Monday, April 29, 2013

Blue Hill girls take second in Twin Valley Conference track and field.

Blue Hill (93) girls track team was just two points behind Twin Valley Conference champs Deshler (95) at the TVC track and field meet held in Franklin Saturday.
April Faimon finished second in the 100 (13.30)  200 (27.90) and triple jump (32-7) and finished third in the high jump (4-6). 
Katie Poe got first in the triple jump (32.9  1/2)  beating Faimon by a couple of inches. Poe also earned a couple of third place honors with the long jump (14 -0 1/4) and 300 hurdles (52.6)
Christa Alber placed first in the shot put (35-9 1/2) and placed second in discus (105-1) 
Kelsey Karr placed third in the l00 hurdles (17.9) 
As a team the Bobcats placed first in the 400 relay (56.1)

On the boys side of the meet the Bobcats finished in fifth place with 56 points. 
Gold went to Jacob Lovejoy in both the 100 911.4) and 200 (23.30).
A third was won by the 400 relay team in 48.20.
Keithen Drury got a third in the 100 (11.7) and 110 hurdles (15.80) Jace Kranau was third in the 3,200 with 10:43.6. 

Piel and Hafer to be recognized at BigRed Stars Ceremony


        Two Blue Hill Eighth graders, Lindsey Hafer and Yuriko Hernandez-Piel,  will be among those to be honored at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Big Red Stars recognition Ceremony to be held in Lincoln on April 30th. 
  Big Red Stars is a special recognition program designed to recognize outstanding eighth-grade students in Nebraska. These talented students were nominated by their school principals as students who showcase strong leadership skills and academic promise.
            The Big Red Stars nominees will be recognized at an award ceremony sponsored by UNL and EducationQuest from 10 to 11:30 a.m. at the Lied Center for Performing Arts, 301 N. 12th St in Lincon on April 30th.
            Highlights of the event include individual recognition and awards for the Big Red Stars nominees and special remarks from Gov. Dave Heineman.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Quote of the day

Theodore Roosevelt
I don't pity any man who does hard work worth doing.  I admire him.  I pity the creature who doesn't work, at whichever end of the social scale he may regard himself as being.

Friday, April 26, 2013


Duane A. Lienemann
WebsterCo. Extention Educator
   Oh sure, the moment I talk about the potential of a continuing drought we get a pretty good moisture event. I was even asked if this means the drought is broken. I come back to that with a resounding NO! We are far from being out of the woods on this thing. I would hope for the best but plan for the worst in this case. Now I might change my mind if we see some of this moisture in June and July, but I would not hold my breath.  I was reminded that we had all of the corn planted by this time last year and were starting on beans.  I reminded back that last year it was hot and windy and dry for a month already at this time.  This year at least we have had cool and cloudy conditions, which have saved our bacon so far. I know that we will be seeing a lot of activities involving planters the next few weeks. I still suggest doing whatever you can do to tempt the rain – wash your pickup, do the Indian rain dance, put clothes out on the line, or leave open the grain bin roof vents. We have a lot of season left and we are very far behind in our soil moisture profiles.
     I always keep an eye on things that have a tendency to affect our animal agriculture and this week something caught my eye and thus my critical attention. This week “Risky Meat: A Field Guide to Meat & Poultry Safety,” made headlines on most national media web sites, newspapers and broadcast outlets. Now of course I had to read it, and see what this was all about. A group called The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) released their so-called “scientific analysis” that ranked the 12 riskiest meat and poultry categories. I was more curious than hoping for education. Let’s take a look at this and see if we can’t do our part in dispelling what this group is trying to “sell” to our consumers.    
     What was interesting to me was that these risks were assigned based on outbreak reports and the likelihood of hospitalizations associated with the pathogens most commonly reported in those foods. The risk levels were supposedly determined by using information from 12 years and 1,700 outbreaks and the review of 33,000 cases of foodborne illnesses. Now, according to CSPI, risk levels show ground beef and chicken were rated as the highest risk, followed by other cuts of beef, steak and turkey. Barbecue, deli meats, pork and roast beef received a medium risk ranking, and the meats said to be least risky were chicken nuggets, ham and sausage. Now that is a “Field Guide” I can hang my hat on.
     While CSPI’s analysis seems shocking, I think that the larger question is whether the information is “useful” for consumers for their health and well-being. It is I think it is really a shot across the food industry’s bow and an attention getter, because the incidence of foodborne illness has declined in recent years and they don’t mention that. It actually may even distract consumers from the big picture - that all foods come with risks. We all should know that all food is risky and should be treated with care, not just meat, but produce – everything – as a potential source of dangerous microorganisms. As a matter of fact, over the last decade, the biggest source of foodborne illness has been primarily vegetables, which consumers often eat raw. I have to admit that I do just that too.  Baby carrots, radishes, cabbage and of course lettuce are all examples. Just like we encourage consumers should use a thermometer to tell when their meat has reached the proper internal temperature. They should thoroughly wash all produce and discard vegetable peels. 
     I think we don’t want something to get lost in this discussion. There is no doubt in my mind that we have a meat and poultry supply that delivers consistently safe eating experiences. And in fact, according to the American Meat Institute (AMI), our U.S. meat and poultry companies produce 90 billion pounds of meat and poultry products a year and 99.99 percent of these are consumed safely. I would say that is a pretty good record. It needs to be pointed out that seafood, poultry and beef showed the sharpest decline in the number of reported outbreaks in the study period according to resources provided by the AMI.  Regardless of this report, consumers should continue to enjoy the meat and poultry products they normally choose and should continue to follow the safe handling instructions provided on all packages.
     Now, let’s take a look at this CSPI. According to this groups information, it is a self-described “consumer advocacy organization” that aims to provide “consumers with current, useful information about their health and well-being”. However, according to , CSPI fancies itself a “watchdog” group but behaves more like an attack dog, savaging restaurants, disparaging adults’ food choices, and discouraging even moderate alcohol consumption. CSPI was founded in 1971 by current executive director Michael Jacobson, and two of his co-workers at Ralph Nader’s Center for the Study of Responsive Law. Since then, CSPI’s joyless eating club has issued hundreds of high-profile—and highly questionable—reports condemning soft drinks, coffee, fats in our foods, fat substitutes (Olestra), trans-fats, irradiated meat, biotech food crops (GMOs), French fries, Halloween candy, salt, and even caffeine in general - just about anything that tastes good or perks you up. They also attack any foods that may have been “exposed” to pesticides.
     You may be aware of its constant attacks on fast food restaurants, as they are constant. CSPI’s self-anointed “experts” encourage “a whole lot of lawsuits” against fast-food restaurants mostly because they see legal action as leverage to enact all the restrictions on food they have long supported. Does that sound familiar? I think HSUS may have taken a page out of their book. Each of these actions is accompanied by a breathless press release that seeks to scare ordinary consumers about the food they eat. I think this is exactly that. CSPI also has a strong bias against meat and dairy. Jacobson, himself a vegetarian, believes in eating a more plant-based diet and thinks everyone should follow his lead. Hmmmmm!

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 25, 2013

Legislative Newsletter

Senator Tom Carlson

On the 66th day of the 90 day long session, the bills predicted at the beginning of the session to be difficult have started first round debate. The budget must be placed on General File by the 70th legislative day, which is May 1.

