Thursday, May 31, 2012


LINCOLN – The Nebraska Department of Agriculture’s (NDA) Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) has officially begun for the year.  In its 12th year, the program provides low-income senior citizens with coupons to purchase, at no cost to them, locally grown fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs and honey from NDA certified produce vendors.
For the 2012 program, NDA received a $232,137 grant from the United States Department of
Agriculture (USDA).
“This program is extremely beneficial, not only to the more than 5,000 low-income senior
citizens that we expect to participate, but also for the over 500 growers that have been certified
to accept the coupons,” said NDA Director Greg Ibach.  “The popularity of this program
continues to grow each year.”
The SFMNP, established as a pilot program in 2000, and re-authorized in the 2008 Farm Bill,
provides low-income seniors with coupons that can be exchanged for fresh produce, honey and herbs at farmers' markets, roadside stands, and U-pick operations.
 The program is intended to increase the consumption of agricultural commodities by expanding or aiding in the development of farmers' markets and other outlets Nebraska's SFMNP is a joint effort between NDA, Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Medicaid and Long-Term Care – State Unit on Aging, Nebraska DHHS Commodity Supplemental Food Program, Nebraska Area Agencies on Aging, and Nebraska senior centers.
Coupons are available to low-income seniors, during the month of June, from their local senior
centers.  A map identifying the locations of Nebraska’s farmers’ markets, roadside stands and
U-pick operations is available online at or by calling 800-422-6692.
Coupons can be redeemed at NDA-certified produce vendors only.
Those vendors must display a NDA-certified stall sign.
Low-income seniors interested in more information about SFMNP coupons should contact the
Nebraska DHHS Medicaid and Long-Term Care – State Unit on Aging at 800-942-7830.

Gov. Heineman

Gov. Heineman Encourages Nebraskans to Visit Farmers' Markets and Announces 2012 Senior Farmers' Market Nutrition Program

(Lincoln, Neb.) Gov. Dave Heineman today encouraged Nebraskans to visit their local farmers’ markets this season to purchase fresh, locally grown produce.
“Farmers’ markets help connect produce growers with residents of cities and towns, and provide growers with another outlet to market their fresh produce,” said Gov. Heineman. “Nothing compares to the freshness of the produce found at the farmers’ markets across our state. It  is great-tasting, and it’s good for your health.”
In the past 12 years, Nebraska’s markets have grown from 39 to over 75, located in 62 communities across the state. The number of produce growers listed with the Nebraska Department of Agriculture has increased to 607 from 78 in that same amount of time.
“Farmers’ markets continue to grow here in Nebraska. There is a great deal of appeal for consumers to have the opportunity to talk face to face with the people who grew the produce that ultimately ends up on their plates,” said Nebraska Department of Agriculture Director Greg Ibach. 
“Fruits and vegetables are critical to good health and everyone should be eating more,” said Dr. Joann Schaefer, Chief Medical Officer and Director of Public Health for the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. “We know a diet high in fruits and vegetables can help reduce the risk of chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes, stroke, some types of cancer, heart disease and hypertension.”
For the past12 years, the Nebraska Department of Agriculture and the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services have collaborated to operate the Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program. The program provides low-income senior citizens with coupons to purchase fresh, locally grown produce at their local farmers’ markets. According to Director Ibach, $223,000 worth of coupons were redeemed last year alone by the nearly 5,400 low-income seniors participating in the program. The 2012 program kicks off on June 1st.    
Nebraska’s farmers’ markets generally operate between May and October, and offer visitors a wide variety of produce throughout the growing season. The Nebraska Department of Agriculture’s Guide to Nebraska Fresh Produce lists farmers’ markets, roadside stands and U-pick operations across the state. The guide also indicates what produce is in season each month, produce recipes, educational materials and gardening tips. For a copy of the guide, go to or call 800-422-6692.


Free Sports Physical

Blue Hill Boy Scout troop 99 along with area health care providers, community organizations, and local businesses will be hosting a free sports physical on Tuesday June 5th from 5 to 7pm at Glenwood telephone. Participants must be 8th grade & above and have school physical form with health history & parent signature to participate!  Contact Tonia Rouse 402-756-4444 with questions.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

ASAAP Coalition Meeting June 21st.

The Webster County Area Substance and Alcohol Abuse Prevention (ASAAP) continues to grow and is alternating monthly meetings in Red Cloud and Blue Hill. The coalition consists of 31 adults and 18 youth whose mission includes creating awareness of the dangers of underage drinking. The group will be doing a summer project called “Sticker Shock.” Coalition members will be asking area businesses that sell alcohol products to use bags provided with stickers on them that the coalition youth have created. A special thanks to Ampride of Blue Hill for donating the bags for this project. If you would like more information or would like to participate please contact Pam Schwab 402-756-3095 or Michelle Kohmetscher 402-469-4046.
The next coalition meeting is scheduled on Thursday, June 21st at 6:30pm at the Blue Hill Community Center. Public invited. Meal provided. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


May 29, 2012 – Today, Nebraska’s Senator Ben Nelson, on an official congressional trip to Egypt and Saudi Arabia, said that leaders of Persian Gulf states believe Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has lost the moral authority to continue in office, and should voluntarily leave or possibly face a military intervention to force him from power. Nelson also said there is unanimous opposition to Iran developing nuclear weapons, and that the eventual winner of the presidential elections in Egypt will want to continue a relationship with the United States.
Nelson’s trip to the region was spurred by Egypt’s first free election in 5,000 years, and Nelson’s desire to gain a better perspective on contemporary Saudi-Iranian, -Syrian, and –Egyptian relations. Nelson spoke by phone from Saudi Arabia after meeting with King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, Egypt’s Major General Mohammed Al-Assar, and other government officials.
“There is no question he (Assad) has to leave,” Senator Nelson said. “I don’t think there is anybody looking at this situation as if he can stay. King Abdullah has been critical of the problems in Syria – raising questions about the moral authority of President Bashar al-Assad to continue to serve after having his troops fire on innocent people, most recently slaughtering 50 young Syrians… everyone is looking to the United States for leadership. The question is if we can establish a partnership, rather than have the United States take the only role in working for regime change in Syria. It appears pretty clear right now that the situation in Syria is not going to change, absent some sort of action regarding the Assad administration… The word we have gotten from Saudi officials here is that they want to be part of a group to solve this issue. The discussion is about there being some sort of unity in the gulf, in order to bring a resolution to the problem in Syria.” Nelson continued.
Asked if there are discussions about a military intervention into Syria, Nelson responded affirmatively.
“Yes there is, but everybody is looking for a resolution without military intervention - if at all possible,” Nelson said. “There is discussion about other countries talking to President Assad about leaving the country, and a regime change in a peaceful manner. Everyone’s hope is that pressure on the regime supporting the efforts of the opposition and knowing who the opponents are… might result in him leaving and avoiding the circumstances that occurred in Libya.”
Asked how long Assad has until military intervention, Nelson said he doesn’t think anyone knows the answer at this time.
“I know that every effort will be made to have him leave office voluntarily, but on the other hand, after talking to the Saudis, if that is not successful, military intervention is inevitable,” Nelson said. “But I think that would require a lot of planning and discussion among the parties. A group of interested gulf countries are already beginning to talk about that possibility, and it is very likely that the United States will be involved in that discussion.”
Officials from both Syria and Egypt communicated to Nelson consistent concerns of Iran developing nuclear armaments, as well as militant Muslim groups working through Iran to pose a threat to other Middle Eastern countries.
“The relationship between Syria – as a proxy of Iran - and Hezbollah working through/from Iran, through Syria into Lebanon, continuing to create a threat for Israel, a threat that is very real, and there is a matter of concern that it could involve nuclear activity on Iran’s part, and or retaliation against Iran from Israel,” Nelson said. “I think it’s unanimous in this region that Iran should not have nuclear weapons, or the capability of creating them… severing the relationship between Syria and Iran will go a long way in restoring some stability in this region and making it much more difficult for Iran to feel they have the power with their nuclear ambitions.”
Nelson was one of several American government officials in Egypt following the Egyptian presidential election, including former President Jimmy Carter and Congressman David Dreier (CA-26). The Egyptian election held on the 23rd and 24th of May, was conducted to narrow the initial field of candidates; Ahmed Shafik, and Mohamed Morsi, the top recipients of votes, will run head-to-head in the June 16th and 17th general election.
“(Egypt) just conducted what was obviously an appropriate and free election – as promised by the military. They were proud of the fact that it was conducted in such a peaceful and appropriate fashion… The last election they had of any significance was for forty years, involving Mubarak… Even though it is not clear who will ultimately be the president of Egypt – it does seem that whoever is president will want to continue to have an ongoing relationship with the United States,” said Nelson. 

