring landowners to share equally the cost of building and maintaining a four-wire barbed wire fence between their properties. Landowners can opt-out entirely and have no fence at all, or can choose a different division of costs or a different type of fence. But if they cannot agree, informally or through mediation, then a court will order them to split the cost of a barbed wire fence 50-50.

I believe it was Robert Frost who wrote, “Good fences make good neighbors.” This clarification of the Nebraska Fence Law may help in making that a reality. I keep thinking….would I still volunteer to go fix the fence. Don’t even ask!

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:

Saturday, April 23, 2011


Our Lord has written the promise of resurrection, not in books alone, but in every leaf in springtime.” -Martin Luther

Monday, April 18, 2011


Today, it takes more brains and effort to make out the income-tax form than it does to make the income. ~Alfred E. Neuman

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Rep Valley Trap

Back row: Amanda Petska, Lanea Kohmetscher, Emilee McCleary, Chyanna Sharp,  Jacob VanBoening,    Skyler Brumbaugh,
Front row: Miles Doyle (coach) Eli VanBoening, Trent Jordening, Blake Brumbaugh,, Dave Kohmetscher (Coach)  Also on the team but not pictured Kelly Faimon, Trent Kohmetscher who left before the pictre to go to prom..
The Team was the Champion in the conference in the Senior High divisions.  Top scorer overall was Trent Jordening, Blake Brumbaugh was second.  In the Jr. High Female division Lanea Kohmetscher was first, Emilee Mccleary was second and Chyanna Sharp was third. 

Saturday, April 16, 2011


Duane A. Lienemann,
 UNL Extension Educator
 Webster County
April 16, 2011 Edition

I often start this column out with – “Gosh, what a difference a week can make!” Well it applies again this week. I got a good sunburn last Saturday and I was actually thinking it was much too hot for this time of the year. Now, as I write this, I am currently sitting in Lincoln with family looking forward to the Annual Huskers Spring Game, but feeling like it is still winter. We drove up in wind whipped snow with the car’s thermometer saying 33 degrees. The son-in-law put on a couple of logs in the fireplace and it actually seemed appropriate for what was going on outside. Even though I am looking forward to a sneak preview of the 2011 Husker football team, I don’t know if I have a heavy enough jacket for the game.
Nebraska’s fickle weather isn’t the only thing that chilled me this morning. I read an article in the Lincoln Journal Star this morning that really gave me the shivers. The piece entitled “Neal Barnard: Agricultural subsidies tax our health” got my attention. The title intrigued me, but then I realized that this Neal Barnard is the same guy who is President of a radical Vegan group called the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM). I have been noticing that this group has been picking up steam in its anti-agriculture movement and this article neatly packaged under the guise of a “responsible doctor” verifies that fear. In my opinion Barnard distorts information and spouts figures that I cannot find any basis for. I will discuss that a little later. Let’s first look at this so-called committee of physicians for responsible medicine.
According to, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. PCRM is a fanatical animal rights group that seeks to remove eggs, milk, meat, and seafood from the American diet, and to eliminate the use of animals in scientific research. Despite its operational and financial ties to other animal activist groups and its close relationship with violent zealots, PCRM has successfully duped the media and much of the general public into believing that its pronouncements about the superiority of vegetarian-only diets represent the opinion of the medical community.
Furthermore, according to Newsweek magazine “Less than 5 percent of PCRM’s members are physicians.” While PCRM presents itself as a doctor-supported, unbiased source of health guidance, the group’s own literature echoes Newsweek’s observation that 95 percent of its members have no medical degrees. And even the five-percent doctor membership that PCRM claims is open to question. Anyone claiming to be a physician or a medical student can join without paying a dime -- even if their only motivation is to collect free waiting-room reading material.
PCRM’s anti-meat and anti-dairy tactics include newspaper op-eds like this one, as well as letters, campaigns against airports and school boards, and television commercials. One PCRM TV spot claims “The most dangerous thing our kids have to deal with today isn’t violence. It isn’t drugs. It’s unhealthy food.” PCRM’s prescription? “Vegetarian foods.” The American Medical Association (AMA), which actually represents the medical profession, has called PCRM a “fringe organization” that uses “unethical tactics” and is “interested in perverting medical science.”
PCRM is a font of medical disinformation. Often appearing in a lab coat, PCRM president Neal Barnard looks the part of a mainstream health expert. He also churns out a steady stream of reliably anti-meat and anti-dairy nutrition research. Although his “results” generally conclude that a vegan diet (practiced by a tiny fraction of Americans) will solve any of dozens of health problems, the mass media eats them up. And PCRM is media-savvy enough to take advantage.
Here is the part that really got me. Barnard was trained as a psychiatrist, not a nutritionist. His nutritional advice boils down to one basic message: don’t eat meat, or anything that comes from animals. PCRM has complained to the Federal Trade Commission about advertisements that depict milk as part of a healthy diet. It petitioned the government to slap meat and poultry with a “biohazard label,” adding in its newsletter that eggs should carry these dire warnings as well.
The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine has participated in scare campaigns about pollution from livestock farming, meat irradiation, mad cow disease, and the alleged overuse of antibiotics in farm animals. Those disparate causes have one common element: they all serve to frighten consumers away from eating meat. This is exactly what the animal liberationists at PCRM want. The evidence that PCRM is an animal rights group is overwhelming. In 2003, Neal Barnard was nominated for induction into the “Animal Rights Hall of Fame.” He has also served many years as a contributing editor to The Animals' Agenda magazine, writing frequent columns on animal-rights topics.
This group is also heavily associated with the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, receiving serious financial support from the organization under a tax exempt status. Neal Barnard and PETA co-founder Ingrid Newkirk are linked to several off -shoot associations. Oh, and incidentally, Barnard is PETA’s “medical advisor” and regularly writes for PETA’s publications. As far as the claims on dollars put towards subsidies I could spend several hours and several pages. I suggest you go to and then remember that this group distorts medical facts. Why would they stop short in distorting facts about agriculture and agriculture statistics. OK, I feel warmer now! It is amazing how when you get your blood boiling how it can fend off a Nebraska spring weather surprise. Go Big Red!

