Wednesday, February 29, 2012


February 29, 2012 – Today, Nebraska’s Senator Ben Nelson and 53 of his colleagues stood up for human rights in Iran and made clear that the United States will condemn Iran’s upcoming parliamentary elections if they are not free, fair and up to international standards.
“The people of Iran should know that the American people stand with them in their struggle for freedom and honest representation in their government. Today’s action shows the Iranian people that we are on their side,” Senator Nelson said. “Iranian authorities have a long history of restricting free speech and using politically-motivated violence to influence elections in that country – despite agreeing to United Nations standards for civil and political rights. We hope that pattern of corruption and injustice does not continue in the Iranian elections later this week.”
Nelson and his colleagues introduced a Senate resolution today calling for the Iranian government to allow international monitors to be present for their March 2, 2012 elections and to lift restrictions on assembly, political expression and access to information.
Recent reports have detailed that, leading up to this week’s elections, the Iranian government has been harassing and detaining journalists and dissidents, and limiting public access to the Internet.
As they did in their 2009 national election, the Iranian Council of Guardians, a group appointed in part by the country’s lead cleric, has already disqualified more than 2,000 candidates. Distrust of the system has prompted nearly 40 prominent Iranian political prisoners and several domestic Iranian reform groups to call for a boycott of the upcoming election.
Iran’s 2009 election was widely condemned both inside Iran and throughout the world as neither free nor fair. In fact, several candidates from the 2009 election remain in indefinite detention.
Large-scale peaceful protests of the 2009 election by Iranian citizens were met by a campaign of intimidation and violence from their government, including acts of rape, torture and public executions.
Today’s Senate resolution notes that Iran’s government has signed the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which states that every citizen has the right to vote in “genuine periodic elections” that reflect the “free expression of the will of the electors.”
The resolution reminds the Iranian government of its obligations under the U.N. Covenant and “condemns the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s widespread human rights violations.”
The bipartisan effort in support of the resolution is led by Senators John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).

Governor Heineman Announces Trade Mission to China

Governor & NE Business Leaders to Expand Economic Development Opportunities
(Lincoln, Neb.) Gov. Dave Heineman today announced that he will lead a delegation of Nebraskans on a trade mission to China July 28 – August 3, 2012. The trade mission includes stops in Beijing, Xi’an and Shanghai, China. This will mark the eleventh trade mission by Gov. Heineman’s administration.
“Today’s announcement represents an important continuation of our trade efforts,” Gov. Dave Heineman said. “China is a growing export market for Nebraska and it is important that we continue to explore new opportunities. We hope to generate new markets for many Nebraska products and our hope is to attract Chinese companies who want to expand into the American market, especially those interested in doing business in Nebraska.”
Joining Gov. Heineman on this trade mission will be approximately thirty-five business leaders including Catherine Lang, Director of the Nebraska Department of Economic Development, economic development professionals from several Nebraska communities, representatives from the University of Nebraska, and Nebraska industry leaders.
China is Nebraska’s fourth largest trading partner and one of the state’s fastest growing markets, having more than doubled during the past five years with a 36% increase in 2011. Combined exports totaled more than $380 million last year, up from nearly $279 million in 2010.
This trade mission is funded in part by a State Trade and Export Program (STEP) grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration. The STEP program’s objective is to increase the number of companies exporting and the value of those exports. Nebraska Department of Economic Development administers the grant program which allows the Department to reimburse companies participating in the U.S. Department of Chamber Gold Key, International Partner Search or International Company Profile components.

Leap Year

As you likely know, 2012 is a leap year. That means that today is February 29, a day that only pops up once every four years.  So this year, you have the gift of an extra day to get your years work done.     How Does a Leap Year Work?  Here is a basic explanation. A Gregorian calendar measures the amount of time it takes the earth to revolve around the sun, roughly 365 days. In fact, it takes about 365 days and 6 hours for earth to revolve around the sun. To make up for the extra six hours, we add an extra day to the calendar every four years. So Make it an extra special good day!   Happy Leap Day!!!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Two Rivers State Recreation Area Open for Trout Fishing March 10

LINCOLN, Neb. – The trout lake at Two Rivers State Recreation Area (SRA) will open March 10 for family fishing this spring.
All trout caught in the lake must be harvested and not released. Anglers must first purchase from the park office a daily trout tag for $4. Each tag is good for a daily bag limit of four trout. A person may have up to three tags per day and 12 trout in possession. An adult angler may have two children under the age of 16 fishing under the authority of his tag, but the group bag limit still is limited to four trout per tag.
The trout lake (Lake No. 5) is open from 7 a.m. to sunset each day. Anglers, except residents younger than age 16, must have a Nebraska fishing license. All vehicles entering the park must have a park entry permit. Anglers possessing trout on any other lake at Two Rivers SRA must have a trout tag as well. Anglers are allowed to use one fishing rod and reel each.
Approximately 12,000 rainbow trout will be stocked in the lake by March 10.
For more information, call Two Rivers SRA at 402-359-5165.

Serious Corporate Tax Reform Needed

Sen. Mike Johanns

President Obama released a corporate tax proposal last week which, while offering some sensible changes, unfortunately takes a political approach to an issue requiring an objective one. Changes to the tax code will affect every American, and I find it unfortunate that the President has waited until now to introduce his plan as a campaign talking point. The proposed lower rates are overshadowed by newly-proposed market-distorting loopholes which reward or punish areas of the economy based on his political agenda.
The President's proposal does have a good starting point by lowering the corporate tax rate from 35 to 28 percent. This is important for several reasons. Under the current 35 percent rate, the U.S. will soon have the highest corporate tax rate in the world. As we look for policies that will help ease the unemployment rate, a punitively high tax rate actually serves as an incentive for companies to move their operations overseas, where they can pay lower taxes.
Though 28 percent would still be above the international average, lowering the rate is a positive step forward, and one I hope will apply to small businesses and families as we discuss overhauling our entire tax code.
Yet the President's tax reform proposal goes astray when it begins picking winners and losers. That he would even begin to insert his own personal preferences into our country's already too-complex tax code is troubling. Tax reform should be about making our tax code simpler, fairer, and encouraging of job growth within the United States. Instead, the President has chosen to use it as a vehicle to reward friends and push his Administration's political agenda.
For example, the Administration's plan calls for higher taxes on oil and gas companies, while continuing to offer credits and incentives for his favorite green energy projects. Certainly alternative energy sources are an important part of our energy future, but increasing taxes on traditional energy sources only means more costs to be passed on to every American who drives a car. At a time when gas prices are already at historic levels, more pain at the pump for everyone is far from a responsible approach.
For four years, President Obama has been trying to find ways to boost our economy. His initial approach, bloated stimulus and deficit spending, did little to nothing to improve our economy but was devastating to our country's fiscal health. With corporate tax reform, there's an opportunity to make a positive difference, by bringing the corporate tax rate down to a level that eliminates the incentive to move jobs overseas. The President shouldn't let politics get in the way of this sensible goal.

Nebraska’s Impressive Communicators

Sen. Ben Nelson
When rural Americans really need local news they turn to their community newspapers and local radio stations. While, television also does a good job, most rural areas are without their own TV stations, so the residents rely on hometown papers and radio stations. We saw this last year during the flooding that destroyed homes, farms, businesses, roads and bridges. Local communicators were on the job keeping their readers and audiences informed.
There has long been a tie between local radio and newspapers in Nebraska, which got me to thinking as I spoke to representatives of some 2,000 local radio stations who were visiting Washington, D.C. this past week. I took the opportunity to give them a little Nebraska history lesson of how our communicators get it done in rural areas.
Newspapers Were 1st Broadcasters
In 1922, three newspaper publishers established Nebraska’s first commercially-owned radio stations in their home communities: Lincoln, Hastings and Norfolk.
The Lincoln and Hastings stations didn’t last two years, but WJAG in Norfolk has been continuously broadcasting ever since.
Of course, nobody in Norfolk had a radio receiver at that time, so The Norfolk Daily News ran daily full-page ads offering a few free radio sets, and listing local retailers where people could buy them.
A Legend is Born
Karl Stefan, the newspaper’s city editor, was the first announcer on the station. He began his daily broadcast with a trademark greeting: “Hello friends. Hello everybody! You are listening to WJAG, The Norfolk Daily News station and we’re located AT Norfolk, IN Nebraska.”
Stefan encouraged contact from his listeners and invited them to become members of his “lunch-hour radio family,” gathered around a mythical dinner table.
Stefan would discuss local affairs, read pieces of information from the Daily News, and he was the first to broadcast the Associated Press newspaper wire over the radio in Nebraska.
In October 1922, Stefan was one of the first to broadcast a simulated play-by-play of baseball’s World Series, which he reconstructed from wire accounts – even adding his own in-studio sound effects.
Karl Stefan’s efforts to serve his listeners paid off. By early 1924, one thousand listeners requested seats at WJAG’s family table.
In 1926, there were twenty thousand members of the radio family, and by 1932, nearly one hundred thousand listeners had contacted the station for membership.
In serving rural Northeast Nebraskans, Radio Digest wrote that WJAG, “eliminated distance and brought scattered house holders into a neighborhood community.”
Stefan did such a good job serving the people of Northeast Nebraska that they drafted him and elected him to Congress in 1934.
WJAG’s station manager explained “Karl did not seek the office of Congressman. It sought him.”
We Could Use More Karl Stefans
Karl Stefan was an FDR supporter who was elected as a Republican.
He refused to sling political mud and said his goal was good policy, “whether it was proposed by Republicans or Democrats, which … is for the best interests of the people of this district.”
Frankly, we could use more people like Karl Stefan in Washington today, working for the best interests of our country. We need that because the challenges we face—from the economy to infrastructure, education to the environment, the debt to foreign policy—demand partnerships, not partisanship, if we are going to win the future.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Quote of the day

The public is the only critic whose opinion is worth anything at all.

