Friday, January 31, 2014

February Birthdays

Feb. 1. Lee Kumke
 Feb 1 Sherri Lynn
Feb. 2. Dale Myers, Rebecca Kearney
Feb. 2 Olivia Cox
 Feb. 4. Seth Wengler , Lora Premer
Feb. 5. Marlys Kort, John Meyer
  Feb. 6. Joe Hubl, Brooke Schmidt
 Feb.6. Doris Martin, Brenda Trumble
Feb. 7. Craig Strasburg, Linda Waechter
Feb. 7. Dakota Lovett and Montana Lovett
 Feb. 8. Dick Schmidt
 Feb. 10. Dewey Lienemann, Lee Wright
Feb. 15. Tom Schmidt, Sarah Weddingfeld
 Feb. 15. Rochelle A. Seeman
  Feb. 15. Cassie Henderson
Feb. 16. Mary Tenhoff, Evart Barton
 Feb. 17. Duane Delay (RIP)
Feb. 18. Marcia Woods
Feb. 20. Lloyd Post, (RIP)
Feb. 20 Elaine Soucie
Feb. 21 Stephanie Ruybalid
Feb. 22. Margie VanBoening,  (RIP)
 Feb. 22 Dennis Henderson, Todd Meents
 Feb. 22 Sylvia Alber , Verlin Rose
Feb. 27. Sue Toepher,
 Feb. 27.  Thad Kelley
 Feb. 28. Brenda Piel, Jean Krueger
  Feb. 28 Nila Gartner, Bonnie Stertz

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Jordyn Atwater Deans list at Doane College

Doane is the college of academics.
Doane College celebrates the academic accomplishments of its students by posting a Dean’s List every semester. Students that make the list must attain at least a 3.7 grade point average. In the Fall of 2013, over 250 students received the honor which makes 22 percent of the Crete campus student body.
Jordyn Lynn Atwater, Blue Hill Community Schools graduate and Ayr resident was on the list of Students who accomplished the requirements to be on this list.

Marilyn Skarin Sept 25, 1931 to Jan. 27 2014

Marilyn Skarin
Former Blue Hill resident Marilyn Skarin, 83, passed away Monday, January 27, 2014, at Blue Hill Care Center, Blue Hill, Nebraska. Services were Thursday, January 30, 2014, at 10 a.m. at the United Methodist Church, Blue Hill with Pastor Dan Albers and Pastor Baldeo Singh officiating. Burial was at Blue Hill Cemetery, Blue Hill, Nebraska. Memorials may be given to National Parkinson Foundation.  

Marilyn M. Wood and Charles I. Skarin were married in Hastings on June 21, 1949.
they retired in Blue Hill in 1986.
Charles Skarin died Thursday January 7, 2010.  Marilyn moved to Hastings after his death.
Marilyn Skarin is survived by their children, Terry and wife Mary of Glenvil, Ken and wife Gerry of Blue Hill, Rebecca Rouse of Aurora,Ne, Vicky (Terry)Bullock of Cozad, grandchildren and great grandchildren

Obituary of Charles "Chuck" I. Skarin

Blue Hill resident Charles "Chuck" I. Skarin 81, died Thursday January 7, 2010, at Mary Lanning Hospital in Hastings. Services are 2 p.m. Monday, January 11, 2010 at United Methodist Church in Blue Hill. with the Rev. Michael Lee Burgess and the Rev. Baldeo Singh officiating. Burial with military rites by A. L. Shirley Post #176 of Blue Hill will be in Blue Hill cemetery at Blue Hill. Visitation is 1-8 p.m. Sunday with family present 3-5 p.m., 9 a.m. to noon Monday at Merten-Butler Mortuary and one hour prior to services at the church. Memorials may be given to the American Heart Association and the American Diabetes Association. Charles was born on March 24, 1928, to Elmer and Esther (Linn) at Kiron, Iowa in Ida County. He graduated from Arthur High School, Arthur, Iowa. He served in the United States Marine Corps form 1944-1949. On June 21, 1949, he married Marilyn M. Woods in Hastings, Nebraska. He worked at the Hastings NAD and the Hastings Post Office. He also owned C & M Answering Service and the 80 and 130 Taxi lines. He retired in 1978 and they moved to the Ozarks, returning to Blue Hill in 1986. He was a member of the Blue Hill United Methodist Church, A.L. Shirley Post #176, Blue Hill, NE., VFW and the Eagles in Hastings. He had also been Grand Chancellor of the Knights of Pythias for the State of Nebraska. He is survived by his wife, Marilyn of Blue Hill, two sons, Terry and wife Mary of Glenvil, Ken and his wife Gerry of Blue Hill; two daughters, Rebecca Rouse of Aurora, Ne, Vicky (Terry) Bullock of Cozad; two brothers, Terry of Burleson, Texas, Boyd of Sioux City, Iowa; 12 grandchildren; 10 great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents, four brothers, two sisters.

Johanns Statement on President Obama’s Address


“Our focus this year should be on lowering taxes, decreasing burdensome government regulations, promoting trade and reducing our nation's debt. This can only be achieved by working together,” not through “executive fiat.”

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) today issued the following statement on President Obama’s State of the Union Address:
"President Obama talked a lot about creating jobs and expanding the middle class - goals shared by both parties - but actions speak louder than words. The same big-government philosophy of the last five years won’t get us where we need to be. Big brother doesn't create jobs; it creates red tape and debt. We saw it with the so-called stimulus and we've seen it with Obamacare.
“Simply put, the government needs to empower Americans and their employers by getting out of their way. That's how our nation has overcome enormous challenges in the past and it's how we will in the future.
“Our focus should be on lowering taxes, decreasing burdensome government regulations, promoting trade and reducing our nation's debt. This can only be achieved by working together. Advancing a personal agenda through executive fiat ignores the will of the American people, who elect Members of Congress to represent their ideals through the legislative process.   If the President reaches across the aisle and works with us instead of going it alone, we can leave future generations a stronger union."

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Gov. Heineman Announces Line-up for 26th Annual Governor's Ag Conference


Gov. Dave Heineman  previewed the schedule for the 2014 Governor’s Ag Conference to be held Wednesday and Thursday, Mar. 5 and 6 at the Holiday Inn and Convention Center in Kearney. This year marks the 26th anniversary of the conference.
“This year’s conference will challenge conference attendees to think about both the current state and future of agriculture in Nebraska,” said Gov. Heineman. “Livestock welfare, biofuels, and telling the story of Nebraska’s ag industry will all be addressed, giving the farmers, ranchers and agribusiness leaders in attendance a variety of issues to discuss.”
The conference begins at 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Mar. 5. Randy Krotz, with the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance (USFRA), will begin the conference with a discussion about strategies to engage and educate consumers in meaningful conversations about agriculture. 

Kay Johnson Smith with the Animal Agriculture Alliance based in Washington, D.C., will discuss current issues related to animal welfare and livestock production.

Todd Becker, president and chief executive officer of Green Plains Renewable Energy of Omaha will provide insights on current and future policy considerations for the biofuels sector. Green Plains Renewable Energy owns several ethanol plants across the Midwest, including four in Nebraska.
Dr. Ronnie Green, vice chancellor of the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, will discuss the results of University lead analysis that looks at the economic advantages of responsible livestock growth in Nebraska and policy considerations associated with such growth.

