Monday, May 30, 2011


Mankind are governed more by their feelings than by reason.

- Samuel Adams

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Where is the Federal Budget?

                                              Weekly Column
When the Senate last week voted against beginning debate on a budget, it voted to complete the 108th straight week – more than two years – without a roadmap for how to spend taxpayer dollars. This means the astronomical spending levels reached through the bloated stimulus legislation, along with the free-spending 2009 budget have been locked in place because the President and Majority in the Senate have avoided passing a new budget ever since. Our country's fiscal situation was dire in 2009, but two years later a spending crisis looms unquestionably closer. The stubborn refusal by the President and Senate Democrats to responsibly address this crisis is simply unforgivable.
Had one of last week's budget proposals received enough votes, it would've gone to the Senate floor, and the process of proposing and debating amendments could've begun. Yet we were unable to get even that far. I voted for two of these proposals, one offered by Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and one by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. I didn't agree with everything in either one of these plans, but they represented responsible starts that took an honest look at our current situation. Because neither reached the floor for debate, we're back to square one with no budget and the clock ticking our debt.
Another budget voted on was the Presidents. Remarkably, it did not receive a single vote. Ninety-seven Senators voted against the President's plan for a way forward. There was zero confidence in the President's budget because he showed zero leadership in offering an unusable budget. This is tremendously disappointing. The budget process used to be acted upon in a serious and responsible way to fulfill Congress' duty. The President would propose a workable plan, Congress would use it as a starting point, committees would debate and revise a budget, and it would pass. Our President offered something not even his staunchest Senate allies could support, and Senate Democrats offered nothing at all. Forfeiting leadership in such a way, at such a critical time for our country, is indefensible.
We now must continue relying on temporary extensions of unsustainable 2009 spending levels to keep the government funded, with the next extension due in September. Meanwhile, we're still racking up trillion-dollar deficits while reading ominous economic forecasts for our future. The Senate Majority refuses to discuss plans to make government spending sustainable. There is considerable resistance to reforming entitlements, yet it's our only hope to rescue Medicare from insolvency. Entitlements make up nearly half of our spending.
Those who voted against debating a budget last week will tell you these efforts to restore Medicare's solvency would actually hurt it. This is dishonest. The reality is that under the current health care law, Medicare will be stripped of $500 billion and is expected to be out of money entirely in just nine years. For anyone, or any generation, expecting to have access to Medicare benefits after those nine years, current law dashes those hopes. We must preserve Medicare. I'll continue pushing to begin this debate, so we can keep our spending sustainable and our fundamental American health care program available for future generations of Americans.

Gov. Heineman Orders Flags to Fly at Half-Staff on Memorial Day Morning

(Lincoln, Neb.) Gov. Dave Heineman has ordered that U.S. and Nebraska flags be flown at half-staff until noon on Monday, May 30 in observance of Memorial Day.
Gov. Heineman said, “Our flags will fly at half-staff as a tribute to the courage and dedication of those who have sacrificed for our freedom. Memorial Day is an opportunity to salute the heroes who have served our nation with honor and those who are serving today.”
On Monday, the Governor will attend Memorial Day ceremonies in Columbus and at Memorial Park in Omaha. Lt. Gov. Rick Sheehy is scheduled to take part in a service being held in Hastings.

Smith Statement on Memorial Day

Washington, D.C. - Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) today issued the following statement on the celebration of Memorial Day.
"Memorial Day is a day to remember those who have given their lives in service to protect our rights and freedoms. Regardless of how you choose to celebrate please take time to recognize and remember those who have answered the call to serve our nation. Veterans are heroes for their willingness to give their life for the protection of others."

Straight from the Horses Mouth

Duane A. Lienemann,
 UNL Extension Educator,
Webster County
May 27, 2011 Edition
Last week I reported my investigation into the outbreak of an equine disease called Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1) that reared its ugly head after a horse event in Ogden, Utah. There is both good news and bad news in the week that has followed. First, the good news…..State officials say Nebraska is in the clear so far in an outbreak of this virus that kills horses. We should be very close to the end of the incubation time that could have given us more confirmed cases or perhaps sick and/or dead horses. So far - so good! I think we are pretty much out of the woods here in Nebraska, and things should get back to normal, providing something else doesn’t occur that would set us back. While Nebraska has good news, other parts of the country had some bad news on the equine virus front.
Unfortunately, cases of this deadly strain of a horse virus have more than doubled in the past week and suspected cases have forced the quarantine of 15 more facilities. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has now listed 75 confirmed cases in 9 states and 61 facilities that have suspected or confirmed cases. Of the 75 confirmed EHV/EHM cases, 58 cases are horses that were at the Ogden, Utah event. That means that the USDA is finding horses with the disease that were not at Ogden; an indication of secondary or tertiary exposed horses becoming infected. As I write this 11 horses have now been euthanized and 17 more have shown signs of the neurological problems that likely lead to death. For reference, you may recall last week that I had indicated that there were 34 confirmed cases and 9 horses had died at that time. They have now found more horses that were infected in other states and from Canada, and particularly Alberta and British Columbia. Canadian officials are not reporting new cases since, so hopefully it is starting to wane there as well.
I indicated last week that several that “because of economic considerations and of the probability that this outbreak will die out that the state”, veterinarians around the United States had decided to allow horses to travel and to attend equine sporting events with the caveat that “as long as they have not come in contact with horses that participated in the Utah cutting show or horses from quarantined premises.” However, I think many people are a little nervous and I know that several horse events across the country were cancelled, including the annual horse judging contest at the Pitzer Ranch right here in Nebraska at Ericson. I understand why they are choosing to stay on the safe side. I have been asked if I had heard rumors that some District 4-H horse shows may not be held. I will have to admit that I have, however I have not heard any “official” notice that this will happen. But I guess we should keep an eye on developments, when, if or should they occur. OK, now I think we should now look at some good news in the beef arena.
Beef! Anyone that knows me - knows that I am a “Beef Lover.” I am happy to find that the Nebraska Cattlemen’s organization has unveiled a new “Beef Lovers” web site. Now that is right up my alley. The Beef Lovers web site is made up of individuals who would like to know more about where their beef comes from. As I understand it, it is sort of a “fan club” for Nebraska beef. I am sure that I am joined by many others out there. This site will more than likely prove that beef has lots of fans out there. I know that I am going to sign up. Are there any of you that will follow suit? I know that there are a lot of people in Nebraska that love to eat Nebraska beef and I would bet across this nation. It doesn’t matter if they have it at home or go out to a restaurant, people in Nebraska do love to eat beef. It is time to flaunt it.
According to the NCA director of producer education, Bonita Lederer, visitors to the web site can sign up to receive a monthly electronic newsletter, which features a cattle rancher profile, restaurant review and beef recipe. A nice bonus is that everyone who registers for the newsletter is automatically entered into a monthly drawing for a free beef certificate. This new web site is just one more way to bring beef producers and consumers together. It is a positive and proactive way to connect with our consumers. I have felt for several years that we in the animal production industry have been suffering from a lot of negative press and attacks from anti-animal agriculture entities, and perhaps more importantly are suffering from a disconnect from people who are now several generations removed from the farm, and all that goes with it.
The purpose of the web site is that the developers just wants consumers and anyone with an interest in beef, to see that we as beef producers really do things right. We really do care for our animals. We are raising a wholesome product that we are very proud of as producers–that the consumer can feel really confident in eating. You can find the new web site at I can tell you that I will put my steak where my mouth is! Did I tell you that I love beef?
Lastly, I had the wonderful experience of doing something that I love to do this past week. On Thursday Webster County Fairgrounds was the site of a livestock judging clinic and contest. Many of my former students know the passion I have for this competitive aspect of livestock production. I believe that critical thinking, analytical reasoning and comparative sequencing is so important in the development of our young people. Mind development, communication skills, presentation ability, memory exercise, decision making and confidence building are all stepping stones. Those skill sets are learned with livestock judging. That is why I love it. Life is full of decisions, often involving multiple factors to be considered. Livestock judging teaches students to effectively weigh the evidence and then make sound decisions which better prepares them for success in life. I applaud the 80 kids that stepped up, and the adults who encouraged them!