Ronald Kent Simpson 12-12-1948 to 5-26-2012

Born on Dec. 12, 1948
Departed on May 26, 2012 and resided in Guide Rock, NE.
Service: Friday, Jun. 1, 2012
10:00 am
Cemetery: Guide Rock Cemetery 

Ronald Kent Simpson, the son of Shirley (Paulger) and Clair Simpson, was born December 14, 1948 at Red Cloud, Nebraska. Ronn weighed only three pounds at birth and was in the hospital for three mnonths. After coming home for a week, he developed a cold and was readmitted to the hospital where he was accidently burned and remained there for an additional three months. He departed this life on Saturday, May 26, 2012 at his home in Guide Rock.

Ronn received his formal education at the Guide Rock schools, graduating with the class of 1967. He then entered the United States Army and served his country, including a tour in Vietnam. Following his discharge he worked with the Nebraska Public Power District for two years. He returned to Guide Rock and was employed at Ely's Elevator until he went to work for Vogler farms, where he remained for several years. Ronn later worked for Glenn Ohmstede at the grocery store as a meat cutter and then owned and operated Friday's Restaurant & Bar at Guide Rock. For the past 18 years, he was employed as a press operator with Dutton-Lainson Company in Hastings.

In 1977, he was married to Regina Edgar and this union was blessed with a son, Brian Kent. They later divorced, but remained lifelong friends.

He was active in the United Methodist Church, the Guide Rock American Legion and V.F.W., and he had been an alumni officer for many years. He served on the cemetery board and always volunteered his time and talents to any Guide Rock community event when needed or called upon.

Ronn never met anyone he didn't consider a friend and he would give his all to help anyone in need. He could be found mowing what seemed like half the town and was the handyman who was called upon by many.

In 2002, Ronn was diagnosed with cancer of the throat and went through treatments in Omaha. He recovered, but continued to battle health issues from that point on.

Ronn loved working with his hands woodworking and doing various crafts. He was creative, inventive and enthusiatic to share his work. He possessed a deep love and interest in Indian history and read everything he could find on the subject. He collected many Indian artifacts and never passed on going to an Indian museum. His greatest love in life was his son, Brian. His love grew to include Jamey Hamburger, when he came into Brian's life.

For many years he took care of his mother, Shirley. He checked on her several times each day and eventually took charge of the cooking and cleaning so she could remain at home.

Preceding him in death were his father and a special nephew, Ben Schutte.

Left to treasure his memory are his son, Brian Simpson and Jamey Hamburger of Trumbull, Nebraska; his mother, Shirley Simpson; sisters, Claire Williams and husband Gary and Nancy Schutte and husband Ron; brothers Ken Simpson and wife Joy and Dean Simpson and wife Anita; numerous nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.

Funeral services will be held Friday, 10:00 a.m., June 1, 2012 at the United Methodist Church in Guide Rock with the Rev. Joel Rathbun officiating. Interment with military graveside 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 Williams Funeral Home in Red Cloud with the family present Thursday evening from 6:00 - 8:00 p.m.

A memorial fund has been established by the family.

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

Sunday, May 27, 2012


Remembering Our Fallen

This summer, a travelling memorial called “Remembering Our Fallen” will make its trek across Nebraska. This 60-foot long tribute to Heartland soldiers who have been killed in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is a poignant reminder of the high cost of freedom. This past Friday, I had the special honor of welcoming its arrival in Gothenburg, where it will be on display through May 31st at Stone Hearth Estates.
This memorial was made possible by Bill and Evonne Williams of Omaha. While neither are veterans, they have raised four sons together, each of whom has volunteered to join a branch of the Armed Forces. The generosity and patriotism of Bill, Evonne, and other supporters of this project exemplifies what is best about our country and the people of our state. You can view the “Remembering Our Fallen” tour schedule here to see if it coming to a town near you: I highly recommend making the trip.
Since the beginning of the War on Terror, more than one million of our men and women in uniform have been deployed overseas, many of whom have served multiple tours of duty.  As our troops return home, it is imperative they receive the care and support they were promised in return for their service. But most importantly, we must always remember their sacrifice.
My admiration for our troops only has grown since serving in Congress, which is why I founded and still co-chair the bipartisan Congressional Rural Veterans Caucus. On Capitol Hill, our nation's commitment to our veterans and their families remains strong. This unbreakable bond transcends party politics, proving to be an area in which Washington has been able to step up to the plate in a bipartisan manner.
This unity reminds me of President Abraham Lincoln’s most famous speech, delivered from the hallowed ground of the Gettysburg battlefield. He paid tribute to the fallen soldiers with these words: “It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain ... and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
After the barbeques of Memorial Day have drawn to a close and flags once again are hoisted to full-staff, we should remain mindful beyond this particular holiday of the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice defending the liberties we hold so dear. More than 6,000 of our troops have been killed on the battlefields in Iraq and Afghanistan, including more than four dozen Nebraskans. As Americans, we do not need a marking on our calendars to remind us to express our gratitude for these brave men and women who have given their “last full measure of devotion” to freedom as well as those who remain on the frontlines today. Our solemn duty to these heroes is to always remember.

Memorial Day a Time for Reflection

By Mike Johanns

Memorial Day offers a special opportunity for us to spend time remembering loved ones no longer with us. We all have people in our lives who helped shape our character and memories, though they remain with us now only in our hearts and minds. It is important to remember them. Similarly, members of the military have helped to shape the character and history of our great country. Memorial Day is a fitting time to pause and give thanks to those who have served, fought, and died for our country.