We spent two days debating the Medicaid Expansion Bill. LB 577 would require the state department of Health and Human Services to add the adult population newly eligible under the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to the state’s Medicaid state plan amendment. Under that program, low income adults ages 19 to 64 with incomes of up to $15,856 would be eligible for Medicaid if a state chooses to extend benefits to them.
The federal government would cover that amount for three years, beginning in 2014. The federal money would then decrease and level off at 90% beginning in 2020. Part of the difficulty with LB 577 is that by 2020, when we assume 10% of the cost, we don’t know what that amount of money will be. It is hard to commit the state to something in seven years, and we don’t know what the cost will be. As expected, there were comments concerning both sides of this bill. In the end, the legislature moved on without taking a vote. The bill remains on General File.
Debate on another bill, LB 407, which we must pass in some form, sets school aid for the coming year. Funding for schools, nearly $1 billion, is the largest item in the state budget. State aid is designed to help schools make up the difference between what they need to educate students and how much they can raise through property taxes and other local sources.
Historically, this formula becomes a rural vs urban discussion. The large schools, with high tax levies, but low per student cost, want more money. In recent year the smaller schools, with high per student cost, have seen their state aid decrease as the value of farmland has skyrocketed and local property taxes follow the upward trend.
Approximately 100 of the state’s 249 school districts now receive no additional state aid. Under LB 407, the number of school receiving no aid would grow to 114. The day’s debate ended with an amendment, allowing a 7.4 % increase in school aid next year followed by 2.5% the following year, losing by 2 votes. A compromise amendment was being debated as I sent this letter.
A bill I introduced on behalf of the Department of Economic Development was advanced to Select File with a vote of 26-0. The bill modifies the Intern Nebraska Act to allow more flexibility for students and businesses. An amendment by the Business and Labor Committee encourages the department to recruit students from distressed areas and reimburse businesses more if the intern is a Pell Grant recipient.
Each June the Clerk of the Legislature’s office offers a four day youth experience with a mock legislative session. The deadline for applications is May 15th. More information can be found at the Nebraska Legislature web site:


WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) announced today that the United States Senate has unanimously adopted a bipartisan resolution she offered along with Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) designating September 26, 2013, as “National Pediatric Brain Cancer Awareness Day.” The resolution highlights the story of 7-year old Atkinson, Nebraskan, Jack Hoffman, who recently ran 69 yards to score a touchdown in front of 60,000-plus fans at Memorial Stadium, touching the hearts of millions of Americans and raising awareness of pediatric brain cancer. 

Upon passage of the resolution, Fischer released the following statement:
“Long before Jack Hoffman appeared on the television screens of millions of Americans with his famous dash across the gridiron, I was proud to call him my friend – and my hero. Jack and his parents, Andy and Brianna, have worked tirelessly to raise awareness of pediatric brain cancer and the limited, out-of-date treatment options currently available. This bipartisan resolution, which was unanimously adopted by the Senate, is an important step to help encourage the accurate and early diagnosis of the disease and to find an ultimate cure,” said Senator Fischer.

Jack Hoffman’s parents, Andy and Brianna Hoffman, released the following statement:
“We are so incredibly thankful to Senator Deb Fischer and her colleagues for bringing national awareness to pediatric brain cancer. This resolution is deeply meaningful to our family, and to the nearly 3,000 families that will learn this year that their child has a brain tumor. We are very humbled by the actions of Deb and her Senate colleagues today and we hope that this resolution will help to raise awareness, encourage early diagnosis, and expand treatment options. On behalf of all of the families that are fighting or have fought pediatric brain cancer, we are grateful.”
VIDEO footage of Senator Fischer’s floor remarks discussing the resolution and Jack Hoffman’s story is available HERE.

Quote of the Day

Reinhold Niebuhr
  God grant me the serenity
  To accept the things I cannot change
  The courage to change the things I can;
  And the wisdom to know the difference.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Johanns Presses EPA for Answers on Aerial Surveillance


WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) today at a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing questioned Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Acting Administrator Bob Perciasepe on his agency’s lack of transparency in the use of aerial surveillance.
Johanns told Perciasepe that the failure of the EPA to disclose the full, nationwide scope of their aerial surveillance program raises serious questions among agriculture producers and law-abiding citizens, whose private property is subject to these flyovers without notice.
Video of Johanns’ questioning is available HERE.
Johanns wrote former EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson last year requesting a full account of the agency’s use of aerial surveillance last year. He also offered an amendment, which received support from a bipartisan majority of Senators, to the Senate-passed farm bill to prohibit EPA from conducting aerial surveillance to inspect or to record images of agricultural operations.
A copy of the letter is available HERE and more information on Johanns’ amendment is available HERE.

Alfred Place January 14, 1924 to April 22, 2013

             Bladen resident Alfred P. Place, 89, died Monday, April 22, 2013, at his home.
Services are 11 a.m. Friday at Faith Lutheran Church in Hastings with the Rev. Paul Dunbar officiating.
Burial with military rites is at Blue Hill Cemetery in Blue Hill.
 Visitation is 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday at Merten-Butler Mortuary in Blue Hill.
Alfred Peter Place, 89, of  Bladen, Nebraska, was perfected in health, passing away on Monday, April 22, 2013 on the farm where he lived near Bladen, Nebraska.
Alfred was born on January 14, 1924, in Campbell, Nebraska to Perry Owen Place and Minnie (Koch) Place.
 He and Marilyn Alberts were married on January 27, 1956.  The marriage  was officiated by Pastor David Kreitzer at Zion Lutheran Church, in Hastings, Ne.  To this union four children were born, two daughters and two sons. Carolyn Sorenson, Duane Place, Janelle Ali-Dinar and Alan Place.         Albert and Marilyn renewed their wedding vows on November 13, 2004.  The ceremony was officiated by Pastor R. John Perling at the Dominus Flevit Church in Old City Jerusalem, Mount of Olives, Israel, marking an early 50th anniversary milestone. 
Alfred was baptized on July 5, 1957 and confirmed on July 7, 1957 by Pastor Henry E. Pralle at Trinity Lutheran Church, in Campbell, Ne.  , Ne. 
Alfred celebrated his baptismal renewal on November 11, 2004, with Pastor R. John Perling officiating at the River Jordan, Israel, and took the ultimate communion celebrating it on November 13, 2004 at Golgotha where his lord and Savior Jesus died , was buried and was resurrected.
A World War II veteran, Alfred served in the United States Army 8309th Quartermaster Railhead Company.  He was inducted on February 4, 1943.  Corporal Alfred P. Place served in the Rheinland (Rhineland) Central European Theatre taking part in the invasion of Germany and was stationed in France, Germany and the Netherlands serving in the 45th Beach Infantry Division Beach Group Amphibian Truck Company and later the Military police.  He was honorably discharged on February 9, 1946.  After returning  home from his military service, Albert made agriculture his life, farming and raising livestock in Webster and Franklin counties for 50+ years.
Alfred was a Charter Lifetime Member of the American Legion Post 169 in Campbell for 63 years.  He served as an Elder and Trustee and on the Trinity Lutheran Church Cemetery Board where he was a church member for 48 years before transferring membership to Faith Lutheran Church in 2006.
He served on the ASC - Agricultural Service Committee in Webster County, Red Cloud, Nebraska for 34 years.
Diagnosed with cancer in 2005, Alfred was one of Mary Lanning Healthcare's oldest cancer survivors.
Alfred loved the land, animals, church fellowship, history, travel and time with family and friends.
Aside from celebrating many beautiful rites of passage with  his family, additional high lights included drinking the miracle water from Mary's well in Nazareth, Israel, site of where the Angel Gabriel spoke to Mary and attending Nation American Legion parades, conventions and city host sites.
Alfred is survived by devoted wife, Marilyn Place, Bladen, NE, daughter, Carolyn and son-in-law Rodney Sorenson, Hastings, NE; Son, Duane Place, Bladen, NE; daughter Janelle and son-in-law, Abbass Ali-Dinar, Hastings, Ne; son, Alan and daughter-in-law, Joy Bettendorf, IA.  Grandsons, Ryan Sorensen and Wife Michelle, Campbell, Ne;  Rory Sorensen, Bartlesville, OK and Ronnie Sorensen, Lincoln, NE; Granddaughters Danielle and husband Shane Nice, Wichita, KS and Desiree and husband, Josh McBreen, Omaha, NE; Amirah Ali-Dinar, Washington D>C>and Grandson Hayden Place, Bettendorf, IA.  Great grandsons, Jack and Paxton Sorensen, Campbell, Ne and great granddaughter, Ava Sorensen, Campbell, Ne;  Chloe and Jayden, Omaha, Ne; brother, Delmar Place, Minden, Ne; Sister, Betty Kich, Minden, NE and brother Jack, Campbell, Ne and a host of nieces, nephews and cousins.  Alfred is preceded in death by his parents, Perry and Minnie Pace, an infant sister, and brothers Hans and Robert, father-in-law Albert J. Alberts and mother-in-law Frieda Alberts; sisters-in-law, violet Boettcher, Verna Long, Vivian Yamaguchi; brother-in-law, Wayne Alberts and daughter-in-law, Ann Wasko Place.
Services were held Friday, April 26th at 11:00 a.m. at Faith Lutheran Church, Hastings, NE, with Pastor Paul Dunbar officiating.  Graveside services with Military honors by Willie Fierstein Post #169 and the Nebraska National Guard, Military Honor Guard were held at the Blue Hill Cemetery at  2.p.m.following a luncheon at the church.
In lieu of flowers memorials may be given to the family.