The preceding information comes from the research and personal observations of the writer which may or may not reflect the views of UNL or 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:

Blue Hill Cemetery Memorial Day Service

Veterans groups are preparing for their annual Memorial Day services to honor fallen servicemen and women. Services will feature military honors, local ministers and other civic participation.

Bladen: Sunday, May 29, 2 p.m. at East Lawn Cemetery.

Blue Hill: Monday, May 30, 10 a.m. at Blue Hill Cemetery.

Lowery and Kohmetscher Honor students.

Central Community College in Hastings has announced the names of full-time students who earned spots on the President's and Deans honor lists for the 2011 spring semester.
Tammy Lowery from Blue Hill was on the presidents list with a perfect 4.0 grade point average. 
Desirae Kohmetscher was on the Deans Honor list with a grade point average between 3.5 and 3.99.

Blue Hill Swimming Pool Opens

Weather  permitting the Blue Hill Swimming pool will open Saturday may 28th weather permitting. 
Admission prices are 
Family season pass (immediate family only)  $100.   
 Individual Season Pass for $50.
 Daily Adults  $3,
Daily 12 and under $1 
Pool manager is Ali Goos,  Assistant  Alyssa Willicot 
Life guards :  Nathan Petska, Markie Coffey, Meggie Coffey, Taylor Goos, Elizabeth Schwab, Emily Harrifeld, Emily Hubl, katie Schaefer, Allie Gilbert, Stefanie Ruybalid, Katie Ferris, Kaitlin Kumke, Amelia Petska, Mackenzie Willicot.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Shanle Recognized as outstanding Chemist.

Several Hastings College students were recognized for their outstanding achievements at the annual Hastings College Honors Convocation, at 10 a.m., Friday, May 13 in French Memorial Chapel.
From Blue Hill recieving the Arnold A. Alberts Outstanding Chemist Award was Joseph Shanle, Blue Hill, Neb.
Hastings College, founded in 1882, is a private, four-year liberal arts institution affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). A total of 64 majors in 32 areas of study and 12 pre-professional programs are offered to more than 1,190 students. Hastings College was named among “America’s Best National Liberal Arts Colleges” by U.S. News & World Report, a “Best in the Midwest” by The Princeton Review, and a “Best Buy in College Education” by Barron’s. Visit for more information.

Webster County 4-H & FFA Sheep & Goat Weigh-in/Tagging Day May 27

All market lambs and meat goats which will be shown at the Webster County Fair in order to compete in the Webster County Rate of Gain Contest, Nebraska State Fair, or Ak-Sar-Ben must be tagged and weighed in at a Sheep Weigh-in Day, or be done in the presence of extension staff at an UNL Extension office or other place agreeable to UNL Extension staff. Webster County 4-H & FFA sheep and goat exhibitors will have this opportunity at the Webster County Fairgrounds in Bladen, NE on Friday, May 27 from 3:00-7:00 pm.
Ownership/identification affidavits and tags are available at the UNL Extension office in Red Cloud; however, the extension educator will have them available that day too. Each exhibitor will be asked to register their market lambs at the weigh-in as either “Bred & Fed” or “Bought & Fed” at the weigh-in. The Webster County Market Lamb show now splits up the lambs in the market lamb classes with the champion from each coming back for Grand Champion.
All 4-H lambs and goats that may go to either Nebraska State Fair or Ak-Sar-Ben must have hair samples for DNA verification gathered on each lamb or goat and all affidavits and DNA submissions must be done before or on June 15. Any ewe or ram sheep, or female market goat must have a “scrapies” tag in its’ ear and be identified with this unique tag number in addition to the 4-H tag on the 4-H/FFA entry form. Webster County Breeding sheep exhibitors are also encouraged to enter the Junior Sheep Breeder’s Flock competition. Exhibitors may request their flock record book from the Webster County UNL Extension office in Red Cloud.
Exhibitors should note that there is a change in the age classification for sheep from previous years as they look towards identifying ewes for the county fair. Ewes born after September 1, 2010 are classified as lambs (it used to be January 1, 2011 in previous years) and all ewes born September 1, 2009 to August 31, 2010 are classified as yearling ewes.
Exhibitors should also be aware that there will be a new 4-H & FFA Sheep and Goat Show schedule at the Webster County Fair this year. The sheep/goat show and swine show have been switched. The sheep/goat show will now be on Wednesday, July 13. In years past it was on Thursday and the swine was on Wednesday. This allows sheep to be slick sheered at check-in, thereby allowing the visible identification of ringworm/showlamb fungus.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Lilburn "Bud" Bourg July 21, 1912 to May 20, 2011

Hastings resident, Lilburn “Bud” Edward Bourg, 98, passed away, Friday, May 20, 2011 at the Mary Lanning Memorial Health Care, Hastings, NE.

Services will be Friday, May 27, 2011 at 9:30 AM at the Brand-Wilson Funeral Home Chapel, Hastings, NE with Father Joseph Walsh officiating. Burial will be in the Roseland Cemetery, Roseland, NE. Book signing will be Thursday, May 27, 2011 from 9 AM to 9 PM at the Brand-Wilson Funeral Home, Hastings, NE. Condolences may be sent to the family from
Bud  Bourg was born July 21, 1912 to Flore and Lucy (Beiriger) in Roseland, NE. He was a veteran having served in the United States Army stationed in Hawaii.
 He married Rena Marie Costa. They moved to Blue Hill, NE in 1978 and then moved to Hastings, NE in 1981.
While living in Hawaii, he worked for the Hawaiian Telephone Company for 40 years.  While living in the Blue Hill area he worked at the Rosemont branch of the Garvey Elevator.  After moving to Hastings he worked for Hastings Pork for 15 years.
He was a member of the St. Cecilia’s Catholic Church, Hastings, NE.
He is survived by one daughter, Melissa Marie Bourg of Honolulu, HI, and four sons, David R. Bourg of Seattle, WA, Rendell K. Bourg and wife Lanette of Honolulu, HI, Ian Jon Bourg and wife Patricia of Germany and Jonathan E. Bourg and wife Jasmine of Blue Hill, NE, 6 grandchildren and 6 great grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his parents and wife Rena on August 31, 2009 and several brothers and sisters.
A memorial will be established.


The South Central Livestock Judging Clinic and Contest is scheduled for Thursday - May 26, 2011 at the Webster County Fairgrounds in Bladen, NE. This event is designed for area youth to improve their basic livestock evaluation/selection skills and provide a good foundation for all youth interested in livestock. It will be conducted by Dr. Matt Ellicott, UNL Livestock Judging Team Coach and area UNL Extension Staff.
Activities in the livestock judging clinic will include: Evaluation Factors; Terminology; Oral Reasons Format; and will include a practice class(s). The competitive livestock judging classes will include market and breeding classes of beef, sheep and swine and will also include a market class of meat goats. The clinic and contest will be open to all youth, ages 8 -18, as well as adults. Parents, leaders and advisors are encouraged to attend.
Age divisions are as follows: Adult-19 years & older; Senior - 14-18 years old; Junior-13 years & under as of January 1, 2011. Teams will consist of 3 or 4 members in the same age division. They can be from the same club, chapter and/or county. Trophies will be presented to the Top overall individual in each youth division. Rosettes will be present to top teams in each division. Ribbons will be awarded to all participants. There is a small cost for teams or individual judges. Concessions will be available at the fairgrounds.
The clinic starts with registration from 8:30-9:00 am with the clinic starting at 9:00 and going till 10:30 am. The judging contest will run from 10:30-12:00, followed by lunch. Reasons will be taken from 12:30-1:30 pm followed by the official placing and discussion of classes from 1:30-2:00 pm followed directly with results and awards.
The clinic and judging contest is cooperative sponsored by UNL Extension in Webster, Harlan, Thayer, Nuckolls, Franklin, Kearney, Adams & Clay Counties; UNL Livestock Judging Team; Harlan County Cattlemen; and South Central Nebraska Cattlemen. For more information, contact: Dewey Lienemann @ Webster County UNL Extension, 402-746-3417, email at or any of the UNL Extension offices listed above.