Mark Twain

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Earmarks By Any Name Are Still Earmarks

Senator Mike Johanns
As if the Congressional approval rating isn't low enough, the Senate, after swearing off earmarks and carve-outs, is now considering a bill containing an earmark. It's not obvious at first glance, but if you dig through the legislative text of the highway bill currently being considered, you'll find a provision which clearly falls under the definition of an earmark as outlined by Rule 44 in the Standing Rules of the Senate. Because of the Senate's no-earmark pledge, along with President Obama's promise to veto any bill with earmarks, the Senate should demand this bill be changed. I've introduced an amendment which would strip the earmark.
Here's what the provision in question does. First, it identifies a very specific section (an old earmark, as it happens) from the 2005 highway bill. This provision is so specific that we know it applies solely to an earmark to fund the Nevada portion of a Maglev rail project from Las Vegas to Los Angeles. That project has since proven so expensive that even the addition of an earmark could not get the project off the ground. Taxpayer dollars appropriated for the earmark – $45 million – have sat unspent for years. The highway bill currently before us explicitly identifies this money and gives it to "such state" as was identified previously – in this case, Nevada.
According to the Senate rules, that's an earmark. The provision directs a specific amount of funding to a specific state, by rescinding an old earmark. Instead of returning the taxpayer money to the federal Treasury, the provision spends it through a new earmark, directed once again to Nevada.
Some claim this provision isn't an earmark because it's not "new spending." This argument cannot hold. For one, the Senate's definition of an earmark does not mention anything about "new" spending. Second, accepting this argument means that any member could delete wasteful spending programs and send the money to pet projects without acknowledging that the provision is in fact an earmark. Furthermore, because President Obama has vowed to veto any bill containing an earmark, this provision must be stripped for the bill as a whole to have any chance of becoming law.
The year I arrived in the Senate, 2009, I took a stand against earmarks. I believed then, as I do now, that the earmark process lacks openness and transparency. Earmarks are often used to entice members of Congress to vote for legislation they might otherwise reject as irresponsible. In an age of trillion dollar annual deficits and a $15 trillion national debt, it is unacceptable to use taxpayer dollars as bargaining chips. The federal government is borrowing 42 cents of every dollar spent and should not borrow more to give the state of Nevada a gift no other state will receive. This provision slipped into the highway bill is a perfect example of the preferential treatment of tax dollars which led to the Senate earmark moratorium and the President's pledge to veto them.
I will continue the push to get my amendment passed, and I encourage my colleagues to cosponsor it. We owe an earmark-free bill to the American people.

Gov. Heineman Comments on Economic Forecasting Board's Revisions

(Lincoln, Neb.) Gov. Dave Heineman today issued a statement following the Nebraska Economic Forecasting Advisory Board’s report updating predictions for state revenues in the current fiscal year. Gov. Heineman said, “This forecast is positive news and confirms that Nebraska has a steady and growing economy, and that tax relief for hard-working, middle class taxpayers should be the top priority for this legislative session.”

Blue Hill Lady Bobcats Win opperturnity to Play in State Tournament

The Blue Hill lady bobcats have reason to celebrate.  The girls won the  Class C-2, District 2 tournament  with a win over Centura Friday night at Hastings High School. The Bobcats won 42-37. They have secured a spot in the state tournament, which begins Thursday in Lincoln. Other area teams  winning district titles were Minden in Class C-1 and Giltner in Class D-2.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Protecting Nebraska Agriculture Topic of Sutton Chamber of Commerce Dinner Meeting March 12

The Sutton Chamber of Commerce and Ag Committee will be conducting an informative meeting on Monday – March 12, 2012 at the Sutton Community Center at 200 South Saunders Ave, in Sutton, NE. The evening will start at 6:00 pm with a social time and evening meal. The meal will be the precursor to the informative seminar program which is entitled: “Protecting Nebraska Agriculture”. The meeting is sponsored by the Sutton Chamber of Commerce and Ag Committee as well as area Cattlemen Associations, Breeders & Feeders, and Ag Producer groups. Pre-registration is requested in order to get a meal count. There may be a minimal cost to attend the symposium. Anyone who is interested is cordially invited to attend.
The purpose of this seminar is to inform and educate farmers, ranchers and the public about groups who are at work spreading misinformation; influencing consumers and our youth; and attacking conventional agriculture, and in particular, the animal agriculture industry. Several states have had legislation forced on them, creating regulations that have adversely affected animal agriculture, all compliments of extreme animal rights and other activist groups. Think it can't happen in Nebraska? Think again, they are already at work in this state! How can this affect you? What can you do? Find out what is happening and what we can, and need to do to Protect Nebraska’s Agriculture!
The guest speaker for the evening will be Duane (Dewey) Lienemann, from Blue Hill, NE who is an active member of the South Central Cattlemen Association, and is speaking as a beef producer and member of the group. Sutton Chamber of Commerce & Ag Committee; Area Cattlemen Associations, Breeders & Feeders, and Ag Producer groups encourages anyone interested in the preservation of Nebraska agriculture to attend this conference. You will learn the facts about the issues facing animal agriculture in Nebraska, and the detrimental effects that efforts of animal rights and other activist groups could have on consumers, society, youth, our local and state economy, and even our choice of foods and the prices we pay for them. It doesn’t just affect our farmers and ranchers it affects our whole state – including you as a consumer.
Pre-registration is requested for a meal count. To register or for more information please contact: Tory Duncan at 402-773-5576 or email or Todd Mau at 402-773-5224 or email

We Must Protect Conscience Rights

Rep. Adrian Smith
Feb 24, 2012
Issues: Health Care
Religious liberty is America’s first and founding principle. Our nation was built and settled by generations of people who fled the tyranny and religious oppression of their homelands. Our Founders sought to preserve religious liberty by ensuring this nation protected against the establishment of any law impeding the free exercise of one's religious beliefs. This principle is enshrined in the First Amendment of our Constitution which reads in part, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”
Religious freedom is the basis for what is known as conscience rights – that no one, including the government, can force you to do something you find morally objectionable. No one should be forced to choose between their deeply held beliefs and their livelihood. This principle is an integral and critical aspect of a healthy – and free – society. President Obama echoed this sentiment when he gave the 2009 commencement address at the University of Notre Dame. He asserted the need to “honor the conscience of those who disagree with abortion, and draft a sensible conscience clause” for his health care law.
Recently, however, the Obama Administration has begun implementing a controversial mandate as a part of the new health care law which would force religious organizations to violate their beliefs. This new rule from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) would force schools, hospitals, and even charities which offer health insurance to their employees to cover the full cost of contraceptives, sterilizations, and abortion-inducing drugs - even when it is a clear violation of their conscience rights. Simply put, this is wrong.
The bipartisan outcry across the country reflects the importance of this issue. For this reason, I recently joined a bipartisan group of 153 Members of Congress on a letter to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius asking her to suspend the rule until HHS can ensure both employers and individuals are afforded their Constitutionally-protected conscience rights. Additionally, I have cosponsored the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act (H.R. 1179). This commonsense bill was introduced by Nebraska’s First District Congressman, Jeff Fortenberry, and has 220 bipartisan cosponsors.
Nebraskans overwhelmingly support repealing this mandate, and I am pleased our state has joined six others in challenging the Administration on this critical issue. Doing so is imperative for a number of reasons. Setting the precedent of First Amendment violations by the federal government will make further Constitutional overreaches routine. If the rights of some are not protected, the rights of all are in danger. Additionally, many Americans could suffer if these affected organizations choose to shut their doors, most regrettably on those who already are suffering in this difficult economy. Religious organizations affected by this mandate include charities, hospitals, schools, shelters, and other groups which do a tremendous amount of good work for those who are in need.
The White House has sought to quell the controversy by announcing it would “accommodate” the concerns of faith-based organizations by instead applying this mandate to insurance companies rather than the organizations themselves. But despite President Obama’s actions, this mandate continues to intrude on the Constitutionally-protected right to practice one’s religion freely because these organizations are still required to purchase health insurance under the new health care law – the very industry which was just mandated to provide these contraceptive services free of charge.
The President has called this a compromise, but forcing people of faith to turn their backs on their deeply held beliefs is hardly a bargain. The one thing you cannot compromise is your conscience. The only way to resolve this controversy is to reverse the mandate and preserve the natural rights guaranteed by the First Amendment. In America, government yields to the Constitution – not the other way around.


