Friday, February 28, 2014

AG Bruning: Settlement Returns $144K to Nebraska

LINCOLN - Attorney General Jon Bruning announced  Nebraska joined a global settlement with Endo Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of pharmaceutical product manufacturer Endo Health Solutions (Endo). Nebraska’s portion of the settlement is $144,453. Funds will be used to reimburse the Nebraska Medicaid program and to cover legal fees.  
“Nebraska taxpayers won’t foot the bill for unlawfully-marketed pharmaceuticals,” said Bruning. “This settlement helps to ensure our Medicaid funds are used for legitimate purposes.” 
The settlement resolves civil allegations of unlawful marketing practices to promote the drug Lidoderm for conditions not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA approved Lidoderm only for the treatment of pain associated with post-herpetic neuralgia, more commonly known as shingles. 
Between 1999 and 2007, Endo knowingly promoted the sale and use of Lidoderm for use in connection with lower back and chronic pain, which were not medically-accepted indications covered by the state Medicaid program. Endo’s alleged unlawful conduct caused false and/or fraudulent claims to be submitted to the Nebraska Medicaid program. 
Under the terms of the civil settlement, Endo will pay a total of $172,916,967 to the states and federal governments and a $20,000,000 dollar criminal fine. Endo will also enter into a Deferred Prosecution Agreement with the Northern District of New York and a Corporate Integrity Agreement with the Department of Health and Human Service’s Office of the Inspector General. 
Medicaid Fraud and Patient Abuse Unit Since its inception in 2004, the Attorney General’s Office Medicaid Fraud Unit has recovered more than $77 million from violating service providers and drug companies. 
When the Unit was established, Bruning promised the Legislature it would be self- funding in three years. The Unit’s annual recover


Duane A. Lienemann
UNL Extension Educator
     I have over the years tried to inform the readers of this document about issues facing agriculture as well as outlying groups who are always nipping at the heels of farmers and ranchers and particularly the food industry in general.  There is no end of “activists” that are continually espousing myths, half-truths and downright lies about animal agriculture, conventional farming methods, and even technology that we have employed to help feed a hungry world. The litany of alleged ill effects from consuming animal foods is endless. Anyone who’s alive today has been witness to an entire lifetime of activist attacks on meat-eating, factory farms, Monsanto, and the food industry ---basically if you’re a rancher, producer or processor, you’ve been one of the main targets of their ire. The partisans who believe that humans are ordained to exist only on plants believe that impacts on human health and longevity can be blamed solely on dairy, beef, pork or chicken!
     Of course, some of them come from so-called “science-based” research groups -- and we have heard them all, including:  The “real” story about GMO’s; Meat causes heart attacks, strokes and cancer; Cholesterol that comes from meat is a cold-blooded killer; Saturated fat is totally unhealthy and should be completely taken out of your diet; Corn syrup and sugar is the reason for obesity in America; and Diabetes strikes meat-eaters more often than vegetarians; and We feed dangerous “pink slime” to our school kids. Not to mention that the very business of raising cattle or pigs is destroying the entire planet at warp speed. Livestock is the major cause of greenhouse gasses because they give off methane. Manure and urine are contaminating all of our rivers and streams. Let’s not forget about the groups that believe that animals have rights equal to human beings.  All of this, of course, is according to the chorus of critics who constantly bash livestock production, meat and poultry processing and food service industry that has built its business on preparing and serving meat and dairy foods.
     Well, now we have a brand new shocking revolution that I take rather personal. Are you ready for this? Dementia is a direct result of eating cooked meat! Yes, you heard that right. Now, there’s yet another (alleged) outcome that animal industry haters can use to shock consumers: “Meat-eating causes Dementia!” Thanks to some researchers eager to plow new ground or make a name for themselves, there’s now a new study claiming that cooking your meat makes you senile.  And of course --- because I am a cooked meat eater, I forget why.  Maybe I better do some research and write it down before I forget again.  Here - I thought it was age, or perhaps too much imbibing of adult beverages in college…hmmmm!    
     It seems that “researchers” at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York (of course in New York!) published a study in the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences stating that “age-related dementia may be causally linked to high levels of foods containing advanced glycation end products.” What? I will have to admit I had never heard of “glycation” and had no idea what-so-ever that I was eating that.  It sounds kind of ominous and I thought perhaps before I eat another pan fried or grill toasted steak I better study this further.
     First we may want to ask, just what are advanced glycation end products (AGEs)? Well as I understand it these AGEs are formed when proteins or fats react with sugar, which, of course, can routinely occur during cooking, whether browning meat in an oven, or grilling it over an open flame. According to these researchers - “Modern diets are largely heat-processed and as a result contain high levels of advanced glycation end products.” They go on to say that “Dietary AGE products are known to contribute to increased oxidant stress and inflammation, which are linked to the recent epidemics of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.” They go on to suggest that --“AGEs have also been linked to an accumulation of amyloid plaques in the brain — similar to the lesions associated with Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy — that can impair cognitive functioning, as happens in dementia. Oh here we go --- BSE or commonly called “Mad Cow” disease. I remember “the cow that stole Christmas” ten years ago and also remember that it never reached the food chain and none others were ever found!! There was a fear like I had never seen before at that time and it seems that some people cannot just let it rest!
     Don’t get me wrong; Dementia, whether associated with Alzheimer’s or as a result of organic neurological damage, can be devastating. I have seen it in old friends. I also know that it’s a trauma that has been markedly increasing in prevalence over the last few decades. You might ask why? I believe it’s not because we’re suddenly eating more meat, grilling more hamburgers, or ordering more pan-fried flat iron steaks; but instead, thanks to better nutrition, public health initiatives and the advances of modern medicine, we’re living a lot longer than ever before. For example: according to the Health and Human Services’ Administration on Aging, the number of Americans aged 65 and older will increase from 40.22 million today to 88 million by 2050 (doubled) and the number of Americans aged 85 and older is projected to increase from about 5.71 million alive today to some 19.04 million by 2050, nearly quadruple the current total. Why isn’t age the main target?
     I think there needs to be something pointed out on this research. They fed mice a high-AGEs diet and then observed a build-up of proteins in their brains that impaired cognitive functioning, if running through a maze to get a piece of cheese can be considered cognition. The problem is that we’re talking mice, lab animals that are fed high doses of whatever substance is under study until they develop symptoms significant enough to measure. Such tactics hardly parallel human lifestyles, where any study of dietary nutrients is compounded by literally dozens of extraneous factors, from genetics to stress levels - to environmental considerations. I don’t think they provided definitive answers. I’m grilling steaks tonight!!
   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 Comments on Economic Forecasting Board's Increased Revisions


(Lincoln, Neb.) Gov. Dave Heineman today issued a statement following the Nebraska Economic Forecasting Advisory Board’s report updating the forecast for Fiscal Years 14 and 15 to include an additional $99 million of state revenue.
“With increased revenue, the Legislature now has a clear choice: tax relief for Nebraskans or a spending spree for special interest groups. The priority should be tax relief for Nebraska families,” said Gov. Dave Heineman.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Legislative Newsletter

