Monday, March 31, 2014

Gov. Heineman Signs Online Voter Registration Bill into Law


(Lincoln, Neb.) Today, Gov. Dave Heineman signed LB 661 into law which will allow Nebraskans to register to vote or update their registrations online. This bill was introduced on behalf of the Secretary of State John Gale, who oversees the state’s elections.
“I’m pleased to sign online voter registration into law,” said Gov. Heineman. “This bill reflects Secretary Gale’s continuing efforts to modernize the process of voter registration through technology. It is important to keep the voting process accessible to Nebraskans, and having this option available through the Secretary of State’s website is a positive step.”
“Nebraska’s new online registration will be unique since we are the first state to combine these processes,” said Secretary Gale. “Online registration has been our goal for some years, but it took the combined efforts of our Governor and the Department of Motor Vehicles to work out the technology challenges, and the support of several key senators to move the bill to passage. I appreciate the efforts of Rhonda Lahm, Director of the Department of Motor Vehicles, who was instrumental in helping to combine and streamline our systems.”
LB 661 provides an additional opportunity for citizens of Nebraska to register to vote while increasing the accuracy and enhancing the maintenance of the voter registration database. The registrations would incorporate copies of signatures provided by the Department of Motor Vehicles for driver’s licenses or state identification cards.
Nebraska joins 17 other states that have implemented online voter registration.
The adaptation of the online system is expected to be completed by 2017.

Gov. Heineman Vetoes $65 Million in Budget


Calls for additional property tax relief with taxpayer dollars vetoed from budget
(Lincoln, Neb.)  -  Gov. Dave Heineman highlighted many areas of agreement in state funding priorities. He also issued his line-item vetoes in LB 130, LB 905 and LB 906, which constitute the Legislature’s adjustments to the mid-biennium budget for fiscal years 2013-2015. Gov. Heineman noted that by vetoing millions of dollars of new spending, those taxpayer funds could instead be used for property tax relief for Nebraska’s citizens, including homeowners, farmers, ranchers and small business owners.
“For the past year, Nebraskans have been very clear in telling the Legislature’s Tax Modernization Committee that their biggest concern is high property taxes, and I believe that providing property tax relief is a more important priority than funding fountains at the State Capitol,” said Gov. Heineman. “For more than 80 years, the capitol building has existed without fountains and we don’t need them now. Providing an additional $25 million in property tax relief for Nebraska homeowners, farmers, ranchers and small business owners can be accomplished in the remaining days of the Legislature if State Senators make it a priority.”
In total, the Governor issued approximately $65 million of line-item vetoes to trim the budget that was passed by the Legislature. General fund reductions accounted for $26 million of the total vetoes.
Gov. Heineman noted that developing a budget is a challenging process and that he appreciates and understands the related challenges. While the Governor and the Legislature agreed on many funding priorities, there were areas of respectful disagreement where the Governor used his line-item veto to make spending reductions.
“I want to thank and acknowledge the Appropriations Committee and the Legislature for prioritizing water sustainability funding, Game and Parks deferred maintenance funding, developmental disability waiting list funding and early childhood education funding.”
Governor Heineman approved the following funding:
  • $10.5 million for the Natural Resources Development Fund.
  • $19.9 million for the Water Sustainability Fund in fiscal year 15.
  • $19.8 million for the Water Sustainability Fund in fiscal year 16 and 17.
  • $10 million for the Game and Parks Maintenance Fund, including the funding for Ponca State Park and Arbor Lodge at Nebraska City.
  • $4.7 million for the Developmental Disability Aid Program and
  • $3.2 million for the Early Childhood program.

Governor Heineman also indicated that he will sign LB 814 into law next week that will provide Game and Parks an additional $3 million annually for deferred maintenance.
Key vetoes issued include the following:
  • $7.4 million in general funds provided to the Nebraska Supreme Court for a Juvenile Services Project Contingency Program. This appropriation represents an additional 37.4 percent over the total amount of general funds already provided to the Courts in the current biennium budget. This funding is unnecessary. An analysis of the year-to-date spending through Feb. 28, 2014, the Supreme Court’s Office of Probation – Community Corrections Program reveals the Supreme Court is estimated to underspend current general fund appropriations by approximately $8 million by June 30, 2014.
 $2.5 million in Nebraska Capital Construction Funds for the construction of four courtyard fountains. The State Capitol was completed in 1932. The decision was made at that time not to install fountains because it was not a priority use of taxpayer money. The governor noted that the citizens of Nebraska have managed well without fountains at the capitol building for more than 80 years.
  • $11.7 million in Nebraska Capital Construction Funds to renovate the heating, ventilation and air condition system in the State Capitol. The Capitol Commission did not request funding for this project during the mid-biennium budget process. Additionally, LB 905 only provides funding of $11.7 million of the $77.8 million currently estimated total cost of this project. That would leave the balance of $66.1 million to future Legislatures to resolve in their budget process. It was noted that a long-term project of such magnitude should be presented and considered during a regular biennium budget process alongside other capital improvement projects, with full consideration and a commitment to recognize and fund the entire cost identified for the project, if that is deemed a priority at that time.

  • $10 million cash fund appropriation and the $10 million general fund transfer provided to the Department of Economic Development for the Job Training Program. No increase was requested nor is it needed by the Department of Economic Development for immediate program needs.
  • $1.5 million in general funds and $1.5 million in federal funds for the proposed state ward permanency pilot project. A request to establish a state ward permanency pilot project was withdrawn by the Department of Health and Human Services because the request was more appropriate to address during a regular biennium budget process. After the veto, adequate funding remains to serve state wards.

  • $5.4 million for increased provider rates. The Developmental Disability Aid program received significant increases when the biennium budget was developed during the 2013 Legislative Session, including $5.9 million for provider rates and $42 million for a new rate methodology for paying providers. The new rate methodology was adopted during the 2013 Session to pay providers based upon actual costs of providing services in the state with provisions for future adjustments for inflation.  The additional new funding is premature before the new methodology is implemented.
  • $10 million in general funds redirected from the Affordable Care Act (ACA) contingency fund program to the Behavioral Health Aid program at the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. The $10 million represents a portion of the anticipated savings to the state behavioral health program. These savings should be captured as intended to help offset other ACA related costs to the state.
  • $1.1 million from the Water Sustainability Fund that was earmarked for the Omaha Sewer Separation project. This project is a local project and should be paid with local funds.
  • $250,000 from the Department of Education for a specific vendor identified by name, potentially violating Article III, Section 18 of the Nebraska Constitution. This is described as unconstitutional and is an inappropriate expenditure.

The additional line-item vetoes are outlined in the LB 130, LB 905 and LB 906 veto messages.

