Sunday, April 29, 2012


Duane A. Lienemann,
 UNL Extension Educator,
 Webster County
April 27, 2012 Edition

Oh my, where do I start? This has been a busy week for agriculture. I feel like a kid in a candy store when it comes to looking for something to write about this week. We could talk about a lot of things but I only have this one page so may just touch on a couple of topics and then just concentrate on the one that could potentially have huge ramifications on Nebraska agriculture, the finding of another cow with BSE or commonly called “Mad Cow Disease”.
Arbor Day: I am writing this article on Arbor Day so I think that should take a nod. Nebraska of course is famous for many things and National Arbor Day is an example of the work by J. Sterling Morton to populate our state with trees to protect our fragile environment and change the landscape from what Nebraska used to be called the Great American Desert. Maybe we all should revisit Joyce Kilmer’s classic poem “Trees”. I hope we don’t rue the day that so many windbreaks are being torn out, along with grasslands that also nurture our woody friends. I understand why that is happening and of course that is tied to crops and the need to produce as much as we can, which leads me to another topic.
USDA Farm Bill: I think a lot of people figured that the farm bill would languish in political no-man’s land with this being an election year, but the good news is that the Senate Ag Committee passed their version of the Farm Bill yesterday and we will have to take a look at it to see all of the ramifications of the changes. I am sure it will be heavy on reliance on crop insurance and will give more responsibility for safety nets to the individual producer, and I imagine that the direct payment portion of the program will likely go away. I will leave it to the pundits to their discussion of this bill. I do know that I will most likely have to attend some educational seminars. The good news for me is that I won a Thai Pie Pizza at Old Chicago from a producer friend who bet against the early passage of this bill. I am salivating now on my keyboard.
DOL Farm Child Labor Rules: Good news! It just goes to show you that we can make a difference when we put our collective voices and pens to work. The US Department of Labor announced yesterday the withdrawal of the proposed rule dealing with children under the age of 16 who work in agricultural vocations. Here is the quote that came from the DOL: “The decision to withdraw this rule – including provisions to define the ‘parental exemption’ – was made in response to thousands of comments expressing concerns about the effect of the proposed rules on small family-owned farms.” The rule now goes back to its original basis. I have no idea what they were thinking. It does show how disconnected Washington DC is from rural America, our traditions, and how family farms work. Congratulations to all of you who rose up!
National Prime Rib Day: I am writing this column on April 27, 2012 which just happens to be National Prime Rib Day. Prime rib, or standing rib roast, is a choice beef cut from one of the eight primal cuts of beef. And if you slice the standing rib roast, so called because it is roasted standing up with the ribs stacked up vertically, you can remove the bones and get a nice number of ribeye steaks. So either way, you win! This cut contains the "eye" of the rib and is well-marbled (fat interspersed in the muscle). Just by rubbing the outside of this roast with salt and seasonings and then slow-roasting the meat, yields a tender, tasty meal that in my opinion is hard to beat. Prime rib is a delicious meal that can be enjoyed at any occasion! Just thinking about prime rib gets your mouth watering – even more than Thai Pie pizza. And of course, the only way to correctly celebrate National Prime Rib Day is to enjoy a big, juicy cut of it cooked your favorite way! Now that makes the transition into my next discussion a little dicey – a revisit of BSE.
BSE Hits America Again: The fourth confirmed case of BSE in the U.S. sent initial shockwaves through this industry this week. It brought back some very bad memories of the “cow that stole the 2003 Christmas”. I can understand why many people are on edge. The tens of billions of dollars in losses that resulted from that case will never be regained; thus, the uncertainty is certainly justified. Beef exports dropped by more than 70% after the first case. The timing of the announcement could not have been worse in many regards, as Japan was just set to bring its age requirement for U.S. beef imports into line with scientific standards. Plus, as I elude above, grilling season in the U.S. is just kicking off.
What hits me the hardest is that I believe that the beef market had just begun to recover from the media-hyped assault on lean finely textured beef (LFTB) or as so many erroneously referred to it as “pink slime.” Gosh I hate that moniker! Ironically, the LFTB fiasco may have had a part in keeping the BSE coverage from getting out of hand. After all, the media are notorious for manufacturing crisis, and then capitalizing on the sensationalism that they create. I think the industry was actually ready for this, unlike the LFTB issue. Much has changed in 8½ years. BSE isn’t received with the same level of panic that shook England in the late 1980s. The science is much better understood; people are better educated; and science-based, effective control programs that are recognized and accepted throughout the US and trading world are in place.
This California dairy cow is only the 4th confirmed case out of millions of beef slaughtered. Cattle infected with BSE have been found in the U.S. only 3 times: in a Canadian-born cow in 2003 in Washington; in a Texas cow in 2005; and in Alabama in 2006. My guess is that this cow was an old downer cow. There is much more that I could write on this subject but I suggest instead that you go to: . The thing we have to remember is the diseased animal was never presented for slaughter for human consumption, so at no time presented a risk to the food supply or human health!

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:   

Webster County ASAAP April Newsletter

Area Substance & Alcohol Abuse Prevention (ASAAP) of Webster County held its monthly meeting on April 22nd 6:00 pm at the Blue Hill Community Center. There were 17 community members in attendance.
Officers are: Chair: Michelle Kohmetscher Vic Chair: Rileigh Flohrs Secretary: Pam Schwab

Michelle reported on the youth leadership group in 5 schools. Red Cloud was held Wednesday April 18th and Blue Hill will be Thursday April 26.
Superior would like to host a fun day for all 5 schools (Red Cloud, Blue Hill, Harvard, Sandy Creek and Superior) Bonfire, hotdogs, Superior improv will perform, and many more activities. Date to be announced.

Awareness/RBST was discussed. Scott is trained to provide the class. Class takes 6 to 7 hours or is offered online for 1 hour. ASAAP would like to present businesses with a certificate if they have completed the training.

Sticker Shock- Pam contacted Sandy Morrisseg at Region 5 for ideas on this subject. She suggested stickers on grocery bags in different stores. We will have the members of the youth leader groups in Webster County design a sticker to go on bags. The member with the best design will win $50.00 and the runner up will win $25.00. Please bring to next meeting.

July 4th- walk with the I pledge no trailer
Street car days make plans.

Town hall survey handed out and completed by all present.

Next meeting will be May 20th 6:00 pm at the Red Cloud High School.
Light meal will be provided. EVERYONE IS WELCOME!

Pam Schwab
Webster County Coordinator

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Webster County District 1 Commissioner replacement needed

When 81 year old Webster County Commission Jesse “Pete” Petsch, of Guide Rock,  passed away last week it left Webster County facing an unusual dilemma.  Petsch had been elected in November of 2010  to serve another four year  term as a member of the board of  Webster County Commissioners.  Petsch had served Webster County  in that position for a number of terms.
 Following his death, according to Nebraska law ( 32-567. Vacancies; offices listed; how filled. . . . .  (3) In the membership of the county board, by the county clerk, county attorney, and county treasurer;)   it becomes the duty of  the Webster County clerk, Lonnie Knehans, Webster County treasurer,   Lori Koertner  and the Webster County Attorney, Jerry McDole ( who has submitted his resignation to the county commissioners)   to appoint some one to fill the vacancy.
County commissioners in Webster County are elected to serve four year terms.  So when Petsch was elected in November of 2010 it was expected that he would serve until January of 2015.  Someone from District 1 must now  be appointed to  serve the remainder of his term.  District 1 includes the south east part of Webster county including the village of Guide Rock.
Petsch ran against Jeff Ord in the November 2010 election. 

Friday, April 27, 2012

Johanns Statement on DoL Withdrawing Proposed Child Ag Rule

April 26, 2012
WASHINGTON –Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) today issued the following statement after the Department of Labor (DoL) withdrew an out-of-touch proposal designed to limit youth involvement in agriculture:
“Withdrawing this illogical rule is good news for families involved with agriculture and future generations of farmers and ranchers,” Johanns said. “It took a while, but I'm glad common-sense finally prevailed. I hope this isn't an isolated incident and will carry over to other overly burdensome regulations proposed by this Administration.”
Last September, the Obama Administration’s DoL issued a draft rule that would ban those under the age of 16 from working on a farm or ranch not owned by their parents – preventing young people from gaining the valuable, first-hand experience Nebraskans have for generations.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Johanns-Nelson Arbor Day Resolution Adopted by Senate

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Senate today adopted a resolution introduced by Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) and cosponsored by Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) celebrating the 140th anniversary of Arbor Day and encouraging Americans to participate in Arbor Day activities in their community.
“Arbor Day is celebrated across the nation and around world,” Johanns said. “It’s about more than simply planting a tree. Arbor Day highlights the important role every one of us plays in land stewardship – something that is extremely important in Nebraska and in rural communities that depend on natural resources for their livelihood.”
J. Sterling Morton started Arbor Day in 1872 in Nebraska City, Neb., to recognize the importance of land stewardship by planting and caring for trees. It is estimated that more than one million trees were planted on the first Arbor Day in Nebraska alone. Today, Arbor Day is celebrated in all 50 states and across the world.
For more information on Arbor Day, contact the Arbor Day Foundation HERE.

Jess Henry Petsch 1-6-31 to 4-23-2012

Jess Jess Henry Petsch was born on January 6, 1931, to Jess and Mable Carmen (Hill) Petsch in Hitchcock County, Nebraska. He departed this world on April 23, 2012 at the age of 81 years, 3 months and 17 days.