We first began observing Memorial Day – then known as Decoration Day – to remember fallen Union soldiers after the Civil War. We now remember not only them but all those who made the ultimate sacrifice to defend our country and preserve our freedom. Our cherished memories with loved ones were made possible by their service. Those currently serving continue this honorable tradition – to all of them we are eternally grateful.

As a member of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, I take seriously our commitment to our military and our veterans. The least we can do is ensure that our veterans have the tools and opportunities needed to successfully transition back into civilian life. Many veterans have sacrificed so much, and they deserve support as they transition to their future careers.

With this in mind, I worked to include a study in the recently-passed Vow to Hire Heroes Act, which would require the Veterans Administration, Department of Defense, and Department of Labor to analyze the idea of fully certifying or licensing our service members in the civilian equivalent to their military job before they leave active duty. As many of us know, job training can be costly and time-consuming; there's no need to make it redundant for a veteran who already possesses the necessary skills. It really is a matter of common sense: if a veteran was qualified to drive trucks or provide medical care for wounded service members on the battlefield, he or she should be qualified to do so as a civilian.

This is just one of many issues being addressed by the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee. The opportunity to serve on this committee, to help give back to those who have sacrificed so much for our country, is truly a privilege. As we celebrate Memorial Day next week, I ask all of you to also thank those who may not have served in uniform but nonetheless shared in the sacrifice: military families. The demands of service can make family life difficult. Loved ones who support their family members in the military every day deserve our respect and recognition.

Our freedom to go out and memorialize our veterans, whether during patriotic ceremonies or quietly at a cemetery, in the sunshine is itself a testament to what they fought for and what Memorial Day represents. Let us never forget how much we owe to these very special Americans.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Saying Thank You

Several years ago I was involved with a group that tried to show support for the soldiers in Iraq by sending regular packages and notes to the soldiers.  Because my grandson was serving with the Strykers their group was one of the recipients of our packages.  After some school children gave us valentines to add to our packages we received this note of thanks to share with them and others who helped us remember the soldiers.  Memorial Day is a good time for us to reread this type of message and remember all our Soldiers who are away from home and loved ones and those who will never return.

Dear Supporters of the Soldiers,                                                18   Feb 2004

Thank you  2nd graders of Morton, and 6th graders of Hawthorne elementary!

I wasn’t sure how to start this letter, but what better way than to say “thank you so much for the valentines.”  I don’t know if you realize how important it is for soldiers to receive mail from the people back there in our great nation.  It reminds us that we are here for a good cause.  The valentines especially brought smiles to the soldiers of my mortar section.  We are the proud soldiers of A Company, 5th Battalion  20th  Infantry Regiment, 3rd  brigade of the 2nd  Infantry Division.  Our Unit’s name is “Sykes Regulars” and our history dates back to the civil war.   We’ve been in the civil war,  WWI,  WWII, the Korean war, and Vietnam war, now we are the brave soldiers in Iraq.   Many of us knew this day was coming since our Battalion received the first new strikers that the Army had seen.  My company did the Millennium Challenge at Ft. Irwin California’s National Training Center (Company was the first unit to ever take a Stryker over seas.   5th Battalion of the 20th Infantry Regiment has been one of the most important parts of the Stryker Brigades success, so once again, it is good to see all of my hard work has paid off.
 I personally want everyone who supports us to understand that everyone here in Iraq has their own reason for being here in the army and Iraq.  My reasons were so that my son may never have to fight in a war, so my wife Meghan will be safe at night, whether I am there to be at her side at night or not, for the freedom of America and all her citizens including you,  the reader of my thoughts.  I miss my wife and son very much, and I know they miss me.
One of the letters we received was from a young woman, age 12.  Her words found a place in my heart that I will keep with me always.  “I am sorry for the ones who won’t make it home.”
Before my deployment to Iraq two of my childhood friend became soldiers who will never make it home.  I keep them in my  heart and I know every morning that I or someone I know and love like a brother may never make it home.  My family knows it is a possibility and it is a concept that is very hard to grasp.  But we all every soldier makes a sacrifice for our great nation, and sadly, some make the ultimate one.

Most soldiers are very young, in the age range of  18 to 24.  I joined the Army when I was 17 years old.  When I went through basic training my son was just 5  months old.  I am now 19 and will turn 20 in 3 days.  My son will be 3 August 3rd  and yet again for the third time I will be away on his birthday.  I will probably cry silently, as many soldiers do .  We do not cry in front of each other as it may lower moral, but all soldiers will cry at some point we all want to come home to our loved ones.

All the soldiers send their love to you, especially the soldiers of A company mortars.

SSG. Johnson,  SGT Taylor,  CPL. Smith, CPL Lunsford, SPC Haack,   SPC Barayuga, SPC Whitely, PFC Burg, PV2 Garrett, PV2 Fritsch    and myself, SPC Richard C. Warren