Sen. Tom Carlson
This is the 34th day of the 60 day, short session. Standing committee hearings will be completed this week. Monday is a recess day, meaning the legislature is not in session to allow time for senators to return to their home districts. All day debate begins on Tuesday, March 4th.
As various news outlets have reported, the big issues to be solved will be on the agenda. This is not unusual as it takes time for bills to go through the hearing process and then often rewritten to reflect the needs of our citizens. My water resources bills stand right up there with those big issues, as well as medicaid expansion, tax reform, school funding, and prison reform.
The Natural Resources Committee, which I chair, heard one of my water bills, LB 1098, yesterday. That bill would change membership and powers and duties of the Nebraska Natural Resources Commission. It is very important to help us reach water sustainability in the state.
The Revenue Committee has begun to advance bills to address Nebraska tax reform possibilities. One of those bills, LB 987, would adjust individual income tax brackets for inflation and exempt Social Security payments up to a certain amount. These are issues that have frequently come to my attention and that I feel could aid in economic development and keep more retirees in our state. But we must remember that all bills are usually amended before they are passed.
I introduced LB 960, before the Revenue Committee on February 20th. My bill would adjust down inheritance tax rates for lineal descendants from 13% to 7% and in the case of all others, from 18% to 9%. I will be surprised if any bill concerning county inheritance tax advances out of committee. However, I still believe the top brackets are too high and should be lowered.
The budget is always a major bill in any session. The main budget for the two year cycle passes during the long, 90 day, session. It is amended during the short session. The Appropriations Committee must advance their final budget to the floor by March 10, which is Day 40. It must be passed and presented to the Governor by the 50th legislative day.
The Nebraska Economic Forecasting Advisory Board will meet tomorrow. This board was created in 1984 to advise the governor and the legislature for state general fund revenue projections. Consisting of nine members, the board develops a consensus projection of the state’s economic activity as it relates to the general fund revenue derived for existing state tax rates. Members must demonstrate expertise in tax policy, economics, or economic forecasting. They meet three times a year in odd-numbered years and twice in even-numbered year.
We have debated LB 1016 for two days. Introduced by Senator Krist of Omaha, the bill would authorize the purchase of a new state aircraft, to be used only for state business. A new Beechcraft King Air would cost $3.6 million. Senator Krist’s research shows that 37 states operate this particular aircraft. The bill also calls for the state to sell an older plane that is now used. The bill advanced to the second round of debate.

Johanns Statement on OSHA’s Decision to Drop Case Against Nebraska Farm


WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Mike Johanns (R-Neb.)  said Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) decision to drop its case against a Holt County farm is an important step in bringing the agency back in line with the law. The small farm, which was illegally targeted by OSHA, had been facing $132,000 in fines.
“OSHA had no business regulating this family farm to begin with,” Johanns said. “I’m pleased they are doing the right thing by correctly dropping the case. Producers shouldn’t have to worry about the government placing undue and illegal burdens on their operations. The law clearly exempts small farms from OSHA regulations, and I’m glad the agency took this step to get back in line with the law.”
Earlier this year, Johanns’ language clarifying a 30-plus year provision that excludes family farms with fewer than 10 employees from being regulated by OSHA was included in the omnibus appropriations package. Johanns also led 42 Senate colleagues in a bipartisan letter demanding the agency immediately stop the regulation of family farms. Since then, OSHA has pledged to clarify its policies on regulating the activity of these farms.

Fischer Introduces Legislation to Protect Taxpayers from IRS Overreach

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) has introduced a pair of bills to protect taxpayers from overreach by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), which systematically targeted and delayed the applications of conservative organizations applying for tax-exempt status beginning in 2010.

“As the federal agency tasked with administering the U.S. tax code, the IRS has extraordinary influence on the lives of Americans from all walks of life and all points of view,” Senator Fischer said. “Nebraskans and all Americans have the absolute right to expect the IRS to be free from political influence, with taxpayers treated fairly and enforcement carried out in an unbiased manner. These two bills protect the constitutional rights of taxpayers, increase transparency, and promote accountability of the IRS, which has a long way to go to regain credibility and restore public trust.”

The Stop IRS Overreach Act (S.2043) would prohibit the IRS from asking any taxpayer questions regarding their religious, political, or social beliefs. It also expresses the sense of Congress that:

  • Any exceptions later enacted by Congress should clearly identify the content of questions, the class of taxpayers to be questioned, and circumstances under which questions will be asked; and
  • If the IRS Commissioner determines that asking such questions would aid in the administration of tax laws, then he/she should submit a report to Congress detailing the content of the questions, the class of taxpayers to be questioned, and circumstances under which questions will be asked.
Text of the legislation is available online by clicking HERE.

The Taxpayer Accountability Act (S.2044) would require the IRS to:
  • Provide a written response to any taxpayer correspondence within 30 days;
  • Notify a taxpayer within 30 days after disclosing their taxpayer information to another government entity; and
  • Conclude any audit of an individual taxpayer (and the related taxes of such audit) within one year of initiating the audit.
Text of the legislation is available online by clicking HERE.

On Tuesday the House of Representatives unanimously approved companion legislation for both S.2043 and S.2044.

Senators Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) and Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) are original cosponsors of both The Stop IRS Overreach Act (S.2043) and The Taxpayer Accountability Act (S.2044).

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Quote of The Day

"Time goes by so fast. People move in and out of our lives. You must never miss an opportunity to tell people what they mean to you."

~Frasier Crane,  in the final episode of "Cheers"

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Bob Clark Benefit - Mardi Gras Party

“Stand up for BOB” with the Bob Clark Benefit and Mardi Gras Party on March 1st at the Hasting Elks Club from 1pm-11pm. The night includes a Silent Auction 1pm-9pm, Food 1pm-9pm, Dance 7pm-11pm, $1 Raffles 1pm-11pm (drawing every half hour, Split the Pot and Bake Sale.

In May 2000, Bob Clark of Kenesaw was in a single car accident which left him quadriplegic, paralyzed from the chest down. He is confined to a power wheelchair and requires 24 hour skilled nursing provided by his wife Paige, of 20 years, and two sons Kade and Tyce. Deep cuts to state programs for the disabled have created financial hardships for the Clark family.
The Bob Clark Benefit is to help purchase the adaptive and medical equipment Bob needs to live his life with dignity and as much independence as possible. The proceeds will help lift some of the financial burdens brought on by Bob’s catastrophic injury.
Please Share, Share, Share!!!!

Gov. Heineman: Nebraska Ranks First in Nation for Cattle Feeding


(Lincoln, Neb.) Today, Gov. Dave Heineman was joined by Department of Agriculture Director Greg Ibach in applauding Nebraska’s ranchers and those involved in the cattle and agriculture industry, noting the state’s new position as the nation’s top state for cattle feeding.
The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service has released its monthly national report, Cattle on Feed, for feedlots above 1,000 head capacity. The state of Texas traditionally has been the top cattle feeding state in the nation. However, as of Feb. 1, Nebraska surpassed Texas by 20,000 head. At the beginning of this month, Nebraska had 2.46 million head of cattle on feed in feedlots above 1,000 head, compared to Texas’ figure of 2.44 million head.
“This is a milestone for our modern and progressive agriculture industry,” Gov. Heineman said. “Over the past decade, we have worked hard to develop and strengthen our corn, ethanol and cattle feeding sectors for the good of the whole.”
Director Ibach noted that while these figures could fluctuate over the next year, there has been an overall positive trend for cattle feeding in Nebraska.
“There are many variables in the business of feeding cattle and Nebraska is a natural fit,” Dir. Ibach said. “Nationally, we are the second largest ethanol producer and third in corn production. We have nearly 23 million acres of range and pastureland, an excellent partnership with the University and a strong processing sector. These position Nebraska well for ongoing success.”
Gov. Heineman added, “A strong livestock sector is critical to the state’s overall economic well-being. When our cattle industry does well, Main Street Nebraska prospers.”
“We are the third largest agricultural state in the nation, and I don’t expect that to change,” Dir. Ibach said. “We also need to continue to encourage our young, beginning farmers and ranchers to get into the business of growing food.”
Livestock development will be an important topic covered during the Governor’s Ag Conference scheduled for March 5-6 at the Kearney Holiday Inn. Registrations are still being accepted by visiting the Nebraska Department of Agriculture website at, or by calling 800-831-0550.