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:

Gov. Heineman & Ag Leaders Urge President Obama to Prioritize Free Trade Agreements

(Lincoln, Neb.)  - Today, Gov. Dave Heineman and Nebraska Agriculture Director Greg Ibach sent a letter to President Barack Obama urging him to work with the U.S. Congress to pass the South Korea, Colombia and Panama Free Trade Agreements. Leaders from 14 Nebraska agriculture organizations also signed the letter.
“Agriculture is our number one industry, and Nebraska is routinely among the top five states in the nation for agricultural exports,” Gov. Heineman said. “The completion of these trade agreements will provide the opportunity for economic growth in our state through tariff reductions that will improve our global competitiveness.”
Agriculture Director Greg Ibach said the agreements will improve markets for a number of Nebraska commodities and products, including corn, soybeans, wheat, beef and pork.
“Increases in agricultural exports mean positive impacts to other segments of our economy, including warehousing, transportation and financing,” Ibach said. “These agreements will be positive for our farmers and ranchers, but also the state as a whole.”
Organizations that joined the Governor in signing the letter to the President include: Nebraska Soybean Association, Nebraska Pork Producers Association, Nebraska Wheat Board, Nebraska Cattlemen, Nebraska Poultry Industries, Nebraska Corn Board, Nebraska Ethanol Board, Nebraska Farm Bureau, Nebraska Grain Sorghum Board, Nebraska Grain Sorghum Producers Association, Nebraska Sugarbeet Growers Association, Nebraska Corn Growers Association, Nebraska Wheat Growers Association and Nebraska Dry Bean Commission.
It is estimated at the national level, the three agreements will provide opportunities for additional exports of $11 billion to South Korea, $3 billion to Colombia and $1 billion to Panama. The three agreements are in various stages of movement, including recent hearings by the House Committee on Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee and an announcement by President Obama last week regarding action on the Colombia agreement.

Friday, April 15, 2011


April 23, 2011 the Corn Husker Classis Goat and Lamb Futurity will be held at the Webster County Fair Gronds in Bladen Nebraska.
With the 2011 show season just around the corner, now is the time to start looking to purchase your top quality sheep and goats!
 Here's your chance to buy top notch goats and lambs in one spot in one day!
The Cornhusker Classic Goat and Lamb Futurity Auction will start at 1:00 pm with preview all morning until auction time!
Then bring  animals bought at the sale back JUNE 25th for the Futurity, where you can compete for a payout of over $3000 in CASH prizes!

 Both auction and futurity will take place at the Webster County Fairgrounds in Bladen, Nebraska.

Be sure to check us out on Facebook (Cornhusker Classic - Goat and Lamb Sale)!
There's alot of big name genetics in this sale, so don't miss out!
Goats - Lee Dana at 402.984.0132 or 402.463-9715!
Lambs - Liz Kierl at 402.984.0581 or 402.257.2097!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Smell of Kansas Burning Annoys Nebraskans

Every spring plumes of smoke rise from the prairie and we know that the spring burn season has begun. Burning maintains native grass prairie by eliminating last year’s growth, controlling the invasion of trees and shrubs that would quickly turn the prairie into a woodland, and providing nutrients from the old grass to the new growth. Burning was a regular practice of the native Americans who also used burning as a means of attracting the bison to the new green growth of spring. Later, ranchers used burning to clear pastures and improve grazing. 
In recent weeks there have been a number of controlled burns in the Blue Hill area in both Adams and Webster county but it seems those were nothing compared to what is going on in Kansas today.  It smells as if every controlled burn in Kansas was set for today.  Stepping outside today one will immediately notice the stench of burning grass, and with the wind coming up from the south we soon realize this smell is coming from our southern neighbors in Kansas.  The Nebraska Department of Health has issued a air polution advisory. People with any kind of breathing problems should stay inside and away from the pollution.
It is hard to imagine how much burning must be going on down there to have this smell so strong all across Nebraska.  But it is reported that they are burning the Flint Hills in Kansas as well as other controlled burns in that state.  The odor/air pollution has been reported in Hastings and Grand Island as well as in Lancaster county.  I guess we should just mark it down as another of the joys of Spring!