Thursday, February 23, 2012


February 23, 2012 – Today, Nebraska’s Senator Ben Nelson said that comprehensive postal reforms are needed more than ever, after the U.S. Postal Service announced that serious budget problems are prompting it to close about 250 mail processing centers nationwide in May—including facilities in Alliance, Grand Island and Norfolk.
“Needless to say, it’s disappointing to see mail processing centers in Alliance, Grand Island and Norfolk on the Postal Service’s closings list,” said Senator Nelson. “This should spur Congress to go full speed ahead with comprehensive postal reforms that both preserve postal jobs and facilities, while creating a new business model so the Postal Service can become solvent for the long term. Just shutting down post offices and processing centers is not a business plan for the future.
“As comprehensive postal reforms take shape, I’ll continue working with a coalition of my colleagues committed to preserving rural mail delivery and processing. The thousands of jobs and varied services they provide are a key part of the fabric of rural life in Nebraska and nationwide. It’s my goal that comprehensive postal reforms maintain a strong Postal Service presence in our rural communities.”
Sen. Nelson recently joined 26 of his colleagues who stood up for rural America by insisting any reforms of the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) include protecting rural post offices, maintaining six-day delivery and keeping the current delivery standards for first-class mail.
Nelson and his colleagues sent a letter on February 14th to the top-ranking Democrats and Republicans overseeing postal reform legislation in the Senate. They offered suggestions and also called for a blue ribbon commission of postmasters, experts in the mailing industry, business leaders and labor leaders to recommend a new business model for USPS to make it profitable over the long term.
“We have serious concerns with the United States Postal Service’s (USPS) plan to close thousands of mostly rural post offices, eliminate hundreds of mail processing plants, slash its workforce by 220,000 and substantially slow down mail delivery. If this plan is implemented, it will have a devastating impact on rural America, small businesses, veterans, the elderly and our entire economy,” Senator Nelson and his colleagues wrote.
At the request of Nelson and 11 of his colleagues in December, USPS agreed to a five-month moratorium on closing post offices in order to give Congress a chance to enact postal reform legislation. The moratorium ends on May 15, 2012.
“Everyone understands that the Postal Service is in the midst of a serious financial crisis that must be addressed. But, we believe that this financial crisis can be solved in a way that does not substantially slow down the delivery of mail and harm rural America,” Nelson and his colleagues wrote in their letter.

McDole makes Promise to Retire

Webster County attorney, Jerry McDole,  promised the Webster County Commissioners Tuesday that he would be retiring by June of this year.
The announcement from McDole came as the commissioners discussed his refusal to do his job. McDole has for several years refused to take any action to collect delinquent taxes. The Board is required to make sure delinquent taxes are foreclosed. When asked why he had not done this he said he just let it slip his mind. County Clerk Lonnie Knehans informed the board that they should take action to have McDole removed.  It was then that McDole promised he would have a letter of resignation to the board sometime soon. The board then agreed to give McDole until the 20th of March to submit his letter of resignation.
When asked what kind of dollar amount was still delinquent in county taxes County Treasurer  Lori Koertner said “it is a significant amount”.
Some people have in the past called attention to the fact that McDole has failed miserably to do his job in regards to criminal prosecution but many county residents felt that omission did not affect them personally. The lack of tax collection effect the workings of the whole county.
The agenda included an item to discuss the letter received by the commissioners from Andy Alber regarding an incident where he was attacked by Scott Kort.  Alber was distressed over the lack of action taken by the Webster County Sherrifs department in regards to that incident.  The Commissioners went into closed session and invited Webster County Sherrif Troy Schmitz to attend their closed session while they discussed the mattter.  Andy Alber attended the meeting but was not allowed to attend the closed session where the County Commissioners discussed the letter which he had written to them.  No action was taken.
The Comissioners also discussed with a number of local farmers a letter received by them from the County Highway superintendant, Linda Grummert,   regarding the roads and the maintainance of roads and the county insurance regarding those roads. Some of the farmers felt the letter and her actions showed that Grummert lacked understanding of both her job and the appropriate and effective ways to interact with people.  No action was taken.

Steven R. Schendt April 5,1955 to February 19, 2012

Steven R. Schendt, the son of Raymond F & Eleanor (Hofstetter) Schendt, was born on April 5, 1955 at Superior, Nebraska. He passed away on February 19, 2012 at Rosebrook Care Center in Edgar, Nebraska at the age of 56 years, 10 months and 14 days.

He graduated from St. Stephen's Elementary School and graduated from Lawrence High School in 1973.
He married Jeannine A. Hock on August 11, 1979 at McCook, Nebraska. He worked construction at the Meat and Animal Research Center in Clay Center for a short time. He then began a career as an auto mechanic at Alexander Motors in Superior where he was employed for 37 years. He was most recently employed by Tietjen Automotive in Superior.
Steve had several loves in life, most important of which were his wife and children.
His love of farming kept him busy as did his enjoyment of cars, racing, tractor pulls and golfing.

He was a member of Sacred Heart Catholic Church where he served as an acolyte. He was active in the Knights of Columbus and served as Grand Knight. He was a member of Lawrence Community Club, serving as secretary. He was also Adjutant for the Sons of the American Legion, Squadron 45. He was also a member of the Lawrence Country Club, Lawrence Fire Department and served as an ambulance driver.

He was preceded in death by his Dad, Raymond and sister Arleen.

He is survived by his wife Jeannine; son Jared and daughter Molly of Lawrence, Nebraska; his mother Eleanor Schendt of Lawrence, Nebraska; three brothers: Patrick and wife Tami of Broken Bow, Nebraska, Ronald and wife Sandra of Nelson, Nebraska, Arnold and wife Patricia of Geneva, Nebraska and six sisters: Mary Gengenbach and husband Donald of Eustis, Nebraska, Jo Ann Hock and husband Rocky of Culbertson, Nebraska, Laura Blackford and husband Roger of Juniata, Nebraska, Marilyn Hubl and husband Steve of Blue Hill, Nebraska, Rose Blackford and husband Mark of New Virginia, Iowa, and Donna Mazour and husband Larry of Lawrence, Nebraska; 58 nieces and nephews; other relatives and a host of friends.