Straight from the Horses Mouth

Duane A. Lienemann,
 UNL Extension Educator,
Webster County
May 20, 2011 Edition
How many of you remember the cow that stole Christmas? Nobody really had heard about Mad Cow Disease until December 23, 2003. I will not forget that day. Think of the ramifications that had on the agricultural community. In fact it still does. It really didn’t develop like the doomsayers said it would, but that impact is felt daily in what we feed, management practices, marketing, and especially in export restrictions and international trade. This week, it was like déjà vu. Only this time it is the horse industry. It has the same feel, but from a completely different standpoint.
If you don’t know what I am talking about it is. It has hit the equine circles probably even harder than mad cow disease from the standpoint of direct animal loss or potential for loss. If you haven’t heard, there has been an outbreak of a horrid equine disease called Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1) in horses across several Western states and Canada, and has spread since a horse competition at the Western States National Cutting Horse Association Finals in Ogden, Utah.
Simply put, this is a naturally occurring Herpes virus of horses. Yes, just like cold sores in humans, only a lot worse. Clinically, three different forms arise from this specific herpes virus based on age, stress and pregnancy. They are: 1) “Rhino” which is a self- limiting upper respiratory infection of young horses (< 2 years of age), 2) Abortion in pregnant mares (most in the 3rd trimester but rarely at birth) and 3) equine herpes myeloencephalopathy or EHM, which is a neurologic disease of the spinal cord, and rarely the brain in older horses that can result in death. Unfortunately the horses in question are in the third category. EHM - in this case is being referred to as “Rhino EHV-1”, because this seems to be a mutant strain of the neurological variation of the Equine Herpes Rhino Virus Type 1. The worst part is that there is no vaccine for it, and it can be lethal. In fact there are multiple confirmed deaths due to EHV-1 in several states.
A total of 308 horses from 18 different states and 174 different premises were at the Utah event, and another 689 have been exposed by secondary contact or proximity, according to the USDA. They are in the process now of tracing where each horse that was at the event has been since and what other premises and animals may have come into contact. This will be a formidable task. It does give credence to the push that began after the Mad Cow event for premise and animal ID. So far they have found a total of 45 horses suspected to have become infected with Equine Herpes. Of these 45 horses, 34 have been confirmed to have the disease. Of these 34, 21 horses have the EHV-1, and 13 are confirmed to have the neurologic form, or EHM. To date, 7 of these horses have died or been euthanized. All but one of the 34 confirmed cases involve horses that attended the NCHA competition that was held in Ogden, Utah, from April 29 to May 8.
All horses that were at the Utah event are now quarantined around the country as well as the stables or facilities where they were housed. So far, only horses in Idaho, Utah, Colorado, California, Washington and Canada have been infected with the highly contagious EHV-1, and several other states, including Nebraska, are quarantining certain areas within their states, or halting transportation of horses. Several major horse shows have been postponed or cancelled. Nebraska’s state veterinarian has placed five Nebraska horse farms under quarantine because they had horses that attended the event.
It is believed that a horse with the virus attended the NCHA event in Ogden and may have caused a massive cross contamination. The one most suspected was "Uncle Kunkel" who began displaying neurologic signs while he was stabled on the show grounds. After not responding to treatment, the horse was euthanized. Veterinarians confirmed at necropsy that Wobblers was more likely the cause of Uncle Kunkel's neurologic signs. Extensive postmortem diagnostic testing was negative for EHV-1, thus eliminating him as the source of the outbreak, so the source of the disease is still a mystery. Recent reports indicate that USDA now thinks the source may have been a horse from Canada. Hmmm, think Mad Cow!
There are many variations in the symptoms including: fever, decrease coordination, nasal discharge, urine dribbling, loss of tail tone, hind limb weakness, leaning against a wall or fence to maintain balance, lethargy, and the inability to rise. Infected horses can appear perfectly healthy until they get stressed and the virus takes hold. Horses infected with EHV-1 usually get sick between two and 14 days after they are exposed, and the disease can be fatal if not treated early. The disease poses no threat to people, but it is easily spread among horses and Camelids, which include alpacas and llamas. This happens because it can be airborne and transmitted by touch on about anything you can think of or use in a horse enterprise. It can be by sharing feed, brushes, bits and other equipment. The virus can usually survive for about a week on surfaces, though under the right conditions it could last as long as 30 days making it difficult to contain.

I have already received questions on if this will affect local horse shows, etc. At this point, there have been no secondary outbreaks in the US; however, this outbreak was first diagnosed just a short time ago; incubation is approximately five to ten days; and quarantines are for thirty days past the last sick horse --so things could change. This is classified as an emerging disease because of the degree of the upgrade of severity seen in the symptoms. Because of economic considerations and because of the probability that this outbreak will slowly die out, the state veterinarians around the United States have decided to allow all horses to travel and to attend equine sporting events as long as they have not come in contact with horses that participated in the Utah cutting show or horses from quarantined premises.

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, May 21, 2011

Vivian A. Yamauchi 2-8-1930 to 5-3-2011

Pasco resident Vivian A. Yamauchi, 81, died Tuesday, May 3, 2011 at the home of her daughter in Turner, OR following a sudden illness and hospitalization. During her final week of life her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren traveled to be with her. Services are at 1:00 p.m. Monday, May 9th at Hillcrest Bruce Lee Memorial Center at 2804 West Lewis Street in Pasco. Burial at City View Cemetery will immediately follow the memorial service.

Vivian was preceded in death by her husband, Charles Yamauchi; former husband, Joe Misek; her parents Albert and Frieda Alberts; a sister, Verna; and a brother, Wayne.
Vivian was born on February 8, 1930 in Rosemont, Nebraska. She attended school in Nebraska and moved to Richland, WA in the late 1940s. Vivian married Joe Misek in March 1948 and they raised five children together. Joe and Vivian divorced in the mid-70s. Vivian married Charles Yamauchi in 1977 and embraced all of his family, his children and grandchildren as a deeply loved expanded family. Charles Yamauchi died in March 1986.
Within the Yamauchi family Vivian is survived by her adopted sister-in-laws Mary Munekiyo and Beryl Yamauchi; Charles's children Linda (Clyde) Adkinson of Kennewick; Rodger (Nem) Yamauchi of Hawaii; Susan (Larry) Butler of Fort Meyer Florida; Bruce (Juli) Yamauchi of Richland; and 7 grand children, and 2 great grandchildren.
Within the Misek family she is survived by her brother LaVern (Bud) Alberts; sisters Violet Boettcher, Marilyn Place and Norma Bostock, all living in Nebraska, and sisters-in-law Mary Misek of Kirkland, Washington and Norma Alberts of Platte City, Missouri. She is also survived by her five children: Rose (Gerald) McBride of Turner, OR; Joseph (Dody) Misek of Salem, OR; Neil (Marleen) Misek of Pasco; Vickie (Tim) Hammack of Kennewick; and Brian (Vicki) Misek of Fort Collins, CO; 13 grandchildren, 5 great-grandchildren and many beloved nieces, nephews, great nieces and great nephews.
She was a member of St. Patrick's Catholic Church, and the Misek children all attended St. Patrick's school.
Vivian worked as a waitress in the Tri-Cities from 1947 until her retirement more than 50 years later. She loved waiting on people through her work. She also enjoyed gardening and shared her bouquets of flowers with friends and family. She went out of her way to help people - family, friends or anyone in need throughout her life.
She will long be remembered as a loving sister, mother, grandmother, great grandmother and friend to many people she knew both in and outside the Tri-Cities area.

Friday, May 20, 2011

May 21, 2011 Armed Forces Day

President Harry S. Truman led the effort to establish a single holiday for citizens to come together and thank our military members for their patriotic service in support of our country.

On August 31, 1949, Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson announced the creation of an Armed Forces Day to replace separate Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force Days. The single-day celebration stemmed from the unification of the Armed Forces under one department -- the Department of Defense

Rally for Ryan Sunday May 22 in Lawrence

Rally For Ryan, a Spaghetti Feed and Silent Auction to help with medical expenses. Ryan Kile’s spinal cord was severely damaged as the result of an automobile accident. The event is sponsored by the Lawrence/Nelson Freshmen Parents and Sacred Heart Altar Society and will be held at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Lawrence on Sunday (May 22) 11 am to 1 p.m. Donations can be sent to the Ryan Kile Benefit Fund c/o US Bank, 305 N. Hastings, Hastings, NE 68901

Arthur R. White

Word has been recieved of the passing of Blue Hill Resident Arthur R. "Art" White, 59.  Art is the brother of Blue Hill resident Larry White.  More information will be posted as it becomes available.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Blue Hill


Saturday, May 28, 2011

Blue Hill Community Senior Center

Social Hour 5:00 PM ~ Banquet 6:00 PM


Send your photos ASAP to Keri Schunk,

PO Box 275, Blue Hill, NE 68930, email them to or drop them off at the City Office in Blue Hill.

