Friday, May 31, 2013

June Birthdays

June 1 Ryan Hesman, Jamie Kossie, Brent Premer
June 2 Ron Meyer, Tina Mohlman , Dale Tenhoff, Keith Gilbert, Lana James
 June 3 Bill Armstrong
June 5 Ruby Krueger, Page Hansen
June 9 Robert Wademan, Cody Heinrich
 June 10 Luella Wilhelms
June 10 Jill Beavers
June 11 Roger Alber, Keith Waterbury, Colben Detaksone
June 12 Barb Strasburg, Wilma Willems
 June 14 Iva Beach, Mark Strasburg
June 16 Rollie Grandstaff, Cammeron Premer Howard
 June 17 Amber Stoner, Phyllis Hartman
June 18 Robert Long
June 20 Clifford Beach
 June 21 Neil Johnson
June 22 Margaret Zimmerman , Sara Pavelka
June 23 Zigrida Meyer, Jodi Bunner
 June 24 Steve Hesman
June 25 Shirley Allen
 June 26 Eileen Moser
 June 27 Ruth Koepke, Rolland Post, David Dunn
June 28 Lori Goodrich Meents , Cassandra Himmelberg
 June 30 Carol Matthews


Duane A. Lienemann
UNL Extension Educator
         I should really be writing about the rain and the impact it should have on our pastures and wheat crops, especially after my dire warnings on wheat conditions last week. However, I think we need to look at a new USDA ruling that will affect our livestock producers. For a little background, in June 2012, the Appellate Body of the World Trade Organization (WTO) responded to complaints from other countries and ruled that the Mandatory Country of Origin Labeling (MCOOL) rules were causing imported livestock from Canada and Mexico to be at a disadvantage.  Because of those outcries, the WTO directed the United States to modify MCOOL to bring it into compliance with their rules by May 23, 2013. In response, the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) proposed an amended rule for the Country of Origin Labeling provisions for muscle-cut covered commodities and the USDA hurriedly met the deadline; released the final rule this past week; published in the Federal Register; and will now go into effect immediately!  
     The COOL labeling issue has been under the thumb of the WTO since the organization required the USDA to adjust labeling rules in response to complaints from other countries. The WTO alleged that the existing MCOOL regulations require more information from cattle suppliers than is actually transmitted to consumers via a label on beef as a basis for its finding that COOL disadvantages foreign livestock. So basically, the latest rule amends the regulations for muscle-cut covered commodities derived from animals slaughtered in the United States. Labels will be required to specify the production steps of birth, raising and slaughter of the animal from which the meat is derived. In addition, the rule eliminates the allowance for commingling of muscle cuts from different origins; which, according to the USDA, means slaughterhouses will not be able to affix one label to two or more origins of meat even if processed the same day, therefore allowing labels to be more specific. The argument is that the consumer demands this change.
     There are differing points of view on this new rule. To fully understand what this is all about, we must first look at the COOL program, the reasons for the change, and explore the arguments for and against the new rule.  So let’s look at how this all transpired.  I think most people involved in the livestock industry know that there was a liturgy of legislation, from 2002 on, that amended the Ag Marketing Act of 1946 to require retailers to notify their customers of the country of origin of covered commodities which include muscle cuts of beef (including veal), lamb, chicken, goat, and pork; ground beef, ground lamb, ground chicken, ground goat, and ground pork; wild and farm-raised fish and shellfish; perishable ag commodities; macadamia nuts; pecans; ginseng; and peanuts.  AMS published a final rule on March 16, 2009. 
     Many people involved in the livestock industry were not thrilled with the very first COOL rule since they felt it was conceived as a protectionist measure by certain producer groups with the notion that consumers would flock to purchase products carrying a “Made in the USA” label, which has not happened. It also has costs for packers and producers. It has been argued ever since its inception and today is not any different with discussion on the implementation of this new rule.
     Proponents of this new rule believe that by requiring the locations where each production step occurs to be listed on the label, and that the final MCOOL rule will address the WTO's criticism by requiring all the information collected from cattle suppliers to be transmitted to consumers. They also contend that the final COOL rule will supposedly ensure that labels are accurate by putting an end to the industry practice of using a multi-country label on meat derived exclusively from animals born, raised, and slaughtered in the United States when a meatpacker commingles any amount of foreign product during a production day, which they contend will help restore the credibility of our labeling program and provide consumers with accurate origin information. ……. “Not so fast,” say a couple of major livestock groups. 
     The National Pork Producers Council (NPC) and National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) both oppose the new MCOOL rule, maintaining that it won't be acceptable under World Trade Organization Rules. The organizations opposing the rules also note that it could create increased costs for meat packers, producers and processors. The NCBA state that they are deeply disappointed with this, what they call “short-sighted”, action by the USDA. They contend that our largest trading partners including Canada and Mexico have already said that these provisions will not bring the United States into compliance with our WTO obligations and will result in increased discrimination against imported products and in turn retaliatory tariffs or other authorized trade sanctions. So these new rules, which were supposed to appease both countries, perhaps have made the situation even worse. It goes to show that sometimes the “solution” is not a solution at all.
     The NCBA states that: “Any retaliation against U.S. beef would be devastating for our producers. While trying to make an untenable mandate fit with our international trade obligations, USDA chose to set up U.S. cattle producers for financial losses. Moreover, this rule will place a greater record-keeping burden on producers, feeders and processors through the born, raised and harvested label.” They also go on to point out that as cattlemen they do not oppose voluntary labeling as a marketing tool to distinguish product and add value. However, “The USDA is not the entity that we want marketing beef, and on its face, a label that says ‘harvested’ is unappealing to both consumers and cattle producers.” Those certainly are very viable concerns and talking points on this ruling as you decide what side of the issue you stand!
 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: 
Gov. Heineman

Dear Fellow Nebraskans:
Each year I attend the Cattleman’s Ball of Nebraska. It is one of my favorite events because it celebrates Nebraska beef as part of a healthy diet, showcases rural Nebraska and raises money for cancer research.
Formed in 1997 by a group of beef industry leaders, the Cattlemen’s Ball of Nebraska has become one of the nation’s most successful cancer fundraisers with more than $7 million raised since inception.
This year’s ball is being held June 7-8 at the Hanging H Ranch between Paxton and Sutherland with a theme On the Trail to a Cure. This ranch includes a substantial part of the South Platte riverfront and wildlife habitat. The ranch operation includes grain and hay production, a registered herd of Angus cattle and performance and ranch-bred quarter horses.
Each year, host families are chosen to provide leadership of the Cattlemen’s Ball. This year’s host families are Ralph and Beverly Holzfaster of Paxton and Neal Hansen who owns Hanging H Ranch.
Ralph and Beverly Holzfaster are lifelong Nebraska family farmers. They raised their five children on the farm Ralph’s parents homesteaded south of Paxton. Today the third and fourth generations of family members are actively engaged in the farming and cattle feeding operation.
Neal Hansen was born and raised in eastern Nebraska. Neal’s grandparents were second generation Nebraska farmers. He returned to Nebraska after serving in the U.S. Navy and attended the University of Nebraska, earning his degree in Electrical Engineering. He was a member of the founding management team of First Data Resources, President and CEO of Applied Communications, President-Data Services Group US West and Chairman and CEO of CSG Systems. He is active in a number of educational, healthcare and youth development organizations.
The Cattlemen’s Ball dedicates itself to the promise of providing funds to benefit cancer research at the University of Nebraska Medical Center/Eppley Cancer Center. One of the ways they raise funds is by utilizing Promise Petals. Each individual, volunteer, or participant represents a single petal. This year, the Ball is offering the opportunity to Bloom and Unify. For a $100.00 donation individuals may sponsor a burlap covered pot full of beautiful annual flowers. Included in the arrangement will be a commemorative “Trail for a Cure” Cattlemen’s Ball 2013 flower stake, as a Memorial Bouquet or Celebration of Survival Bouquet.
Other opportunities include buying raffle tickets to a Limited Edition 60th Anniversary Grand Sport Corvette or a 2013 Ford F150 King Ranch Pickup or by participating in a silent or live auction or by making online donations.
I look forward to spending an evening with Nebraska farmers and ranchers at the 2013 Cattlemen’s Ball of Nebraska. For more information, visit their website at