Mass of Christian Burial was Thursday, February 23, 2012, 10:00 A.M. at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Lawrence, Ne. with Father Loras Grell and Father Neal Hock Officiating. Burial was in Sacred Heart Catholic Cemetery, Lawrence, Nebraska.
Rosary Service is Wednesday, February 22, 2012 at 6:00 PM at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Lawrence, Nebraska.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Duane A. Lienemann,
 UNL Extension Educator, Webster County
February 22, 2012 Edition
There are several reasons why honey bees are perhaps one of the most studied insects. Today’s article is going to center on a particular study of honey bees that could have huge ramifications on agriculture. Bees have captured mankind's attention and have been studied extensively since as early as Aristotle - because they are fascinating organisms. Not only because they produce honey which is the earliest sweetener human beings have found, but because of their industriousness, selflessness, and most importantly, their social organization. They actually make we humans look pretty trivial at times.
Most people probably don’t have any idea how important the honey bee is unless they, like me, love honey. If you look up the value of honey bees you would find many useful roles that they play. That means their value extends far beyond what we recognize for their popular by-product. It may surprise some that honey bees play a critical role in agriculture. The most important role honey bees play is actually not honey production, but in pollination. They are the true pollinators!
I think most everyone has heard of the decline in honey bee colonies. Honeybee populations have been in serious decline for years. Pesticide exposure is one of the theoretical factors associated with colony collapse disorder (CCD). However, incidents of CCD are typically associated with a rapid population decline in the adult bee population of a hive. Reported incidents of CCD have detected few if any dead adult bees. The United States is losing about one-third of its honeybee hives each year, according to researchers, who indicate no one factor is to blame, though scientists believe that others such as mites and insecticides are all working against the bees. Now there may be some cause for alarm in the ag sector.
The latest buzz around the beehives isn’t necessarily coming from the bees. The buzz instead involves discussion on the use of planter talc and seed treatments. A Purdue University study has shown a direct correlation between talc used in planters and honeybee deaths. It seems Purdue received reports of dead bees occurring at planting times in hives near Indiana agricultural fields during 2010 and 2011, and initially noticed that they all displayed symptoms of neurotoxic poisoning. The Purdue researchers sampled the dead bees to screen for a long list of pesticides, including insecticides, fungicides, and herbicides. Toxicological screenings showed that neonicotinoids were present in each sample of affected bees and likely the cause of death. These insecticides are highly toxic to bees; and they were found in each sample of dead and dying bees. Other bees at those hives exhibited tremors, uncoordinated movement and convulsions, all signs of insecticide poisoning from these “neonicotinoids”. You might ask, what in the heck is that? And--- why talc?
Neonicotinoids are used in popular insecticidal seed treatments such as Gaucho (imidacloprid); Poncho (clothianidin); and Cruiser (thiamethoxam) on corn and soybean seed. Almost all of the corn seed planted in North America is coated with neonicotinoids, bringing the insecticide to over 90 million acres on corn alone in the United States. These seed treatments can be present in soil for more than 2 years after they are used; they are very persistent and taken up by plants that grow in those soils. These insecticides were found virtually every place they looked, including pollen, dandelions and topsoil from unplanted fields. Imagine the flight of the honey bee and what he may find and carry it unexpectedly to the hive.
You might ask - what does planter box talc have to do with this? The problem is that these insecticide coatings are sticky and thus comes the crux of the problem. Talc is an anti-caking agent used to lubricate treated (sticky) seeds in modern planters to prevent the seeds from sticking together and ensure consistent planting. In the process, it removes and adheres to some of the material used to coat seeds. Much of this talc exits planters through exhaust fans, taking high levels of neonicotinoids from the seeds with it. Some contaminated talc exits with the seed, and about 30 percent stays in the manifold system until it's cleaned out. It can also escape when loading planters, or may just fall out of the cleanout tubes.
Researchers hypothesize that the contaminated planter box talc is responsible for a lot of the acute exposure to bees. Anyone that has cleaned talc out of a planter after planting corn can testify to the residue left in the talc. This might be why these insecticides were found in pollen that the bees had collected and brought back to their hives tested positive for neonicotinoids at levels roughly 100 parts per billion. That's enough to kill bees if sufficient amounts are consumed. Here is where the talc comes in. It seems that talc ends up with extremely high levels of the insecticides - up to about 700 times the lethal contact dose for a bee. Talc particles are very small and potentially very mobile, meaning they can easily land on flowering plants near fields, exposing honeybees. It is so concentrated that even small amounts landing on flowering plants around a field can kill foragers or be transported to the hive in contaminated pollen and kill bees at later times.
I wouldn't recommend that farmers use less than recommended talc rates as planting without talc leads to skips and doubles in the planted row. But look out, environmentalists are now calling for limiting or eliminating talc emissions during planting. They believe that this should be the first target for corrective action. We will need to make sure that we aren’t the problem. In the short term, it is important that farmers be aware that waste talc material is extremely toxic to honeybees and other pollinators. Growers should avoid cleaning out planting equipment near blooming plants (even flowering weeds) and be careful with the leftover talc in handling and disposing. Collect, don’t just dump it. Longer term, there may be other solutions. We are still in the early stages of this situation, so we will see where it leads! But for now just “bee” careful!
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:

First Presidents Birthday

George Washington, the Indispensible Man, was born 280 years ago on this day, February 22, in 1732. His legacy is this nation, free from imperial tyranny and with a Constitution written to ensure that freedom. I thank God that this man lived and followed his convictions.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

USDA Announces New Highly Erodible Cropland Initiative for Conservation Reserve Program

WASHINGTON, Feb. 21, 2012 — Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced a new conservation initiative to protect up to 750,000 acres of the nation’s most highly erodible croplands. Vilsack made the announcement via video to attendees of the National Pheasant Fest and Quail Classic, held Feb. 17-19 in Kansas City, Mo. The new initiative will assist producers with targeting their most highly erodible cropland (land with an erodibility index of 20 or greater) by enabling them to plant wildlife-friendly, long-term cover through the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP).
Producers can enroll land on a continuous basis beginning this summer at their local Farm Service Agency (FSA) county office. With the use of soil survey and geographic information system data, local FSA staff can quickly determine a producer’s eligibility for the initiative.
“As we work towards President Obama’s vision for an economy that is built to last, America’s natural resources must play an important role. Lands in CRP help support strong incomes for our farmers and ranchers and are the source of good middle class jobs related to outdoor recreation, hunting, and fishing,” said Vilsack. “This announcement will strengthen CRP by focusing on protecting the most environmentally sensitive land. It targets limited resources where they can make the most difference for farmers, ranchers and to drive economic growth. I urge landowners who have highly erodible land to visit their county office to learn more about this program.”
Lands eligible for this program are typically the least productive land on the farm. In many cases the most cost-effective option to reduce erosion is to put the land into a wildlife friendly cover, which will improve habitat and reduce sediment and nutrient runoff and reduce wind erosion. For 25 years, CRP has improved water and air quality, preserved habitat for wildlife, and prevented soil erosion. Programs such as CRP are important conservation safeguards. They prevent the return of the dust storms of the 1930s and the ravages of unmitigated gully erosions of our past.
CRP is a voluntary program designed to help farmers, ranchers and other agricultural producers protect their environmentally sensitive land. Through this initiative, eligible landowners receive annual rental payments and cost-share assistance to establish long-term, resource conserving covers on eligible farmland. Land can be enrolled on a continuous basis for a period of 10 years. Land currently not enrolled in CRP may be offered in this sign-up provided all eligibility requirements are met. Current CRP participants with eligible land expiring on Sept.30, 2012, may make new contract offers.
CRP has a 25-year legacy of successfully protecting the nation's natural resources through voluntary participation, while providing significant economic and environmental benefits to rural communities across the United States. In addition today’s announcement, USDA will conduct a four-week CRP general signup, beginning on March 12 and ending on April 6. Currently, about 30 million acres are enrolled in CRP.
CRP continues to make major contributions to national efforts to improve water and air quality, prevent soil erosion by protecting the most sensitive areas including those prone to flash flooding and runoff. At the same time, CRP has helped increase populations of pheasants, quail, ducks, and other rare species, like the sage grouse, the lesser prairie chicken, and others. Highlights of CRP include:
CRP has restored more than two million acres of wetlands and two million acres of riparian buffers;
Each year, CRP keeps more than 600 million pounds of nitrogen and more than 100 million pounds of phosphorous from flowing into our nation’s streams, rivers, and lakes.
CRP provides $1.8 billion annually to landowners—dollars that make their way into local economies, supporting small businesses and creating jobs; and
CRP is the largest private lands carbon sequestration program in the country. By placing vulnerable cropland into conservation, CRP sequesters carbon in plants and soil, and reduces both fuel and fertilizer usage. In 2010, CRP resulted in carbon sequestration equal to taking almost 10 million cars off the road.
In 2011, USDA enrolled a record number of acres of private working lands in conservation programs, working with more than 500,000 farmers and ranchers to implement conservation practices that clean the air we breathe, filter the water we drink, and prevent soil erosion. Moreover, the Obama Administration, with Agriculture Secretary Vilsack’s leadership, has worked tirelessly to strengthen rural America, implement the Farm Bill, maintain a strong farm safety net, and create opportunities for America’s farmers and ranchers. U.S. agriculture is currently experiencing one of its most productive periods in American history thanks to the productivity, resiliency, and resourcefulness of our producers.
Producers are encouraged to contact their local FSA office or visit FSA’s website at  for additional information regarding CRP.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write to USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Ave., S.W., Washington, DC 20250-9410, or call (800) 795-3272 (Voice) or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).

Monday, February 20, 2012

Kenneth E. Schriner July 7, 1935 to February 16, 2012

Lawrence resident Kenneth E. Schriner, 76 died Thursday February 16, 2012 at his home.
Services are 11 a.m. Wednesday at United Methodist Church in Blue Hill with the Rev. Steve Marsh officiating.  Burial will be at Presbyterian Cemetery in Campbell.  Visitation is 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday at Merten-Butler Mortuary in Blue Hill, and one hour prior to services Wednesday at the church.
Memorials may be given to the family.
Kenneth was born on July 7, 1935 to Jess and Oma (Troyer) Schriner at Riverton, Nebraska.  He married Betty M. Jameson on November 12, 1957 at Campbell, Nebraska.  They moved to the farm near Guide Rock, Nebraska in 1966 and moved into Lawrence in 2007.
He served in the United States Army in Germany and did border patrol.
 Kenneth is survived by two sons, Tedd of Grand Island, Nebraska and Bernard of Lincoln, Nebraska.  Two daughters, Susan Carman of Lincoln, Nebraska and Cindy Ferguson of Blue Hill, Nebraska; one brother, Paul of Guide Rock, Nebraska and one sister Dixie Voight of Franklin, Nebraska, six grand children and three great grandchildren.
He was preceded din death by his parents; wife and one infant son; one grandson Rocky Schriner; six brothers and nine sisters.