Duane A. Lienemann,
UNL Extension Educator, Webster County
May 25, 2012 Edition

You may remember that last week I volunteered to do that Indian Rain Dance, but explained that most likely I would just draw lightning. Sure enough we got the potential but very little moisture out of it. So I apologize with the caveat’ that I warned you. Does anyone else have any ideas to bring the rain? There is no doubt that this week is critical to the well-being of our pastures, crops and even our lawns. I will leave it to the more experienced rain dancers out there.
As I write this column we are at the beginning of Memorial Day weekend which is observed on the last Monday in May. Memorial Day was originally designed to commemorate all men and women, who have died in war or military service for the United States. Many people do visit cemeteries and memorials on Memorial Day, but many more use it for rest and relaxation, many times at lakes or parks. Many people have traditionally seen as the start of the summer season. But whatever the traditions for families, I believe that we may find that it has lost its meaning over the years. I think it would be good to take a look at this holiday in this week’s edition and I will explain why I feel the way I do.
Let’s first look at a little history of this Federal Holiday. You may be surprised that Memorial Day, as we know it today, was inspired by the way people in the Southern states honored their dead. That tradition was not lost on a General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, who observed the practice and felt strongly that it should be celebrated by our Nation. He went to Congress and proposed that a day be officially proclaimed as a day of memory for those that lost their lives during the Civil War. The Congress did indeed declare the first day of remembrance on May 5, 1868 and it was first observed on May 30, 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery, thus the original “Decoration Day.”
I wonder how many people really knew or remembered that what we now call “Memorial Day,” was originally known as “Decoration Day.” The first state to officially recognize the holiday was New York in 1873, but by 1890 it was recognized by all of the northern states. What is ironic is that this practice originated in the Confederate States, but yet the South refused to acknowledge the day, instead honoring their dead on separate days. This separation continued until after World War I when the holiday changed from honoring just those who died fighting in the Civil War to honoring all Americans who died fighting in any war. It is now celebrated in almost every State on the last Monday in May and is called almost universally as Memorial Day.
I think most people link this day with poppies. I would bet that many of you have donated a dollar or two to affix one of those red poppies to your lapel. Have you ever wondered where the poppy came in as part of the Memorial Day celebration? Well, as I understand it, in 1915, inspired by the poem "In Flanders Fields," Moina Michael penned the following lines: “We cherish too, the Poppy red. That grows on fields where valor led. It seems to signal to the skies. That blood of heroes never dies.” She then conceived of an idea to wear red poppies on Memorial Day in honor of those who died serving the nation during war. She was the first to wear one, and sold poppies to her friends and co-workers with the money going to benefit servicemen in need. Shortly before Memorial Day in 1922 the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) became the first veterans' organization to nationally sell poppies. Two years later their "Buddy" Poppy program was selling artificial poppies made by disabled veterans. It is a tradition that is still popular around our country. Do you have yours?
I mentioned at the beginning of this column that I believe we lost the value and meaning of the hallowed event. I quite honestly believe this happened with the passing by Congress of the “National Holiday Act of 1971” which was legislated to ensure a three day weekend for Federal holidays. I think it just made it all the easier for people to be distracted from the spirit and meaning of the day. It may be worth noting that several Southern states have an additional separate day for honoring the Confederate war dead. Maybe the original practitioners still understand the reason.
I think that you will find that the traditional observance of Memorial Day has diminished over the years. I think the moving to that three day weekend encouraged putting emphasis on other things other than our fallen soldiers. Memorial Day has become less of an occasion of remembrance. Many people choose to hold picnics, sports events and family gatherings on this weekend. Many Americans, in my opinion, have forgotten the meaning and traditions of Memorial Day. At many cemeteries, the graves of the fallen are increasingly ignored and even neglected. Most people no longer remember the proper flag etiquette for the day. While there are towns and cities that still hold Memorial Day parades, many have not held a parade in decades or put out flags at cemeteries or on the town square to honor them.
Some people think the day is for honoring any and all dead, and not just those fallen in service to our country. While I think it is good and right to honor our own passed loved ones, I think we don’t want to forget those who this day was originally prescribed for. Thank a veteran or stop by the grave of someone who gave their life for their country and our collective freedom. I personally salute my father and both of my grandfathers who all served our country in World War II and World War I respectively. They are now gone but not forgotten. Nor do I forget all those that fought before them, with them, and since them to make sure we are free to celebrate as we do see fit. Let us not forget the reason of Memorial Day!

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, May 24, 2012

Ruth E. Bernhardt, April 11, 1920 to May 23, 2012

Ruth Eleanor Bernhardt, the daughter of Anna (Eichner) and Magnus Peterson, was born April 11, 1920 at Kuner, Colorado. She departed this life on Wednesday, May 23, 2012 at the Heritage Care Center in Red Cloud, Nebraska at the age of 92 years, 1 month and 12 days.
Ruth grew up and lived most of her adult life in Colorado. She received her formal education graduating from the Kersey High School with the class of 1939. She was united in marriage with Johnnie Bernhardt on January 13, 1941 at Sidney, Nebraska. They made their home farming in the Gill and Kuner, Colorado area until retiring in 1977, and then moved to Greeley where they were members of the St. Johns United Church of Christ. Ruth and Johnnie enjoyed their retirement years traveling and spending time at the cabin in the mountains at Red Feather Lakes. Her husband preceded her in death in October of 1992.
In 1995, Ruth moved to Blue Hill, Nebraska to be near her family. In 2005, she moved to the Heritage Care Center in Red Cloud to live.
Ruth's love for her family was immeasurable. She will be remembered for her patience, kindness, but most of all for her zest for life. She remained enthusiastic and young at heart her entire life. She was happiest when she was living life with her family and she especially cherished the time spent with her grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Preceding her in death were her parents; her husband; brothers Rudy, Ray, Harold (Pat) and Buster Peterson; and sisters Sig Heinze, Marie Redman and Aderine Tappan.
Left to treasure her memory are her daughter and son-in-law Judy and Wendell Ord of Guide Rock, Nebraska; son Mike Bernhardt of Greeley, Colorado; 7 grandchildren, 12 great grandchildren and 5 great-great grandchildren: Jami Grabouski of Red Cloud, Nebraska and sons Jace and wife Abbie, Justin and Jordan Grabouski; Jeff and Diana Ord of Guide Rock, Nebraska and children Keller and wife Patsy and children Olivia and Thomas, Kyle and children Paisley, Jerzie and Remington; John Ord of Guide Rock and daughter Tina; Jill and Jeff Coffey of Blue Hill, Nebraska and daughters Molly, Markie and Meggie; Scott and Janet Bernhardt of Denver, Colorado and Kelsey; John Brent Bernhardt of Greeley; and Greg Bernhardt of Denver, Colorado; a brother Herman Peterson and wife Dorothy Jean of Kuner, Colorado; brother-in-law Donnie Bernhardt and wife Joann of Imperial, Nebraska; other relatives and friends.
Visitation for family and friends will be held Sunday, 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. at the Williams Funeral Home in Red Cloud.
Funeral services will be held Thursday, 10:30 a.m., May 31, 2012 at the Allnutt Funeral Home in Greeley, Colorado. Interment will be at the Sunset Memorial Gardens in Greeley.
Williams Funeral Home
241 West 4th Avenue
Red Cloud, Nebraska 68970

Gov. Heineman Promotes Highway Safety:

Gov. Heineman Promotes Highway Safety; Encourages Motorists to 'Click It or Ticket'

(Lincoln, Neb.) - Gov. Dave Heineman today was joined by Nebraska law enforcement, Nebraska Department of Roads, public safety officials and community partners, to promote safe travel and the ‘Click It or Ticket’ mobilization ahead of the Memorial Day weekend. This is the eighth year the state has participated in the national safety campaign, which began May 21 and runs through June 3.
“We need your help to continue to save lives on Nebraska’s roads,” Gov. Heineman said. “While we remain dedicated to reducing traffic fatalities we have experienced a slight increase in roadway deaths in 2012. Many of these deaths can be attributed to the lack of seat belts. It is critical that all motorists and their passengers buckle up every time on every trip.”
To date in 2012, the state has recorded 65 traffic fatalities, an increase of eight deaths over this same period one-year ago. Of the 53 killed in motor vehicle crashes to date on Nebraska roads 42 were not wearing seat belts. The increase follows two straight years of reduced traffic fatalities with 181 traffic fatalities in 2011, marking a second all-time low.
“The unfortunate reality is too many people are dying on our roadways because they aren’t buckling up,” said Col. David Sankey, Superintendent of the Nebraska State Patrol. “Statistics show wearing your seat belt increases your odds of surviving a crash by up to 50 percent. We encourage all motorists to put the odds in their favor. Obey the law, buckle-up.”
In addition to the Nebraska State Patrol, the ‘Click It or Ticket’ mobilization involves 63 law enforcement agencies across the state. This provides more than 12,000 hours of additional traffic enforcement and emphasizes the use of seat belts and proper child restraints.
In conjunction with enforcement efforts, a public service campaign will remind motorists at the pump to buckle-up. Individuals filling their tank will be greeted with the message “Buckle Up or Pay the Price. Click It or Ticket. 2 Tickets 2 Fines.”
Additionally, road construction projects typically increase during summer months. Drivers are encouraged to pay extra attention in work zones and remember that fines for infractions double when workers are present.
“Construction season is a time when drivers and workers must share the highways,” said Monty Fredrickson, Director of the Nebraska Department of Roads. “While highway workers may not be present over the Memorial Day weekend, work zones will still be there. Please drive extra carefully near work zones, watching for the barricades and directional signs.”
With the Memorial Day weekend seen as the start of the summer travel season, motorists are reminded that Nebraska law requires drivers to move over for emergency vehicles.
Gov. Heineman said, “It’s up to all of us to have a safe summer travel season. Join me in doing your part, buckle-up, move over and pay extra attention in work zones.”