George Rempe, Jr. February 19, 1941 to April 22, 2013

Rempe, George E. Jr.
George Rempe,Jr.
George Rempe, Jr. 72, of Lawrence Nebraska died Monday, April 22, 2013, at the Sutton community Home in Sutton. 
Rosary will be Sunday, April 28, 2013, 7:30 p.m. and Mass is Monday April 29, 2013, 10:00 a.m. both at Sacred Hearth Catholic Church, in Lawrence, Nebraska with Father Loras Grell and Father Loren Pohlmeier officiating.  Burial with Military rites by Ken Dailey Post #45 will be in Sacred Heart Catholic Cemetery in Lawrence, Nebraska.  Visitation will be Sunday, April28, 2013 from 300-9:00 p.m. at the Lawrence Visitation chapel. In Lieu of flowers George requested that memorials be given to the Lawrence E.M.T.'s and Lawrence Volunteer Fire Department to buy new equipment.  Merten-Butler Mortuary, Blue Hill, Nebr. is in charge of arrangements.
George E. Rempe, Jr. was born on February 19, 1941, to George Rempe, Sr. and Eleanor "Babe" Kohmetscher in Lawrence, Nebraska. He passed away April 22, 2013, after a valiant fight with COPD and Emphysema. 
He was baptized and confirmed in the Sacred Heart Catholic Church, in Lawrence, Nebraska.  He married Doris J. McConnaughey on April 25, 1970, at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Lawrence, Nebraska, and to this union two children were born, Shelia and Eric. 
George served in the United States Navy in 1959 and later was given a honorable discharge.
George droved for TeeEss Trucking and did custom baling around Lawrence.  He was employed by Friend Appliance in Lawrence where he became interested in the field of electricity.  In 1970, he began working as an electrician at the R.H. Meat Animal Research Center in Clay Center, Nebraska.  He held this position for 36 plus years before his health forced him to retire, in September 2007.
He has blessed many peoples lives there by knowing him, learning from him and growing from his wisdom and endless spirit. 
After retirement he enjoyed paying cards with friends, word search, deer and coyote hunting plus watching TV.  He was also an avid NASCAR racing fan and never missed a race on TV.  George enjoyed time spent with his family and was a great brother, husband, father, grandfather and friend.
He was a licensed State of Nebraska Hunters Education Instructor from 1990 to 2012.
George was active in launching the Lawrence Emergency Medical Services.  He actively served as a volunteer E.M.T. in the years 1976 - 2009.
He was the 185th E.M.T. trained in the State of Nebraska.  He was a volunteer Fireman from 1962 -20009 and served several terms as Fire Chief.  He was a dedicated E.M.T.  and first responder.
George served on the Lawrence Village Board for 20 years and for 18 years was board chairman form 1982 to 2002, which is equivalent to the mayor. 
George organized and planned the football bleachers in Lawrence and kept records of the helpers.  There were a lot of helpers the first time they were made.  The bleachers were then destroyed by the tornado of March 1990.  George then rebuilt the bleachers himself as the helpers were busy at this time. 
George is survived by his wife of almost 43 years, Doris, Lawrence, Nebraska, daughter, Shelia, Hastings, Nebraska, Son Eric and wife Brandie, Glenvil Nebraska and Grandsons Hunter and Samuel Rempe of Glenvil, Nebraska.  Sister Phyllis (Kenneth) Brockman, Lincoln, Nebraska, Brother Daniel (Vicki) Rempe, Lincoln, Nebraska. He was preceded in death by his grandparents and parents.
Family meant everything to George and he dearly treasured every moment he spent with them and he will be greatly missed by all.

Alfred L. (Andy) Anderson September 6, 1934 to April 19, 2013

Blue Hill resident, Alfred LeRoy (Andy) Andersen, 78, passed away Friday, April 19, 2013 at Mary Lanning HealthCare, Hastings, Nebraska.
Services will be Saturday, April 27, 2013; 2:00 P.M. at Blue Hill United Methodist Church, Blue Hill, with Rev. Steven Marsh officiating.
   Burial will be in Blue Valley Cemetery, Ayr, Nebraska. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given to cancer research. Visitation will be Thursday, April 25, 2013; 9:00 A.M. – 5:00 P.M., Friday, April 26, 2013; 9:00 A.M. – 9:00 P.M. with family present from 6:00 P.M. – 8:00 P.M. at Butler Volland Funeral Home in Hastings, and one hour prior to service at the church.

Alfred LeRoy (Andy) Andersen was born on September 6, 1934 at Oak, Nebraska to Clark and Faye Frances (Bates) Andersen. He was a member of the Pauline Methodist Church.
 He lived his childhood days in the Oak area going to school there.
 At an early age he endured a hard and busy childhood after his mother passed away.
 As a young boy, besides helping on the farm, he took on many other jobs to make his money. He started farming on his own at an early age and also had his own livestock.
As a young man he later  went on to Minden for several years to work for a farmer there.
 In 1952 he met  and married Margaret Aksamit of Lawrence, Nebraska on September 25, 1955 at the Christian Church in Nelson, Nebraska.
 To this union three children were born daughters, Debra Sue and Cindy Diane, and  son, Alfred Jr. (Charlee).
They started their married life in Hastings where he was employed at Western Land Roller.
 They later moved back to Oak where he continued farming again and his cattle. Mr. Andersen also worked at the Deshler Broom Factory where he had the honor of second fastest broom winder. In 1963 they moved to Adams County where he bought land. Besides farming and cattle he had a custom haying business, custom feed yard and did custom farming along with his own. He enjoyed his cattle shows and had much pride in them.
For several years he was also a seed corn dealer.
He enjoyed the busy life and accomplishments. Mr. Andersen enjoyed doing things for his wife, children, grandchildren and others and was a giving and caring person.
 Alfred was a person who always had a positive attitude and could do about any kind of task. In his later years he liked to visit, loved to dance, learned to ski when he was older, and learned to enjoy traveling. He enjoyed his faithful family and friends and his faith in God over the years and the support they gave him during his long illness. He felt so blessed to have such a long and happy marriage. Those that have preceded him in death are his parents; granddaughter, Crystal Fassler; and grandparents.
Survivors include:
Wife: Margaret Andersen – Blue Hill, NE
Children & Spouses: Debby Hamm – Rogers, TX
    Cindy Andersen – Berwyn, NE
    Alfred L. “CharLee” Andersen, Jr. & Jennifer Andersen – Blue Hill, NE
Grandchildren: Laci Fassler
    Jeremy Fassler
    Nicholas Andersen
    Gabriel Andersen
Numerous Nieces & Nephews

Monday, April 22, 2013

Ryan Bostock March 19, 1989 to April 20, 2013

Ryan  Bostock: Ryan
Ryan  Bostock: Ryan

Memorial for Ryan Bostock

Born on Mar. 19, 1989
Departed on Apr. 20, 2013 and resided in Lincoln, NE.
Service: Saturday, Apr. 27, 2013
10:30 am
Cemetery: Wagoner Cemetery

 and John Bostock,
 Ryan John Bostock, the son of Bethann (Hartman)( ) , was born March 19, 1989 at Hastings, Nebraska. He departed this life on Saturday, April 20, 2013 as the result of injuries sustained in a one-vehicle accident near Lincoln, Nebraska.