Steven R. Schendt April 5, 1955 to February 19, 2012

Steven R. Schendt, the son of Raymond F & Eleanor (Hofstetter) Schendt, was born on April 5, 1955 at Superior, Nebraska. He passed away on February 19, 2012 at Rosebrook Care Center in Edgar, Nebraska at the age of 56 years, 10 months and 14 days.
He graduated from St. Stephen’s Elementary School and graduated from Lawrence High School in 1973.
He married Jeannine A. Hock on August 11, 1979 at McCook, Nebraska. He worked construction at the Meat and Animal Research Center in Clay Center for a short time. He then began a career as an auto mechanic at Alexander Motors in Superior where he was employed for 37 years. He was most recently employed by Tietjen Automotive in Superior.
Steve had several loves in life, most important of which were his wife and children.
His love of farming kept him busy as did his enjoyment of cars, racing, tractor pulls and golfing.
He was a member of Sacred Heart Catholic Church where he served as an acolyte. He was active in the Knights of Columbus and served as Grand Knight. He was a member of Lawrence Community Club, serving as secretary. He was also Adjutant for the Sons of the American Legion, Squadron 45. He was also a member of the Lawrence Country Club, Lawrence Fire Department and served as an ambulance driver.
He was preceded in death by his Dad, Raymond and sister Arleen.
He is survived by his wife Jeannine; son Jared and daughter Molly of Lawrence, Nebraska; his mother Eleanor Schendt of Lawrence, Nebraska; three brothers: Patrick and wife Tami of Broken Bow, Nebraska, Ronald and wife Sandra of Nelson, Nebraska, Arnold and wife Patricia of Geneva, Nebraska and six sisters: Mary Gengenbach and husband Donald of Eustis, Nebraska, Jo Ann Hock and husband Rocky of Culbertson, Nebraska, Laura Blackford and husband Roger of Juniata, Nebraska, Marilyn Hubl and husband Steve of Blue Hill, Nebraska, Rose Blackford and husband Mark of New Virginia, Iowa, and Donna Mazour and husband Larry of Lawrence, Nebraska; 58 nieces and nephews; other relatives and a host of friends.
Mass of Christian Burial is Thursday, February 23, 2012, 10:00 A.M. at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Lawrence, Ne. with Father Loras Grell and Father Neal Hock Officiating. Burial will be in Sacred Heart Catholic Cemetery, Lawrence, Nebraska.
Rosary Service is Wednesday, February 22, 2012 at 6:00 PM at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Lawrence, Nebraska.
Visitation will be Wednesday, February 22, 2012 from 3:00-8:00 P.M. at the Lawrence Visitation Chapel. A Memorial has been established.
 Merten-Butler Mortuary, Blue Hill, Ne. is in charge of arrangements.

Marshall D. Grimshaw November 8, 1926 to February 17, 2011

Blue Hill resident Marshall D. Grimshaw (85) died February 17, 2011 at Mary Lanning Memorial HealthCare in Hastings.
Services are 1:30 p.m. Tuesday at Trinity Lutheran Church in Blue Hill with Rev. Joshua Lowe officiating.  Burial with military rites by A.L. Shirley Post #176 of Blue Hill will be at Trinity Lutheran Cemetery in Blue Hill.  Visitation is one hour prior to services at the church.
 Memorials can be given to the Arthritis Foundation.
Marshall D. Grimshaw was born on November 8, 1926 to Hiram and Wilhelmina (Stuann) Grimshaw in Peoria, Ill.  His mother died when he was eight days old.  He was raised by his father and his step-mother Alma.  When he was seventeen, he joined the Navy during World War II . 
He married Phyllis V Ruhs on March 8, 1969, in Peoria, Ill. 
He worked for Caterpillar in Peoria, Ill, as a time keeper and retired in 1982. 
Marshall and Phyllis had a landscaping business, he loved trees, the outdoors and the home they built together near Blue Hill.
They moved to Blue Hill from Peoria, Ill in 1990.
He is survived by his mother-in-law, Leona Ruhs of Blue Hill, Nebraska; one sister, Marian Kempin of Lafayette, Ind;  one brother-in-law, Walter Schneckenburger of Peoria, Ill, and many nieces and nephews.
He was proceded in death by his parents; his wife, Phyllis (December 13, 2010); one sister Judith Schneckenburger; one brother-in-law, Renie Kempin.

Schutte and Sons Polled Hereford production sale.

With 60 years of tradition behind them, Ron and Nancy Schutte will be holding the 39th annual production sale of polled Hereford cattle at their ranch south east of Blue Hill, north of Guide Rock, March 6,2012.

Since 1973 each year the second Tuesday of March has seen cattle buyers from all over gather at the ranch to bid on some of the best polled Herefords available anywhere. This year will be no exception.
The sale  will include 76 lots, 4 yearling herd sire prospects, 40 two year old bulls, 4 yearling heifers, and 28 bred two year old heifers.
This year the sale will, for the first time, be carried live on  . Bidders will be able to bid from home if they are unable to attend in person. A video of the cattle will be available for viewing on the  website later this month.

The sale catalog is available at the  website

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Haack Graduates from ALS

    Jerry Sherman Haack III (JT) is shown here (on the left)  with friends after the completion of Airman Leadership School.   Haack is the son of former Blue Hill residents Hilarie and Jerry Haack Jr.of Kingsland, GA.   He is the grandson of Sylvia Alber of Blue Hill and Jerry Haack Sr. of Aurora. 
Haack is stationed at the Air Force Base in Mountain Home, Idaho

Nebraska Doesn’t Need Another Stimulus

Rep. Adrian Smith
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, better known as the “stimulus,” turned three years old on Friday. When properly accounted, the price tag for this historic spending law is more than $1.1 trillion. To put this figure in perspective, the stimulus is more than twice the size of the New Deal and more than the entire value of Australia’s economy.
Supporters of the stimulus plan promised it would “save or create” 3.5 million jobs and keep unemployment from reaching 8 percent. However, instead of seeing a dramatic increase in growth, our country is experiencing the slowest pace of economic expansion since the Great Depression. Quarterly growth has averaged an anemic 1.4 percent since the stimulus was passed. By comparison, quarterly growth averaged 5.6 percent in the same period of time following the recession ending in 1982.
While the pace of job creation has improved in recent months, the continued decline of the American labor force is a cause for concern. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the labor force participation rate – the number of able people working or looking for work – currently stands at a thirty-year low. If the participation rate were at the same level today as it was before the recession started, the national unemployment rate would be an astounding 11.4 percent due to the severe lack of job opportunities.
Clearly, the stimulus has not worked, which is why I was disappointed to see the President double down on this approach in his recently proposed budget. Like last year’s proposal, the budget he recently submitted has been met with bipartisan opposition because it contains hundreds of billions of dollars in new spending. It’s time to consider new ideas.
Nebraskans understand we cannot spend our way to prosperity with money we don’t have. Our state has weathered the Great Recession better than almost any other precisely because we chose not to grow government or engage in wasteful spending. We don’t need another stimulus. I have remained focused on pro-growth policies which eliminate government barriers to private-sector job creation, voting to pass nearly 30 bipartisan bills which would reduce burdensome regulations, cut wasteful spending, and expand domestic energy production.
Bills like H.R. 1633, which would prevent the EPA from regulating farm dust, and H.R. 1173, which would repeal the unsustainable CLASS Act, passed the House 268-150 and 267-159 respectively; there is broad, bipartisan support for these commonsense pieces of legislation, but they are still awaiting a vote in the Senate. If the President were to put as much energy into supporting these responsible pieces of legislation as he has his misguided and wasteful stimulus measures, our nation may well be on a more sustainable fiscal path.
Getting government out of the way and living within its means would be the best stimulus plan of all. I will continue working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to reverse this pattern of overspending and free our economy from the burden of excessive regulation, over-taxation, and growing debt.