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

South Central Livestock Judging Clinic & Contest May 24 Webster County Fairgrounds – Bladen, NE

The South Central Livestock Judging Clinic and Contest is scheduled for Thursday - May 24, 2012 at the Webster County Fairgrounds in Bladen, NE. This event is designed for area youth to improve their basic livestock evaluation/selection skills and provide a good foundation for all youth interested in livestock. It will be conducted by Dr. Matt Ellicott, UNL Livestock Judging Team Coach and area UNL Extension Staff.

Activities in the livestock judging clinic will include: Evaluation Factors; Terminology; Oral Reasons Format; and will include a practice class(s). The competitive livestock judging classes will include market and breeding classes of beef, sheep and swine and will also include a market class of meat goats. The clinic and contest will be open to all youth, ages 8 -18, as well as adults. Parents, leaders and advisors are encouraged to attend.

Age divisions are as follows: Adult-19 years & older; Senior - 14-18 years old; Junior-13 years & under as of January 1, 2012. Teams will consist of 3 or 4 members in the same age division. They can be from the same club, chapter and/or county. Trophies will be presented to the Top overall individual in each youth division. Rosettes will be present to top teams in each division. Ribbons will be awarded to all participants. There is a small cost for teams or individual judges. Concessions will be available at the fairgrounds.

The clinic starts with registration from 8:30-9:00 am with the clinic starting at 9:00 and going till 10:30 am. The judging contest will run from 10:30-12:00, followed by lunch. Reasons will be taken from 12:30-1:30 pm followed by the official placing and discussion of classes from 1:30-2:00 pm followed directly with results and awards.

The clinic and judging contest is cooperative sponsored by UNL Extension in Webster, Harlan, Thayer, Nuckolls, Franklin, Kearney, Adams & Clay Counties; UNL Livestock Judging Team; Harlan County Cattlemen; and South Central Nebraska Cattlemen.
 For more information, contact: Dewey Lienemann @ Webster County UNL Extension, 402-746-3417, email at or any of the UNL Extension offices listed above. A flyer and registration form may be found at the UNL Webster County Extension web site at:  

Crystal Lake Fund Raiser

Looking for Vendors, Craft and Flea Market People for the Crystal Lake, Ayr, NE Fund Raiser, June 2, 2012 at Crystal Lake. Craft/Flea Market will be 10 AM to 5 PM with a dance following from 6 PM to 11 park permit needed to enter the park. Contact me if you have interest! A Space of grass that day is $10...If your not a vendor, other ways you can help: Money donations may be sent to 5 Points Bank on Burlington Ave checks made out to Crystal Lake Fund Raiser, we are in need of people to bake goodies for a bake sale. Also if you have Ayr ties, we are looking for people to put together on a poster board history, we will then attach these to tress ect for people to read, please make copies of you photos for the poster board incase of rain or other elements.... Please contact me if you have any questions or interest.
Crystal Lake was given to the city of Ayr, we are raising money to maintain and preserve Crystal Lakes history!
Sally A. Snyder
Crystal Lake Fund Raiser President

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Hastings College sends forth its 126th Graduating Class

(Hastings, Neb.) – The Honorable Michael B. Hancock, Mayor of Denver, Colo., and a 1991 Hastings College alumnus, challenged HC’s 126th graduating class to be themselves, even if that means being out of step with others. “Why be normal?” read pins he gave to each member of the class which was comprised of 252 undergraduates receiving Bachelor of Arts and/or Bachelor of Music degrees and 18 students who received Master of Arts in Teaching degrees.
Receiving Bachelor of Arts degree from this area are
Bladen: Sean Patrick Danehey, Psychology**
Blue Hill: Raelene Ramona Buschow, Recreation and Sport Management  
Red Cloud: Jennifer Ann Conway, Business Administration
Anna Louise Eberly, Elementary Education**/Special Education**, Summa Cum Laude
Roseland: Michael Wayne Shaw, AgriBusiness

**High Distinction
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 1,150 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.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

What do you know about Deb Fischer

After Deb Fischer’s surprising upset Nebraska Senate primary win  over fellow Republicans Jon Bruning and Don Stenberg, many Nebraskans are asking themselves, “Deb who?”  A google seach can help you learn more about the candidate.
Here are some facts you might not know about Deb Fischer:
Deb Fischer is a part-time cow-poke – she works on her family farm, Sunny Slope Ranch near Valentine, Nebraska, on weekends.
Her  maiden name is Strobel, she changed it to Fischer when she married Bruce Fischer in 1972.  They have three sons.
She puts  30,000 to 35,000 miles a year on her Oldsmobile Bravada to meeting with her constituents, according to the Lincoln Journal Star.
  In 2005, a miniature fiberglass bull painted by schoolchildren was stolen from Fischer’s office, and a ransom was demanded. The rustlers had asked for certain votes on legislation or a package of Juicyfruits candy, reports the Lincoln Journal Star. “We don’t negotiate with cowards,” Fischer said at the time. An anonymous person paid the ransom and the figure was returned.
Fischer favors subliminal messages in campaign ads. Asked by a columnist where she stood on the issue, she responded jokingly, “I [VOTE FOR FISCHER] am [DEB FISCHER FOR SENATE] opposed.”
In 2006 Deb Fischer supported legislation that would have made it more difficult for authorities to seize animals without just cause. Although some animal advocacy groups suggested this might expose animals to harm, Fischer said she was fighting for owners’ rights. At the time, Fischer had a border collie and a lab mix as well as livestock.
In 2007 Fischer Filibustered a smoking ban , which would have banned smoking in public places and workplaces, but relented somewhat when an amendment was made that would let localities opt out of the ban if they chose to do so.
Deb Fischer and her family benefits from what opponents call a federal subsidy, leasing 11,724 acres of federal land for grazing at below market value. Fischer argues that ranchers help the government manage the land, and that she doesn’t set the prices.
She was a fan of a slogan that a supporter came up with during the GOP senate primary: “More fun than Don, safer than Jon — vote Deb Fischer for Senate.”
In 2005, Fischer’s then-administrative aide was featured in “Tommy Lee Goes to College,” a reality show about the Motley Crue drummer at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. The aide, Matt Ellis, was featured as Lee’s roommate.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

How Is Overregulation Impacting You?