He received his formal education attending the Red Cloud schools where he participated in a number of activities including football and wrestling. He was a member of the National Honor Society and served as president for the FFA Chapter. He graduated as valedictorian with the class of 2007. Ryan attended the University of Missouri Science & Technology at Rolla, Missouri for two years and then transferred to the University of Nebraska in Lincoln where he was a member and past officer of the Theta Chi Fraternity. He was to receive his degree in May, majoring in Nutrition & Health Sciences.
Ryan  Bostock
Ryan was a member of the Red Cloud Zion Lutheran Church. In his leisure time he enjoyed weight-lifting and spending time with family, friends and his girlfriend, Kayla. His personality was pervaded by his quiet yet cheerful disposition. He was always ready to make someone laugh. He especially cherished his time spent on the farm as he was growing up, playing with his sister, brother, cousins, aunts and uncles.

Left to treasure his memory are his parents, Bethann and John Bostock; a sister, Shelby Bostock and brother, Jared, all of Red Cloud; grandparents, Connie and Larry Bostock of Red Cloud, and Irene and Ray Dean Hartman of Blue Hill, Nebraska; his girlfriend, Kayla Younker of Plattsmouth, Nebraska; aunts, uncles, other relatives and many friends.

Funeral services are scheduled for Saturday, 10:30 a.m., April 27, 2013 at the Zion Lutheran Church in Red Cloud with the Rev. Ron Kuehner officiating. Interment will be at the Wagoner Cemetery.

Visitation/Book Signing will be held Thursday and Friday 8:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m. at the funeral home.

A memorial fund has been established by the family.

Williams Funeral Home
241 West 4th Avenue
Red Cloud, Nebraska 68970
Ph: 402-746-2500

Quote of the day

"Any man who thinks he can be happy and prosperous by letting the American Government take care of him better take a closer look at the American Indian."
Henry Ford

United, We Run-Weekly Column

Sen. Mike Johanns

On Monday, one week after twin blasts rocked the heart of Boston, more than a thousand well-wishers braved the snow and rain in downtown Lincoln for a memorial run to raise money for the victims of the Boston Marathon attack. They weren’t the only ones. Communities across the country held runs and other events, picking up the torch for the world class race that was so abruptly stopped by evil.

Last week was a difficult week for America. Four lives were cut short in Boston. Nearly 200 others were injured. Many people who have logged countless miles doing what they love will never run again. And the people of West, Texas experienced a different, albeit equally devastating loss when a factory fire erupted, claiming fourteen lives.
Tragedies come in many forms. From earthquakes to factory fires to craven acts of terror, these events can leave a community and a country wondering how to respond. Folks in Boston and their fellow Americans across the nation answered that question without skipping a beat.
With courage and resolve.
Courage to lace up our shoes and run for those who cannot. Courage to recommit to what it is that makes America great. And resolve to stand together, stare wickedness in the face and say, “We are stronger than cowardly attempts of intimidation.”
Last Thursday, in the midst of an unprecedented manhunt, and with many questions still unanswered, a packed Boston arena stood shoulder to shoulder and proudly sang our national anthem—a poignant display of resiliency and solidarity. They were a sound illustration of a nation shaken but not shattered. Across the country came other heralded tributes to the victims and their families. From prayer vigils to fundraisers to sporting events, Americans from all walks of life offered support in the best way they knew how.
In some respects, those who wish to strike fear in our hearts through acts of terror actually achieve the opposite result—deepening our determination to live freely and to express our patriotism. When I was governor, I was moved by the outpouring of support and patriotism by Nebraskans attending a vigil at the state capitol in the wake of the September 11 attacks. Impromptu exhibitions of allegiance witnessed back then are again on display across our state today in salute to all those affected by recent heartbreak. Nebraska has always been characterized as a state of neighbor helping neighbor. Our willingness to come to the aid of unknown and untold fellow Americans from miles away is truly inspiring. I am thankful for the message our state and Americans across the country are sending to those impacted: You are not alone, and our country will endure.
As we continue to pray for the victims and families touched by tragedy last week and lift many voices in one resounding chord of community, I know that last week has made a strong nation even stronger. That the forces wishing to do us harm will never break the spirit of America. And that Boston will, indeed, run again

Rain continues to saturate the Partched Blue Hill area.

A welcome soaking cold rain is falling on the drought plagued  Blue Hill area at this time.  Reports are in from as far south as Cowles and Guide Rock and as far North as Hastings that a steady rain is falling over the entire area.  The dust will certainly be settled by the time this one stops.
 Rural gravel and dirt roads are  reported to be very muddy and slick. So if you must travel those roads take the required precautions. 
Record minimum high temperature have been set for April 22nd. The high temperature has only reached 43 degrees so far today.  No sun is out and there appears to be no chance of it warming beyond the temperature already reached.
 This breaks the record for the minimum high temperature for April 22nd. The previous record was 44 degrees last set in 1944. Today's high temperature was 22 degrees colder than the normal high of 65 degrees.

Weekly E-newsletter - April 22, 2013

Washington Report: President's Proposals Would Undermine Agriculture's Success  

Earlier this month, President Obama released his budget even though it was due on February 4th.  While the House and Senate have already passed 10-year budget resolutions and the President’s proposals have little chance of being enacted, it is a revealing look at his priorities and vision for America.  Of particular interest to Nebraskans is how the President’s proposals would affect agriculture, the backbone of our local economy.
For example, President Obama’s 2014 budget proposes cuts to the federal crop insurance program.  While we need to reduce our deficit and debt, it is counterproductive to undermine producers who manage risk.
Without crop insurance, only those producers able to purchase their own insurance will be able to afford to farm.  Further cuts to this program will discourage participation which could increase premiums for producers and raise the cost of food for consumers.  Given the success of crop insurance, and in light of last year’s severe drought, we should be working to strengthen this fiscally responsible public-private partnership – not cutting it.
While the President has proposed cuts to crop insurance, he maintains increased funding levels for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also known as “food stamps.”  Over four years, spending on the food stamp program has more than doubled, increasing from $35 billion to around $80 billion.  This amount accounts for most of the nutrition title, which comprises approximately 80 percent of the cost of the Farm Bill.  Even during times of nationwide economic growth, food stamp spending increased.  It is not unreasonable to consider modest changes without hurting families in need. 
SNAP and agriculture programs have been enacted together in the Farm Bill since the 1960’s, and more recently food stamp funding has been one major sticking point holding up passage of a long-term Farm Bill.  Maintaining the status quo on food stamps while gutting crop insurance only complicates Farm Bill passage.
The President’s budget also makes a major shift in how the U.S. provides food aid around the world through the Food for Peace program.  The White House budget would reduce the amount of food purchased from American farmers and ranchers, and spend more to buy it from foreign producers or give cash payments to foreign suppliers.  We face logistical challenges to getting food to those most in need, and those problems deserve thoughtful deliberation.  This does not mean we should push taxpayer dollars to foreign suppliers at the expense of high quality American products and jobs.
Despite these and other frustrations, I am pleased the President proposes bringing negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership toward a conclusion by the end of 2013 – an ambitious goal which could open markets to more American agriculture products.  I hope the President continues to pursue avenues of new market growth.
As the budget process continues, Congress should prioritize the programs and policies which encourage growth.  Agriculture remains a bright spot in an otherwise bleak national economy – we cannot afford to undermine it.
As always, feel free to forward my e-newsletter to family and friends, or let them know they can sign up to receive updates from my office on my website at:  

Member of Congress

Ryan Bostock Victim of Car Crash near Lincoln

Ryan  Bostock: Ryan
Ryan Bostock
Ryan Bostock, the 24 year old son of  Johnny and Bethann Hartman Bostock of Red Cloud died in a one-car crash near Lincoln about 6:30 a.m. Saturday, two weeks before he was scheduled to graduate from UNL.  The accident occurred on a county road near Branched Oak Lake north of Lincoln according to the Lancaster County Sheriff's office.
The 2008 mini Cooper was driven by Joshua Fagan (24) of Lincoln. Fagan was hospitalized in Lincoln with non life threatening injuries.
Also killed in the accident was Ryan's friend, Chad Spencer also 24 of Lincoln.
The car was westbound when it left the road and rolled several times
The Sheriff's Office said no arrests had been made as of Saturday, but that speed and alcohol use are believed to have contributed to the crash.