Agriculture Conference Highlights Opportunities

Governor Dave Heineman
February 17, 2012
Dear Fellow Nebraskans:
This week I joined farmers, ranchers, agribusiness leaders, and policymakers to celebrate the accomplishments and future outlook for Nebraska agriculture. The Governor’s Ag Conference is one of my favorite annual agriculture events because it serves as a venue for frank discussion and dialogue about how our state’s number one industry has fared in the past year and what we can look forward to in the coming year.
The focus of this year’s conference was “Nebraska Agriculture: Today’s Challenges, Tomorrow’s Opportunities.” This annual event is an annual opportunity for agricultural producers and leaders to learn more about their industry.
This year’s keynote speaker was John Doggett who is the Senior Lecturer of International Entrepreneurship, Management and Sustainability, and a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Texas at Austin. Mr. Doggett discussed Nebraska’s agriculture role in the global economy of the future.
Bruce Knight, the Principal and Founder of Strategic Conservation Solutions, gave an update on the federal Farm Bill reauthorization. Mr. Knight is a former USDA Under Secretary and he also shared insight on the farm policy picture and its potential impact on Nebraska. He stressed the importance of Nebraska agriculture because of our productive advantage, irrigation advantage, grains and livestock, food processing capabilities, food handling and merchandising, renewable investments, and finally our advancements in transportation and infrastructure.
To feed an ever growing world population, farmers will likely need to double agriculture output by the year 2050. Two speakers addressed how Nebraska agriculture can respond to this challenge - Dr. Archie Clutter and Mr. Bill Holbrook.
Dr. Clutter is with the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska and he explained how the University is positioning itself to be a part of meeting the challenge to provide food to a growing world population. Mr. Holbrook works for The ProExporter Network, an agribusiness economic research and analysis provider. He discussed opportunities and challenges farmers will face in meeting food production demand.
A panel of Nebraskans joined us to discuss their organizations and how they connect consumers with farmers and ranchers. These panelists included Willow Holoubek from A-FAN, Dawn Caldwell from Common Ground Nebraska, and Pete McClymont with We Support Agriculture.
Overall, the farm economy is doing well. Farmers and ranchers generally reinvest profits in their industry in order to improve their production capabilities for the future. They are making needed investments and improvements. They are putting additional conservation practices in place that improve the land and protect the environment. They are putting up new machine shops and bins, and they are paying down debt.
The 24th Governor’s Ag Conference was informative and productive. I was pleased to have the opportunity to visit with our farmers and ranchers who play a critical role in supporting our Nebraska economy. Agriculture is the backbone of the Nebraska economy and by working together we can continue to grow our great state.

Legislative Newsletter

Tom Carlson-District 38
February 17, 2012
The short 60 day session is half over. Last week was a very busy legislative week for me. My Priority Bill, LR358CA, was voted out of the Executive Board Committee. It will now be discussed by the entire legislature on. If it passes, it will appear on the November, 2012, General Election ballot, where you will have the opportunity to vote on the resolution.
As I’ve said before, I am for term limits in the Nebraska Legislature. With all there is to learn, eight years goes by very quickly. After this session we lose nine senators who have served the two terms. Most are now performing at a high level. I strongly believe if they could be re-elected by their constituents to a third term, the extra four years would be their most productive.
We would still retain term limits with new energy, new ideas, and new enthusiasm coming to the body every four, eight, or 12 years. I strongly believe you, the citizens of Nebraska, would be better served by the passage of LR358CA.
There have been many calls and emails to my office concerning the Governor’s proposed tax package. Counties are worried about financing local services if the inheritance tax is eliminated as part of LB 970. The state repealed the estate tax in 2007. However, counties are able to collect an inheritance tax, which pays for such things as roads and bridges, economic development, senior centers, and veterans assistance.
Last year the legislature repealed state assistance for cities and counties. All of the aforesaid services will have to be cut, eliminated, or shifted to an increased property tax if the inheritance tax is no longer available. The Revenue Committee will make a decision on how to advance this important bill.
A bill that I introduced in the Natural Resources Committee last year, LB 526, to allow changes to water transfers, was debated on General File and advanced on a vote of 33-0. Proper management of our water resources, both ground and surface, is so critical to continued production of agriculture.
This bill would allow the use of a surface water irrigation transfer for a non-consumptive use. Normally a transfer is for a consumptive use by a crop. This bill is important in multi-state compacts and other agreements concerning water.
The Ag Committee heard three bills last week. LB 927, introduced by Senator Louden, would authorize cattle brands as official identification. LB 907, which I introduced, would change provisions relating to agricultural tractor permitting and a sales tax exemption. I believe the passage of LB 907 would be helpful to the tractor testing lab at UNL, as well as for our equipment dealers and citizens of the state.
LB 1123 would adopt the Nebraska Healthy Food Financing Initiative Act. That bill, to enable people to have access to healthy foods, was passed last year but vetoed by the governor. Senator Council reintroduced the bill.

Jordyn Attwater selected to attend Scholars Day at Hastings College

(Hastings, Neb.) – On Sunday, February 12, Hastings College sponsored Scholars Day during which a record 109 students from eight states competed for Hastings College’s most prestigious academic scholarship, the Walter Scott Scholarship, and other academic scholarships.
Selected to interview during Scholars Day based on their superior academic achievement and expected leadership contributions to the Hastings College campus, all the participants have earned a 26 ACT or 1170 SAT score and currently maintain a 3.75 or higher grade point average. Scholarship winners will announced by March 1, 2012.
Jordyn Atwater, a student of  Blue Hill High School from Ayr, Neb.interviewed for the Walter Scott Scholarship.
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.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Quote of the Day

"In whatever arena of life one may meet the challenge of courage, whatever may be the sacrifices he faces if he follows his conscience -- the loss of his friends, his fortune, his contentment, even the esteem of his fellow men -- each man must decide for himself the course he will follow. The stories of past courage can define that ingredient -- they can teach, they can offer hope, they can provide inspiration. But they cannot supply courage itself. For this, each man must look into his own soul." -- John F. Kennedy, Profiles in Courage

Friday, February 17, 2012

Victim Protection Act Priority bill

LINCOLN – February 16, 2012. Senator Tony Fulton announced that he’s making LB804, the Victim Protection Act, his priority bill for this session. For this, Senator Fulton received praise from the Nebraska Firearms Owners Association (NFOA) and other citizen groups who have been asking the Legislature for a Victim Protection Act in Nebraska. Additional information on LB804, the Victim Protection Act, can be found at
“Today Senator Fulton has stood up and shown that protecting victims of crime in Nebraska is one of his top priorities,” NFOA President Andy Allen stated. “This bill is not just a priority for the Senator; it’s a priority for Nebraska. Once passed, crime victims will be protected with immunity against civil lawsuits if a criminal intruder or his family tries to sue the victim for injuries the criminal received while committing his crime. It’s hard to believe, but under current Nebraska law, if a criminal is injured by the victim defending themselves, then the criminal can sue the victim even if the victim is found not guilty of a crime or reckless behavior. LB804 will protect crime victims in Nebraska.”
The Victim Protection Act would provide Nebraskans three important protections:
1. Provide civil immunity to a victim of crime from being sued by their criminal attacker (or the criminal’s family) if the victim uses force to defend themselves and is also found to be not guilty of a criminal or reckless act.
2. Provide ability to presume that someone who isn’t supposed to be in your house and who has entered with force is there to do harm to you or your family.
3. Extend ability to use force to defend yourself while in your vehicle.
Further information on LB804, the Victim Protection Act, can be found at, an educational campaign sponsored by the NFOA.
Nebraska Firearms Owners Association is the largest firearms rights organization in the state of Nebraska, and membership is free for all Nebraskans concerned with their right to keep and bear arms; simply sign-up at We are local firearms owners who have a personal interest in protecting firearms owners’ rights in Nebraska.
Mission -
Nebraska Firearms Owners Association (NFOA) is organized for the purpose of voicing the opinion of its membership to the Nebraska Legislature and other law making bodies within the state as well as Federal level, as it pertains to firearms. NFOA members will also make it a priority to educate residents on firearms related issues.
On the web: or email: for more information.
Andreas (Andy) Allen
President NFOA
P.O. BOX 419
Syracuse, Nebraska 68446


February 17, 2012 – Today, Nebraska’s Senator Ben Nelson made the following statement after the Senate voted 60-36 to extend the payroll tax cut through the end of the year:
“Today’s compromise prevents an imminent tax increase for one million Nebraskans. It will keep money in their pockets to use for food, clothing and daily expenses, while making sure the Social Security Trust Fund is protected.
“The economy is still quite fragile and letting the payroll tax cut expire at the end of this month would slow down the recovery. It would reduce consumer demand, as middle-class families would have less disposable income for goods and services. Businesses of all sizes have said that consumer demand is what drives them to hire new employees and expand.
“Now that this middle-class tax cut has been extended, the best thing Congress can do is pursue comprehensive tax and budget reform to address persistent deficits and debt that have become standard over the last decade. I’ll work with any of my colleagues who want to lay partisanship aside and work on this in an honest way.”
The legislation also extends unemployment insurance and protects Medicare patients’ ability to see their doctors. The president has said he will sign it into law.