Pete, as he was called, grew up on a farm near Stratton, Nebraska, attended Stratton public schools and graduated in 1949. He joined the Navy in August 1950 serving for 4 years. Pete was united in marriage to Wilma Barnhart on April 17, 1952 in Denver, Colorado. After being honorably discharged from the Navy, Pete and Wilma moved back to Stratton where Pete farmed until moving to Lincoln in 1956. Pete worked in Lincoln until they purchased some land near and moved to Superior, NE. In 1963, Pete and Wilma and the family moved to the farm just east of Guide Rock. Pete worked for Ely Grain Company for several years and owned a custom harvesting company, while keeping up the farming operation.

One of Pete's proudest moments was serving on the Guide Rock School Board and awarding diplomas to all four of his children. Pete also was a dedicated member of the Guide Rock American Legion and served several terms as a member of the Webster County Board of Commissioners.

In addition to all of his jobs, he always took the time to participate and attend all of his children's sporting events and even was the announcer at the football games.

Pete and Wilma have 4 children: Jerry, Joy, Jack and Jeff. Pete had many great passions in his life: his wife and children, helping his neighbors, playing cards, smoking his pipe, and especially spending time with his grand- and great-grand-children.

Preceding him in death were his parents, two sisters, Grace Rook and Sylvie Cobb, and one brother Gary.

Left to cherish his memory are his loving wife, Wilma, a brother, Dave and Liz Petsch of Guide Rock, a sister Ruth and Ellis Sutton of McCook, his children Jerry and Rita Petsch of Omaha, Joy and Ken Simpson of Gretna, NE, Jack and Ronda Petsch of Guide Rock, Jeff Petsch of Guide Rock, his grand children Bradley Simpson and LeAnn Hawkins, Jennifer (Simpson) and Rob Long, Rachel Simpson and Josiah Warren, Stephanie (Petsch) and Kody Urwiler, Stacie (Petsch) and Jason Heldt, Jessica Petsch, Justin Petsch, Jarred Petsch, Carmen Petsch, and his great grand children Jordyn Urwiler, Bradyn Urwiler, Bryson Urwiler, Josh Heldt, Haize Heldt, Payton Long, Malayna Long, Sawyer Long, Hannah Simpson, Hailey Simpson, Hayden Simpson, and many other family members and friends.

Funeral services will be held Friday, 10:00 a.m., April 27, 2012 at the United Methodist Church in Guide Rock with the Rev. Joel Rathbun officiating. Interment with military honors will be at the Guide Rock Cemetery.

Visitation will be held Wednesday and Thursday, 8:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m. at the funeral home and Friday, 8:00 a.m. to service time at the church.

Memorials are suggested to the Guide Rock American Legion Post of the Guide Rock Fire & Rescue Squad.

Williams Funeral Home
241 West 4th Avenue
Red Cloud, Nebraska 68970


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Robert D. Moorman Oct 6, 1945 to April 17, 2012

Lincoln resident Robert D. “Bob” Moorman, 66, died Tuesday, April 17, 2012 at his home.
Funeral service is 10:00am, Saturday April 21, 2012 at Cornerstone Baptist Church with Pastor Doug Delhay officiating. Visitation was from 4:00pm to 7:00pm, Friday, April 20, 2012 at Lincoln Family Funeral Care and 1 hour before the service at the church. Burial was at Fairview Cemetery.
Bob was born October 6, 1945 in Sargent, Nebraska, the son of Wilmer O. and Jean L. (Fuller) Moorman. He grew up in Sargent and graduated from Sargent High School. Bob married and had two sons.
He lived in Omaha and Blue Hill, Nebraska before moving to Lincoln in 1985. While living in Blue Hill he operated an auto repair service.
 Bob retired from LES in 2007.
 He enjoyed his time with his grandchildren and growing his garden. Bob was a member of Living Hope Tabernacle and H.O.G.
Bob is survived by two sons, Mark Moorman of Windsor, CO , and Matt Moorman and wife Sarah of Blue Hill, NE; two grandchildren, Max and Mallory; two sisters, Reba Beranek of Lincoln, Minnette Volf and husband Allen of Ord, NE; two brothers, Karroll “Butch” Moorman of Hayward, CA, William “Bill” Moorman of Cedar Springs, GA; numerous nieces, nephews, and other relatives.
He was preceded in death by his parents.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Anna M. Schunk 5-23-1915 To 4-20-2012

Former Blue Hill resident Anna "Ann"  M. Schunk  passed away April 20th at the age of 96 at the home of her daughter, Judy and son-in-law in Shawnee, Kansas. 
Funeral services were held in Blue Hill Wednesday April 25 at Holy Trinity Catholic Church with Very Reverand James Schrader and Very Rev. Valerian Bartek officiating.  Burial followed at the Blue Hill Cemetery.
Anna M. Schutte Schunk  was born May 21st 1915to Steve and Barbara (Krebsbach) Schutte.
Anna lost her parents to the flu epidemic of 1918.  She was raised by her aunt and Uncle, the late Mr. and mrs. John Beyke.
 She married married  Gilbert Schunk on June 21, 1938 at Lawrence. Two children were born to this union.
Together Gilbert and Anna owned and operated the Gambles Store in Blue Hill, later known as Schunk Hardware.  
Anna was preceded in death by her parents; husband; brothers, Alois and Steve Schutte; sisters, Clara Kimminau and Ludvina Lemke.
She is survived by her daughter, Judy (Kenneth) Buschow of Shawnee Kansas; Son, Roger (LaRae) Schunk of Blue Hill' and  six grandchildren and seven great grandchildren..

80th Birthday April 26th.

Her family requests a card shower in her honor.
send good wishes to:
Lamira Karsting
Box 144
Blue Hill, Ne 68930

Joseph "Joe" A. Hopkins 9-16-1962 to 4-19-2012

Joe Hopkins
Blue Hill resident, Joseph “Joe” A. Hopkins, 49, died Thursday, April 19, 2012 at Campbell, Nebraska.
Services will be Tuesday, April 24, 2012; 10:00 A.M. at Blue Hill United Methodist Church, Blue Hill with Pastor Steve Marsh officiating. Burial will be in East Lawn Cemetery, Bladen, Nebraska. Visitation will be Monday, April 23, 2012; 1:00 P.M. – 9:00 P.M. with family receiving friends 6:00 P.M. – 8:00 P.M. at the funeral home, and with family receiving friends one hour prior to service at the church. Memorials may be given to the family’s choice.
Joe was born September 16, 1962 in LaGrange, Kentucky to Shelby W. & Laura (Boyd) Hopkins. He graduated from Jessamine High School in Nicholasville, Kentucky. Joe served in the U.S. Army and worked at CPI in Campbell, Nebraska. He enjoyed bowling, fishing, and barbequing. He volunteered at the Campbell Nursing Home on various occasions including playing Santa for Christmas.
Joe was preceded in death by his father, Shelby Hopkins.
Survivors include:
Mother: Laura (Carl) Jackson – Blue Hill, NE
Brother: Jim (Kathy) Hopkins – Gastonia, NC
Sisters: Barbara (Bob) Stack – Cocoa, FL
Sandra (Bill) Dittmer – Juniata, NE
Gail (Anthony) Stevens – Manchester, KY
Fiancée: Carla Jameson – Blue Hill, NE
Children: Ian & Allen Hopkins
Grandchildren: Lexi, Christopher, Tye, and Dominic
Chosen family: Dustin Dotson & Shelby Jameson
Best friend & grandson: Evan
Step-Brothers & Sisters: Jerry Archer
Michael “Brian” Horton
Emily “Michelle” Horton
Nieces & Nephews: Stephen Hopkins , Joshua Hopkins. Daniel Hopkins
Robert Eyer, Jennifer Eyer
William Dittmer, Jackson Dittmer
Heather Archer. Chelsea Archer, Branda Archer
Greg Stevens, Jacob Stevens
Hannah Thomas