Sheriff's Department Responds to Disturbing the Peace call.

Early Wednesday morning the peace and quiet of the neighborhood near the Blue Hill ball park was disturbed by loud noises, yelling, dogs barking, banging.  Officers from the Webster County Sherrifs department arrived,  responding to a  call from Terry Drury about a naked man at the  front door of his house pounding and yelling and demanding to be let in.  The naked man's  efforts to enter the Drury home  resulted in damage to the front door. 
Neighbors more than a block away heard the disburbance.
The officers from the Sherrif's department returned the disturbing individual to his residence at the Life Quest at Bella Amis facility on the main street of Blue Hill. 

A little more than a year ago the Drury family's peace and quiet was disturbed when a dead body was found on their property, later identified to be Sidney Troxel, a U.S. navy veteran and resident of Life Quest who had been missing for over nine months. 
 When the body was found forsensic units from the Nebraska State Patrol were called in and set up flood lights as they searched the area looking for evidence.  It was determined that Sidney Troxel died of "natural causes" after having wandered away from the facility where he had been living.  An initial search for him was futile and his remains were not found until some youngsters in the area found them near a fence line while playing.
The Drury home is about five blocks directly north of Life Quest at Bella Amis. 

Benefit to be held for Jann Meyer

A Benefit to help with medical and living expensesof Jann Meyer will be held Sunday June 5th from 11 a.m until 2 p.m. .  Encluded will be Sloppy Joe meal (free will donation), Raffle,and  Silent Auction. Matching funds will be provided by the Little Blue River Chapter of Thrivent Financial for Lutherans.

Jann's fight against breast cancer started in 2008. A lumpectomy was performed to remove the cancer. Then, in May of 2010, she was diagnosed with bilateral breast cancer. Her treatment included bilateral mastectomy and chemotherapy. In February of 2011, more devasting news was delivered. Jann had developed Acute Myelogenous Leukemia as a result of the chemotherapy treatment in 2010. She is currently undergoing chemotherapy treatment. Once the chemotherapy rids her blood of cancer cells, she will continue on her fighting journey with a bone marrow transplant.

Johanns Applauds EPS Decision to Exempt Milk for Oil Spill Regulations

April 12, 2011
WASHINGTON – Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) today applauded the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) announcement that it has formally exempted milk spills from regulations intended to address oil spills. Johanns has led an effort in Congress to ensure dairy producers are permanently exempted from this regulation, after the proposed exemption languished for more than two years.
“I'm pleased to hear our dairy producers can finally rest easy knowing they’ll be spared from this unnecessary and duplicative rule. EPA already has a thick book of regulations, and this attempt to apply the same rules to milk spills as it does to oil and gasoline leaks never made sense. I hope this announcement signals EPA’s willingness to begin applying common sense to regulatory decisions.”
•The EPA currently enforces Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) regulations to prevent oil from discharging into U.S. waterways.
•Until today’s announcement, milk storage containers were not permanently exempt from these SPCC regulations.
•The Food and Drug Administration already regulates milk storage, under the Pasteurized Milk Ordinance

AG Bruning LB 100 Elimintes Voluntary Intoxication Defense

LINCOLN – Attorney General Jon Bruning applauded today’s passage of LB 100, which eliminates the “not responsible by reason of insanity” defense in situations where the defendant was voluntarily intoxicated or high when he or she committed the crime.

Carried by State Sen. Colby Coash of Lincoln, LB 100 was part of the Attorney General’s legislative package.

“Criminals who choose to get intoxicated before committing crimes should not be able to use that as an excuse to avoid being punished,” said Sen. Coash. “This legislation eliminates that possibility.”

The law also removes the option of using voluntary intoxication as a defense to negate the intent element of a criminal charge.

“If you make a conscious choice to get drunk or high, you are still responsible for your actions,” said Bruning. “This legislation helps to ensure criminals will be held accountable for their crimes.”

At least 34 states have enacted similar legislation including Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Wyoming and South Dakota.

Sunday, April 10, 2011


 Duane A. Lienemann,
 UNL Extension Educator,
 Webster County
April 9, 2011 Edition