“There are some key policy issues that are undecided at this time, so the year 2014 could be pivotal for the agricultural industry,” said Director of the Nebraska Department of Agriculture Greg Ibach. “We feel the lineup of speakers will help prepare us with necessary information for the challenges that await the future of the industry.”
Other activities will include an update from Dr. Charles Hibberd with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension on the new Nebraska Agriculture Experience that will debut at the 2014 Nebraska State Fair, and the “Celebrate Nebraska Agriculture” reception. The reception begins at 6 p.m. on Mar. 5, featuring a wide variety of Nebraska food products, and entertainment by the Dueling Duo, a pianist pair from Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
Anyone interested in agriculture issues is invited to attend. A $100 registration fee covers participation at activities on both Wednesday and Thursday. Registration is available online at, or by calling the Nebraska Department of Agriculture toll-free at (800) 831-0550.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

SCCA Bull Bonanza in Red Cloud February 8

      If you want to see bulls on Main Street and do not want to travel to Pamploma, Spain--- then you can simply travel to Red Cloud, NE on Saturday, February 8.  No they will not be running down the street - but instead safely confined in pens. The South Central Cattlemen Association is holding their 6th annual Bull Bonanza or Bulls on Main Street.  Pens of bulls will line the street in front of Kohmetscher Feeds just off main street, featuring consignments of bulls from cattlemen from across the south central Nebraska region. Display times will be from 10:30 a.m. through 3:30 p.m. 

     The Bull Bonanza will provide an opportunity for area cattlemen to showcase their bulls!  It also provides the opportunity for the public and potential bull buyers, from south central Nebraska and beyond, to view a very nice selection of area raised bulls of various breeds and ages. They can also visit with the cattlemen about their breeding/genetics program and their cattle, or perhaps discuss issues concerning the beef industry.  Attendees can also register for a nice array of door prizes to be given away during the day.  There will be a lunch available prepared by the Red Cloud FFA Chapter .

       It is a nice venue to have representation of the best beef genetics in the area all in one place so you can go from pen to pen and analyze the breeding and production potential of each bull.  You can just come and look, talk to the cattlemen and of course if you find the “right one”, the bulls are for sale.  The season for selecting next year’s bull is upon us and this is a great opportunity to get a head start.  It will also be interesting for 4-H and FFA youth and the public to see the genetics that are available in south central Nebraska all in one place and talk to the cattlemen and families that raise them.  

     There is still time if interested cattlemen would like to consign their bulls to the event. A registration form and entry fee is required by January 30.  For questions or more information please call: Jamie Watts @ 402-984-0177; Amber Illingworth @ 402-469-2952; or Tim Meline @ 402-460-6730 or you may contact the Webster County UNL Extension office in Red Cloud (402-746-3417) or email if you would like a flyer and registration form.  


Duane A. Lienemann
UNL Extension Educator
       If you take a look at a website   that pushes a movie called “Fed Up” that was recently débuted at the Sundance Film Festival, the entire food industry has another battle on its hands. Here is how the introduction of the film reads: “Fed Up blows the lid off everything we thought we knew about food and weight loss, revealing a 30-year campaign by the food industry, aided by the U.S. government, to mislead and confuse the American public, resulting in one of the largest health epidemics in history.” Why is this important?  Let’s take a look at this more closely in today’s article.
    This film is produced by activist Laurie David and Yahoo’s Katie Couric, made its exclusive debut at the Sundance Film Festival this weekend and has already kicked up a PR battle with the food lobby, which is working to counter the movie’s message - “The food industry, like Big Tobacco, bears great responsibility for the nation’s health woes.” The film, in its attempt at discussing obesity in our society and particularly children, focuses the blame on sugar and in particular high fructose corn sugar. That is what got my attention, along with who are the producers of this film. 
    It was of high interest to me that one of the producers of Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” is the producer of this film. She now has homed in on other targets: corn producers and the food industry. According to the producer reaction to the movie has been “wonderful,” noting that all of the showings at Sundance sold out. - “People seem very emotional, and people have said to us that this movie has completely changed the way they look at what they’re eating,” She went on to say,  “We really hope this movie is going to start a movement.” This will likely add fuel to the fire on corn syrup and agitate a movement that was started years ago and had lost steam. Look for this debate and attack on corn to make a big spike.
     The film features several Washington celebrity interviews - many conducted by Couric, who narrates the film - include former president Bill Clinton, Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. There are a handful of other government officials featured in the film, including Richard Carmona, who was surgeon general under George W. Bush, and David Kessler, former Food and Drug commissioner under President Clinton, as well as a long list of doctors and health advocates, including Michele Simon, author of “Appetite for Profit”. According to Katie Couric -“People seem to come out of the theater angry and shocked. I think it’s making a real impact.”  For you that do not remember; Couric, when she was the CBS anchor, was largely responsible for our recent loss of antibiotics in livestock because of her misguided, critical and biased reporting on antibiotic use in animal agriculture several years ago that ignited a firestorm.  
     The film’s production team has a track record when it comes to elevating policy issues. David, a trustee of the Natural Resources Defense Council, is known for her role as one of the producers for “An Inconvenient Truth”, the 2006 Oscar-winning documentary featuring Al Gore that caused a surge of interest in climate warming and used the scare tactic of drowning Polar Bears, New York and Florida under water and both icecaps melting to name a few. That “politically convenient” film was responsible for the push for carbon credits and regulations aimed primarily at agriculture and in particular animal agriculture.  Not surprisingly the Natural Resources Defense Council is notorious for defending the rights of animals and plants over the rights of humans. If they had their way, civilization would be returned to a primitive state. Incidentally, the NRDC is funded by the ultra-radical Tides Foundation and Tides Center. 
     “Fed Up” would represent her first box office release since, though she was a consulting producer on another scare film “GMO OMG” in 2013 which is an aggressively uninformed “documentary” about the corporate duplicity and governmental callousness that the movie says drives the production of genetically engineered crops—which are, in the films view – “such barely concealed poisons that are routinely killing and/or causing disorders that will lead to the death of civilization”. And not to be outdone, “Fed Up’s” director, Stephanie Soechtig, is known for her 2009 documentary “Tapped,” which sparked a greater debate about the environmental impact of bottled water. That particular film examined the role of the bottled water industry and its effects on our health, climate change, pollution, and our reliance on oil. I think you are getting the drift!
     While the food industry has not reacted to most of the negative documentaries that have cropped up in recent years, the Grocery Manufacturers Association, one of the country’s most powerful food industry groups, is going on the offensive this time. The group issued a press release in last week’s Sunday papers responding to the premiere, purchased Google ads to direct people to a landing page touting food industry health initiatives and tweeted about the project Tuesday, calling it “advocacy masquerading as documentary journalism.”  They also put a website that is designed to answer questions not only about this film but also GMO’s in the food chain.  .
      While "Fed Up" is only the latest documentary to excoriate the modern food system, it joins many that have gone before in perpetuating misperceptions and scientifically unsupported assertions about sugar. Although a definitive cause has yet to be determined, the film would have you believe that a single dietary villain (sugar) is uniquely responsible for obesity in America. However, just as decades of research has revealed beneficial and complex roles of dietary fats in healthful diets, the science on sugars is evolving, and answers for many important questions about the role of sugars in health continue to be investigated. Do you have any idea how many food products that corn syrup and other sugars are part of? Hold on to your seed corn caps- it may be more than wind that is going to raise them! 

   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: 

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Bolstering Broadband

Sen. Deb  Fischer

 Geographic hurdles and population density challenges have left many Nebraskans in rural areas without broadband service. Urban residents, too, face problems with aging and outdated telecommunications infrastructure. Insufficient Internet access and dropped phone calls are more than mere inconveniences. They are a threat to public safety, they hinder economic development, and they isolate entrepreneurs working hard to connect with customers and suppliers across the nation.

I believe that promoting a 21st century infrastructure is a core duty of the federal government, which is why I have been working with my colleagues across the aisle to address ongoing communications challenges impacting Nebraskans.

During my time in the U.S. Senate, I’ve led a number of policy initiatives to increase access to high-speed telephone and Internet services for all Americans. I’ve worked with Senator Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) and Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) on a bipartisan resolution urging the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to resolve call completion problems and crack down on carriers that discriminate against rural customers.

In October, I was pleased the FCC announced that it was adopting new rules to improve the agency’s ability to investigate call completion problems. It plans to take immediate steps to improve the performance of long distance calls.

I’ve also worked with Senator Al Franken (D-Minn.) on an amendment to the Senate’s budget. This bipartisan proposal specifically identified broadband infrastructure as a priority for the federal government as it considers deficit-neutral investments for the coming fiscal year. The Senate unanimously adopted our amendment in March.