Photos may be picked up at the banquet or returned to you

if a self-addressed envelope is enclosed. Please include year

of photo, your name(s) and any other information.


Yvonne (Peil) Kranau 402-756-2551

Kay (Strasburg) Jorgensen 402-463-4105

Keri Schunk 402-756-2295

Krista (Olson) Karr 402-756-8210

Reservations $15 by May

Quote of the Day

The sky was dark and gloomy, the air was damp and raw, the streets were wet and sloppy. The smoke hung sluggishly above the chimney-tops as if it lacked the courage to rise, and the rain came slowly and doggedly down, as if it had not even the spirit to pour. ~Charles Dickens

Gov. Heineman Appoints Michael Burns of Hastings to 10th Judicial District Judgeship

May 17, 2011  (Lincoln, Neb.) Gov. Dave Heineman today announced his appointment of Michael Patrick Burns of Hastings to serve as a county court judge for the 10th Judicial District of Nebraska, which includes the counties of Adams, Clay, Fillmore, Franklin, Harlan, Kearney, Nuckolls, Phelps, and Webster.
Burns, 44, has practiced law for 18 years in Nebraska. He is a partner at Sullivan, Shoemaker, Witt and Burns in Hastings, where he has worked since 1998.
Nine area lawyers have submitted their names for consideration to be appointed a county judge in the 10th Judicial District in Nebraska.
Making application for the post in addition to Michael Burns were, Jennifer D. Clark, Omaha; Donna S. Fegler Daiss, Hastings; Ryan K. Forrest, Omaha; Stacy R. Nonhof, Grand Island; Michelle J. Oldham, Hastings; Thomas S. Stewart, Kearney; Nancy G. Waldron, Exeter; and Bradley J. White, Hastings.
. The principal place of office for the judicial vacancy is Hastings. The vacancy is due to the retirement of Judge Jack R. Ott.
The Judicial nominating committee narrowed the list down to Burns and Thomas S. Stewart of Kearney and submitted the names of those two nominees to the Governor for his consideration.
 Michael Burns said he is excited, relieved and overwhelmed about his selection as the next judge for the 10th Judicial District.
Burns said he has mixed emotions because he will have to leave his current private practice and step down as Clay County public defender to accept the judgeship.
Burns said he got the call from Gov. Dave Heineman about 9 a.m. Tuesday.
“My staff notified me that it was the governor on the phone, so by the time I walked out of my office door, everyone was standing up looking at me,” Burns said. “I gave them the thumbs up and got congratulations from staff and fellow attorneys.”
After texting his wife, Teri, calling his parents and texting his sister about the news, Burns got back to work.
Prior to entering private practice, he was the Deputy County Attorney for Hall County from 1994 to 1996. In addition to his practice, Burns has been the Public Defender for Clay County since 2006, and has been appointed as a special prosecutor for cases in Adams, Kearney and Phelps Counties. From 1992 to 1993 he served as special prosecutor in the King County Prosecutor’s Office in Seattle.
For more than 12 years, Burns has been on the Board of Directors for the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of South Central Nebraska. He currently serves on the Nebraska Mediation Association’s Board of Directors. Burns is a mediator affiliated with the Central Nebraska Mediation Center since 2004, and has served as chairman of the 10th Judicial District Mental Health Board from 1999 to 2007. He has been a member of the Board of Directors for Legal Aid of Nebraska since its creation in 2000. He was admitted to the Nebraska State Bar in 1993.

Burns received his bachelor’s degree in 1989 from Creighton University and attended Creighton University School of Law, graduating in 1992.
Michael and his wife Teri make their home in Sutton, Nebraska. 
Four years ago Michael Burns was nominated to fill the position of Blue Hill City attorney  by then councilman Andy Alber and was endorsed by Jesse Alber.  After Burns spoke to the council, outlining his qualifications,  it was decided to offer the position of city attorney to Adam Pavelka. Pavelka has since resigned the position.

Free Park entry and Fishing Day

LINCOLN, Neb. – Free Fishing and Park Entry Day, Saturday, May 21, will be a chance for people to go fishing or visit a state park area in Nebraska and enjoy the experience without buying permits.
Although no fishing or park entry permits will be required on the free day, which is celebrated annually on the Saturday before Memorial Day weekend, all other fee requirements, laws and regulations will be in effect. Anglers at Two Rivers State Recreation Area trout lake will be required to purchase a daily trout tag.
As part of the Free Fishing and Park Entry Day activities, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission will host Family Fishing Day events at several locations across the state.
Although the public is encouraged to bring their own fishing gear, tackle will be available for children to use, including rods and reels, bobbers, hooks, sinkers, and bait. Commission employees and volunteer fishing instructors will hand out materials and offer fishing tips to the participants. Catfish or trout will be stocked at most of the lakes to increase the odds of everyone catching a fish.
Family Fishing Day activities are scheduled at the following areas:
— Alexandria State Recreation Area (SRA), 9:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
— Fort Robinson State Park (SP), 9 a.m.-noon
— Fremont SRA, Lake No. 3, 9 a.m.-noon
— Louisville SRA, 9 a.m.-noon
— Eugene T. Mahoney SP, Owen Marina, 9-11 a.m.
— Platte River SP, 9 a.m.-noon
— Ponca SP, 9 a.m.-8 p.m.
— Two Rivers SRA, Lake No. 1, 9 a.m.-noon
— Victoria Springs SRA, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
The following parks have activities not related to fishing:
— Rock Creek Station State Historical Park, Oregon Trail Day, experience life on the trail in the 1800s, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
— Fort Robinson SP – free Jeep rides and hayrack tours, museums open, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.; barbeque ($5), noon-1:30 p.m.
— Wildcat Hills SRA – 8K Fun Run, 8:30 a.m.; bird identification walk, 9 a.m.; youth games, 10 a.m.; wildflower identification walk, 1 p.m.; bighorn sheep tour, 2 p.m.

Make It In America

                                         Adrian Smith
Washington Report
The national average price of gas has increased by more than a dollar per gallon compared to this time last year, and nearly $2 over the last two years. As prices continue to rise, families and small businesses continue to struggle and frustrations mount. Congress is listening and acting on common sense solutions to increase the supply of American energy in order to lower costs, reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and create jobs.
Earlier this year the American Energy Initiative was launched to address soaring gas prices and encourage increased domestic energy production. Under the American Energy Initiative, we are working to stop government policies which are driving up the cost of fuel and taking critical steps to implement an all-of-the-above approach to solving our energy crisis.
The price of gasoline is directly related to its supply and demand, which is why we need to grow the supply of American energy. Even if it takes several years for new domestic sources of energy to produce at full capacity, beginning the projects now will calm market questions about the future. For example, when President George W. Bush gave a speech about lifting the offshore moratorium in 2008, the price of oil dropped over $9 per barrel during the speech alone.
Recently, I voted in favor of three bills – H.R. 1229, H.R. 1230, and H.R. 1231 – to help address soaring gas prices and increase domestic sources of energy, all of which passed the House.
H.R. 1230, the Restarting American Offshore Leasing Now Act, would move forward energy projects the Obama Administration has delayed or canceled by requiring the Secretary of the Interior to move forward and conduct offshore energy lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico and Virginia. This bill will proceed with the scheduled lease sales in a prompt, timely, and safe manner to increase American energy supply. If the bill reaches his desk and the President is willing to sign it, the measure would immediately impact fuel prices for the better.
Even though the Administration officially lifted its ban on offshore drilling last year, there continues to be a de facto moratorium limiting shallow or deepwater drilling permits, and it is costing the United States revenue and decreasing domestic production. A report by the National Center for Policy Analysis found declining oil production in the Gulf of Mexico is costing the U.S. $4.7 million a day in lost revenue.
Furthermore, the Energy Information Administration’s March 2011 “Short-Term Energy Outlook” said production from the Gulf of Mexico is expected to fall by 240,000 barrels per day in 2011. H.R. 1229, the Putting the Gulf Back to Work Act, would end the de facto moratorium and restart American energy production in the Gulf of Mexico in a safe, responsible and transparent manner by setting firm timelines for considering permits to drill.
In addition to the de fact moratorium on drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, the Administration has systemically taken steps to re-impose an offshore drilling ban which was lifted in 2008. The Reversing President Obama's Offshore Moratorium Act (H.R. 1231) would require the Administration move forward on American energy production in areas containing the most resources.
While these recent actions may seem small, they are a critical, common sense steps on the path to a strategic, all-of-the-above approach to domestic energy policy which will strengthen our economy and create thousands of new jobs. More importantly, it puts us on a path which will ease cost burdens on families and businesses across Nebraska’s Third District.
For more information about this issue, the latest developments from Congress, or to sign up for my e-mail newsletter, please visit my website at