Friday, April 20, 2012


Duane A. Lienemann,
UNL Extension Educator,
Webster County
April 20, 2012 Edition
The best place to start this week’s discussion may be an explanation of all these moths flying around. Many call them “Miller” or “Spring” moths. It does seem a little early that these moths are upon us, and it is. It seems that a lot of things are ahead of normal this year and the insects are not an exception. That brings us to discuss what species of moths are these that seem to love to sit in our screen doors, garages and even in our houses, continually annoying cats and humans.
First comes the teaching moment. I would imagine that most people know that a moth is an insect that is related to the butterfly, both being of the order Lepidoptera. What you may not know is that moths form the majority of this order; there are thought to be about 160,000 species of moth (nearly ten times the number of species of butterfly), and amazingly with thousands of species yet to be described. Most species of moth are “nocturnal” species which have a preference for the dark of the night. We have all seen them buzzing porch lights, and yard lights. There are also “crepuscular” species, which means they are particularly active primarily during twilight, or if you prefer - dawn. There are also “diurnal” species which, you probably have surmised by now, are those that fly during the day. They like daylight and are the ones we see fluttering around as we do our day to day activities. From what I can determine our aggravators are army cutworm moths.
Army Cutworm Moths: “Euxoa auxiliaris”, or army cutworm, is commonly found in the Western section and prairies of the United States. The army cutworm is a cyclic or intermittent pest that can cause damage to alfalfa and grain crops in early spring. Damage is caused by the cutworm larvae, which are dingy, light to dark gray caterpillars that often have a lighter gray stripe running the length of the body. Adult cutworms are one of the common “miller” moths seen fluttering around porch lights at night. The good news is that there is only one generation per year and that the moths do very little damage other than being annoying, and of course laying eggs which will eventually become larvae and the next cycle.
Army cutworms have an unusual life cycle that parallels the life cycle of fall grains and other fall annual plants. Adult moths spend the summer at high elevations in the mountains and migrate to rangeland and cultivated fields in August and September. Each female moth then lays from 1,000 to 3,000 eggs in barren or sparsely vegetated fields, especially winter wheat, alfalfa and grasslands. Within a few days, eggs hatch into caterpillars that begin feeding on grasses, weeds, and a variety of crops. Unlike many cutworm species that sever plants at the soil surface, army cutworms climb plants to eat leaves and stems. Feeding continues until cold weather sets in, then the partially-grown caterpillars burrow into the soil for the winter. Caterpillars emerge from the soil, usually in March through April and resume feeding. If no plants are growing, cutworms may migrate up to three miles in search of green feed. Caterpillars feed until they are approximately two inches long and then they burrow into the soil to pupate. Adult moths normally emerge from the soil in April and in June. The moths prefer to feed at night on the nectar of flowering shrubs and trees. This feeding does not harm the plants. As dawn approaches, the millers congregate and may enter homes, garages, barns and sheds in search of resting sites. Narrow cracks or crevices are preferred for these sites, but any protected area is suitable.
Moths, emerging in Nebraska, tend to remain in the area for two to three weeks but may stay for up to six weeks or as long as local plants are flowering. Cool and wet conditions during this time will extend their stay. Hot and dry conditions will encourage the moths to move westward. The moths migrate westward and upward in elevation as they follow the progression in the initiation of blossoming of spring flowering plants. After feeding briefly on nectar provided by these wildflowers they will then migrate back to higher elevations. They are known to travel to mountainous climate regions in late June and early July where they feed at night on the nectar of wildflowers, and during the day they seek shelter under various rock formations. It may surprise you that army cutworms are one of the richest foods for predators, such as brown bears and even grizzly bears, in the mountainous region ecosystem. The moth’s body can have up to 18 percent protein, and from 40-70 percent fat, thus making it more calorie-rich than elk or deer. Grizzly bears in Yellowstone Park have been observed feeding almost exclusively on moths 3 months each summer. You can see these bears picking up or turning over rocks, and reaching with their tongues into cracks and crevices for them. Those insects that survive head back east to start the whole process over. I guess I really never thought much about the journeys of this insect, now I do.
Wheat Diseases & Yellow Wheat: It may interest our wheat producers that Dr. Steven Wegulo, UNL Extension Plant Pathologist, was in south central Nebraska on April 18 and he reported stripe rust. Severity ranged from trace to 70% or higher on lower leaves in hot spots in the southern-most counties. In Adams and Clay counties, severity was mostly trace. Crop growth stage in the southern-most counties was Feekes 10 (boot) in a few fields. The rest of the fields were mostly at Feekes 8 (flag leaf visible) to Feekes 9 (flag leaf emerged). Conditions are currently very conducive to stripe rust development, so it may pay to take a look at your wheat. The real important thing to remember is to watch and protect that flag leaf, as up to 75% of our potential yield is determined there. Flag leaves have started emerging and will continue to do so at an accelerated rate. We still have some yellow wheat fields that are a concern. It may be that we are lacking another nutrient, perhaps sulfur, rather than nitrogen - which would be the logical guess. I am working on that - stayed tuned!
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:  

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Quote of the Day

Where we love is home - home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts.

Oliver Wendell Holmes

Senators override veto; cities can increase local option sales taxes with voter approval

Senators narrowly overrode a veto administered by the governor April 18 on a bill that would allow additional local option sales taxes but would make them subject to the supermajority approval of the local city council as well as the voters. The bill was first debated in 2011 and was carried over from last session. LB357, introduced by Omaha Sen. Brad Ashford, allows local option sales taxes to be levied at 1.75 percent and 2 percent, with 75 percent approval of the members of the municipality’s governing body. The proposal then would be submitted to voters for approval.
Current law permits cities to impose a local option sales tax of 0.5 percent, 1 percent or 1.5 percent with voter approval.
Senators had passed the bill April 5 on a 30-15 vote. In his veto letter, Governor Dave Heineman said the bill would allow cities to levy taxes up to an additional 33 percent more than what is currently levied.
“That is an excessive burden upon Nebraskans at this time in our current economy,” he wrote.
Asford filed a motion to override the veto, saying the bill will empower cities to fund economic development.
“We need to trust our communities and public officials to put forward a plan for their cities,” Ashford said.
Omaha Sen. Steve Lathrop supported the motion to override, saying cities need some source of revenue after recent cuts in state aid.
“We’ve not only taken money away from the cities, but we are getting unfunded mandates from the federal and state,” Lathrop said. “We have no way to pay for it.”
Fullerton Sen. Annette Dubas opposed the motion, saying the potential increase in sales tax also would place a burden on those living outside city limits. She said farmers must buy necessary equipment and supplies in cities which could be subject to the sales tax.
“You’re forcing people to pay a sales tax that they are unable to vote on,” Dubas said. “We’re creating a playing field that is not level for all citizens.”
Senators voted 30-17 to override the governor’s veto.
The bill requires that cities of the metropolitan and primary classes designate proceeds from any increased sales tax revenue to projects completed under interlocal agreements. Omaha is the state’s only metropolitan city and Lincoln is the state’s only primary class city.
Increased sales tax revenue in cities of the metropolitan class must be used to:
• reduce existing taxes with the first 0.25 percent of additional revenue;
• fund public infrastructure projects with the next 0.125 percent of additional revenue; and
• fund projects under interlocal agreements with the next 0.125 percent of additional revenue.
For cities of the primary class, the first 15 percent of additional tax revenue must be dedicated to funding nonpublic infrastructure projects under interlocal agreements. The remaining proceeds will be designated for public infrastructure projects.
Cities of the first class, second class and villages will dedicate all increased sales tax revenue to funding public infrastructure projects.
If a city votes to increase the local option sales tax, it will be subject to a 10-year sunset date. If the increased revenue has been dedicated to paying bonds incurred for an infrastructure project, the tax will terminate once the bonds have been paid.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Gov. Heineman Makes a Statement on Veto Overrides

(Lincoln, Neb.) Gov. Dave Heineman today offered the following statement to the LB 357 and LB 599 veto overrides:
“Today, the majority of the Nebraska Legislature decided their priorities are:
•Providing taxpayer funded benefits to illegal immigrants and
•Increasing the sales tax rate on the citizens of Nebraska.
“I strongly disagree with their decisions. Providing preferential treatment to illegals while increasing taxes on legal Nebraska citizens is misguided, misplaced and inappropriate.”

Veto of pari-mutuel wagering on historic horse races sustained

Senators declined to override a gubernatorial veto April 18 of a bill that would have authorized the state Racing Commission to license and regulate pari-mutuel wagering on historic horse races.
An historic horse race creates a pari-mutuel pool via instant racing terminals from wagers placed on a previously held race at a licensed racetrack.
Lawmakers had passed LB806, introduced by Omaha Sen. Scott Lautenbaugh, April 5 on a vote of 26-18. The bill subsequently was vetoed by Gov. Dave Heineman.
The bill would have established a Historic Horse Racing Distribution Fund comprising taxes collected from the races and licensing fees, which would be $1,000 per machine.
Half of the fund’s proceeds would be credited to the Racing Commissions Cash Fund to be used for programs that facilitate equine therapy for youth and veterans and the other half would be directed to the Compulsive Gambler’s Assistance Fund.
Under the bill, historic horse racing would end if it were found by a court to allow any additional Class III gaming as defined in the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.
Authority to license and regulate historic horse racing also would terminate if specific criteria were not met within four years of continuous use of instant racing terminals, including:
• construction of a race track enclosure in a county that contains a city of the primary class;
• a 25 percent increase in purses compared to 2011; and
• a 30 percent increase in the number of live horse racing days at tracks with instant racing terminals in counties other than Douglas, or a 40 percent increase in Douglas County.
In his veto message, the governor said LB806 represents an unconstitutional expansion of gambling in the state.
Heineman said that while the Nebraska Constitution permits betting on the results of horse races by the pari
mutuel method when conducted in a licensed racetrack enclosure, this exception to the general prohibition on gambling in the state does not apply to “slot-machine betting” on past races.
Lautenbaugh said the bill simply would allow a struggling industry to help itself through innovation.
“This is not expanded gambling,” he said. “This is a technological upgrade for horse racing, plain and simple.”
Ogallala Sen. Ken Schilz supported the motion to override the governor’s veto, saying the bill would maintain jobs and a long tradition of horse racing in Nebraska. He said questions of constitutionality should be settled elsewhere.
“If there is a question with the courts, let the courts figure it out,” he said.
Sen. Bill Avery of Lincoln opposed the override motion, saying the bill would not be enough to save an industry that has lost its appeal. He said previous legislative efforts to support horse racing in Nebraska have fallen short and suggested LB806 would as well.
“This is not the kind of help they need,” he said. “[This bill] will not save the industry.”
Scottsbluff Sen. John Harms also opposed the override effort, saying the bill would illegally expand gambling in the state. While acknowledging the struggle of people in the horse racing industry, he said the state’s constitutional prohibition is clear.
“I’m not against horse racing,” he said. “I’m against the expansion of gambling.”
Senators voted 28-20 on the motion to override, two votes short of the number required.
Lautenbaugh then filed a motion to reconsider that vote, saying lawmakers should think twice about the jobs that would be saved by supporting the horse racing industry.