I will have to admit as I sit down to write this column that I am having trouble keeping my eyes open. I guess that is typical for one of my age and especially considering that it is a weekend. However, I actually have a pretty good excuse this time. Most everyone that knows me is familiar with the fact that I taught agricultural education for many years before becoming an extension educator. That first career choice also meant that I was the FFA advisor. Now that seems to be a rather weird segue into this week’s topic – and the reason I am so tired. But it is primarily the reason for my current physical state. I attended the 83rd Nebraska State FFA Convention these past few days as a convention assistant.
While that is not all that remarkable, in that many people volunteer their time and efforts in helping to run the convention and the accompanying agricultural education contests (CDE), it was especially poignant for me to be on the other end of the convention. I got to work behind the scenes, instead of coaching, monitoring and hauling kids to where they needed to be. I had the opportunity to work with the cream of the crop helping with the Legislative breakfast, the State Proficiency finalist interviews and the Star State Degree finalist competition. While being a long couple of days with a lot of pressure, all I can say is WOW! I come away every year so highly impressed with the young men and women across our state whom I get to know a little better through these processes. I knew the caliber of these young people as a teacher, since I had some of the best in the land in my classes, but this always comes back to remind me and to reaffirm my faith in the future with the talents and skills exhibited by these outstanding young men and women.
Most people remember the early years when FFA stood for “Future Farmers of America”. It was that familiar moniker when I was a young member in the organization in the 60’s and it was that when my father was in FFA during the 30’s. Some parents will contend that because of the many activities within the organization is that it actually stood for “Father Farms Alone.” I heard that many times when I was an ag teacher/FFA advisor. It was always in good humor though because most every parent that said that, also said they would have it no other way - because of the value that their child received as a member of this organization. Of course the official name has since changed because of the influx of non-farm students into the ag ed programs across the nation to just be “FFA”. But, no matter how you paint it, I believe that the FFA Mission still stays the same – “FFA makes a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education.”
Not only has the name changed, so has the program and the demographics. There were no girls as members when I was in. That certainly has changed. You could see that walking through the halls during the FFA State Convention and it would not surprise me if they now outnumber boys. Many will say that we used to be pretty heavy in “Plows and Cows”. That too has changed with the influx of other sciences, horticulture and agribusiness. One thing that hasn’t changed is the emphasis on leadership and leadership development. I think most people know that FFA excels in this venue. What many people don’t know is that FFA is a co-curricular organization. The U.S. Congress passed Public Law 81-740 during the year after I was born – yes that long ago. This Congressional Act gave the FFA a Federal Charter and stipulated that it be recognized by Congress as an intra-curricular part of the educational program. Did you notice that? Intra-curricular, that means it is not extra-curricular. That is important to note and a big reason why I think that agriculture education/FFA should be in every school in this state. I don’t think there is another program that gives you so much “bang for the buck!”

Agriculture is the engine that runs this state. UNL research has determined that one out of three jobs in this state is directly involved in agriculture. That is significant. I made note that 5 new FFA Chapters were chartered this year and recognized at the convention, and even more amazing is that several other schools are looking at the same possibility, including one in my close vicinity. That satisfies and impresses me, that even in tough budget times, our constituents see the value of agriculture and the accompanying intra-curricular organization called FFA. If all of my fellow taxpayers were to take in the State FFA Convention, or at the very least attend one of the evening sessions at Pershing Auditorium with more than 3500 young men and women all dressed in the Blue & Gold; witness their skills and talents; and see the enthusiasm that permeates the halls and meeting rooms, they would see what I see and would see to it that we keep this program alive, well and available to our young people who strive for a viable agriculture and leadership oriented background. One only has to look at our national economy picture to know how valuable agriculture is to our very being.
I can tell you that our area young people represented us all very well and that they make us proud. I do want to salute all the young FFA’ers for their hard work, determination and recognition that they brought themselves, their schools and their communities. One of the pinnacles of any young Greenhand coming into FFA is development of leadership skills. Webster County’s own Shelby Peters was chosen as one of the members of the 2011 Nebraska State Officer team. What an accomplishment! Congratulations Shelby and all of the other young men and women who will go on to solidify the future of our state and our country. They really do live up to the FFA Theme for this year, “FFA – Infinite Potential.” Think of the “unlimited possibilities” for all of these young people. I think I will sleep well tonight!
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:

Friday, April 8, 2011

May 28 Wedding Planned


Afton Hubl  and Wilson Alber
Rick and Karen Hubl of Blue Hill announce the engagement and up coming wedding of their daughter, Afton Hubl and Wilson Alber, the son of Sylvia Alber and the late Norman Alber.    The couple is planning a May 28 wedding at Calvary Lutheran Church in Rosemont. 
 Miss Hubl is a 2004 graduate of Blue Hill High school and a 2009 graduate of Northwest Missouri State with a degree in animal science and Ag Business.  She works at the post office in Lawrence and the sale barn in Blue Hill.  She also works for S & S Polled Herefords of Guide Rock.
Mr. Alber is a 1998 graduate of Blue High School.  He is employed by S & S Polled Herefords of Guide Rock. 


Quote of the Day

‎"Congressmen who willfully take action during wartime that damages morale and undermine the military are saboteurs and should be arrested, exiled, or hung"  Abraham Lincoln

Johanns Co-sponsors Bill to Eliminate Redundant EPA Pesticide Regulation

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) this week was one of 13 Senators to introduce a bill to prevent duplicative federal regulation of pesticides by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). EPA has proposed new, separate regulation of pesticide use on top of longstanding regulations already prescribed by law. The new legislation, sponsored by Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Pat Roberts (R-Kansas), would exempt pesticides already regulated by law from being subject to redundant EPA permits.

"I find it astonishing that an agency under fire for being either ignorant about agriculture or downright anti-agriculture is pursuing regulations that clearly duplicate existing ones," Johanns said. "Redundant regulations amount to little more than additional costs, red tape, and roadblocks. The President has promised to eliminate duplicative regulations, yet is allowing this rogue agency to create even more. The Roberts legislation is a reasonable solution to maintaining proper pesticide use while also protecting our farmers and ranchers from EPA overreach."
• Pesticides are already subject to regulations prescribed by the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).