Despite this progress, another significant hurdle remains for Americans in need of broadband access: taxation.

Chief Justice John Marshall once famously wrote that the “power to tax is the power to destroy.” In recent years, increased taxes on Internet access have destroyed robust broadband development. For example, while broadband is available throughout 95 percent of the United States, only 65 percent of the country is able to actually “plug in.” Part of the reason for this gap in access is rising costs due to new taxes.

As most Americans have learned the hard way, many of these taxes come at the state and local level. As a member of the Nebraska Legislature, I introduced legislation (L.B. 165) to place a limit on the telecommunications occupation tax unless the voters approved such an increase. I was pleased the Legislature passed my bill in 2011.

Now, as a member of the United States Senate, I am proud to cosponsor legislation to prohibit new taxes on Internet access. The Internet Tax Freedom Forever Act, S. 1431, also bans multiple or discriminatory taxes on electronic commerce. Similar legislation was originally enacted in 1998. While it has been subsequently extended several times, the Internet Tax Freedom Forever Act would make the tax prohibitions permanent.

Expanding access to broadband requires both modern infrastructure and affordable costs for consumers. Reliable phone and Internet access are not luxuries. They are necessities for businesses to remain competitive; they help to provide healthcare to rural or remote areas; and they ensure the public safety of our citizens. That is why I’m committed to supporting smart policies to bolster broadband access – it’s a safety issue and it’s a jobs issue.

I will also continue to support legislation like the Internet Tax Freedom Forever Act to push back against taxation on Internet access. Rather than hindering Nebraskans with financial burdens, we should be doing what we can to enhance their access.

AG Bruning warns of Credit Card Fraud.

 Attorney General Bruning issued a consumer alert for Nebraskans to be wary of scam phone calls from (206) 958-8754 that instruct receivers to reactivate a suspended or compromised debit card. The Attorney General’s Office has received seven reports of this scam today.
  “If you didn’t initiate a phone call, you don’t know who is on the other end,” said Bruning. “Personal information like bank, debit or credit card numbers should never be given to unknown people or businesses.”
  Calls from the number instruct receivers to input their debit card number for reactivation. Once a scammer has access to a consumer’s account information, it can be used to make fraudulent purchases or withdraw money from the account.  
Nebraskans who have responded to this scam are encouraged to use a trusted number to contact debit card issuers immediately. In addition, notification should be filed with the three major credit bureaus – TransUnion, Experian and Equifax.  
For more information or to file a complaint, contact the Attorney General’s Office Consumer Protection Division at or 800-727-6432.  

Friday, January 24, 2014

Johanns Statement on OSHA’s Plans to Clarify Regulatory Practices on Small Farms

Nebraska's U.S. Sen. Mike Johanns  issued the following statement regarding the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) pledge to clarify its policies relating to regulating activities on small farms:

“I am pleased OSHA has indicated a willingness to revisit its policy of regulatory overreach on small farms, and I hope the agency is prepared to follow through,” Johanns said. “Stepping back in line with the law means that OSHA must honor Congress’s intent to protect family farms—including post-harvest activities.  And it means OSHA must reverse its pursuit of fines on farms that meet the law’s standards.
“This isn’t a matter of changing the law; it’s a matter of restating the same law that has been on the books for decades, and OSHA must honor the limitations set by Congress. Actions speak louder than words, so time will tell if OSHA is committed to following the law.”

Protecting American Interests Through Trade

Rep Adrian Smith
After years of negotiations, the United States signed and approved trade agreements with Panama, Colombia, and South Korea in 2011, and all three agreements went into effect in 2012.  Each of these agreements brings mutual economic benefits and expands export opportunities for Nebraska goods and products.  They also help protect American interests.
As Nebraska producers continue to expand their sales around the world, some nations are not playing by the rules.  They are using non-scientific standards to exclude Nebraska products and protect their own domestic industries.  For example, in early 2013 Russia attempted to improperly block Nebraska beef from its marketplace based on the use of a common feed additive which is approved under international scientific standards.  The U.S was able to use the threat of legal action to overturn the ban and ensure American products reached Russian consumers.  New and updated trade agreements would help the United States hold additional nations accountable for their trading practices, and help establish better international relationships through mutual economic benefit.
The 2011 trade agreements strengthened our partnerships with three strategic American allies in volatile regions.  We are now working on two agreements, which if properly negotiated, have the potential to strengthen and protect our interests and our influence around the world, while benefiting Nebraska exporters and consumers on a much larger scale.
Some would prefer we sit on the sidelines of these negotiations; but if the U.S. fails to lead, the global agenda could be driven by countries with social and economic objectives unlike ours.  Other nations are not waiting for the United States to move forward with aggressive trade agendas, and our exports would be placed at a serious disadvantage if we do not take a leadership role in talks and insist other countries to adopt high-level standards.
Because 95 percent of consumers live outside of our borders, we cannot wall ourselves and our economy off from the world.  There is a growing market for American manufactured goods and agricultural products.  According to the International Trade Administration, the U.S. had a nearly $60 billion surplus in manufactured products with our 20 trade agreement partners in 2012; a figure which would be even higher if it included unprocessed agriculture commodities.
Nebraska merchandise exports, including agriculture, totaled $7.4 billion in 2012.  According to the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, every dollar in agricultural exports generates $1.34 in economic activities such as transportation, financing, warehousing, and production.
In order to enhance U.S. leverage in the marketplace and update congressional authority and ability to provide direction to the Administration in trade negotiations, we need to pass the Bipartisan Trade Priorities Act which was introduced in the House and Senate earlier this month.  This legislation would enhance congressional oversight of trade negotiations and update and renew the Administration’s authority to pursue high-level trade agreements.  By renewing this authority, we would also demonstrate seriousness about enforcing strong American standards to our negotiating partners as work continues to finalize these agreements.  The previous authority, which was used to negotiate the 2011 agreements, was passed more than a decade ago and has since expired.
As a member of the Committee on Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee, I will continue to lead efforts to promote trade exports with modern, scientific, and fully enforceable standards.  When we support Nebraska exporters, we help grow our economy, enhance American interests, and promote consumer choice around the world.

Blue HIll basketball teams defeat Sandy Creek

The Blue Hill girls basketball team (12-1) defeated Sandy Creek (9-7) 55-45 on Thursday. This was the girls  ninth win in a row.

             The Bobcats hit 60 percent of their free throws.
 Blue Hill Bobcats boys team defeated Sandy Creek with a 54-51 victory.  They now have a  seven win 6 loss record.   

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Cecil Shaw February 2, 1937 - January 19, 2014)

Cecil R. ShawChristian Biography of Cecil R. Shaw
         Cecil Ray Shaw, the son of Rodger and Mary Margaret (Brown) Shaw, was born on February 2, 1937 in Nebraska City, Nebraska. He passed away on January 19, 2014 at Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital, Lincoln, Nebraska at the age of 76 years, 11 months, 17 days.
          Cecil was one of three children. He graduated from Superior High School. Upon graduating he was inducted into the United States Navy serving during the Korean and Vietnam War.
On December 7, 1958 he was united in marriage to June Marie Tetterton in Oakland, California and to this union 4 children were born.
          He was a project manager for Public Storage in Millbrae, California for 10 years, and he also worked at Allen’s when he lived in Hastings.
Cecil enjoyed hunting.
 Throughout his lifetime, Cecil lived in Illinois, Iowa, Hawaii, and California before retiring in Blue Hill, Nebraska.
            He was preceded in death by his parents and brother Marlin “Butch” Shaw.
He is survived by his wife June; daughter Donna Rainbolt and husband James of Oklahoma; sons Ray of San Leandro, California, Philip and Malcolm both of Blue Hill, Nebraska; five grandchildren Christopher, James, Shawne and Jenny Rainbolt and Shawnie Shaw; sister, Marillea Hamel and husband Keith of Boulder City, Nevada; and sister-in-law Avis Shaw of Superior, Nebraska; other relatives and a host of friends.
     Services at: Megrue-Price Funeral Home, Superior,
Nebraska Time of Service: Monday, January 27, 2014 at 2:00 pm
Clergy: Rev. Dr. Jocelyn Tupper
     Burial with Full Military Honors: Evergreen Cemetery, Superior, Nebraska
    Memorials to: In care of the Family
    Visitation: From 1:00 pm-8:00 pm on Sunday at the Megrue-Price Funeral Home
    Funeral Home: Megrue-Price Funeral Home,
750 N Commercial,
Superior, Nebraska 68978
Phone 402-879-3900