April Birthdays

April 2 Bertha Lamborn (RIP).Terri Golter, Ron Lampman
April 3 Mark Kumke , Dick Schmidt, Jr.
April 4 Christa Alber , Terry Jordening, Lori Toepher
April 4 Jan Wells, Nina Colburn, Shalene Medina
April 4 Wanda Wright
April 5 Patty Uden
April 6 Jordan Mack
April 7 Pat Kort
April 8 Penny Witte
April 9 Matthew Schwab
April 10 Kristen Ostdiek
April 10 Jean Heinrich (RIP)
April 11 Clair Duval , Deb VanBoening, Jesse Alber, 
April 12 Rodney E Hartman (RIP)
April 13 Ruth Elaine Goodrich
April 14, Jennifer Gaede
April 15 Jill Coffey , Rodney Buss, Ken Skarin
April 15 Wayne Strasberg
April 18 Judy Grandstaff
April 23 Tami Kort
April 23 James W. Mackin (RIP)
April 24 Peggy Meyer  Colleen Karmazin  Kristin Rose Kohmetscher
April 25 Cody Bland
April 26 Lamira Karsting,  Marah Leigh Jensen
April 28 Charlene Feeley
April 29 Larry Gianokas, Marvin Harrifeld,   Gary Stertz
April 29 Kevin Toepher,  Beverly A. Meyer
April 30  Dick Schmidt, Sr

Jean Heinrich April 10, - March 27, 2014

Blue Hill resident Jean Heinrich, 88, died Thursday, March 27, 2014, at her home in Blue Hill. Rosary will be Sunday, March 30, 2014, 7 p.m. at Merten-Butler Mortuary Chapel, Blue Hill, Nebraska.
Mass of Christian Burial will be Monday, March 31, 2014, 10:30 a.m. at Holy Trinity Catholic Church, Blue Hill, Nebraska, with the Very Rev. James Schrader officiating.
 Burial will be at the Blue Hill Catholic Cemetery. Memorials can be directed to the Holy Trinity Altar Society.
Visitation will be Sunday, March 30, 2014, from 1-8 p.m. at Merten-Butler Mortuary.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Religious Freedom Must Be Protected

The United States was founded in part on the idea of religious freedom.  It is no coincidence the First Amendment to the Constitution ensures the ‘free exercise’ of religion.  However, two cases argued before the Supreme Court this week will test whether this basic right truly extends to all Americans, or if the federal government now has the power to force individuals to violate the tenants of their faith.
The cases of Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties v. Sebelius will decide the constitutionality of a provision of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, which forces employers to provide their employees government approved insurance plans or pay a tax.  Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties are contesting this provision because they object on religious grounds to some of the coverage the law requires them to provide such as abortion-inducing drugs.
These minimum coverage requirements are enforced with a significant penalty which actually encourages employers to offer no insurance at all rather than offer insurance without provisions they find objectionable.  The tax on employers for violating this provision of the law is $100 per day, per employee, or $36,500 per year.  For Hobby Lobby this tax would amount to $475 million per year.  If the company offered no insurance coverage at all to their employees, they would pay a $26 million tax; a massive fine for simply having a conscience objection.
While many Americans disagree on the morality of certain drugs and procedures, we should all be able to agree no one should be forced by the federal government to do something they find objectionable.  After considerable controversy and public attention, the department of Health and Human Services agreed to give non-profit religious employers such as Catholic churches and schools, an exemption from these provisions.  The Department inexplicably did not extend the same consideration to private employers with strongly held beliefs such as Hobby Lobby.
All Americans are entitled to freedom of religion and to rights of conscience - even if they are a private sector employer.  This principle is why I signed an amicus brief in support of the Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties cases against Obamacare.  I am also a cosponsor of the Rights of Conscience Act which would repeal this mandate.  It is only fair to give private sector employers the same flexibility to ensure religious freedom, as the Administration has already given to non-profit employers.
One-size-fits-all, government mandated health care plans are also bad business.  The insurance market works better when employers and individuals are given the choice to purchase plans which match their unique needs, budgets, and beliefs.  The market should be driven by options, not government mandates.
These cases also further demonstrate the problems which arise from the ever-expanding role of the federal government.  As government grows more powerful and tries to regulate more aspects of our economy and daily lives, conflicts will inevitably arise between personal freedom and the interests of government.  The founders of our nation understood this concept, and intentionally set up our system of government to protect the God-given freedoms of individuals.    
Conscience rights are among the most basic American ideals, and must be preserved.  I am hopeful the Supreme Court will strike down this mandate and uphold religious freedom for all Americans.   

Friday, March 28, 2014


Duane A. Lienemann
UNL Extension Educator
       Well, that was no surprise, a chance for rain and we get drizzle. I think we need to hold on to our britches as we could have a three-peat and I am not talking basketball.  The March Madness I am talking about unfortunately is how dry it is and the future does not look much brighter for the rest of the spring. I do hope that I am just being a worrywart, but it isn’t looking good. I think that our producers need to hope for the best but prepare for the worse.  
     I think this is particularly true with our livestock producers as our pastures and hay lands are certainly showing the effects of the last couple of years of drought.  If things don’t change, we may have to look at waiting a few weeks before turning out the cow/calf pairs and perhaps once again limit the number of cows grazing. If this is the case I suggest that our landlords, if renting out their pasture, may want to consider going from a per acre charge for rent on pasture to instead to a cow/calf pair charge per month and accept the detriments that come from effects of drought.  Do your renter and especially your pasture a favor and adjust your rent accordingly, as we are all in this thing together and stewardship should be our first concern. 
     While it is hard to give up that extra cash, it is harder and more expensive to bring back a pasture that is not taken care of properly.  I do know that there will be a lot of pressure on pasture owners to rent their grass and will likely be offered some good sums of money to do so, but stop and think it over, consider the long term health of your pasture and use some good common sense. This is not the time for the greedy emotion to kick in. Our pastures are already in strained condition.
     Speaking of rental rates, I know that a lot of folks have been patiently waiting for the UNL Extension Land Value and Rental Rates guide that comes out about this time every year. Well the preliminary survey has hit the web, so let’s take a look at it this week. If you have an internet connection you can find this most often requested document by simply going to:   and look for the “Nebraska Farmland Values Remain Steady” document. I want to remind everyone that this is just a preliminary survey and the actual final results from the survey will be published in early June 2014 and will be available electronically via the Nebraska Farm Real Estate website which is located at:  which also has some very useful stuff on farm real estate.
     It shows that the average statewide value of farmland last year rose 5% in Nebraska, a considerably lower rate than in recent years. Land values and cash rental rates from Feb. 1, 2013, to Feb. 1, 2014, are used to determine the data that appears in the Nebraska Farm Real Estate Market survey and is used to form the basis for this preliminary guide. Farmland values in recent years have increased sharply. The overall increase of 25%, shown in the February 2013 report followed increases of 22 and 32% in the two previous years, leaving the 2013 all-land value more than double the value in early 2010. However, that has leveled off this past year or at the very least has slowed considerably. It looks like the spike has ended and leveled off.
     This year, the largest increase by land class actually occurred for non-tillable grazing land, at 7% statewide. Non-tillable grazing land includes pasture and rangeland that does not have the current potential to be converted into cropland for small grain or row crop production. That is not a surprise to me as we have lost a lot this type of land in the last few years and there just isn’t as much out there for the competition for grazing or hay. With the current high prices of beef we could see a real spike in this area especially if we have to take drastic measures to stave off the effects of a possible third year of drought. 
     Record high cash and futures livestock prices  translated into strong increases for non-tillable grazing land seen throughout the state for rangeland and particularly with strong increases as high as 32% in the South District where I am located, much higher than the state average. What is amazing to me is that the rental rate/ acre of pasture however went down from last year.  One could only surmise it has to be because landlords are limiting the number of cow/calf pairs on their rangeland and are working with the renters in pricing their lease. I have actually heard that pasture and cow-calf pair rental rates have increased significantly this year due to higher beef cattle prices, the lingering effects of the drought and the conversion of some marginal land to crop production, however this survey does not reflect this for the South District. If you go by rumors and the increase in the going rates for grazing corn stalks, I would be surprised if this may be low and I am anticipating that this set of data may change by June.
     Increases in dryland cropland values also varied across the state depending upon the location and potential for irrigation. You would not expect as much considering the value of water and irrigation. But it still followed the trend of slight increase or leveling off. Observed changes in the value of gravity irrigated and center pivot irrigated cropland ranged from 2% decreases to almost 20% increases depending on location with an increase of only 4% for each of the two irrigation land classes. Lower anticipated grain prices in 2014 have led to lower average cash rental rates for dryland, gravity irrigated and center pivot irrigated cropland as profit margins begin to tighten and with the outlook for prices, this may continue to occur. 
     Whatever the situation, the landlord and tenant must communicate with each other so appropriate factors are taken into consideration and a fair rate is established. Average cash rental rates for the South District for center-pivot irrigated cropland is at $296/acre. Average dryland cash rental rates were estimated at $105/acre and gravity irrigated cropland at $225/acre. Pasture cash rental rates were estimated at $35/acre and/or $39 per Cow/Calf pair per month. . I do want to point out that we all should remember that this survey is not meant to be a “one-size fits all” instrument. These are merely guidelines and a starting place. There are a lot of factors that need to be considered and they should be. It all comes down to common sense!
   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 Sponsors Bill Requiring EPA to Report Job Losses Caused by Rules


WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) sponsored legislation to prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from finalizing any major regulation until the agency analyzes the economic impact of its current regulations, which is currently required under Section 321(a) of the Clean Air Act.
"This Administration’s regulatory onslaught is making it harder for Americans to find good jobs,” Johanns said. “EPA has refused to disclose the true costs of their agenda. It’s time they own up to the real impact they are having on our nation’s struggling economy.
“We all want a clean environment, but we also want Americans to be able to find work. This legislation does nothing more than attempt to strike a common-sense balance between the two.”

The EPA Employment Impact Analysis Act cites a number of examples where the National Economic Research Associates (NERA) reported that EPA regulations would result in thousands of job losses. Below are several examples:
• Utility MACT rule (77 Fed. Reg. 9301): NERA's whole economy analysis found that the rule would have a negative impact on the income of workers in an amount equivalent to 180,000 to 215,000 lost jobs in 2014, and 50,000 to 85,000 lost jobs each year thereafter.
• Cross State Air Pollution rule (76 Fed. Reg. 48208): NERA 's whole economy analysis found that the rule would result in the elimination of a total of 34,000 jobs from 2013 to 2037.
• Boiler MACT rule (76 Fed. Reg. 15608): NERA's whole economy analysis found that the rule would result in the elimination of 28,000 jobs per year from 2013 to 2037.

The legislation was authored by Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) and currently has 28 cosponsors in addition to Johanns. Inhofe and Johanns introduced similar legislation last Congress requiring EPA, in conjunction with other relevant federal departments and agencies, to determine the total economic impact on agriculture and other economic sectors of several major rules EPA was preparing to issue.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Legislative Newsletter Senator Tom Carlson

Senator Tom Carlson
District 38
As I have said before, the legislature is at the “heavy lifting” point now that we have nine days until we adjourn for another year. The “off- year” state budget, which adjusts the biennial budget passed during the long session, was advanced to the governor with important funding. The governor has five days to approve or reject individual funding requests on a line item basis.
The nearly $8 billion budget includes $25 million additional to the Property Tax Credit Fund and $31 million for one time money and ongoing funding for water initiatives, including research. I am pleased that my colleagues agreed with me that water is our most important resource and we must fund water sustainability.
To that end, the editorial page editor of the Lincoln Journal Star interviewed me this week and wrote a complimentary top story in his paper the next day. He focused on LB 1098, my priority bill for this session. That bill would restructure the Natural Resources Commission by expanding it to 27 members. The governor would appoint the 11 additional members. The new commission would recommend which projects would be funded by the Water Sustainability Fund to ensure all Nebraskans benefit from state tax dollars. LB 1098 will be debated next week.
Yesterday the legislature debated two prison reform bills aimed at easing perpetual overcrowding in our state institutions. Both advanced to Select File. LB 907 would provide more intensive supervised release to help inmates earn part of the cost of their sentence.
We also must better prepare inmates for their release to substantially reduce recidivism. Every prisoner should be exposed to an influence that could help develop a ray of hope in their lives. Without help, a person has nothing to head them in a positive direction.
LB 999 was also approved on first round debate. This legislation will help inmates successfully cope with and prepare for eventual release by providing treatment for mental health issues and drug and alcohol addictions. I believe that violent offenders should serve out their full prison terms. However, as with non-violent offenders, an opportunity for hope should be available for every inmate. Churches and other charitable groups need to step up and offer help in this regard. Our corrections system must be open for their assistance.
On Final Reading this morning were several bills aimed at tax reductions for Nebraskans. LB 96 will exempt repair or replacement parts for agricultural machinery and equipment from sales and use tax. Nebraska is one of eight states still imposing this tax.
LB 986e will change homestead exemption income limitations and provide an exemption for individuals with developmental disabilities. That bill will become effective upon the governor’s signature.
LB 987 will adjust individual income tax brackets for inflation and exempt social security and military retirement benefits from income taxation in certain circumstances such as maximum total income. These bills were the result of the work done by the Tax Modernization Committee that met last summer and fall.