• In January 2009, the Sixth Circuit Court ruled that EPA cannot exempt pesticides already compliant with one set of federal safety regulations (in this case, FIFRA) from additional permitting requirements under the Clean Water Act.

• More than 25 Senate and House members, including Johanns, supported an amicus brief urging the Supreme Court to review the Sixth Circuit Court's decision.

• The Obama Administration, in its own brief, then took the opposite position and urged the Supreme Court to let the ruling stand.

• As a result, EPA in June 2010 released a general draft permit to subject pesticide applicators for the first time to duplicative requirements under the Clean Water Act, marking a distinct shift in how pesticides are regulated.

• This regulation not only impacts American farmers and ranchers, but local communities with routine public health activities such as mosquito and other pest control.

• The House of Representatives last week passed similar legislation, H.R. 872, with broad bipartisan support by a vote of 292 to 130, including 57 Democrats.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Rep Valley Trap shooting team.

 Rep Valley Trap Shooting Team
 Back row to the left is Eli VanBoening, Trent Jordening, Blake Brumbaugh, Skylar Brumbaugh, and Kylie Heaton. Front row to the left is Trent Kohmetscher, Jacob Vanboening, Chyanna Sharp , Amelia Petska, and Mathew Schwab.

Quote of the Day

The year's at the spring
And day's at the morn;
Morning's at seven;
The hillside's dew-pearled;
The lark's on the wing;
The snail's on the thorn;
God's in His heaven -
All's right with the world!

~Robert Browning

Casey Hemji Road Rally honors Justin Kumke

Justin Kumke, of Campbell was only 29 when brain cancer ended his life in May of 2010. His close friend, Casey Hemje was only 28 when an auto accident took him in September of 2008.
Justin and Casey were good friends and roommates at Southeast community College at Beatrice.
"They were two men who were so much alike, willing to do anything for anyone. They were hardworking, both had a passion for farming, and they were two guys you would always see with a smile on their face." Said Tiff Minnick.
So when Minnick helped organized an event to raise money for a good cause in honor of her brother's memory this past summer she included the memory his good friend Justin Kumke in the planning. Kumke's expressed wish was that people would memorialize him with support for the Cancer Research Institute, a charitable organization based in New York City.
With the help of Kumke's employer the Monsanto Co., Minnick and the other organizers of the second annual Casey Henje memorial Road Rally in Hildreth were able to donate $5,000 to the Cancer Research Instgitute in memory of Justin Kumke of Campbell.
The 2010 Casey Hemje Memorial Road Ralley was held August 7, and was followed by a barbecue in the Hildreth park prepared and served by members of the Macon Lions club, Numerous items were donated by people and business and organizations from area commnities and were raffled off dring the Barbece.
Three times as many people attended the 2010 road rally as did in 2009 for the first ralley. To make the second Ralley a tribute to Kumke and help out the Cancer Research Institute wasn't a hard decision to make said Tiff Minnick, because of the close connection between the two men.

77th Annual Blue Hill Alumni Banquet May 28

Blue Hill Alumni Banquet will be held Saturday, May 28 at 5:00pm at Blue Hill Community Senior Center.
The 77th Annual Alumni Banquet will be held on May 28, 2011 at 6:00 PM with a social hour beginning at 5:00 PM.
The banquet will be held at the Community Senior Center in Blue Hill.
The dinner will include a baked steak, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn, side salad, dinner roll, and angel food cake with strawberries and whipped cream provided by Thramer's Food Center.  The Blue Hill Tavern will be catering the cash bar.
 Reservations were set at $15 before May 21st or $20 at the door.
Tickets for the banquet can be reserved by calling any of the officers:
Yvonne (Peil) Kranau (402.756.2551)
 Kay (Strasburg) Jorgensen (402.463. 4105)
 Keri Schunk (402.756.2295)
 Krista (Olson) Karr (402.756.8210)
. ***Please make checks payable to the Blue Hill Alumni Banquet. If you would like to serve your alma mater as a Blue Hill Alumni officer, please contact one of the above officers as soon as possible!
We hope to see you on May 28, 2011 at the Banquet!

VOTA to perform in Blue Hill

Wednesday, May 11 at 6:00p.m. at Blue Hill Community Center!
Mark your calendars. 
 For Blue Hill this is something unusual!  Residents of Blue Hill and the surrounding area have the opportunity to attend a concert of a Christian Rock band from Lincoln, Nebraska, called VOTA performing in Blue Hill.   
It's official  VOTA  is set to come to Blue Hill, Nebraska,  on Wednesday, May 11th!
 They will  perform at the Blue Hill Community Center.  Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. with the Concert starting at 6 p.m.  This event is open to the public.  Free will donations will be accepted.  This promises to be an up an  lifting and fun filled evening. 

VOTA was formerly known as Casting Pearls  changing their name after they "re invented" themselves. (not to be confused with Casting Crowns)   They feature Bryan Olesen, a former guitarist with the Christian rock band Newsboys.  Several of the band's songs have been featured on rotation with national radio networks such as K-Love, and are part of  the international I 80 Tour.  Their song "Hard to Believe" was listed at #17 on R&R Magazine's May 2, 2009, weekly chart for the United States.
To learn more about VOTA and their music check ot their web page at.