- Dave Heineman
    Governor of Nebraska

Wednesday, May 29, 2013



Resolution underscores the need to resolve rural call completion problems and crack down on carriers that discriminate against rural customers
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Tim Johnson (D-SD) and Deb Fischer (R-NE) introduced a bipartisan resolution calling for action to improve rural communications. The resolution underscores the need to resolve rural call completion problems and crack down on carriers that discriminate against rural customers.
“Call completion problems aren’t just a nuisance for families trying to stay connected; they hurt small businesses that need reliable phone service to stay competitive and they are a public safety issue that can endanger citizens trying to make urgent calls,” said Klobuchar. “I’ve pushed hard to strengthen rural communications and I will continue to work to make sure communities can stay connected, hospitals have the resources they need to provide patients with the care they need, and local businesses can compete in the global economy.”
“I have heard from many South Dakota businesses and school districts that have experienced call completion problems,” said Johnson. “Call completion problems create serious economic and public safety concerns for rural communities in South Dakota and across our country. I will continue to do all I can to make sure these problems are fully resolved.” 
"I'm pleased that there is such strong, bipartisan support in the Senate for overcoming the significant communications challenges facing communities across the United States,” Fischer said. “Small businesses throughout Nebraska simply cannot thrive without a 21st century communications infrastructure. While overcoming this technology gap is a matter of survival for many rural communities, it is also a challenge for urban areas facing aging and outdated infrastructure. I will continue to work with my colleagues to find ways to improve access to adequate phone and Internet service for all Nebraskans."
Klobuchar is a member of the Senate Commerce Committee and has been a leader in pushing to expand and improve communications infrastructure in rural areas. After Klobuchar and a bipartisan group of 35 senators urged FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski to take swift action to restore quality service in rural areas suffering from call completion problems, last year the FCC issued notice of new proposed rules to require carriers to collect and retain data allowing the FCC to determine if providers discriminate against rural customers. Earlier this year, the FCC reached a settlement with phone carrier Level 3 Communications that will require the company to meet vigorous, verifiable call completion standards, provide extensive records to assist FCC enforcement, as well as make a $975,000 voluntary contribution to the U.S. Treasury.

Gov. Heineman Approves Juvenile Justice Reform


(Lincoln, Neb.) Gov. Dave Heineman today signed into law legislation aimed at improving the juvenile justice system. LB 561e shifts the supervision of all juvenile offenders in the community to the state’s probation system which will reduce reliance on detention and focus on rehabilitation for youth while keeping families involved.
“This is a forward-looking and innovative approach to dealing with youth who break the law,” said Gov. Heineman. “This bill represents an important step forward as we continue to find ways for the state to deal with youth in juvenile justice system. The focus at Health and Human Services should remain on helping children in the system who are victims of abuse and neglect. I applaud the leadership of Senator Brad Ashford on this issue.”
LB 561 contains several points:
  • Provides $14.5 million over the next two years for juvenile justice reform to ensure proper implantation and to encourage further development of juvenile justice services.

Transfers the supervision of juvenile offenders in the community from the Department of Health and Human Services to the Office of Probation Administration in the Nebraska Supreme Court. This includes all juvenile offenders who have committed crimes and who are status offenders.
  • Retains Health and Human Services control of the Youth Rehabilitation and Treatment Centers at Kearney and Geneva.
 Increase the juvenile services aid grant program to counties at the Crime Commission, and allows the Crime Commission to hire a Director of Juvenile Diversion and a Director of Community-based Juvenile Services to help coordinate juvenile justice diversion and juvenile services in Nebraska. 

“By moving the juvenile justice youth into the probation system, Health and Human Services will be able to focus their attention more directly on assisting youth in the child welfare system, where children who are victims of abuse are cared for, instead of the youth breaking the law,” Gov. Heineman added.
With the emergency clause, the bill will take effect the day after the Governor signs the bill into law.

Dewey and Connie Lienemann celebrate 40th Wedding Anniversary June 3

The Family of Dewey and Connie Lienemann would like to request a card shower in honor of their 40th wedding anniversary on June 3rd.  Cards can be sent to Box 124, Blue Hill,NE 68930

The Family of Dewey and Connie Lienemann would like to request a card shower in honor of their 40th wedding anniversary on June 3rd. Cards can be sent to Box 124, Blue Hill,NE 68930

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Johanns, Senate Republicans Ask Supreme Court to Consider President’s Unconstitutional “Appointments”


WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) today joined Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in filing an amicus brief with the United States Supreme Court in a case challenging the constitutionality of President Obama’s so-called “recess appointments” to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in January 2012. The NLRB lost the case in the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and has asked the Supreme Court to hear the case.
“Two courts have now ruled that President Obama crossed the line here,” Johanns said. “This unconstitutional overreach seems to be clear to nearly everyone involved – except the President and these so-called appointees, that is.
“Since neither the Administration nor the NLRB is willing to act responsibly and reverse the hundreds of decisions made by these illegitimate board members, we’re asking the Supreme Court to examine all the constitutional issues involved in this case so businesses don’t waste time complying with invalid NLRB rulings instead of creating jobs.”
Click HERE to read the amicus brief.
The suit is being brought by Noel Canning, a family-owned business in Washington State.
Earlier this year, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit unanimously ruled President Obama’s so-called 2012 “recess appointments” to the NLRB were unconstitutional. The Court said, “Allowing the President to define the scope of his own appointments power would eviscerate the Constitution’s separation of powers.” Earlier this month, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit ruled a so-called “recess appointment” in March 2010 by President Obama to the NLRB, Craig Becker, was invalid. The Court ruled (2 to 1) that a “recess” of the Senate applies only to inter-session recesses of the Senate, not to intra-session recesses of the Senate. The court agreed with the D.C. Circuit in the Noel Canning case.
Johanns sent LETTERS to Sharon Block and Richard Griffin of the NLRB insisting that they step aside following the court rulings. He also send a letter to Richard Cordray, who has been acting as the  Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau under the same circumstance.
The Circuit Courts did not address the Cordray appointment because the cases filed in their courts were against the NLRB.