“This is about jobs. Not hypothetical jobs … but ones that are here right now,” he said.
The motion to reconsider failed on a 29-20 vote and the governor’s veto of LB806 was sustained.

Quote of the Day

"There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home."
 Ken Olson, president,
 chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp., 1977


April 18, 2012 – Today, Nebraska’s Senator Ben Nelson said political obstruction and gridlock in Congress are increasing chances the U.S. Postal Service will close 3,700 rural post offices across the country, including 90 in Nebraska.
“If Congress doesn’t pass a postal reform bill soon, there’s nothing to stop the U.S. Postmaster General from going ahead with a draconian cost-savings plan. The plan would close 90 Nebraska post offices, mainly in rural communities, and a number of mail processing centers,” Senator Nelson said during his weekly conference call with members of the Nebraska news media.
Yesterday, the Senate delivered a 74-22 vote in favor of moving forward with bipartisan postal reform legislation. Unfortunately, the bill is now stalled because one senator demanded a vote on an unrelated measure – it was about foreign aid to Egypt – which led to partisan disagreements about procedure and stopped the progress of the postal reform bill.
“I am concerned about senators throwing monkey wrenches – like their pet issues – into the process that only succeed in delay, obstruction and job-killing gridlock,” Nelson said.
In order to reduce expenses, the Postal Service has proposed closing 3,700, mainly rural, post offices and many mail processing centers across the country. Last December, at the urging of Nelson and nearly two dozen of his colleagues, the Postal Service agreed to a moratorium on closing post offices. That moratorium expires on May 15.
“Tens of thousands of jobs are in jeopardy. Our rural communities are at risk of losing a vital means of communication and public services,” Nelson said. “Rural post offices, the services they provide, and the people who provide them, have great value to communities across Nebraska.
“Congress needs to work with the Postal Service to fix the problems before deciding to reduce services to people who need them. But we can’t do that if some continue with their tactics that only delay and obstruct Congress. Time’s running out.”
Nelson has worked with his colleagues to strengthen the postal reform legislation by including provisions to protect rural post offices from closings, maintain Saturday delivery service, continue appropriate delivery standards for first class mail, and set up a commission to study ways to develop a new business model for the postal service that would make it more profitable.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Johanns: Enough With the Political Stunts on Gas Prices, Mr. President

WASHINGTON – Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) today expressed concerns with President Obama's priorities as he ramps up his re-election bid and Americans continue to pay more at the gas pump.
"President Obama's recent instructions to his own oil and gas task force to resume the work it supposedly has already been doing and calling for Congress to allocate more borrowed money to buy computers makes me question whether his priority is to lower gas prices or make it simply appear that way," Johanns said. "We don't need more politicians saying supply doesn't matter, we need more supply of domestic energy. If the President really wanted to do something about gas prices, he could have expanded our energy exploration here at home or approved the Keystone pipeline – instead he has recycled last year's speech. Americans can't afford to keep paying for last year's failed ideas.
"Nebraskans are paying more and more every time they take their kids to school or drive to work and have had enough talking points. It's time to get our priorities straight, set politics aside, and do something tangible to help families at the pump."

Bruning Challenges EPA Rule in Court

LINCOLN - Attorney General Jon Bruning today announced Nebraska filed suit in the United States D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals challenging implementation of the EPA’s Mercury Air Toxics Standard Rule, commonly referred to as the Utility MACT.
“EPA’s Utility MACT is the most expensive, burdensome rule ever imposed on power plants,” said Bruning. “These mandates drive up energy costs and threaten the jobs of millions of Americans.”
Announced in late December 2011, the rule forces existing coal and oil-fired power plants to cap mercury emissions by 90 percent over the next three years. EPA’s own analysis estimates the rule will cost nearly $10 billion annually—40% more than the total cost of all other Clean Air Act regulations combined.
The Nebraska Power Association reported approximately 65% of Nebraska’s electricity produced in 2010 was from coal. Increased operating costs for producers would likely affect all Nebraska energy consumers, especially agricultural producers.
According to the Electric Reliability Coordinating Council, in addition to the financial impact, it is anticipated that the rule will result in the loss of some 1.44 million jobs nationwide by 2020.
Nebraska is joined by 21 other states on the petition for review including Michigan, Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wyoming, Iowa and Kentucky.

Gov. Heineman Signs Bill to Advance the Pipeline Review Process in Nebraska

(Lincoln, Neb.) Gov. Dave Heineman today signed into law legislation that will allow the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality (NDEQ) to evaluate the route of any currently proposed or future pipeline in the state. The pipeline bill, LB 1161e, will take effect tomorrow morning, April 18, at 12:01 a.m. CT, with the review process being a top priority for the NDEQ, led by Director Mike Linder.
“Nebraska will move forward on the review process of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline and any future pipelines that will create jobs and reduce U.S. dependence on Middle Eastern oil,” said Gov. Heineman. “The review process is a top priority for Nebraska.”

Monday, April 16, 2012

Johanns Statement on Buffett Rule Tax Hike

“This vote had more to do with Election Day than it did Tax Day. The government spends too much, not taxes too little, and political gimmicks like this only distract from that truth.”
WASHINGTON – Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) today issued the following statement after voting against beginning debate on the so-called Buffett Rule tax hike.
“This vote had more to do with Election Day than it did Tax Day. The government spends too much, not taxes too little, and political gimmicks like this only distract from that truth. It’s time we get serious – serious about reforming our tax code, serious about controlling Washington’s reckless spending and serious about turning around our economy.
“President Obama likes to make the audacious claim that without the so-called Buffett Rule college students and seniors will pay more for their student loans and Medicare. That’s a bold statement considering the President’s own health care law slashed half a trillion dollars from Medicare and included a government takeover of the student loan industry, using the profits to pay for the misguided law. No amount of heated rhetoric can change those sad facts.”


Monday, April 16, 2012

By  Senator Ben Nelson
We live in a country that was founded on the principle that everyone is created equal. No one gets special treatment. We are all treated the same, especially in Nebraska where we pride ourselves on being polite and thoughtful. To put it in the most basic of terms, no one cuts in line. Everyone waits for his or her turn. However, this is not always the case at airports, where some air travelers are able to cut to the front of the security screening line.
Bill Promotes Fairness for Airline Passengers
That’s why I have introduced a bill called the “Air Passenger Fairness Act of 2012” to promote fairness for all air travel passengers by barring airlines and airport operators from using express security lines that allow for certain groups of air passengers to cut to the front of the TSA security screening line.
My bill would prohibit a practice currently used at many airports, where queues to enter checkpoint screening lanes have been designed to provide "elite" flyer lanes that the airlines make available to first class, and sometimes business class travelers, as well as to travelers who have reached certain status levels in airline frequent flyer programs. This enables them to move to the front of the waiting line to pass through TSA screening.
This bill is about fairness. Regardless of whether you have a first-class ticket or have reached a certain frequent flier status, the purpose of the airport security screening line is to ensure traveler safety. Allowing a select few to cut in front of those who are waiting patiently, just in order to provide a perk, has nothing to do with safety.
No Special Treatment
Because all of the passengers are entering an area of airports where the federal government is performing a government function – security screenings – using special lines to expedite the security screening process for some passengers is inappropriate. All passengers pay the same fee in their airline tickets to cover the cost of the TSA screenings regardless of ticket class. They should be treated equally.
The bill, however, would not affect the current “trusted traveler” Transportation Security Administration-administered program that travelers can use to apply for pre-screening clearance This may expedite their security screenings at designated locations in select airports. It also would not stop an airline or airport operator from setting up express lines for disabled passengers.