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Johanns: Latest Delay Proof Obamacare Is Unworkable


“The only parts of Obamacare that aren't written in disappearing ink are the crippling Medicare cuts, new taxes, cancellation notices and costly mandates burdening hard-working families.”
WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.)  said the latest Obamacare delay is yet another broken promise by the Administration and further proof that this law should be repealed.
“It seems the only parts of Obamacare that aren't written in disappearing ink are the crippling Medicare cuts, new taxes, cancellation notices and costly mandates burdening hard-working families,” Johanns said. “The Administration said the website glitches were fixed but now they’re the excuse for yet another delay, despite the President’s previous emphatic claim that he has no authority to change the deadline.
“Americans’ heads are spinning trying to sort through the broken promises and changing provisions. It used to be that only Congress could change laws, but now the President apparently believes his white-out is an acceptable replacement. It’s outrageous.”
The Administration announced they would extend the law’s March 31st deadline until mid-April, citing heavy website volume as the reason Americans may be unable to sign up for a plan on the federal exchange by the end of March. This delay counters previous statements by Administration officials that they “don't actually have the statutory authority to extend the open enrollment period in 2014" and that "there is no delay beyond March 31.”

Monday, March 24, 2014

Elsie Karmazin July 29, 1925 to March 20, 2014

Hastings resident Elsie Ann Karmazin, 88, died Thursday, March 20, 2014, at Blue Hill Care Center in Blue Hill, Nebraska.
 Rosary will be Sunday, March 23, 2014, at 7 p.m. at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Lawrence. Mass of Christian Burial will be Monday at March 24, 2014, at 10:30 a.m. at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Lawrence with Father Thomas Bush and Monsignor Ivan Vap officiating.
 Burial will be at Sacred Heart Cemetery in Lawrence. Memorials may be given to Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Lawrence, Nebraska. Visitation will be Sunday, March 23, 2014, from 3-9 p.m. at Lawrence Visitation Chapel, Lawrence.
Elsie Ann was born July 29, 1925 in Spring Ranch, Clay County, Nebraska to John and Lillian (Wolfe) Lipovsky.  She was baptized at St. Martin Loucky Catholic Church.  She attended Prairie Rose Country school Dist #4 in Clay county and then Lawrence High School graduating in 1942.
After graduation she worked in Lincoln at Western electric Company until her marriage. 
Elsie married Robert Karmazin on August 28, 1947 at St. Martin Loucky Catholic Church. 
The couple made their home in the country 4 miles east and 1 1/2 miles north of Lawrence, Nebraska.
Elsie worked as a bookkeeper at Ron's Pharmacy in Blue Hill from 1979 to 2001 for her son Ron.   She was active in Sacred Heart Alter Society home and school organization ,  Lawrence Legion Auxiliary and Lawrence extension club and Lockland Country Club.  She enjoyed being a 4 H leader. 
She had a special fondness for her vegetable, fruit and flower gardens over the years.
Bob and Elsie enjoyed traveling and spent many winters in California where they enjoyed golfing and visiting friends.  In 1981 they moved from the country to their new home in Lawrence, Nebraska.
 In 2009 with Elsie's health failing they moved to College View Assisted Living in Hastings where Elsie made her home until the last month.
Elsie was preceded in death by her parents and a son, Michael R. Karmazin.
She is survived by her husband Robert J. Karmazin, of Hastings. 
Her children, spouses and families include, Michael R. Karmazin (deceased) Michelle and TJ Chamberlain of CA, Tyler and Alexa, Kimberly Karmazin of CA. David Karmazin of Florida, Kathleen and David Vacek of Lander, Wyoming, William Vacek of  Lander Wyoming, Kenneth and Katie Vacek of Ankeny, Iowa, Audrey, Isabelle and Michael, Ronald J. and Colleen Karmazin of Blue Hill, Eric and Rachel Karmazin of Omaha, Luci and Maddox, Jodi Karmazin of Lincoln, Emma and Hunter Meyers, Andrew and Emma Karmazin of Omaha, Nebraska, Bennett; Sandra S. and John Woodward of Rochester, MN; Trudy Woodward of Omaha, Ne, Robert and Allison Woodward of Lincoln, Ne.   Brother and spouse Ed and Lorene Lipovsky of Fairfield, Ne, Sisters and spouse, Marie Sakore, of Grand Island, Ne and Dorthey and Don Buescher of Lawrence

Massachusetts Should Not Determine Nebraska's Presidential Vote

Gov. Dave Heineman


Dear Fellow Nebraskans:
I want to make you aware of Legislative Bill 1058 that would dramatically change the presidential election procedure in Nebraska. The bill proposes that our state enter into a compact agreement with other states and the combined total popular vote of the nation would require Nebraska to cast its five electoral votes for the presidential candidate who won the combined vote, even if he or she didn’t win in Nebraska.
Let me briefly explain this bill. Known as the so-called “National Popular Vote” legislation, the bill may sound good because of the name and even present an initial face value appeal. However, if enacted in our state, this bill could essentially nullify the voice of the Nebraska voters in presidential elections. Put simply, we do not want our voice invalidated when electing the next President of the United States.
Secretary of State John Gale, our state’s chief election officer, and I are strongly opposed to State Senator Tyson Larson’s LB 1058. Nebraskans want their electoral votes to count, and that won’t occur under the proposed bill. Instead, our votes for President could be mandated to go to the candidate that Nebraska voters did not elect.
For example, in the 2012 presidential election, Nebraskans overwhelmingly voted for Governor Mitt Romney for President. Under the proposed electoral scheme set forth in LB 1058, our state would have contractually been forced to cast our five electoral votes for President Barack Obama instead of Mitt Romney. That would not have been right or fair to our citizens.
This would have impacted other presidential elections in Nebraska, as well. In 1976, Nebraska would have been required to cast its electoral votes for Governor Jimmy Carter instead of President Gerald Ford. That same scenario would have happened again in the 1992, 1996, 2000 and 2008 presidential elections.
I have always been proud of Nebraska voters who take their right and responsibility to vote in national elections very seriously. I believe that once Nebraskans are faced with the facts on how this legislation would be detrimental to our voice as a state, they will see that it is a bad idea.
Currently, nine states and the District of Columbia have already agreed to enter into this Interstate Compact. Those states are Massachusetts, California, Illinois, Washington, Maryland, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Jersey and Hawaii. We do not want these states to determine how Nebraska casts its votes.
The United States of America is built upon the 50 states and the belief in those individual states’ rights. In America, especially in election laws, we respect the right of every state to decide what policies are best for their citizens.
Nebraskans know what’s best for Nebraska. Massachusetts residents know what’s best for their state. But, Massachusetts should not determine what’s best for Nebraska and we shouldn’t decide what’s best for that state, either. LB 1058 is a bad idea and should be rejected by the Nebraska Legislature.