Gov. Heineman Announces Promotion of Nebraska Adjutant General to National Post

Gen. Judd H. Lyons


(Lincoln, Neb.) Gov. Dave Heineman today announced that Maj. Gen. Judd H. Lyons, Adjutant General of the Nebraska National Guard, has been named Deputy Director of the U.S. Army National Guard. His start date has not yet been determined, but is expected to be this summer. As Commander in Chief of the Nebraska National Guard, Gov. Heineman will select the State’s next Adjutant General.
“This is great news for Gen. Lyons and speaks very highly of the quality of leadership at Nebraska’s National Guard,” said Gov. Dave Heineman. “I want to congratulate Gen. Lyons on this promotion. He has been an outstanding adjutant general. The fact that this is the second consecutive Nebraska Adjutant General to become the number two person leading the Army National Guard is a high honor for the State.”
Maj. Gen. Lyons, 50, is Nebraska’s 32nd Adjutant General. He assumed command of the Nebraska National Guard on Aug. 23, 2009 when then Adjutant General Tim Kadavy was promoted to this position.
As Deputy Director, Maj. Gen. Lyons will be responsible for assisting the director of the Army National Guard in formulating and coordinating all programs, policies and plans affecting the Army National Guard and its more than 350,000 citizen-soldiers. He will be assigned to the National Guard Headquarters in Arlington, Va.
“It has been my honor to serve here in the Nebraska National Guard for over 33 years,” Maj. Gen. Lyons. “I’d like to thank Governor Heineman for giving me the opportunity to serve as the Adjutant General. It has been especially rewarding to have served since 2009 as Adjutant General. I am extremely proud of the accomplishment of our Nebraska Military Department’s men and women. Over the last four years we have deployed our Air and Army National Guard members overseas in record numbers. These same men and women have responded magnificently to historic flooding and wildfires here at home.”
As Adjutant General, Lyons was the senior uniformed National Guard officer responsible for leading the nearly 4,700 Army and Air National Guard personnel in Nebraska. He is also a member of the Governor’s Cabinet and directs the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency.
During the past four years, Nebraska Soldiers and Airmen have deployed in historic numbers for overseas missions in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo and other locations across the globe. They were also involved in a number of recent humanitarian missions to Central America and northern Alaska.
Domestically, the men and women of the Nebraska National Guard responded to the winter Blizzard of 2009, the historic flooding on the Platte and Missouri Rivers in 2011, and last year’s considerable wildfires in western and central Nebraska.
Other highlights of Lyons’ tenure include continuing strong efforts in recruiting and retention; the completion of the Guard’s Joint Force Headquarters in Lincoln, and readiness centers in McCook, Beatrice and Columbus; on-going readiness center construction at the Mead Training Site, Lincoln and Grand Island; the fielding of the UH-72 Lakota helicopter; the strengthening of the Nebraska National Guard’s ties to the Czech Republic through the State Partnership Program; and national-level awards in the areas of food service, logistics, maintenance, journalism, community relations and medical preparedness.
“It has been a privilege to lead and serve with a team comprised of uniformed members, state employees, and emergency management professionals,” Maj. Gen. Lyons said. “While it is a tough decision to leave, this is an opportunity to serve at the national level assisting the Director of the Army National Guard to meet the challenges and opportunities ahead in our role as an Operational Force in the Reserve Component.”
Prior to his current assignment, Maj. Gen. Lyons served as the Nebraska National Guard’s Chief of the Joint Staff in Lincoln. Maj. Gen. Lyons deployed to Afghanistan from Nov. 2006 until June 2007, where he served as the Commander of the 209th Regional Security Assistance Command, which was part of Combined Joint Task Force Phoenix V.
Maj. Gen. Lyons received his Bachelor of Professional Studies degree in Management of Human Resources from Bellevue University in 1994 and his Master of Science degree in Strategic Studies from the United States Army War College in 2005. He is also a graduate of the Joint Forces Staff College, the CAPSTONE Course of the National Defense University, the George C. Marshall Senior Executive Seminar and the National and International Security Course of Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.
Additional details on the selection process will be announced at a later date, but it will be similar to the process used in selecting Maj. Gen. Lyons with a panel reviewing applicants and forwarding the list of finalists to the Governor. The Governor intends to name a successor in the coming months

Preference sought for veterans in public contracts

Lawmakers gave first-round approval May 28 to a bill intended to assist veterans in securing public contracts.

LB224, introduced by Fremont Sen. Charlie Janssen, would provide a preference for a resident disabled veteran over any other resident or nonresident bidder when a public contract is to be awarded to the lowest responsible bidder.
A Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee amendment, adopted 31-2, provides that a resident disabled veteran would be allowed a preference over any other resident or nonresident bidder if all other factors are equal.
The amendment would limit the bill’s provisions to a resident disabled veteran who owns and controls at least 51 percent of a business. In the case of a publicly owned business, the bill would apply only to those in which resident disabled veterans owned at least 51 percent of the stock. The management and daily business operations also must be controlled by one or more resident disabled veterans.
Janssen said the bill would encourage disabled Nebraska veterans to seek state contracts without increasing costs to the state. Assisting veterans who create their own businesses could help reduce the state’s 11 percent unemployment rate for veterans, he said.
“They have served our country admirably,” Janssen said.
Several senators supported the intent of the bill but expressed concern about definitions and possible unintended consequences.
Sen. Beau McCoy of Omaha said the scope of the bill could interfere with the existing bid-letting preferences of municipalities and other political subdivisions.
“This [bill] would, in essence, trump that,” he said, “and they would have to go in and rewrite their ordinances.”
Lincoln Sen. Bill Avery, chairperson of the committee, said the definitions and language in the amended bill were modeled on federal law, but he acknowledged that ambiguities would need to be addressed before the next round of debate.
Senators voted 32-1 to advance the bill to select file.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Weather for Webster County

Tuesday: Mostly cloudy with patchy fog in the morning...then partly cloudy with slight chance of showers and thunderstorms in the afternoon. Highs in the mid 80s. North winds around 10 mph shifting to the east in the afternoon. Chance of precipitation 20 percent.

Tuesday Night: Partly cloudy. Chance of showers and thunderstorms in the evening...then showers and thunderstorms likely after midnight. Lows in the mid 60s. Southeast winds 15 to 20 mph with gusts to around 30 mph. Chance of precipitation 60 percent.

Iraq -2003 -waiting at the border

SGT. Alber waits for orders to move into Iraq.

The Soldier

Thank you to all those who have served our country.



Each year, Nebraskans mark Memorial Day in a number of different ways. Quiet ceremonies at cemeteries, Main Street parades filled with children and veterans proudly waving American flags, and backyard barbecues and neighborhood get-togethers are common traditions across the state.
This year, whether you are attending a patriotic service or spending the day making memories with cherished friends and family, it is important to pause and reflect upon the great courage and valor of America’s fallen servicemen and women.
We set aside Memorial Day each year as a federal holiday to recall the names of the fallen, to honor their memory, and to renew our own belief in the immutable values for which they fought and died here at home and in far-flung lands across the globe.
As General Colin Powell once said, “Over the years, the United States has sent many of its fine young men and women into great peril to fight for freedom beyond our borders. The only amount of land we have ever asked for in return is enough to bury those that did not return.”
Each headstone, from those resting beneath the trees at the Arlington National Cemetery all the way to the cliffs overlooking the beaches of Normandy at the battle site’s American Cemetery, represents a different service member with a distinct story – but all a common honor. The flowers and flags freshly placed at their gravesides illustrate the love of those they left behind, who continue to mourn their loss decades later.
Americans have become all too familiar with the somber, but dignified ceremonies of bringing the fallen home. We recognize the images of the flag-draped coffins arriving to Dover Air Force Base; the sound of “taps” coming from a lone trumpet sends chills down our spines; the folding of the flag and the presentation of it to grieving mothers and young widows still makes us well-up with tears, no matter how many times we’ve watched the simple, but holy gesture.
Reflecting on this day and its meaning, you can’t help but feel moved and proud – proud to be a citizen of a Nation so brave, so generous, and so free.
As we honor the heroes we have lost, we also express our admiration and gratitude to our active duty men and women deserving our thanks and praise. We continue to pray for their safety and for their families eagerly awaiting their return home. These loved ones also know firsthand that freedom is a gift from God that must be protected, often at an immeasurable cost.
This Memorial Day, I will have the opportunity to visit local cemeteries in the Scottsbluff area and attend the dedication of the new “Fallen Heroes Memorial” at Western Nebraska Community College. It will be an honor to pay tribute to the service and legacy of Nebraska’s military men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice.
I also look forward to visiting with many of Nebraska’s veterans while in Scottsbluff. These men and women, many of whom comprise the dwindling ranks of America’s “Greatest Generation,” still bear the physical and invisible scars of war. And they, perhaps more than anyone, understand the cost of war and honor the loss of those at whose side they fought.
Let us never forget the meaning behind this day, or take for granted the freedom Americans continue to enjoy because of the courage, patriotism, and extraordinary sacrifice of our fallen heroes.
As President James Garfield once said, “For love of country, they accepted death and thus resolved all doubts, and made immortal their patriotism and their virtue.”
To all who serve and have served, to all the fallen: thank you.
Thank you for taking part in our democratic process, and I’ll visit with you again next week.
Deb Fischer
United States Senator

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Open Forum

Open Forum is your chance to comment on breaking news, make a statement, ask a question -- on any issue. Any topic is fair game, although Blue Hill Today's comment policies still apply. (see bottom of left hand column.).Go ahead and sound off on anything. News, sports, weather, current events, government, social events. We are listening. A new Open Forum link may be re-posted every Monday (or there abouts) to keep it towards the top of the recent posts .Of course, your completed news article, news information, pictures, story idea, or suggestions to improve this site can still be sent to Blue Hill Today by e-mailing us at