Monday, February 24, 2014

June Shaw June 4, 1938 to February 22, 2014

Biography of June Shaw

June ShawJune Marie Shaw, the daughter of John and Fannie (Rowe) Tetterton, was born on June 4, 1938 in Beaufort, North Carolina.
She passed away on February 22, 2014 at the Rose Brook Care Center at Edgar, Nebraska at the age of 75 years, 8 months, 18 days.
June graduated from Oakland High School in Oakland, California. She was a former member of the Brookside Baptist Church in Oakland, California.
On December 7, 1958 she was united in marriage to Cecil Ray Shaw and to this union was born 4 children.
While in California she was the project manager of Public storage in Millbrae.
She worked for Wal-Mart in Hastings while living in Blue Hill, Nebraska. She also lived in Hawaii and Iowa for a short time.
She loved to sew, do needle point, garden, knit, attend auctions and collect antiques.
         She was preceded in death by her husband Cecil,on January 19, 2014, her parents and a brother Troy Tetterton and brother-in-law, Marlin "Butch" Shaw.
She is survived by her daughter Donna Rainbolt and husband Rodney of Oklahoma, sons Ray of San Leandro, California, Philip and Malcolm both of Blue Hill, Nebraska; five grandchildren Christopher, James, Shawn and Jenny Rainbolt and Shawnie Shaw; sister-in-law, Marillea Hamel and husband Keith of Boulder City, Nevada; sister-in-law Avis Shaw of Superior, Nebraska; other relatives and a host of friends. Services were at: Megrue-Price Funeral Home, Superior, Nebraska

Saturday, February 22, 2014


Duane A. Lienemann,
Unl Extension Educator

     I just got back from my annual foray to the Nebraska Cattlemen Classic. My wife cannot understand how I can spend the weekend let alone 3-4 days--- just looking at “cows”. That is not an easy question to answer unless you have the livestock show bug like I do. It isn’t just about watching other people’s cattle being paraded in front of a judge, or keeping record of what the individual breed’s heifers and bulls bring at auction. It is much more than that. Let’s take a look this week what my addiction may be.  Why do people like me take the time and effort to attend events like this, not for just a few hours, but perhaps for several days? Let’s discuss this phenomenon in today’s article from my point of view.
     From the very first time that my dad and grandpa took me to my first sale barn visit as a toddler I was intrigued by the livestock industry, and everything that goes with it. I loved sitting watching our cattle or hogs being sold. I also marveled at all the different colors, shapes and sizes that would come into the ring. I am sure I probably said: “Dad (or Grandpa) – those steers/pigs don’t look like ours.” I don’t recall him explaining to me why they were different --as he most likely he would say “Let’s go get a hamburger (more likely a piece of pie) from the Sale Barn Café, no matter if it were in Franklin, Smith Center, Kearney, Blue Hill or even Omaha. Nothing ever seemed to taste as good as the food at any of those “barns”, no matter the aroma or what was on farmer’s boots, jeans or overalls. Never mind the occasional fly or people tripping over chairs or feet trying to get to the arena because their animals were selling or that group of heifers they wanted to see sell were coming in. It was part of my education away from school. It was a true lesson in agricultural life.
     That curiosity and perhaps an innate desire to be close to livestock - and the people who raised them - led me to become active as a youth in 4-H and FFA with livestock projects, and of course we frequented the local county fair with our own animals, helped others with theirs and in general it seemed that it was just a part of what life was supposed to be. I had the opportunity to help a neighbor get bulls and heifers ready for show and sale. I prepared my 4-H/FFA steers and heifers for county fair. I learned a lot from showing livestock. As a kid, they were my responsibility. I washed them each day, halter broke them, combed and clipped - which allowed me to really bond with these calves and helped me to fall in love with the beef cattle industry. You felt the raw emotions of losing an animal from an assortment of reasons like heat, bloat, birthing problems, lightning --- or perhaps putting that animal on a truck for its final destination. You found out just how much these animals depend upon you, which in turn led to either profit or loss, depending upon the care and herdsmanship that you gave them. You learned the uncertainties and even the inevitable. These too were lessons in agricultural life.
     Over the years, I’ve felt the sting of last place and the glory of a championship. I may have been a little confused my first time out in the show ring as my mother told me that I was about mid-pack in a market beef class at the Franklin County Fair and I got a blue ribbon, but when I came out of the ring I was upset, it wasn’t about not winning, but rather that the kid next to me got a red ribbon and I thought it was prettier. I must have been an early Husker fan. Of course I learned later the value of those ribbons and even trophies and became rather competitive. Matching wits with the judge or other exhibitors was fun. Even though I disliked the taste of losing, my parents always reminded me that win or lose, at the end of the day, showing animals was much more than a place in a class line-up, a ribbon or a trophy – much, much more. 
     There is something about the smell of the mix of show adhesives and oils, mixed with the typical aroma of animal waste, wood chips and the barn dust that everyone that attends these events can attest to. Not to forget the alluring smell of the food wafting to you from the vendors or the crockpot or grills of exhibitor families that pop up in some corners of the barn or right outside of their “space”. You cannot carry on a quiet conversation with the sound of blowers, fans, clippers, clinking of clipping chutes and the mooing of cattle and the excited chatter of kids, parents and those just there to watch. We still, over the din and activities going on, exchange handshakes and pleasantries, talk beef or other livestock issues, or discuss who we think will win the show or perhaps our take on how good or bad that judge is. Time goes by fast.
     One thing that I have found over the years is that people who raise animals or are involved in the livestock industry are a rare breed in their own right. They are good, hard-working people who strive for better animals, better feed and/or management --and when it comes to showing those animals -- cost is not that much of an option, as it is an expensive “hobby” but they find a way to do it. They live the life that they love. It does get in your blood and ---stays there. 
     You really do feel that you missed something if you choose not to go, or if something else conflicts with these venues. Perhaps it is visiting with the vast cadre of friends from all around the country. Maybe it is the draw of those smells and sounds I described earlier. For many, including me, it could be to check your eye, to see if you can still place a class or pick out a champion – keep up with the industry. For many it is to support friends, family, kids or grandkids in their endeavor or perhaps to support a particular breed of beef. It may simply be the opportunity to talk to vendors like semen services, feed or animal health representatives or livestock equipment manufactures or maybe to study and purchase something. Perhaps it is the sharp staccato and occasional tapping of a gavel that is germane with the auctioneer. One thing is for sure. I am not alone with this affliction. It would be fun to hear what others say – in part so I have an answer for my wife! What say you?

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

Friday, February 21, 2014

The Need for LB 811: Keeping K2 Away From Our Kids

By Attorney General Jon Bruning 
Each year, my office presents a legislative package comprised of measures designed to provide additional safeguards for Nebraskans. LB 811 is one of the most critical pieces of legislation proposed this year. LB 811 amends the statewide ban to include new chemical compounds used to make the deadly drug K2. 
As Attorney General, I’ve made protecting children my top priority. Because of that commitment, my office worked with Senator Ken Schilz to draft LB 811, the most comprehensive K2 ban in the country. 
K2 is a synthetic drug sold online and in head-shops across the state. The K2 products, marketed as potpourri or incense, often have cartoon characters on the packaging with names such as Scooby Snax and Mad Hatter. The colorful, whimsical packaging does nothing to convey the very real danger of using the drug. K2 causes users to hallucinate, have panic attacks and seizures. Last year, we heard devastating reports of Nebraska teens losing their lives after using this drug. Nobody wants to see another life lost to K2. 
I know criminals will always look for ways to slip through the legal cracks. And as states have moved to ban K2, new ways have been found to make variations of the drug. 
Those who are peddling these drugs aren’t just basement cooks – they are professionals. The compounds are developed by people who know what they’re doing and how to circumvent the current ban. They are chemists, working in professional labs looking to get rich from creating and selling synthetic cannabinoid combinations. For each substance banned, a chemist will combine it with others – creating compounds that aren’t directly addressed by current law. 
This bill provides a comprehensive ban on K2 formulas and compounds, regardless of minor changes made by the manufacturers. 
It’s time to get K2 off the shelves, prevent its accessibility and protect our kids from this increasingly popular and dangerous drug.


"Coming together is the beginning.
Keeping together is progress.
Working together is success."

~Henry Ford

Marjorie J. (McClure) Van Boening Febr. 22, 1927 to Febr. 18, 2014.

Marjorie J. (McClure) Van Boening
Marjorie Jean (McClure) Van Boening, 87, Blue Hill, Nebraska, died Tuesday, February 18, 2014, at the Blue Hill Care Center, Blue Hill, Nebraska.
Services will be Saturday, February 22, 2014, at 10 a.m. at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Blue Hill, Nebraska, with Pastor Don McMillan officiating.
 Burial will be at the Blue Hill Cemetery in Blue Hill, Nebraska.
Visitation will be Friday, February 21, 2014, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. with family present from 5:30-7 p.m. at Merten-Butler Mortuary and one hour prior to services at the church.
Memorials can be directed to the church.