While Nebraska continues to see a strong job market, the national economy remains weak with unemployment above 8 percent for 39 consecutive months. The tepid pace of growth is due in large part to the overregulation coming out of Washington, paralyzing employers with uncertainty. And just as a rising tide lifts all boats, the opposite is also true. Failure to rein in out-of-control regulations will result in lasting damage to our country, and all Americans will pay the price.
The reality is federal rules and red tape disproportionately affect small businesses, the very entrepreneurs responsible for our economic dynamism. The current Administration has proposed 3,118 regulations, with 167 considered “economically significant” – meaning they will cost our economy $100 million or more each!  In fact, since President Obama took office, there has been a 52 percent increase in final regulations deemed economically significant. We can’t create a fair system for job creators by continually changing the rules, and we can’t help job seekers by subjecting their would be employers to even more red tape.
A recent Kearney Hub editorial pointed out “it took 15 years, from 1983 to 1998, and cost Central Nebraska Public Power and Irrigation District in Holdrege $16.3 million to federally relicense its four power plants.” In recent months, this tidal wave of regulations has threatened Nebraska’s vibrant agriculture economy. We’ve already seen the EPA attempt to regulate farm dust and the Labor Department try to restrict youth involvement in agriculture.
Passing major regulatory reform has been a top priority for me during the 112th Congress.  I have voted to pass dozens of bipartisan jobs bills which would provide relief from record amounts of red tape, including the REINS Act, the Farm Dust Regulation Prevention Act, and the Regulatory Accountability Act. The Wall Street Journal called these efforts, “the largest overhaul of the rule-making process and larger administrative state since Ronald Reagan, and perhaps longer.” Unfortunately, the vast majority of these commonsense reforms remain stalled in the Senate, where the President’s party is blocking them from being taken up for a vote.
In an effort to better educate my colleagues in Congress on both sides of the aisle – and in both chambers – about the overregulation hurting our economy, I want to share your perspective. If you are a small business owner trying to create jobs in the Third District, I want to hear your experiences and what steps you feel Congress should take to lessen the heavy hand of government. You can share your stories by going to my website, They will not be for public dissemination, and your story only will be shared publicly if I receive permission from you to do so.
Over the past five years, I have had the opportunity to hear from literally hundreds of thousands of Nebraskans - through in-person meetings, mobile offices, community events and telephone town halls. Hearing from you helps me do my job better. I’ll take your experiences and advice to Washington and work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to fight against excessive regulation. For the sake of our farm families and Nebraska’s economy, this is a fight we cannot afford to lose.


Duane A. Lienemann,
UNL Extension Educator,
 Webster County
May 18, 2012 Edition

May I ask – where has Spring gone? It seemed so promising, but I have to tell you that this year is becoming rather frustrating instead. It seems like we started out with everything about 3 weeks ahead and that hasn’t changed, but do we really need to deal with July weather now? The lack of significant moisture is really started to show on our crops, pastures and even lawns. I think we need to spend our time this week looking at what I fear may be the beginning of a drought.
Let’s first start in with the wheat. Unless you have been hiding in the basement I would imagine that you have a pretty good idea that the wheat is all headed out, most of it has pollinated and making kernels, and we will most likely see a very early harvest. You may also have noticed that in some wheat fields, especially it seems those planted in last year’s soybean fields have really struggled. We see stunted and even bluish colored wheat. I think most know that is stress, mostly due to not having much moisture last fall, this winter and now at the time it needs it most. Those fields are not the only ones immune, I have noticed it in fields planted in conventional tilled, and no-tilled into corn and even last year’s wheat fields.
I have seen several farmers swathing their wheat and trying to at least get some wheat hay out of it. I think those fields were probably not going to have much promise of much of a yield, so I think that is a good plan. It should be early enough for soft awns and still some green to make good bales of useable hay. Wheat hay may be a good alternative if you are suspicious of yield potential and especially if you think your reserve hay supply may be challenged.
The good news is that the various fungal diseases in the wheat has stopped or at least slowed down significantly. It is basically too late to spray at this time in most fields, but it would not hurt to walk through your wheat fields to look for fusarium head blight, scab or other head diseases/disorders such as loose smut and stem maggot injury. This is especially important if you are looking at keeping back seed wheat for next year. If you find incidences of head disease, you may want to look at other fields or other producers for next year’s seed.
I looked at several fields over the weeks and did find several instances of barley yellow dwarf virus problems. Some fields are more severely affected than others. Yellowing and/or purpling of top leaves starting from the tip and margins are typical symptoms of barley yellow dwarf. Nothing can be done to control virus diseases during the growing season. There is no silver bullet for that problem. This yellowing is different from the sulfur deficiency fields that we talked about earlier. This virus is carried by insects and particularly the bird cherry oat aphid that would have been in the fields early on before most people even thought about their wheat. I know that some farmers sprayed headline fungicide plus and insecticide before jointing and in those fields we did not find this disease and they were relatively clean up to flag leaf.
How many of you have seen farmers re-planting soybeans? I know I have and in asking around I find that most of that is due to crusting and soybean seeds not having the “oomph” to push through this year. Others have told me it is more “dust” than “crust”. Either way we are seeing some problems with soybeans. I don’t know if that is due to the vigor in particular numbers of soybeans, planting depth, planting perhaps a little early, or simply because of the condition of the soil. I know that I counted over 30 pivots running early this week just in my travels, some on soybean fields and some on corn. That is a little troubling seeing we are just past the middle of May. All I can say is Oh-Oh. There has been some conjecture that the cold water from the sprinklers on the soybean fields could have had a negative effect on the bean seedlings. I have also heard several reports of cotyledons falling off of the seedlings right after emerging also prompting decisions to replant. I don’t know if that is from pushing through the hard soil, disease or that lack of “oomph”.
I am really concerned about our pastures. They looked so good early on with the early growth of grass, but now they seem to be just sitting there. There is a definite blue cast to a lot of the pastures that I have looked at, as well as some spots turning brown or at least perhaps not coming out of dormancy. That is not to say that some of the pastures may still come on, especially if we should get some moisture. We may have to watch grazing rates very closely and work at making sure cattle utilize the whole pasture by moving mineral, salt and perhaps utilizing cross-fencing in order to get through this season should Mother Nature not cooperate. Don’t just put the cattle out in the pasture and forget about them or the pasture, this may be something you may want to monitor and then take some of the steps we had to during the drought conditions of 2000-2007. If we get to that point, we will explore some avenues that may be available to us. I know it is still early and there is always a chance for rain, but this just has that feel!
We are really starting to miss some of those missed moisture opportunities – starting with last fall, going through winter and now deep into spring. I know that some areas had some good moisture over the last 6 weeks; however, there may be an argument on how good it was from how it came. If you look at the total region - we are living in a water deficit area. I doubt too many people would argue that point. I have even been asked by some of my farmer friends to go out and do my “Indian Rain Dance”. I may have done that 30-40 years ago, but I am now more likely to get a lightning bolt coming out of the sky – rather than rain. Plus, I think those skills have waned in accordance to other attributes. I wouldn’t blame Mother Nature as I can imagine the image that would be!