Gov. Heineman Attends Grand Opening of Student-Run Circle C Market



(Cody, Neb.) Gov. Dave Heineman today attended the grand opening of the Circle C Market in Cody, a student-run grocery store. Students of Cody-Kilgore Unified School District were responsible for the initial idea through completion of the straw bale structure.
“Today’s celebration is the result of hard work, determination and the refusal to take ‘no’ for an answer,” said Gov. Dave Heineman. “Today, Cody has a grocery store for the first time in over a decade, because of ‘Cowboy GRIT.’ The students of Cody-Kilgore Unified Schools are one of the reasons that I am hopeful and optimistic about Nebraska’s future.”
The concept is the result of a local non-profit called Cowboy GRIT, an acronym for Growing, Revitalizing, Investing and Teaching. The non-profit was formed to receive donations and grant funding and is made up of students, teachers, and community leaders.
In March 2011, the Cowboy G.R.I.T. Steering Committee negotiated with the Nebraska Games and Parks Commission for a lease on the land to locate the grocery store. The Commission owns the Cowboy Recreation and Nature Trail that follows a 321-mile former railroad corridor between Norfolk and Chadron and encompasses nearly 200 miles.
Local volunteers, students, Cody-Kilgore Unified School, the Village of Cody and contracted labor built the building with donated straw. Funding was supplied by grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, The Sherwood Foundation, Catholic Campaign for Human Development, a local tax credit drive and donations from residents.

June 12 Red Cross Bloodmobile in Blue Hill

The Red Cross Bloodmobile will be in Blue Hill at the Community/Senior Center on Wednesday, June 12. 
Appointments may be scheduled with Ruby Krueger (756-3470)  Shirley Kort (756-3301) or Carolee Whipple (756-3955). You can also sign up on line at .
To be eligible to donate individuals should be in good health.  A person may give blood at 16 years of age with parental permission.
Donors are asked to bring their Red Cross blood donation card or some form of identification with them.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Fighting for our Veterans

Rep. Adrian Smith
Memorial Day is a time set aside every year to honor and remember those who gave their lives in service to our nation.  We also thank all of our veterans who have defended our freedoms.  While we can never adequately express our gratitude for the sacrifices of America’s veterans, I am working with my colleagues to ensure our heroes have access to the care and resources they deserve.
Distance to the nearest Veterans Administration (VA) facility is one of the greatest obstacles to quality care for veterans in rural areas such as Nebraska’s Third District.  It is not unusual for veterans in rural Nebraska to travel three hours one way to get care at the VA Hospital in Hot Springs, South Dakota.
Even though veterans in rural Nebraska are already forced to travel too far for care, the VA is considering reducing services at the Hot Springs facility which would force its Nebraska patients to travel even farther to Rapid City or Fort Meade.  The extra time and money veterans would have to spend getting to another VA hospital could also cause many to choose to delay or even go without the care they require.  Forcing men and women who have served our country in uniform to make such a choice is no way to honor their service.
I know an 89 year-old World War II veteran who must travel about 125 miles round trip from his home in Merna to North Platte for primary care at the VA clinic.  Fortunately, this veteran is still able to drive himself, but those who cannot must find a family member, friend or other means of transportation which can be difficult.
As Co-Chair of the bipartisan Congressional Rural Veterans Caucus I have worked with my colleagues to draw attention to these issues and insist the VA consider the needs of rural veterans when making decisions regarding service locations.  The House of Representatives also recently passed several bills to address the needs of veterans.
Earlier this week the House passed H.R. 1412, the Improving Jobs Opportunities for Veterans Act which would encourage more private sector employers to hire veterans for on-the-job training programs.  This bill would increase the VA’s share of the full wage paid to veterans participating in on-the-job training programs with private employers from 15 percent to 25 percent.  On-the-job training will make it easier for more veterans to find gainful employment in the private sector and ease the transition to civilian life.
The House also passed H.R. 570, the America Heroes Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) Act to permanently provide automatic increases in disability compensation indexed to Social Security cost of living increases.  Not only would this no longer require disabled veterans to rely on Congress to pass an annual COLA, it would provide for an increase in the special monthly compensation rates for severely injured veterans of about 30 percent for four years beginning in 2014.
Finally, the House passed H.R. 1344, the Helping Heroes Fly Act to direct the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to provide expedited passenger screening at airports for severely injured or disabled veterans and members of the Armed Forces and their families.  Each of these bills passed with broad bipartisan support and would help improve the opportunities and quality of life for our nation’s veterans.
As you celebrate with friends and family this Memorial Day please take time to remember and honor our veterans and those who gave the ultimate sacrifice in support of our freedom.   

Regina L. Karr September 26, 1921 to May 23, 2013

Regina L. KarrRegina Lillian Karr, the daughter of Ruby (Rider) and Maurice Krichau, was born September 26, 1921 north of Hazard, Nebraska. She departed this life on Thursday, May 23, 2013 at Mary Lanning Healthcare in Hastings, Nebraska at the age of 91 years, 7 months and 27 days.

Regina moved with her family as a young girl to the farm north of Bladen in Adams county. She received her formal education attending rural school and the Bladen public schools. On June 1, 1946 she was united in marriage with Norman Robert Karr at Smith Center, Kansas. This union was blessed with eight children, Darrell, Garold, Charlene, Craig, Pamela, Tammy, Patty and Jeffrey.

They made their home and raised their family in the Bladen community. Regina was employed at various jobs through the years, and then retired from the Blue Hill Care Center as head of their housekeeping/laundry department.

In her leisure time she enjoyed a number of activities including bowling, camping, fishing and cooking., She especially cherished and looked forward to the time spent with her family.

Preceding her in death were her parents; her husband, Norman; and two sons, Darrell and Jeffrey.

Left to cherish her memory are her children, Garold Karr and wife Cheryl of Hastings, Nebraska; Charlene Reiman and husband Gary of Blue Hill, Nebraska; Craig Karr and friend Mary Ann Zubrod of Hastings; Pamela Karr of Blue Hill; Tammy Strickland and husband Frank of Stamford, Nebraska; and Patty Karr of Blue Hill. Also surviving are her daughter-in-law, Connie Karr of Hastings; 11 grandchildren; 15 great grandchildren; a brother, Russell Krichau and wife Delores; other relatives and friends.

Funeral services will be held Tuesday, 10:30 a.m., May 28, 2013 at the United Methodist Church in Bladen with the Rev. Steven Marsh and Rev. Connie Karr officiating. Interment will be at the East Lawn Cemetery.

A memorial fund has been established by the family.

Visitation will be held Sunday 2:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m. and Monday, 8:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m. at the Williams Funeral Home in Red Cloud.
Regina L. Karr
A memorial fund has been established by the family.

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



Sen. Tom Carlson
District 38

On this 83rd day of the 90 day long session, debate continues on senator and committee priority bills now that the $7.8 billion two year budget has been sent to Governor Heineman. The budget is the only thing required of the legislature by the state constitution. Once the appropriation bills are passed and sent to the Governor, he has five calendar days, excluding Sunday, to sign, not sign (but the bill takes effect), veto in total, or line-item veto specific appropriations of the budget.
A bill that created a lot of concern among District 38 communities became an amendment to other bills after the original bill became stuck in committee. LB 266, to strike the authority for cities to allow citizens to vote to raise local sales taxes above the state imposed limit, was originally introduced by Senator Chambers. He failed once to add it to a bill under consideration.
I offered another amendment as a compromise. Mine stated that any community, other than Omaha, could raise the sales tax rate by ½ cent with a super majority vote of the city council of the city after a resolution by the governing body. It also requires a vote of the people of the city. Since the bill passed last year over the Governor’s veto, three communities, including Alma, have increased their sales tax levy by ½ cent for economic development.
While my amendment ran out of time on General File, it was then offered by Senator Chambers on another unrelated bill. Since his focus is on Omaha, he gave up his efforts to preclude the entire state from enacting the possibility of a ½ cent sales tax increase as long as Omaha is excluded from the tax increase. The body agreed and voted to move the bill to Select File.
The rules of the legislature allow bills to be offered as amendments to another bill if the subject matter is considered germane.
Senator Cathy Campbell of Lincoln, chair of the Health & Human Services Committee, introduced LB 305, which is now on Final Reading. LB 305 would allow parents to qualify for child care subsidies at incomes up to 130 percent of the federal poverty level. The increase from 120 percent would be phased in over two years.
The income limit for child care subsidies has not been changed since 2002, when the state was in the midst of budget problems. Under LB 305, programs receiving at least $250,000 a year in subsidies would be required to participate in a new quality rating system. The state also would provide scholarships for child care staff to improve their education.
Senator Schumacher, in supporting the bill, described it as a business subsidy. Employees would have access to affordable, reliable child care, which in turn would enable them to work, earn, and provide for themselves.