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

University of Nebraska at Kearney Deans List

– University of Nebraska at Kearney  announced the names of students who earned a place on the dean’s list for the 2013 fall semester.
To earn a place on the dean’s list, UNK students must complete at least 12 credit hours with a 3.5 or better overall grade point average on a 4.0 scale. Courses taken on a credit/no credit basis aren’t included among the necessary 12 credits.
In recognition of their academic achievements, dean’s list students receive a certificate from their respective deans.
Dean’s list students are noted by an asterisk after their names.
Bladen   – Connor Brown EDUCATION
Bladen – Chantel Pittz* EDUCATION
Blair – Jaclyn Leaders EDUCATION
Blair – Lauren Pfeil EDUCATION
Blue Hill – Alexandra Himmelberg UNDECLARED
Blue Hill – Desirae Kohmetscher EDUCATION
Blue Hill – Riley Bonifas EDUCATION

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Soup Supper success.

Thank you to everyone who made the soup dinner a success today. We raised $1,141.11 for the building fund. I want to thank the parents who pitched in and especially to Carol Kumke for all of her work and cuisine skills. A special shout out to the Webster County Junior Leaders. You are the best!!! We are so proud of you for all you do and for the commitment you all show to our extended communities ---and especially the Webster County Fair! Congratulations on another super event!
Duane Lienemann

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Gov. Heineman Comments on Local Property Tax Hikes


25 counties raise property taxes by more than 10%
 Gov. Dave Heineman commented on the local property tax increases released through the Nebraska Department of Revenue. The Nebraska Department of Revenue has received the 2013 certificates of taxes levied reports from each county assessor in Nebraska’s 93 counties. The data indicates that total property taxes, statewide, increased 5.22% from 2012 to 2013.
Gov. Heineman’s statement follows:
“The latest property tax report shows property taxes are increasing because local government spending is increasing too rapidly. The Department of Revenue property tax report indicates property taxes increased by more than 5 percent in 70 counties. Of those counties, property taxes increased by more than seven percent in 51 counties, and property taxes in 25 counties increased by more than 10 percent this past year.
“These figures reflect the total property tax increase by all local government entities within the county. As I said in my State of the State address, we need our partners in local government to slow the rate of growth in local spending to achieve real property tax relief.”

Blue Hill Basketball Scores Friday January 17, 2013

Blue Hill girls 64 Red Cloud girls 18
Blue Hill Boys 47 Red Cloud boys 33

Friday, January 17, 2014


Duane A. Lienemann
UNL Extension Educator
      As I indicated in last week’s edition, McDonald’s has announced it will begin purchasing verifiable sustainable beef by 2016. I was surprised at the reaction that I had to this article and questions generated. It was fun to hear people’s comments and fears so I decided to study this issue further. I am sure anyone that is involved in the cattle business wonder just exactly what McDonald’s means by “sustainable beef” and as I alluded to last week - nobody knows. And that is a conundrum. Historically, sustainability in the beef business meant that your income exceeded your operating expenses and you were able to stay around for another year. If that didn’t happen – you were unsustainable – out of business! That is simple, but pretty much hits it right on the nail-head for simple people like me. Our consumers didn’t change much or demand more than what we produced. However, consumers change and the world in which cattlemen now must operate are different today. It seems almost moralistic or idealistic in nature. So that’s where our dilemma comes in; everybody has their own mental picture of what sustainability means when it addresses their moral values or their particular ideology.
     The definition that many beef producers now use is: “Sustainability refers to not only the preservation of the environment but also the continuation of U.S. beef production as a profitable and enduring entity. That means not only working to sustain environmental and animal resources but using concepts and practices that will allow U.S. beef production to grow in size and scope, thus offering a future for new generations in production agriculture.”  I can buy into that. Actually up until last week, there was a lot of conversation about beef sustainability, but very little definite action. That has now changed --as we now we have a deadline. You may recall in last week’s column that McDonalds as put a deadline of 2016 to begin purchasing verified sustainable beef. They don’t say how much and they don’t give themselves a timeline to have their entire beef purchases sustainable. But I bet you in 2016, we will have standards and they will have a way to verify them. So the clock starts and it ticks away each day. We better have an idea of where they are coming from.
     In reading into what McDonald means in its definition of beef sustainability it seems to me that they are concerned about the greenhouse gas emissions that have been associated with raising cows and producing beef as well as other major environmental impacts that include: deforestation and land degradation for cattle grazing or feed; the contamination of water, air and other natural resources; and the energy and natural resources embedded in fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides for grain to feed cattle. The company has been addressing some public concerns about beef for years. In the late 1980s, for example, it committed not to source beef from the Amazon biome. In 1997, McDonald’s began working with Dr. Temple Grandin to develop animal welfare standards for cows, chickens and hogs, as well as a supplier-audit program. 
     What I didn’t know last week is that another big retailer is joining McDonalds, or actually they are joining a retailer that has had it in place a little longer.  It should not surprise you that Walmart has also indicated they are going this route.  Somehow last September, I missed the Walmart announcement that it “will have an expanded program with a consistent message and a standard of excellence that will touch at least 50% of the cattle industry by the close of 2016”. This expanded program will include “guidelines on land stewardship, water quality and reduced feed and manure emissions.”
     I don’t think this will be an easy task because of the nature of beef production. It may interest you that roughly 400,000 cattle farms provide meat that eventually ends up in a McDonald’s burger, many of them small operations with 50 or fewer head of cattle. They are the beginning of a value chain that includes ranches, dairy farms, cattle stockers, feedlots, beef packers and processors. Along the way, beef is raised, fattened and slaughtered, and the resulting beef is trimmed, ground, mixed with other beef, formed into patties, inspected, packaged, frozen, shipped to distribution centers and, eventually, to one of McDonald’s worldwide restaurants or Walmart’s retail shelf. Walmart even goes further as it also offers many other cuts of beef and also utilizes a lot of American beef. This all could be troublesome to those small beef producers or suppliers if they don’t have the resources to comply to any outlandish demands that are made.
     So you have McDonald’s and Walmart setting goals that will have to have standards that will have to be met. And today, we don’t know what those standards are. Raising beef cattle is inherently a sustainable process. Cattlemen have always been stewards of the environment. At what point then does sustainability come into question? Is it when cattle are transferred to feedlots? Does sustainability imply grass feeding? Does it mean antibiotic and hormone free? Do the terms “natural” and “organic” factor into sustainability?  This could represent a turning point for the U.S. beef industry, one in which customer expectations drive the market. This could become a future of not making our own decisions.
     With the continuing emphasis on GMO concerns, antibiotics, and hormones - to name a few, how long will it be until demands considering those issues aren’t a part of the equation? With all the pressure and particularly from the well-funded groups that utilize myths to further their agenda, I can’t help but think we may have a long, bumpy ride unless we really do our part in educating the public and its consumers. The beef industry has a good story to tell and we need to continue telling the cattlemen’s story and defend the beef industry, and that effort will now have to shift into road gear. We cannot just sit back and hope problems go away, we must be aware of what is going on in the world around us – apart from our pastures, ranges and/or feedlots and then confront it head on. Hold on to your hat- it may be more that wind that is going to raise it! 

   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: 

Protecting Private Information

Senator Deb Fischer

Identity theft has been the number one consumer complaint at the Federal Trade Commission for 13 consecutive years. According to a report released by the Bureau of Justice Statistics in December, these crimes cost men and women across the country over $24.7 billion in 2012 alone.