- Dave Heineman

Saturday, March 22, 2014


     Frankly, it's easy to take agriculture for granted in America. Our food is readily accessible and safe. For this, we're unbelievably fortunate . . . but that doesn't mean we don't have an obligation to recognize how it's made possible. National Ag Day falls on March 24th during National Ag Week which is March 20-26, 2014. The theme for this year is appropriately - "Agriculture: 365 Sunrises and 7 Billion Mouths to Feed".”  Farms both big and small have a proud tradition of nourishing generations. That is why people like me are encouraging consumers from all walks of life to learn more about farmers’ roles in providing nourishment for our families, our animals and our soil. 
     One out of three Nebraskans derive their income from working directly with agriculture. Cash receipts from farm marketing contributed over $24 billion to Nebraska’s economy in 2012 which translated into a record net farm income of over $7.5 billion and 6.2 percent of the U.S. total. Nebraska has a vibrant export market and we need to remember that every dollar in agricultural exports generates $1.29 in economic activities such as transportation, financing, warehousing, and production. Nebraska’s $7.3 billion in agricultural exports in 2012 translate into $9.4 billion in additional economic activity. You can find where Nebraska ranks nationally in ag commodities by going to: 
     Nebraska’s top five agricultural exports in 2012 were soybeans, corn, beef and veal, feeds and fodder, and grain products. In 2013, Nebraska ranked second in ethanol production capacity, with 23 operating plants having production capacity of 1.96 billion gallons. Over 40% of the State’s 2012 corn crop was utilized in ethanol production. This all was done on Nebraska’s 49,969 farms and ranches that have an average operation size of 907 acres. Nebraska’s average net income per farm was $119,002 during the 2008-2012 period with a considerable amount of income and property taxes that went to each of our communities. Obviously that means a lot to our state in terms of how important the agricultural industry is to our economy and to every segment of our society that depends upon our largest industry.
     It behooves us to honor National Agriculture Day and join in with thousands of these other agriculturalists to tell the true story of American agriculture and remind citizens that agriculture is a part of all of us. Our very existence may depend upon when and how we tell our story. It is important - particularly on a day like National Ag Day – for all of us to show our gratitude to the many men and women who make agriculture possible. Our nation's first President, George Washington, wrote, “I know of no pursuit in which more real and important services can be rendered to any country than by improving its agriculture”.  Farmers and ranchers are those responsible for supplying a safe and abundant food supply.
     We know that food and fiber doesn't just arrive at the grocery or clothing store . . . or magically appear on our dinner table, or in our closet. There's an entire industry dedicated to providing plentiful and safe food for consumption . . . as well as a wide range of comfortable, fashionable clothing choices. We rely on agriculture for the very necessities of life. Did you know American agriculture not only provides you food and clothing, but is working harder than ever to meet the needs of Americans, and others all round the world? Did you know that agriculture products are America's #1 export? And of great importance with new technology farmers are more environmentally friendly than ever before. American agriculture is not just producing more food it’s producing higher quality goods. And it's important to remember that American agriculture is not just doing it, but doing it better and more effectively! 
     An under-rated less than 2 percent of our population involved in modern agriculture produces enough food for all 6.3 billion souls worldwide. With today’s successful commercial agriculture, one U.S. farmer produces enough food to feed 155 people and is the leading producer of more than 50 foods of importance to diets throughout the world. In 1940, the average U.S. farmer fed only 19 people. Quite simply, American agriculture is doing more with less - and doing it better. Farm families are overcoming increasing challenges to provide this food. They face increasing pressures on farm and ranch land, including excess regulations and paperwork requirements, tax uncertainty, high input costs, limited water, emerging pests and plant and animal diseases. You can find more at: 
     As the world population soars, there is an even greater demand for the food and fiber produced in the United States. We will need to provide enough food and fiber for 9 billion people by the year 2050; a daunting task that will be taken on by your Nebraska and American Farmers.  American farmers are working harder than ever, and it shows. The need for food produced in the United States is dramatic. Agriculture is this nation's #1 export and vitally important in sustaining a healthy economy. And it's not just the farmer who makes our food possible. The entire agriculture industry, from farm to all the way to the grocery store, is full of vital links in a chain that brings food to every citizen - and millions of people abroad.  That's really what this day is all about . . . recognizing the role of agriculture - and celebrating it! 

Friday, March 21, 2014


Duane A Lienemann
 It has finally arrived!  No, not a package or letter, something better – Spring! This season officially began with the “vernal equinox” on March 20 at 11:57 pm central time. Ah, Spring! This season brings increasing daylight, warming temperatures, and the rebirth of flora and fauna.  Spring is also the time when worms begin to emerge from the earth, ladybugs land on screen doors, green buds appear, birds chirp, and flowers begin to bloom. For many of our farmers it means bringing out the tractors and putting on some fertilizer, lining up the planter and other equipment for planting season or perhaps getting the bags or bulk bins of seed ready for when the planters roll.  For a lot of my sports oriented friends it means March Madness and basketball brackets. This also harkens the annual celebration of National Agriculture Week which is celebrated this year March 23-29. I don’t really think of how we determine the first day of Spring; but as my second sentence implies, it actually has something to do with an equinox. Let’s look a little more closely and what this is this week.
     The vernal, or spring, equinox signals the beginning of nature’s renewal in the Northern Hemisphere. The word equinox is derived from the Latin words meaning “equal night.”  On the first day of spring—the vernal equinox—day and night are each approximately 12 hours long (with the actual time of equal day and night, in the Northern Hemisphere, occurring a few days before the vernal equinox). The Sun crosses the celestial equator going northward; it rises exactly due east and sets exactly due west. That is the simplistic way of describing it. Actually, in a technical way concerning the equinoxes, the tilt of Earth relative to the Sun is zero, which means that Earth’s axis neither points toward nor away from the Sun. It may interest you that a second equinox which will occur on Sept. 22 at 9:29 pm central time.  This date will mark the autumnal equinox in the Northern Hemisphere and the vernal equinox in the Southern Hemisphere. But let’s continue on with the vernal equinox.
     I remember my parents telling me that this time of year always points towards Easter. I was curious how that all came together, so I set out to see if the vernal equinox had anything have anything to do with Easter?  It seems that the vernal equinox does in deed determine the date of Easter for Christians. The date of Easter is traditionally the first Sunday after the first full moon after the vernal equinox. This does have historical influence. In the old Hebrew and Israelite calendar, the New Year was always on the Spring equinox. These people planned their lives around the movement of the sun and if you think about it, the first day of Spring would be a good time to start a new year the logical place to start anew. 
     Isn’t this the date you can balance an egg on its end? Or perhaps get a common kitchen broom to stand at attention? Well I have tried both, and was successful, so I was convinced that there was truth to it. Actually it is an ancient Chinese custom to balance eggs, a symbol of fertility, on the day of the March or vernal equinox to bring good luck and prosperity. Americans have picked up on this and have created a rumor that it's only possible to stand an egg on its end on the 1st day of spring. While this seems pretty cool, it is only partly true in that it is possible to stand an egg on its head. Have they tried other days?
     Actually it has nothing to do with it being the first day of spring. It can be performed any day of the year and even on the bar of the local watering hole any Saturday night. This “party trick” most likely has to with the texture of the egg shell (a smoother shell probably won't grip to the surface as well) and the skill or steady hand of the egg handler. There are no changes in gravity alignment between the sun and the Earth, which has sometimes been attributed to the eggs balancing specifically on the spring equinox.  It seems that this is an age-old myth that does not really hold any truth. So actually trying to balance an oval-shaped object on its end is no easier on the spring equinox than on any other day. There is no scientific way the Earth's axis could help stabilize the egg. The equinox means balanced light, not balanced eggs!
     Well, how about the standing broom? I am sure that this coming week you will see all kinds of Facebook postings with folks claiming they were able to stand a broom on end thanks to a supposed "planetary alignment," or the vernal equinox. Some will even have photographic evidence. But here's the thing: it's a trick, not the result of any spooky celestial phenomenon. For one thing, the spring equinox has nothing to do with it. Neither does any planetary alignment. The same brooms standing on end today will stand on end a week from now, a month from now, or even six months from now. You just have to know the trick. You can do it yourself. Here is how it works. And the equinox has nothing to do with it! 
     Take any flat-bottomed broom (it can be angled or straight) with relatively stiff bristles, and stand it up so the bottom is flat on the floor. Try balancing it and letting go. If it won't stay upright by itself (some will, some won't, depending on weight, dimensions, and center of gravity), then push straight down, forcing the bristles to spread apart on each side (depending on the particular broom, you may have to use your fingers to spread the bristles evenly). Then gently let up on the downward pressure, balancing the broom upright as you release it. The spread bristles will contract somewhat but not completely, forming a relatively stable base which should allow the broom to continue standing by itself - a parlor trick!
     Now that I know the truth on both of these “myths” all I can say is “Bummer.” But do not despair - the days are getting longer and warmer! We have suffered enough. It is time for a reprieve. However you celebrate or mark the beginning of spring, it does symbolize a rebirth. This is the season of nature’s renewal. Many commit to do their annual “spring cleaning” and get rid of things we no longer use or need. I know that a lot of women and yes even some men routinely follow that urge. We not only clean, but we plant new plants to add to the trees and flowers that will soon start to bloom. Everything just seems fresh! Here’s wishing you an excellent “vernal equinox and a Spring full of beauty and new beginnings. Enjoy!!
   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: 