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Tom Carlson Legislative Newsletter

Legislative Newsletter
Senator Tom Carlson-District 38
May 13, 2011
The budget bills were passed on Final Reading and sent to the Governor last week. The hard work of the Appropriations Committee, along with the fact there are no extra dollars to spend, made the first and second rounds of debate go rather quickly. The legislature took the situation of dwindling tax receipts to heart and made cuts where necessary to pass a balanced budget without raising sales or income taxes.
A bill making its way through the legislature is LB 684, introduced by Senator Schilz of Ogallala. I spoke on the bill during the second round of debate. The bill would create a Travel and Tourism Division Advisory Committee within the state Department of Economic Development.
The committee would develop a statewide strategic plan to cultivate and promote tourism, which is a $3.8 billion industry in our state. Nebraska hopes that due to higher gas prices, more residents will vacation closer to home. While this bill will not directly affect that effort, we always need more ways to encourage resident and visiting travelers to leave the interstate and enjoy our great state.
Lightweight, low speed electric cars will be allowed on some Nebraska roads under LB 289, now on Final Reading. The bill would let so-called “neighborhood electric vehicles” onto streets with a posted speed limit of less than 35 miles per hour. The vehicles must be four wheeled, weigh less than 3,000 pounds, and only reach speeds between 20 and 25 miles per hour. Drivers would be required to carry liability insurance, register the vehicle, and have a valid driver’s license. All vehicles purchased after January 1, 2012, would need a title.
Margo and I were in Arlington, Virginia, May 5th and 6th, for the annual conference of the Animal Agriculture Alliance. Members came from all segments of animal agriculture and have a goal of seeing meat production be well managed, profitable, and expanded to help fulfill our mission to feed the world.
We believe in the humane and proper raising and treatment of animals. In that point we agree with the animal activists. However, animals are not people with the same rights as human beings. Animals are property, and we strongly believe that status should not change.
We, in Nebraska, have appropriate oversight and regulation enforcement through the Department of Agriculture. Outside groups are unreasonable in their efforts to substantially change our way of livestock production. We can’t let them be successful.
I spoke for 25 minutes on the subject of animal activism and the harm it imposes on animal agriculture. Our mission to help feed the world is a noble mission. We must be successful and we must not be sidetracked by groups that have opposite views.

Senator Tom Carlson-District 38
May 6, 2011
The budget was the main topic last week in the legislature. Senator LaVon Heidemann, the chair of the Appropriations Committee, conducted an early morning briefing for senators and staff before the debate began. His committee worked hard all summer and fall to forward a bill with details of the next two year, $7 billion budget. The eight bills comprising the budget passed the first round of debate in less than four hours of discussion.
During the comment time of the briefing, I tried to make it clear that, in my opinion, as the economy improves we should rebuild the cash reserve to about $700 million before we increase spending.
During the debate an amendment to add unexpected cash receipts over the next two years to the cash reserve also passed. A $300 million cushion for the 2013-15 budget years might be realized if the Economic Forecasting Board is correct in its assumptions about the economy. The cash reserve is vital to Nebraska’s state budget. Senator Heidemann stated that a reserve of $700 to $800 million is the amount needed to be appropriate when crafting a state budget.
The reserve we had in Nebraska made the past biennial budgets work with few department cuts and no tax increases. Nebraskans are able to “tighten their belts” and make the best use of the money available when times are tough. However, most of the reserve is now expended. I have visited with legislators from other states in my role as chair of the Ag Committee. Nebraska is in very good shape compared to most, again due to the cash reserve and also to our Midwestern values.
We voted 44-0 to override the Governor’s veto of LB 600. The bill was strongly supported in District 38 and I appreciate those who contacted my office in regard to the over ride. LB 600 will cause nursing facilities to pay $3.50 per day per patient to the state. The money will then be leveraged for additional federal dollars. The bill is a way to return federal dollars to the state and control costs for both Medicaid and private pay patients. Long term care facilities will receive back $2.60 for every dollar paid to the state.
Nursing facilities do not profit under LB 600, they merely lose less. State reimbursement to private providers has been hit hard by the budget cuts I previously mentioned. The legislative Health and Human Services Committee has worked hard to find dollars where ever they can to ease the pain of these budget reductions.
A second veto override attempt that created a lot of discussion was LB 204, introduced by Senator Council of Omaha. The bill would have required blood tests for children attending public and parochial schools to determine their exposure to lead based paint.
There were exceptions to the testing if certain physician’s statements were provided or the testing would conflict with religious beliefs. I voted for the measure, but it failed on a vote of 21-20. Override motions require 30 votes.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Military Families Rightfully Proud of Service Members

Patriotism and a strong belief in service to country are some of the values that prompt so many Nebraskans to join the military. It’s not easy to be a member of the military and it requires considerable sacrifice, not only from the service member, but also from his or her family.
I’m glad to say that we live in a time when most Americans support our troops and their families. We’re proud of them and thank them for their service. Sadly, it hasn’t always been that way.
I’m also pleased to see that U.S. Service Flags are making a comeback as a way of letting us know which families in our neighborhoods have someone in the service or, tragically, which families may have lost someone in the military.
About U.S. Service Flags
The Service flag is an official banner authorized by the Department of Defense for display by families who have members serving in the Armed Forces. They may display it during any period of war or hostilities the United States may be engaged in for as long as the hostilities last.
According to Blue Star Mothers of America, the Service flag, also called the Blue Star Flag, was designed and patented by Army Captain Robert L. Queisser who had two sons serving on the front line during World War I. The flag quickly became the unofficial symbol of a child in service.
Later, the tradition was broadened by covering the blue star with a gold star on the service flag to indicate that the service member had made the ultimate sacrifice.
Rarely seen since World War II, family members of United States Military members are beginning to display United States Service Flags again to honor family members who are members of the United States Military, during the War on Terrorism.
Displaying Service Flags
Because the rules state that the service flag should be displayed in the window of a residence has created an unintended problem in some housing areas which needs to be corrected. I am co-sponsor of a bipartisan bill to allow service flags to be displayed on personal residential properties where housing association rules exist that prohibit the display of banners of any kind in windows.
We are all grateful for the service of the brave men and women who defend our country. We appreciate the sacrifices they make to protect our freedom, and we appreciate the sacrifices their families make while their loved ones are put in harm’s way far from home. Allowing military families to honor their service member with a U.S. service flag at their homes is the right thing to do. It respects their property rights, honors their right to freedom of expression, and lets all of us share in the pride of knowing one of our neighbors is bravely serving our country.


Administration Must Keep Sights on Economy and Job Creation

Several developments occurred last week in Washington that impact the debate we're having on debt, spending and job creation. One was a concerning report highlighting the need to reform our unsustainable entitlement programs. Meanwhile, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) was busy pushing for a change to federal law that could stifle job creation in right-to-work states like Nebraska. Both events highlighted the different but significant ways in which, if we don't take the responsible approach, we could end up hurting our economy instead of reviving it.

I appreciate President Obama reaching out and inviting Senate Republicans to the White House to discuss our debt. Last month I co-authored a letter to him, signed by 32 Republicans and 32 Democrats, urging him to show leadership on addressing our debt and deficit, and I hope last week's meeting is the first of many, not just window dressing. The President's leadership is critical in our efforts to rein in spending and bring down our debt. Though I can't say any new ground was broken, it's a start.