Marjorie Jean McClure was born February 22, 1926 on a farm near Blue Hill, Nebraska to James and Laura (Burroughs) McClure.  She was baptized in the Methodist Church.
Marjorie has been a member of the St. Paul Lutheran Church of Blue Hill since December 26, 1948.
She attended Cloverton Country School the 0th grade and graduated from Blue Hill High School in 1943
Frederick VanBoening and Marjorie McClure were married at the home of the brides parents May 5, 1947.  The union was blessed with five sons, Craig, Lee, Neil, Brian and Hugh.  The couple celebrated fifty years of marriage. Marjorie enjoyed farm life and horse, dogs and cats.
She was a member of Women of the Word, RSVP, and the American Legion Auxiliary.
Marjorie is survived by her five sons, Craig and Brian of Bakersfield, California; Neil of Wymore, Nebraska, Lee of Grand Island, Nebraska and Hugh of Fairfax, Virginia, 12 grandchildren and 9 great grandchildren. 
She was preceded in death by her husband Frederick VanBoening , September 22, 1997, one sister, Maxine Johnson and two brothers Victor and Glen McClure and an infant grand daughter. 

The Physics of Government

Sen. Deb Fischer


Last week, I discussed my efforts to expedite health information technology by cutting unnecessary red tape. Big government is not just holding back technological progress. It’s holding us back on a number of other fronts and intimidating citizens along the way.
Farmers and ranchers have experienced this firsthand with aerial surveillance of their operations conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Though the agency repeatedly refused to provide information about these flyovers, Congress recently passed legislation that included a provision requiring EPA to submit a full account of the surveillance program.
Many journalists and news organizations encountered similar issues last year when the Department of Justice admitted to secretly seizing the phone records of reporters. The chilling effect of these privacy invasions poses a serious threat to a free press.
Another alarming example of government overreach is the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) harassment of conservative groups. IRS officials have admitted to deliberately delaying the applications of conservative organizations seeking tax-exempt status. Though these practices were only uncovered last year, it’s been reported that the harassment began as early as 2010.
Rather than getting to the bottom of the IRS scandal, the administration is now pushing new regulations that could further curtail First Amendment rights. The proposed rules target civic groups involved in political activity by limiting their participation in the public debate.
I believe that any infringement – large or small – upon our basic constitutional rights is unacceptable. I’m working to fight this pattern of overreach. I recently sent a letter, along with several of my colleagues, to the IRS commissioner urging him not to move forward with these new rules.
I also cosponsored the Stop Targeting of Political Beliefs by the IRS Act of 2014 to get to the root of the problem. This legislation would prevent further targeting of conservative groups and suspends any IRS rulemaking on the issue for one year. Given the agency’s recent outrageous behavior and its intended role as the impartial enforcer of our nation’s tax laws, the IRS is in no position to issue new regulations defining political activity.
President Ronald Reagan said, “As government expands, liberty contracts.” He referred to this principle “as neat and predictable as a law of physics.” I believe he was right, and I know many Nebraskans agree. A healthy democracy promotes civic engagement – it doesn’t squelch it.
A government that acts behind the scenes or beyond its legal authority diminishes the rights of American citizens. These actions also weaken the public’s confidence in the government’s ability to carry out even its most basic duties. In short, government has a credibility problem.
That’s why the president faced a great deal of skepticism when he announced his plans to use more executive actions to implement and modify laws. Instead of working collaboratively with Congress, which has an important oversight role in promoting transparency and accountability in government, the administration is simply dictating rules through executive fiat.
For example, the administration has issued executive orders to enact sweeping regulations on coal-fired power plants. Though these rules will adversely impact Nebraskans and many Americans across the country, they were never brought before Congress for a vote. We’ve also seen the administration use executive action to issue selective delays of ObamaCare and rewrite the president’s disastrous healthcare law.
These actions cut people out of the policy-making process. I’ve written to President Obama raising these concerns and seeking answers about his administration’s use of executive actions to pursue its agenda. I also joined a resolution of disapproval to stop the EPA from imposing its proposed rule effectively banning construction of new coal-fired power plants. The resolution would ensure the Senate has a chance to vote on and repeal the regulation before implementation. Rather than side-stepping Congress, the president should allow the American people to have a say in these policies through their elected representatives.
I believe a government “of the people, and by the people” must be accountable to the people. Rest assured I will continue to work to promote greater transparency and push back against government overreach.
Thank you for taking part in our democratic process. I look forward to visiting with you again next week.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

District Court Declares Nebraska Pipeline Law Unconstitutional Governor’s Approval Of Pipeline Declared Invalid - TransCanada KXL Pipeline Hits Wall In Nebraska Court

OMAHA, Neb. –  The Nebraska Legislature’s 2012 L.B.1161 allowing TransCanada Keystone XL Pipeline Co. to proceed with construction across Nebraska was declared unconstitutional and void. The ruling came from Lancaster County District Court Judge Stephanie Stacy, today.
The Court ruled for three Nebraska landowners who challenge the law. The ruling includes a permanent injunction preventing Gov. Dave Heineman, and the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality from taking any further action to authorize or advance the pipeline under the unconstitutional law.
Judge Stacy concluded that LB 1161 unconstitutionally confers upon the Governor of Nebraska authority to approve a crude oil pipeline route, and to authorize the crude oil pipeline company to exercise the power of eminent domain against Nebraska landowners. 
Siding with three landowner plaintiffs, the District Court concluded that under Nebraska’s State Constitution, exclusive regulatory control over pipeline companies like TransCanada Keystone XL must be exercised by the Nebraska Public Service Commission, and cannot be given to the Governor.
The Court declared LB 1161, unconstitutional and void. Judge Stacy also concluded that action by Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman purporting to approve TransCanada’s route and to empower the pipeline company to take land from Nebraska property owners is null and void. The court’s action effectively rescinds Gov. Heineman’s notification to Pres. Barack Obama that Nebraska legal procedures had been satisfied.
Now, it is back to the drawing board for Gov. Heineman and the Legislature. Dave Domina, the lawyer who handled the case for the landowners summarized the Ruling: “Under the Court’s ruling, TransCanada has no approved route in Nebraska. TransCanada is not authorized to condemn the property against Nebraska landowners. The pipeline project is at standstill in this State.”  
The Court’s extensive, 50-page opinion is accompanied by 248 footnotes. The opinion dissects LB1161 on state constitutional grounds.  The decision turns largely on the pipeline’s status as a “common carrier”.  Common carriers are regulated by the Public Service Commission under the Nebraska Constitution.
Dave Domina noted that “this case is not about the merits of any pipeline in particular. This is a landowner rights case involving whether a specific statute was invalid under the Nebraska State Constitution.”
Domina’s clients contend the law was, and is, unconstitutional and void. The District Court agreed. 
Domina stressed, “This is not a commentary on the pipeline project. That subject belongs to the President of the United States exclusively. This ruling means that, in Nebraska, the Governor’s office has no role to play, and all state law decisions must be made by the Public Service Commission.”   
A copy of the Court’s Opinion is found HERE:    