Ryan was the grandson of Blue Hill residents RayDean and Irene Hartman and has many other relatives in the Blue Hill area.  Services are pending at Williams Funeral Home in Red Cloud.

Crop Stubble Management Workshop Rescheduled

      Farmers in the South Central area of Nebraska have a chance to help out our Nebraska wildlife and put a few bucks in their pocket at the same time.  You can still learn how this may apply to your farm. The Crop Stubble Management meeting that was supposed to be this last Thursday, April 18, at Guide Rock was postponed due to the inclement weather and treacherous roads. That meeting has been rescheduled and will still be held at the Guide Rock Community Center (Old High School Building), 120 W. Douglas Street in Guide Rock on Wednesday, May 1st (5-7 pm).  There is a meal involved so producers, or interested parties, must pre-register for the meeting.
 For further information on the May 1 meeting please go to   To register (required) for the clinic please contact John Laux at 308-928-2541, email at:  or call Justin Haahr at 308-865-5308.  You may also contact the Webster County Extension Office at 402-746-3417 or email . 

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Gov. Heineman & Nebraska Cattlemen Honor Conservation Efforts for Earth Day


Beel family of Johnstown receives 2013 Leopold Conservation Award
(Lincoln, Neb.)  -  Gov. Dave Heineman was joined by the Nebraska Cattlemen in announcing the recipient of the 2013 Nebraska Leopold Conservation Award. In honor of Earth Day, Governor Dave Heineman announced the Beel family of Johnstown as the recipient of the 2013 Leopold Conservation Award. The award is presented annually to private landowners who practice responsible land stewardship and management.
“Earth Day is the perfect time to acknowledge the conservation efforts of Nebraska landowners, including this year’s award recipients, the Beel family,” said Gov. Dave Heineman. “More than ninety percent of Nebraska’s land is used for farming and ranching. It is being well cared for by those who take on the responsibility of leaving things better for future generations. Conservation on private land is something Nebraskans do very well.”
The Leopold Conservation Award, named in honor of world-renowned conservationist Aldo Leopold, is comprised of $10,000 and a Leopold crystal. Sand County Foundation, Nebraska Cattlemen and Cargill present the award annually.
Celebrating 75 years on the ranch, the Beel Family takes pride in looking back on the progress they have made and look forward to what lies ahead for future generations. Owned and operated by brothers Frank, Henry and Adam, along with their wives Jennifer, Mary and Jenny, the Beel Ranch was handed down by their father and grandfather who instilled in them the importance of treating the land with care. Today, they make it a priority to teach their own children the importance of maintaining and caring for our natural environment.
“The Beel family has always been and always will be excellent stewards of the natural resources that they are entrusted with,” said Dennis Bauer of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Cooperative Extension in a letter of support. “You get that sense any time you converse with them about rations, mineral nutrition, weed control or wildlife concerns. You can feel the sense of pride and dedication they have in caring for the land and animals.”
In 2013, Sand County Foundation will present Leopold Conservation Awards in California, Colorado, Kentucky, Nebraska, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, and Wisconsin. The awards are presented to accomplish four objectives: First, they recognize extraordinary achievement in voluntary conservation on the land of exemplary private landowners. Second, they inspire countless other landowners in their own communities through these examples. Third, they provide a visible forum where leaders from the agricultural community are recognized as conservation leaders to groups outside of agriculture. Finally, the award program brings representatives from agriculture, environmental organizations, government, industry and academia to advance private land stewardship.
For more information, please visit: or

Legislative Newsletter

Senator Tom Carlson - District 38
The last day of the 102nd Legislature, Second Session, was delayed a week. While it is unusual, it is not unprecedented that the 60 days were not consecutive in order to have the opportunity to override bills that were passed on the later days of the session and then vetoed by the Governor.
There were three major bills to consider over-riding. LB 806, to allow betting on historical horse races was viewed by opponents, including myself, as expanding gambling in our state. Proponents claimed the bill was a jobs bill, not a gambling bill. The override was defeated on a vote of 28-20. Senator Lauhtenbaugh moved to reconsider the vote, which is a procedural move to extend the debate. That motion failed, also on a vote of 29-20, and the veto held.
LB 357 was the second bill reconsidered for override. Introduced by Senator Brad Ashford of Omaha, the bill would allow local sales tax to be increased by 1/2 percent with 70% approval of the municipality’s governing body before the proposed increase can appear on the ballot for approval by voters in primary or general elections. Such sales tax increases in District 38 would be earmarked for public infra-structure projects. I view this issue as a matter of local control. Local governmental entities and the local voters should decide this matter, not the Legislature.
There are also sunsets in the bill so increases can not last indefinitely. Cities can presently add up to1.5 cents to each dollar spent. The Nebraska League of Municipalities reported that 86 of the 194 Nebraska cities that impose a sales tax have reached the 1.5 percent maximum. The override motion was successful on a vote of 30-17.
LB 599, to restore prenatal care benefits to pregnant women, including some not legally in the United States, was the last bill considered. I toured the state last week with Speaker Flood and other pro-life senators to meet with health officials in Scottsbluff, Kearney, and Grand Island.
All agreed that lack of prenatal care for low income pregnant women can lead to many health issues for newborns, including increased risk of birth defects, low birth weight, and slowed mental development. The medical community believes that each dollar spent on prenatal care prevents four dollars from being spent on babies with serious health issues. As I have written in previous news, I believe this bill is a pro life bill and an economic bill. I voted in favor of bringing healthy babies into this world, who will be Nebraskans and U.S. citizens.
The session ended with farewell comments from nine retiring Senators. The legislature will miss their experience and leadership. I will be spending much of the interim working on informing Nebraska citizens about LR358CA, the Constitutional Amendment to extend term limits to three consecutive four year terms. You will decide this issue on the November ballot. I introduced this legislation and will be working hard for its passage.
Margo and I look forward to visiting the 38th District communities, as we have in the past. In the meantime, my Lincoln office staff will be available to assist you with any Nebraska state issues.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Governor's Weekly Column ServeNebraska, Week of Service, April 22-28

April 19, 2013
Dear Fellow Nebraskans:
I encourage all Nebraskans to get involved in their communities as a volunteer during ServeNebraska Week of Service, April 22-28. Many Nebraskans generously give of their time through volunteerism every day, and this special week is set aside to focus on the ability of all Nebraskans to serve others. First Lady Sally and I look forward to volunteering that week alongside many others in our state.
The ServeNebraska Week of Service works to inspire Nebraskans to seek out creative ways to serve their communities. This statewide effort encourages families, students, congregations, employees, and individuals of all ages and backgrounds to volunteer their time in giving back to their communities.
I’d like to speak directly to one misconception about being a volunteer - you don’t have to be a super hero to volunteer.  It is the everyday Nebraskans that can make the biggest impact.  You can make a difference in the lives of your neighbors and in your communities on any given day.
Volunteerism is one thing that sets Nebraska apart because Nebraskans are always
quick to step up and help others. Volunteerism spans all ages. Anyone can volunteer - individuals, groups, schools, faith-based organizations, families, civic groups, nonprofits, government entities, and businesses. It’s about working together to meet our community’s needs and accomplish our goals.
According to the recent Volunteering in America Report, Nebraska ranks in the top 10 in
volunteerism among the 50 states and Washington, D.C. This week-long effort provides
Nebraskans with the flexibility to volunteer at any time or place with a goal to have participation
in all 93 counties.
Volunteer service has a tremendous impact on our state. In 2011, Nebraskans donated 49 million hours of their time to nonprofit organizations. This service was estimated to be worth $1.2 billion dollars.
The beneficiaries of the Week of Service are the organizations where our state’s volunteers direct their efforts. The goal for the Week of Service is to have volunteers participate in all 93 counties. ServeNebraska encourages participants to form lasting relationships with the organizations for which they volunteer during the Week of Service. Each county has an ambassador who can suggest opportunities for volunteering.
Once someone volunteers, they are more likely to do it again. We want to create a culture that makes volunteerism a life-long activity. By volunteering, an individual gives of their time and talents to benefit someone else’s life.
For more information on the ServeNebraska Week of Service or to register individual or group volunteer activity, visit their website at