Unfortunately, far too many hardworking citizens have endured this difficult and stressful experience. Identity theft leaves victims – especially the elderly – feeling vulnerable. Personal information ranging from their bank accounts to household information has been egregiously compromised.

Recently, news broke that during the holiday shopping season, the popular retail store Target suffered a massive data breach. Initial reports suggested that 40 million customers had their debit and credit card information stolen. Days later, it was announced that the names, addresses and phone numbers of up to 70 million more customers had been pilfered as well.
While details of the breach are still under investigation, potentially more than 100 million Americans – nearly one third of our population – have fallen victim. The number of those violated is staggering, and notably, they account for just one breach.

The scope and volume of information stolen in data breaches put consumers at greater risk of having their identities stolen. Experts suggest it gives criminals increased resources to devise new ways to impersonate victims. It also enables scammers to trick people into providing even more private information, such as PIN and social security numbers.

As many Nebraskans may know, the widely used social media platform, Snapchat, was also recently hacked. Phone numbers of 4.6 million of its users were stolen. It has also been reported that three other retailers, who have yet to be identified, may have been attacked as well.
The American people have enough on their minds. They shouldn’t have the added burdens of fighting identity theft and scammers. Identity theft is not just an inconvenience. It threatens the credit ratings of hardworking citizens, and it’s an enormous tax on people’s time.

This growing crisis has exposed the glaring need to update our data security system. Effective measures to do so will require congressional action. As a member of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, I hope to work with my colleagues on this pressing matter. The committee has an important role in assessing vulnerabilities in our current system and working towards policies that successfully address potential problems.

On January 10, I sent a letter to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Commerce Committee urging them to schedule hearings to examine recent data breaches. These hearings would better enable lawmakers to explore how we can both prevent and minimize the impact of data breaches in the future.

I believe that it is important to hear from security experts, consumers, and businesses owners who have firsthand knowledge of these data storage systems and their weaknesses. Smart policy results from an open, collaborative process with input from all those affected. Our first reaction should not be to automatically dispense fresh reams of red tape. Rather, policy solutions must be thoughtful, targeted, and deliberate to be effective.

I look forward to working with my colleagues, both Republicans and Democrats, on proposals that truly enhance our data security, protect consumers, and make life easier for the American people.

During the week of January 20, I’ll be using the Senate’s “state work week” to travel the state and meet directly with Nebraskans. I plan to be in the Omaha area, Lincoln, South Sioux City, Wakefield, Wahoo, and Oakland. I look forward to visiting these communities and discussing many of these and other topics that are on people’s minds.

Thank you for taking part in our democratic process. I look forward to visiting with you again next week.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Gov. Heineman Calls for Tax Relief in 2014 State of the State Address


Address outlines need for tax relief, "good time" reform & no Medicaid expansion
 Gov. Dave Heineman delivered his State of the State address focusing on the need for property and income tax relief, the reform of Nebraska’s “good time” law and his opposition to Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion.
The first priority identified is property and income tax relief. In his State of the State address, Gov. Heineman said, “Today, I am showing you how Nebraska can afford up to $500 million dollars in tax relief over the next three years because we have a growing economy, a strong cash reserve and we have worked hard to control spending.”
Key points in the Governor’s property tax and income tax relief proposal include the support of Nebraska Farm Bureau’s proposal to lower agriculture land valuations and the lowering of income tax rates for the small business community and middle-class Nebraskans.
Gov. Heineman noted that the State of Nebraska has $1.2 billion in cash in its checking and savings accounts. “In rural Nebraska, record high property taxes are hurting our farmers and ranchers. However, we can help them by supporting the Nebraska Farm Bureau’s proposal to lower ag land valuations from 75 percent to 65 percent. Nebraska’s strong agriculture economy won’t continue to exist with unreasonably high property taxes.
On the need for property tax relief, the Governor noted, “When local government spending increases, property taxes go up. We need our partners in local governments to slow the rate of growth in local spending in order to achieve real property tax relief. Nebraskans know that the Legislature does not set property tax rates.”
Regarding the need for income tax relief, Gov. Heineman stated, “Nebraska’s income tax rates are among the highest in America and higher than all of our neighboring states except one. Lowering Nebraska’s income tax rates are essential to attracting higher paying jobs. Small businesses need lower income tax rates to help grow their businesses and increase jobs. Nebraskans need more middle class jobs in the $60,000 to $120,000 a year category. I am willing to work with the Legislature anytime, anywhere to develop a responsible and meaningful tax relief plan.”
The second priority identified is Nebraska’s “good time” law reform. Earlier this week, Gov. Heineman and Attorney General Jon Bruning announced that during this Legislative Session, State Senator Scott Lautenbaugh of Omaha is introducing legislation that will replace the current so-called “good time” with “earned time.”
Under current “good time” law, inmates sentenced by the judicial system to serve terms with the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services automatically have their sentenced reduced by half for their term of incarceration. The “earned time” proposal requires inmates convicted of the most violent crimes must earn a reduction in their sentence. The proposed legislation would apply to inmates who commit the most violent crimes including murder, manslaughter, first degree assault, kidnapping, sexual assault, robbery, escape, assault of an officer, assault by a confined person, use of a deadly weapon to commit a felony, and similar offenses committed after the bill would become law.
“The public safety of our citizens should be priority number one and that should start with violent criminals being required to earn good time rather than automatically receiving it,” said Gov. Heineman. “I have done all that I can administratively by approving a change to our good time rules and regulations that allow the Department of Corrections to take twice as much good time away when a prisoner assaults a corrections guard or another inmate. Now, it’s up to the Nebraska Legislature to reform the ‘good time’ law.”
Also regarding the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services, Gov. Heineman addressed Nebraska’s current and long term prison capacity issues. To address short-term prison capacity issues, the Governor is recommending additional front line security staff be to ensure state employee safety and that the inmate population is continued to be safely managed. Additionally, current space is maximized by increasing the inmate population at the McCook Work Ethic Camp and by reducing the number of federal detainees in Nebraska’s prisoner system. Finally, the Governor is recommending that the state contract with counties on a temporary basis to house inmates in available space at county jails.
The Department of Correctional Services continues to work on a long range master facility plan which will be completed later this year. The Governor noted that long term capacity issues are more complex and require additional study. Gov. Heineman stated “I am prepared to work with the Nebraska Legislature, the Nebraska Supreme Court, the Department of Correctional Services, and the Council of State Governments to develop a long term prison capacity strategy. There may be opportunities for our state to enact innovative solutions that ensure public safety at a lower cost for our taxpayers.”
Finally, Gov. Heineman reiterated his opposition to Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion.
“The responsible choice is to reject Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion program. The U.S. Supreme Court said Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion is optional. Expanding Medicaid will result in less future funding for state aid to education, special education, early childhood programs, the University of Nebraska, our state college system and our community colleges. Additionally, the federal government is already trillions of dollars in debt, and unlikely to fulfill its promised commitment.”

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Basketball Scores

Gibbon 88  Blue Hill 62

Blue Hill 67  Gibbon 22

Irma A. Nejezchleb April 14, 1928 to January 11, 2014

Feature ImageIrma A. Nejezchleb, 85 passed away Saturday, January 11, 2014 at the Waterford at Miracle Hills in Omaha, NE.

Mass of Christian Burial will be Wednesday, January 15, 2014 at 10 am at St. Michael’s Catholic Church, Hastings, with Father Michael Houlihan officiating. Rosary will be Tuesday, January 14, 2013 at 7:30 pm at the Apfel Funeral Home Chapel, Hastings. Burial will be in Parkview Cemetery, Hastings. Visitation will be Tuesday, January 14, 2013 from 3 pm to 7:30 pm in the Apfel Funeral Home Chapel, Hastings. Condolences may be sent to . Apfel Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements.