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

2014 Nebraska Cattlemen’s Classic Horned and Polled Hereford and Red Angus

Wednesday of the Nebraska Cattlemen’s Classic featured the “red” cattle for the week and the cattle breeders certainly turned out to watch the first day of cattle shows for the 23rd  Anniversary of the NE Cattlemen’s Classic. The day started off with the Horned Hereford, Polled Hereford and Red Angus Shows followed up by the breed sales.  Attendance was very good for the first day of the cattle shows and sales. 
Horned Hereford Sale
The 2014 Nebraska Cattlemen’s Classic Horned Hereford Show and Sale were held Wednesday, February 19th in Kearney, NE.  28 bulls and 5 females participated in this year’s sale.  Judge was Les Jones of Wills Point, TX. Auctioneer was Jim Birdwell of Fletcher, OK. 
Taking home Grand Champion Horned Hereford Bull was Lot 33, WCC LSW W14 TG Sundance 3113, consigned by White Cattle Co., Buffalo, WY.  This bull is a 5/25/2013 son of LSW WCC About Time X06 and he sold to Mike Dyer, Dyer Ranch, Crawford, NE, & Keith Lapp, Lapp Ranch of Hays Center, NE, for $4,500.
Reserve Champion Horned Hereford Bull was Lot 23, WS Cruise 306, consigned by Diamond Ring Ranch, Taylor, NE.  This bull is a 2/13/2013 son of UPS Domino 3027 and he sold to Mike Anderson, Gothenburg, NE, for $4,500.
High-Selling Horned Hereford Bull was Lot 22, HH Time Domino 1317, consigned by Hula Herefords, Creston, NE.  This bull is a 2/11/2013 son of UPS About Time 0138 and he sold to Gerald Kealiher, Polk, NE, for $7,500. 
Grand Champion Horned Hereford Heifer was Lot 37, Hutch Lady Sentry 1303, consigned by Hutchinson Farms, Chapman, KS.  This heifer is a 4/5/2013 daughter of JC YCC American Sentry 1156 and she sold to Eric Gabel, Brush, CO, for $3,250.   
The Reserve Champion Horned and High-Selling Horned Hereford Heifer was Lot 38, WCC 141W Georgia 318 ET, consigned by White Cattle Co., Buffalo, WY.  This heifer is a 4/27/2013 daughter of Golden Oak Outcross 18U and she sold to Eric Gabel of Brush, CO, for $5,000.  
The 2014 sale featured 28 bulls averaging $3,525.  5 heifers sold for an average of $3,110 in 2014.  Overall, in 2014, there were 33 cattle that grossed $114,250 and averaged $3,462.  
Polled Hereford Sale
The 2014 Nebraska Cattlemen’s Classic Polled Hereford Show and Sale were held Wednesday, February 19th in Kearney, NE.  25 bulls and 9 females participated in this year’s sale. Judge was Les Jones of Wills Point, TX. Auctioneer was Jim Birdwell of Fletcher, OK. 
Taking home Champion Polled Hereford Bull honors and high-selling was Lot 29, WCC LSW 9101 TG Cheyenne 305, consigned by White Cattle Company of Buffalo, WY.  This bull is a 4/3/2013 son of LSW WCC About Time X06 and sold to Dyer Ranch, of Crawford, NE, for $11,000.  
Reserve Champion Polled Hereford Bull went to Lot 41X, PRCC DPM Wisdom 2A, consigned by Prairie Rose Cattle Company of the Prairie Cross of Sherman, IL.  This bull is a 2/24/2013 son of NJW 73SM326 Trust 100W ET and he sold to Doug Rumsey of Madison, NE for $3,100. 
Champion Polled Hereford Heifer and high-selling heifer was Lot 36, MCM Lady Trust B322A consigned by MCM Polled Herefords of Ayr, NE.  This heifer is a 3/25/2013 daughter of NJW 73S M326 Trust 100W ET, and she sold to Jefferson Keller of St. Paul, NE, for $8,500.   
The Reserve Champion Polled Hereford Heifer was Lot 33, Frenzen Princess Z81 consigned by Eric Frenzen of Fullerton, NE.  This heifer is a 5/13/2012 daughter of Frenzen MC Redstone U5 and she sold to Eric Gabel of Brush, CO for $6,500.  
The 2014 sale featured 25 bulls average $4,256. 9 heifers sold for an average of $4,883 in 2014.  Overall, in 2014, there were 34 cattle that grossed $150,350 and averaged $4,422.   
Red Angus Sale 
The 2014 Nebraska Cattlemen’s Classic Red Angus Show and Sale were held Wednesday, February 19th in Kearney, NE. The sale featured 8 bulls and 10 females participated in this year’s sale.  Judge was Don Moser of Manhattan, KS. Auctioneer was Tracy Harl, of Kearney, NE. 
Taking home Champion Red Angus Bull went to Lot 2, EDRD Lightning 202 consigned by J-6 Farms of Gibbon, NE.  This bull is a 2/22/2012 son of Majestic Lightning 717 SGMR and sold to Kelly Jasnoch of Kearney, NE, for $5,250.
Reserve Champion Red Angus Bull went to Lot 9, IKE Mission 3099 consigned by Sonderup Charolais Ranch of Fullerton, NE.  This bull is a 3/6/2013 son of LJC Mission Statement P27 and sold to Steven Diebel of Victoria, TX, for $5,000.   High-Selling Red Angus Bull went to Lot 3, HCC Artemus 235Z consigned by Hein Cattle Co. of Osage, IA.  This bull is a 7/24/2012 son of Six Mile Wild West 0913W and sold to Vern Griess of Grafton, NE, for $5,500.   Champion Red Angus Heifer went to Lot 18, HCGN Miss Emma consigned by High Caliber Genetics of Edgar, NE.  This heifer is a 3/14/2013 daughter of JSG Uno 101W and she sold to Arrowsmith Red Angus, Brad Arrowsmith of Bassett, NE, for $5,250. 
The Reserve Champion Red Angus Heifer and high-selling honors went to Lot 12, PZC Cherry Wine 2371 consigned by STC Cattle of Smith Center, KS.  This heifer is a 4/5/2012 daughter of Red Northern Fat Tony 605U and she sold to Loren Broberg of Tilden, NE, for $5,750.  
The 2014 sale featured 8 bulls averaging $3,700. 10 heifers sold for an average of $3,470  in 2014. Overall, in 2014, there were 18 cattle that grossed $64,300 and averaged $3,572.

Fall semester Deans' List/Honor Roll named at UNL


            The University of Nebraska-Lincoln has announced its Deans' List/Honor Roll for the fall semester of the 2013-14 academic year.
            Qualification for the Dean's List varies among the eight undergraduate colleges and the Honor Roll for undeclared students. Listed below are the minimum grade-point averages on a 4-point scale (4.0 equals A) for each entity and the name of its respective dean or director. All qualifying grade-point averages are based on a minimum of 12 or more graded semester hours. Students can be on the Dean's List for more than one college.
  • College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, 3.75; Dean Steven F. Waller.
  • College of Architecture, top 10 percent of the students in the college; Interim Dean Kim Wilson.
  • College of Arts and Sciences, 3.7; Interim Dean Steve Goddard.
  • College of Business Administration, 3.6; Dean Donde Plowman.
  • College of Education and Human Sciences, 3.75; Dean Marjorie Kostelnik.
  • College of Engineering, 3.5; Dean Tim Wei.
  • College of Journalism and Mass Communications, 3.7; Interim Dean James O'Hanlon.
  • Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts, 3.7; Dean Charles O'Connor.
  • Honor Roll for undeclared students, 3.6; Director of Undergraduate Education Nancy Mitchell.
From Blue Hill and Area on the list are
       Bladen    Erin Leigh Kinley  Senior  College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural resources, horticulture.
      Blue Hill   Nickolas Dee Atteberry  Freshman  College of Engineering  Computer Engineering
     Blue Hill   Eli Michael VanBoening Sophomore College of Engineering Mechanical Engineering
     Lawrence  Ashley Buescher  Freshman College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural resource, Animal Science. 

Sen. Tom Carlson on the States Water resources

Sen Tom Carlson of Holdrege, chairman of the Natural Resources Committee, talked to the committee about creating the Water Sustainability Fund (LB1046) with $50 million from the general fund annually, beginning on Oct. 1, 2015.
 About $2 million to $3.5 million of that would go annually for administrative costs.
Sen. Ken Schilz of Ogallala put forward a bill (LB940) to fund programs, projects and activities identified by the Water Funding Task Force, with $50 million from the rainy day fund, or cash reserve.
Carlson emphasized the importance of the state's water resource and Nebraska's need to address how to keep and increase its supply for agriculture, industry and cities into the future.
"It's absolutely key to the future of the economy in the state of Nebraska," Carlson said. He quoted Ronnie Green of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln: "We are in 2014, but we've got to think like 2050." 
"It takes courage," Carlson said, "because there's a lot of reasons that people would give that we can't do this. We can do this. It's a priority", he said. 
The bills drew a list of support from natural resource districts, conservation groups and public power districts.