Gov. Heineman Announces Hire Our Heroes Initiative Is Seeking Nebraskans for Employment Opportunities

(Lincoln, Neb.) Gov. Dave Heineman today announces the state involvement in the Hire Our Heroes Initiative, the cooperative effort between the United States Chamber of Commerce, the Nebraska Department of Labor and the Nebraska National Guard. This nationwide initiative helps veterans and military spouses find meaningful employment.
“Last year, Hire Our Heroes helped over 9,000 veterans across the country find employment, and this year the United States Chamber of Commerce is bringing it to our state,” said Gov. Dave Heineman. “There are approximately 4,800 Army and Air National Guardsmen and women in Nebraska and thousands more Nebraskans serve in the U.S. Reserves and active military. The enthusiasm surrounding Hiring Our Heroes shows that the courage and sacrifice demonstrated by these men and women has not gone unnoticed.”
Current and former military members bring sought-after skills to the workforce. Nebraska’s veterans and their spouses are invited to the Hiring Our Heroes Fair April 24 at the Lancaster Event Center in Lincoln. There are 100 employers registered for the fair, representing over 500 job opportunities. More than a dozen sponsors, including military groups and media partners, are working to make the event a success.
“This support demonstrates how Nebraskans continually stand behind our men and women in uniform, both during and after their service,” said Cathy Lang, Director of the Nebraska Department of Economic Development and Commissioner of the Nebraska Department of Labor.
“This is about bringing Nebraska’s employers and service members, and their spouses, together in an environment that creates opportunities for both groups,” said Maj. Gen. Judd Lyons, Nebraska Adjutant General. “Nebraska’s service members bring tremendous skill sets and qualities with them. Our Guardsmen and women, for example, have honed skills like leadership, problem-solving, an ability to operate under pressure, time management, and many others. These are abilities that our employers are looking for today.”
“The same can be said for Nebraska’s military spouses, who have been asked to take on many more responsibilities and roles while their loved ones have deployed,” Maj. Gen. Lyons added. “They, too, bring tremendous qualities that are directly transferrable into today’s work force.”
A week prior to the hiring fair, the Nebraska Department of Labor will host a career workshop on Tuesday, April 17, at the National Guard Armory located at 1776 North 10th Street in Lincoln. Like the hiring fair, this event is intended to help current and former servicemen and women translate their military skills into the civilian job market. Sessions will cover resume writing, meeting with employers, professional etiquette and other career topics. Community and service organizations representing a variety of resources will also be present.
Since Sept. 11, 2001, thousands of Nebraska servicemen and women have served around the world, including duty in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Balkans, as members of the Nebraska National Guard, the U.S. Reserves and active military. Among these thousands of Nebraska service members are the more than 1,200 Nebraska Army National Guard Soldiers who have returned home to Nebraska from overseas deployments since last May.
More information about these events can be found online at and

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Quote of the Day

"Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear."
Ambrose Redmoon

Friday, April 13, 2012


Duane A. Lienemann,
 UNL Extension Educator,
 Webster County
April 13, 2012 Edition
Oh gosh, where do I start? There is so much going on in the agriculture world right now. Of course planting is underway all around us. I know it is a little earlier than normal, as do the farmers, but I don’t blame them. I think I would take the risk of frost too, especially if you look at the long range forecast. At any rate it is good to see those tractors and planters out. There has also been news this past week about the FDA banning or actually the “volunteer” restriction in use of antibiotics in livestock. We could also talk about EPA’s decision that the widely used herbicide 2,4-D would remain on the market, denying a petition from the environmental group, Natural Resources Defense Council, that sought to revoke the chemical’s approval. This is good news, but it seems that the attacks on scientifically proven safe ag production tools like antibiotics, atrazine and now 2,4-D is constant. We will likely see more of this down the road.
Ok, now let’s revisit “Pink Slime.” But first let’s call it what it really is - “Lean Finely Textured Beef” or as the industry labels it LFTB. When this current “Pink Slime” fiasco started a month ago, I gave my initial thoughts in my March 16th column, but today I put together some information that may put some more light on the effects of this bizarre twist to another attack on animal agriculture. I even hate to use that moniker, as it is not that at all. That is what is wrong with all of this - the non-deserving “ick” or “ewww” factor that has unfortunately been created and unfairly pushed forward by an unethical reality cooking show host, an ABC blogger, and of course ABC news, and then social media. They all hijacked the truth, minimized science, frightened consumers and created a false crisis, just to boost their ratings.
In the less than 30 days that this has unfolded, what I feared has taken place, and it is costly to the beef industry and will also resonate through the grocery stores. Within the last three weeks, Beef Products Inc. suspended operations at plants in Amarillo, Texas; Garden City, Kansas; and Waterloo, Iowa - idling about 650 workers. BPI's flagship South Sioux City complex has been spared for now, but production and hours there have been significantly reduced. This past week, another producer, AFA Foods, has filed for bankruptcy protection. Beef producers have also taken a hit. Boxed beef cutout values fell sharply lower for two weeks in a row, and cash fed cattle and dressed beef mostly $1-2/cwt lower.
Beef prices for consumers have been steadily rising for some time. The retail price of lean ground beef has climbed 13.7 percent to $3.92 per pound (USDA). You can bet your bottom dollar that that price has and will continue to climb. Lean finely textured beef was being used for a reason - it was a way to get lean beef cheaper than any alternative process. This controversy has taken more than 850 million pounds off the market, which will likely lead to higher prices for beef. Cargill economists indicate that it will now take 1.5 million additional cattle per year to replace LFTB taken off the market. Can anyone say “foreign beef?” There is no doubt that we’ll soon see demand outstrip supply as the drought-depleted herds are slowly rebuilt. At roughly 93 million, the U.S. cattle herd is about 4 percent smaller than it was five years ago and right now we’ve got the lowest number of cows we’ve had since about the time I was born. To top it off slaughterhouses will grow even quieter in coming weeks as ranchers hold back heifers for breeding to replenish herds.
I was pleased when officials from Nebraska and surrounding states held a conference with the theme - “Dude It’s Beef!” All I can do is say “Right On”! The fact is - LFTB is beef. The beef trimmings that are used are absolutely edible. In fact, no process can somehow make an inedible meat edible; it’s impossible. In reality, the production process simply removes fat and makes the remaining beef more lean and suited to a variety of beef products that satisfy consumers’ desire for leaner and safer foods. We need to understand that at the end of the day, it is meat. It is USDA approved, it’s legal, it’s nutritious, it's extricated with centrifuge, instead of a knife, and it is ground up in ground beef and it is safe, and just like all beef, is a good or excellent source of 10 essential nutrients including protein, iron, zinc and B vitamins.
While it may be true that around 60-70% of ground beef contains the LFTB, what is wrong is that these idiots in the news and blog business made that out to be “70% of the hamburger we eat is pink slime” when in reality the USDA allows no more than 15% to be mixed in and most is far below that level. The meat scraps were not scooped off the slaughter house floor and they were not treated with household ammonia. The detractors need to be more honest and forthright. Hopefully, consumers and producers find reliable sources to reach out to educate themselves and find out there shouldn't be a concern. For more information I suggest going to  or .   .
This issue won’t be settled by rational debate of facts, but by an emotional response to the manner in which the production process was presented. Questions remain, but opponents, fear mongers, or so-called journalists who were after an audience, regardless of who it hurt, all won in the court of public opinion before supporters and the beef industry had a chance to make a point. What is really upsetting to me is that sound science and ingenuity found a way to maximize beef production with higher safety than ever before and then this valuable and viable extension of the beef system was not derailed by scientific debate - but rather an email slur, a TV mischaracterization and a social media push against it. The only winners in this non-debate are America’s pets, whose food just got better. The losers are consumers whose food bill just got bigger. I think I will go fire up my grill and slap on some burgers - LFTB and probably some seasoning mixed in!
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:  .

AG Bruning: States Argue Against Costly EPA Rule

LINCOLN – Attorney General Jon Bruning today released a statement on the arguments heard before the U.S. D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals opposing the EPA’s Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR).
“This rule is costly, burdensome and arbitrary,” said Bruning. “For too long, the EPA has been overregulating Nebraska power producers. It’s time for the federal government to stop imposing high-priced, job-killing mandates with little or no benefit.”
In December 2011, Nebraska succeeded in halting the implementation of the rule when the Appeals Court granted a stay while considering its legality.
To obtain the motion to stay, Nebraska convinced the Court of the likelihood of a successful challenge to the rule and the irreparable harm to Nebraska energy consumers. The cities of Grand Island, Fremont and Hastings provided support for the motion. Additional support was provided by Nebraska energy producers including NPPD, OPPD, LES and other public power districts.
Nebraska was joined by six states on the petition for review including Texas, Alabama, South Carolina, Florida, Oklahoma and Virginia. A number of states also filed separate motions challenging the rule’s implementation.
Cost to Nebraskans
In 2010, approximately 65% of electricity produced in Nebraska was from coal. Increased operating costs for producers would likely affect all Nebraska energy consumers, especially agricultural producers.
Projected capital costs and increased operating costs for implementing the rule could total more than $60 million dollars for NPPD and OPPD alone. The total cost for power producers in cities across Nebraska is projected in the hundreds of millions.
Lincoln Electric System has provided a temporary credit to residents during the stay issued by the Court. In January, the energy provider announced as much as $3.2 million previously budgeted to cover expected costs for implementing the rule will be refunded while it is delayed or if it is rescinded.
The Cross-State Air Pollution Rule was mandated by the EPA to address a theoretical compliance issue in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The agency’s rule forces Nebraska’s power plants to cap emissions by 1 % in order to reduce the potential pollution that may be caused in areas upwind. However, the actual change in air quality resulting from the multi-million dollar modifications would be scarcely measurable and is currently unknown.