One of the many warning signs of the serious need to address our debt is the reality that we've maxed out the credit card by hitting our debt ceiling. I'm concerned about the potential of a debt default, but I remain equally concerned about the inevitable crisis we'll face if we don't reverse our runaway spending. I would need to see a substantial commitment to deficit reduction before I vote to increase the debt ceiling. Another red flag is being waved by some of our country's foremost experts on Medicare and Social Security. The Medicare and Social Security Trustees' report concludes we're now closer than previously thought to seeing the insolvency of both programs. Both are now paying out more than they're collecting in taxes. It reaffirms the urgency with which we must confront our spending.

Another development last week could impact the economy and job creation in a different way. Contrary to long-standing federal law, the NLRB asked a judge to force Boeing to halt construction of a new production line in South Carolina, a right-to-work state, because it already had one in Washington state.

NLRB claims the new facility is retaliation against unions in Washington state – a polarizing accusation that could hinder job creation in Nebraska by discouraging businesses from hiring in right-to-work states. NLRB's claim is unfounded; since Boeing expanded to South Carolina, the Washington line has actually hired 2,000 more workers. We should be encouraging job creation, not discouraging it – not to mention the stunning government overreach into private business plans. I've signed onto a bill that would guarantee an employer the right to decide where to hire within the U.S. and prevent NLRB from ordering employers to relocate jobs.

We've got important work to do in the months ahead, and the Administration will be critical in determining whether we help our economy by encouraging job creation and controlling our finances, or take steps backward by playing political games with jobs and encouraging more reckless spending. I'll continue to advocate for the responsible approach and for the best interests of our great state.

DONALD DEAN ROBINSON 12-15-29 TO 5-14-11

Ayr resident, Donald “Don” Dean Robinson, 81, passed away Saturday, May 14, 2011 at his home.
Services will be Thursday, May 19, 2011; 10:30 A.M. at Trinity Lutheran Church, Blue Hill with Pastor Joshua Lowe and Pastor James Witt officiating. Burial will be in Blue Valley Cemetery, Ayr, Nebraska. Visitation will be Tuesday, May 17, 2011; 5:00 P.M. – 9:00 P.M., Wednesday, May 18, 2011; 9:00 A.M. – 9:00 P.M. with family present from 5:00 P.M. – 7:00 P.M. at the funeral home, and 1 hour prior to service at the church. Memorials may be given to Ayr Volunteer Fire Department or Blue Valley Cemetery Association.
Don was born December 15, 1929 in Roseland, Nebraska to Kim and Anna Pearl (Kistler) Robinson. He graduated from Ayr High School. On August 27, 1950 he married Vonda Lee Bachman; she preceded him in death on April 3, 2008. Don was an area farmer and operated Robinson Saw Shop. Don was a fire chief with the Ayr Volunteer Fire Department and was a member of Trinity Lutheran Church in Blue Hill.
Don was preceded in death by his parents; and wife, Vonda Lee “Toot” Robinson.
Survivors include:
Daughters and Spouses: Deb and Randy Koehler – Nelson, NE
Kate and Marshall Glebe – Roseland, NE
Son and; Spouse: Jim and Angie Robinson – Ayr, NE
Fiancée: Ethel Louise Anderson – Bogue, KS
Grandchildren: 21
Great-Grandchildren: 17
Sister and Spouse: Carolyn and Arnold Hinrichs – Sun Lakes, AZ
Brother and Spouse: Ken and Vikki Robinson – Imperial, NE,
Many Nieces, Nephews, and numerous friends
Livingston, Butler ,Volland Funeral Home & Cremation Center at 1225 N. Elm Ave,  Hastings, NE 68901 in charge of arrangements.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Smith Statement on Social Security and Medicare Trustee Report

Washington, D.C. - Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) today issued the following reaction after the release of the Social Security and Medicare Trustees Report.

"Today’s report confirms we must take steps now to strengthen these vital programs. Without action, current and future beneficiaries will face significant cuts even sooner than previously estimated. Now is the time to work together to correct the unsustainable path of these programs."
The report released today said Medicare and Social Security programs are running out of money more quickly than anticipated in the 2010 Trustees Report. The 2011 Trustees Reports say the Medicare trust will be exhausted in 2024, not 2029 as estimated last year, and the Social Security trust funds will run out of funds in 2036, not 2037 as previously thought.
The Trustees are made up of the Secretary of the Treasury, Secretary of Labor, Secretary of Health and Human Services, Commissioner of Social Security, and two Senate confirmed public trustees appointed by the President.
The Trustees issue an annual report, conducted by nonpartisan actuaries at the Social Security Administration and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, estimating future financial obligations and revenues of the programs, including the value of each program’s trust fund.
Smith serves on the Committee on Ways and Means, which has jurisdiction over Medicare and Social Security.

Johanns: Report on Social Security, Medicare Alarming

WASHINGTON – In light of a report released today by the Medicare and Social Security Trustees, U.S. Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) emphasized the urgency of addressing government spending and our national debt. The report concluded that the Social Security program is now operating under permanent annual deficits and that the Social Security trust fund will be exhausted by 2036. It also accelerated the year in which Medicare will become insolvent to 2024.
"While various proposals and ideas to address our soaring debt and deficit have been picked apart and criticized, we continue to see powerful evidence of the need for serious action on entitlements," Johanns said. "Today's report by the nonpartisan Trustees again rebuts the false notion that Social Security and Medicare – which constitute one-third of the federal budget – are in fine shape and not part of our debt crisis. Those interested in a responsible effort to get our fiscal house in order acknowledge we cannot draw lines in the sand when it comes to reining in our spending and getting our country back on a sustainable path."

The Medicare and Social Security Trustees report concluded:
• Both programs are already paying out more in benefits than they are collecting in taxes.
• Social Security's unfunded liability has increased: now projected at $6.5 trillion – up from $5.4 trillion last year.
• Social Security's insolvency is on the horizon, with Trust Funds expected to be insolvent by 2036.
• The Medicare Part A Trust Fund is expected to be exhausted in 2024, a full five years ahead of the date predicted in last year's report.

o The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office projects insolvency by 2020.
• Medicare's projected unfunded obligations have increased from $36.3 trillion to $38.4 trillion.
• The Medicare Actuary states even these projections could be too optimistic:
o "The financial projections shown in this report…do not represent a reasonable expectation for actual program operations."
o For example, today's estimates assume Medicare physician payments will be reduced by 29.4 percent on January 1, 2012, which the Medicare Actuary calls an "implausible expectation."
o In addition, the Actuary states that due to changes to Medicare mandated by the health care law, "the prices paid by Medicare for health services are very likely to fall increasingly short of costs of providing these services," which would result in "severe problems with beneficiary access to care."

Flags to be flown at half-staff on Sunday, May 15.

Nebraskans Encouraged to Remember Sacrifices of Law Enforcement during 2011 Peace Officers' Memorial Day
(Lincoln, Neb.) Gov. Heineman is reminding Nebraskans that U.S. and Nebraska flags will be flown at half-staff on Sunday, May 15 in observance of Peace Officers’ Memorial Day. President Barack Obama is expected to sign a proclamation ordering flags to be flown at half-staff nationwide.
In 1994, a federal law was enacted encouraging the American flag to be lowered to half-staff every May 15 in remembrance of the more than 19,000 law enforcement officers who have sacrificed their lives in the line of duty to their fellow citizens.
In Nebraska, 132 officers have lost their lives in the line of duty since 1866. Those who have made the ultimate sacrifice include federal, state, county, municipal and tribal agency officers, as well as railroad, game and parks, and correctional officers.


Duane A. Lienemann,
UNL Extension Educator,
 Webster County
May 13, 2011 Edition
We are in the middle of May. I know that brings us to the end of school for another year, most cattle are in their pastures or soon will be, wheat is closing in on boot stage, and usually a high percentage of planting is done. But my mind is on a simple question for this weekend……Charburgers or Steak? Actually it is a question that many other people are asking as the weather warms and people begin firing up their grills. I have to admit, mine has been fired up a couple of times already. This is a great time to enjoy the high-quality beef for which our state is known. Actually this is perfect timing because May is National Beef Month! This unique celebration, which began more than 40 years ago, honors the cattle producers and food marketers who produce and bring to the marketplace high quality and nutritious beef.
While celebrating National Beef Month in itself may not seem to be a big deal and if I had my way, every day would be beef day. At the very least I think we all should stop for a moment and think about the importance of the bovine species to our state. While it seems that animal agriculture is being denigrated on many fronts and even here in Nebraska, one must realize that they are biting the hand that feeds them. The Nebraska cattle industry is the state’s single largest industry and it is the engine that powers the state’s economy.