Duane A. Lienemann
UNL Extension Educator
     I have heard several farmers lament the condition of their wheat at this point and last week went out to look at several wheat fields and stopped again this week. I did find a lot of variation with and within fields. The fear was that they had some kind of disease that was stunting the wheat and killing it.  I quite honestly did not find much indication of disease and certainly not enough to hurt anything, or warrant too much worry at this juncture. What I did find however was wheat that was exhibiting the classic signs of “not enough to drink”!  Now that sounds more like something you would hear in the local watering hole, but it does apply to our pastures, hay ground and of course our wheat. And that is a worry! 
     I know that these fields are scattered across the area. Some fields are looking pretty good, some not looking good at all -- and that may be a symptom of how much moisture was available; how much snow they had; and if they got small shots or larger shots of rain – when it did rain.  It also seems to be equated to soil type (ie. heavy clay patches) and what was in the field last year.  It seems to me that the most problems are occurring in last year’s soybean fields that were planted to wheat this past fall. I should also point out that I did see some evidence of nutrient deficiency in several fields and that too may be attributable to the lack of subsoil moisture and the fragile moisture balance in that top 6 inches. It seems that whenever plants are stressed that you see all kind of abnormalities that are accentuated. You likely would not have seen this show up in this fashion with normal moisture and normal growing conditions---whatever normal is now.
     In the fields that appeared stunted, yellow and even brown-tinged, I found that on the individual plant clusters that the outside leaves have died, turned brown and are sloughing off. Now some of this could be a result of the freezes and the late snow and ice that we experienced after the wheat had come out of dormancy, which of course also put some stress on an already stressed wheat plant. I also found dry crowns with dying or dead spots, as well as shallow roots, which would indicate that there was not moisture in the lower profile to go down to and the wheat was and is living off the small parcels of moisture we got from some snow and some timely small showers. I also found some fields that are short in stature and were already shooting up a flag leaf and ready to push out a head, if it hasn’t already in some fields!
     Now, since that last visit we had the entire area receive from .30 in. to .90 inch of rain (we had about .70 in Blue Hill, where I live) and this seemed to give a new life, so to speak to some of these fields. That really showed me what we are facing. However, we have generally missed out on several opportunities for moisture ever since and we are now, right back into the same scenario.  I know that there is rain forecast in various percentages of chances for this Memorial Day weekend (which seems to be a normal happening) and for this next week.  But it also seems that these days forecasted keep moving ahead and the % chances diminish as we get closer to those “rain days”.  That does not bode well for the fields that already have stressed wheat that was or is already dying or hanging on by its last roots. It may be too late!
     That means that there are some fields that we must evaluate and determine if it will pay to leave it, or to do something else. Several options are available to a producer with a wheat crop that may be on its last legs. The one that first comes to mind is – start thinking about the economics of graze-out or haying versus harvest for grain. If harvest is not an option, a producer might turning their own cattle and benefit from saving pasture or hay, or perhaps taking in cattle and benefit from rental of those acres. I think however that swathing the wheat for hay and putting up in bales or perhaps treated as haylage may be a great option.  Others might even possibly use a combination of these options.
     Wheat planned for harvest as grain needs to produce enough bushels, given the market price, to not only cover the total cost of harvest but also have a similar or higher return per acre than grazing or haying it. So you have to guestimate what your yield could be (or not be), which is difficult at best. This could be a crap shoot. Those who plan on swathing wheat for hay need to consider the economics of graze-out versus wheat hay. Are you better off simply letting stockers or cow/calf pairs consume all the wheat, or is there more value in the bales less the cost per acre? Let’s go with a normal yield of 40 bu. of wheat which normally is equivalent to about 3,000 lbs. of forage per acre, so you could you conceivably get around three bales. At a price of let’s say $160/ton and a total cost of $20/bale (swathing, baling and hauling), a farmer could perhaps net about $180 per acre. The negative is that it will take 10-14 days to dry in many cases before baling.
     The nutritional content of wheat hay is comparable to grass hay and is usually around 8-10% protein with immature heads, 12-14% if cut before heading. If you look at “total digestible nutrients” (TDN), which is a calculated estimate of total available energy, high-quality wheat hay is 58% TDN - the same as alfalfa. As is the case with any hay, nutritional content will vary depending on when and how the hay was put up. But some wheat hay is high quality stuff and all the wheat hay I have seen is much more than simply "filler". However, there is also the risk of getting the wheat baled and having it rained on (Ha). You will also need to contact your crop insurer and FSA office.  You will also need to look at what crops you may want to put into the stubble to try to take advantage if we do actually get some moisture that is too late for the wheat crop.  You will have to consider most likely soybeans or grain sorghum or, if you are brave, a short season corn. Don’t forget that you may have issues with any chemicals used and perhaps available nitrogen. Good Luck!
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 23, 2013

UNK Professor Arrested for Child Pornography

LINCOLN - Attorney General Jon Bruning today announced University of Nebraska-Kearney psychology professor Joseph J. Benz, Ph. D., 52, was arrested and charged with three counts each of possession of child pornography and distribution of child pornography. The arrest stemmed from an investigation by the Attorney General’s Office cybercrimes unit and was made late yesterday by the Kearney Police Department.
“Each time a pornographic image of a child is traded online, the child is revictimized,” said Bruning. “We will do everything in our power to ensure he is held accountable for this appalling exploitation.”
A search warrant was executed at Benz’s home on Tuesday, May 21, 2013. A search of one computer uncovered upwards of 20,000 questionable image files. The investigation of at least two other computers is ongoing.

Smith Votes for Long-Term Fix for Student Loan Interest Rates

Today, Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) voted in favor or H.R. 1911, the Smarter Solutions for Students Act, which prevents interest rates from doubling on millions of student loans on July 1, 2013.  The legislation would permanently move all federal student loans (except Perkins loans) to a market-based interest rate and get Congress out of the business of setting student loan interest rates.  This commonsense proposal is similar to a plan put forth by President Obama’s 2014 budget request.
“Without action, millions of recent college graduates and other borrowers could see the interest rates on their student loans double,” said Smith.  “The legislation passed by the House of Representatives today would prevent these rate hikes, give borrowers greater certainty, and restore responsibility for interest rates to the free market.”
Under the bill, student loan interest rates would reset once a year and move with the market.  Both subsidized and unsubsidized Stafford loan interest rates would be calculated based on the 10-year Treasury note plus 2.5 percent.  Parent and graduate PLUS loans would be calculated using the 10-year Treasury note plus 4.5 percent.  The legislation would allow students to take advantage of lower interest rates when available, while also protecting students against higher interest rates by imposing a reasonable cap of 8.5 percent on Stafford loan interest rates and 10.5 percent on PLUS loan interest rates

Living History at Fort Kearny SHP May 25-27


LINCOLN, Neb. – A living history demonstration of an 1860s soldier camp will be re-enacted at Fort Kearny State Historical Park on May 25-27.
The demonstration is from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. May 25-26 and 9 a.m.-2 p.m. on May 27, with a cannon firing at 2 p.m. each day. There will be wood carving and pine needle basket demonstrations.
A park entry permit is required. Fort Kearny is located south of Kearney off Link 50A.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Local students graduate from Hastings College