Bryan Olesen, bassist, Case Maranville and Drummer, Scott Rutz along with guitarist/keyboardist, Riley Friesen wanted to distinguish themselves amongst the crowds and distinguish they did. VOTA signed to INO Records  and have been busy in Franklin, TN working with producer Nathan Dantzler for their self-titled album released digitally in February 2009. They are excited for their fans, both new and old, to hear their newly recorded songs live and share in the the next stage of the journey.
Below is a list of songs on their album called VOTA released under the INO label.

01. Hard To Believe
02. Be Mine
03. Love's Taken Over
04. Honestly
05. Not Finished
06. I'll Go
07. Give It To Me
08. Free to Fail
09. Save Ourselves
10. Bye Bye
11. In My Heart
12. Weighted (enhanced cd track)
13. Every Day Is the First Day(enhanced cd track)
14. Our Time Is Now (enhanced cd track)
15. Alright (enhanced cd track)
16. You Alone (enhanced cd track)

Below are a couple of comments taken from reviews of the band that were published on line.
"While Casting Pearls had more of an edgy rock sound, VOTA has more of a dance-flavored alternative rock sound, similar to Newsboys with hook-filled melodies and catchy lyrics.
 Here are Bryan Olesen’s comments about the one of  their songs: “The more I dwell on what I really have in Christ, the more bold and excited I become about life. He loves you and I in a way that’s not shown anywhere else.”

"The  songs “Be Mine” and “Love’s Taken Over” are also great examples of the uptempo dance rock style of the group with great messages about what it means to have God’s love take over your life. “Honestly” is a great personal ballad..   Bryan’s sincere vocals and personal testimony of the power of grace and mercy is very memorable and another great song to hear live. “Not Finished” and “I’ll Go” are great rockers and have great energy.  “Free To Fail” has a message of submitting our lives to God and having security in knowing He’s given us life and the freedom to fail and get back up and live for Him."

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Helping Curb Drug Abuse While Saving Tax Dollars

Senator Ben Nelson
My heart went out to the famous father of a famous man who has addiction problems. The father was Martin Sheen who came to my office on Capitol Hill to talk. We didn’t talk about the current problems his family faces. We talked about a program that is near and dear to my heart and that once helped his family during a critical period several years ago.
It’s called Drug Court and for people who have addictions and their families, it’s one of the best programs available. Nebraska, which has 23 drug courts statewide, has had them since I was governor.
As Judge Karen Flowers, who I appointed to the bench in 1996 and who was a driving force in establishing Lancaster County’s Drug Court, said, “I saw drug court as an opportunity to help offenders stay out of the criminal justice system, hopefully, permanently.”
Saves Tax Dollars
She cited studies that show they reduce repeat offenders, thus saving taxpayers money as they take a burden off police, prosecutors, the courts and corrections. It’s far less expensive to monitor a non violent offender than to put him or her in prison. And, for the offender it’s much better because if they complete the very rigid program successfully they don’t have a record which makes it easier to lead a productive life.
Their record of success is excellent. According to the National Association of Drug Courts, they are the nation’s most effective intervention for seriously drug addicted offenders.
Careful Spending Cuts
Excellent programs like this are one of the reasons it is so important that Congress consider spending cuts thoughtfully. The fact is that Congress is going to have to spend less, but we should do so in a way that does not undermine the economy or programs that actually reduce spending in the long term.
Recidivism is costly, with studies showing every $1 spent on Drug Courts ends up saving as much as $27 on re-arrests, law enforcement, court hearings, prison beds, and the cost to crime victims.
Drug courts help the taxpayer but just as importantly, they help people break their habits and become productive members of society. I’ve met Nebraskans who have completed these programs and spoken at their graduation ceremonies. I see their pride in staying free of drugs for four, five or 10 years – or more.
One thing I found out is that Martin Sheen is no different from Nebraska parents who are having family problems and look for the most effective way to help them. That’s what drug courts do. Help people get their lives back together, get honest jobs and reconcile with their families while saving taxpayer dollars at the same time.

Smith Praises Senate Passage of 1099 Repeal Legislation

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) today hailed the U.S. Senate for passing H.R. 4, the House-passed 1099 Repeal legislation. Smith cosponsored H.R. 4, which overwhelmingly passed the Senate with a bipartisan vote of 87-12.
"Today's passage of the 1099 Repeal in the Senate moves us one step closer toward protecting Nebraska's small businesses, farms, and ranches from this misguided provision," Smith said. "I am grateful to Senator Johanns for his diligent work on this important issue, and I urge President Obama to immediately sign this legislation into law to reduce the heavy burden it places on job creators."
The 1099 mandate, which was included in the new health care law, requires farmers, ranches, and small businesses to file a form with the Internal Revenue Service for every vendor or contractor from which they purchase $600 or more of goods and services in a calendar year.
Smith sits on the Committee on Ways and Means, which has jurisdiction over H.R. 4. This assignment enables him to serve Nebraskans through engagement on critical issues including trade agreements, tax reform, Medicare, and Social Security.