Cash receipts from farm marketing contributed over $15.3 billion to Nebraska’s economy in 2009 and 5 percent of the U.S. total economy. Livestock products account for about 2/3 of Nebraska's farm income and drum roll please….beef cattle are the most important source by far. As a matter of fact Nebraska ranks #3 among the states in total livestock receipts. The multiplied impact of the $7.5 billion in cattle sales each year is more than $12 billion to Nebraska’s economy. Cattle-related employment means income for businesses up and down every main street in towns and cities across the state. As goes the economics of beef cattle production, so go the other economies in Nebraska.

Beef is also a huge contributor to Nebraska and US global exports. Why is that important? Every dollar in agricultural exports generates $1.36 in economic activities such as transportation, financing, warehousing, and production. Nebraska’s $4.8 billion in agricultural exports translate into an additional $6.5 billion in additional economic activity. The top three agricultural exports in value are soybeans and products, feed grains and products, and live animals and meat, of which beef is an important component. So, beef contributes mightily to our export formula in Nebraska.
It may interest you that in 2010 Nebraska ranked number one nationally in commercial red meat production, with 7,144,800,000 lbs; commercial cattle slaughter with 6,950,300 head which represents 20.3% of the United States' commercial cattle harvest; and in commercial cattle slaughter, live weight – 9,124,450,000 lbs. In addition Nebraska beef ranks 2nd in the nation in all cattle on feed as of Jan. 1, 2011 with 2,550,000 head and comprised 21.9% of the cattle on feed across the United States. Another bit of trivia - we as Nebraskan’s have the top three beef cow counties in the U.S.
For the purists, Nebraska had 1.83 million head of cows on hand January 1, 2011, with a calf crop totaling 1.66 million head. That puts Nebraska ranking 3rd in the nation in all cattle and calves with a grand total of 6,200,000 head. If you compare that to the almost 1.8 million people that live in Nebraska you will see that there are almost 4 head of beef for every human being in this state. It is easy to argue that this truly is the Beef State.
Nebraska's prominence in our nation's cattle industry is due, in part, to the rich natural resources in the state and to the willingness of the producer to adapt to change. The cattle industry is an industry of constant change. Cattle producers are responsive to the demands of consumers around the world. By using more productive genetics, planned crossbreeding systems, better health programs, and computerized record keeping, today's producer can provide both the breeder and the feeder with cattle to meet both industry and consumer demands.
Nebraska wouldn’t be the beef supplier for U.S. and international consumers without Nebraska’s cattle producing families who make their living from the land and have a strong incentive to protect their animals and the environment. Caring for our animals is a family tradition and 97 percent of America’s cattle farms and ranches are family run.
Nebraskans living in the state’s top livestock producing counties enjoy higher levels of personal income than those living in other non-metropolitan counties. This confirms that there is a strong connection between thriving livestock production and a thriving local economy. From feed grains to veterinary services, from insurance to supplies, from financial services to employee paychecks, dollars from livestock production tend to stay local, helping drive economic vitality and create greater wealth in that community.
I am proud that Webster and Adams Counties in this area are both designated as Nebraska Livestock Friendly Counties. Livestock production is intrinsically linked to economic development. Communities that recognize this– and encourage the development of responsible livestock production – are improving their prospects for the future as well as helping the entire Nebraska economy and budget. Nebraska is the Beef State. Please join me this month celebrating. It doesn’t really matter if it is that burger or steak sending out that aroma – just join me in celebrating National Beef Month!

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, May 13, 2011

UNL recognizes Big Red Stars of 2011


Lincoln, Neb., May 13th, 2011 —
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln recognized Nebraska eighth-graders for their academic excellence, leadership and perseverance May 12 at the 2011 Big Red Stars Recognition Ceremony. Big Red Stars is a special recognition program designed to recognize outstanding eighth-grade students in the state of Nebraska. These talented students were nominated by school principals as students who showcase strong leadership skills and academic promise. The 2011 Big Red Stars nominees were recognized at an award ceremony sponsored by UNL and EducationQuest May 12 at the Lied Center for Performing Arts on the UNL campus. Highlights of the event included individual recognition and awards for the 2011 Big Red Stars nominees and special remarks from Gov. Dave Heineman. Attending and being recognized from Blue Hill was Keithen Druery. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Gov. Heineman Signs Bill Updating Nebraska Truancy Statutes

May 11, 2011 (Lincoln, Neb.) Gov. Dave Heineman today signed LB 463 into law, which updates state statute regarding truancy in Nebraska K-12 schools. The bill includes the emergency clause and will take effect tomorrow.
LB 463 updates truancy requirements enacted last year for K-12 students to provide greater flexibility in cases involving documented illnesses. School district policies must now include provisions on how school officials and county will handle excessive absenteeism that is due to serious or extended illness.
“As parents and policy makers, we have a responsibility to do everything we can to encourage our young people to be in school,” Gov. Heineman said. “If students aren’t in school, they can’t learn. This is about helping students succeed in the classroom. It’s also critical that school districts implement this law with common sense.”
Data compiled by the Nebraska Department of Education indicates that nearly 22,000 students, or approximately eight percent of all K-12 students in Nebraska, were absent more than 20 school days during the 2009-10 school year. Analysis conducted by Dr. Roger Breed, Commissioner of Education, indicates that truant 11th graders scored approximately 30 points lower on the 2010 statewide reading assessment compared to fellow students who hadn’t missed 20 days of school.
LB 463 authorizes the Learning Community Coordinating Council, made up of representatives of the 11 school districts in the greater Omaha metro area, to provide funding for juvenile diversion programs intended to reduce excessive absenteeism. Superintendents will also develop and implement a joint plan to reduce truancy in learning community schools by August.
The bill also provides $100,000 to help the state court system provide early intervention through juvenile diversion programs to reduce excessive absenteeism.
State law still requires school districts to report to the county attorney when a child is absent more than 20 days during a school year. Schools have the discretion to determine how to respond when a child is absent more than five days in a quarter.

Johanns Stands For Life

Nebraska Senator Sponsors Legislation to Protect Life and Prohibit Taxpayer Funding of Abortions
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) sponsored two pieces of legislation protecting life this week. The No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act would ensure American taxpayers are not funding, or subsidizing health care plans that would cover, the destruction of innocent human life through abortions. The Protect Life Act specifically prohibits federal taxpayer dollars from being used to pay for elective abortions in the recently passed healthcare law.
“There is no priority more important to me than the protection of unborn children,” said Johanns. “Preventing taxpayer dollars from funding abortion is good policy that is broadly supported by the American people. Congress has endorsed this approach again and again and it should be the law of the land as soon as possible.”

Filling Health Care Gaps in Rural Nebraska

Monday, May 9, 2011

By Senator Ben Nelson
When seniors in rural Nebraska can’t make it to larger cities to see a geriatric specialist, the University of Nebraska Medical Center is finding a way to take the specialty care to them with a new state of the art mobile medical facility resulting from a local and federal partnership.
This is an important and needed service because Nebraska’s population is aging. In 2000, the percentage of Nebraskans who were 65 or older made up 13 percent of the population. Projections call for this number to increase to 21 percent of the population by 2030.
As we age, we need more regular access to medical providers, especially those who specialize in geriatrics.
That’s difficult to come by in rural areas of the state, which often have trouble recruiting general practitioners, let alone specialists.
Clinic on Wheels
If the patients can’t go to UNMC, UNMC can now go to them using a new, specially equipped medical clinic on wheels.
UNMC’s mobile clinic is a very impressive 38-foot-long RV equipped with exam rooms, labs and tele health capabilities, staffed by geriatric nurse practitioners, which are in short supply. Claudia Chaperon, the geriatric nurse practitioner who will oversee the mobile clinic, said the goal is to help older Nebraskans stay independent and keep them out of nursing homes.
Geriatric assessments can include laboratory and other diagnostic screening tests to assess a patient’s physical, mental and social condition. The focus includes depression and memory, hearing and vision problems. Memory loss is particularly common, resulting in such problems as patients forgetting to take medication.
By making these screening and preventive services available to seniors, we hope it will reduce the need for more serious medical attention down the road.
Initial Service Area
The mobile clinic will have a route that takes it from Norfolk to Neligh to Red Cloud where it will provide its health screenings and specialized services for older Nebraskans. At first, the clinic will operate six days a month. Ultimately, it will offer its services eight days a month. For the future, they hope to expand to other areas of the state.
To make this mobile clinic even better, it will be used as a training tool for students enrolled in the College of Nursing’s geriatric nurse practitioner program that will hopefully help get more students to specialize in geriatric services and show them the value of serving rural communities.
As Benjamin Franklin said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
This is the type of partnership between the federal government, UNMC and the people of Nebraska that will end up saving lives and saving money.