The preceding information comes from the research and personal observations of the writer which may or may not reflect the views of UNL or UNL Extension. For more further information on these or other topics contact D. A. Lienemann, UNL Extension Educator for Webster County in Red Cloud, (402) 746-3417 or email to: or go to the website at:

Friday, May 18, 2012

Helen Katherine (Piel) Meyer June 4, 1927 to May 18, 2012

Hastings resident, Helen Katherine (Piel) Meyer, 84, died Friday, May 18, 2012 at Perkins Pavilion Good Samaritan Society-Hastings Village, Hastings, Nebraska.
Services will be Monday, May 21, 2012; 10:00 A.M. at First St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Hastings with Pastor Joel Remmers officiating. 
Burial will be in Blue Hill Cemetery, Blue Hill, Nebraska. 
 Visitation will be Saturday, May 19, 2012; 5:00 P.M. – 9:00 P.M., Sunday, May 20, 2012; 1:00 P.M. – 9:00 P.M. with family present from 6:00 P.M. – 8:00 P.M. at the funeral home, and one hour prior to the service at the church.
 Memorials may be given to First St. Paul’s Lutheran Church.
Helen was born June 4, 1927 in Cowles, Webster County, Nebraska to John & Pauline “Lena” Sophia (Benker) Piel. She was baptized in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Rosemont, Webster County, Nebraska on July 24, 1927.
 Helen was confirmed in St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Blue Hill, Nebraska on March 29, 1942. 
She graduated from Blue Hill High School. She married Edward A. Meyer on June 29, 1947 at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Blue Hill, Nebraska; he preceded her in death on March 8, 1988.
 Helen worked for Hastings Public Schools as a secretary for 25 years, retiring from Watson Elementary School in August 1986. 
She enjoyed playing bingo and cards, gardening, and spending time with her grandkids.
Helen was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Edward A. Meyer; brother, Donald “Bud” Piel; sister, Hazel Phillips; and sister-in-law, Norma Piel.
Survivors include:
Sons & Daughters-in-law: Larry & Deb Meyer – Hastings, NE
    Thomas & Patty Meyer – Hastings, NE
    Roger & Sheree Meyer – Ayr, NE
Grandchildren & Spouses: Nathan & Monica DeMent
    Nehemiah DeMent
    Heidi & Austin Weidner
    Kimberly & Brian Labedz
    Shannon & Andy Wademan
    Jared Meyer
Travis & Kala Meyer
    Jeremy Meyer
Great-Grandchildren: 9
Brother-in-law: Duane “Flip” Phillips – Bellevue, NE
Sisters-in-law: Dorothy Meyer – Blue Hill, NE
    Bev Meyer – Blue Hill, NE

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Deb Fischer

Deb Fischer Statewide “Thank You” Tour

Senator Fischer thanks voters for Republican Nomination, pledges “Nebraska First”
Lincoln, Neb. – Deb Fischer for United States Senate will embark on a statewide “Thank You” tour to greet voters as the Republican nominee for US Senate and talk about how she plans to put Nebraska first in Washington.
Fischer will face Bob Kerrey in the November election. As a lifelong Nebraskan and citizen legislator, she opposes Cap and Trade, opposes government-run healthcare and helped pass the largest tax relief passage in Nebraska history. Meanwhile, Bob Kerrey, who has spent the last decade in New York, supports tax increases, embraces a job-killing cap and trade program and defends Obama’s healthcare plan.
THURSDAY, MAY 17, 2012
8:30AM – The Venue, 4111 Pioneer Woods Drive
11:00AM – Prenger’s, 116 East Norfolk Ave
South Sioux City
1:30PM – Kahills Steak-Fish and Chop House, 385 East 4th Street
4:00PM – Marriott Regency, 10220 Regency Circle
FRIDAY, MAY 18, 2012
Grand Island
8:30AM – Quality Inn, 7838 South 281
10:00AM – The Alley Rose, 2030 Central Avenue
North Platte
12:15PM – Quality Inn, 2102 South Jeffers Street
3:00PM (Mountain Time) – Location: Hampton Inn & Suites, 301 West Highway 26

Homestead Act 150th Anniversary

Nebraska Delegation Commemorates 150th Anniversary of Homestead Act

May 17, 2012
Washington, DC – Congressmen Adrian Smith (R-NE), Lee Terry (R-NE), Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) and Senators Ben Nelson (D-NE) and Mike Johanns (R-NE) released the following joint statement in advance of the 150th Anniversary of the Homestead Act:
“This simple, four-page document brought about significant and lasting changes to the United States,” said the Nebraska lawmakers in a joint statement. “This historic law gave millions of people a chance to pursue opportunity and live the American Dream. In Nebraska, the enduring impacts of the Homestead Act remain evident in our state’s culture, where reliance on personal responsibility, hard work, and common sense continue to serve us well.”
President Abraham Lincoln signed the Homestead Act into law on May 20, 1862, accelerating the settlement of the western territories. In total, 1.6 million people from 30 states claimed 270 million acres of land. The Homestead Act is currently on loan from the National Archives to the Homestead National Monument's Heritage Center in Beatrice, NE through May 28, 2012.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Johanns Votes to Reauthorize Ex-Im Bank, Welcomes Amendment Process

WASHINGTON – Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) today voted for legislation, H.R.2072, reauthorizing the Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank. The legislation passed the Senate by a vote of 78-20 and will be sent to the President for his signature. The House approved the reauthorization last week by a vote of 330-93.

“This was an important, bipartisan vote supporting jobs across the country and in Nebraska,” Johanns said. “Reauthorizing the Ex-Im Bank helps level the playing field for our nation’s exporters and American workers.
“Senator Reid did the right thing by allowing amendments. I hope this will once again become the rule instead of an increasingly rare exception.”
An earlier attempt to reauthorize the bank failed in March because Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) blocked amendments. Johanns signed a letter urging Reid to allow amendments following that vote and reiterated the need for an amendment process again last week.
Importance of the Export-Import Bank:
Many foreign governments provide heavy assistance to their nation’s exporters, which manipulates foreign markets and creates and unfair disadvantage for American exporters. The Ex-Im Bank was founded in 1934 to address this disparity through the use of business loans.  The bank operates without government funding through fees and interest collected.
Close to 90 percent of the Ex-Im Bank’s transactions last year went to small businesses or their partners abroad needing assistance to purchase American-made products. The bank also supported nearly $10 million in Nebraska exports last month alone.
The bank has a borrowing cap of $100 billion, which it will reach in the next few weeks. The legislation that passed the House and Senate gradually increases that limit to $140 billion and extends the bank’s charter – which expires at the end of the month – for 3 years. Safeguards were included in the bill forcing the bank to justify all of its loans and requiring businesses to certify they will not do business with Iran.
The bank has a default rate of less than two percent and no taxpayer funds are spent by the bank. Over the past five years, the bank contributed nearly $2 billion to Treasury.