Private Pesticide Applicator Training in Webster County Starts Feb. 29

A valid certification is needed to allow the purchase and use of restricted use pesticides on the farm. Producers will therefore need to attend a training session for initial certification, or to renew their certification for another three years. This applies if they received a letter from the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, haven’t held a PSEP card, or if their card has expired. Producers that received a bar-coded letter from the NDA should bring it to the meeting that you choose to go to.
The UNL Extension in Webster County will present several sessions where producers or ag workers may re-certify or extend pesticide certification. Dewey Lienemann, UNL Extension Educator, will be doing the Private Pesticide Applicator training at four sites in Webster County. They are as follows: Blue Hill - at the Community Center on February 29 starting at 6:30 pm; Bladen - at the Fire Hall on March 7, starting at 9:00 am; and Red Cloud - at the Webster County Museum Exhibit Hall on March 21, starting at 1:30 pm. Producers should plan to spend about two and ½ to three hours to certify or re-certify. A $30 materials fee will be charged for attending the session. Attendees should plan to arrive 15 minutes early to register and pick up their material.
Basic information that will be covered in the private applicator training meetings include: protective clothing, equipment and safety; reading pesticide labels and mixing herbicides; update on new pesticide laws, and regulations; record keeping agreements and forms; fumigation procedures for grain and rodents; records and pesticide application reporting; pesticide and container storage, disposal, & bio-security; pesticide drift management, nozzles, wind, and compass use; Worker Protection Standards; and new information that affects production agriculture, integrated pest management and/or pesticide application. Attendees will get the current pesticide information guide, hand-outs and other materials, and the new UNL 2012 Guide for Weed Management in Nebraska.
There are of course other trainings across the state. Please contact our office in Red Cloud if you are not sure if you are certified, or if you need further information on the classes described in this news release or for other classes that are available in other counties. You may go to for information on applicator status or training sessions. Producers may also take the class through a self-study method. Please contact Dewey Lienemann at the Webster County Extension office in Red Cloud at (402) 746-3417 or via his cell phone at (402) 469-0357 or email at for questions or for more information.

Johanns to Oppose Fiscally Irresponsible 'Extenders' Bill

WASHINGTON – Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) today announced his opposition to legislation extending the payroll tax holiday, among other provisions, due to growing concerns over government debt and the future of Social Security. The cost of the payroll tax reduction is not offset, adding almost $100 billion to the deficit over the next ten months while accelerating the Social Security program's path toward insolvency.
"While I am glad to see a fully paid-for Doc fix, as a whole this bill constitutes the fiscal irresponsibility which continues to drive our debt crisis," Johanns said. "I understand the argued short-term popularity of extending the payroll tax holiday, but this is far outweighed by the long-term damage it will do to our fiscal health and to the viability of Social Security. There is simply no way our children and grandchildren will be able to afford what we've put on our country's credit card when they have to pay the bill."
The payroll tax holiday, originally passed in December 2010 to provide short-term tax relief, cut the amount individuals contribute to the Social Security trust fund from 6.2% to 4.2%. According to a May 2011 report by the Medicare and Social Security Trustees, the Social Security Trust Fund will become insolvent in 2036; further depleting this fund accelerates this timeline.

Quote of the Day

You will never do anything in this world without courage. It is the greatest quality of the mind next to honor.

~ Aristotle

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Gov. Heineman Comments on Liberal Coalition That is Against Middle Class Tax Relief

75% of Income Tax Relief Plan Benefits Middle Class (Lincoln, NE)  Gov. Dave Heineman responded to a liberal coalition that is against tax relief for hard-working, middle class taxpayers.
“These liberal interest groups support higher taxes on middle class Nebraskans,” said Gov. Heineman. “They want to increase government spending while I want to lower taxes for Nebraskans. As I have said repeatedly, the choice is between providing tax relief for hard-working, middle class taxpayers or more spending for special interest groups. I will continue to fight for the taxpayers.”
Under LB 970, the Governor’s $327 million tax relief package, individual income tax relief will be provided by lowering rates and expanding brackets, supporting the middle class, with 75% of the relief going to Nebraskans with combined household incomes up to $150,000 annually. The tax relief package includes income and corporate tax relief, as well as elimination of the inheritance tax.
The proposal helps small businesses grow by lowering the top corporate tax rate to the same rate as the top individual rate. The repeal of inheritance tax is considered the final step in the elimination of Nebraska’s death tax. In 2007, as part of the largest tax relief package in the history of the state, the estate tax was repealed. However, Nebraska remains one of only 8 states in the United States to still have an inheritance tax, which hurts Nebraska significantly in tax competitiveness rankings.
LB 970 was introduced on the Governor’s behalf by state Senator Abbie Cornett of Bellevue. Gov. Heineman applauded her vision and leadership on this issue critical to Nebraska’s future.

Local Land Prices at Record High Levels

Big news in the local area is land prices. The record high prices of some Nebraska farm land have the farmers talking.
Recently a farm in Clay County set a new Nebraska record for the sale of agricultural land. The 160 acre irrigated farm brought $12,000 per acre at a well attended public auction.  In January at another well attended auction parcels of land in Adams Co. sold for $11,700 and $11,800. A quarter of irrigated  agricultural land  by Bladen in Webster Co. brought $6,700 an acre.
A November auction of dryland farm south east of Blue Hill brought $3,750 an acre for land that was comparable to land purchased by the same buyer in 2007, just five years ago for $1,300 an acre, an increase of $2,450 an acre. Some estimate that farm land values have increased form 80 to 100 percent in just the last year.
There are about fifty million (50 million) acres of land in Nebraska. Of those 50 million acres it has been estimated that at least 12 million acres of this land are irrigated land that is used for corn and soybeans.
Based upon sales that had occurred prior to these record setting sales, estimates were that irrigated agricultural land had increased in value two thousand dollars ($2000) per acre. When you factor in a significant increase in value of the dry land farms, pasture land, and hay meadow land, a significant number of Nebraskans have experienced a substantial increase in perceived wealth.
High commodity prices and good crops in the last few years have put more money in farmer's pockets making it even more apparent how valuable Nebraska farmland truly is.
As one farmer put it, “They aren’t making any more of it.”

Gary Keith Oye May 20, 1943 to February 10, 2012

Gary Keith Oye
Gary Keith Oye, a resident of Millersville, MD, passed away on Friday, February 10, 2012 at his residence surrounded by his family. Gary was born on May 20, 1943 in Blue Hill, NE  the son of Fern  (Buschow) and  Alfred Oscar Oye.
Gary graduated from the University of Nebraska, with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, with Distinction, and worked as a Certified Public Accountant. He was a member of Sigma Nu fraternity and served as a reserve in the Marines. He grew up on a farm in Blue Hill Nebraska, and went on to live around the world. Fluent in Spanish and Portuguese, he lived in New York, Caracas, Tokyo, Rio de Janeiro, and Mexico City, finally settling in Millersville, Maryland in 1987.
A man of strong opinions and a skilled debater, Gary was never afraid to share his views on politics. Gary also loved sports, and was a passionate supporter of the New York Yankees, the Nebraska Cornhuskers, and the Brazilian soccer team.
Gary is survived by his beloved wife of 43 years, Nancy Evans Oye; his mother Fern Oye, of Hastings, Ne ,  son, Phil Oye and wife, Jennifer of Sydney, Australia;  sister, Marlys Kort and husband Neil of Blue Hill, NE; three grandchildren, Simon, Felix and Jessica Oye of Sydney, Australia.
The family will receive friends on Saturday, February 18, 2012 from 12:00pm to 2:00pm at Donaldson Funeral Home and Crematory, P.A., 1411 Annapolis Road, Odenton, Maryland, where a Memorial Service will begin at 2:00pm. Interment will be private.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the University of Maryland Heart Center by visiting