- Dave Heineman
    Governor of Nebraska


Duane A. Lienemann
     Even with this sporadic moisture in the form of showers, sleet, hail and snow, right up through the middle of April, prognosticators are still pointing to a continued drought for most of Nebraska, including South Central Nebraska. In reality, drought really stressed the entire Plains over the last couple of years, and we’re seeing especially the entire western Plains still locked in that drought. Perhaps Nebraska may be the worst scenario out of all the states in the region. You might find this as interesting reading: .
 This all gives me food for thought, especially when we saw last year how growers had struggled with other enterprise options. Corn and soybeans really suffered last year, especially in our dry-land fields. A combination of dry weather and increased demand from the ethanol sector could have grain sorghum poised for a comeback in Nebraska. For you that know me, I have always thought that grain sorghum has had a bad rap, and is a much unappreciated grain crop that deserves another look. I am going to suggest that maybe this may be the year for grain sorghum, or better known as milo. 
     When I was growing up – we, and about everyone else I knew raised grain sorghum, and particularly on our dry-land fields. It seems that even in dry weather that milo had a mechanism to survive and would make a crop. We do know that it is one of the best grazers for fall grazing and can consider that as a benefit of growing the crop. I am not sure what the acres of grain sorghum planted was in the sixties and seventies, but Nebraska was one of the leading, if not the top grain sorghum producing states in the United States. If you go back to 2000 you can find that Nebraska had 550,000 acres planted to milo. Grain sorghum plantings in the state plummeted since then to just 165,000 in 2012. 
     I know that milo is a four letter word, and some producers think of some other four letter words when it comes to raising and harvesting grain sorghum. Those that come to mind are dust, itch, cane, and cash. Let’s take a look at that last four letter word. It may be that milo could be the safest of all or our grains when it comes to the potential of actually providing something to harvest, and that means cash. Who knows what corn price will do. With the potential of another dry, hot year it makes sense to use something that withstands that kind of challenge and grain sorghum may be the ticket.
     Sorghum is a hardier and more drought-tolerant option than the other grain mix we’ve seen in other years. Research from Kansas State University shows that sorghum’s shorter plant height, deeper root system, and waxy leaves for moisture retention offer significant advantages when precipitation is less than 20 inches per year compared with corn. Grain sorghum is very efficient about using water for producing grain up to 80-120 bushels per acre on rain-fed fields and much higher than that on irrigated acres in normal years. If we’re going to be in a low rainfall or drought condition then grain sorghum makes a lot of sense, in many circumstances, as we decide our planting decisions. 
     Besides lower rainfall totals, declining water supplies for irrigation also make sorghum a more-popular row-crop choice this year. When we see broad-scale water resource issues, whether it’s natural rain-fed or deep-well irrigation issues and, following the 2012 drought, tighter irrigation water supplies are already in effect; for example, like right here in southern Nebraska. Those that live in the Republican River Basin know exactly what I am talking about in regards to those restrictions. As I recall, we are capped at 10 ½ inches. Those low allocations highlight another advantage of sorghum - its water needs are about 50% less than corn. To me, that speaks volumes, even with irrigation acres.
     It might also be good to point out the fact that we have seen an improved market for the grain for other reasons. One includes its gluten-free designation (Celiac Disease). The biggest reason may be changes in the ethanol industry. Granted, milo has not been a popular staple of the ethanol industry, but that has changed tremendously. In reality, any starch-based ethanol plant can use sorghum; it takes very minor modification for sorghum use. An ethanol plant in northwestern Kansas, in fact, uses sorghum extensively, and two Nebraska ethanol plants - Abengoa at Ravenna and Trenton Agri-Products at Trenton, have both indicated they want to use more grain sorghum in the ethanol production process. Grain sorghum is also benefitting from its recent designation as an advanced biofuel under the Renewable Fuels Standard. 
     I know that many producers have made their seed selections for this planting year, but if conditions occur that makes that early decision moot, then looking for some milo seed may be a good option like never before. I have a feeling that if we do have another year like last year, and with the lack of subsoil moisture - those that didn’t plant this drought resistant alternative to soybeans or corn may be wishing they had. There is still plenty of time to rethink your dry-land strategies.
     Crop Stubble Management Meeting:  There was supposed to be a Crop Stubble Management meeting in Guide Rock on Thursday, April 18, but the inclement weather and treacherous road conditions didn’t allow, so it was postponed. I hope everyone got that message.  The good news is that the meeting has been rescheduled for May 1. It will be at the same place and the same time.  If you are interested in the May 1 meeting you will need to register in advance.  You can contact our office, or directly contact John Laux at (308) 928-2541, or email him at You can also go to   for more information on the program. This is a chance to perhaps gain $10 or more per acre on this year’s wheat or milo stubble left undisturbed for wildlife until April 1 of 2014.  See there, here is another good reason to raise grain sorghum this year!  Add one more advantage to milo!

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 18, 2013

Fischer's opening Statement at Heating on DOD Science and Tech Programs

Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.)

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee's Emerging Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee, made the following statement at the opening of the subcommittee's hearing on the Department of Defense's Science and Technology Enterprise.

"Thank you, Madam Chair. I join you in welcoming our witnesses and thank them for being here today. I look forward to hearing their testimony and about the important role they play in supporting our warfighters.
"I appreciate the innovative structures our military employs to conduct cutting-edge research. In my state of Nebraska, the University of Nebraska has partnered with U.S. Strategic Command to advance its mission to protect the United States from an attack by weapons of mass destruction, and General Kehler has noted the clear value of this partnership.
"As we prioritize our scarce defense resources, it is critical that we continue to invest in advanced research and potentially game-changing technologies. The American military is the most advanced and effective fighting force in the world. We must sustain our investment in the next-generation of technologies to maintain our technological superiority and stay ahead of developing threats.
"Of course, these investments must be made wisely. I am eager to hear from our witnesses on the steps they are taking to scrutinize their investments and, in particular, improve coordination and eliminate duplicative research.
"The current fiscal environment also demands that defense funds be devoted toward warfighting missions and capabilities. Past years may have permitted the support of research that had only tangential benefit to the Department of Defense, but I believe it is critical that the Department’s science and technology funding have a strong and clear benefit to its core mission: fighting and winning wars. The Department of Defense simply cannot afford to foot the bill for projects that are more relevant to other departments and agencies.
"This subcommittee has its work cut out for it. Shedding non-warfighting research while protecting investments that could unlock the next-generation of battlefield technology will be a complex and difficult task. We will need the help of our witnesses to thread this needle.
"I thank the chair and look forward to hearing from our witnesses."


Weekly Column

For the past two weeks, the United States Senate has been debating proposed gun control legislation. With the tragedies of Newtown, Connecticut and Aurora, Colorado still fresh in our minds, the gun control debate possessed profound meaning for many Americans. As a mother and grandmother, I was especially moved by the images and stories of child victims and grieving parents. 