Gov. Heineman: Taxpayer Benefits for Illegals Unfair & May Provide Funding to Planned Parenthood

(Lincoln, Neb.) Gov. Dave Heineman today vetoed LB 599, a bill that would provide taxpayer-funded benefits to illegal immigrants. Gov. Heineman is opposed to taxpayer-funded benefits for illegals on the basis of fairness to legal citizens, as well as potentially providing taxpayer dollars to pay vendors that perform or promote abortions, including Planned Parenthood.
The Governor’s veto letter follows:
I am returning LB 599 & LB599A without my signature and with my objections.
The issue presented by LB 599 is not the importance of prenatal care to the development of a child. We all agree that expectant mothers should seek out and utilize prenatal care as the benefits of such care are without question. Most Nebraskans pay for prenatal care themselves. Nothing in current law prohibits health centers, hospitals, clinics, private donors, or other benefactors across the state from assisting those in need of care, regardless of their immigration status.
The issue presented by LB 599 is whether or not over $2.5 million in tax dollars from hard-working Nebraskans should be used each year to pay for prenatal services for women who broke the immigration laws, became pregnant, and are in Nebraska at the time of their pregnancies. This issue should not to be confused with providing prenatal services to low-income women who are citizens or are otherwise lawfully present in Nebraska. Taxpayers already fund these services through the Medicaid program for women up to 185 percent of the federal poverty level.
Many Nebraskans are working overtime or working a second job to support their family. These are the families that work hard, follow the rules, and exhibit the virtue of self-reliance that make our state great. They are to be commended and we must be mindful that they are watching how elected officials spend their hard-earned dollars.
If a hard-working, law-abiding family is one dollar above 185 percent of the federal poverty level, the mother will not be eligible for prenatal care through the Medicaid program. Yet, LB 599 would utilize that family’s state and federal tax dollars to provide free prenatal care to illegal immigrants who are knowingly and willingly breaking both the immigration and employment laws. This is wrong and fundamentally unfair.
Another concern with this legislation is that it will result in Nebraska becoming a sanctuary for illegal immigrants. Nebraska would become the only state in the Midwest providing these taxpayer-funded benefits to illegal immigrants. None of our neighboring states of Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming or South Dakota are providing these taxpayer-funded benefits to illegal immigrants. The federal rules, 42 C.F.R. 457.320, for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) prohibit a state from imposing a durational residency requirement on applicants for benefits. An illegal immigrant from any bordering city or town could establish residency in Nebraska in the morning and apply for benefits provided under LB 599 in the afternoon.

Further objections to the bill arise from its defective provisions that will lead to unintended consequences. First, subsection (2) of section 4 states, that this new benefit:
“shall be implemented through the creation of a separate program as allowed under Title XXI of the federal Social Security Act, as amended, and 42 C.F.R. 457.10, solely for the unborn children of mothers who are ineligible for coverage under [the Medicaid program].”
This provision is an improper delegation of legislative power to the federal government. If, in the future, the federal government changes the criteria for eligibility, the program created by LB 599 will change, which would be an unlawful delegation of legislative power in violation of Article III, Section 1 of the Nebraska Constitution.
Also, the same subsection requires that the new benefits meet the requirements of 42 C.F.R. 457.10, which includes by reference a list of benefits that are to be provided under a separate child health program. Those benefits include “prenatal care and pre-pregnancy family planning services and supplies.” While subsection (3) of LB 599 may be intended to limit the benefits authorized in subsection (2), the plain language of the bill does not allow for such a limitation.
The proponents of LB 599 would lead you to believe that it is a pro-life bill. I disagree. I am pro-life and I am proud of my record as Governor on pro-life issues.
Earlier in the session, this Legislature voted to adopt an amendment to other legislation, LB 540, to prohibit taxpayer dollars from being used to support any medical provider that performs or promotes elective abortions. LB 599 contains no similar restriction on using taxpayer dollars to pay vendors that perform or promote abortions.
I have grave concerns about this bill incorporating a federal law mandate to provide pre-pregnancy family planning services and supplies without there being any restriction that would prevent such funding from ending up in the hands of entities such as Planned Parenthood, or other doctors, hospitals, and clinics that perform and promote abortions.
I oppose providing taxpayer benefits to illegal immigrants. I oppose providing taxpayer funding to vendors that perform or promote abortions.
For these reasons, I respectfully urge you to sustain my vetoes of LB 599 & LB 599A.


Paraskevidekatriaphobia —  a morbid, irrational fear of Friday the 13th.
Friday the 13th, 'the most widespread superstition!!
Is Friday the 13th a day  fraught with peril??
The sixth day of the week (Friday) and the number 13 both have foreboding reputations said to date from ancient times. It seems their inevitable conjunction from one to three times a year (there will be three such occurrences in 2012, exactly 13 weeks apart) sugests more misfortune than some credulous minds can bear.  Friday the 13th bringing bad luck may be the most widespread superstition in the United States today.  People may refuse to go to work on Friday the 13th; or  eat in restaurants; many wouldn't think of setting a wedding for Friday the 13th. 
 According to Dr. Donald Dossey, a psychotherapist specializing in the treatment of phobias (and coiner of the term paraskevidekatriaphobia,) the number of americans suffereing from this condition at the beginning of the 21st century may be as high as 21 million or about  8% of the population.
Exactly how old is difficult to say, because determining the origins of superstitions is an inexact science, at best. In fact, it's mostly guesswork.
But Please, Have A Good Day!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Bob Kerrey praises both parties in new ad for Nelson seat

Former United States Sen. Bob Kerrey (D-Neb.) praised both Democrats and Republicans in a new ad for his Senate campaign, highlighting the careful position he is taking in a state that leans toward conservatism.
It's the second round of ads for Kerrey since he announced in February he would mount a fight to reclaim his old seat. Kerrey's campaign did not disclose any details about the ad buy.
"The Democrats are right to cut taxes for working people and raise them for high earners, while making healthcare more affordable," Kerrey said in the ad. "The Republicans are right about the need to cut regulatory costs and simplify the tax code to promote economic growth."  Obviously looking for votes from both sides.
Kerrey points to the problem with both parties is their refusal to vote for good ideas championed by the other party.  In a state with a state unicameral government Nebraskans have learned to work together and not follow along party lines.
"It's good to be back," Kerrey says. "I sponsored this message because I'm not afraid to do what's right."
,Kerry moved from Nebraska to New York, where he ran the New School in Manhattan. He used similar language in his first round of ads in March.
Democrats recruited Kerrey to return to the Senate after Nelson announced his retirement and Democrats found themselves without a viable candidate to hold his seat. Polling suggests Kerrey has a lot of work to do to overtake the Republican nominee.

Donald R. Lewis December 7, 1930 - April 10, 2012

Donald Roger Lewis, was born December 7, 1930 in Silver Lake Township, Adams, County, Nebraska in the house on Rogers Hill, north of Bladen. He departed this life on Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at Mary Lanning HealthCare in Hastings, Nebraska.
Don was the only child of Arthur and Edna (Rogers) Lewis. He grew up spending time with his cousin, Bonnie Mae (Lewis) Duval, who became like a sister to him. In 1941, Don and his parents moved from their home north of Bladen to the Lewis homestead east of Bladen.
He spent his elementary years attending school in Adams County and Cloverton School in Webster County. At the age of 16 Don lost his mother to breast cancer and became closer with his maternal grandparents, Emmett and Effie (Denton) Rogers of Bladen. During his youth he assisted his father with the farming and livestock business. In 1948, he graduated from Bladen High School.
Spending his youth caring for cattle in the snow and cold of winter prompted Don to enroll at Hastings College following graduation. Later he transferred to the University of Nebraska at Lincoln (UNL) College of Agriculture. While enrolled at UNL, Don enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1952. After basic training he enrolled in Officers Training School at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma, and received his commission in June 1953 as a Second Lieutenant. While enroute to Korea, the Conflict ended. Don returned to UNL and graduated in the summer of 1955 with a Bachelor's Degree in Agricultural Economics. Following graduation he enrolled in the Master's program and received his degree in Agricultural Economics in 1957.
On June 12, 1955 he married Geneva Berns at the Plainview country church south of Bladen. they lived in Lincoln as he completed his Master's and worked nights as a guard at the Men's Reformatory. Their son, Kurt, was born in Lincoln shortly before Don began employment with the American Crystal Sugar Company as a field man in the Grand Island area. Don and Geneva welcomed their second children, Dianne, while living in Grand Island. American Crystal closed their Grand Island factory while Don was Agricultural Superintendent. Rather than moved north with the company to cold winters, they moved to Bladen to farm full time on their land north of town.
They spent many enjoyable years raising their family and farming the land. In this time, Don's many interests included serving on the school board, following and influencing irrigation issues and attending the children's many sporting events. He attended the Bladen United Methodist Church. In the 1980's he started Exchange Realty & Auction Service in Bladen. He enjoyed participating in theater as the Bladen community revived the Opera House and as his three grandchildren grew up, Don took great pleasure attending their sporting and academic events.
He was preceded in death by his parents. Survivors include his wife Geneva of Bladen; a step-sister, Laurel Cohn and husband Lee of Grand Island; a son, Kurt Lewis of Denver, Colorado and a daughter, Dianne and husband Pat Danehey of Bladen; 3 grandchildren, Callie Danehey Coleman and husband John of Washington DC, Sean and Keenan Danehey of Bladen, a great grandson Ryker Gallegos of Kearney; other relatives and friends.
Funeral services will be held Saturday, 10:00 a.m., April 14, 2012 at the United Methodist Church in Bladen with the Rev. Steven Marsh officiating. Interment with military graveside honors will be at the East Lawn Cemetery.
Visitation will be held Thursday and Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m. at the Williams Funeral Home in Red Cloud, and Saturday, 8:00 a.m. to service time at the church.
Williams Funeral Home
241 West 4th Avenue
Red Cloud, Nebraska 68970
Phone: 402-746-2500