Quote of the Day

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

-Theodore Roosevelt

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


D. Lienemann
 UNL Extension Educator,
Webster County
February 15, 2012 Edition
As I filled up with $3.50+ gas today, I was thinking, amongst other things, that maybe I needed one of those electric cars, but wasn’t sure if I could get batteries big enough to get me to all of my destinations. Perhaps a bicycle would do me a lot better, but imagine just going to Red Cloud. Ok, maybe alternative fuels may be a better bet for my personal safety and well-being. I was thinking of not just getting run over, but the implications of the old beater.
Actually I was thinking of all kinds of alternative energy that may someday be available to us, let alone tapping the resources we already have. I got to thinking of that green leaf, full of chlorophyll that is so crucial to the total energy of the natural world. If you think about it, if some scientist could invent a solar cell that could mimic photosynthesis, wouldn’t that be a game changer for alternative energy. I know the leaves are not even on the trees yet, but that did not keep me from thinking about them. Call it wishful thinking. Each day we are getting closer.
Nature is amazing. Take that humble leaf, it's capable of absorbing the sunlight and converting it into the chemical energy that fuels the growth of plants. As smart as human beings can be, nature almost always does it better, possibly because nature has had hundreds of millions of years to get it right. Why would we be so arrogant to think we could even match nature? Take photosynthesis for example. Plants with green leaves are able to capture the sun's energy and turn it into useful chemical fuel in a process that is much, much more efficient than anything we have devised up to this point. Photosynthesis is one of the fundamental forces of life, and it's far superior to our technological efforts to harness sunlight. Scientists have however been pushing for a form of artificial photosynthesis that would create electricity that would then be harnessed to produce hydrogen for use in fuel cells. That's only one way to harness photosynthesis. There are others. For instance, a photovoltaic solar panel can transform sunlight to electricity, but right now that power is difficult to store without expensive batteries, which limits the potential of solar energy. The sugars produced by photosynthesis, though, can be tapped by a plant for energy whenever it's needed. That is where nature has us. We can’t ever seem to really mimic nature, or perhaps the margarine commercial had it right. Don’t fool with Mother Nature!
As it turns out, we may be getting closer to having an artificial leaf and mimicking photosynthesis. In a recent copy of Science Magazine, I stumbled on an article that piqued my interest. It seems Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) professor Daniel Nocera and his colleagues announced the development of an effective, relatively inexpensive "artificial leaf", a solar cell that can turn sunlight directly into chemical fuel. This playing card-sized device is made up of cheap materials, mostly silicon, cobalt and nickel, and when placed in a container of water and exposed to sunlight, it generates bubbles of oxygen and hydrogen. Those gases can be collected and stored, much more easily than the electricity produced by a photovoltaic solar cell, and then used to generate power through a fuel cell.
Now I am envisioning my pickup covered with artificial leaves. I bet that would get some stares driving around Blue Hill, Red Cloud or any other destination. I am not sure how air dynamic it would be, but it is certainly intriguing. Aesthetics aside, how does it work? Nocera indicated in a companion article that his device directly mimics nature: It's doing exactly the same thing as a leaf. It's sunlight in; hydrogen and oxygen out. And you can use the hydrogen and oxygen at some later time. Not all that much different than a real leaf.
Nocera and other scientists have been working on the artificial leaf for some time. Many call it the "Holy Grail" of renewable electricity. If they can get everything worked out, it is possible that this invention could make solar power affordable and viable for poor, off-the-grid locations. From the description laid out by Dr. Nocera, the artificial leaf is basically very simple, no excess equipment, no expensive materials. Ideally, the cell could produce enough electricity to power a house in a developing country with just sunlight and a gallon of water. That may be the reason why an Indian conglomerate, Tata, has helped finance research on this project. What isn’t there to like with this potential technology. I wonder if it will also work for cell phone reception?
As I understand it, in order to keep his cells cheap, or at least inexpensive, Nocera needed to sacrifice some efficiency; basically, how much sunlight his cell can convert into energy. The standard commercial solar photovoltaic cell has an efficiency rate of about 10% and the artificial leaf right now is closer to 2.5%. That's still significantly more efficient than the average actual leaf, but of course, human beings need a little more power than trees or grass. The artificial leaf also has to be durable enough to last for thousands and thousands of hours. It interested me that an older prototype, developed more than a decade ago by John Turner of the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory lasted barely a day. Nocera's leaf has operated continuously for at least 45 hours, but it will need to do better. Still, at a moment when most of the attention on renewable energy is being directed towards "scandals," like Solyndra, it's a good to see what a smart and dedicated scientist can do to change the way we power our lives. Maybe we can fool Mother Nature-- I certainly hope so!
The preceding information comes from the research and personal observations of the writer which may or may not reflect the views of UNL or UNL Extension. For more further information on these or other topics contact D. A. Lienemann, UNL Extension Educator for Webster County in Red Cloud, (402) 746-3417 or email to: or go to the !website at:

Quote of the Day

"It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to your enemies, but a great deal more to stand up to
your friends."
- –Dumbledore, Harry Potter

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Teen Mom Hero Encourages Nebraska Legislature to Pass Victim Protection Act

Sarah McKinley, an 18-year-old Oklahoma mother who was forced to shoot an armed intruder in her home last New Year’s Eve, has released an open letter to Nebraska residents that supports the efforts of the Nebraska Firearms Owners Association (NFOA) and other citizen groups in trying to pass a Victim Protection Act in Nebraska. A copy of her letter is attached or can be found at the evening of January 31, 2011, Mrs. McKinley and her infant son were home alone, as her husband had passed away just a week before after a painful fight against cancer. Two stalkers had chosen her as their victim and were outside her home banging on doors trying to enter. She called 911 for help, pushed the couch to barricade the door, grabbed her shotgun and moved with her son to another room. While the 911 dispatcher was not able to answer her question whether it was okay to shoot the intruder if he came through her door, the dispatcher did tell her to do whatever was needed to do to protect her baby. After the man forcibly entered her house, Sarah did just that. When the police arrived, they found the intruder dead on the couch barricade and clutching a knife.
“Mrs. McKinley is fortunate that she and her son survived that terrible home invasion without any physical harm,” NFOA President Andy Allen stated after reading Sarah’s letter. “She’s also lucky that this happened in Oklahoma, where state laws protect her not just from criminal charges but also against being sued by the intruder or his family looking to make a quick buck. Here in Nebraska she wouldn’t enjoy immunity against civil lawsuits if the criminal intruder or his family wanted to sue her for injuries received while she protected herself and her infant.”
Currently there is a bill, LB804 the Victim Protection Act, which would protect victims in Nebraska with immunity against civil lawsuits by criminals when the victim must use force to defend themselves or their family. Unfortunately a handful of Senators in the Nebraska Legislature’s Judiciary Committee are obstructing LB804 from advancing to the general assembly for debate and a vote. Concerned citizens are encouraged to call and write their Senator to ask them to demand the Judiciary Committee allow an open discussion of the bill on the floor by all Senators representing all of Nebraska’s residents. Additionally, more information on LB804, the Victim Protection Act, can be found at, an educational campaign sponsored by the NFOA.
Nebraska Firearms Owners Association is the largest firearms rights organization in the state of Nebraska, and membership is free for all Nebraskans concerned with their right to keep and bear arms; simply sign-up at We are local firearms owners who have a personal interest in protecting firearms owners’ rights in Nebraska.
Mission -
Nebraska Firearms Owners Association (NFOA) is organized for the purpose of voicing the opinion of its membership to the Nebraska Legislature and other law making bodies within the state as well as Federal level, as it pertains to firearms. NFOA members will also make it a priority to educate residents on firearms related issues.
On the web: or email: for more information.
Andreas (Andy) Allen
President NFOA
P.O. BOX 419
Syracuse, Nebraska 68446

Monday, February 13, 2012

Johanns' Statement on President's FY13 Budget

February 13, 2012

WASHINGTON – Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) today issued the following statement after President Obama announced his budget for fiscal year 2013:
"The President's budget contains more spending we can't afford; more borrowing we can't sustain, and more taxes which stifle job growth while doing nothing to address the root causes of our debt," Johanns said. "It represents the same failed policies we've seen the past three years, designed to score political points while doing nothing to address runaway entitlement spending or the fiscal crisis our nation faces."
The President's budget spends $3.8 trillion and, like his previous three, continues the trend of running historic trillion-plus dollar deficits despite promises to cut the national deficit in half by the end of his first term. The budget also does not appear to offer any new deficit reduction measures while proposing $1.5 trillion in new taxes, many of which will hit small businesses, which create more than 60 percent of all new jobs.

They’re Ba-a-a-ck; The E-15 Critics

Senator Ben Nelson
There they go again. Last week, the House Science, Space and Technology Committee approved along party lines a bill that would require the Environmental Protection Agency to commission a study of the ethanol blend E15 before allowing it to be used in vehicles. This will cause an unwise delay in use of this fuel that holds so much promise.
Wisconsin Republican Representative Jim Sensenbrenner’s measure would delay EPA’s final approval of the fuel blend by up to 19 months while the National Academy of Sciences carries out the study.
Sensenbrenner’s actions seem funny since I thought Groundhog Day had already come and gone but here we are seeing the same old thing again. Last year, another Republican Congressman attached an amendment to the House’s rejected H.R. 1 which blocked the continued implementation of E-15.
E15 as a Renewable Fuel
No fuel blend has been tested as thoroughly as E15. No fuel blend has undergone the level of scrutiny E15 has – and passed the tests like E15 did. They’ve been looking at E15 for more than three years.
E15 will reduce our dependence on foreign oil by 7 billion gallons annually.
E15 will create up to 136,000 American jobs that can’t be outsourced.
E15 will improve our environment – 59 percent less harmful emissions.
The House Should Stay Out
The House has inserted itself in another situation that did not need Congressional meddling, causing further delay in moving forward the development of this domestic renewable fuel.
The Green Jobs Waiver for E15 was accompanied with more independently-gathered data, science and research in its support than any of the other 11 Clean Air Act waivers previously approved by the U.S. EPA.
In October 2010, EPA approved a waiver allowing 15 percent ethanol in gasoline for passenger vehicles from model years 2007 and later. The agency approved E15 for use in models from 2001 to 2006 in January of last year and released a gasoline-station label for the blend in June.
EPA has yet to complete final registration of the fuel under the Clean Air Act.
Choose Science Not Politics
This amendment chooses politics over science. E15 is the most tested fuel in history and holds a lot of promise for America’s future as a renewable fuel source that will help us in our battle for energy independence. We should get on with it and stop the political game playing.