Johanns: Ryan Budget is a Serious Effort Toward Fiscal Reponsibility

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) today commended House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) for submitting a budget proposal that addresses unsustainable government spending, debt, and deficits.
"Chairman Ryan's budget is a serious attempt to address our ballooning debt in a responsible way, and I applaud his leadership," Johanns said. "There are now two comprehensive proposals on the table, the first being the President's Deficit Commission recommendations, and although I might not agree with either plan in their entirety, both help to advance the discussion and take a clear view of the root causes of our country's deepening debt crisis."
"As someone who helped to bring together 64 senators to call on the President to engage in this discussion, it continues to be crystal clear that his active involvement is necessary. Any proposal we pass goes to his desk for his signature, and therefore it's essential that he step up and commit to correcting our country's course not only in compelling speeches but in real action and commitment."

Sunday, April 3, 2011


This blogspot is experiences technical difficulties with the formatting of articles posted on this blog. Due to a problem with IE there are no paragraph indications appearing in recent posts. he contents just comes out as one big block regardless of the efforts to insert paragraph markers. The Adminstrators of the blog have attempted to correct the problem but have learned that it will have to be dealth with by IE or the hosts of blogger. We are sorry for the difficulties in reading and understanding the content due to this "glitch". We are hoping to get it resolved soon. You should be able to notice in the content when the problem is resolved.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Governor Kicks-Off Donate Life Month

(Lincoln, Neb.) - Gov. Dave Heineman today launched Nebraska’s observance of April as Donate Life Month. Donate Life Month is part of a national observance to increase awareness for lifesaving organ, eye and tissue donations.
“Donate Life Month brings attention to the more than 450 Nebraskans who are waiting for a potentially lifesaving transplant,” Gov. Heineman said. “I thank those families who have so selflessly given others a chance at life, and I want to thank the many Nebraskans who have indicated their willingness to be organ donors.”
The Governor was joined by Dr. Joann Schaefer, Chief Medical Officer and Director of the Division of Public Health, Beverly Neth, Director of the Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles, and Vickie Ahlers, Chairman of the Board of Directors for Donate Life Nebraska. In 2008, Dr. Schaefer received a liver transplant from a living donor. Neth has twice received living kidney donations from relatives.
In Nebraska, 458 individuals are currently on a waiting list for organ and tissue donations. In 2010, 303 Nebraskans received lifesaving organ transplants.
Dr. Schaefer said, “I will be eternally grateful for the gift of life from my donor. It is an amazing feeling to suddenly feel healthy and have my life back. I want those waiting to feel the same thing that I have been so lucky to experience.”
At the end of 2010, 656,875 Nebraskans were designated donors on the Nebraska Donor Registry, which included more than 23,000 new registrations. Approximately half of licensed drivers in Nebraska are designated as organ donors.
Neth said, “I take pride in knowing that DMV personnel, particularly those in Driver Licensing, make a difference; however, our involvement pales in comparison to the decision of hundreds of thousands of Nebraskans who have signified that they want to be organ and tissue donors.”
Ahlers said, “These numbers represent more than statistics. Each person who signs up as a donor can potentially save eight lives through organ donation, restore sight to two people through cornea donation, and improve mobility and health of up to 50 others through tissue donation. These are real lives that are being dramatically impacted by Nebraskans making the decision to sign up on the Nebraska Donor Registry.”
Fifteen Nebraska counties had at least 50 percent of applicants for driver’s license or state identification cards join the Nebraska Donor Registry in 2010, up from 10 counties in 2009. Arthur County is the first in the state to reach the 60 percent donor designation rate. Each county will receive a framed certificate acknowledging their accomplishment, including:
•Arthur 61.1 percent of DMV applicants joining the state donor registry
•Sarpy 55.3 percent
•Cass 55 percent
•Washington 54.4 percent
•Kearney 53.4 percent
•Buffalo 53 percent
•Dawes 52.6 percent
•Gosper 52 percent
•Keith 50.9 percent
•Hamilton 50.8 percent
•Harlan 50.5 percent
•Garden 50.3 percent
•Perkins 50.2 percent
•Lancaster 50.1 percent
•Cheyenne 50 percent
DMV records indicated that 69 Nebraska counties have a donor designation rate between 40 and 49.9 percent. Nationwide, there are 94.7 million designated donors, or 40 percent of the U.S. population over age 18, according to Donate Life America.
Those wishing to learn more and register as donors can visit, or choose the option when applying for or renewing their Nebraska driver’s license.