(Hastings, Neb.) –  On Saturday, May 18, 2013, in Lynn Farrell Arena, 224 undergraduates and 18 Master of Arts in Teaching students graduated Hastings College. 
The degree recipients from the Blue Hill area are listed below. “HD” designates those students who graduated with high distinction in their major(s) while “D” indicates the students who graduate with distinction in their coursework.
Bachelor of Arts – United States
Brian Douglas Fisher............................................. Elementary Education-D
Emily Ann Lovejoy.... Mathematics Education*/Business Education-HD, Summa Cum Laude
Mark Edward Lutkemeier......................................... Economics-HD, Magma Cum Laude
Blue Hill
Paul Samuel Krueger....................................................................... AgriBusiness
Danica Rachelle Olson................... Criminal Justice-HD/Human Services Administration-HD
Sean Michael Trumble..................................................................... AgriBusiness


Amber Leigh Himmelberg .. . Biochemistry-HD/Molecular Biology-HD, Magma Cum Laude                

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Quote of the day

"Good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of authority. It is hardly too strong to say that the Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters." -- Daniel Webster

Pauline M. Hartman June 1, 1916 to May 20, 2013

Pauline M. Hartman
Blue Hill resident Pauline M. Hartman, 96, died Monday, May 20, 2013, at Blue Hill Care Center in Blue Hill.
Services are 2 p.m. Thursday at Trinity Lutheran Church in Blue Hill with the Rev. James Witt officiating.
Burial is at Trinity Lutheran Cemetery in Blue Hill. Visitation is 1-8 p.m. Wednesday and 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Thursday at Merten-Butler Mortuary and one hour prior to services Thursday at the church.
Pauline was born on a farm in Adams County to Adolph and Doris (Krueger) Kort June 1, 1916.  She attended grades 1-8 at Trinity Lutheran School and graduated from Blue Hill High school in 1934. 
On August 16, 1936, she was united in marriage to Clarence Hartman at her parents' home north west of Blue Hill.  They lived and farmed south of Rosemont until 1977, when they moved to Hastings.  She had been employed for several years at W. B. Pack and the nursing home in Blue Hill.
Pauline moved to the Blue Hill Care Center in 2004.  She was a member of Trinity Lutheran Church where she was active in Ladies Aid and sang in the choir.  During the time she lived in Hastings she was a member of Zion Lutheran Church and Luther Anns.
Pauline was preceded in death by her husband, Clarence, November 18, 1993; and her parents.
Survivors include her daughter and son in law, JoAnn and Bob Grabill of Hastings and son and daughter-in-law Janie Hartman of Blue Hill;;grandchildren, Jell and Julie Grabill, Brent and Brenda Grabill of Roseland, Susan and Doug Clodfelter of McDonough, Ga., Brad and Kate Grabill of Omaha; Amy and Richard Ostdiek of Grand Island, Amber and Paul Stoner of Red Cloud and Annette and Matt Spencer of Blue Hill; great-grand children Jordan, Jenna, Jaydan, Joslyn and Brock Grabill, Taylor and Sydney Clodfelter, Gavin and Maris Grabill, Seth and Olivia Ostdiek, Kylie and Jared Stoner and Delaney and Addison Spencer.  Brother and sister-in-laws, Edgar and Tena Kort of Hastings and Irene Hartman of Davenport, Ne.

Food Safety Tips from the USDA

As the days grow longer and the temperature rises it is time to shelve the coats and boots and dust off the grill.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) offers a few helpful tips to avoid unwelcome food borne bacteria at your next cookout.
"When you fire up the grill to cook out this summer, make sure you are extra vigilant in taking the appropriate safe food handling steps to prevent foodborne illness," said USDA Under Secretary for Food Safety Dr. Elisabeth Hagen.  "Foods commonly served at cookouts can carry pathogens that can make people sick, especially those most vulnerable to foodborne illness such as young children, the elderly, and pregnant women."
FSIS provides summer and grilling food safety resources on its website under the heading "Grill it Safe."  The webpage contains fact sheets, videos and podcasts about safe handling and preparation of food during warmer months. 
Popular outdoor dining items, including prepared salads, chicken, hamburgers or hotdogs, are at risk of contamination with foodborne bacteria.  FSIS reminds summer hosts and cooks that following four basic foot safety steps - clean, separate, cook and chill - during all cooking practices can help reduce foodborne illness.  Remain vigilant this cookout season to keep these bacteria at bay.
Begin your cookout with a clean slate.  Wash preparation surface areas with warm soapy water, especially after contact with raw foods.  Wash your  hands with soap under warm water for 20 seconds before and after handling food.  Have family or friends who are  helping prepare food wash their hands as well.
Raw mean and juice from raw meat can contain harmful bacteria.  To prevent cross-contamination, keep all raw meats and poultry separate from vegetables and cooked foods.  Use different cutting boards and knives to prepare meats and vegetables.
When you don your apron and fire up the grill, do not forget you most important weapon in your food safety toolbox - the food thermometer.  Proper heating temperatures kill foodborne bacteria.  Despite what many people believe, color is not a reliable indicator of doneness.  Meat and poultry cooked on a grill often brown quickly and may appear done on the outside, but sill may not  have reached a safe minimum internal temperature to kill any harmful bacteria.  The food thermometer provides an accurate reading of internal temperature.  Place the thermometer in the thickest part of the meat to take a temperature reading.  After reaching proper internal temperature, thick cuts of lamb, beef and chicken require a three-minute rest time before carving an consuming.
Safe minimum Internal Temperatures include:
  • Hot dogs -165 F or until steaming hot,
  • Poultry - 165 -F
  • Ground beef and other ground meat - 165 F
  • Whole cuts of pork, lamb, veal and beef, 145 -F (Followed by a three-minute rest time)
  • Fish - 145 F
Remember to place cooked meats on a clean platter, not on the dish that held the raw product  The juices left on the place from raw meat can spread bacteria to safely cooked food.
The last challenge of any outdoor event is keeping hot food hot and cold food cold.  Too often, food is prepared and left to sit out until guests much over the course of several hours.  Bacteria grow most rapidly about 40 F to 140 F.  To keep bacterial growth at bay, keep hot food on the grill and place cold food in a cooler or ice bath.  Never let perishable food sit out for more than two hours.  If the temperature is higher than 90/f food should not sit out for more than one hours.  Refrigerate or freeze leftovers promptly and discard any food that has been sitting out too long.

Ellen G. Jones 1913 to May 11, 2013

Ellen G. Jones
Former Blue Hill resident, Ellen G. Jones passed away May 11, 2013, in Colorado Springs, Colorado, at the age of 100 years and four months. She was born January 11, 1913, in Red Cloud to George and Della Morrison Corner.  She lived all but the last six years of her life in and around the community of Blue Hill.  She graduated from Blue Hill High school in 1931 and attended both Hastings College and the University of Nebraska.
After attending College she taught in a one-room country school south of Blue Hill.  The school building in which she taught is now located in the Blue Hill City park.  She enjoyed revisiting that building several years ago and talking with grade school children about her experiences in that school and what teaching and learning were like in Rural schools of an earlier day.
On October 24, 1936, she married Pierce C Jones, an accountant in her father's family business, someone she first met when they were grade school music students taking lessons from the same teacher.  This marriage lasted for almost 57 years until his death in 1993.
She was active in business and community affairs for all but the last few years of her life.  She worked in the office of Corner's Service, the family Ford dealership and gasoline distribution business, and at the Service Center, another of the family enterprises.
In subsequent years, she opened a florist shop that served the needs of Blue Hill and surrounding communities for many years.  She also sold World Book Encyclopedias and Childcraft books.  Before retiring to a country home, she became a licensed nursing home administrator and served as the administrator at the Bethesda-owned nursing home in Edgar.
Her community involvement included leadership positions in the Blue Hill Parent Teachers Association, The Girl Scouts of America, where she served not only as a local troop leader but also as a director of the We-So-Braska Council 9 a role that led to her involvement at the national level), Leader of a local 4_H club, and in the Blue Hill Methodist church.  She volunteered at the Webster County Hospital and was a member of the Chapter W.PEO in Blue Hill for more than 75 years.
In addition to her numerous activities she took particular pleasure in gardening, traveling, and in renovating and redecorating several older hoes that became wonderful homes to which members of the family returned from scattered parts of the country for good times and good memories.
She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband; and her brother, James Corner.
She is survived by her son, Dennis Jones ( wife Betti); daughter Mary Ellen Moore (husband John Balog); grand children, Douglas Jones and Daniel Jones ( wife Lisa) Krista Capp (husband Kevin) and Melissa Hoyt ( husband Murry);  great grand children Riley Capp, Ethan Capp and Brooks Hoyt; sister-in-law, Alice Corner; and numerous nephews, grand-nieces and grand-nephews.
Services were held Friday, May 24, 2013, 10:30 a.m. at the Blue Hill United Methodist Church, Blue Hill, Nebraska, with Rev. Steven Marsh and Rev. Baldeo Singh officiating. Burial was at Oak Creek Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers donation can be made to the Blue Hill Methodist Church.  It is the family's intent that the funds be used for scholarships or other educational purposes.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Gov. Heineman, State Officials Promote Highway Safety