Now, in the midst of their loss, affected families desperately want to make a difference; they want to stop the violence; and they want to change our nation’s laws.
I respect their right, and understand their desire, to do so – the power of ordinary citizens to effect policy change is critical to democracy. At the same time, I believe it is important for policymakers to carefully consider possible legislative remedies to determine if the proposals will actually address the problem at hand; this is especially true of any legislation directly curtailing constitutional rights.
As Aristotle said, “the law is reason, free from passion,” and we should legislate accordingly.
Many of the proposals that were offered would have little or no effect on violent crime – the very problem we are seeking to address in the first place. A number of federal laws to keep firearms out of the hands of criminals are already on the books – they just need to be enforced. Unfortunately, the Department of Justice has under-enforced these laws, choosing not to prosecute thousands of individuals with criminal records who fail existing background checks.
According to a National Criminal Justice Reference Service study, of more than 76,000 people failing to pass their instant background checks when attempting to purchase a gun in 2010, only 4,700 investigations ensued, resulting in only 44 prosecutions.
It is just as critical to increase access to mental health services to identify and treat individuals who pose a danger to others and themselves. Too often, the lack of diagnosis and effective treatment has resulted in terrible tragedies; addressing access to weapons for those with mental health issues is a step in the right direction.
Responsible gun ownership is a fundamental American tradition. Firearms are used for recreation and hunting and are passed down from generation to generation. While serving in the Nebraska Legislature, I introduced and helped to pass the Hunter Mentoring Bill, which broadened Nebraska’s hunting laws to encourage more participation by young people. I also cosponsored and voted for legislation to secure concealed-carry rights for Nebraskans.
I recently traveled across Nebraska to meet with business and community leaders, citizens, and students to listen to their concerns. It is clear that the vast majority of Nebraskans oppose the Senate’s gun control measures. Thousands of phone calls, letters, and e-mails to my offices further reinforce this position.
I agree, and therefore, voted against all gun control legislation. I did, however, cosponsor and vote in favor of an amendment, which would reduce violent crime by enhancing the federal government’s ability to prosecute those who fail background checks, or purchase weapons for criminals. The amendment improves the current background check system by increasing access to mental health records; it also bolsters school safety and requires a study of mass violence – the problem we are seeking to address. Unfortunately, the Senate did not adopt this commonsense, bipartisan measure.
Additionally, I was pleased to support an amendment offered by Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), which would reauthorize essential mental health programs currently administered by the federal government. The bipartisan amendment enjoyed near unanimous support, demonstrating that there is real common ground on the need to diagnose and treat those suffering from mental illness.
I am grateful for the continued input of all Nebraskans and I thank you for participating in the democratic process. I look forward to visiting with you again next week.
Deb Fischer
United States Senator

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Johanns Defends 2nd Amendment, Cosponsors Grassley Amendment

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.)spoke on the Senate floor about Sen. Reid’s (D-Nev.) gun control legislation, the Second Amendment and his cosponsorship of the Grassley amendment. A description of amendments Johanns supported, in addition to the Grassley substitute, is also below.
Video of Johanns’ full remarks is available HERE.
Below are excerpts from Johanns’ remarks.
• “At the end of the day, this legislation is so incredibly flawed that no amount of tweaks or changes can ever possibly improve it. That's why I am a cosponsor of the Senator from Iowa’s alternative: A complete substitute which seeks to address the root causes of gun violence. And correctly balances the need to secure our second-amendment rights.”

• “I find it so incredibly ironic that its proponents think these weapons are a problem in the hands of law-abiding citizens, but apparently see no problem with the same weapons being glorified in Hollywood movies and video games.”
• “We owe it to the victims of gun violence to pass legislation that will actually address the causes of these tragedies. Otherwise, they won't stop. And as Senators who took an oath to uphold the Constitution, we owe it to all Americans to protect this fundamental right, this right contained in the Bill of Rights that is so vital to the very freedom we enjoy. “
A full, unofficial, transcript is also available HERE.
In addition to the Grassley substitute, which failed 52-48, Johanns also supported amendments to:
• Allow for concealed-carry reciprocity among all states that allow concealed-carry (failed 57-43);
• Protect the Second Amendment rights of veterans receiving assistance from the Department of Veterans Affairs (failed 56-44);
All amendments required 60 votes to pass.
The underlying Reid legislation did not receive a vote today and is still being considered by the Senate.

Note: Votes updated April 18, 2013.

Attorney General Bruning Issues Consumer Alert: Tax Scam Emails Target Nebraskans

 LINCOLN – Attorney General Bruning issued a consumer alert for Nebraskans to be wary of emails claiming to be sent from IRS tax agents.
“The IRS does not initiate contact via email. Unsolicited emails sent from those claiming to be IRS agents or affiliated with the IRS are not legitimate, are meant to gather personal data from the recipient and should be deleted immediately,” said Bruning. “Since Monday’s April 15 tax deadline, we have received 5 reports of this scam targeting Nebraskans.” 
The scam emails tell recipients they have overpaid their taxes and are able to receive additional tax refund money. The scammers provide a link and instructions on how to get the “over payment” refunded. The link routes recipients to another website where personal information is collected. 
Unsolicited emails claiming to be from the IRS or from an IRS-related entity should be reported to or the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 800-727-6432 or 
Consumer Tips: 
 Delete unsolicited emails from unknown senders.  Never follow links in emails from unknown senders.  Protect identifying information like bank account and Social Security numbers.  Use trusted telephone numbers when contacting government agencies.  Verify government agency information on official websites ending in .gov. 
Keep updated on the latest scams and fraud by following the Attorney General’s Office on Twitter or visit For more information, contact the Consumer Protection Hotline at (800) 727-6432.

Johanns Cosponsors Amendment to Gun Legislation

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) today cosponsored an amendment to Sen. Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) gun control legislation. The amendment was introduced by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and has the support of Second Amendment organizations.
“This is commonsense legislation that actually balances the need to keep guns out of the hands of people who should not have them while respecting the right every law-abiding American has under our Constitution,” Johanns said. “We must focus our efforts on legislation that addresses the underlying causes of gun-related violence. We owe it to the victims of gun violence and their families to pass laws that actually prevent these atrocities, and we owe it to all Americans to protect the rights guaranteed by the Constitution. The Grassley amendment does just that.”
The Grassley amendment focuses on finding solutions to the real tangible problems that lead to acts of gun violence by fixing inadequacies in the current background check system, enhancing enforcement of current laws, addressing mental illness, and strengthening school security.
The amendment also contains Johanns’ Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Act and protects private firearm transfers from mandatory background checks. This would continue the practice of allowing firearms to be transferred between family members, neighbors and close friends without the need for an FBI background check.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Caroline Thallman Remembered with Dance Recital

It has been seven months since a horrible school bus/semi accident took four lives from the Blue Hill community. Blue Hill continues to heal.
 Sunday April 14 community members remembered the youngest victim of that tragedy.
Fifth-grader Caroline Thallman was remembered with a special dance recital at the Blue Hill School, the event featured dance, food and fellowship.  
The dance recital and accompanying activities  helped  build a scholarship fund in Caroline's name for graduating seniors, and organizers believe it was a great way for the community to move forward after  the tragedy.
Nearly $12,000 was raised during the event for the Caroline Thallman memorial scholarship fund.
The Winners of the two sides of pork were Paula Kohmetcher and Dan "Hubcap" Hubl.    The pork raffle raised a total of $1736.00
Sunday's event included a dance recital, silent and live auctions, a pork raffle and registration sign–up for the upcoming Dustin Tesdall Memorial 5k fun run on May 4.