Irma was born April 14, 1928 to Carl and Ida (Hoppen) Wilhelms in Webster County, north of Rosemont, NE. She graduated from Blue Hill High School in 1946 and worked for Dutton-Lainson Company before marrying George B. Nejezchleb on May 17, 1949. She was a master seamstress and for a number of years sewed wedding gowns and bridesmaid dresses for area brides.

She was an avid golfer and bridge player. She and her husband enjoyed traveling the country in their motorhome, golfing along the way.

She is survived by her sister, Norma Easter of Sacramento, CA; sister-in-law, Luella Wilhelms of Blue Hill, NE; children Patricia Locatis and husband Bill of Highlands Ranch, CO; Gregory Nejezchleb and wife Anita of Centennial, CO; Mary Raffety and husband Michael of Omaha, NE; two grandchildren, Zachary and Zoe Lynn and one great grandchild McKenna;many nieces, nephews and friends.

She was preceded in death by her parents, husband George, one brother Roy Wilhelms and three sisters, Doris Hubl, Eleanor Jensen and Mona Faimon.  

Monday, January 13, 2014

Approps Bill Includes Johanns’ Language to Rein In OSHA’s Regulatory Overreach


WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) today announced that his language restraining efforts by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to expand their regulatory reach was included in a report accompanying the omnibus appropriations bill. Johanns’ language clarifies a more than three-decades-old provision legally prohibiting OSHA from regulating farms with fewer than 10 employees.
“The inclusion of this language makes it very clear that OSHA does not have the authority to harass family farmers,” Johanns said. “This is more than a victory for our ag producers. It is a win for our economy and the law. It’s unfortunate Congress had to reiterate the law in order for OSHA to follow it – despite a decades-old legal precedent – but with this Administration in regulatory overdrive, we must stay vigilant. OSHA and other agencies should immediately back off attempts to expand their regulatory powers by harassing Americans working to get our economy moving.”
OSHA issued a memo in 2011 claiming the agency could regulate certain types of grain handling activity on small or family-run farms, despite a clear legal prohibition.  Johanns called for OSHA to stop this regulatory overreach and led 42 of his colleagues in a bipartisan letter demanding the agency immediately stop the unlawful regulation of family farms.
The report language is below:
• “The bill continues the exemption of small farming operations from Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulation. The OSHA is encouraged to work with the Department of Agriculture before moving forward with any attempts to redefine and regulate post-harvest activities, to include, but not limited to, storing, drying, grinding, and other activities necessary to market farm products to subsequent users in the agricultural value chain, and clarify that this exemption shall apply to on farm post-harvest activities.”

Feds Should Diagnose & Treat Obamacare Data Breaches

Sen. Mike Johanns

Imagine if you had to hand over your most sensitive information to an organization with a track record of shoddy management, rushed quality control and porous security. This organization is going to share your sensitive material using experimental methods that have yielded a flurry of mistakes, and only the organization will decide if a data breach is important enough to alert you.

Millions of Americans who are being forced to sign up for health insurance on the Obamacare exchanges don’t have to imagine such a scenario. For them, it is very real.
Obamacare’s rollout has been fraught with problems since day one. Corners were cut. Important system security and stability tests were ignored. Unfinished portions of the system couldn’t even be tested before the website went live.
Something must be done to plug the many holes in this website and fortify it against hacking and breaches, especially given the sensitive nature of the information it houses, such as Social Security Numbers.
So last week, I introduced the Health Exchange Security and Transparency Act, which would require the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to notify individuals whose personal information has been unlawfully accessed within two days of the breach’s discovery. The House passed a similar bill Friday, and I hope the Senate Majority Leader will allow consideration of this legislation in a timely manner.
The onslaught of technical snafus on the exchanges left many Americans concerned about whether they would even be able to enroll in the federally-mandated program. But these problems may only be the beginning.
Internal documents at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) warned of serious security concerns before the launch of, which requires individuals’ Social Security Number, contact information and other sensitive material. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)—a branch of HHS tasked with creating the online exchanges—acknowledged that the website didn’t meet important security standards. A memo drafted a week before the website launched stated that the exchange “does not reasonably meet the CMS security requirements,” and “there is also no confidence that Personal Identifiable Information (PII) will be protected.” Yet, despite this information, the Administration charged ahead.
All of this puts millions of Americans at risk for security breaches. Unfortunately, the Administration continues to shrug off much of the concern, even saying it will notify individuals that their information has been compromised only if CMS determines that a risk of harm exists. This is simply not good enough for millions of Americans who were required to submit this sensitive information to a flawed and susceptible website.
I believe the best solution is to repeal the law, but until that happens, the government must be honest about the security problems and take strides to protect the millions of Americans who are being forced to put sensitive data on a vulnerable network.

Governor Heineman and Attorney General Bruning Propose "Earned Time" Law


(Lincoln, Neb.) Today, Gov. Dave Heineman and Attorney General Jon Bruning announced new legislation requiring inmates convicted of the most violent crimes in our state to earn a reduction in a prison sentence rather than receive it automatically. Instead of “good time” credit, Gov. Heineman and Attorney General Bruning are offering the idea of “earned time” credit.
“It is time to eliminate automatic ‘good time’ credit for the most violent inmates,” said Gov. Heineman. “The safety of our citizens should be priority number one and that starts with violent criminals being required to earn any reduction in their sentence, rather than automatically receiving it.”
“Inmates should actively earn sentence reductions,” said Attorney General Bruning. “This bill is the next step in our efforts to protect Nebraskans.”
The legislation will be introduced during the current 2014 Legislative Session by State Senator Scott Lautenbaugh of Omaha.
“The current ‘good time’ law has been in place for over two decades without serious change,” said State Sen. Lautenbaugh. “Given the recent high profile criminal events in the past year, I believe Nebraskans want and expect the Legislature to change the current ‘good time’ law.” 
This “earned time” legislation will replace the current so-called “good time” law. Under current law, inmates sentenced by the judicial system to serve terms with the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services automatically have their sentenced reduced by half for their term of incarceration.
The “earned time” proposal requires inmates convicted of the most violent crimes to earn a reduction in their sentence. The proposed legislation would apply to inmates who commit the most violent crimes including murder, manslaughter, first degree assault, kidnapping, sexual assault, robbery, escape, assault of an officer, assault by a confined person, use of a deadly weapon to commit a felony, and similar offenses committed after the bill would become law.
Gov. Heineman added, “Many Nebraskans are unaware of the automatic sentence reductions under ‘good time.’ They believe that when a judge sentences someone to 20 years that means the person would serve 20 years, not 10 years, which is the reality under current law. It’s time to change the ‘good time’ to ‘earned time’ law.”
For comprehensive change, there are two parts to reforming “good time.” There are Nebraska’s rules and regulations, as administered by the Department of Correctional Services, and the current “good time” law.
Last month, Gov. Heineman signed rules and regulations related to the Department of Correctional Services and the administration of “good time” credit. The new rule allows for corrections officials to take away twice as much “good time” for misbehavior, including assaults on corrections officials and other prisoners. The new maximum penalty allows for up to two years, instead of one year, of “good time” loss for inmates.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Basketball Scores

 At halftime of the Bobcats' basketball game against Silver Lake Friday the score was a 22-all tie. But in the second half the Bobcat team pulled ahead to end the game with a  48-36  victory.  Their record now stands at 3-5.

The Blue Hill girls basketball team took control of the game right from the tip-off and finished with  a 56-30 win over Silver Lake on Friday.  They now have Seven wins and one loss.

The next game for both teams will be in Gibbon on Tuesday, Jan. 14.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Barbara F. Sprague Aug 5, 1934 to Jan 9, 2014

Barbara F. SpragueBarbara F. Sprague, the daughter of Dorothy (Simpson) and Earl Flanagan, was born August 6, 1934 in Gordon, Nebraska. She died on Thursday, January 9, 2014 at Webster County Community Hospital in Red Cloud, Nebraska at the age of 79.

Barbara grew up in Hastings, Nebraska and graduated as valedictorian from Hastings High School in 1952. She attended Hastings College, University of Nebraska at Lincoln and graduated from the University of Denver in 1956. She was united in marriage with Bernard Sprague on August 6, 1955 in Hastings, Nebraska and they moved to Red Cloud in 1963.