Encourage Motorists to 'Click It or Ticket'
(Lincoln, Neb.) Today, Gov. Dave Heineman was joined by the Nebraska State Patrol, and the Nebraska Department of Roads, to promote safe travel and the “Click It or Ticket” program. This is the ninth year the state has participated in the campaign, which runs from May 20 through June 2.
“Highway safety is a shared responsibility,” said Gov. Heineman. “While we remain dedicated to continually increasing safety, we can’t do it alone. By making safety a priority through seat belt usage, Nebraskans play a key role in helping save lives.”
In 2012, Nebraska experienced its first increase in fatalities in three years with 212 individuals dying on Nebraska’s roadways. The roadway deaths experienced in the first four months of 2013 are nearly equal to 2012 numbers, putting our state on pace to experience another year of increased fatalities.
“The reality is, there are consequences to be paid when motorists fail to comply with traffic safety laws,” said Col. David Sankey, Superintendent of the Nebraska State Patrol.  “You can put the odds of avoiding a citation or surviving a crash in your favor, by making sure to obey the posted speed limit, always buckle up and never drive impaired or distracted.”
Along with the Nebraska State Patrol, the “Click It or Ticket” mobilization involves 62 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.
Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start of summer travel season and motorists are reminded that Nebraska law requires drivers to move over for emergency vehicles. 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.
“Reducing property damage, personal injury and fatalities on our state’s roadways is every driver’s job when he or she is behind the wheel,” said Randy Peters, Director and State Engineer of the Nebraska Department of Roads. “While highway workers may not be present over the Memorial Day weekend, the work zones will still be there. Please, drive extra carefully near work zones.
Gov. Heineman said, “Let’s all do our part to have a safe summer travel season. Join me by buckling up, moving over and paying extra attention in work zones.”

Saturday, May 18, 2013


The year's at the spring,
And the day's at the morn'
Mornings at seven:
The hillside's dew-pearled;
The lark's on the wing;
The snail's on the thorn;
God's in His heaven _
All's right with the world!

Washington Report: The Importance of Congressional Oversight


Rep. Adrian Smith
It has been a busy week in Washington.  Congress is investigating several situations including the targeting of certain political organizations by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and reports the Secretary of Health and Human Services may have improperly solicited outside funds to help implement the health care law.  Many important questions remain, underscoring the need for Congress to continue its oversight of the executive branch.
Last week, the IRS admitted the agency had inappropriately targeted conservative organizations applying for tax exempt status.  Applicants with names including words such as “tea party” and “patriots” were subjected to additional review, audits, and intrusive questioning about their fundraising, volunteers, and activities.  IRS employees even may have illegally released confidential taxpayer information.
This issue is not new.  The House Committee on Ways and Means, on which I serve, has been investigating these allegations for nearly two years.  We now know senior officials at the IRS became aware as early as June 2011 the agency had been targeting conservative groups since mid-2010.  However, the agency denied these charges in meetings with the committee, subcommittee hearings, and numerous written responses to the committee.
This is not a conservative issue, nor a liberal issue – members of both parties agree such action by the IRS is an abuse of power and should not be tolerated.  I was pleased to see President Obama condemn the agency’s practices, and the resignation of the IRS Acting Director Steven Miller was appropriate.  However, this resignation does not end the investigation, nor does it change the culture of this Administration.  It is critical Congress get to the bottom of this case because it is not clear the White House can be entrusted to conduct an internal review to correct this problem.
The Ways and Means Committee, which has jurisdiction over the tax code, has held a hearing on this matter and we will continue to vigorously review this issue on a bipartisan basis, seek those responsible and ensure they are held accountable.
The Ways and Means Committee also is looking into recent reports Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius solicited outside donations from private health care companies, non-profit organizations, churches and others to help promote the President’s health care law.  These reports represent a potential conflict of interest because the Secretary asked for financial support from the very organizations forced to comply with the law and regulated by the Department of Health and Human Services.
On Monday, 22 of my colleagues on the committee and I sent a letter to Secretary Sebelius seeking to clarify these reports.  We asked the Secretary to answer several questions regarding the potential conflict of interest and whether she violated federal ethics regulations, which bar augmentation of congressional appropriations.
In the past week we have seen examples of why Congress must serve as a watchdog for the public.  Oversight of the President and the Administration is not a partisan exercise – it is an important function of the legislative branch. 

Friday, May 17, 2013

Johanns Renews Call for Resignation of Unconstitutional “Recess” Appointees

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) today once again called on the unlawfully appointed members of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFBP) to immediately vacate the offices, following a second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that such recess appointments are unconstitutional.
“We’ve now had two separate court rulings invalidate President Obama’s attempt to skirt the advice and consent role of Congress,” Johanns said. “These so-called ‘appointments’ were unconstitutional and therefore, actions of CFPB and NLRB are likely void and subject to litigation. To restore the checks and balances provided by the Constitution and to minimize the practical complications resulting from decisions made without appropriate authority, these men and women should immediately step aside.”
Johanns sent letters to Sharon Block and Richard Griffin of the NLRB, and Richard Cordray, of the CFPB, insisting that they step aside following a May 16, 2013, ruling by the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit, which stated that the President only has the power to bypass the Senate’s role to approve nominees during periods of Senate recess. The Senate, however, was not in recess when these unconstitutional appointments were made. To read the letters, click HERE.
The 3rd Circuit Court’s decision agreed with a January 25, 2013, ruling by the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.
Block, Griffin, Cordray and Terence Flynn were all unconstitutionally appointed by President Obama in January, 2012. Flynn resigned in May, 2012.
The Circuit Courts addressed only the unconstitutional NLRB appointments because the cases filed in their courts were against the NLRB. Because Cordray was unlawfully appointed under the same circumstances, the same principle applies.