Duane A. Lienemann,
UNL Extension Educator,
Webster County
April 1, 2011 Edition
It is so tempting to try to pull off a good April Fools’ joke via this column but more than likely I would end up being the fool --so I will instead concentrate on some issues that seem to come to the top of my mind this week.
Let’s start with wheat. Even though we don’t have the wheat acres that we used to, it is still and important crop for our part of the country. A couple of weeks ago we visited the wheat fields and looked at whether or not we should write of this year’s crop since it looked so spindly or even that it wasn’t even emerged. I suggested that we give it some time and utilized the old phrase that “wheat has nine lives”. That seems to have been a pretty good suggestion as wheat has definitely broken dormancy and is really starting to get some growth. I know, some of the wheat has a funny color yet, but it is a lot better than what we saw a couple of weeks ago. While we are still a little short on moisture, I have pretty good feeling that in a couple of more weeks we will wonder what we were worried about.
I have been asked about diseases in the wheat, and quite honestly at this point, I have not seen anything that is suspicious. I believe that the yellow or brown leaves that we are seeing is more a result of some freeze burn on some outside or bottom leaves. They really won’t contribute that much to the growing and particularly the maturing wheat so that is not a concern to me. I do not see any evidence of disease in those leaves that will eventually slough off. That is not to say there won’t be some diseases creeping in, as I know they are starting to find some evidence of virus and fungus south of us – where there is some wheat. The best thing you can do is just keep an eye on it and remember our main goal is to protect the flag leaves, which may involve being proactive in some cases. I would suggest monitoring your wheat and if you have computer access to check out and monitor what is being reported in it.
In between the cold and damp spells, and even snows, a lot of farmers have been racing to get fertilizer on their fields and even getting their planters ready. I have even seen some planters in action – I think just to get them prepared, or more likely perhaps to make the neighbors nervous. During this time of year, just opening up the Quonset doors seems to garner a gut reaction.
No doubt, spring fever is hitting and it never hits anyone harder than farmers. In horse terms, we have a lot of producers “chomping at the bit.” There is of course a lot of talk about the record number of acres of corn that is projected to go in. Nebraska farmers are estimated to plant 9.5 million acres, which is the largest acreage since 1933. There are some troubling reports as far as diversity of crops is concerned. The planting intention report said that Nebraska farmers will decrease acreage devoted to soybeans, hay, sorghum, oats and wheat.
In Nebraska, soybeans look to be down 2 percent from 2010-- but still the second largest only to last year’s record high. While all wheat planted in the United States is up 8 percent from last year, winter wheat sown last fall in Nebraska was reported at only 1.5 million acres, down 6 percent from last year. This is the smallest winter wheat acreage planted in Nebraska since records began in 1909. This state used to be a leader in milo production. Even with restricted water use and the possibility of a La Nina drought this year, Nebraska sorghum growers expect to plant just 135,000 acres, down 20,000 acres or 13 percent from last year, and the smallest acreage since 1930. We used to see fields of oats, especially when we fed out our own animals, but this year’s planting intentions, at 85,000 acres, are down 5,000 acres from 2010 and the lowest in more than 100 years. Even hay acreage for harvest, at 2.6 million, is expected to be down 3 percent from last year. I guess this does prove that corn is king, even here in south central Nebraska.
We talked a couple of weeks ago about the new land values and rental rates document that UNL Ag Economics department put out. I think that a lot of people expected an increase with land value and rental rates. We are of course seeing increases in almost every input cost. Just think of the price of fuel, we all see that. The farmer is not immune to that. Throw in the cost of seed, machinery, chemicals, labor and you can see that the cost of farming has gone up considerably.
Budgets are being put together, especially for those with crop share agreements and there is little doubt that the costs of farming is the question on the minds of a lot of operators as they prepare to go to the field. The economic structure of agriculture has changed dramatically in the past 2 months. Unfortunately, this is the off-year to conduct the biennial Nebraska Custom Rates Survey. The UNL survey is done every other year, which for years was adequate. Well the survey was just conducted a year ago and those figures are outdated, and probably were so within 6 months of them coming out. By the time the next edition comes out we could be seriously outdated. Take for instance the big change in machinery costs in the past year, and particular the fuel costs. When the survey was completed last year, rates were based on a diesel fuel price of about $2.50 per gallon. Gosh that sounds cheap now! This year the farm delivered price could be a dollar higher, or an increase of 40 percent. Hold on to your seed corn hats as that will likely to see even higher prices on inputs as we progress through the season! How do we adjust for these higher costs to figure our budgets or custom rates? Cornhusker Economics has a new release that may help you.
Go on the web to and go to the new document “Adjusting Farm Custom Rates and Grain Storage Rental Rates for 2011”. I think that you will find it very useful. As we enter planting season – Farm Safe!
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:

Friday, April 1, 2011

Blue Hill Girls place Fourth at Kenesaw Track Meet.

The Blue Hill girls finished fourth Thursday at the track meet in Kenesaw.
They were led by first place finishes from Sara Alber in the shot put (36-9), Liz Schwab in the discus (109-1) and Jordyn Atwater in the 400 (1:05.34), Schwab also second in the shot Put (36-1) and Atwater was second in the 800 (2:37.71).
Alber enters the season with particularly high expectations after placing sixth in the shot put at the state meet last year. She said she is looking to become the first Blue Hill athlete to qualify for state in the shot put in all four years of her high school career. "I'd like to make it to state again. My goal is to throw 40 feet. I'm still about 2 feet away from that." She said. " It would be amazing to finish in the top three or to win state this year. I think that'd just be amazing. But it's just the beginning of the season. We still have a lot of meets to go."
The Blue Hill boys team finished in 6th placed.


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  ½ Blue Heeler
½ Border Collie
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Call 402-756-2258
Or 402-746-3803
Or 402-469-4889
For more information and photos