Barbara was passionate about numerous church, community, civic and area organizations including: President of Lincoln Diocesan Council of Catholic Women, Chapter Y PEO, Red Cloud School Board, Red Cloud City Council, Republican Valley Arts Council, Red Cloud Community Foundation, Trailblazer RC & D, St. Juliana Choir, Red Cloud Tree Board, Sacred Heart Altar Society, Red Cloud Chamber of Commerce, REACH, TeamMates, Red Cloud Historic Preservation Fund, South Heartland District Health Board, Prairie Friends Club, Red Cloud Brick Street Committee, UNMC Board of Counselors, Willa Cather Foundation, WCCH Pink Ladies and Area Substance and Alcohol Abuse Prevention Board.

In addition to teaching piano lessons for many years, Barbara was a pianist and organist for school music programs, community events and Sacred Heart Church.

Barbara had a genuine compassion and desire to serve others. She will be deeply missed by all who were blessed to benefit from her friendship and spirited determination.

Proceeding her in death were her parents and husband Bernard. She is survived by her children, Michael Sprague of Red Cloud, Nebraska; Dr. Kathleen Mitchell and husband Dr. John Mitchell of Omaha, Nebraska; Patrick Sprague and wife Jackie of Westminster, Colorado and Dr. Ann Sprague and husband Dr. Lance Cooper of Eagle Point, Oregon. Also surviving are 6 grandchildren, Patrick Leon Sprague, John Bernard Mitchell, Emily Suzanne Mitchell, Kyle Toelle, Rigel Sprague, Olivia Sprague and a sister, Sally King and husband Dana of Golden, Colorado.

The rosary will be held at 7:00 pm on Sunday, January 12 at Williams Funeral Home. The Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11:00 am on Monday, January 13 at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Red Cloud, Nebraska with Rev. Paul Frank officiating. Interment will be at the Sacred Heart Cemetery.

Book signing will be Saturday 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., and Sunday, 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

In lieu of flowers the family requests that memorials be made to the Sacred Heart Catholic Church.

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

Friday, January 10, 2014


Duane A. Lienemann
UNL Extension Educator

     Something just came across my desk that caught me by surprise and actually made me do a double take. There was a newsbyte that says by the year 2016, McDonald’s will source only “verified sustainable beef.” McDonald's says its timetable is to support development of global principles and criteria in 2014; develop targets for purchasing verified sustainable beef; and finally to begin purchasing sustainable beef in 2016. The pledge, announced this past week is an effort I would assume to make the fast-food chain’s involvement in meat production both greener and kinder/friendlier to the animals whose meat winds up in its burgers. Just one problem: no one knows exactly what sustainable beef is. I did find a statement that was posted to their website and the fast-food king said it wants “To improve environmental practices in the way beef is produced, support positive workplaces in the beef industry, and drive continuous improvement in animal health and welfare. A world in which ALL the beef in our supply chain comes from verified sustainable sources.” You can find more at:  
     I have my own views on the word “sustainable” and its implications for agriculture, but I wonder just what it is they think is sustainable, or how they define how a beef producer qualifies. This could be very interesting in how they broach this goal as first; there is the matter of semantics --as there hasn't been a universal definition of sustainable beef; and furthermore, the beef supply chain is fragmented with ranchers, suppliers, slaughter houses and patty producers working independently. I also wonder about the statement of “verified.” How and who are major questions in my mind?
     Sustainable beef has been used to describe everything from more effective land use, no use of growth-promoting antibiotics, even organic and/or natural beef. Others look at it as the product of beef producers who are using more nutritional feed or only producing grass-fed beef. I am sure somewhere in the discussion is greenhouse gas emission and how it is related to beef in the supply chain. Their site says that beef represents about 28% of McDonald’s carbon footprint, so it would be logical that what they call “sustainable” beef would be at the top of its agenda. They point out that - “Beyond the greenhouse gas emissions associated with raising cows and producing beef, other major environmental impacts include deforestation and land degradation for cattle grazing or feed; the contamination of water, air and other natural resources; and the energy and natural resources embedded in fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides for grain to feed cattle.”
     Fortunately, McDonald’s has been receiving input from a variety of stakeholder groups as they work to define and promote sustainable beef production through Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB) which includes World Wildlife Fund, NCBA, Cargill, Elanco, JBS, Merck Animal Health, and Walmart. The consortium in their words “has drafted guiding principles/best practices for sustainable beef - a breakthrough for the beef industry, and for McDonald’s.” However, they have not yet drafted a set of rules for beef production for their suppliers. We must remember that beef isn’t the only sustainability issue that they are currently looking at, but it’s not surprising that it’s McDonald’s main focus right now, considering the chain sells about 1 billion pounds of beef annually in the United States. That is a lot of beef!
     I for one do not find this entirely surprising that McDonald’s is being vocal about its newest efforts to go green, as the company has been addressing public concerns about beef for years. However, it is still a significant undertaking that may convince others to do the same and that gives me some cause to pause and think about the potential consequences of their announcement.  The bottom line from a purely business standpoint is that it makes marketing sense, of course, for McDonald’s to commit to sustainable beef purchasing, because room in the fast food industry is as tight as ever, and their company faces stiff competition. Especially with higher meat prices every retailer is looking for an edge.
    We all know about the bad press that is given animal agriculture and in particular – restaurants or food retailers. Think of what Chipotle’s did with their “Scarecrow” and “Back to the Start” videos  and  respectively - just to point out one company’s effort to jump on the trend that seems to be set by anti-animal livestock groups, vegan organizations and of course animal rights groups like HSUS and PETA to name a couple. I am sure that in their eyes the company has no choice but to follow suit in the “sustainable beef” trend if it wants to keep its head above water in this increasingly saturated and aggressive market.
     Supposedly, studies suggest consumers are usually willing to pay more for beef that is hormone and/or steroid-free, anti-biotic free--- or so-called natural meat, so McDonald’s is hoping that its beef’s sustainable label will not only draw customers into stores but also keep them there. The company needs new ways to set itself apart from the competition, and it looks like it just found one. McDonald’s still has two years to get itself prepared for its new commitment, but during that time, the company said on its website that it will “listen, learn, and collaborate with stakeholders from farm to the front counter to develop sustainable beef solutions.” I hope that is the case and we as beef producers can be a legitimate part of that discussion, dialogue and partners in determining what “sustainable beef” is and strives to be. One size does not fit all.  It looks to me that we as beef producers need to continue telling our story and keep hammering home that we humanely see to the health and comfort of our animals and strive to be sustainable as a business--- or we would be literally out of business! For the life of me I cannot understand why they all think we don’t! Folks---this stuff just keeps coming at us!!

   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: 

Johanns Applauds House Passage of HealthCare.Gov Transparency Bill, Calls for Swift Senate Action

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) today commended the U.S. House of Representatives for passing the Health Exchange Security and Transparency Act and called on the Senate to immediately pass companion legislation he introduced with Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) yesterday. The bill requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services to notify Americans within two business days if their personal information has been stolen due to a breach of security on

“This website and this law are so disastrously flawed that Administration experts concluded, ‘there is also no confidence that personal identifiable information will be protected,’” Johanns said. “Until Administration officials acknowledge the need for repeal, they must be honest about the security problems and take strides to protect he millions of Americans who are being forced to put sensitive data on a vulnerable network. The Health Exchange Security and Transparency Act is a commonsense step. I’m pleased it had such strong bipartisan support in the House and urge the Senate Majority Leader to allow a vote in the Senate. Informing Americans when a security breach exposes their personal information is an obvious responsibility of government.”
The legislation passed the House by a vote of 291-122, with 67 Democrats joining Republicans.