"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."

~Margaret Mead

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Joke of the Month

A woman opened a new jewelry store, and her friend sent her flowers to mark the occasion. When the bouquet arrived, the card read, "Rest in Peace." Annoyed the woman called the florist to complain.

After she told the florist about the mistake, he said, "I'm very sorry for the error, ma'am, but rather than getting angry, you should think about this: Somewhere there's a funeral taking place, and they just received flowers with a note saying, 'Congratulations on your new location.'"

- Bonus -

Why is it hard for a giraffe to apologize?

     Because it takes a long time for it to swallow its pride.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Mary Alice (Kosmacek) Witte July 28, 1929 to Feb 13 ,2014

Blue Hill resident Mary Alice (Kosmacek) Witte, 84, died Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014, at Mary Lanning Healthcare in Hastings. Rosary will be Monday February 17, 2014, at 7 P.m. at the Merten-Butler Mortuary Chapel in Blue Hill, Nebraska.
Mary Alice Kosmacek was born to Frank and Mary Lukas Kosmacek July 28, 1929  near Spring Ranch in Adams County.  She attended Antioch School and then helped her father as her mother died when she was six years old.  She also helped care for other children and the elderly. 
She married  Ronald Clemet Witte Sept. 24, 1956 at Holy Trinity Catholic church in Blue Hill, Nebraska To this union six children were born. 
They lived and farmed in the Blue Hill area for many years then retired and moved to Hastings, Ne. 
Mary was a member of Holy Trinity Catholic Church and Alter Society.  She also taught CCD classes.
Mary is survived by her six children,   Marilyn Ann Alber (Roger) of Blue Hill,  Ann Marie Krontz (Ed) of Hastings,  Kathleen Susan Woodward (Robert) if Grand Junction, Colorado , Ronda Lynn Mary Hinrich (Jeffery)of Hastings, Linda Louise Duncan (Dave) of Frnaklin and Alan Leland Witte (Heather Lea-Ann Mclean) of Hastings. She is also survived by on brother, Frankie (Joann) Kosmacek, Glenvil, Nebraska; one sister-in-law, Rodie Kosmacek, Kennesaw Georgia; 17 grand children and six great grandchildren.  She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband Ronald, (October 30, 1989)  Two brothers; Joe and Rudy Kosmacek
 Rosary is 7 p.m. Monday at Merten-Butler Mortuary Chapel in Blue Hill.
Mass is 10:30 a.m. Tuesday at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Blue Hill with the Very Rev. James Schrader officiating. Burial is at Blue Hill Catholic Cemetery in Blue Hill.
 Visitation is 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday at the funeral home.
Memorials can be directed to Holy Trinity Catholic Church or the American Heart Association.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Tenhoff Adams Co. Land Auction

016Tuesday, February 18, 2014 - 2:00 pm
 Auction will be held in the gymnasium of the Blue Hill Community Center, 555 W. Gage, Blue Hill, Nebraska.

This farm features approximately 40.60 acres of non-irrigated crop land and 22.86 acres of grass meadow land. It is located from Blue Hill, Nebraska, 1 mile north on Highway 281 and ½ mile west.
LEGAL DESCRIPTION: That part of the Southwest Quarter lying east of the Railroad in Section Thirty-three (33), Township Five (5) North, Range Ten (10) West of the 6th P.M., Adams County, Nebraska except Wormuth Subdivision. 64.26 Acres +/-.

This is a high quality tract of land with potential for development of additional crop acres. It is level to gently rolling.
001 002 015 016 017 018 019

TERMS: A payment equal to 20% of the purchase price will be due the day of the auction. The balance will be due on or before March 18, 2014 by cash, certified funds or a direct wire transfer to the trust account of the closing agent. At closing, the sellers will present a title insurance binder indicating marketable title vested in the names of the sellers. Cost of title insurance will be born equally between the buyer and sellers. If a lender policy is required, that portion will be at the expense of the purchaser. At the conclusion of the auction, the purchaser will sign a binding and non-assignable purchase agreement.

POSSESSION: This property sells with full possession for the 2014 crop year.

DISCLAIMER: Although great care was used in assembling the information in advertising and in the PIP's, the content is not guaranteed. Interested bidders should conduct their own Due Diligence.

DECLARATIONS: Ruhter Auction & Realty, Inc. is acting as the agent for the sellers. The auction increments will be set at the discretion of the auctioneer.

SELLERS: Herman Tenhoff & Dale Tenhoff

Friday, February 14, 2014

More Delays and More Bad News for Obamacare


Sen. Mike Johanns

If you needed any more proof that Obamacare is not going to work, the last couple weeks should certainly clear the air.
Last week, the President once again unilaterally delayed Obamacare’s requirements that businesses provide health insurance for their employees, effectively ignoring the very law that he has championed for much of his tenure. This is the second straight year the Administration has put off the employer mandate, and yet another delay in a series of delays, extensions and waivers that have overshadowed Obamacare’s sputtering launch.
This move clearly shows the President recognizes the harm this law is causing for businesses, but many families and individuals are already reeling from increased insurance premiums, higher out-of-pocket expenses and the reality that they may not be able to keep their preferred doctor. Cherry picking which parts of the law to ignore is not fair to the folks who are already coping with its burdens. And delaying the pain for others until after the next election is no solution.
Ignoring the employer mandate has not alleviated other problems on the horizon because of the law.  A recent report by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates the nation’s workforce will reduce by the equivalent of 2.5 million full-time workers in just 10 years with Obamacare on the books. That figure is nearly three times greater than CBO’s analysis when the law was passed. It’s hard to believe that in a struggling economy, when unemployment was hovering around 10 percent, enough lawmakers were ready to support a law that would cost hundreds of thousands of jobs. But these revised estimates paint an even bleaker picture.
The report predicts Obamacare subsidies will “reduce incentives to work” at a time when our economy depends on job growth. Additionally, when the employer mandate is fully implemented, the report predicts the cost of the employer penalty will be passed onto workers in the form of lower wages and shrunken benefits. Many workers are already trying to cope with reduced hours as businesses decrease their full-time payrolls to avoid Obamacare requirements.
But what about those who are gaining coverage from Obamacare? Some of my colleagues are reporting that 10 million have coverage today that they wouldn’t have absent Obamacare. Non-partisan fact checkers have debunked that talking point, calling the claim “simply ridiculous.” I’ve heard from a few Nebraskans who are benefitting from the law, but many more will be left without coverage.
CBO estimates 31 million Americans will still be without coverage in 2024—a decade into the law’s implementation. That’s roughly one in nine Americans. CBO also predicts between 6 and 7 million fewer Americans will receive coverage through their work than would without the law, even with Obamacare’s employer mandate.
All of this begs the question: Is Obamacare worth the $2 trillion investment?
I appreciate and support goals to help our most vulnerable Americans receive access to health care. This can be accomplished through proposals that increase competition and lower costs like expanding health savings accounts, having insurers compete across state lines, and allowing small businesses to pool together for lower rates. It’s time to scrap the broken, government-centered Obamacare model and pass these patient-centered reforms that will help us achieve our goal of improving America’s health care system.