Nebraska’s Senator Ben Nelson called for a U.S. Department of Justice Investigation into possible voter suppression and violation of the civil rights of voters registered in Omaha over irregularities involving closed polling sites and intentional misinformation sent to voters.
“I’m disappointed that state officials have refused to investigate issues raised by the public and by state senators. State officials are either ignoring citizens’ concerns or are concluding there is no wrongdoing without having conducted an investigation,” Senator Nelson said in a statement accompanying the release of a letter he sent today to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.
“It was my hope state officials would thoroughly investigate these concerns, but apparently that isn’t going to occur. As a result, I am compelled to request an investigation by the Justice Department,” Nelson said.
In his letter to Holder requesting a federal investigation, Nelson cited a lack of interest by state officials to probe “a series of disturbing actions” taken by the Douglas County Election Commissioner. This included closing more than 160 polling sites, knowingly sending incorrect polling location notices to several thousand Omaha voters and sending new notices that likely would confuse voters. The result could be many voters going to the wrong polling places or just staying home on Nebraska’s primary election day, May 15.
“The actions taken by the Douglas County Election Commissioner are of concern to me and my constituents because they are certain to adversely affect those residents living in predominantly minority and low-income communities who wish to vote in the upcoming elections,” Nelson wrote in his letter.
Nelson also expressed frustration that despite concerns raised by Nebraska’s Secretary of State, the state’s top election office has rejected requests by the public and state lawmakers to investigate, thus prompting Nelson’s call for a federal investigation.
The full text of the letter Senator Nelson sent today to Attorney General Holder follows:
Dear Attorney General Holder:
Recently, a series of disturbing actions were taken by the Election Commissioner for Douglas County, Nebraska, compelling me to request an investigation of that office for possible voter suppression and abridgement of residents registered to vote in the Omaha metropolitan area.
Through an article printed in the March 22, 2012, edition of the Omaha World-Herald newspaper, it was learned that the number of polling sites in Omaha had been significantly decreased without any input from the community, allegedly as part of an effort to cut costs and reduce the budget of the Election Commissioner's office. According to reports, 166 of the 352 polling locations will be closed. Numerous requests from community leaders to reconsider this decision were rejected. Additionally, concerns directed to both the Election Commissioner and Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman by Secretary of State John Gale regarding voter confusion caused by these changes during a presidential election year were either ignored or rejected outright.
Yet, just days later, the Election Commissioner mailed out more than 2,000 voter cards with incorrect polling site information, stating that he knew the information was incorrect, but mailing the misinformation to registered voters anyway. Upon this data being made public, the Election Commissioner stated that he would send additional notices containing correct polling sites, undoubtedly causing confusion for citizens receiving the mixed correspondence just weeks before the primary election to be held on May 15. While some voters will receive the corrected mailing and act accordingly, others may think it is a duplicate mailing and will, therefore, either not read it thoroughly or simply discard it, then go to the polling site on the original, incorrect card, only to learn they are at the wrong site. And still many more may just stay home due to these confusing double mailings.
After considerable media attention and pressure from the public, the Election Commissioner has now stated that he intends to send early voting forms to all registered voters in the county, at considerable expense. Some estimates of the cost to taxpayers to implement this plan exceed the costs saved by closing nearly half of the polling locations. This raises doubts regarding his stated rationale for closing polling places in the first place – an effort to save money.
The actions taken by the Douglas County Election Commissioner are of concern to me and my constituents because they are certain to adversely affect those residents living in predominantly minority and low-income communities who wish to vote in the upcoming elections.
Despite the concerns raised by the Nebraska Secretary of State, his office has rejected requests from public officials and others to investigate these actions. As a result, I am requesting a thorough investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice of the Douglas County Election Commissioner's Office in Nebraska on the grounds of possible efforts to suppress or deny citizens living in Omaha, Nebraska, their constitutional right to vote under the protections of the Civil Rights Act of 1965.
Thank you for your consideration of this request. I look forward to your response.
Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Gov. Heineman Approves Efforts to Improve Child Welfare Reform

(Lincoln, Neb.) Gov. Dave Heineman today signed into law legislation aimed at helping Nebraska children as part of LR 37, a package of bills related to improving the child welfare reform efforts. “I appreciate the work of the Health and Human Services Committee, and the leadership of Senator Kathy Campbell and Speaker Mike Flood working cooperatively with the Department of Health and Human Services,” said Gov. Heineman. “These bills represent an important step forward as we continue to reform child welfare to better serve the citizens of Nebraska. Our focus should remain on helping children in the system.”
The child welfare package includes four bills introduced by the Legislature’s Health and Human Services Committee and one bill introduced by the Legislative Performance Audit Committee.
•LB 820 requires DHHS to apply for a federal foster care demonstration project, increases foster care payments, and changes foster care licensure requirements.
•LB 821 creates the Nebraska Children’s Commission and the Inspector General for child welfare.
•LB 949 requires DHHS to develop a strategic plan that includes goals, benchmarks and progress reports, expenditure reports and creates a separate child welfare budget. The Governor signed this bill into law last week.
•LB 961 changes provisions relating to case management, caseloads, and the contract for child welfare services. The Governor signed this bill into law last week.
•LB 1160 requires DHHS to develop a plan for a web-based, statewide automated child welfare information system.

Oil pipeline regulation bill passes

Lawmakers passed a bill April 11 related to oil pipeline routing in Nebraska. LB1161, sponsored by Papillion Sen. Jim Smith, would make changes to law enacted during a November 2011 special session called by Gov. Dave Heineman to regulate oil pipeline routing in Nebraska.
Under LB1161, a pipeline carrier wishing to construct a major oil pipeline in Nebraska after the effective date of the bill must apply for approval from the governor under the provisions of LB4 passed during the special session.
The governor may approve the application or refer it to the Public Service Commission (PSC) for further review under the Major Oil Pipeline Siting Act.
Among other provisions, the bill also requires:
• that a carrier’s eminent domain rights be terminated if they remain unused two years after approval of a pipeline application;
• the PSC to make public any documents or records relating to a major oil pipeline unless federal law provides otherwise;
• the state Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to hold at least one public hearing on an application under review by the department; and
• a carrier to reimburse DEQ for the cost of an evaluation within 60 days after notification of the cost.
It is estimated that, under the bill’s provisions, DEQ will be reimbursed $2 million in fiscal year 2012-13 for work done on a supplemental environmental impact study for TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL pipeline.
The bill passed on a 44-5 vote and takes effect immediately.

Quote of the Day

If you wish in this world to advance, your merits you're bound to enhance; You must stir it and stump it, and blow your own trumpet, or trust me, you haven't a chance.
W. S. Gilbert

Mountain lion hunting, deer donation approved

Mountain lion hunting permits will be available to Nebraska residents under a bill passed by the Legislature April 11.
LB928, introduced by Ellsworth Sen. LeRoy Louden, authorizes the state Game and Parks Commission to issue permits by random drawing to eligible applicants. Any person seeking a permit will pay a $25 application fee. A limited number of permits will be issued to nonresidents through an auction process.
The bill also allows hunters to harvest and donate deer to a food-assistance program for people in need. Under the program, hunters may donate field-dressed deer to meat processors that have contracted with the state. Processors will be compensated for their participation in the program.
Senators passed the bill on a 49-0 vote.

Blue Hill Alumnus Erik Burken Honored

 Erik Burken, Blue Hill high school graduate in the class of 1998, was recently named in the Top 10 Industry leaders by The Cattle Business Weekly.
Since 2008 Burken and his wife, Jamie,  have lived in Kaluga, Russia, overseeing the start up  of the Angus Genetics of Russia cowherd owned by Russian entrepreneur Sergei Nitsenko. Today, the herd numbers 3,500 breeding females on three different farms, most of which have been imported from the U.S. within the last three years. Nitsenko's aim is to build, with Burkens help and expertise,  a fully-integrated beef system, which will include two more farms, a feedlot and packing facility, to help re-establish Russia’s beef industry.
Burken told The Cattle Business Weekly his role is to lend his cattle expertise, design facilities and oversee building projects.  He will also assist with planning for the future, and most importantly it is his job to train the Russian workforce on everything from cattle care to planting crops and putting up hay. He explained that most of the Russian workers lack practical livestock management experience.
It’s a long way — both geographically and otherwise— from having what he describes as a “hobby” cowherd growing up in Blue Hill  to general manager for Angus Genetics of Russia.
Burken worked at the Blue Hill sale barn while in high school, and then went to UNL to pursue his bachelor’s degree as a double major in GLS (Grazing Livestock Systems ) and Animal Science. He conducted his GLS internship at the Eatinger Ranch in the Sandhills where he learned cows can do most of the work — an important lesson that is paying off now in the harsh conditions of the Russian steppes. He also worked for several months at Darr Feedlot in Cozad, NE as part of his participation in UNL’s feedlot management specialization internship program.
After graduating from college in Lincoln Burken worked for the Whitestone Krebs Ranch at Gordon, NE where he learned the genetic side of the beef business while developing bulls and heifers and inseminating the breeding heifers. In 2008, when Eldon Krebs sold 250 bred females to Russia and owner Sergei Nitsenko expressed interest in hiring a manager from America, Burken knew it was the opportunity of a lifetime.
Burken said for now, he intends to continue pursuing his beef dream in Russia, but someday he may return to the U.S. to start his own beef herd.
Eric Burken is the oldest son of Blue  Hill residents Roger and Mary Burken.