Ben Nelson

May 15, 2012 – Today, Nebraska’s Senator Ben Nelson voted for a three-year reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank of the United States, saying that the bank’s work has helped create jobs and expand exports that are a critical part of Nebraska’s economy.
“Tens of thousands of Nebraskans are employed by international exporters. Nebraska depends on world markets, and we have to preserve the tools that our exporters need to remain competitive globally,” Senator Nelson said. “Each year, more Nebraskan businesses find new opportunities in international exports. Reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank will ensure that Nebraska exporters can continue participating in the global market.
The Senate passed the Export-Import Bank Reauthorization Act of 2012 with bipartisan support today - on a vote of 78 to 20. The bill will now go to the President, who is likely to sign it into law.  
The Export-Import Bank is the United States federal government’s official credit lending organization for American companies that export goods internationally. It has operated since 1934, offering credit to American exporters when private lending sources are not available. The Export-Import Bank aims to help small and medium-sized American manufacturers establish footing in growing economies, and equalize the government financing available to exporters based in other countries.   
“The only opposition came from those philosophically opposed to the Export-Import Bank’s work,” said Nelson.  “But American exporters can’t be expected to compete with foreign-based exporters, especially when the competition has unconditional financial backing from their governments. We don’t want to be the only player in the game without a helmet.”      
Last year, the Export-Import Bank supported over $41 billion in export sales – from almost 4,000 American companies employing nearly 300,000 export-related American jobs. Nebraskan exporters sell goods as diverse as metals, plastics, agricultural products, and motor vehicle parts to Canada, Mexico, Australia, and numerous other countries. Over the last five years, Nebraskan exporters made over $300 million in sales supported by the Export-Import Bank. Established Nebraskan exporters, and aspiring Nebraskan exporters rely on the Bank’s funds in order to compete internationally. 
“These days, even small-market local businesses face competition from foreign-produced goods. If our businesses want to hold onto their customers, they’re forced to churn out products that are competitive internationally – even if they’re only selling locally,” said Nelson.
The Export-Import Bank’s charter ends on May 31st, 2012. The Export-Import Bank Reauthorization Act of 2012 enables export financing through 2014, by raising the Export-Import Bank’s lending ceiling from $100 billion to $140 billion.
In 2011, Nebraska exports totaled $7.6 billion.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Joeline Y. Hartman August 31, 1941 to May 13, 2012

Blue Hill resident Joeline Y. Hartman, 70, died Sunday May 13, 2012 at Franklin County Memorial Hospital in Franklin.
Rosary is 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at Merten-Butler Mortuary in Blue Hill.  Mass will be 10:30 a.m. Thursday at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Blue Hill with the Very Rev. James Schrader officiating.  Burial is at the Blue Hill Catholic Cemetery.  Visitation is 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday with family present 4-5:30 p.m.
A memorial has been established.
 Joeline was born on August 31, 1941 to Russel P. and Ruby K. (Crowe) Kuhn on a farm near Blue Hill.   She graduated from Blue Hill High School in 1959.   She married Richard A. Hartman on June 11, 1960 at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Blue Hill.
Jo worked for the Blue Hill Community Schools as a Teacher's Aide.   She was a member of Holy Trinity Catholic Church and Holy Trinity Alter Society.
Joeline is survived by her husband, Richard of Blue Hill, her mother, Ruby Simon, Hastings, one son, Jim and his significant other, Marcy Dejonge of Kearney, two daughters, Connie (Mike) Cooper of Norfolk, Ne, and Mary Schlesinger, of Blue Hill, Two sisters, Marilyn (Don) Berns, Andover, Ill.  Barbara (Don) Kissinger, of Hastings.  Four Grandchildren, Jessica (Dr. Aaron) Graumann, Jacob Cooper, Mack and Micki Schlesinger, one great-granddaughter, Rylee Jo Graumann.
She was preceded in death by her father, and one brother, Loren L. Kuhn.
Monday, May 14, 2012
Column: Nebraska: Major Producer of Food, Fuel and Fiber
Senator Ben Nelson
Nebraskans are rightfully proud of our role in helping feed and fuel America and the world. We are number one in production of many commodities from red meat to Great Northern Beans to popcorn. Nebraska is second in the nation in ethanol production pumping more than two billion gallons of this home grown fuel into the system each year. Our farmers and ranchers make us 5th in the nation in agriculture cash receipts. Nearly one-third of all Nebraska jobs are related to agriculture in one way or another.
Given agriculture’s importance to Nebraska’s economy and way of life, I am proud the Senate Agriculture Committee came together recently to produce a strong bipartisan bill, which was passed by a vote of 16 to 5.
The bill strengthens the agricultural safety net protecting America’s food, feed, fuel, and fiber supply. It streamlines and simplifies farm programs. It ends outdated subsidies. And most importantly, it sets an example for how Washington can cut the federal deficit by saving $23 billion in cuts to agricultural programs. 
All Americans Affected by Agriculture
The bill recognizes the role agriculture plays not just on farms and ranches, but in the lives of all Americans with its title, the Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2012. This title reflects the importance of Agriculture to jobs both in Nebraska and throughout the U.S. economy by supporting our rural communities.
It ensures our producers will be able to continue to produce enough food to feed both the U.S. and a growing world; and be leaders in feed, fuel, and fiber production.
The bill also makes major reforms to agricultural policy that creates a market-oriented safety net, eliminates direct payments, streamlines, simplifies and consolidates dozens of programs. These reforms will allow crop insurance to serve as the main component of an agricultural safety net allowing farmers and ranchers to select the best risk management for their production needs, rather than having to rely on the good will of the government to bail them out in periods of volatility.    
Widespread Support
In the Ag Committee we have produced a bill that cuts $23 billion from agricultural programs. Ag represents 2 percent of the nation’s budget and $23 billion represents 2 percent of the cuts proposed in the deficit legislation Congress worked on last year, but couldn’t pass because of partisanship. 
In a time of partisan gridlock and deficit concerns, it’s good to see that the Agriculture Committee has come together to maintain a strong safety net for our nation’s farmers and ranchers, while making a significant contribution to debt reduction.
I will continue to work with Senate leadership to ensure the full Senate takes up this bipartisan, deficit reducing piece of legislation as quickly as possible. It’s vitally important to our farmers and ranchers so they can continue to have a strong safety net to ensure that consumers across the country continue to have access to the most affordable and highest quality of food, feed, fuel, and fiber in the world.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Two million reasons to fish

Looking for an iron-clad reason to wet a line?  We can give you up to two million
good reasons.  For a limited time, if you are in the right place and catch the right fish, you could win a right nice amount: up to $2,000,000.
The contest runs through July 8, 2012, and pre-registration is required. You can
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Only certain fish species have been tagged in Nebraska: largemouth bass,   small mouth bass, white bass, hybrid striped bass (wiper), walleye and channel catfish. Those tagged fish have been released in 10 Nebraska water bodies:
* Box Butte Reservoir near Hemingford
* Calamus Reservoir near Burwell
* Cunningham Lake in Omaha
* Harlan County Reservoir near Alma
* Lewis and Clark Lake near Crofton
* Lake McConaughy near Ogallala
* Merritt Reservoir near Valentine
* Swanson Reservoir near Trenton
* Wagon Train Lake near Hickman
* Wehrspann Lake in Omaha
The weather is good, water levels are high, and now you have two million more    reasons to fish in Nebraska.  Start planning your next fishing trip today!
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