Duane A. Lienemann
UNL Extension Educator
       As I write this week’s column I see all around me hearts, cupids with arrows and certainly a lot of advertisements for flowers and candy. I can only imagine how much money goes towards all of these things plus candlelight dinners or nights out.  Most people know that I am by nature a curious person who finds it necessary to study things that I am not sure of.  My mother told me that my very first words were not “mommy” or “daddy” as they would hope, but instead “What’s that?”  I guess I am like every other man, just dutifully get a card, perhaps some flowers or candy, or maybe offer a dinner out, but never really thought about what Valentine’s Day was all about. So I decided to do a little investigation and also as per my profession - link it to agriculture.  It is kind of interesting and perhaps I might look at this day a little differently.
     I did find out that the history of Valentine’s Day, and the story of its patron saint, is shrouded in mystery. I figured it had to be something to do with a religious figure as when I was a kid I remember it being called Saint Valentine’s Day, so surmised that a Saintly person was involved. Supposedly February has long been celebrated as a month of romance and Valentine’s Day, as we know it today, contains vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition. But who was Saint Valentine, and how did he become associated with this ancient rite?  Well, I did a little search and here is what I discovered.
     The Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred. One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine’s actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death.
     Of course there are other stories that suggest that Valentine may have been killed for attempting to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons, where they were often beaten and tortured. According to one legend, an imprisoned Valentine actually sent the first “valentine” greeting himself after he fell in love with a young girl–possibly his jailor’s daughter–who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter signed “From your Valentine,” an expression that is still in use today. I kind of like that story and it seems logical and romantic.
     Although the truth behind the Valentine legends is murky, the stories all emphasize his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic and–most importantly–romantic figure. By the Middle Ages, perhaps thanks to this reputation, Valentine would become one of the most popular saints in England and France and of course this tradition spread across the world, including right here in America where it probably became more commercialized.  For example - approximately 150 million Valentine's Day cards are exchanged annually, making Valentine's Day the second most popular card-sending holiday after Christmas.
     As I understand it, Pope Gelasius declared February 14th as Valentine’s Day around 500 A.D., and men like me have been getting into trouble ever since.  Women turn red with anger if their beloved ignores or forgets the day they are expected to express love by spending some green.  My “expert” advice is no matter if you buy into Valentine’s Day or not, buy her something for the occasion. When you do it actually involves agriculture, and in my book that is a good thing!
     When you treat your beloved to candy, flowers or dinner out, you are not only sending a message of caring to your sweetheart, but also to farmers. Consider the box of chocolates you buy is a farm product using ingredients of sweeteners, milk, nuts, fruits and other farm commodities. It is estimated 40% of the world’s almonds and 20 percent of the peanuts are used in creating candy for Valentine’s Day alone. You, and approximately 35 million other cupids, will purchase heart-shaped boxes of candy that contain the product of corn, soybeans, livestock and of course peanuts and almonds ---all raised by farmers. But agriculture’s input to Valentine’s Day does not end at the candy counter.  Whether you purchase a dozen roses or even a single rose for your honey, remember that roses are raised by farmers.  Over 100 million red roses are sold for Valentine’s Day with a wholesale value of $18 million.  Oh and think of the steak, potatoes, veggies at dinner.
     Whether you support your declaration of love with candy, flowers, wine or a nice steak, ham or chicken dinner, you are also supporting farmers and the much larger number of people employed by agriculture.  Nearly 40,000 Americans work for the manufacturers of chocolate and cocoa products alone, so the multiplying job factor in agriculture shows through again. All the ingredients used to generate the candies and multi-course dinners served on Valentine’s Day originate on farms and help keep farmers in business, but consider the number of people employed in the value-added production of foods and desserts using these farm commodities. Think about the number of people employed in the meat chain and other food processing industries – let alone the sales and service industry.
     Then consider the number of additional people employed in the wholesale and retail distribution and sale of these products – the truck drivers, storage and warehouse workers, supermarket and store employees, waiters, dishwashers – yes, agriculture is passionate about Valentine’s Day. From the chocolates to the dinner rolls to the steak and potatoes, basically everything you use in your life can be traced back to agriculture, and that fact is so often times over looked. So, thank a farmer for not only being able to give a token of your love, but especially when you go out to dinner for Valentine’s Day with that special someone, and if you stop to think about it--- for being able to go out and live every day!

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

Legislative Newsletter

Senator Tom Carlson

 The Legislature hit a speed bump the past week while we debated LB 393, a bill to allow those riding motorcycles to do so without protective eye and head gear. This bill has been introduced numerous times in previous sessions. Most of the filibuster centered on the costs to the state to shoulder the medical treatment costs of those injured versus personal freedom. I have heard from several constituent groups and had visitors to my office in favor of this bill. While I do not like expanded government regulations, I had to stay with my original vote on this issue and agree that helmets are necessary for motorcycle riders in our state. The debate ended when a vote for cloture failed to garner the required 33 votes. It is doubtful the bill will be placed on the agenda again and it will die at the end of the session.
Priority bill designation has begun. Senators may choose one bill as a priority. It does not have to be a bill that they personally introduced. Standing committees may each select two bills as priority legislation. The Speaker of the Legislature may designate up to 25 bills as his priority. Floor debate will focus on priority bills for the remainder of the Session.
The three bills introduced to carry out the mission of the Water Funding Task Force are scheduled for hearings. LBs 940 and 1046 will be introduced to the Appropriations Committee on February 18th. My priority bill, LB 1098, will be heard by the Natural Resources Committee on February 26th.
LB 1098 would restructure the Natural Resources Commission. The Commission is presently responsible for the management of state funding programs administered by the Department of Natural Resources. Three of the 16 members are appointed by the Governor to represent the specific interests of: municipal water users, surface water irrigators, and public power. The remaining thirteen members are selected for four-year terms at caucuses of the Natural Resources Districts directors in Nebraska’s river basins.
LB 1098 would retain the original 16 members. In addition, 11 new members would be appointed by the Governor. With water being such a state priority after recent drought years, more groups in our state are concerned about and should be involved in implementing a sustainable water policy.
The two appropriation bills will ask for funding for the new Water Sustainability Fund. Senator Schilz’s bill, LB 940, requests a one time appropriation of $50 million from the state cash reserve fund for approved water projects.
Also on February 18th the appropriations committee will hear LB 1046, which I introduced. It asks for an annual appropriation, beginning in 2015, of $50 million per year to go into the Water Sustainability Fund.
The passage of these bills will enable us, as a state, to reach water sustainability in a reasonable period of time. I believe the water legislation, this session, is the most important we have debated the last eight years. Water is life.

Hastings College Announces Deans List for Fall 2013

(Hastings, Neb.) – Hastings College has announced the Dean’s List for its fall 2013 semester. To be eligible for the Dean’s List, students must achieve a grade point average of 3.7 to 4.0, on a 4.0 scale, and be registered for full-time course work.
Those earning a 4.0 grade point average:
Blue Hill                       Amanda Cox
                                    Raelene Jameson 

Those earning a grade point average under 4.0 but at or above 3.7:     
Lawrence                    Courtney Hubl                                    
Founded in 1882, Hastings College is a private, four-year liberal arts institution located in Hastings, Nebraska, that focuses on student academic and extracurricular achievement. With 64 majors in 32 areas of study and 12 pre-professional programs, Hastings College has been named among “America’s Best National Liberal Arts Colleges” by U.S. News & World Report, a “Best in the Midwest” by The Princeton Review and a “Best Buy in College Education” by Barron’s. Visit for more.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Bruning Joins Fight to Protect 2nd Amendment Right to Bear Arms

  LINCOLN - Attorney General Bruning today announced Nebraska joined with 18 other states in an amicus brief filed in the U.S. Supreme Court opposing New Jersey’s handgun restrictions for legal gun owners. 
  “Law-abiding gun owners should not be required to show evidence of threat to legally  carry a weapon,” said Bruning. “This law clearly flies in the face of our right to bear arms  under the 2nd Amendment.”   
New Jersey's handgun restriction only allows an individual to carry a handgun outside the  home if he or she shows a “justifiable need,” by demonstrating "urgent necessity  evidenced by specific threats or previous attacks."  
 Authored by Wyoming, the brief was also signed by attorneys general from Alabama,  Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan,  Missouri, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota and West  Virginia.     