Supreme Court Ruling Won’t Affect Cowboy Trail

LINCOLN – A recent Supreme Court ruling on the ownership of abandoned railways won’t affect Nebraska’s Cowboy Trail.
Earlier this month, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that after a railroad has abandoned a line, the land should revert to owners of the adjacent property instead of to the federal government. Some fear the ruling threatens Rails to Trails projects across the country built on abandoned railways

The Cowboy Trail, however, is built on land that has been railbanked, rather than abandoned. When a trail is railbanked, it may be developed into a trail but the railroad retains the right to convert it back into a rail line.

The Rails to Trails Conservancy purchased the right-of-way for the 321-mile stretch of land between Norfolk and Chadron in the early 1990s from the Chicago and NorthWestern Transportation Company. The Conservancy gave the right-of-way to the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission in 1993. Since then, Game and Parks has worked to develop and maintain 196 miles of the trail between Norfolk and Valentine for walking, running, bicycling and horseback riding.

Washington Report: Celebrate National Agriculture Week

Rep.Adrian Smith

Americans will celebrate National Agriculture Week from March 23-29 to recognize the contributions of farmers, ranchers, and supporting industries to our economy and well-being.  The efficiency and forward thinking of our producers is making it possible to meet the food demands of a growing world population with fewer inputs and less waste.
The House of Representatives will again show our appreciation for the success of modern agriculture by dedicating a statue of the late Dr. Norman E. Bourlaug in the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday.  Dr. Bourlaug is known as America’s greatest agriculture scientist and as the father of modern agriculture.  His work to improve wheat has helped to feed populations around the globe.
However, it is not enough to show our appreciation for modern agriculture, the House must also work to remove government imposed barriers to agriculture’s success.  In the next 50 – 100 years, it is estimated we will need to produce more food than we have throughout most of human history combined.  Further complicating matters, producers will have to meet this demand with less land, energy, and water.
Arbitrary government regulations and unnecessary harassment from federal agencies only make it more difficult for producers to increase their productivity and make the advancements necessary to feed the world.  Farmers and ranchers should not be the enemy of the federal government and I am working through my Regulation Rewind initiative to identify and address the government imposed barriers to their success.
Too often regulations and rules are proposed by Washington bureaucrats in the name of ‘environmental protection’ or ‘food safety,’ with no basis in sound science or an understanding of how their implementation will affect producers and consumers.  As co-chairman of the House Modern Agriculture caucus, I am working to bring an awareness of agriculture issues to Washington.  For example, in coming weeks the caucus will host briefings for Representatives and staff on plant science.  We will discuss the importance of ag research and developments which are allowing American growers to remain competitive using fewer resources such as water, fertilizer, and pesticides. 
It is important lawmakers, regulators, and our trading partners recognize these products are safe and nutritious.  Innovation will allow growers worldwide to meet current and future demands, but we must not allow misperceptions, rumors, and unproven theories to undermine sound science and advances in agriculture. Doing this will only force production outside our borders.
As Nebraskans, we have much to be thankful for as we celebrate National Agriculture Week as well as many challenges ahead.  Please join me in thanking the many producers who work tirelessly to support our economy and feed the world.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Legislative Newsletter

Sen. Tom Carlson-District 38
The Legislature is in the midst of the session count down on this 43rd working day. The budget bills were presented this week and many of the personal and speaker priority bills are waiting for debate.
The two year state budget is passed every other year during the long 90-day session.  It is updated during the following 60-day session to incorporate changes in the economy and other circumstances unknown the previous year.  The $7.8 billion two year budget will cover the period ending June 30, 2015.
We gave first round approval to the budget, which includes increased property tax credits. More money is allocated for water projects, parks maintenance, job training, early childhood education, and additional services for people with developmental disabilities.
One of my main objectives this session was to obtain more state funds for water projects.  To that end, I introduced LB 1047 in front of the Appropriations Committee.  I am pleased to report that water related funding is one of the largest amounts included in this year’s amended budget package.
LB 1047 created the Water Sustainability Fund in the Dept of Natural Resources.  An appropriation of $21 million of General Funds would be transferred to the Fund for fiscal year 2014-15. An additional $11 million would be transferred to the fund in each fiscal year, beginning 2015-16.
LB 1098, my priority bill, would establish the new Natural Resources Commission. The 27 members would evaluate and recommend new water research and projects to put us on the path to water sustainability across the entire state of Nebraska. I believe this is one of the most important considerations in my eight years in the Legislature. 
The property tax credit program, started in 2007, provides a state funded discount on a local homeowner or landowner’s property tax bill.  The proposed budget adds $25 million to the fund. An amendment to make the amount $45 million did not pass. Most property owners will see a savings of $74 per $100,000 property valuation. The present savings is $66 per $100,000 valuation.
Tuesday’s vote was the first of three required to pass the budget and present it to the Governor by March 26, the 50th Legislative Day.  This budget includes the increased commitment to water sustainability.
Many of my constituents contact my office concerning income tax cuts, especially for military and social security payments to retirees.  The Revenue Committee introduced LB 987 and the body advanced it to the second round of debate. The bill would adjust individual income tax brackets for inflation and exempt Social Security income, up to a certain amount, from taxation. If passed in present form, the new rates would take effect for tax years beginning January 1

Monday, March 17, 2014

Johanns Reviewing Legislation, Ready for Committee Action on Housing Finance Reform

OMAHA – U.S. Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) today said he is reviewing the housing finance reform legislation released by Senate Banking Committee Chairman Tim Johnson (D-SD) and Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), but is pleased steps are being taken to protect taxpayers from future bailouts. The legislation is based on a bipartisan bill Johanns worked to craft last year.

“Our nation’s housing crisis saw foreclosure rates hit all-time highs and taxpayers were required to bail out lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to the tune of $180 billion dollars,” Johanns said. “A lot has changed since then, but the fundamentals that left Americans holding the bag for other people’s risky gambles have not. That’s why I worked with my colleagues on the Banking Committee to craft bipartisan legislation that protects taxpayers, retains the 30-year mortgage and preserves the important role community-based financial institutions play. I’m pleased Chairman Johnson and Ranking Member Crapo used our bipartisan bill as a starting point for their legislation.
“I’m continuing to review this legislation, but am pleased progress is being made and eager to continue working with my colleagues to get this important reform done.”

Johanns worked with Senators Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.) to craft the bipartisan legislation Johnson and Crapo used as a foundation for starting this important discussion. The Corker-Warner-Johanns bill, S. 1217, takes taxpayers off the hook for future bailouts, preserves the 30-year fixed rate mortgage and ensures access to the mortgage market for small lenders

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Lt. Governor and First Lady Join National Effort to 'Text Not Call' During Emergencies


(Lincoln, Neb.) Lt. Gov. Lavon Heidemann and First Lady Sally Ganem are encouraging those involved in an emergency or disaster situation to send a text message rather than a voice call to get through when wireless networks are overwhelmed during a crisis. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) advises people to know what to do before, during and after an emergency to be prepared when disasters strike.
As Homeland Security Director, Lt. Gov. Heidemann and First Lady Sally Ganem, along with other first spouses across the nation, encourage those in emergency situations and crisis to “Text First. Talk Second.” In crisis scenarios, there are times when text messages get through the network even when wireless networks are too overwhelmed for voice calls.
“In an emergency when citizens are all trying to use their phones, it can overload the system. A simple message could be a saving grace for friends and loved ones letting them know that you are o.k.,” said First Lady Ganem.
“Even though our extensive communications systems are among the world’s most dependable, many conditions can put a strain on these systems which is why it is important to text in order to keep phone lines open for the most urgent emergency calls,” said Lt. Governor Heidemann.
Each year, Nebraska observes Severe Weather Awareness Week. This year it is March 24 to 28 and serves as a reminder that we all need to think about what we would do if a weather emergency affected our home and family.
Nebraska Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) is asking that all Nebraskans learn what the risks are and take action before severe weather strikes. Items to have ready in case of an emergency include: water (one gallon per person, per day), non-perishable food, a battery-powered radio, flashlight with extra batteries, medicines, a hand-operated can opener, a utility knife, pet supplies and first aid supplies. Be sure to copy important documents, such as medical records, contracts, property deeds, leases, banking records, insurance records, and birth certificates and keep them in a safe place.
Dry conditions leading to wildfires are a concern for Nebraskans this year. Pay attention to Red Flag or Fire Weather Warnings which mean conditions are favorable for a fire to start and spread rapidly. If you are in an area where warnings have been issued or where wildfires are burning, listen to local radio and television stations for updated emergency information and be prepared to take action if needed.
It is recommended to know the difference between a watch and a warning. For instance, a tornado watch is issued when weather conditions are favorable for the formation of tornadoes. You should stay tuned to local weather reports for up-to-date information. A tornado warning is issued when a tornado funnel is sighted or indicated by weather radar. You should take shelter immediately.
To learn more about what to do before, during and after an emergency, visit Nebraska Emergency Management Agency’s website at or Being prepared can make a big difference when seconds count.

Friday, March 14, 2014


Duane A. Lienemann
UNL Extension Educator

I am betting that most of you have heard on many occasions when you drop food on the floor – “Five Second Rule”.  It doesn’t seem to matter if it is in the school lunch room, fast food restaurant or even at home.  Of course we always laugh about it, but I have over the years seen many students, and non-students alike, carry through on the rule - pick it up and pop it in their mouth. Now I am sure that some people gag at that thought and others will admit that they have done just that. Either way I think it would be fun to look at an actual study that was done on this very topic.
     Five Second Rule: Are you ready for this? Apparently, food picked up just a few seconds after being dropped is less likely to contain bacteria than if it is left for longer periods of time. Well that actually makes sense in many ways, and according to the findings of research carried out at Aston University’s School of Life and Health Sciences in Birmingham, England, that is the fact of the matter. The findings suggest there may be some scientific basis to the “five-second rule” – the urban myth about it being fine to eat food that has only had contact with the floor for five seconds or less. Although people have long followed the five-second rule, until now it was unclear whether it actually helped.
     The study, undertaken by final-year biology students, monitored the transfer of the common bacteria Escherichia coli (E. coli) and Staphylococcus aureus from a variety of indoor floor types (carpet, laminate and tiled surfaces) to toast, pasta, biscuit and a sticky sweet when contact was made from three to 30 seconds. Interestingly, the results showed that:
1) Time is a significant factor in the transfer of bacteria from a floor surface to a piece of food, and 2) The type of flooring the food has been dropped on has an effect, with bacteria least likely to transfer from carpeted surfaces and most likely to transfer from laminate or tiled surfaces to moist foods making contact for more than five seconds.
     The study concluded that consuming food dropped on the floor still carries an infection risk, but it very much depends on which bacteria are present on the floor at the time.  They have found evidence that transfer from indoor flooring surfaces is incredibly poor, with carpet actually posing the lowest risk of bacterial transfer onto dropped food.  To make it even more interesting investigative team also carried out a survey of the number of people who employ the five-second rule. The survey showed that: 87 percent of people surveyed said they would eat food dropped on the floor, or already have done so; 55 percent of those who would, or have, eaten food dropped in the floor are women; and 81 percent of the women who would eat food from the floor would follow the five-second rule.  Furthermore, the study showed that a surprisingly large majority of people are happy to consume dropped food, with women the most likely to do so. But they are also more likely to follow the five-second rule, which this research has shown to be much more than an old wives’ tale. This study will bring some light relief to those who have been employing the five-second rule for years, despite a general consensus that it is purely a myth.
     Meat Staves Off Mental & Physical Declines in Older Men: A couple of weeks ago I wrote about another study, done in New York of course, that stated that eating cooked, fried or grilled meat could lead to dementia. Well, this week there is another study that sends a different signal. This study, conducted in Japan, actually showed that a diet rich in animal protein may help older men maintain higher levels of physical, psychological and social function! The associations were not observed in women, and no consistent associations were seen between plant protein intake and functional decline in either sex. The finding certainly pointed to the benefit of eating meat animal protein for aging males. As one of those aging males, it is good to know that I might actually be helping my faculties by imbibing in something that I love: delicious; succulent; aromatic; protein, zinc and iron rich red meat!  Oh is that music to a meat-eaters ear. Isn’t science wonderful? 
      Incidentally, the research was done at Japan’s National Institute of Health and Nutrition and the results were published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.  This study was done by researchers investigated the relationship between protein intake and decline in higher-level functioning in a community of older adults. The analysis included 1,007 men and women with an average age of 67 years who completed food questionnaires at the start of the study and seven years later. Participants were divided into quartiles according to intake levels of both animal and plant protein. 
     During the study period, about one-quarter of participants reported declines in higher-level functional capacity. Now here is the good news for men like me. Drumroll please! This study showed that men in the highest quartile, which included those consuming animal protein, had significantly lower risk of decline in higher-level functioning than those in the lowest quartile. The study ultimately shows that the protein needs may increase with age as the body’s ability to process protein declines. I have to admit that I was hoping that the study would show that the lowest quartiles were those who consumed plant protein, but that was not highlighted in the study. I have my thoughts on that! One thing is evident to me. This may be good news for those who utilize the high protein, meat and dairy diets, or as some call the Atkins Diet. High five for Japanese scientists!!
     That is not the only study that shows the benefit of meat. The American Council on Fitness & Nutrition, in the 2013 report on the importance of foods of animal origin outlined how: Ultimately, the "often-overlooked impact of animal-source foods provides the high-quality protein and key micronutrients essential for physical and cognitive growth and well-being."
And according to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee report, animal products provide a greater quantity and quality of protein than plant products. Meat, milk and eggs provide bioavailable micronutrients such as iron, zinc, calcium, vitamins A, D and B12 which are all associated with better growth, cognitive performance, motor development and activity!
   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: 


Sen. Deb Fischer
 Far too often, the federal government has been in the business of picking winners and losers, rather than promoting a fair playing field. We’ve watched the president unilaterally delay and rewrite parts of ObamaCare for big businesses and special interests. Meanwhile, millions of Americans across the country continue to face the law’s devastating impacts, including skyrocketing health care costs, cancelled plans, and more limited care options.

After the administration issued nearly two dozen ObamaCare delays for a select few, I was surprised to hear Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius recently state that the administration lacks the statutory authority to delay the law’s individual mandate. Though there was little concern for legal authority before, I am more than happy to provide the administration with clear legal authority to further delay ObamaCare.

That’s why I introduced legislation to address this imbalance – the FAIR Act. The bill provides relief for all Americans by delaying the law’s individual mandate penalty each time the White House issues a delay of the employer mandate. I believe hardworking individuals and families suffering under ObamaCare should be given the same treatment the president has already afforded to his political allies.

I am also working to stop the president from working around Congress through executive action. The president has a responsibility to abide by the Constitution he swore to protect and defend – that means faithfully executing our nation’s laws. However, this administration’s unprecedented level of overreach and use of executive orders undermines this sworn duty.

I am cosponsoring the ENFORCE Act, introduced by Senator Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), which would push back against executive overreach and ensure the president upholds his constitutional obligation to carry out the law. The bill establishes a procedure permitting Congress to authorize a lawsuit against the executive branch for any failure to faithfully execute laws passed by Congress. Simply put, it restores our system of checks and balances.

I’m also continuing to push for fairness and accountability at the IRS. This agency has an extraordinary amount of influence on the lives of all Americans. Citizens have the absolute right to expect the IRS to enforce our nation’s tax code in an unbiased manner free from political influence. Unfortunately, the IRS’s abuse of power in targeting conservative organizations showed our expectations are very different from reality.

I recently introduced The Stop IRS Overreach Act, which states that the IRS shall not ask any taxpayer any question regarding their religious, political or social beliefs. This is a pretty straightforward concept – an authentically American concept. It shouldn’t matter who you are or what you believe – all Americans should be treated equally before the law. There’s absolutely no reason why the taxman should question your beliefs.

To increase transparency and responsiveness, I’ve introduced the Taxpayer Accountability Act. Every year, taxpayers and their accountants write the IRS asking for additional information regarding their taxes. Often, they never even hear back from the IRS. Part of the problem is that the IRS is not required to respond to taxpayer communication. However, taxpayers are compelled to respond to the IRS when the agency seeks information. This is a double standard.

The bill I introduced would require the IRS to respond to communication from any taxpayer within 30 days of receiving such correspondence. It also makes clear that when the IRS begins an audit on any individual taxpayer, it must be completed in one year. Taxpayers shouldn’t be left waiting indefinitely – it impacts their businesses and financial decisions.

I believe government should never be in the game of picking winners and losers, or imposing unfair policies. Instead, it should observe the constitutional right of all Americans to equality before the law.

Thank you for taking part in the democratic process, and I’ll visit with you again next week.

Webster County Land brings $3,400 / Acre

DSCN4927Thursday, March 13, 2014 -10:00 a.m.
SOLD! $3,400/ACRE

The auction will be conducted at the Guide Rock Community Center Gymnasium, 120 W. Douglas, Guide Rock, Nebraska.

Legal Description: Southeast Quarter (SE ¼) of Section Twenty-three (23), Township Three North (T3N), Range Nine West (R9W) of the 6th P.M., Webster County, Nebraska, 160 acres more or less.

Location: From the intersection of US Hwy 4 & 78 go 6 miles south to Q Road, then 1 ½ miles east. Or from the intersection of US Hwy 136 & 78 just north of Guide Rock, Nebraska go 8 miles north to Q Road, then 1 ½ miles east.
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Description: This property consists of about 126 acres of level to gently rolling farmland with excellent soils with the balance in pasture and native grass with rolling terrain. Located in an area with competitive markets for the crops grown and livestock raised this property will make an excellent additions to your farming operation or investment portfolio.

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 April 14, 2014 by cash, certified funds or a direct wire transfer to the closing agent. The 2013 and all prior taxes will be paid by the sellers. Title insurance will be split equally between the buyer and the seller.

A PIP (Property Information Packet) will be available by contacting Ruhter Auction & Realty, Inc. The PIP includes possession, terms, taxes, aerial mapping, soils and topography maps, FSA information, etc.

Disclaimer: All inspections required by the purchaser will need to be made prior to the auction date. This sale is not contingent upon financing.

Ruhter Auction & Realty, Inc. is acting as the agent for the sellers.

Sellers: Anne S. Eden, Amy L. Belote, Jane E. Schwerdtfeger & John A. Mohler