Governor & Lt. Governor Announce State of the State Tour


 Gov. Dave Heineman is scheduled to deliver his annual State of the State Address on Wednesday, Jan. 15 at 10:00 a.m. CT from the Legislative Chamber of the Nebraska State Capitol in Lincoln.
Following the 2014 State of the State Address, Gov. Heineman and Lt. Lavon Heidemann will visit several communities across the state to highlight priorities that will be identified in the address. The schedule is as follows. All times are Central Standard Time unless otherwise noted.
In addition to his 10:00 a.m. 2014 State of the State Address on Wednesday, Jan. 15, Gov. Dave Heineman will be speaking at the following times and locations:
  • 10:30 a.m.  Media Availability in Governor’s Hearing Room of State Capitol
 2:45 p.m.  News Conference, Kearney Aviation Center, 4845 Airport Road In Kearney
  • 4:30 p.m.  News Conference, North Platte Regional Airport Terminal Building, Leo Johnson Conference Room, 5400 E. Lee Bird Drive in North Platte

  • 5:30 pm MT  News Conference, Western NE Regional Airport, 250023 Airport Terminal St. #10 in Scottsbluff
On Wednesday, Jan. 15, Lt. Gov. Lavon Heidemann will deliver remarks at the following:
  • 2:00 p.m.  News Conference, Norfolk Area Chamber of Commerce, 609 West Norfolk Avenue in Norfolk

The Governor’s speech will be broadcast live on the NET2 television channel, on NET Radio, and will be streamed live online via NET’s Nebraska Capitol Live site.
Video of the address will be archived on the Governor’s website,

Washington Report: Ethanol Promotes Consumer Choice

Rep. Adrian Smith
When it comes to transportation, consumers demand and deserve choice, which means we should continue to advance an “all-of-the-above” approach to energy development and use.  Fossil fuels have and will continue to play a prominent role in our energy portfolio, but alternatives will allow consumers to be the driving force behind a competitive market and, in turn, better prices.  To facilitate further advances, federal policy should be based on science and not undermine innovation. 
Last year, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed scaling back the amount of renewable fuels blended into gasoline for 2014.  While any changes to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) would likely not be finalized until this spring, I remain concerned about the implications of this decision.
Ethanol provides consumers in Nebraska and across America with a competitive, clean, domestically-produced alternative.  Congress expanded the RFS in 2007 with the goal of promoting energy independence, and giving Americans greater choice at the pump.
Because RFS levels should reflect market realities, the EPA was given the authority to lower RFS volumetric levels if economic or environmental harm, or inadequate domestic supply, has been established.  I have yet to see compelling evidence indicating any of these criteria have been met, and I have asked the EPA to proceed cautiously to ensure action is taken within its given authority. 
At the time EPA was drafting its proposal to lower RFS requirements, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) projected gasoline consumption would drop.  The EIA is now forecasting the demand for gasoline will hold steady – meaning more opportunity to blend and deploy renewables than originally anticipated. 
The EPA may have also based their proposal on unsound arguments about the price of food or environmental impact.  Agriculture, however, is not a zero-sum industry.  We do not have to choose between food, fiber, fuel, and feed.  The efficiency and innovation of producers in Nebraska and across the country, combined with new advances in agriculture technology, are making it possible to produce greater crop yields with less land and less water.  
Occasionally nature trumps even the most advanced tools, as we saw last year with one of the worst droughts in U.S. history.  While prices were up and margins were tight for some, producers understand and try to manage the unpredictable nature of agriculture.  This year, however, harvests are soaring, grain prices are falling, and the EPA has proposed punishing efficiency and burgeoning yields by shrinking an important outlet for these crops.  
I am also concerned about the long-term impact this proposal could have on the emerging advanced biofuels industry.  The biofuels and biotechnology industries have made significant progress developing value-added uses for feedstocks, advancing cellulosic ethanol, and producing biodiesel from a variety of inputs including recycled cooking oil and animal fats.  Lowering certain fuel targets could discourage investment in next generation biofuels and auxiliary research.  
I recently joined my colleagues from Nebraska in writing a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy to express these concerns.  My hope is sound science and the need for consumer choice will guide the agency as it considers these changes.  Growers in Nebraska and around the country are always looking for a better way of doing things.  I am confident, given more certainty and fewer regulatory hurdles, they can meet the wide-ranging demands of a growing world. 
Trade Priorities Act Introduced
This week, Congressman Dave Camp (R-MI) introduced the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities Act in the House of Representatives.  This legislation would enhance U.S. leverage in the global marketplace and update Congress’s authority and ability to provide direction to the Administration in trade negotiations.
As Nebraska producers continue to expand their sales around the world, Congress needs to pass the Trade Priorities Act.  At a time when some nations are putting up tariff and non-tariff barriers to U.S. products, this legislation would help our negotiators ensure Nebraska goods and products receive fair treatment in new agreements which would benefit our economy and hardworking taxpayers.
Nebraska merchandise exports, including agriculture, totaled $7.4 billion in 2012.  According to the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, every dollar in agricultural exports generates $1.34 in economic activities such as transportation, financing, warehousing, and production.

ADRIAN SMITHMember of Congress   

Getting Americans Back to Work

Sen. Deb Fischer


The new year in Congress presents a fresh chance to take on daunting challenges like joblessness in America. I believe that promoting policies that enable job creation is a basic duty of the people’s government. We’ve had five years of economic fits and starts, but the weak job reports and claims of recovery don’t tell the full story.
Our real national unemployment rate, or the total percentage of unemployed and underemployed workers, tops 13 percent – significantly higher than the 7 percent reported by the Department of Labor last November.
That’s nearly 21 million people without work. Our labor force participation rate is at 63 percent – a near 35 year low. The vast majority of these discouraged men and women, including 37,000 Nebraskans, are jobless through no fault of their own.
They are the real-life casualties of failed Washington policies. They are our friends, our neighbors, and our family members. They are decent, hardworking people, who want to regain the dignity of a full day of labor and a steady paycheck.
Unfortunately, instead of a laser focus on job creation, politicians in Washington seem to pivot from issue to issue and miss critical opportunities to pass good policy. Jobless Americans aren’t interested in the politics of who’s to blame. They’re interested in who’s going to fix this mess and – more importantly – how.
The Senate is considering a proposal to extend recently expired unemployment insurance benefits for three additional months. This action would cost the federal government $6.5 billion over the next fiscal year. I opposed advancing this bill because its cost was not paid for, so it would add to our deficit. Nebraskans know that deficit spending isn’t the solution to kick-start our economy.
I was also disappointed the legislation does not include necessary measures to actually create jobs for the millions of men and women looking for work. The best way to support the unemployed is not just to extend benefits. It’s to grow the economy and enable more hardworking Americans to provide for their families.
There are many thoughtful ideas to address the urgent need for job creation and help relieve business owners of unnecessary challenges preventing them from hiring. One of these hurdles is overregulation.
I am a cosponsor of the Regulatory Responsibility for our Economy Act of 2013, introduced by Senator Pat Roberts (R-Kan.). The legislation requires the executive branch to repeal duplicative and onerous rules hindering job creators. It also requires federal agencies to modify, streamline, or repeal significant regulatory actions that are unnecessary or overly burdensome.
I’m also cosponsoring an amendment introduced by Senator John Thune (R-S.D.) to lower the cost of hiring and provide relocation resources for long-term unemployed individuals. This measure includes provisions to strengthen and improve federal job training programs, which are key to ensuring those searching for work are well-equipped with the skills they need.
Another effective way to spur economic growth is broad-based tax reform. Our current tax system is far too complex and ridden with dated loopholes. It’s time to simplify our tax code to encourage pro-growth behavior. I hope to see progress toward meaningful tax reform in the months ahead.
As the Senate continues consideration of legislation to extend benefits for the long-term unemployed, I hope the Senate Majority Leader will allow an open amendment process. There is no shortage of good legislation to address job creation, but these smart policies cannot be implemented without a transparent, collaborative legislative process. I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues and putting forth my own proposals to fulfill my duty to the people of Nebraska to get our friends and neighbors back to work.
Thank you for taking part in our democratic process. I look forward to visiting with you again next week