Omaha Mental Health Provider Pleads Guilty to Stealing Government Funds

LINCOLN - Attorney General Jon Bruning today announced James Holt of Omaha pleaded guilty to stealing government funds in U.S. District Court in Lincoln. Holt’s company, UMOJA, PC, pleaded guilty to one federal felony count of health care fraud and Holt pleaded guilty to nine federal misdemeanors. Holt is a mental health provider in Omaha. 
The plea stemmed from an investigation by the Attorney General’s Office Medicaid Fraud and Patient Abuse Unit and the Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.   “Mr. Holt and his company stole money from tax payers by submitted billings to Nebraska Medicaid for services he did not render,” said Bruning. “Today’s plea works to ensure he is held accountable for his crimes.” 
As a part of the plea agreement, Holt and his corporation agreed to make restitution of approximately $15,000. 
The plea stemmed from an investigation by the Attorney General’s Office Medicaid Fraud and Patient Abuse Unit and the Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 
Sentencing is set for May 13, 2014 before Senior U.S. District Judge Lyle Strom. 
The matter was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Alan Everett and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney and Attorney General’s Office Medicaid Fraud Division Chief Mark Collins.

Attorney General’s Office Successfully Defends Challenge to Nebraska Driver’s License Statute

  LINCOLN - Attorney General Bruning today announced his office successfully defended the challenge to Nebraska’s statute requiring applicants to show lawful immigration status before being issued a driver’s license. The case was dismissed with prejudice.   “We’re pleased the court dismissed the case and recognized illegal immigrants don’t qualify for Nebraska driver’s licenses,” said Bruning. “Today’s ruling validates the Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicle’s denial of applications from those without lawful status.”

Gov. Heineman Promotes Hiring Our Heroes Initiative Helping Military Members Find Employment



(Lincoln, Neb.) Today, Gov. Dave Heineman announced the upcoming Hiring Our Heroes job fairs February 19 in Omaha and April 1 in Lincoln. The Hiring Our Heroes initiative is the cooperative effort between the United States Chamber of Commerce, the Nebraska Department of Labor and the Nebraska National Guard that helps veterans and military spouses find meaningful employment in Nebraska.
“We are proud to be a part of this initiative to help veterans and military spouses find good jobs here in Nebraska,” said Gov. Heineman. “There are approximately 4,600 Army and Air National Guardsmen and women in Nebraska and thousands more Nebraskans serve in the U.S. Reserves and active military. The enthusiasm surrounding and the support of Hiring Our Heroes shows that the courage and sacrifice demonstrated by these brave men and women is appreciated.”
Current and former military members bring sought-after skills to the workforce. Nebraska’s veterans and their spouses are invited to the upcoming Hiring Our Heroes job fairs in Omaha and Lincoln.
The Omaha event will be held on Wed., Feb. 19 at the DC Centre, 11830 Stonegate Dr., from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. CT. Military groups, media partners and other sponsors are working together to ensure the success of these events. There are 65 employers registered for the fair, representing a wide array of job opportunities. The Lincoln event will be held Tuesday, April 1 at the Lancaster Event Center, 4100 N. 84th St., from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The U.S. Chamber will host employment workshops at 9 a.m. the morning of the hiring events.
“Lincoln and Omaha employers and organizations continue to support these events,” said Cathy Lang, Director of the Nebraska Department of Economic Development and Commissioner of the Nebraska Department of Labor. “Their commitment makes these events successful.”
Werner Enterprises, a transportation company based in Omaha, is among the employers who have attended multiple hiring events. “Werner seeks to hire those who have served in the military because they are goal-oriented, motivated and mission-minded individuals with proven records of excellence and dedication – qualities we want in any candidate,” said Chris Polenz, associate vice president, Human Resources, at Werner.
United States Air Force veteran Jafi Roskey of Omaha was hired by Werner through the 2013 Papillion event. She has recently been promoted to a corporate fleet manager position and says, “I enjoy working at Werner because they helped me comfortably adjust back to civilian life.”
Lincoln-based Duncan Aviation has attended several Hiring Our Heroes job fairs. “Our veterans work in a variety of positions throughout the organization,” said David Ossian, elected recruiter for Duncan. “We have representation in several areas including airframe, engineering, inspection, avionics, project management, sales and quality assurance.”
“Our Nebraska National Guard members and military veterans often bring an incredible array of experience and training that make them an ideal candidate for employers,” said Maj. Gen. Daryl Bohac, Adjutant General of the Nebraska National Guard. “Perhaps the most important of these is discipline and maturity, particularly when compared to non-military peers of the same age. The consistency, commitment and loyalty to the organization combined with skills and abilities honed through military service are highly valued characteristics that make for great employees.
Maj. Gen. Bohac added, “It takes a team to make this opportunity possible and I am grateful for Governor Heineman’s leadership along with the efforts of Cathy Lang from the Nebraska Department of Labor and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for their support of our service members, veterans and their families.”
Since the first event held in Lincoln last April, the Omaha event will be the 10th Hiring Our Heroes event held in Nebraska. These job fairs have been held in Lincoln, Omaha, Norfolk, Alliance, Holdrege, Papillion, Beatrice and Grand Island. These hiring fairs have served around 1,300 veterans and 300 employers.
Since Sept. 11, 2001, thousands of Nebraska servicemen and women have served around the world, including duty in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Balkans, as members of the Nebraska National Guard, the U.S. Reserves and active military. Among these thousands of Nebraska service members are the more than 1,300 Nebraska Army National Guard Soldiers who have returned home to Nebraska from overseas deployments since January 2011.
More information about these events can be found online at and

NSAA Releases 2014 & 2015 Football Schedules

Blue Hill 2014 Schedule:
Week 1BYE
Week 2@BDS
Week 3High Plains Community
Week 4@Heartland
Week 5Franklin
Week 6@Shelton
Week 7@Elm Creek
Week 8Arapahoe
Week 9Axtell

Blue Hill 2015 Schedule:
Week 1BYE
Week 2BDS
Week 3@High Plains Community
Week 4Heartland
Week 5@Franklin
Week 6Shelton
Week 7Elm Creek
Week 8@Arapahoe
Week 9@Axtell

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Philip W. Smidt January 1927 to February 7, 2014

Philip Wayne Smidt, 87, of Pauline, Nebraska, died Friday, February 7, 2014, at the Blue Hill Care Center, Blue Hill, Nebraska.
 Rosary will be Wednesday, February 12, 2014, 7 p.m. at the Merten-Butler Mortuary Chapel, Blue Hill, Nebraska.
Mass will be Thursday, February 13, 2014, 10:30 a.m. at Holy Trinity Catholic Church, Blue Hill, Nebraska with the Very Rev. James Schrader officiating.
 Burial with Military Rites by A.L. Shirley Post #176 of Blue Hill, Nebraska, will be at the Blue Hill Catholic Cemetery.
Memorials can be directed to the family to be designated at a later date.
Visitation will be Wednesday, February, 12, 2014, from 1-8 p.m. at Merten-Butler Mortuary.
Phillip Wayne Smidt was born in January 1, 1927 to Theodore and Margaret (Walther) Smidt near Pauline, Nebraska, and spent most of his life on the family farm.
He spent two years in the army stationed in Italy at the end of WWII.  After that he was only interested in traveling to buy cattle and go fishing.
He married Clara M. Arterburn on May 11, 1947 at Smith Center, Kansas. 
Through the years Philip drove a truck, pumped gravel and worked in the Adams County Road Department before farming full time in the early 1970's.  Phillip enjoyed fishing in the Little Blue River and loved saddle horses and dogs but mostly loved to tell stories. 
He was a member of Holy Trinity Catholic church and A.L. Shirley Post #176 both of Blue Hill.  He was also a member of the Little Blue Township Board.
Phillip is survived by three daughters, Vicki Bulling, Pueblo, Colorado, Mary (Michael) Dixon, Hastings, Nebraska, Julie (Michael) Morganflash, Blue Hill, Nebraska, three sons, Michael (Audrey) Smidt, Glenvil, Nebraska, Matthew (Kristi) Smidt, Auburn, Alabama, Joseph (Michelle) Smidt, Kearney, Nebraska; his brother Larry (Pat) Smidt, Pauline, Nebraska; many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  Phillip was preceded in death by his parents; wife Clara (32009); son Christopher (2012) and his older brother Paul.