Albert O. Lambrecht April 10, 1925 - April 9, 2012

Former Kenesaw resident, Albert “Bud” O. Lambrecht, 86, passed away Monday, April 9, 2012 at Mary Lanning Memorial HealthCare, Hastings, NE.
Services will be Wednesday, April 11, 2012 at 10:30 am at the St. Paul’s Lutheran in Kenesaw, NE with Rev. Paul Duffy officiating. Burial will be in the Kenesaw Cemetery, Kenesaw, NE. Visitation will be Tuesday, April 10, 2012, from 5 pm to 8 pm at the Jackson - Wilson Funeral Home, Kenesaw, NE. Condolences can be sent to the family from
Memorials may be given to the family’s choice.
Bud was born April 10, 1925 to William and Alma (Polenske) Lambrecht in Kenesaw, NE. He attended St. Paul’s Lutheran School in Kenesaw, NE through the 8th grade. He was confirmed in 1938 at the St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Kenesaw, NE. He served in the United States Army during the Korean Conflict from March 20, 1951 to March 10, 1953. He married Audrey Hoins in 1957, she passed away December 13, 1996, he remarried in 2005 to Helen Shultz she passed away July of 2007.
He farmed in Kenesaw, NE area and retired from farming in 1977, he then worked at Minden Housing in Minden, NE until 1981. Then as a janitor for Jerry Spady Car Dealership from 1982 to 1988. He was a farmhand for Jim Petersen from 1982 to 1993 and Larry Kimle from 1995 to 1996.
He was a member of the St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, and the American Legion both in Kenesaw, NE.
He is survived by two sons, Larry Lambrecht of Gibbon and Lance Lambrecht and wife Doresa of Grand Island, NE, one daughter June Rose and husband Rodney of Blue Hill, NE, three grand children Charasten Lambrecht, Tristin Sloat and Chasey Sloat.
He was preceded in death by his parents, two wives Audrey and Helen , one sister Doris Lambrecht and one brother Ernst Lambrecht.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Postal Demonstration Scheduled

A U.S. Postal Service letter carrier in Kearney says the public needs to get the facts about Senate bill 1789 that could be on the floor in the next week or two, a bill he says could destroy the postal service. Ken Nickerson, Steward, NALC Branch 312, Kearney, says there's been a misconception about the Postal Service's financial problems...
Nickerson has released the following letter.
The U.S. Postal Service does not use any taxpayer money.
The 2006 Postal Reform mandated the USPS to pre-fund 70 years of future retirees’ health benefits in 10 years. This would be the same as paying off your 30-year mortgage in about seven years. Could you do it?
Paying $5.5 billion each year, which no other government agency is required to do, has caused the problems USPS faces. About $45 billion is in this account today, which has been grossly overpaid.
In the next couple of weeks the Senate bill S.1789 will be on the floor. This bill, as written, will not save USPS, but will destroy it. S.1789 reduces the prefunding to $3 billion with Saturday delivery removed in two years if USPS does not show a profit. This will be impossible with any prefunding mandate. The Senate bill would doom the USPS.
It also will phase out door-to-door delivery for households and businesses. There are more than 35 million delivery points.
On Thursday, postal workers will demonstrate at every U.S. senator’s office to educate people on postal issues, as USPS’s future will be decided very soon. This could change the course of history, and it will, if USPS is dismantled.
This poses a danger to the entire $1.3 trillion mailing industry, tens of thousands of jobs and the threat of another recession. Yes, this danger is very real.
Kearney will be the site of a Thursday demonstration at 4111 Fourth Ave., by Sen. Mike Johanns’ office, from 5-6:30 p.m. Everyone is invited. Informative material will be provided, along with petitions.
Any postal reform bill must reverse the pre-funding mandate; this is the only way rural post offices have any chance of not being closed, along with half of the mail processing plants in the country being closed also, along with Saturday delivery.
Help postal workers continue to give you the same service you have today, tomorrow.
Call Johanns at 202-224-4224, and Sen. Ben Nelson 202-224-6551. Tell them to vote NO on S.1789........NO more prefunding!!!!

Attorney General Jon Bruning, hitting the Senate GOP frontrunner over his record on spending.

"On spending, Bruning praised the Obama stimulus program," says the narrator of the TV ad. "He nearly doubled his own office budget, increasing spending at a faster rate than Congress."
The Club, which is backing Republican state Treasurer Don Stenberg in the race, would not comment on the buy other than to say that it is "substantial."
A Bruning internal poll conducted by the Tarrance Group poll last month during the two days before the Club endorsed Stenberg showed the attorney general leading the treasurer 52 percent to 19 percent

Gov. Heineman Signs Middle Class Tax Relief for Hard-Working Nebraskans

(Lincoln, Neb.) - Gov. Dave Heineman today signed LB 970 into law, which provides tax relief for hard-working, middle class Nebraskans. The Governor’s plan provides $97 million in tax relief over three years. “My highest priority for this legislative session has been tax relief for Nebraska’s hard-working, middle class taxpayers,” said Gov. Heineman. “While I believe there should have been more tax relief provided to Nebraskans, I view this bill as the beginning of future efforts that will allow Nebraskans to keep more of their hard earned dollars.”
The Governor highlighted the progress made in Nebraska’s tax climate improving from 45th to 30th since 2006 in the Tax Foundation’s state rankings. However, Gov. Heineman noted that there is more work to be done and middle class Nebraskans need tax relief.
LB 970 was introduced by State Senator Abbie Cornett of Bellevue, on behalf of Gov. Heineman. The bill provides individual income tax relief by lowering the rate of the lowest three income tax brackets in 2013. In 2014, tax brackets will be expanded in a way that will include greater amounts of income being taxed at the lower rate.
“I would like to thank Governor Dave Heineman for giving me the opportunity to introduce LB 970,” said Sen. Cornett. “LB 970 is a down payment towards real tax relief for working Nebraskans. It is the first chance in a number of years, to give something back to the citizens of this great state.”
Additionally, Gov. Heineman signed three economic development bills into law, aimed at continuing to improve Nebraska’s competitive edge for job creation.
LB 830 was introduced by State Senator Galen Hadley of Kearney and provides a sales and use tax exemption for biochips, used for the purposes of conducting genotyping or the analysis of gene expression, protein expression, genomic sequencing, or protein profiling of plants, animals, or nonhuman laboratory research model organisms.
LB 872, also introduced by Sen. Hadley, reduces the income tax burden of Nebraska-based business that provides services to customers in other states. Additionally, the bill changes the method for corporate income tax for the sales of services or intangible property, except for sales of a communications company.
“LB 830 and LB 872 are bills that will allow our tax code to be updated to keep pace with the way business is now increasingly being done using technology,” said Sen. Hadley. “The bills will encourage businesses to locate in Nebraska and more importantly stay in Nebraska.”
LB 1080 was introduced by Sen. Cornett and amends the revenue code to provide a personal property tax exemption and a sales and use tax exemption for tangible personal property that is assembled, engineered, processed, fabricated, manufactured into, attached to, or incorporated into other tangible property, both in component form or that of an assembled product, for the subsequent use at a physical location outside this state. These exemptions are only available to a person operating a data center, for which a definition is provided in the bill.
“Thank you Yahoo! for your continued investment in job creation and in Nebraska,” said Sen. Cornett. “LB 1080 is truly about retention and attraction as it relates to data centers in our state. This legislation is not only about Yahoo! but also about the ability for all companies who operate data centers in the state to continue to expand their operations and bring new jobs to communities across Nebraska. I, too, would like to thank representatives of Yahoo! and the local Chambers of Commerce who are with us today. We appreciate their work to advance investment in Nebraska and LB 1080 sends a strong message that Nebraska is ready to compete for data center business.

Monday, April 9, 2012


Senator Ben Nelson
There was a time when America’s schools were only focused on three things - The three R’s: Reading, writing and arithmetic.
Now, in a more enlightened day, we’ve added a big H to those three R’s…. health.
It’s hard for some to realize that there are children throughout America, including Nebraska, who have to go without routine health care.
Many Kids Go Without Health Care
Some of our children don’t even get timely immunizations or care for chronic health concerns, simply because of the cost and because they do not have health insurance.
We realize that a child who is in ill health will have a difficult time learning. Thus, the need for school based health centers to give increased access to medical services for elementary and high school students.
The Affordable Care Act supported the creation of new School Based Health Centers, which will help low-income students in Nebraska receive needed health care so they can attend class and succeed in school.
New School Health Center Opens
Just recently, Omaha saw its seventh School Based Health Center open – the first using Affordable Care Act funding. I attended the ceremony and heard impressive statistics about the number of children being helped.
Prior to the newest facility, Omaha’s six existing Centers enrolled 3,891 students and completed 2,245 visits. Nearly 60 percent of the children served at the Centers were enrolled in Medicaid, while nearly 30 percent were uninsured. Providing primary care for these populations avoids more costly acute care down the road and keeps the kids in school by keeping them healthy, which improves the academic success of students.
Improving the Lives of Nebraska’s Children
These centers definitely improve future opportunities for children who live in poverty and help these children become productive and happy citizens when they are grown and have families of their own.
What goes on in these school based health clinics will make for successful university students and workers in whatever walk of life they choose because they will have a good start in life.
Most Nebraskans will agree it’s important for children to have a good start and that their parents and their schools should not have to be forced to choose between healthy children or educated children.
This is what comprehensive education is all about. It’s about a goal to improve academic achievement, achieving success in the classroom and raising graduation rates.
Creating Good Citizens
Ultimately, it’s about creating good citizens who are involved in their communities and add to civic involvement.
Nebraska’s school based health centers are taking care of our children today, and in doing so they are helping to ensure responsible adults tomorrow.