Duane A. Lienemann
UNL Extension Educator

      As I write this, amazingly enough, both the US Senate and House of Representatives have passed their versions of the 2013 Farm Bill and we may be close to getting the final product. While Congress is putting the final touches on the new 2013 FARRM (Federal Agricultural and Reform and Risk Management) Bill, it brings to mind that we are still dealing with the last Farm Bill. Perhaps we should take a good look at some prospects that could be there as we close the door on the 2008 Farm Bill. You might remember that the Farm Bill was set to expire September 30 of 2012, but with no new Farm Bill to take its place there was no other option than to extend that bill into 2013. The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 provided a one-year extension of the ACRE program. This emergency clause gives farmers the option of choosing between either participating in the Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE) Program or the Direct and Counter-cyclical Program (DCP) Program, no matter what you did in the previous years.
     2013 Emergency Farm Bill Sign-up: Farms that were enrolled in either DCP or ACRE in past years may continue with DCP or go with ACRE for the one-year extension in 2013.  Any farms that have already enrolled in DCP for 2013 may still elect to switch to ACRE on or before June 3, 2013 if they desire. The thing to remember is that producers who elect and enroll a farm in ACRE agree to forgo DCP counter-cyclical payments and accept a 20 percent reduction in their direct payments, plus a 30 percent reduction in marketing assistance loan rates. You may remember that ACRE payments are tied to current plantings on the farm as opposed to counter-cyclical payments, which are tied to the farm’s base acres.  ACRE payments are revenue-based payments and are tied to crop production and the National Average Market Price for commodity crops on the farm.  Payments are issued for crops if two triggers are met for the crop.  The State Trigger must be less than the State ACRE Guarantee and the Farm trigger must be less than the farm ACRE Guarantee.
      During the 2008 Farm Bill, these triggers were met and payments issued in Nebraska in 2009 in our area for oats, sunflowers and wheat.  We did not have any crops in our area qualify in 2010 and I am not certain for 2011, but according to the UNL Extension Cornhusker Economics bulletin, ag economists are predicting substantial payments for non-irrigated corn and soybeans for 2012 in Nebraska due to the size of the projected state payment rates. Even the FSA, using currently published NASS yields, admits that it appears that substantial ACRE revenue payments may be earned on certain 2012 non-irrigated crops. So if you have a lot of dry-land acres, you may want to consider that option. 
     It is very important for all producers to evaluate the ACRE decision before the June 3 deadline. I know that many producers have already made their mind up and have signed up according to what works best for them, but we may still have some individuals who have not made up their mind. If you are one of those, you can find additional information, including access to a free ACRE webinar for public viewing, by going to .  I also suggest contacting your local FSA County Office for additional information instead of relying solely on coffee shop advice.
     2011 Payments Released: Some good news for some farmers is that the USDA has resumed farm program payments which had been suspended by the budget sequester. This includes payments for the 2011 Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments Program (SURE), the Noninsured Crop Assistance Program (NAP) and the Milk Income Loss Contract Program (MILC). Payments were temporarily suspended on March 4th in order to assess the impact of sequestration and determine the least-disruptive process possible for carrying out the required cuts.
     CRP Sign-up: While we are discussing farm programs, don’t forget that the general CRP signup will be open from May 20 through June 14.  The USDA is urging producers to maximize their environmental benefits and make cost-effective offers when enrolling in a four-week Conservation Reserve Program during that time frame. This program is important because it helps protect environmentally sensitive lands and ensure sustainability of natural waters. The USDA encourages producers to look into CRP's other enrollment opportunities offered on a continuous, non-competitive, sign-up basis. Kelsi Wehrman, Pheasants Forever Farm Bill Wildlife Biologist, at the Webster County NRCS office held several meetings in the South Central region this past week. It may interest you that the rental rates for Webster County and surrounding counties increased for 2013 with the average rental rate going from $78 to $99 per acre.  If you couldn’t attend these meetings I suggest that for additional information that you contact Kelsi at 402-746-0295 or go to  or   or Webster County FSA office at 402-746-2204.  
     Rat Meat and Road Kill: I know that sounds weird, but I just read something that creeps me out.  I know that you hear a lot of people say that we should quit raising livestock in the US and import it from other countries. I am sure you heard about the horsemeat ending up in sausages and meatballs. Well that doesn’t sound so bad now. Investigators found that Chinese traders bought rat, fox and mink flesh and sold it as mutton. If that isn’t bad enough they also arrested other Oriental traders for processing and selling some 40 metric tons of pork derived from hog carcasses that were found by the side of the road or collected from farmers, and worst of all from diseased hogs that were deemed unfit for consumption. Foreign meat? –No thanks, I will stick to good old Nebraska pork, lamb, poultry and beef. No rat or road kill for me! 

 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 16, 2013

A Heavy Hand



By now, most Nebraskans are familiar with a series of alarming news reports regarding a disturbing pattern of government overreach. In the past week, a series of scandals has developed and is now embroiling Washington, D.C.

On May 10, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) admitted to deliberately targeting and delaying the applications of conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status. This practice included flagging groups concerned about “government spending” and “debt.” The organizations were forced to hand over inordinate amounts of information, including Facebook posts and donor lists – some of which was wrongly released to third parties.
It has been reported that the targeting of these Americans – and muffling of their voices on the pressing issues facing our country – began in 2010.
A report released by the Department of Treasury’s Inspector General confirms the applications were slow-tracked. According to the report, “No work was completed on the majority of these applications for 13 months” and “all applications that were forwarded to the team of specialists experienced substantial delays in processing” – an average delay of 574 days compared to 238 days for other nonprofit applications.
This is absolutely unacceptable.
As the federal agency tasked with administering the U.S. tax code, the IRS has an extraordinary influence on the lives of Americans from all walks of life and points of view. Citizens have the unconditional right to expect the IRS to be free from political influence, with taxpayers treated fairly and enforcement carried out in an unbiased manner.
A Washington Post editorial rightly noted, “Any unequal application of the law based on ideological viewpoint is unpardonable – toxic to the legitimacy of the government's vast law-enforcement authority.”
Despite their awareness, top-level IRS officials failed time after time to disclose the targeting and little effort was made to end the abusive practice. Even during the process of admitting wrongdoing, the IRS continued to engage in cover-ups and half-truths.
The resignation of acting IRS Commissioner, Steven Miller, is a first step, but I believe the president must do more than simply asking for the resignation of one official if he intends to restore public trust.
Congress plans to hold a series of hearings to ensure all responsible are removed from their positions; policies enabling the gross abuse of power must also be changed. Only then can we reform this broken bureaucratic institution.
We also learned this week that the Department of Justice secretly seized the phone records of more than 100 Associated Press journalists – some of whom used phone lines in the House of Representatives press gallery.
The breathtaking scope of such intrusion upon the press is simply unprecedented. A free and unfettered press is critical to a properly functioning democracy. As Democrat Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren noted, “Reporters who might have previously believed that a confidential source would speak to them would no longer have that level of confidence, because those confidential sources are now going to be chilled in their relationship with the press.”
It seems that everywhere Americans look, we find the heavy hand of government increasingly curbing the rights and liberties of citizens.
We see it in the EPA’s disclosure of classified information of cattlemen to activist environmental groups. News reports also reveal the EPA routinely grants fee waivers for Freedom of Information Act requests to green groups while denying them to other organizations – another example of political bias.
And we see the government’s heavy hand in its lack of forthrightness regarding the attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.
This series of revelations completely undermines confidence in the government’s ability to carry out its responsibilities in a manner worthy of the public’s trust. To restore trust, we need more than a spectator president. The American people demand accountability – and deserve nothing less.
Thank you for participating in the democratic process, and I’ll visit with you again next week.
Deb Fischer
United States Senator

Johanns Sponsors Bipartisan Bills Addressing Military Sexual Assault Cases

The Department of Defense estimates more than 26,000 incidents of sexual assault in 2012, yet only 238 convictions

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mike Johanns (R-NE) today sponsored three bipartisan pieces of legislation to address cases of sexual assault.
“Our brave men and women who put on a uniform already take enough risks on the battlefield without having to worry about sexual assault,” Johanns said. “It’s up to Congress to enact any reforms to the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which outlines how these cases are handled. The bipartisan legislation I’m sponsoring helps our military better address these crimes to ensure harsh penalties for convicted offenders.”
A recent Department of Defense report estimates that there were approximately 26,000 cases of sexual assault or unwanted sexual contact within the military during fiscal year 2012 alone. That’s an average of 71 per day.
The Combatting Military Sexual Assault Act was introduced by Sens. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.).
• S. 871 would establish a Special Victims’ Counsel for each branch of service.  This individual would provide legal advice and assistance to sexual assault victims. The legislation also increases the responsibilities and authority of the DOD’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office to strengthen oversight of development, implementation, and accountability policies for sexual assault prevention and response.
The Military Justice Improvement Act was introduced by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.).
• This legislation would give military prosecutors, who are not in the accused individual’s chain of command, the authority to determine if a case goes to a special or general court-martial.  It also establishes a 90 day deadline for military judges to call general and special-courts martial into session and prohibits commanders from overturning convictions.
The Coast Guard Sexual Trauma Response Oversight and Good Governance Act (STRONG Act), which will be introduced next week, is authored by Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.).
• The STRONG Act, which passed in 2011, requires the military services to put in place protections for victims of sexual assault, including the right to legal assistance and the right for a victim to request a transfer away from the geographic location of his or her attacker.  This legislation would also apply these provisions to the Coast Guard. Currently, many STRONG ACT provisions do not apply to the Coast Guard because of its unique status as a component of Department of Homeland Security.