Jessica Alber, wrote:
"I would like to THANK, from the bottom of my heart, Kim Hamik,Sarah Watson Moorman, Marisa Zeadow L'Heureux, and Angie Lovett Scheideler for helping with this event. ALL OF YOU WERE WONDERFUL!!! I would also like to thank so many other people who helped us with this event; Steph Bonifas, Jenny Faimon Utecht, Brenda Trumble and The Karr family, you all worked so hard with the concession stand and bake sale. Hank Seeman, Adam Kort, Pam Kort Schwab, Gina Kring Menke,and Michelle Kohmetscher, for your generous help with the fun bouncy houses.  A SPECIAL THANKS to Teresa Miller, all the dancers, and helpers with her company. Maci Witte for that wonderful performance. Diane Karr for some great music played by the wonderful piano students. Keith Kort and Kristi Allen for running the Auction. Great job! Sara Hartman and Sarah Millard for the beautiful song. Mrs. Drury and the fifth grade class for that wonderful song. Mr. Olsen and Mr. Morgan for helping us set up everything. All the volunteers for helping with the silent auction. Ron and Peggy Meyer for helping with every crazy job we gave you. Senior class of 2013 for all your help setting up and cleaning up. A big THANK YOU to the community and surrounding communities for all your support and donations. Without everyone's support this event would not have been such a success. "
Jessica, one of the organizers of the event, is the mother of a child who was on that bus with Caroline.  Her daughter was seriously hurt in the accident but now has resumed a normal life. 

Weekly Column The President’s Overdue, Underwhelming Budget

Senator Mike Johanns


The President’s Overdue, Underwhelming Budget

Long gone are the days when citizens worked the land to pay their share to the crown before being allowed to keep anything for themselves. I think we can all agree it’s a good thing those days are behind us. But even though Tax Day is in the books, we are still paying the government to cover this year’s tax burden.
While April 15 is the national tax payment deadline, April 18 marks Tax Freedom Day, the point at which the total earnings of all Americans since the beginning of the year surpasses the total tax bill for the year.  In theory, that’s the day when you can start keeping the money you’ve worked hard to earn. This date only accounts for the government’s tax revenue, which has been less than its expenditures in recent years.  If you calculate the amount it would take to pay off the year’s expected deficit, you’d be paying the government until May 9.
In the budget proposal submitted to Congress by President Obama last week—two months after the legal deadline and after both chambers of Congress already passed their respective spending plans—President Obama is asking for another $ 1.1 trillion in new taxes to go along with the $1.7 trillion he has signed into law since taking office. What’s more unfathomable: despite these tax increases, the President’s spending plan will never balance. It calls for government spending to exceed tax revenue in perpetuity at a time when our country clearly has a spending problem. To illustrate this spending binge, 2008 government spending was $3 trillion and the national debt at the beginning of that year was $8.9 trillion—still unacceptably high. However, under the President’s plan, the government is projected to spend $5.66 trillion annually and the national debt will balloon to $25.4 trillion.
Americans deserve greater accountability of their hard-earned tax dollars—especially if the government is asking for an even bigger allowance. Forcing folks to fork over more money to help pay for the government’s reckless spending habit is unacceptable if not insulting.
Despite the President’s refusal to admit we have a spending problem, I do want to acknowledge his admission that important programs like Social Security and Medicare are in trouble and must be strengthened. To his credit, he has proposed adjusting the formula used to calculate Social Security and Medicare cost of living adjustments to more accurately reflect inflation rates. But this is only part of the equation. If the President really wants to stimulate the economy, he should reverse his record of increased spending and taxes.  More money in the pockets of hard-working Americans means more money exchanging hands on Main Street. He should commit to meaningfully reducing the deficit and forging a path to a balanced budget.
My hope is that the President’s recognition of the unsustainable path of our entitlements is only the first step—one that will be followed by additional meaningful proposals and real leadership. There are willing

Friday, April 12, 2013



Duane A. Linemann
 UNL Extension Educator, Webster County
     Last week I brought you the good news about a postponement of the Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) deadline. I also mentioned that there are members of Congress who were bringing this up in bills that could have a huge effect on farmers. There are also agricultural groups in Nebraska that are working towards this end, but there is a real need for help from farmers and ranchers to encourage congress to fix the SPCC rule. These groups can help, but cannot do it themselves. They are asking that our farmers, ranchers and anyone associated with agriculture please share their stories with our Nebraska's Congressional Delegation on how this SPCC regulation will impact their farm or ranch. 
     As I indicated in earlier writings, in 2009, EPA finalized regulations that will require any farm or ranch with above-ground oil storage capacity of greater than 1,320 gallons to have a Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) plan in place if there is a reasonable expectation a spill would reach waters of the U.S. These Tier I facilities under the current regulations must create a self-certified SPCC plan and have secondary containment available in case of a spill. For farms and ranches with more than 10,000 gallons of such capacity, the Tier II plans must be certified by a professional engineer. Compliance with this regulation could run into the thousands of dollars. Forcing farmers and ranchers to comply with the SPCC rule is an over-burdensome solution in desperate search of a problem that simply does not exist. 
     It is for this reason that it is important that our local farmers and ranchers contact their Senators and Congressmen on the “Farmers Undertake Environmental Land Stewardship Act” (FUELS Act). The bill has been introduced in both the House of Representatives (H.R. 311) as well as the Senate (S. 496). It is time that our producers express what they think on this issue, and the timing is right.  With ice on the ground and the planter still in the shed, now is the time to do so. 
     SPCC regulations are over thirty years old and were originally intended for the petroleum industry, although EPA contends that agriculture has never been exempt. In 2011, the EPA provided a two-year compliance delay for farmers and ranchers which ends on May 10th of 2013. However, that delay was only for farms established after 2002. Finally, an enforcement delay for the rest of the fiscal year was passed by Congress as part of the 2013 Continuing Resolution to fund the federal government, preventing the EPA from enforcing the rule on farms and ranches until October 1, 2013.
     I know that organizations like Farm Bureau have been working though this regulation for years and have yet to get clear answers from the EPA. I found the same thing when I was putting together information on this topic over the last couple of months. Questions like – What really are U.S. Navigable waters? What distance from creeks is acceptable?  What about road ditches or buffer strips? How about mobile tanks? These are just a few that come to mind. This lack of clarity is one of the many reasons that you may want to join with other interested groups and individuals to support altering the SPCC rules to put the regulatory burden back where it was originally intended; large oil/fuel storage facilities. 
     The FUELS Act does this by raising the Tier I threshold from 1,320-10,000 gallons up to 10,000-42,000 gallons. This move would prevent many farms and ranches from having to comply with this complicated regulation. The FUELS Act would also raise Tier II up from any amount above 10,000 gallons to any amount above 42,000 gallons. While these changes will not completely exempt all farms and ranches, this compromise is a strong step in the right direction.
     I must reiterate that the bill has been introduced in both the House of Representatives (H.R. 311) as well as the Senate (S. 496); so please contact your House Representative and encourage them to co-sponsor or at least support the House bill concerning the Farmers Undertake Environmental Land Stewardship Act (FUELS Act), and ask your Senators to support the Senate version of the bill.  You might indicate how by increasing the Tier I threshold from 1,320-10,000 gallons up to 10,000-42,000 gallons will help protect your farm from the costly and over burdensome regulations in the Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure (SPCC). Explain to them that the SPCC regulations were intended for the petroleum industry and never intended to be a regulation on farmers and ranchers. You might also explain to them that the cost of compliance with the SPCC rule will be very expensive, and forcing farmers and ranchers like you to comply is basically “a solution in desperate search of a problem that simply does not exist!”  Tell them that you are a good steward of the land and water and depend on both. Most importantly bring to them stories of how this will affect or impact your farm or ranch and even your livelihood. Don’t just expect other people to do this and then wonder why nothing happens. Whatever you do, take a moment to write a letter, email, or simply call your Congressman. It could save you a lot of grief and expense! 
     I also want you to be aware of a project that I think has great merit. South Central Nebraska is within a project area that may farmers may receive $10 per acre to leave wheat and/or milo stubble 14 inches or taller undisturbed until April 1st of the following year. Eligible producers may enroll up to 320 acres per year per crop type for two years. Post-harvest chemical applications are allowed, but other means of disturbance, such as disking, grazing or haying, are not allowed before the April 1, 2014 deadline. Public hunting access is not required to enroll, however an additional incentive of $3 per acre is available to producers willing to allow walk-in hunting access on their stubble fields. If you want further information on this you can attend a Crop Stubble Management meeting in Guide Rock at the Community Center on April 18 from 5:00-7:00 pm, and in Holdrege the day before. This could be something you may want to consider! 

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: