Friday, May 30, 2014


Duane A. Lienemann
UNL Extension Educator
       As we end National Beef Month I think that is very appropriate that we pay tribute to one of the most important research facilities perhaps in the world. I may be a little biased, but I really do appreciate and admire the work that has been done there and there is a special event coming up that I think we need to recognize. I would imagine that about everybody in South Central Nebraska are very familiar with something called MARC. The official name is actually the Roman L. Hruska U.S. Meat Animal Research Center and is located near Clay Center, NE. Why am bringing this up? Let’s take a look at this facility and a special milestone that they are celebrating this coming month.
     MARC will be celebrating their Golden Anniversary! Can you believe it has been 50 years since its start? Actually the official recognition of the 50th anniversary will be June 4 at MARC with an invitation only event. However, there will be further celebration from June 18 -21, as MARC will partner with the University of Nebraska and the Nebraska Cattlemen to host the Beef Improvement Federation (BIF) in Lincoln Nebraska. The meeting will include a symposium celebrating the center with speakers taking about MARC and a beef producer panel discussion. A June 21 post conference tour following the 2014 Beef Improvement Federation's annual meeting and research symposium will bring participants to the USMARC, where they will visit two sites – the center's feedlot and pasture. Participants will view the large feed efficiency facility and hear from nutritionists and geneticists about what is going on in the facility and what scientists have learned from it. They also will hear from one of the scientists from the environmental management area that works on heat stress.
At the pasture, participants will see a wide array of different animals in the germ plasm evaluation project and hear about its results. More information on the BIF Conference can be found at  
     Let’s take a look at the history of the Center in this week’s issue. For you that don’t know, MARC was officially authorized by Congress on June 16, 1964. The 34,000-acre site was originally a Naval Ammunition Depot during World War II. Large concrete bunkers still dot the landscape around the center. Now the bunkers are used primarily for storage or incineration. Since that time, scientists at the center and USDA Agricultural Research Service scientists at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln have grown its flagship genetics program and its germ-plasm evaluation project, which has evolved to be the largest breed comparison study over the last 35 to 40 years. The project also has information on how various breed crosses worked as composites, which has laid the foundation for commercial ranches around the country.
     USMARC houses both UNL and federal employees and also is the home to the Great Plains Veterinary Educational Center. The center maintains 24,000 acres of pasture split evenly between warm- and cool-season grass, 1,900 acres of irrigated pasture, 2,500 acres of corn, 500 acres of the cropland that are rotated to soybean production, and two alternative crops grown for additional grazing. All of the buildings at the center were built after 1964. There are six research units at the center including animal health, environmental management, genetics and breeding, meat safety and quality, nutrition, and reproduction. 50 percent of their research is focused on beef, 30 percent on swine, and 20 percent on sheep. 
     Over time there has been a gradual shift toward more focus on basic research and understanding how things really work. Twenty years ago researchers started a large program in the field of genomics. During the last 15 years, capitalizing on its wealth of genetic diversity information, scientists began working in genomics and have been developing and refining genomic tools for use in selection by the industry. During that time period, the genomics group worked on the first case of BSE, using genomics to identify the origin of the animal or commonly called “The cow that stole Christmas.” It identified that particular cow was a Canadian animal, not a U.S. animal. A lot of the research they do now is directly tied to development in genomics. MARC is putting together a very rough roadmap of the DNA information for cattle, sheep, and swine and has progressed to where the center now have the full sequence with 3 million pairs of information, which now is considered a full roadmap. Scientists at the center are currently working on a project selecting for genetic markers in cattle.
     One of the goals at the meat quality research at MARC has focused on tenderness, trying to understand the biology and breed effects on tenderness and improving the consistency of tenderness. That study led MARC into instrument grading research, which led to a camera system that all of the major packers use today. Instrumentation is now used both for the grading camera and for prediction of tenderness and is continually evolving, and it all started at USMARC.
     MARC has also worked with food safety issues. The USDA has invested funds into trying to address food safety issues for consumers. The Meat Safety and Quality research unit was formed in 1983 and the first food safety science came to the center in 1988. Meat safety was not part of the center originally, but meat quality was part of the early evaluation studies. The unit was formed because of a growing realization that safety was an important aspect of meat production. The food safety program really began with an outbreak of E. coli O157:H7. It has evolved into a lot of work on detection of pathogens all the way to sequencing bacteria genomes. Scientists are now sequencing the genomes of E. coli and Salmonella to better understand the genetics behind antibiotic resistance, as well as to provide genomic DNA diagnostic tools to screen meat products for those pathogens. A lot of the advances we have had with our livestock industry are linked to USMARC. Join me in saluting the Center and all the dedicated scientists who all join to make us the best in the world!   

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 Statement on Shinseki Resignation

WaSHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.), a member of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, issued the following statement after Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Eric Shinseki resigned amid allegations of veterans’ deaths resulting from delayed care at VA hospitals across the country:

“Sec. Shinseki has honorably served our nation, but faced with the facts released earlier this week, it’s clear the VA is in need of significant changes to provide the care our veterans have been promised,” Johanns said. “Sec. Shinseki’s resignation cannot be the end of this scandal. So many times in Washington the solution is to change leadership and hope the problem gets swept under the rug as the headlines fade away. We must not let that be the case this time.
“As a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, I take seriously the responsibility to care for our veterans. I will press forcefully for the implementation of the inspector general’s initial recommendations and any future recommendations to ensure the corruption is stopped and never repeated.”
Secretary Shinseki’s resignation came two days after an interim report from the VA’s Inspector General revealed that at least 1,700 veterans were left off a health care appointment waitlist at the Phoenix VA medical facility. The report also showed patients there waited an average of 115 days for their initial appointments, and concluded that problems at the VA are "systemic" and not limited to Phoenix.
Sloan Gibson, a VA deputy secretary who was confirmed by the Senate in February, has been named as the interim VA Secretary.

Fischer Statement on the Resignation of Secretary Shinseki

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) released the following statement regarding the resignation of Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki:

“The resignation of Secretary Shinseki is an important step toward achieving accountability at the VA. The agency is in desperate need of stronger, more aggressive leadership. I encourage the president to appoint a new secretary capable of overhauling this entrenched bureaucratic culture focused on promoting all the wrong priorities. This is also an opportunity for us to seriously reconsider the way we deliver care to our veterans and explore ways to restructure the agency to better fulfill its mission. The first priority must be finding a way to quickly deliver care to those veterans who have been waiting. Our veterans have stepped up and answered the call to serve; it’s our duty to step up and ensure they have high quality, efficiently delivered care.”

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Area Students on Deans list.

KEARNEY – University of Nebraska at Kearney today announced the names of students who earned a place on the dean’s list for the 2014 spring semester.
To earn a place on the dean’s list, UNK students must complete at least 12 credit hours with a 3.5 or better overall grade point average on a 4.0 scale. Courses taken on a credit/no credit basis aren’t included among the necessary 12 credits.
In recognition of their academic achievements, dean’s list students receive a certificate from their respective deans.

Ayr – Ryan Behmer; Tyler Hinrichs
Bladen – Connor Brown
Blue Hill – Desirae Kohmetscher; Riley Bonifas
Guide Rock – Christa Alber

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Cleaning Up the EPA

Senator Mike Johanns


Our nation’s ag producers have a vested interest in caring for the environment.  For centuries, farmers and ranchers have depended on healthy and abundant natural resources for their livelihoods. So it would stand to reason that the ag community would find an ally in the Environmental Protection Agency.  Yet America’s farmers and ranchers continually find themselves on the receiving end of overly harsh, costly and often unnecessary EPA regulations.
It has become a common theme in discussions with Nebraska’s ag producers during my travels throughout our state.  EPA’s seemingly-relentless efforts to expand its regulatory reach on farm operations have generated a great deal of concern and uncertainty, and have left many producers wondering how much EPA really understands or even cares about how America gets its food. From attempts to regulate livestock methane emissions to proposals imposing waterway rules on often-dry pasture ponds, to the careless dissemination of personal information of thousands of ag producers, EPA has developed a sordid reputation of being out of touch with the ag community.
EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, who took the helm at the federal agency last summer, recently expressed a willingness to work with farmers and ranchers on proposed regulations, and we intend to hold her to it. So last week, I joined my Republican colleagues on the Senate agriculture committee in requesting a meeting to express these concerns with Administrator McCarthy, and get a better understanding of EPA’s commitment to rebuilding its trust and credibility with America’s farmers and ranchers. Improving EPA’s rapport with ag producers must start with an open and honest dialogue about EPA’s agenda and its impact on ag production. But it can’t stop there.  If Administrator McCarthy is serious about working with the Ag community on our mutual desire to care for the environment, our concerns should be reflected in EPA’s actions.
Until we see results, I will continue to push back firmly against EPA’s onslaught of burdensome regulations, which extend beyond just agriculture. Many of EPA’s proposed regulations carry a hefty price tag in compliance costs and potential fines that could be passed along to consumers in the form of higher food and energy costs. Some proposals actually extend beyond the Agency’s authority granted by Congress.
I’ve sponsored numerous pieces of legislation aimed at addressing these concerns, including bills requiring EPA to report on the economic impacts of its proposed regulations, and measures promoting a competitive energy market to keep important manufacturing jobs in the United States.
These efforts are not intended to get rid of EPA or to score political points.  They are reasonable and measured in an attempt to put an end to EPA’s overly-burdensome rules, and protect hardworking Americans from skyrocketing energy prices and other harmful consequences that threaten our economic recovery.
A healthy and clean environment is certainly worth fighting for, and being responsible stewards of our natural resources should be a shared goal. Congress and EPA must work together to find solutions within the scope of federal law that balance important environmental protections with protecting the livelihoods of our farmers, ranchers and businesses owners. I will continue working to achieve these goals.

Friday, May 23, 2014


Duane A. Linemann
UNL Extension Educator
     As I write this column many people, like me, are getting ready for Memorial Day. A lot of people look at it as three day weekend, a good excuse to break out the grill, while many use this special weekend for marking the start of summer!  While it is a great time for families and friends to get together, a good time stock up on meat and to make sure the propane bottles are filled, and of course to visit the cemeteries where are loved ones are laid to rest.  I think that most people know that it is much more than that. Let’s explore Memorial Day ----- and then we will talk a little about what goes on those grills.
     Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day and was initiated to honor the soldiers for the Union and Confederate armies who died during the American Civil War. Celebrations honoring Civil War heroes started the year after the war ended. The establishment of a public holiday was meant to unify the celebration as a national day of remembrance instead of a holiday celebrated separately by the Union and Confederate states. By the late 19th century, the holiday became known as Memorial Day and was expanded to include the deceased veterans of all the wars fought by American forces.When Memorial Day became a federal holiday in 1971, it was given the floating date of the last Monday in May. 
     During the Memorial Day weekend, many families visit war memorials and military cemeteries to honor the dead veterans especially if they include relatives. Without their sacrifices we would not be free to ask questions, to challenge our political leaders, and to take an active role in our system of government. To them we owe an unrepayable debt. Most towns and cities pay homage to their local servicemen who have given their lives or fought and came back home. I love to see the flags flying boldly in cemeteries all around Nebraska and I would bet all across this nation. At Washington, D.C.’s Arlington Cemetery, members of the U.S. Army and volunteers place small United States flags at exactly the same spot at each tombstone. The nationwide display of patriotism is touching and inspiring, as it should be!
     Lately, families also visit civilian cemeteries to honor dead relatives who never served in the armed forces. Many people spend the weekend boating at a local lake or beach. Extended families gather to eat, barbecue, play games, and enjoy the company of their loved ones. I would ask that you share with your children and grandchildren the real purpose of Memorial Day. While it is traditional and fun to go on picnics and camping, our children should still be taught the true meaning of this holiday and why we recognize Memorial Day. We need to, now more than ever, instill that pride and honor in our kids.
     Please take the time to do something with your family and friends. It is important to visit the final resting places of our loved ones, but after we pay tribute what could be better than sharing a wonderful meal together?  Tradition demands that the grills come out for part of the meal preparation. We will soon be relishing the mouth-watering aroma of meat, primarily beef,  being prepared on millions of grills across the country .
     That gives me a great segue into something that I take a lot of pride in as do all the cattlemen in our state and across our great nation. Did you know that we are coming towards the close of the National Beef Month? What better way to bring an end to the celebration of Nebraska’s number one industry, beef, with another celebration of patriotism and memory of those that gave their lives to give us the freedoms we have today. What better way to pay tribute to our fallen as well as our loved ones who have gone before us than to share the nutrition, flavor and savory aroma of beef? Beef from our great state!
     I think most people know that Nebraska was for many years called “The Beef State”. There is an effort that is near fruition to bring back a special Beef State license plate and for good reason.  It is no secret that our state is known for both the quantity and the quality of its beef. Cattle outnumber people 4 to 1. Did you know that close to half of the 50,000 farms in Nebraska raise cattle?  Cattle roam the feedlots, pastures and fields of every Nebraska County, and three of those counties; Cherry, Holt and Custer are listed in the U.S. top 10 cow counties. To quote Gov. Heineman: “Raising the cattle that become the beef to feed our state, our nation and our world is what we do here in Nebraska. It's what we've done for generations."   
     The beef industry drives the state's economy. It’s the state’s single largest industry and the engine that powers the state’s economy. The multiplied impact of the $6.5 billion in cattle sales each year is $12.1 billion. Cattle-related employment means income for businesses up and down Main Street in towns and cities across the state. In short, the beef cattle industry has an unmistakable impact on other economies in Nebraska. I am proud that Nebraska once again became the top cattle feeding state in the nation, re-claiming our title as the Beef State. That fact- plus some other numbers are awesome! 
     We rank first in the nation in several areas: Commercial red meat with 7,353,100,000 lbs.; All cattle on feed with 2,450,000 head; Commercial cattle slaughter with 6,869,800 head amounting to 9,389,940,000 lbs. live weight harvested. We also rank second in the nation with all cattle and calves totaling 6,150,000 head and with exports of $840,000,000 in beef and veal. We have 20,000 beef cow operations with 1.88 million head of beef cows; we have 4,570 cattle feeding operations statewide with 5.1 million cattle fed and marketed per year and on average there are 2.3 million head of cattle on feed. 
     Cattle turn grass from 24 million acres of rangeland and pasture, more than half of Nebraska’s land mass, into protein and many other products for humans. The land grazed by cattle allows more people to be fed than would otherwise be possible. It is destined to be even more pronounced in that a recent UNL report found that just a 10% increase in cattle on feed could generate three-quarters of a billion dollars, not to mention impacts from more dairy and hog farming. The world is growing, in population and income. Around the world, folks can now afford meat. Nebraska is well positioned to provide that BEEF!!!

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: 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Smith Calls for Changes at the VA

Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) today criticized President Obama’s statement on the status of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and called for changes at the department amid growing accusations of mismanagement and abuse.
There are reports as many as 40 veterans died waiting for medical appointments at the Phoenix, Arizona Veterans Health System.  Some of these veterans may have been placed on a secret waiting list to avoid scheduling appointments within the required period.
“Given the seriousness of the allegations against the VA, I would prefer Secretary Shinseki resign,” said Smith.  “The President’s statement today was an astonishing endorsement of the status quo.  Veterans deserve better.
“I am also disappointed the Obama Administration has already dismissed a House bill which would provide more flexibility to hold senior-level VA employees accountable for their actions.  The lack of support for this bill is yet another indication there are no plans to change the culture of bureaucracy.
“We must insist on reforms to ensure this never happens again.”
Today, the House of Representatives is scheduled to consider H.R. 4031, the Department of Veterans Affairs Management Accountability Act.  Congressman Smith is a cosponsor of this legislation which would allow the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to remove Senior Executive Service employees based on their performance.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Clayton C. Heinrich May 18, 2014

Clayton (CC) Heinrich, 90, Blue Hill, Nebraska, died Sunday, May 18, 2014, at his home in Blue Hill.
 Rosary is Wednesday, May 21, 2014, 7 p.m. at Merten-Butler Mortuary in Blue Hill, Nebraska and Mass is Thursday, May 22, 2014, 10:30 a.m. at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Blue Hill, Nebraska, with Very Rev. James Schrader and Father Valerian Bartek officiating.
Burial will be in the Blue Hill Catholic Cemetery, Blue Hill, Nebraska.
Visitation will be Wednesday, May 21, 2014, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the funeral home.
Memorials can be directed to the family to be designated at a later date.

Caroline M. Schultz March 21, 1924 to May 17, 2014

 Hastings  resident Caroline M. Schulz, 90, passed away with her children by her side on May 17, 2014, at Mary Lanning Healthcare, Hastings, Nebraska.   Services will be Wednesday, May 21, 2014, at 10 a.m. at Faith Lutheran Church in Hastings with Pastor Paul Dunbar officiating. Burial will be in Parkview Cemetery, Hastings. Visitation will be Tuesday, May 20, 2014 from 1-8 p.m. at the funeral home with family present from 6-8 p.m., and one hour prior to service at the church. Memorials may be given to the family for a memorial to be established at a later date. Private condolences may
be sent to the family at . Livingston Butler Volland Funeral Home & Cremation Center is serving the
family. The family would like to acknowledge and offer a very special thank you to the Mary Lanning Healthcare nursing staff and College View Memory Support unit.

The fourth of eight children and only daughter, Caroline was born March 21, 1924, near Glenvil, Nebraska, on a farm to Reempt and Lena (Rothfuss) Hinrichs. She married Burdette A. Schulz on March 17, 1944 in Salina, Kansas, celebrating their 70th wedding anniversary this year. Caroline worked at the Naval Ammunition Depot during World War II before moving near Ayr where they farmed until 1985 before moving to Hastings. She was a member of Faith Lutheran Church, and served as Sunday School teacher at Trinity Lutheran Church in Blue Hill for many years.

Caroline loved spending time with her children and grandchildren, dancing to big band music, cooking and baking for her families. She will be deeply missed and remembered for her genuine caring and fun loving spirit.

Caroline was preceded in death by her parents; brothers, Martin, Ervin, Alvin, Harvey,Dean and Larry.
Survivors include husband, Burdette A. Schulz of Hastings, NE; son and daughter-in-law, Terry and Rhonda Schulz of Andover, KS; daughter and son in-law, Julie and Wayne Tatro of Boulder, CO; grandchildren and spouses, Stacey Smith of Juniata, NE, Terra McGeough of Tampa, FL, Jade and Jeanne Schulz of Rancho Cucamonga, CA, Amber and Mike Swanson of Ravensdale, WA, Ryan and Alissa Tatro of Los Alamos, NM; eleven great-grandchildren; brother and spouse, Dale and Lois Hinrichs of Fairfield, NE, sisters-in-law, Edna Hinrichs of Hastings, NE, Opal Hinrichs of Glenvil, NE, Thelma Hinrichs of Hastings, NE, Janice Hinrichs of Glenvil, NE, numerous nieces and nephews.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Deadline for Webster County Fair Beef Brisket BBQ Cook-Off Contest June

         Are you the best “BBQ Master” in and around Webster County? Are you willing to challenge the rest? Put your BBQ skills to the test, and prove it to all your friends and neighbors. The “Webster County Agricultural Association BBQ Cook-Off” is a new event that will be used to help kick off the 2014 Webster County Fair on Sunday, July 20! The deadline for entry into this contest is June 1 and must either be postmarked or hand delivered to either Ed Jones, President of the Webster County Ag Association, in Bladen, NE or the Webster County UNL Extension Office in Red Cloud, NE by Monday, June 2.
     Entry forms for the cook-off may be obtained by contacting Ed Jones, PO Box 51, Bladen, NE 68928 or by phone at 402-756-1024 or by contacting the Webster Co. Extension Office, Webster Co. Courthouse, 621 North Cedar, Red Cloud, NE 68970 or by phone at 402-746-3417. Interested participants may also download the entry forms and flyer on the internet at  or  .
     There will be an entry fee for each individual or team which includes: 1) Space with NO electricity (quiet generators only) OR 2) Space WITH electricity provided for a higher entry fee. Each entry fee paid will receive one assigned cooking space and one beef brisket, which will be provided by the Webster County Ag Association. Only the brisket provided will be allowed for the contest. All spaces are first come first served. Each cook-off team is responsible for providing side dishes of their choice to be served to the public. A food source sheet must be turned in at check-in. Only food purchased from a store will be allowed. Participants must furnish their own cookers/grills and fuel source and are responsible for their equipment and area.
     The contest will begin between 5:00-7:00 p.m. on Saturday, July 19th with registration, explanation and distribution of the beef briskets, after which time preparation and cooking may begin. A mandatory meeting of contestants will be at 8:00 pm. The finished products will be judged at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, July 20th. The Webster Co. Ag Association will be offering prizes for the Beef Brisket BBQ Cook-off Contest. Awards will be determined by the number of entries and sponsors secured, but the winner will receive a new Grill have their name placed on a plaque to be displayed on the wall in the new 4H Exhibit Hall. Cash awards will be distributed in accordance to jackpot type rules.
     The public is invited to participate in the entire day’s activities, including watching and even interacting with the chefs as they prepare their BBQ entry not to mention soaking in the aroma of cooked beef, BBQ and spices. There is a lot more going on that day including: a cooperative venture between all the different denominations of Churches in and around Webster County to hold an All-Faith Church Service starting at 10:30 a.m.; followed at 11:30 a.m. by a Community Potluck (Carry-in) Dinner that is open to anyone who brings food and their own table service (drinks will be provided); At 12:30 there is a Gospel Concert in the open-air auditorium featuring quartets with uplifting music;  then at 3:00 p.m. the 4-Hers will in involved with their Annual 4-H Ice Cream Roll. This is a fun and educational competitive event and there is a good possibility you might get a sample of ice cream of many different flavors. If nothing else you can watch and encourage the 4-H youth as they use a unique method in making their popular dessert delights.  
     The judging of the BBQ entries will start 6:00 p.m. that same early evening. Everyone is welcome to cheer on their team, or favorite “Chef”, as the judges determines which team has the tastiest BBQ entry.  The best part is that there will be a BBQ picnic after the judging featuring the meat that was cooked and judged for the Beef Brisket BBQ Cook-Off Contest - plus the side dishes. Tickets will be sold for the public to purchase a meal for the picnic! Come and enjoy the activities that the whole day will bring! Join in this new venture to kick off the 2014 Webster County Fair with friends, food, fellowship and fun! 


Duane A. Lienemann
UNL Extension Educator
     Lawmakers have just announced a final deal on H.R. 3080, the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA) and have filed a conference report, setting the bill for final passage. The WRRDA is a water resources bill that allows the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to develop, maintain, and support a variety of water-related projects including infrastructure, flood protection and environmental restoration needs. Both Houses must now approve the Conference Report before sending to the President to sign into law. You might say “So what, what does it got to do with me?” Let’s find out.      My guess is that you remember about a year ago we were talking about the needed compliance to the EPA’s Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) that was postponed. This act is important because it contains the hoped for exemption for many farmers and ranchers from the insidious regulation.  The SPCC rule is over 30 years old and was originally intended for the petroleum industry, but then the EPA decided that agriculture has never been exempt and was trying to implement the rule and possible penalties to farmers who were not in compliance. 
     We need to be particularly interested with Section 1049 of H.R. 3080 which secures a permanent exemption from the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Spill Prevention Control Countermeasure (SPCC) rule for farmers and ranchers. This amendment will exempt all tanks of 1,000 gallons or less from the rule, and farms with an aggregate tank storage capacity of 2,500 gallons or less would not have to comply with the rule.  Farms with tank storage capacities of between 2,500 gallons and 6,000 gallons would have a temporary exemption, pending a study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the EPA. I am not sure when this study will be completed, so stay tuned for further information on that portion of the act. The provision also greatly limits the instances when professional engineers must certify spill plans. As I understand it the threshold before a farmer would need to hire an engineer to certify your plan would be increased from 10,000 gallons to 20,000 gallons as long as you don’t have a single tank which holds over 10,000 gallons and don’t have a history of spills.
     As our farmers and ranchers struggle with narrow profit margins, changing markets, the climate and other issues - these new SPCC provisions are a bright spot. With the knowledge that exemptions exist for up to 6000 gallons of storage and complete exemptions for 1000 gallons or less, the ability to be confident about on farm storage is a reality. I am glad that our legislators are for once rolling back –“out of control and burdensome” regulations. I don’t think there are too many farmers and ranchers that don’t agree with me that overreaching regulations negatively impact the modern producer and local economies. The original SPCC rule is yet another example of the EPA’s regulatory scheme threatening the economic viability of rural America and family farms and ranches and we have waited too long for a permanent fix to the SPCC rule and this provision in the Water Resources Development Act will ease the burden of this rule for many farmers and ranchers. 
     All indications are that this will likely pass the House on May 20 and then will reach the Senate later on in the week. We may want to cross our fingers on that vote as there seems to be a lot of contention right now in the Senate and this could be another victim of the Senate Leader’s refusal to allow amendments, even with important issues like this. I suggest that you contact your Representative and Senator, and urge the passage of the Water Resources Reform and Development Act as amended -- as it is critical to the well-being of our farms and ranchers and keeps overreach of the EPA at bay.  
     Heaven knows we have plenty of other things to worry about with the EPA’s broadening jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act with its proposed Waters of the U.S. Rule which is now under public comment and will be for only a couple of months. The EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers proposed the rule this past March to clarify which bodies of water, such as wetlands and streams that will come under the agencies’ authority to protect under the Clean Water Act. I believe that the proposed new definition of which bodies of water are under its jurisdiction should run up all kinds of red flags for farmers and ranchers as it looks to me that they could impose unworkable regulations on the nation’s farms. American Farm Bureau President Bob Stallman called EPA’s proposed rule, known as Waters of the United States, “the biggest federal land grab — in terms of power over land use — that we’ve seen to date.” It does appear to me that this has the potential to drastically increase the amount of water and land under EPA’s authority. Land that has water flowing through it one day per year, for example, could be subject to EPA’s authority. Can you imagine the level of uncertainty that creates for farmers and ranchers, and the issue that somehow we’re all protected by these exemptions? Just how much can we trust this EPA?
     As I read it, if the rule is finalized, EPA could potentially require permits for spraying pesticides, building fences, digging ditches or even planting crops not to mention that they can take over any land that water pools or runs through after a rain, if the rule is taken on its own merit. I have written previously on this troubling rule (Note: 4/11/14 Edition of Horse’s Mouth @ ) I suggest that all farmers and ranchers study up on this thing, be proactive – not reactive, and be sure to comment at:!documentDetail;D=EPA-HQ-OW-2011-0880-0001 .  
     I am in the camp with many other farmers and ranchers as well as farm organizations that believe that the EPA’s move could be part of an attempt by environmental activists to regulate all agricultural practices. It should be evident with the continual attack on agriculture in our society where activists, environmentalist and ideologues that want to use this kind of structure to basically have the federal government control uses of land -- and what is even more troubling is that these regulators know very little about agriculture or agriculture practices ---and they want to tell us what to do on our own land!!! 

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

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Local area students graduate from Hastings College.

(Hastings, Neb.) –  On Saturday, May 17, 2013, at 10 a.m. in Lynn Farrell Arena, 230 undergraduates and nine Master of Arts in Teaching students graduated from Hastings College. 
From Blue Hill
Caleb Bryan Groves.................................................. Studio Art-D
Courtney Jo Hubl...................... Elementary Education-D/Special Education-D

Monday, May 12, 2014

Success in the Journey

Sen. Mike Johanns
Last week, I had the honor of addressing the graduating class at the University of Nebraska at Kearney (UNK). It is invigorating to feel the energy and see the anticipation in the eyes of young people as they are handed a piece of paper that serves as an invitation to open a new and exciting chapter in their lives. Across the state this time of year, many high school and college students are moving the tassel on their mortarboards, and I hope they remember a few simple truths.
As I mentioned to the graduates at UNK, one thing I’ve learned is that life doesn’t always take you where you expect to go. I certainly didn’t expect to dedicate more than 30 years of my life to public service, but experience has taught me that the destination isn’t always as important—or as rewarding—as the journey.
It’s easy to focus so intensely on goals defined by material accomplishments that we sometimes overlook more meaningful aspects of life that we experience along the way. That’s why I challenged UNK’s graduating class to follow their passions and live their lives with meaning. I truly believe this will unlock a deeper sense of success, and it may even take them places they never thought possible.
Meaningful success isn’t measured by the size of our bank accounts or number of trophies on the mantel, but rather by our generosity and our commitment to others. Don’t get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with being materially successful, and we all want to do well for ourselves.  But as I told the graduates, if you don’t also focus on doing “good”, then doing “well” will never be enough. The satisfaction we get from our involvement in our communities and commitment to our passions cannot be matched by material rewards.
We can all think of someone who had a significant impact on our lives.  Maybe it was a teacher who challenged us to excel in the classroom or a friend who lifted us through a difficult time. They will live forever in our hearts.  That is the true measure of success: whether we have made a difference in the lives of others.
There is no box to check for this. It’s an ongoing process throughout the journey of life. In January, I’ll embark on my own new adventure when my term ends as Senator. I’m not certain where the road will take me next, but one thing I do know is that the most rewarding part of my journey thus far has been the opportunity to serve and represent people whom I greatly respect. My most memorable moments are those when Nebraskans have told me I’ve made a difference in their lives in some small way. So I hope to continue a meaningful journey, just as I hope our graduates set out to make their journeys meaningful.

I offer my sincere congratulations to all those who have earned a diploma this year.  You’ve accomplished much, and are about to face new challenges and opportunities. How you handle them will define you. Remember where you came from, how you got here, and who played a role along the way. Whether you set out to be one person who changes the world, or you become the world to one person, always live your life with meaning. And don’t forget to enjoy the ride.

Gov. Heineman Surveys Storm Damage and Expected to Issue State Disaster Declaration


(Lincoln, Neb) Today, Gov. Dave Heineman surveyed severe storm and tornado damage in Beaver Crossing, Cordova, Sutton and surrounding communities. Based upon preliminary assessments, Gov. Heineman is expected to issue a State Disaster Declaration later today.
Gov. Heineman is joined by Nebraska Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) Assistant Director Al Berndt. They are speaking with citizens, local emergency workers, and volunteers while touring damage including homes, businesses, and community buildings. They have seen downed power lines extensive damage including loss of homes, walls, roofs, machine sheds, and irrigation equipment.
“There is extensive damage in Beaver Crossing and Cordova,” said Gov. Heineman while on the way to Sutton. “Nebraska emergency management officials are actively coordinating needs assessments with local emergency workers. Even when disaster strikes, I see friends and neighbors caring for and helping each other. This is Nebraska at its best.”
While touring Beaver Crossing, Gov. Heineman spoke with Terry and JoAnn Paulsen who sustained major damage to their home and property. “You always see this kind of damage in the news, but you really can't prepare for it happening to your family,” said Terry.
NEMA has dispatched teams into Seward and Clay Counties to access and assist the local responders with disaster response and recovery needs.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Washington Report: More Questions on IRS and Benghazi


Each year, I hear from thousands of Nebraskans with questions, concerns, opinions, and ideas about the federal government.  In my conversations with constituents it is clear many are losing confidence in their government.  Along with Obamacare, unanswered questions regarding the 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya and political targeting by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) are contributing to this growing distrust.
The American people remain concerned four of their countrymen, including our Ambassador to Libya, were killed at our diplomatic mission in Benghazi.  More than a year and a half later, many questions remain. 
Shortly after the attack, the House of Representatives launched a thorough investigation through the Committees on Oversight and Government Reform, Armed Services, Foreign Affairs, and Intelligence.  While I strongly supported this investigation, the time has come for the next phase in the process.
The House of Representatives voted this week to form a special committee to investigate the attack.  The new committee will be made up of Republicans and Democrats with enhanced subpoena and deposition powers and charged with finding the facts.
The House also acted this past week to advance the investigation of IRS targeting of groups because of their political beliefs.  I am a member of the Committee on Ways and Means which has jurisdiction for the tax code and the IRS.  The committee has collected hundreds of thousands of documents related to this case and has found compelling evidence the agency acted outside of its authority to target conservative organizations.  However, we need more cooperation from the IRS and the White House.
I recently joined my colleagues on the Ways and Means Committee in referring former IRS official Lois Lerner to the Department of Justice for possible prosecution.  This week, the House voted to hold Ms. Lerner in contempt of Congress for her refusal to testify about her role in or her knowledge of political targeting at the IRS.  The House also voted to ask the Department of Justice to appoint a special counsel to investigate this case.
Getting to the bottom of these two cases is critical to restoring the faith and trust of the American people.  As we move forward, I hope all sides will put politics aside and work together objectively to conduct these investigations in the best interest of the American people.
As always, feel free to forward my e-newsletter to family and friends, or let them know they can sign up to receive updates from my office on my website at:

Member of Congress

Saturday, May 10, 2014


Duane A. Lienemann
UNL Extension Educator
As I write this article it is the official one hundredth birthday of the Smith-Lever Act, which officially created the national Cooperative Extension System. The Smith-Lever Act of 1914 codified into federal law, and provided funding for, outreach endeavors at the Land-Grant Universities founded by the Morrill Act of 1862. The act was introduced by Senator Hoke Smith of Georgia and Representative A. F. Lever of South Carolina to expand the vocational, agricultural, and home demonstration programs in rural America. UNL Extension exists today because of the foresightedness of a couple of legislators.
     Specifically, the Act stated as its purpose, “In order to aid in diffusing among the people of the United States useful and practical information on subjects relating to agriculture, uses of solar energy with respect to agriculture, home economics, and rural energy, and to encourage the application of the same, there may be continued or inaugurated in connection with the colleges in each State, Territory, or possession.”  The appropriation for Cooperative Extension as established by Smith-Lever was unique in that it set up a shared partnership among the Federal, State, and County levels of government. A formula funding mechanism was designed to insure that there was support from each of the levels to help the fledgling system achieve stability and leverage resources. The funding would flow from Congress to the United States Department of Agriculture and then out to the Land-Grant Universities to be matched with monies from the states and counties receiving programs.
     The University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension is a critical component of the teaching, research and extension land-grant university mission and works collaboratively to disseminate educational material and programs to agriculture producers which over the last 100 years has helped establish Nebraska as a leading agriculture state; 4-H youth development has helped youth prepare for responsible adulthood; and family and consumer sciences has prepared people for healthy, productive lives of those in our community, our state and this great nation!  Extension engages with rural and urban learners through practical, community-based education, resulting in knowledge, skills and motivation to strengthen profitability of animal and plant production systems, protect natural resources, help people make healthful lifestyle choices, ensure a safe and abundant food supply, encourage community vitality and prepare the next generation of leaders. I suggest that you look at the UNL Extension Centennial video which can be found at:
      It is always fun to see dignitaries all across our Nation who were influenced or helped by Cooperative Extension and our 4-H Program. One such person is Jimmy Carter. The 89 year old former President of the United States is a 4-H'er, peanut farmer, public servant and statesman. You can watch a two-minute video message from President Carter that was presented at the centennial convocation at: . The President comments on the importance of Cooperative Extension in his and his family's life as well as the important role extension will play in future of feeding the world.    
     I think of the roll that UNL Extension has had all across Nebraska, and witnessed the effects of Extension growing up in Franklin County as a farm kid and 10 year 4-H member. In fact I was encouraged to go to UNL Ag College by my local County Agent.  I further saw the impact as a teacher and resident of Webster County which has a rich history with Extension and the 4-H program. 4-H clubs have always been strong in this county and continue their mark of excellence each year. 
     The agricultural Agent at that time, Henry Fausch, and the Webster County Farm Bureau started the 4-H during 1919. Other residents involved in the beginning were A.D. Ranney, H.G Keeney, Frank Bean, C.B. Steward, and J.W. Auld.  Webster County’s first Baby Beef Club (First 4-H Club) was organized in Bladen that same year and included Floyd McMahon, Eldon Lewis and Desco Lovejoy plus 29 other members who were either involved in livestock or homemaking projects. It has been said that it was one of the first clubs in the nation to be formed. In addition, Extension Clubs were organized in the early 1940’s to educate farm women and enhance rural living. The offshoot of these clubs was involvement in the home economics side of the county fair, and is still an important part of the fair today.  Static exhibits like clothing, foods, garden produce, crafts and arts are still judged and viewed by the citizens during the fair even though the Home Extension Clubs have gone by the wayside. the 4-H programs however are still going strong.
     There are today thirteen 4-H clubs, two shooting sports clubs and three FFA chapters that total over 200 youth in the county that are all part of the Webster County UNL Extension and active at our county fair. It may interest you that the Webster County Fair celebrated its own Centennial at Bladen, Nebraska in 2006, celebrating the start of the Webster County Fair in 1906. Just 8 years later the University of Nebraska Cooperative Extension Service became an integral part of the County and of course the County Fair. UNL Extension has continued its influence and service to the county ever since. 
     The University of Nebraska Extension continues to be a vital part of the fabric of the county and lives up to the challenge that started 100 years ago. I am privileged to be a part of the University of Nebraska – Lincoln Extension and if I were to provide a one sentence description I would use the following: “UNL Extension provides educational programs in Nebraska to empower youth (4-H), strengthen families, advance agriculture, & manage natural resources.”  That really sums it up as I see it.  I am proud to be part of the UNL Extension system and family, and am pleased to have the opportunity to salute and help celebrate the Centennial of the inception of the Smith Lever Act and the continued growth of Cooperative Extension. You can find more information on Facebook @   Happy 100th Birthday UNL Extension!!

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, May 9, 2014

The Health of Our Land


During the Senate’s most recent state work period, I was fortunate to spend time in 15 communities across eastern and south central Nebraska. I am always grateful for the chance to meet directly with Nebraskans as I tour businesses and hospitals, visit schools, and take part in local events. I also held open coffees in Fairbury, Red Cloud, and Holdrege to listen to your thoughts and concerns on policies coming out of Washington.

I was encouraged to see strong economic growth in many of these cities and towns. For example, I attended the groundbreaking ceremony for the new addition to Lexington Regional Health Center, which will enhance local access to health care. In 2013, the hospital added an estimated $27 million to the local economy. The renovation and addition to the hospital will further bolster the local economy and ensure more Nebraskans are able to receive quality care in their own community.

While visiting businesses, I was impressed by the vision of business owners and their employees who are working hard to put quality products into the marketplace for consumers. In Superior, I toured their Main Street with the Chamber of Commerce and heard more about issues facing local small businesses, which are the driving force behind job creation and economic growth. The input I receive during these meetings with Nebraskans is invaluable to helping me represent your interests in Washington.

The time I spend traveling the state also deepens my appreciation for Nebraska’s vast land and abundant natural resources. From the rolling Sandhills to bountiful farmland and winding rivers, our state is blessed with diverse landscapes and a healthy natural environment. Enjoying the nature that surrounds us and taking care of our natural resources have been proud traditions of Nebraskans for generations.

Recently, the nation observed Arbor Day, a national holiday founded in Nebraska 142 years ago that brings Americans together to plant trees. A native of Nebraska City proposed the holiday in 1872, and since then millions of trees have been planted across our state and country in honor of Arbor Day.

In addition to planting new life, Nebraskans also understand the importance of protecting the resources entrusted to us and practicing conservation. A recent article in the Omaha World-Herald highlighted a paid fellowship program offered by The Nature Conservancy of Nebraska and funded by the Claire M. Hubbard Foundation in Omaha. The program was created to help recent college graduates and young leaders pursue career paths in the conservation field.

As full-time jobs in conservation are limited, the fellowship allows those in the program to gain experience in just one year that is typically acquired over the course of several seasonal jobs. The article notes that this program is the “first-of-its-kind” and is gaining national interest across other chapters of The Nature Conservancy.

These young conservationists are blessed with many fine role models right in our state who show exemplary commitment to taking care of our environment. The Nebraska Leopold Conservation Award is presented annually by Nebraska Cattlemen to families who have demonstrated outstanding land stewardship and management. This year’s award recipients were Duane and Nancy Pelster, ranchers from Ericson, Nebraska, who own land along the Cedar River that has been in the family since 1934. The Pelsters established a management plan that has enriched land health, weathered considerable droughts, and boosted livestock profitability. The positive results of their wise conservation practices have also served as inspiration to other landowners who have employed similar techniques.

The Pelster family is a shining example of a principle that is deeply rooted in Nebraska’s values: that taking care of our precious natural resources benefits our land and wildlife, but it also benefits all of us.

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

Gov. Heineman Proclaims May as Beef Month and Highlights Best Burger Winner


(Lincoln, Neb.) - Today, Gov. Dave Heineman proclaimed May as Beef Month in Nebraska and highlighted Stella’s Bar and Grill in Bellevue as the winner of the statewide Best Burger Competition.
“This is a celebration of our successful beef industry,” Gov. Heineman said. “This is an opportunity for Nebraskans to acknowledge and appreciate that Nebraska raises the best beef in the business.”
Gov. Heineman issued a proclamation which noted cattle production as part of Nebraska’s agricultural heritage and highlighted the care that livestock producers give to both the cattle and the natural resources needed to support those animals.
“We have great synergy,” said Greg Ibach, Director of the Department of Agriculture. “Our cattle, corn and ethanol sectors combine to make Nebraska a competitive place to produce beef. At the same time, our other agricultural sectors - like pork, dairy, poultry, soybeans and wheat – provide important diversification that helps keep our agricultural industry as a whole strong.”
Nebraska ranks at or near the top nationally in a number of agriculture categories, including becoming the number one cattle feeding state in the nation earlier this year.
“Our state’s natural resources of water, grass and fertile soil that grow feed grains, coupled with devoted ranchers and feeders, strongly positions Nebraska into the future,” said Jeff Rudolph, President of Nebraska Cattlemen. “If we continue to nurture the business, Nebraska should remain a leader in beef production for many years into the future.”
Additionally, Gov. Heineman and Steve Hanson, Chairman of the Nebraska Beef Council Steve Hanson presented Stephanie Francois of Stella’s Bar and Grill in Bellevue with the award for winning the 2014 Nebraska’s Best Burger Contest. The contest was started by the Nebraska Beef Council in 2011 and is open to all Nebraska eateries that serve beef hamburgers. The contest involves nominations from the public, and then a panel of judges visits the finalists.
Stella’s “Stella Cheeseburger” won the contest. The cheeseburger was the main entrée served at a beef month barbecue hosted by Gov. Heineman at the Governor’s Residence. This is the second time Stella’s has won the competition, with its first title coming in 2012.
“I’m proud to present this award to Stella’s on behalf of Nebraska’s entire beef community,” said Hanson. “The restaurant’s commitment to quality beef ensures that their customers will enjoy great tasting hamburgers on every visit.”
In 2012, the most current year for which full statistics are available, there were 49,969 farms and ranches in Nebraska, and cattle could be found on 23,280, or about half, of those operations. Farmers and ranchers produced $23 billion in agricultural products in 2012, and roughly $10 billion of that is attributed to the beef sector.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Fischer, Senate Colleagues Write FCC on Rural Broadband


Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), member of the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, today joined 43 of her Senate colleagues in writing Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Thomas Wheeler calling for updates to rules governing the Universal Service Fund (USF) for broadband access expansion. Specifically, the senators urged the FCC to allow USF support for carriers serving rural consumers who seek broadband-only services.

Under current FCC rules, if a rural consumer buys voice services (with or without accompanying broadband services) from a small rural telephone company, the carrier is eligible for USF support. However, if the same rural consumer decides to buy broadband-only services, the carrier is no longer eligible to receive USF support for that subscriber.

The senators stress in their letter that current FCC policy discourages broadband adoption and hurts consumer choice and innovation. More and more households are opting to use wireless phones or voice-over Internet protocol services for their voice communication needs. Subsequently, subscriptions to broadband-only services have become increasingly popular nationwide.

This denial of universal service support for rural carriers in these situations disregards consumer preference and is at odds with the FCC’s own National Broadband Plan, which has the stated goal of promoting the deployment and adoption of broadband networks in rural America. The senators call on the FCC to propose rules addressing this concern as it moves forward with ongoing efforts to modernize the USF.

The senators write, “Consumers in areas served by smaller rural carriers should have the same fundamental choices among reasonably comparable services at reasonably comparable rates as consumers in other rural and urban areas.”

The letter was signed by a bipartisan group of 44 senators, including Senators John Thune (R-S.D.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), who led the effort. A similar letter was led by Congressman Cory Gardner (R-Colorado-04) and signed by 89 members of the House of Representatives.

The Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee has jurisdiction over the FCC and our nation’s technology and telecom policies.

The full text of the senators’ letter is included below and the signed letter is available HERE.

May 6, 2014

The Honorable Thomas Wheeler
Federal Communications Commission
445 12th Street SW
Washington, DC 20554

Dear Chairman Wheeler:

We commend the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for its ongoing efforts to modernize the Universal Service Fund (USF).  As reforms move forward, the FCC must adhere to its statutory directive to provide mechanisms for universal service of advanced communications that are both sufficient and predictable.  As part of these ongoing efforts, we call on the FCC to implement a mechanism for rural rate-of-return carriers allowing them to receive USF support for broadband-only subscribers in high-cost areas of the United States.

American households increasingly choose to meet their voice communication needs by abandoning their traditional landline “plain old telephone service” (POTS) options in favor of wireless and voice over Internet protocol services.  These scenarios are increasingly common nationwide, in both urban and rural areas.  Consumers today want the choice to fashion their own communications solutions to suit their needs, and that no longer necessarily includes POTS.

The rules governing USF support in rural areas have not kept up with this dynamic, consumer-driven market development.  As you know, under current USF rules small rural carriers can receive high-cost support only for those consumers who subscribe to POTS.  USF is supposed to increase broadband deployment, facilitate transition to new communications technologies, and bridge the digital divide, but the outdated paradigm may unintentionally have the opposite effect.  The cycle created by the FCC’s current rules could, if not addressed in a timely manner, undermine consumer choice, deter broadband adoption, and inhibit technological evolution.

We recognize that USF reform requires difficult policy balancing.  We support measures that ensure High Cost Program distributions are targeted appropriately and invested prudently.  The fiscal integrity and accountability of USF provide the credibility necessary for the FCC to fulfill its statutory mandate to ensure rural communications services and prices are reasonably comparable to those in urban areas.

Given our shared commitment to rural consumers, we urge the FCC to propose rules, under authority granted by section 254 of the Communications Act, to carefully update existing USF mechanisms to provide sufficient and predictable support where consumers in areas served by smaller rural carriers affirmatively choose to adopt only broadband services even where POTS is also available to them.  While it is important that the FCC complete its implementation of Phase II of the Connect America Fund in areas served by larger carriers this year, the FCC should nonetheless address smaller carrier support mechanisms expeditiously, accounting for their unique operations.  Consumers in areas served by smaller rural carriers should have the same fundamental choices among reasonably comparable services at reasonably comparable rates as consumers in other rural and urban areas.


Robert D. " Bob"Prettyman January 5, 1940 - May 7, 2014

Graveside service will be at 1:30 p.m. at the Alma Cemetery, Alma, NE.
Visitation will be 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, May 9, 2014, at the Apfel Funeral Home Chapel, Hastings. Condolences may be sent to the family from Apfel Funeral Home, Hastings, is in charge of the arrangements.
Memorials may be given to the First Baptist Church, Good Samaritan Society-Hastings, the American Heart Association or the American Lung Association in Nebraska.

 Robert Dee Prettyman was born January 5, 1940, to John and Lola “Polly” (Stauffer) Prettyman in Alma, NE. He attended Alma schools, graduating in 1958. He served in the United States Army dur- ing the early 1960s and was stationed in Germany.
He married Jeanne Harkens and they later divorced.
In 1965, he married Lorraine Kohl in Superior, NE. To this union two sons were born, Curtis and John. They later divorced.
On May 22, 1982, he married Marjorie Marr Fuller and they lived in Blue Hill, NE, with their blended family of three sons and two daughters.
They moved to Hastings, Good Samaritan Society, December 2004.
He worked as a truck driver and for the BNSF Railroad from 1979 to 2002.
He was a member of the First Baptist Church, the Harness Hustlers/ Horse and Wagon Group, AARP and the Hastings Caregivers Coalition, all in Hastings, NE, and the American Legion Post 0176 in Blue Hill, NE.
He volunteered at Good Samaritan Society in Hastings.
 He is survived by his wife Marjorie of Hastings; son, John (Lesyle) Prettyman, of Yuma, CO; three stepchildren, Michelle Michener of Doniphan, Vicki Fuller of Hastings and Rick Fuller (Tara Nielsen) of Hastings; two grandchildren, Daniel and Micaela Prettyman of Yuma, CO; four stepgrandchildren, Jason (Jessica) Michener, Shane Michener Sidnee and Rylee Fuller; five stepgreat- grandchildren, Jocelyne and Lillyan Michener, Kadence, Bradyn and Cimarron Michener; numerous nieces, nephews and friends; and his beloved horse Willow.
He was preceded in death by his parents; one son, Curtis Dee Prettyman; one sister, Pearl Atkison; one brother, Paul Prettyman; two nephews, Gale and Dennis Stone; and a grand-nephew, Jason Stone. uneral Home, Hastings, is in charge of the arrangements. 

Monday, May 5, 2014

Adolph Norman "Jim" Niemeier October 10, 1926 to May 5, 2014

Adolph Adolph Norman "Jim" Niemeier, was born to Clara (Boettcher) and Adolf Niemeier on October 10, 1926 near Bremen, Kansas. He departed this life on Monday, May 5, 2014 at the Mary Lanning Memorial Hospital in Hastings, Nebraska.

Jim was baptized October 31, 1926 at the Afton Church, a few miles south of the Niemeier family farm and confirmed on April 6, 1941 at Zion Lutheran Church by Pastor C.R. Goldenstein at Hanover, Kansas.

He received his formal education attending the Hanover High School until his sophomore years, as it was necessary for him to leave school and help his father and brother with farming, as his two brothers were drafted for World War II. He returned to complete high school and following his graduation from High School he attended Kansas State College for one year.

Jim was united in marriage with Edna Wollenberg on July 8, 1951 at the Zion Lutheran Church in Hanover, Kansas. They made their home on the river bottom farm south of Hanover for eleven years. On March 9, 1961 they moved to their farm west of Bladen where they resided for the next fifty-two years, until March 9, 2010 where they moved to the Good Samaritan Center at Hastings. In 1962, their marriage was blessed with a son, James J. who joined the family, and in 1967, Cathy Ann completed their circle.

Jim possessed a lifelong passion and love for the farm. In his leisure time he collected Aladdin Lamps and he also had a gun collection. While living on the farm Jim had a best friend and the companionship of a dog.

Left to treasure his memory are his loving wife, Edna of Hastings, Nebraska; his son, James Niemeier and wife Jonny of Omaha, Nebraska; a daughter, Cathy Ringler and husband Mike of Omaha; three grandchildren, Jessica and Michael Niemeier and Deanna Ringler; a sister, Mildred Nienaber of Boulder, Colorado; other relatives and friends.

Funeral services will be held Thursday, 11:00 a.m., May 8, 2014 at the Trinity Lutheran Church in Blue Hill with the Rev. Joshua Lowe and Rev. James Witt officiating. Interment will be at the East Lawn Cemetery in Bladen.

Visitation will be held Wednesday, 8:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m. at the Williams Funeral Home in Red Cloud and Thursday, 8:00 a.m. to service time at the church.

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

Phone: 402-746-2500

Bruning Applauds High Court Decision to Allow Public Prayers

LINCOLN – Attorney General Jon Bruning today applauded the U.S. Supreme Court decision to allow public prayers at town board meetings. In August 2013, Bruning joined an amicus brief in support of public prayer in Town of Greece, NY v. Galloway with 17 other state attorneys general. 
“Today’s decision is a victory for faith,” said Bruning. “I applaud this decision that affirms Americans are free to pray.”

‘Ironic’ Revenue Service

Sen. Mike Johanns
What would you think if you saw a mechanic broke down on the side of the road? Or what if you met a vegetarian rancher? When folks don’t practice what they preach, they put their credibility on the line. Turns out, this is the case for some at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and on the line with their credibility is your hard-earned tax dollars.
A new report by the Treasury’s Inspector General for Tax Administration revealed that the IRS issued nearly $3 million in performance-based bonuses to personnel who had violated tax laws or had broken agency policy. About half of the IRS staff in question were behind on their own taxes.  How’s that for ironic?
This news is just the latest chapter in a sordid saga of broken trust. Just last year, we learned the IRS had been singling out organizations based on political views. The agency was found to be heavily scrutinizing certain conservative groups when reviewing their tax documents. Punishing a segment of the population based on their beliefs is not only un-American; it is also illegal for the IRS to do. This agency is supposed to be impartial in its administration of our nation’s tax laws.  Instead, it targeted those who might challenge the Administration’s views.
Treasury Secretary Jack Lew knew about these IRS practices when he testified before Congress that politics shouldn’t influence the execution of our tax laws. Just days later, we found out that the opposite had been going on at IRS for over two years. Last week, in a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing, I pressed Secretary Lew and IRS Commissioner John Koskinen about these issues, the consequences for such unscrupulous behavior, and what is being done to ensure it never happens again.
All tax payers depend on the IRS for the fair and equitable administration of tax law. These IRS actions are troubling regardless of your political views. They have greatly eroded the public trust. Because of it, the IRS already had a mountain to climb to rebuild America’s confidence that it can be competent and credible. Yet, before the targeting mess has been cleared up, bonuses are delivered to employees who failed to pay their taxes.
To send a message that such decisions are unacceptable, I cosponsored the No Bonuses for Delinquent IRS Employees Act, which prohibits any performance-based awards for IRS staff who are behind on their taxes. I also cosponsored a bill to block bonuses for federal workers who violate their agency’s conduct policies – like the IRS staff who targeted conservative groups.
When it comes to taxes, IRS should be leading by example, not rewarding bad behavior. It’s unfortunate that it takes congressional action to get this point across. I will continue to closely monitor the actions of the IRS to ensure the agency is behaving in a legal and appropriate manner, and I’ll pursue any necessary legislation to make that happen.  Integrity should be at the heart of any federal agency, especially when it comes to Americans’ hard-earned tax dollars.

Friday, May 2, 2014


Duane A. Lienemann
UNL Extension Educator

     Is anyone else besides me tired of this incessant wind?  We finally get a little moisture (and I stress “little”) and then it seems it gets sucked right up by it.  I decided that it would be kind of fun to revisit my old science background and simply ask: What causes wind?  Some people will tell you that I have a lot of it, and may be the source, but let’s take a scientific look at what this four letter word really is this week. Just what is “wind”; what causes it; and do we need it? 
     It really was not until recent memory that what causes wind was fully understood.  I remember from the basics of Science 101 that wind is fundamentally caused by air flowing from high pressure to low pressure, in large part by the unequal heating of the earth's surface by the sun. However, to understand what makes the wind blow, we first need to understand what atmospheric pressure is. Pressure at the earth's surface is a measure of the 'weight' of air pressing down on it. The greater the mass of air above us, the higher the pressure we feel, and vice-versa. The importance of this is that air at the surface will want to move from high to low pressure to (drumbeat please) -- equalize the difference, which is what we know as wind.
     So wind is caused by differences in atmospheric pressure - but why do we get these differences? It's down to the rising and sinking of air in the atmosphere. Where air is rising we see lower pressure at the earth's surface, and where it's sinking we see higher pressure. In fact if it weren't for this rising and sinking motion in the atmosphere then not only would we have no wind, but we'd also have no weather. That can’t be good….or maybe some would argue that point with me.
     Of course, that isn’t the whole story, as we know it shifts directions and even forces.  The answer to why it shifts isn’t quite as simple. It seems that the earth’s rotation prevents that flow from being direct, but deflects it side to side (right in the Northern Hemisphere and left in the Southern), so wind actually flows around the high and low pressure areas. This movement around is important for very large and long-lived pressure systems. What I found interesting is that in small, short-lived systems; for instance the outflow of a thunderstorm, the wind will flow directly from high pressure to low pressure. The closer the high and low pressure areas are together, the stronger the pressure gradient, so the winds are stronger. So what that really means is that the further two systems are away from each other, the less wind, (or at least strength of wind) we experience and on the other end; the closer the systems are together the stronger winds we will have.
     Local winds, those that affect a comparatively small area, are often caused by heat transferred by convection. Direct radiation from the sun does little to heat the air. It is warmed chiefly by heat radiated from the earth. Intense local heating of the land causes air directly above to become greatly heated and to expand. As a result, some of the air aloft flows away, lowering the pressure over the heated area and increasing the pressure around it. The cooler, heavier air near the earth then flows to the heated area. This rising and sinking of air in the atmosphere takes place both on a global scale and a local scale. One of the simplest examples of a local wind is the lake breeze, think of Harlan County Dam for instance.
     On sunny days during the summer the sun's rays heat the ground up quickly. By contrast, the water surface has a greater capacity to absorb the sun's rays and is more difficult to warm up - this leads to a temperature contrast between the warm land and the cooler lake water. As the land heats up, it warms the air above it. The warmer air becomes less dense than surrounding cooler air and begins to rise, like bubbles in a pan of boiling water. The rising air leads to lower pressure over the land. The air over the lake remains cooler and denser, so pressure is higher than in the countryside. So we now have a pressure difference set up, and air moves inland from the lake to try and equalize this difference - this is our lake breeze. It explains why those sandy beaches are often much cooler than out in the country areas on a hot, sunny day.
     To be honest, I really hadn’t noticed before, but in watching the local weather on television this evening I did notice some lines. So what are they? On those weather maps, those are actually lines of constant pressure are drawn (isobars). These isobars are usually labeled with their pressure value in millibars (mb). The closer these lines are together, the stronger the wind. The curvature of the isobars is also important to the wind speed. Given the same pressure gradient (isobar spacing), if the isobars are curved anti-cyclonically (around the high pressure) the wind will be stronger. If the isobars are curved cyclonically (around the low pressure) the wind will be weaker.  Oh, let’s not stop there, we can find out even more.
     We know from experience that it makes a difference with barriers (windbreaks, stubble, etc.) and even the lay of the land on the type of winds we get. It should not be a surprise that friction from the ground slows the wind down. Well that makes sense. However, during the day convective mixing minimizes this effect, but at night (when convective mixing has stopped) the surface wind can slow considerably, or even stop altogether.  Therefore the “still of the night…”
     What is good about wind? There are times I really wonder about that.  We probably should admit that wind is one way that the atmosphere moves excess heat around. I can tell you from experience that on those hot, muggy days a wind or “breeze” is actually appreciated. We also must consider the fact that it helps remove odors, dust, and for our big city partners – smog. It is good for drying clothes on the line, hoisting kites and carrying smoke away from fires. It also helps in the harvesting process, whether it be drying hay down for baling or helping the dry down during the pre-harvest stage of most all crops. Since it is planting season, I guess I had better admit, it even dries the fields so that we can go out and get those seeds planted. Now, you have the answer to what causes wind and its primary function on our planet! Knowing all of this, I still don’t like these incessant winds, and I don’t really care what causes them, but now I know. But it still just blows!!

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

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Fischer Decries Obama Administration's Misleading, Election-Year Statements

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) released the following statement expressing her concern with the Obama Administration’s alarming pattern of playing election-year politics at the expense of transparency and accountability:
“For over five years, Nebraskans have watched as the Obama Administration has placed a premium on protecting the president and his political allies facing tough re-elections rather than being forthcoming with the American people. Documents recently released under a court order confirmed what many had suspected all along: the White House was directly involved in instructing Susan Rice to blame the Benghazi terrorist attacks on an Internet video. The White House’s repeated, misleading statements and subsequent decision to withhold the briefing documents from congressional investigators suggest greater concern with political cover for a president facing reelection than with transparency and accountability. Nebraskans demand the truth.
“We also learned this week that EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy may have misled senators in her January testimony, stating that the EPA submitted a controversial climate change regulation to the Federal Register ‘as soon as the proposal was released’ in September. In fact, the rule was not submitted to the Federal Register until November 15, running the clock to protect vulnerable Democrats from having to cast an election-year vote on a proposal that will drive up energy costs for American families. This alarming pattern of election-year politics demonstrates either the height of incompetence or a wanton disregard for the truth. The American people deserve better, and I will work with my colleagues to hold this administration accountable.”
Benghazi Background
Documents obtained under court order this week by Judicial Watch include an e-mail with the subject line: “PREP CALL with Susan” in which Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes stressed that Susan Rice should “underscore these protests are rooted in an Internet video, and not a broader failure of policy.” A copy is available online HERE.
During a White House briefing on Wednesday, Press Secretary Jay Carney sparred with ABC News correspondent Jonathan Karl about the White House’s misleading statements. The video is available HERE.
Climate Change Rule Timeline
September 20, 2013 – EPA released a new proposal, “Carbon Pollution Standards for New Power Plants.”
November 25, 2013 – Federal Register received the proposed rule from EPA – two months after the proposal was released by EPA.
December 24, 2013 – EPA asked the Federal Register to publish the proposal on January 8, 2014. According to the Federal Register, the proposed rule was originally scheduled to publish on December 30, 2013.
January 16, 2014 – EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy testified, “As soon as that proposal was released, we had submitted it to the Federal Register office.  The delay was solely the backup in the Federal Register office.”
The Clean Air Act provides one year for review of the rule upon publication in the Federal Register. Delays in publishing the rule likely prevent the Senate from voting on its repeal until after the November election.

Johanns Sponsors Bill to Block Bonuses to IRS Employees Who Break Tax Law or Have Tax Debt


WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) today joined several of his colleagues in introducing legislation to prohibit the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) from providing bonuses to employees who owe outstanding federal tax debt or who have violated U.S. tax law. Earlier this week, Johanns pressed Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner John Koskinen on the unacceptable targeting of conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.
“From targeting organizations based on political beliefs to awarding nearly $3 million in taxpayer dollars to staff who – believe it or not – didn’t pay their taxes, the American people are rightly fed up with the IRS,” Johanns said. “The irony is almost laughable. I agree that taxes are too high for many hard-working families, but what’s good for the goose is good for the gander and IRS employees should be leading by example, not rewarding bad behavior”
At issue is the report from the Treasury Department’s Inspector General for Tax Administration exposing IRS bonuses awarded to personnel who have violated the tax laws or who have been subject to serious infractions of employee policy.
According to the Inspector General, close to $3 million was awarded to staff with violations on their records, with about half of that amount going to people with tax violations on their record.
Other personnel at the IRS received cash bonuses or other awards despite being cited for drug use, making violent threats, fraudulently claiming unemployment benefits, and misusing government credit cards.
In fact, the report indicates that close to 70 percent of IRS personnel receive some sort of performance reward.
The bill, the “No Bonuses for Delinquent IRS Employees Act” would:
• Prohibit the IRS from providing any performance award to any IRS employee who owes an outstanding federal tax debt;
• Block any performance award to an employee who has entered into an installment payment plan for an outstanding tax liability until the payment plan has been completed.
Companion legislation, H.R. 4531, has been introduced in the House by Representative Sam Johnson (R-TX).