Smith Urges U.S. Postal Service to Evaluate Impact of Closing Rural Post Offices

Washington, D.C. - Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE), along with Congressman Lee Terry (R-NE) and Congressman Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE), sent a letter to the Postmaster General of the United States Postal Service (USPS) urging the agency to keep in mind the impact on local communities when considering the closing or consolidation of a rural mail facility.
"As the USPS works to fix its budget deficit, we must uphold the original mission of serving both rural and urban areas," Smith said. "I applaud the recent efforts by the USPS to balance its budget, but I hope it will keep in mind the impact on communities, jobs, and urgent mail delivery when deciding whether to close a facility."
On March 31, 2011, the USPS proposed a rule which would change the process of closing small, rural post offices. While current law prohibits USPS from closing an office solely for financial purposes, there is concern rural post offices are being targeted for closure because they are not generating revenue, not because it would save a significant amount of money.
According to the Postal Regulatory Commission, closing all 10,000 small and rural post offices would save only seven-tenths of one percent of the USPS operating budget.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Lenora S. Knehans 9/16/1917 to 5/08/2011

Hastings resident, Lenora S. Knehans, 93, passed away Sunday, May 8, 2011 at Mary Lanning Memorial Hospital, Hastings, Nebraska.

Services will be Thursday, May 12, 2011; 10:30 A.M. at Faith Lutheran Church, Hastings with Pastor Paul Dunbar officiating. Burial will be in 1:30 P.M. at Zion Lutheran Cemetery, rural Webster County, Nebraska. Visitation will be Wednesday, May 11, 2011; 1:00 P.M. – 9:00 P.M. at the funeral home, and 1 hour prior to service at the church. Memorials may be given to Faith Lutheran Church or Calvary Lutheran Church in Rosemont, Nebraska.
Lenora was born September 16, 1917 in rural Blue Hill, Nebraska to Fred and Anna (Waterman) Krueger. She attended Trinity Lutheran School in Blue Hill, Nebraska.
 On April 13, 1941 she married Gerhard C. Knehans in Blue Hill.   Gerhard preceded her in death on February 26, 2000.
They farmed in the Guide Rock and Lawrence area where they were members of Calvary Lutheran church at Rosemont. Lenora was a homemaker and at the time of her death a member of Faith Lutheran Church.
Lenora was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Gerhard C. Knehans; four brothers, Elmer, Alfred, Fred, and Anton (Tony); and twin sister, Elnora Rose.
Survivors include:
Sons and Daughters-in-law: Douglas and Linda Knehans – Guide Rock, NE
Gerhard (Gary) and Gayle Knehans – Garden City, KS
Eldon and Barbara Knehans – Bayfield, CO
Daughter and Son-in-law: Janice Knehans and Richard Pollock – Lexington, KY
Grandchildren: Erika
Gary Lynn
Great-Grandchildren: 11

Saturday, May 7, 2011


Duane A. Lienemann,
 UNL Extension Educator,
 Webster County
May 6, 2011 Edition

I absolutely love this time of year. The cool nights and nice days (when it doesn’t have gale force winds), the greening of the trees, growing grass, cattle branding and trailers heading towards pastures, and I can’t forget the smell of spring rain - all signal a new year, a new beginning. While all this sounds rather “Rockwell”ish, many people are impervious to the daily attacks on agriculture that are building steam and getting stronger. We could look at all of the segments in agriculture that are exposed to this risk, but let us today look at the animal agriculture continuum.

One of the major societal groups that are attacking agriculture and particularly animal agriculture are the “Vegans.” Not to be confused with “vegetarians” who simply choose not to eat meat. For those of you who are not familiar with the term Vegan, here is a simple explanation. Basically, a Vegan subsists on a diet that excludes meat, eggs, dairy products and all other animal-derived ingredients. Most vegans also do not eat foods that are processed using animal products, such as refined white sugar and some wines. Vegans also avoid the use of all products tested on animals, as well as animal-derived non-food products, such as leather, fur and wool. They not only don’t eat or use animals or animal products – they don’t want anyone else to either and will go to incredible lengths to see that we don’t.

That is fine if they choose to live that way, but my problem is that they are trying to force their ideology on all of us, and in the meantime destroy the livelihoods of many of us involved in the production of high protein food for consumers, who are bombarded with myths, lies, half-truths and large treasure chests that can buy advertisement, create anti-animal ag movies and even pay for lawyers to sue livestock producers, feed yards and packers. It is not a level playing field. I can’t believe the lengths that they go to in order to disrupt if not destroy one of the biggest industries in this state and so important to our nation’s stability. I always thought there was something wrong with these people, and now I find scientific proof. Are you ready for this? Here is the headline “Study Finds Vegens Have Smaller Brains”.
It seems that scientists at the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics at the University of Oxford, have discovered that going veggie could be bad for your brain – with those on a meat-free diet six times more likely to suffer brain shrinkage. The study involved tests and brain scans on community-dwelling volunteers aged 61 to 87 years without cognitive impairment at enrolment, over a period of five years. When the volunteers were retested five years later the medics found those with the lowest levels of vitamin B12 were also the most likely to have brain shrinkage. It confirms earlier research showing a link between brain atrophy and low levels of B12. Vegans are the most likely to be deficient because the best sources of the vitamin are meat, particularly liver, milk and fish - all on Vegans “will not consume” list.
I have been hollering for quite some time now that we need to really work on advocacy for policies that benefit agribusiness because of the efforts of groups like the Vegan groups, as well as groups like HSUS, PETA, FARM, Farm Sanctuary, ALF and about a hundred other anti-animal ag groups. I am delighted to find that one of our ag oriented universities to our south, Oklahoma State University, is offering a senior-level course entitled “Animal Agriculture Advocacy & Policy.” The course was designed to equip animal science majors at OSU with the information and skills needed to become agriculture advocates and industry spokesman. It's a response to what the originators of the course consider anti-agribusiness advocacy. I have to tell you that I would envision that happening at the University of Nebraska and in our agriculture education classes in our high schools across the state. If we don’t approach this issue and take the bull by the horn, as OSU does, we may someday pay the ultimate price.

To provide a countering view for our continually stronger and bolder detractors, we need every graduate in animal science, we need every agriculture person out there to talk to consumers, and help them understand that animal agriculture is strong, and that we are doing everything we possibly can to keep our animals comfortable. We need to communicate the good things that we do for animal welfare, providing the food for a growing population and how we provide the safest food in the world. We also need to make sure that our producers follow the good production practices and quality assurance for animal welfare. We cannot afford to have those bad apples that seem to be highlighted way too often.

The semester class at OSU featured speakers that included lawmakers, industry spokesmen and academics who are leading the fight against those looking to end traditional animal agriculture in America. The class goes beyond just speakers. Other parts include teaching how you advocate, how to face the detractors effectively, how to keep our own house in order, and how to get the truth out to citizens and consumers.
For generations, farmers have been “telling” their story through their output, and many of my farmer friends think that should be sufficient. What we have accomplished is admirable, if not incredible; however, in the age of social media, that's no longer enough. Fast, well-reasoned responses to criticism are essential and all of us involved in agriculture and especially the young people who will be the agricultural leaders of tomorrow need to have those tools. I compliment OSU animal science for being the first in the nation to take this big, important step. Now if we can all follow suit…Go Pokes!

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: