Tuesday, September 30, 2014

October Birthdays

October Brthdays
Happy Birthday to Blue Hill residents, past and present.

October 1 -- Jayden Hamel, Robert Long, & Joan Classen.
October 2 -- Joseph Bell & Sharon McShane .
October 3-- Jessica Kort Alber & Kristina Hubl.
October 4-- Roy Faimon, Chad Parr, Tim Gilbert, Robert A. Piel & Kristine Barnhill
October 5--Gene Falgoine, Elizabeth Buschow , & Deborah S. Skrdlant
October 6 -- Doyle Krueger, Barbara Krueger, Dean Buschow, Todd Whipple, & Dora Danehey
October 7-- Riley Skrdlant, Ron Karmazin & Selma “Sammy” Krueger
October 8 -- Kim Henderson, Brandi Higer & Danielle Schmidt
October 9 -- Carissa Krueger Cox, Janette Hoffman
October 10 -- Adolph Niemeyer & Brandi Mohlman.
October 11 -- Jennifer Stertz, & Chris Marcello.
October 12 -- Thong DetAksone, Paul Zimmerman, Kathy Seeman , & Todd Kranau
October 13 -- Julie Zimmerman, Julie Gibert, Jessica Kort, & Alice Koertner
October 14 -- Dara Kort, Everett Underwood & Greg Brenn
October 15 -- Ida Krueger, Roxanne Wademan, & Helen Koertner
October 16 -- Savanna Alber , Neil Kort, Aric Robinson, Natalie Schulenburg Schunk & Chris Meyer
October 17 -- Agnes Karr, Keri Toepfer Catchpool, & Godfrey Strausburg
October 18 -- Julie Classen Howard, Pam Rose & Wilma Schulz.
October 19 -- Steve Krueger, Ken Kort, George Mazour, Chad Duval, & Robert Carper
October 20 -- Louis Goding.
October 21 -- Roger Hoffman & Joe Marcello
October 22 -- Lyle Bostock, Susan Johnson, Jerry Welke, & Riley Schultz
October 23 -- Leann Worley,  Kim Higer, Tom Van Boening, Jeff Wells, & Stuart Kerr
October 24 -- Steve Hubl,
October 25 -- Kathleen Bachman, Paul Krueger & Rosaleen Gianokas
October 26 -- Larry Krueger, Lisa Hubl, Wilmer Wells, & Charles Hewett, Jr. (RIP)
October 27 -- Amy Overy & Connie Mohlman(RIP)
October 28 -- Jeremy Kort, & Roger Koertner.
October 29 -- Alan Meyer (RIP) & Brad Hargis
October 30-- Mark Siebrass, Harvey Scheiding, Pam Johnson, & Wilma Frazier
October 31 -- James Meyer, Dorthey Meyer, Stephanie Frasier & Rhonda Brewster.
October 31 Parker Trumble

JoAnn Doris Grabill November 21, 1939 to September 28, 2014

Hastings resident, JoAnn Doris Grabill, 74, passed away Sunday, September 28, 2014 at The Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, Nebraska.     

Services will be Thursday, October 2, 2014; 10:00 A.M. at Faith Lutheran Church, Hastings, Nebraska with Pastor Paul Dunbar officiating. 
Burial will be in Parkview Cemetery, Hastings.  Visitation will be Wednesday, October 1, 2014; 1:00 P.M. – 8:00 P.M. with family present 6:00 P.M. – 8:00 P.M. at the funeral home, and one hour prior to service at the church. 
Memorials may be given to Faith Lutheran Church or Trinity Lutheran Cemetery, Blue Hill, Nebraska.  

JoAnn was born November 21, 1939 in Blue Hill, Nebraska to Clarence & Pauline (Kort) Hartman. She attended Trinity Lutheran School and graduated from Blue Hill High School in 1957. She worked for Credit Bureau of Hastings and Kansas Nebraska Natural Gas Company.
JoAnn was united in marriage to Robert Grabill on December 4, 1960 at Trinity Lutheran Church, Blue Hill, Nebraska.
Bob and JoAnn lived south of Roseland where she enjoyed being a farm wife, mother and grandmother.
They moved to Hastings in December 1998. JoAnn volunteered for the Mary Lanning Healthcare Auxiliary in the gift shop for over 30 years. 
She was a member of Faith Lutheran Church.  JoAnn was an active church member her entire life where she performed as an organist, pianist and sang in the choir.

JoAnn was preceded in death by her parents.  

    Robert Grabill - Hastings, NE
Children & Spouses:              
    Jeff & Julie Grabill - Roseland, NE
    Brent & Brenda Grabill - Roseland, NE
    Susan & Doug Clodfelter - McDonough, GA
    Brad & Kate Grabill - Omaha, NE
    Jordan, Jenna, Jaydn & Joslyn Grabill
    Brock Grabill
    Taylor & Sydney Clodfelter
    Gavin & Maris Grabill
Brother & Sister-in-law:        
    Ronald & Janie Hartman - Blue Hill, NE
Sisters-in-law & Spouses:     
    Wauneta & John Schiefelbein - Hastings, NE
    Marilyn & Jim Krueger - Norfolk, NE
    Diann & Roger Schmidt - Hastings, NE
Numerous nieces, nephews, extended family & friends

Johanns, Alexander, Walberg Lead Push For Administration To Suspend Rule That Could Dramatically Increase Home Care Costs To Seniors, Disabled

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Mike Johanns (R- Neb) and Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Congressman Tim Walberg (R-Mich.) today led an effort urging the Department of Labor (DOL) to suspend a rule that could dramatically increase costs of non-medical, in-home personal care services, many of which are administered through Medicaid or other state programs. The rule, which would make changes to a long-standing exemption for these personal care services, is scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2015. Numerous stakeholders have expressed concern that implementation of this sweeping new regulation could disrupt care for seniors and those with disabilities.
“At a time when approximately 76 million baby boomers are reaching retirement, the federal government has a compelling interest in containing the cost of long term services and supports and expanding the low-cost care options available to this aging demographic,” the Members wrote. “We are deeply troubled that this rule runs contradictory to those goals.  Therefore, we urge you to suspend the rule and work with state agencies and other affected programs to prevent the cost of long term services and supports from soaring.
“We are committed to protecting care options that maintain the dignity and self-determination of seniors and individuals with disabilities and allow them to receive support in the comfort of their homes at lower costs.”
In addition to Johanns, Alexander and Walberg, the bicameral letter was signed by Sens. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), John Boozman (R-Ark.) , Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), John Cornyn (R-Tex.), Tom Coburn (R-Oka.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), David Vitter (R-La.), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Michael Enzi (R-Wyo.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), and Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) and Reps. Lee Terry (R-Neb.), Todd Rokita (R-Ind.), Rick Crawford (R-Ark.), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Adrian Smith (R-Neb.) and Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb.).
A copy of the letter can be found below:
September 30, 2014
The Honorable Thomas E. Perez
U. S. Department of Labor
200 Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20210
Dear Secretary Perez:
On October 1, 2013, the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Wage and Hour Division published its final rule titled “Application of the Fair Labor Standards Act to Domestic Service.”  When fully implemented, this regulation will make significant changes to the long-standing minimum wage and overtime exemption for companionship services under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) by creating a new definition for what constitutes companionship services.   Since publication, we have heard from many stakeholders expressing their concerns that requiring these sweeping changes to be implemented on January 1, 2015 will significantly disrupt non-medical, in-home personal care services for seniors and individuals with disabilities.  In light of the real possibility this regulation will disrupt care, we write to request that you suspend implementation of this rule.
Many Americans rely on these personal care services through Medicaid and other state programs.  Yet, these programs are still working through numerous issues as they endeavor to implement this complicated DOL rule.  The National Association of Medicaid Directors has asked for an 18-month extension of the rule’s implementation, and the states of Oregon and Kansas have also requested a delay.   In addition, the National Council on Disability – an independent federal agency – has requested a delay due to concerns about how the rule will affect individuals living with disabilities.   These states and stakeholders believe that the current effective date does not provide sufficient time to fully understand the more technical and nuanced aspects of the rule and to implement workable solutions for affected programs and consumers.  In particular, a number of Medicaid agencies have stated they will not have time to reprogram payment systems, purchase and implement technology solutions, and educate agency staff and consumers by the rule’s effective date.  We are concerned about these outstanding issues and believe DOL should suspend the rule’s implementation to prevent its negative impact on the continuity and quality of care for vulnerable Americans.
This rule also presents numerous financial challenges for our nation’s long term care system. Entities affected by the rule are not only working to comply with the new requirements in the rule, but also to adapt to guidance materials issued by the Wage and Hour Division on June 19, 2014.   As a result, state agencies may need to receive approval from their state legislatures, as well as additional time to modify or procure contracts with outside entities.  Rushing states and other program officials to fully implement this final rule will negatively affect non-medical, in-home personal care services and result in sudden increases in institutionalized care, which is often more costly and frequently covered by taxpayer dollars.
Long term services and supports involve deeply personal arrangements often supported by valuable taxpayer dollars to ensure good, continuous care for seniors and individuals with disabilities.  Seniors and individuals with disabilities rely on personal care services for help with activities of daily living like eating, dressing, and transferring.  We are concerned that forcing state Medicaid programs and other programs to comply with this new rule will put many seniors and individuals with disabilities in danger of losing personal care workers and important intimate care relationships.  Not only could seniors and individuals with disabilities lose beloved caregivers, but those same caregivers could lose valuable paid hours and much needed income.
Financing long term services and supports is a tremendous fiscal challenge for Americans and significantly strains our health care system.  At a time when approximately 76 million baby boomers are reaching retirement, the federal government has a compelling interest in containing the cost of long term services and supports and expanding the low-cost care options available to this aging demographic.  We are deeply troubled that this rule runs contradictory to those goals.  Therefore, we urge you to suspend the rule and work with state agencies and other affected programs to prevent the cost of long term services and supports from soaring.
We are committed to protecting care options that maintain the dignity and self-determination of seniors and individuals with disabilities and allow them to receive support in the comfort of their homes at lower costs.  We appreciate your careful consideration of this request and look forward to your response by no later than October 10, 2014.  Thank you for your consideration of this request.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Hastings College 2014 Melody Round-Up parade results

(Hastings, Neb.) - The 63rd annual Melody Round-Up Parade in downtown Hastings took place Saturday, September 27, at 10 a.m. The parade included several marching bands from Nebraska high schools and junior high schools and the Hastings College Marching Band. Melody Round-Up is the official Homecoming parade for Hastings College.
Three awards were presented: Outstanding Drum Major (chosen from among all bands), Outstanding Auxiliary/Flag Corps and Outstanding Band. The awards and recipients are as follows:
Outstanding Auxiliary/Flag CorpsHoldrege High School/Class B
Doniphan-Trumbull Junior and Senior High School, Class C
Axtell Community School, Class D
Outstanding Drum Major Axtell Community School
Scotus Central Catholic High School

Outstanding BandsHoldrege High School/Class B
Blue Hill Public School/Class C
Axtell Community School/Class D
Founded in 1882, Hastings College is a private, four-year liberal arts institution located in Hastings, Nebraska, that focuses on student academic and extracurricular achievement. With more than 60 majors in 32 areas of study and 13 pre-professional programs, Hastings College has been named among “America’s Best National Liberal Arts Colleges” by U.S. News & World Report, a “Best in the Midwest” by The Princeton Review and a “Best Buy in College Education” by Barron’s. Visit Hastings.edu  for more.

Friday, September 26, 2014


Duane A. Lienemann
UNL Extension Educator
       I don’t watch the show but I do know that a lot of people watch Dr. Oz, the highly rated talk show that covers health issues. I personally think he is nothing more than a “snake-oil salesman”, but that is immaterial to what I am going to address this week as I do know that he reaches a lot of people through his show and his “infomercials.”  This past week he aired a story  entitled “New GMO Pesticide.” www.doctoroz.com/episode/new-gmo-pesticide-doctors-are-warning-against .  In this three-minute video preview of the segment, he talks about Dow Agro-Science’s “Enlist” herbicide, which is awaiting approval from the Environment Protection Agency, and its use in fields with GMO crops to combat “super weeds”. A lot of producers have been waiting for this product and now here is Dr. Oz!!!
     I would like to give some counter points to his claims to level the playing field when it comes to this topic because he is at it again, prescribing fear over fact in regards to farming and food. His latest attack centers on his supposed outrage over the potential approval of this much anticipated new pesticide. My guess is that his real motives are TV ratings, money from anti-ag groups and his large ego.  Unfortunately he is ultimately trying to fan the flame of activists that are trying to eliminate our farmers’ ability to raise crops in an efficient, environmentally sound and sustainable manner.
     It was just this past Wednesday (Sept.17) that the USDA approved Dow Chemical Company’s Enlist Duo, a combination pesticide including glyphosate and 2,4-D. You can read more on this by going to a very well written blog at: http://www.thefarmersdaughterusa.com/2014/09/enlist-duo-herbicide-2-4-d-rest-of-story.html   It did not take Dr. Oz very long because in a few short days they had crafted a segment on his show which I feel was designed to incite an activist movement to try to block the approval of Enlist Duo. If he succeeds you can believe that it will hinder farming practices on family farms and set us back in progress with dealing with feeding the world. This is not the first time he has done this, we’ve heard all his accusations before when he attempted to uncover the global conspiracy around GMOs. 
     Of course GMO’s is a hot topic and it amazes me how so many people do not know the science of genetic modification and jump to conclusions, or buy into the “bovine excrement” that many of these sensationalists put out there. I could write several articles on this topic alone. But let’s dissect his presentation and make some sense of it. Let’s start with the main premise of this show which included the words “GMO pesticide”. Maybe a lesson is in order here. First, a pesticide is a chemical composed of elements which make compounds. Pesticides do not have DNA, genes, chromosomes, or alleles; therefore they cannot be genetically modified. GMO pesticides simply do not exist!
     Secondly he states shrilly that there will be somewhere from 70 to 170 million pounds of additional pesticides that will be used because of Enlist Duo. Dr. Oz didn’t offer a source for this claim and one would have to conclude that somewhere he perhaps found that that many million pounds of Enlist Duo will be purchased by farmers. However, if you think about it, this is just another herbicide, another option to use for weed control, another mode of action not a stand-alone product. A farmer may still choose to apply Round-Up or will switch to Enlist Duo, but will not apply Round-Up and Enlist Duo at the same time.  It just wouldn’t make sense to spend the time, money or resources to duplicate weed control efforts.
     He also claims that GMOs have not delivered on their promise of increased yields and reduced pesticide use. Wrong in two ways! First we have to understand that genetically modified seed was never intended to increase yields. I have never heard any promise of that magnitude. We of course know that the real purpose is to protect the yield of the crop. It is also false in that we are enjoying increased yields each year; however, they are more likely the result of better hybrids developed from traditional breeding efforts, precise application of fertilizers and crop protection tools, and continued understanding of soil, fertility, plants and weather. We should be proud to point out that our farmers are growing five times more corn on 20 percent less land. We need to look at technology updates such as this new pesticide as new tools for farmers. I believe that the more tools farmers have available in the fields, the better it is for us, as consumers, and them as farmers.
     One of the most egregious of Dr. Oz’s favorite claims is that “farmers are drowning their crop in chemicals.” I suggest that you go to: http://www.geneticliteracyproject.org/2014/06/03/myth-gm-farmers-drown-crops-in-dangerous-glyphosate-fact-farmers-use-eye-droppers/  You will find the real truth to this claim. He also had an “expert” who closed out the segment by giving the impression that our farmers are careless about drift of pesticides near schools and our children. The irony is that his expert happens to be the founder of the website http://www.breastcancer.org/ not a farmer, pesticide safety specialist or department of agriculture spokesman. I take offense to that one as I spend a lot of time each year working with our famers with our Private Pesticide Applicator training. This regulatory process comes to our farmers through the EPA and is issued and administrated by the state departments of agriculture. Millions of homeowners use the same chemicals without any oversight. Just exactly who is the expert? He is really stirring the pot with his “protect the child” ruse!
      Dr. Oz implores his audience to sign a petition asking the EPA and the President to deny approval of Enlist Duo. I suggest that you choose to support farmers instead of Dr. Oz and encourage the EPA to give farmers another options to control weed pressure in their fields. That would make a lot more sense to me, and will help keep us viable and sustainable!

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: dlienemann2@unl.edu or go to the website at: http://www.webster.unl.edu/home 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Gov. Heineman Announces Nebraska's Four Veterans Homes Receive Perfect Scores


Governor Notes Outstanding Accomplishment as Second Consecutive Year
(Lincoln, Neb.) Today, Gov. Dave Heineman announced that all four of Nebraska’s veterans homes have received perfect scores on their most recent annual Health Care System Surveys from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The four homes, administered by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), include the Eastern Nebraska Veterans Home in Bellevue, the Grand Island Veterans Home in Grand Island, the Western Nebraska Veterans Home in Scottsbluff and the Norfolk Veterans Home in Norfolk.
“Having all four homes receive perfect survey scores two consecutive years is an outstanding achievement,” said Gov. Heineman. “This accomplishment demonstrates the dedication of the employees of our Veterans Homes and the quality of care they provide to those who have served our country. We are proud of our service to our veterans.”
The facilities received top marks in several areas including life safety, resident care, environment, staff training and development, dietary-food service, banking and billing services for veterans, recreation/activities, medical staff credentialing, social work, and all areas related to quality assurance and care.
“Nebraska has a proud tradition of taking care of our veterans,” said John Hilgert, Director of the DHHS Division of Veterans Homes. “I recognize that serving those who served our country is important and the right thing to do. Achieving perfect survey scores demonstrates our commitment to providing quality care to veterans.”
Survey teams from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs are typically an interdisciplinary team comprised of three registered nurses, a registered dietician and a life safety code expert from various parts of the country.
With a total capacity of 637 beds, the four veterans homes provide a variety of medical, nursing and rehabilitative services, tailored to the needs of their members. Services range from assisted living care for members able to essentially care for themselves, to skilled nursing care. The veterans’ health care services are administered by dedicated nurses, physicians, dieticians, occupational therapists, speech therapists, physical therapists and other professionally trained personnel.
The four veterans homes in Nebraska strive to serve the unique needs of each member by providing high quality services and holistic long-term care in a homelike veterans’ community.

Sophia "Jean: Krueger February 28, 1914 to September 19, 2014


Sophia "Jean" Krueger               

Centenarian Sophia "Jean" Krueger passed away Friday, September 19, 2014 in Hastings, Nebraska.

Rosary will be Wednesday, September 24, 2014; 7:30 P.M. and Mass of the Christian Burial will be held Thursday, September 25, 2014; 10:30 A.M. at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Blue Hill, Nebraska with Very Rev. James Schrader and Father Val Bartek officiating.  Burial will be in Blue Hill Cemetery.  Visitation will be Wednesday, September 24, 2014; 1:00 P.M. – 9:00 P.M. with family present 5:00 P.M. – 8:00 P.M. at Merten-Butler Mortuary in Blue Hill, Nebraska.  Memorials may be given to the family to be designated at a later date.  Arrangements entrusted to Merten-Butler Mortuary in Blue Hill, Nebraska. 

Jean was born on February 28, 1914 in Cleveland, Ohio to George and Mary Karbasz.  She was raised and attended public and parochial schools in Ohio and Michigan.  On May 24, 1941 Jean was united in marriage to Wilbur Krueger in Toledo, Ohio.  The couple settled and raised their three children in Blue Hill, Nebraska.  Jean’s careers and passions in life showcased many abilities.  She worked assembly lines, and was a manager at Montgomery Wards, a linotype operator at the Blue Hill Leader, a waitress at Ash Hollow, and a co-owner of W-B Pack.  She was a meticulous meat wrapper, a volunteer bloodmobile recruiter & chairwoman, a PTA room mother, a member of extension club, a lifelong member of American Legion Auxiliary, a greyhound dog owner, a slot machine and bingo queen, and a fabulous cook with a flair for her homemade noodles, rolls, pierogi, and cakes.  She even tanked down the Republican River with her cousins when she was in her eighties.  She took much joy with her family, friends, and beloved pets.  She was known for her ready smile and great story telling.  She was a member of Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Blue Hill, an honorary member of the Altar Society, and taught catechism for many years.  Jean and Wilbur traveled extensively throughout the states, Mexico, and Canada.  Jean had one of the best highlights of her life when this February her adult children and grandchildren celebrated her 100th birthday in Las Vegas.  Just for the record…she was a night owl.  She will be greatly missed by those who knew and loved her.

Jean was preceded in death by her parents, stepfather, husband Wilbur “W-B,” stillborn son Charles, brother Edward, grandson Jason Jarosik, sister and brother-in-law Frances & Whitey Majchszak, nephews John & Edward Majchszak, nieces Sandra Corner Latham and Patsy Corner, brother-in-law James Corner, and son-in-law Richard Jarosik.

Her loving family legacy includes:
Children & Spouses:                  
    Richard & Janice Krueger - Lincoln, NE
    Carole & Douglas Thompson - Hastings, NE
    Joyce Jarosik - Hastings, NE
Grandchildren & Spouses:          
    Brent Thompson - Redway, CA
    Jeffrey & Jayme Krueger - Waverly, NE
    Jennifer & Kelby Vorthmann - Treynor, IA
    Stephanie & Andrew Sidlo - Hastings, NE
    Ryan Krueger & Taryn Fisher - Littleton, CO
    Cally Thompson - Omaha, NE
    Baylee Thiel
    Alyscia, Lauran & Isaac Sidlo
    Ashlyn, Kiera, Shelby, Melaina, & Taiya Vorthmann
    Zoey & Joshua Krueger
    Aiden Fisher
    Alice Corner - Blue Hill, NE
Lifelong friend:                          
    Betty Celani – CA
Nieces, Nephews & Spouses:      
    Frank Majchszak - OH
    Jean Majchszak - OH
    Lois Majchszak  - OH
    Roger & Deborah Corner - Tucson, AZ
    Robert & Julie Corner - Lincoln, NE
    R. George Corner - Lincoln, NE

Saturday, September 20, 2014


Duane A. Lienemann
UNL Extension Educator
      Have you observed that the leaves on the trees are starting to turn and even start falling? Many have noticed that the soybean fields are turning more golden every day, and leaves are dropping. Corn fields are slowly starting to turn as well. This is a good sign that autumn has officially arrived. Actually for you that need the exact time, the autumnal equinox brings the fall season to the Northern Hemisphere will be this coming September 22 at 9:29 pm. You might find it interesting that the word equinox comes from the Latin words for "equal night." The fall and spring equinoxes are the only days of the year in which the Sun crosses the celestial equator and the length of the day matches the length of the night. From here on out, the temperatures begin to drop and the days start to get shorter than the nights. This brings to mind an old poem comes to mind: “It is the summer's great last heat, It is the fall's first chill: They meet.” –Sarah Morgan Bryan Piatt
     What a lot of people probably don’t know is that this coming week is also National Farm Safety and Health Week! I always correlate this National Week with the impending harvest season. Yes, our crops are nearing the ready and harvest is just around the corner.  Harvest time also brings something else – a need for safety on and off the farm! Each year since 1944, the third week of September has been recognized as National Farm Safety & Health Week (www.necasag.org/) This recognition has been an annual promotion initiated by the National Safety Council and has been proclaimed as such by each sitting U.S. President since Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the first document.  This year’s National Farm Safety and Health Week has been declared for September 21-27, 2014.  I think it is important that we take a few moments to think about safety as we get closer to harvest and the time that we bring our cattle home from pasture.
     The 2014 theme is “Safety Counts: Protecting What Matters.” The theme underscores the importance of us all working together to build a safer and healthier agricultural work place. In studies conducted across the nation, data shows the agricultural sector is still the most dangerous in America with 475 fatalities, which equals 21.2 deaths per 100,000 workers. Agriculture is more than seven times as hazardous as most other U.S. industries.  Unfortunately the death rate resulting from accidents on the farm or ranch was 3.2% of all deaths when you compare it to the deaths occurring in a combination of all industries. The good news is that maybe we are getting better, or are getting luckier, as I believe there were almost 600 deaths and 70,000 disabling injuries attributed to agriculture in 2010 – just four years ago. The statistics are sobering. But even more tragic is that these incidents could have been prevented if simple safety precautions had been followed. 
     It should be noted that tractor incidents were the overwhelming majority of the cause of death, with more than 40 percent of cases. And the majority of the incidents were due to a rollover event. Other causes of fatality included equipment, machinery and wagons followed by livestock and all-terrain vehicles. There is a huge increase in the number of farm fatalities for people older than 40 compared with those younger than 40. The highest number of deaths is within the age group of 61 to 70. Farming is a family business, all ages are active on farms, from seniors to children. That means that preventing injuries is a family affair. Our families not only include the farmers, but old and young.
     We all should be especially cognizant of the inherent danger to our young people.  They are not experienced and don’t realize how dangerous it can be on the farm. Fortunately there are many simple practices to keep our children safe on farms. I am sure that most of you would consider these simple practices that can make a world of difference. These practices include things like: Do not let kids play in grain wagons, carts or semi beds. Be sure to have ladders and grain elevator legs high enough that children cannot climb on them. And as tempting as it can be, because “nothing has ever happened before,” do not allow extra riders on tractors. There is one seat for a reason. This is especially true during harvest season.
     Here are some safety reminders for the coming harvest: Put fire extinguisher in every tractor, combine, and truck and make sure they are charged; Grease and check bearings to prevent sparks/fires; Remove dust and debris from radiator screens and other spots with high heat or air intake; Do not walk on grain in combine bins, auger carts, or trucks; Farmers with large machinery use hazards and turn signals when driving down roads and move over for cars to pass whenever possible; Cars – do not pass going up hills or at intersections (semis and trailers make wide turns) Be Patient!; Be cautious on narrow bridges or roads with guardrails – large machinery will take up both lanes; Do not pull out in front of trucks – heavy loads take much longer to get slowed down; Be extra cautious at unmarked intersections – Always Yield!
     We all have loved ones, and they are what matter to us.  Keep this year’s theme in your mind: “Safety Counts: Protecting What Matters.” Farmers and ranchers and all of those that work in agriculture, need to set some priorities to reduce the risk of injury to their self, their family, and their employees. Farmers put in many hours and accomplish difficult tasks.  They operate heavy machinery, handle livestock, and work under hazardous conditions. Thank you to all of our farmers, ranchers, farm workers and their families, and all of our partners for working together to reduce the number of deaths, injuries, and health issues. And to all of our farmers who will be harvesting their crops, hauling grain to market, or working their livestock – Please make safety a priority.  Make your harvest a safe one. We don’t want to lose you or anyone else! We want all of our family and friends to be safe. We do need to protect them and farm safety does count!

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: dlienemann2@unl.edu or go to the website at: http://www.webster.unl.edu/home 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Agnas C. Delaney Britten January 24, 1945 to September 2, 2014

Agnes Britten, 90

 Agnes C. (Tootie) Britten, 90, of Blue Hill died Sept. 2, 2014, at Blue Hill Care Center.
Services will be at 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 20, at Holy Trinity Catholic Church, Blue Hill, with the Very Rev. James Schrader officiating. Private family burial will be in the Blue Hill Catholic Cemetery, Blue Hill.
There will be a rosary at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Merten-Butler Mortuary Chapel, Blue Hill. There will be no viewing or visitation. A memorial has been established to be designated at a later date.
Agnas was born Aug. 8, 1924, at Red Cloud to Joseph and Sarah (McPartland) Delaney.
Survivors include three sons and daughters-in-law, Joe and Sharon Britten and Dennis and Laurie Britten, all of Grand Island, and Francis “Fred” and Vickie Britten of Lincoln; two daughters and a son-in-law, Theresa Compton of Athens, Ga., and Cecilia and Dan Shultz of Council Bluffs, Iowa; a daughter-in-law, Pam Britten of Council Bluffs, Iowa; a brother and sister-in-law, Pat and Phyllis Delaney of Phoenix, Ariz., and a sister, Elizabeth Dispaquale of New City, N.Y.; and nine grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
Agnes graduated from Red Cloud High School. On Jan. 24, 1945, Agnes married Raymond J. Britten at Red Cloud. They were married for 60 years.  They were the parents of  seven children and raised their family in the Red Cloud and Blue Hill communities. In 1971 they sold their farm and moved to Blue Hill. Agnes was a member of the Holy Trinity Catholic Church and Holy Trinity Altar Society, volunteered at the Blue Hill Care Center and worked at Barnason’s IGA grocery store for many years.
Agnes was preceded in death by her parents; husband; an infant son and a son, Roger; and three sisters, Anna Catherine Delaney, Mary Ellen Dimmler and Joan Shuck.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Gov. Heineman & First Lady Ganem Urge "Pet Pre-PAW-edness"


First Puppy Snickers Encourages Emergency Kit & Plan
(Lincoln, Neb.)  - Today, Gov. Dave Heineman and First Lady Sally Ganem shared the message, “Being prepared for emergencies isn’t just for people.” The Governor and First Lady were joined by Snickers, Nebraska’s First Puppy, at the State Capitol to promote the importance of emergency preparedness for pets.
Two weeks ago, Governor Heineman designated September as Nebraska Preparedness Month and urged all Nebraskans to be informed about the kind of emergencies they might face, to create a family preparedness plan and to build an emergency kit. The First Family not only talked pet preparedness, but they showed off Snickers’ “pet pre-PAW-edness” emergency kit, created to help care for Snickers in the event of an emergency.
“For most of us, our pets are important members of our families,” said Gov. Heineman. “They depend on us for their care and well-being.  We owe it to them to make sure they are safe at all times, especially in an emergency.”
Snickers is hosting pet preparedness information on his First Puppy web page at www.governor.nebraska.gov/firstpuppy.  Additionally, Snickers Pre-PAW-edness trading cards with various preparedness messages will be posted each day for the remainder of September, leading up to September 30 which is “America's PrepareAthon Day” hosted by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The cards are available for download in an effort to help educate kids of all ages about pets and emergencies.
Promoting Nebraska Preparedness Month, Snickers will be tweeting preparedness messages throughout the month under the hashtag of #SnickersSays on the Governor’s Twitter account, https://twitter.com/Gov_Heineman, and posting on the Governor’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/negovernor.
Phil Kirk, Federal Preparedness Coordinator for the FEMA in Kansas City, Mo., was on hand to promote the importance of preparedness and taking care of pets, particularly in a disaster. 
“Our animal friends are among our most vulnerable family members,” Kirk said, echoing the importance of helping family animals. “It’s really encouraging to see Nebraska take such a lead by helping to promote the message that preparedness for pets is so important.  If a situation isn’t safe for you to stay behind, it’s not safe for your pet to stay behind either.”
Bryan Tuma, Assistant Director of the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), laid out the five basic steps to being pet-prepared for emergencies.  Those steps are: Make an Emergency Plan, Find a Buddy (to help your pet if you’re not home), Build a Kit, Practice Your Plan and Update your Plan and Kit as needed. 
“Our advice for pets is essentially the same as it is for humans,” Dir. Tuma said about the five steps.  “The real key is to not wait until an emergency occurs to figure out what you are going to do.  If anyone needs proof of that, all they have to do is think back to the disasters we’ve seen in Nebraska this year alone and how little warning most folks had.”
Dir. Tuma also noted that preparedness information is available from NEMA online at www.nema.nebraska.gov and through local emergency managers. Pet preparedness information is also available through the NEMA website at:  www.nema.ne.gov/response-recovery/pets.html
Snickers Checklist (pdf)
NEMA Preparedness Kit (pdf)
FEMA All Pets Brochure (pdf)

Norma M. Arterburn Forst May 31, 1927 to September 11, 2014

Obituary for Norma M. Forst

Norma M. (Arterburn) Forst, 87, of Grand Island, died on September 11, 2014 at Tiffany Square Care Center.
Rosary will be at 10:30 am on Monday, September 15, at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Blue Hill, with Mass of Christian burial to follow at 11:00 am. The Very Reverend James Schrader will officiate. Burial will take place in Blue Hill Cemetery after the service. All Faiths Funeral Home is serving the family.
Visitation will be from 5:00 to 7:00 pm on Sunday, September 14, 2014 at All Faiths Funeral Home of Grand Island.
Norma was born on May 31, 1927 to Frank and Clara (Huppert) Arterburn on the family farm in Webster County.
Those left to cherish her memory are her son, Richard (special friend, Linda Bruun) Forst of Rockford, Ill; daughter, Shelly (Steve) Heusel of Grand Island; brother, Fred (Linda) Arterburn of Peach Tree, GA; sister, Mary Ann Toepfer of Blue Hill; grandson, Stacy (Gretchen)Heusel of Omaha; two great-grandsons, Sam and Max.
She is preceded in death by her parents; husband, Marshall; infant son, Charles; sisters, Dorothy K. (Schutte) , Lucille Emma (Fergus), and Clara Marie (Smidt) ; brothers, Jack, Howard, and Gib.
Norma grew up in rural Blue Hill, she attended country school in Webster county and graduated from Blue Hill High School.
On October 11, 1945, she was united in marriage to Marshall (Frosty) Forst in Mankato, KS. Following their marriage they lived in Grand Island. In 1995 they moved to Blue Hill until 2005 when they returned to Grand Island. They enjoyed wintering in Florida. Norma worked at Cornhusker Ammunition Plant, Leon and Triad Plastics, Walnut and Westridge Middle Schools.
Some of her enjoyments included golfing, cooking and spending time at their cabin at Sherman Reservoir. Norma was very social person, having enjoyed visiting with neighbors, friends and family.
Memorials are suggested to Central Nebraska Humane Society or family’s choice.

Friday, September 12, 2014


Duane A. Lienemann
UNL Extension Educator
     I had a little time today to work on this week’s issue as the powers that be cancelled the second day of Husker Harvest Days. I can understand why, it was very muddy and wet and they needed to have a day for it to dry and for them to help it to dry. I know there were a lot of disappointed farmers. FFA and 4-H kids, and I am sure that the venders there were the most disappointed of all. Wednesday is usually the biggest day of the event. I have been there when it rained, drizzled, and several times when it was so hot you had to find a way out of the sun and heat. I also remember one year when the wind blew so hard that they closed down all the tents and encouraged people to leave. Sometimes we forget that Mother Nature is still the one in charge and there isn’t much we can do about it except to work around the inconveniences. 
     The cancellation of HHD did give me some time to do a lot of reading and investigating some issues that have been on my mind. One thing that has been worrying me for quite some time is the EPA’s broadening jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act with its proposed Waters of the U.S. Rule. For you that don’t know about this, 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 have indicated in earlier issues that 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.
     It appears to me that this new rule definitely had 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. As I read it, if the rule were to be been finalized, the 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. Farmers would also be at the mercy of the EPA to issue (or not issue) permits on their timeline! 
     We had good news on this front (at least for the time being) this week as The U.S. House of Representatives took a firm stand with farmers and ranchers against the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulatory overreach by voting 262-152 to put a stop to the Waters of the U.S. rule. The WOTUS Regulatory Overreach Protection Act, H.R. 5078, passed with bipartisan support Tuesday. This is good news because the EPA’s proposal would massively expand EPA’s jurisdiction over waters found on our Nebraska farms and ranches.  We absolutely do not want that!
   I want to acknowledge the work of “Common Sense Nebraska” members who worked together to voice Nebraska farmers and ranchers concerns including: Nebraska Cattlemen, Nebraska Corn Growers Association, Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation, Nebraska Pork Producers Association, Nebraska Poultry Industries, Nebraska Soybean Association and the Nebraska State Dairy Association. This very effective group was formed to oppose EPA’s efforts through the “Ditch the Rule” campaign. I suggest you go to: http://ditchtherule.fb.org/ . It is note-worthy that all three of Nebraska’s Congressmen (Adrian Smith, Lee Terry and Jeff Fortenberry) voted in favor of H.R. 5078. I hope that you all take the time to contact them and say thanks.  
     Unfortunately, directly following action in the House, the President issued a veto threat against the legislation, saying it “would derail current efforts to clarify the scope of the Clean Water Act, hamstring future regulatory efforts, and create significant ambiguity regarding existing regulations and guidance.”
     Despite action in the House, the measure is not expected to come up in the Senate. This is perplexing to me as I believe that is completely political and I do not like our farmers and ranchers being used as a political football. Too much is at stake for that to be the case. I believe that the Senate needs to act quickly to protect our private property rights and put an end to the EPA’s attempted land grab. We have one hurdle cleared, now we all need to urge the Senate to join with the House to “Ditch the Rule” as well. I would hope that would encourage the President to follow suit and leave our farms and ranches alone and to “Ditch the Rule”!
     If enacted and passed by both sides of the Congress, H.R.5078 would uphold the existing federal-state partnership by prohibiting the EPA and the Army Corps from developing, finalizing, adopting, implementing, applying, administering or enforcing the proposed rule to or any similar rule that would expand the agencies’ jurisdiction over these waters.  It would also require the EPA and Army Corps to consult with state and local governments to come up with recommendations on how to identify which waters are to be covered under the CWA and which should be regulated by states and localities. Each state knows their water, their soil and their farmers and that is in whose hands it should be, not some federal bureaucrat!
     Not only is the EPA still taking public input and you should still be active --- but it now behooves us to step up our efforts to get the Senate to take up the mantle and put their actions where their mouth is in saying they support our farmers and ranchers.
     I also encourage our farmers to make an appointment or begin a Livestock Forage Disaster Program application with their county FSA office before Oct. 1, 2014, to lock in the current zero percent sequestration rate. It may interest you that an online registration is available that enables farmers and ranchers to put their names on an electronic list before the deadline to avoid reductions in their disaster assistance. You can access it at: http://askfsa.custhelp.com/app/disaster-register . Producers who already contacted their county office and have an appointment scheduled need do nothing more! Good job!!

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: dlienemann2@unl.edu or go to the website at: http://www.webster.unl.edu/home 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Blue Hill Softball Schedules.

Blue Hill (4-5)
DateOpponentClassW-LDivW/LScorePointsTournament NameTournament Location

08/26/14Chase CountyC2-63W9-1 44Triangular (host: Southern Valley/Alma)
08/26/14Southern Valley/AlmaC6-52W6-1 47Triangular (host: Southern Valley/Alma)
08/28/14Adams CentralB6-32L1-6 38Triangular (host: Fairbury/Thayer Central)
08/28/14Fairbury/Thayer CentralB1-54W10-5 43Triangular (host: Fairbury/Thayer Central)
08/30-08/30Opponents:-- - -Holdrege InviteHoldrege
     08/30     GeringB9-31L0-12 41Holdrege InviteHoldrege
     08/30     CozadC7-72L9-13 36Holdrege InviteHoldrege
     08/30     MindenC0-84W11-0 41Holdrege InviteHoldrege
09/02/14Southern Valley/AlmaC6-52L4-7 36 
09/04/14Polk CountyC8-32L3-10 36 
09/09/14Adams CentralB6-32 POSTPONED -Triangular (host: GICC)
09/09/14GICCB6-21 POSTPONED -Triangular (host: GICC)
09/11/14@ St. PaulC2-63 - - 
09/16/14FriendC1-54 - -Triangular (host: Blue Hill)
09/16/14GICCB6-21 - -Triangular (host: Blue Hill)
09/18/14@ MindenC0-84 - - 
09/20-09/20(To Be Determined)-- - -Wilber-Clatonia Inv.Wilber
09/22/14Central CityC6-42 - - 
09/27-09/27(To Be Determined)-- - -Adams Central InvitationalSmith Softball Complex
09/30/14FriendC1-54 - - 
10/07/14@ Southern Valley/AlmaC6-52 - - 

Total Points: 362
Win %: 44.444%
Average Points: 40.222

Blue Hill falls to Silver Lake in Volley Ball Match.


Blue Hill won the first two games against the Silver Lake mustangs 25-21 and 25-20.  Then  the Mustangs rallied to win the next three 25-19, 25-19 and 15-11. 

Johanns Statement on Sept. 11th

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) today issued the following statement recognizing the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, as well as the Sept. 11, 2012 terrorist attack against the American Embassy in Benghazi:
“On the anniversary of these tragic events, we pause to remember those we lost and mourn with their families. May their memory serve as an eternal reminder of the values and freedoms we hold close.
“America again faces a very real threat, and we must send a clear message that we will not tolerate the evil forces that seek to destroy innocent lives and do us harm. To honor the victims of 9/11 and all who lost their lives protecting our freedoms, we must now stand united with unequivocal resolve to destroy ISIL and defeat the threat they pose to our country.”

Gov. Heineman Reminds Nebraskans to Fly Flags at Half-Staff for Patriot Day


(Lincoln, Neb.) In anticipation of an expected Presidential Proclamation, Gov. Dave Heineman is directing that flags at all state buildings and facilities be lowered to half-staff on Thursday, Sept. 11 in observance of Patriot Day.
“I hope all Nebraskans join me in remembering those we lost on September 11, 2001 and in honoring their sacrifices. As Americans, we are the envy of many throughout the world. We must always appreciate our freedoms,” Heineman commented.
The Patriot Day remembrance honors the victims lost in the 2001 terrorist strikes in New York, Washington, D.C. and Pennsylvania. Nebraska residents are encouraged to fly flags at half-staff in recognition of Patriot Day.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Johanns: Swift Action to Improve VA Must Continue

Presses VA Secretary McDonald to ensure construction projects, like replacing the aging Omaha VA hospital, aren’t lost in shuffle
WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mike Johanns (R- Neb), a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, today pressed newly confirmed Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Robert McDonald to continue taking swift actions necessary to improve care for our nation’s veterans.
“VA must work quickly to implement the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act that was signed into law. The choice card provision is critical to our nation’s veterans to allow them the freedom to seek care outside the VA if they choose to and it’s needed,” Johanns said. “I look forward to hearing how VA intends to repair the damage done by this scandal to regain the trust not only of Congress but more importantly the nation’s veterans and their families.”
During the hearing, Johanns also highlighted the need to ensure important construction projects, such as replacing the aging Omaha VA hospital, aren’t lost in the shuffle.
“As I mentioned in this committee many times, the VA construction backlog should be a major concern to all of us. We just simply have to find a solution to replace 1950s-era hospitals – we have one in our state – and ensure that these priorities aren’t lost in the shuffle.”
Full Video of his remarks is available HERE

Weather Cancels Wednesday Events at Husker Harvest Days

(Grand Island, NE)- Heavy rain in Hall County and surrounding areas has forced the management of Husker Harvest Days to cancel all activity planned at the Husker Harvest Days event site for Wednesday, Sept. 10. 
Extremely muddy conditions have made parking areas impassable. All access gates to the site will be closed on Wednesday.  Visitors who had planned on attending the event should revise their travel plans accordingly.
“It is unfortunate that the weather hasn’t cooperated,” said Captain Chris Kolb, Commander Troop C-Grand Island.  “We are hoping to help get the word out on the cancellation for Wednesday, to avoid any unnecessary congestion on roads leading to and from the event site.”
Exhibitors and visitors are encouraged to check the Husker Harvest Days website www.huskerharvestdays.com for additional information on the cancellation.
Captain Kolb said, “A day without rain will hopefully enable the parking lots to accommodate visitors on Thursday.” ###

Monday, September 8, 2014

Johanns: CBO Score of Housing Finance Reform Validates Banking Committee’s Work, Builds Momentum for Full Senate Vote

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mike Johanns (R- Neb.) today said the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) report on S. 1217, the Housing Finance Reform and Taxpayer Protection Act, is further proof that the full Senate must act on the bipartisan legislation. CBO estimates the bill – which would protect taxpayers from future collapses of the housing market and shrink the government’s role in housing finance – could save $60 billion over 10 years. The Senate Banking Committee passed the legislation in May by a 13-9 vote. The bill is now pending consideration by the full Senate.
“This report validates the bipartisan work done by so many members of the Senate Banking Committee,” Johanns said. “With Congress preparing to consider legislation to fund the government, it wouldn’t make sense to leave this legislation – and its savings – on the Senate floor.
“Congress should have acted immediately to protect taxpayers after the 2008 financial crisis. Six years latter there is no excuse for a failure to act. We have a responsible bill before us; it’s time to vote.”
Johanns worked with Sens. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.) to craft the bipartisan legislation that the Banking Committee used as a foundation for the bill the committee passed. The Corker-Warner-Johanns bill, S. 1217, takes taxpayers off the hook for future bailouts, winds down Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to reduce the government’s role in housing finance, preserves the 30-year fixed rate mortgage, and ensures equal access to the mortgage market for small lenders.
A copy of the CBO report can be found HERE.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Solutions for Social Security and Medicare

Rep. Adrian Smith
           Many Nebraskans depend on the Social Security and Medicare benefits they have earned by paying into these programs throughout their careers.  Many more are planning on these benefits being in place as part of their retirement savings.  However, both of these programs are unsustainable on their current path.
This concerning conclusion was made by the annual report of the Trustees of the Social Security and Medicare Trust Funds, a board made up mostly of Democrats appointed by President Obama.  The report which was released in August does not offer specific fixes, but should serve as a call to action to find solutions for the shortfall in both programs.
There is a popular misconception the solvency issues of the Social Security and Medicare Trust Funds have occurred because money was taken from the funds and spent on other programs.  This is not true.  While reserved trust funds are lent through a mechanism similar to Treasury bonds, these funds have been and will continue to be paid on schedule and the interest paid accrues to the trust funds.
These long term solvency problems of these programs have occurred because they are paying out more in benefits than they are taking in from workers.  An aging population and higher medical costs have contributed to the problem.  Without addressing these changes the deficit for Social Security and Medicare will continue to grow larger.
Social Security operates by having today’s workers pay for today’s retirees.  In 1945, the ratio of workers paying into the system per beneficiary was about 42 to 1.  Today, the ratio is about 3 to 1.  By 2033 the ratio is expected to fall to about 2 to 1.
The trustees report also found the combined Medicare Trust fund continues to face a “substantial financial shortfall.”  It is worth noting the trustees report found Medicare Part D, which is very popular among seniors and includes many of the market-based principles Republicans have suggested applying to other parts of Medicare, will remain adequately financed for the “indefinite future.”
The President and some in Washington have preferred raising taxes and even cutting Medicare funding and diverting it to Obamacare to address these challenges.  These actions are not solutions to the structural problems faced by these programs.
Republicans in the House of Representatives have passed relatively modest reforms which would keep Medicare solvent without changes for current beneficiaries.  My colleagues and I on the Ways and Means Committee have held a number of hearings on Social Security reforms and are committed to finding solutions.  Unfortunately, the Democrat-controlled Senate has blocked our reform efforts without offering constructive alternatives.
The trustees report concludes solutions are needed “sooner rather than later to minimize the impact on beneficiaries, providers, and taxpayers.”  I could not agree more.  This report makes clear the consequences if we are unable to come to the table to find solutions for Social Security and Medicare.  I hope all sides will find the courage to act.

Working for You


 By: U.S. Senator Deb Fischer

For the past several weeks, I have had the opportunity to travel throughout the state to meet with Nebraskans, community leaders, business owners, and a number of different groups to listen to their concerns. It was inspiring to see the amazing things our friends and neighbors all across the state are doing to build stronger families and communities. Nebraskans’ unmatched work ethic and strong spirit of service keep our state moving forward. That’s why we’re leading the nation in fields like hospitality, innovation, entrepreneurship, and economic growth. 
In Omaha I had the chance to participate in a “heart of the house” tour, where I went behind the scenes at the Omaha Embassy Suites. I visited with employees and learned about the great work they do to run a first-rate operation and make guests comfortable during their visits. Hotels are responsible for creating 7,600 jobs – resulting in $148 million in pay for families – across the state. The industry also generates $269 million in revenue for Nebraska each year.
Nebraska’s relatively low taxes and sensible regulatory environment have attracted multinational companies like Coca-Cola, which runs a distribution center I visited in Omaha. I also enjoyed stops at Dinkel’s Imeplement Co. in Norfolk, the Nebraska Brewing Company in LaVista, and Trenton AgriProducts. These businesses are key engines of local economic growth and help ensure our state remains an attractive place to live and raise a family.
I was also encouraged to see that many of Nebraska’s smaller communities are focusing on economic development. I took part in a walking tour of local businesses in Chadron, which is continuing to grow and build an increasingly vibrant downtown.
Another key to economic growth is a strong healthcare system. I was impressed by the excellent work being performed at both the Nebraska Heart Hospital in Lincoln and the Dundy County Hospital in Benkelman. I am also pleased to see the high quality of care offered at assisted living facilities dedicated to helping our seniors. I had the pleasure of witnessing this care firsthand at the Willows Assisted Living Center in Neligh and Parkview Lodge Assisted Living in Rushville. Our seniors have given so much throughout their lives and it’s important to ensure they receive good care in their later years.
One of my top priorities as a senator is ensuring our veterans receive the care we promised them. Although Congress has made progress in addressing the crisis at the VA, we have a long way to go. That’s why I held veterans roundtables in Omaha and Alliance to hear more about our vets’ suggestions for improving the system. 
This year, I held over a dozen open listening sessions for constituents from eastern Nebraska to the panhandle – with many stops in between. The congressional research site “Legistorm” noted that I was one of two senators to hold the most open listening sessions in the month of August. 
Truthfully, staying in touch with Nebraskans is the best – and most important – part of my job. Thank you to all who attended these listening sessions and for your input. If you were unable to attend, you can always share your ideas by writing me or calling my office. Contact information is available on my website http://fischer.senate.gov.
Finally, no Nebraska summer is complete without a stop at the State Fair. Bruce and I enjoyed two days at the fair visiting with friends and neighbors and walking through the 4-H exhibits, livestock barns, and the exhibit hall. We were especially impressed by the Nebraska Building’s interactive topographic floor map, which does a wonderful job illustrating the incredible diversity of Nebraska’s land; it was amazing to see the 4,584-foot drop in elevation across the state. It’s not news to us, but make no mistake: Nebraska’s not flat. Fair time also means ice cream for breakfast and barbecue beef for lunch – it doesn’t get much better than that. 
Nebraska is indeed blessed and it’s my great honor to represent all Nebraskans in the United States Senate. Thank you for taking part in the democratic process and I’ll visit with you again next week.


Duane A. Lienemann
UNL Extension Educator

     I cannot remember the last time that I drove to work in rain.  I wasn’t totally sure that my windshield wipers even worked, but they did. We are not used to getting moisture, and especially this time of year, and it certainly is welcome.  I know it is too little too late for some of our hay ground, pastures and crops in the southern half of our county and some adjacent counties, but none-the-less it is much needed moisture to help finish out this crop season and hopefully give us some headway in developing some subsoil moisture to be stored for next year. One think is for certain, it certainly makes a person feel better. I can only imagine what our area farmers take is on this moisture after such a dicey year. 
     Speaking of dicey, to add to the variability of climate our farmers are faced with a new and very complicated Farm Bill.  I have fielded several questions on this already and I understand the angst that our producers are experiencing. Signing up for the new  government farm program as part of the new Farm Bill is going to be complicated and will most likely take up to 6 months to complete. As I understand it, sign up will be a 2 step process that will likely stretch well into 2015.  
     Producers have started receiving their farm constitution reports from their local FSA offices that provide the farm number, legal description, and most importantly, their current farm base acres and CC yields.  This information is made available to producers ahead of their first USDA farm bill decision – “Should I update my base acres and/or CC yields?”  While I believe that this decision is not clear cut, you might reason that if you have been using the same corn and soybean rotation, then there may not be much change in your base. But, if in the past few years you have planted more corn than soybeans or wheat, then you may want to update your base to reflect more corn acres. However, that is just a guess!
     The way it looks to me is that by increasing your corn base you may have some financial advantages as there is likely to be more payments for corn under these new programs over the next 5 years, so a higher corn base would be financially advantageous. I personally believe that our area producers should look hard at updating simply because I think you may want to take that one time opportunity to update yields -- especially if you have higher yields than what they currently have on record with FSA. If you have not had any worthwhile increases then it probably is not quite as important or clear to me.
     After you update your yield and acres, then it will be time to decide which farm program best fits your operation. Unfortunately not all the details of the programs have been announced yet, so it is hard to give specific recommendations to producers. It should be not much of a shock then for you to hear your local FSA office say that the yield and base updates can begin this month ---but that program signup will not take place for several months. My guess we may be seeing some sign up beginning late this fall or during the winter months, but most likely the bulk will be just before planting season.
     Farmers will have a choice of signing up for one of two versions of the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) program or the Price Loss Coverage (PLC) program that replaces direct payments and the ACRE program. This decision will be made for each Farm Service Agency (FSA) farm. In general, ARC would pay out when actual county crop revenue is below the county ARC revenue guarantee for a crop year. Farmers will have to choose between ARC and PLC, but early indicators suggest ARC might be a better bet and a good place to start investigating farm bill options. 
     While recommendations are preliminary, most economists prognosis seem to indicate says that most operations may find the Agricultural Risk Coverage-County Option the most favorable. I think this may depend on a lot of things, including the projected price over the next 4-5 years, if the drought is really over, and if the bulk of your farm is dry-land or irrigated. From everything I have read, it seems to me that this new government program, also referred to as ARC-CO, currently has a higher probability of adding support to corn and soybean farmers. But let us look at the options.
     Farmers will have the option to choose between two versions of the ARC program: County-ARC or Individual-ARC. The first program allows producers to participate on a crop by crop basis and protects based off of county revenue losses. The second program provides individual farm level protection, but all of a farm’s commodities must be enrolled in the program if the farmer selects this option. Individual-ARC is more complicated than its County-ARC counterpart.
      I know that some farmers may look at Price Loss Converge or PLC target price program which basically operates similarly to the old Counter-Cyclical payment program. However, under this new program, a payment would trigger if the U.S. average market price for the crop year is less than the set reference price. While the target price program was a non-factor in recent years, USDA’s price projections for 2014 might make this attractive for farmers who worry about crop prices more than revenue. Plus there is some insurance consideration with PLC you should explore. If you listen to some crop forecasters that say that we may see $2.75-$3.25 corn over the next 3-4 years, then this option may look pretty good. 
     Like the decision to sign up for ACRE in the last farm bill, farmers will have one chance to make a decision as to which program (County-ARC, Individual-ARC or PLC) they will participate in through the life of the five-year farm bill. If a farmer does not choose an option, they are automatically enrolled in PLC (which is the default) but will receive no benefits for their 2014 crop. The only advice I can really give you right now is to start gathering your data on base crop acres and yields. I do have a question for all our readers……..Does anyone have a crystal ball?  Good Luck!!!!

The preceding information comes from the research and personal observations of the writer which may or may not reflect the views of UNL or UNL Extension. For more further information on these or other topics contact D. A. Lienemann, UNL Extension Educator for Webster County in Red Cloud, (402) 746-3417 or email to: dlienemann2@unl.edu or go to the website at: http://www.webster.unl.edu/home 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Fischer Statement on ISIL, NATO Summit

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and Ranking Member on the Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities, released the following statement regarding ISIL and the NATO summit occurring in Wales:
“In the past week, the president’s top cabinet officials and the Vice President have all called for efforts to destroy ISIL. There is no doubt that ISIL is an imminent threat to Western Europe, our allies in the Middle East, and the United States. This is not a ‘manageable’ problem. I expect the president to use his time at the NATO summit to shore up our allies to unite on a clear, consistent strategy to stomp out this scourge.”

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Smith Announces Youth Advisory Council Members

Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) today announced the names of Third District high school students who will serve on his Youth Advisory Council for the 2014-2015 academic school year.
Youth Advisory Council members include:
Justine Bauer of Elm Creek High School;
Tristan Bruce of Franklin Public School;
Trenton Buhr of Norris High School in Firth;
Megan Canfield of Grand Island Northwest High School;
Tianna Engen of Kearney High School;
Emma Franklin of Wallace Public Schools;
Sydney Glatter of Sumner-Eddyville-Miller High School;
Molli Hagge of Ord Public Schools;
Kaitlyn Hanvey of Verdigre High School;
Kyra Jones of Maxwell Public School;
Madison Klar of Fillmore Central High School in Geneva;
Ryan Kopsa of York High School;
Garrison Lowe of Kearney Catholic High School;
Quinn Myers of Broken Bow High School;
Jared Pohlmann of Deshler Public School;
Hannah Price of Grand Island Senior High School;
Meile Rosenlund of Grand Island Northwest High School;
Megan Trierweiler of St. Patrick High School in North Platte;
Jordan Werth of Elba Public School;
Colten White of Kearney High School;
and Calvin Wineland of Cambridge High School.
Smith’s Youth Advisory Council is a forum for high school students to discuss throughout the school year opinions, thoughts and concerns with Smith about local and federal issues.  Through in-person meetings and other contacts, the Council provides students an opportunity for involvement and insight into their government and communities.
The Council is open to junior and senior high school students who are selected from an application process in the spring.  For more information, interested parties are encouraged to contact Smith’s Grand Island Office at 308-384-3900 or visit Smith’s website at: http://adriansmith.house.gov/youth-advisory-council.

Gov. Heineman Provides Ag and Economic Update


(Lincoln, Neb.) - Today, Gov. Dave Heineman highlighted several positive activities within the agriculture sector at news conferences in Norfolk and North Platte.
“Today, our state’s agriculture industry is more vibrant and active than ever,” said Gov. Heineman. “Livestock development is expanding and exports continue to increase. With more than a quarter of our economy rooted in agriculture, it’s appropriate that Nebraskans take note of recent activities that continue to strengthen our agricultural sector.”
“We now have designated 27 counties with the state’s Livestock Friendly County designation, and we have more in the process,” Gov. Heineman continued.
Nebraska is fifth in soybean production, third in producing corn, the second leading ethanol producer, first in popcorn production and Nebraska is now the number one cattle feeding state in America.
Governor Heineman also spoke on recent economic developments for the State of Nebraska.
“Nebraska is on the move and we want to maintain that economic momentum. We have the second lowest unemployment rate in America. We have helped farmers and ranchers by eliminating the sales tax on repair parts for agricultural  machinery and equipment. We’ve created a better environment for the private sector to grow jobs,” Gov. Heineman said.
In 2014, Site Selection magazine has recognized Nebraska as the number one state in the nation with the most qualifying new and expanded facilities per capita. This year marked the inauguration of a new Governor’s Cup award which recognizes economic development success.
“I’m thrilled that Nebraska earned the 2014 Governor’s Cup award for economic development,” said Gov. Heineman. “We are focused on improving business and creating jobs in our state. Businesses locating in Nebraska are impressed with our friendly and honest citizens, our strong work ethic, low energy costs, low cost of living, great education system and an outstanding quality of life.”
Governor Heineman also highlighted Nebraska’s ongoing agricultural efforts in international markets. The Department of Agriculture recently has hosted international visitors as part of its ongoing work to brand Nebraska agriculture goods in the foreign marketplace. Customers from both Germany and England spent time in the past month meeting with the Governor and state agriculture leaders, touring farms, ranches and processors to gain an understanding of the state’s beef production sector.

Uncertainty unfolds in theatre production season opener at Hastings College

(Hastings, Neb.) – As its first production of the 2014-2015 academic year, the Hastings College Theatre Arts Department will offer “Six Characters in Search of an Author” by Luigi Pirandello. Students will perform at 8 p.m., Thursday-Saturday, Oct. 16-18 and at 2 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 19 in Scott Studio Theatre (806 N. Turner Ave.)
The Box Office opens Thursday, Oct. 9 and will remain open Monday-Friday from noon to 5 p.m.  Tickets are $8 general and $5 for seniors and non-HC students. To reserve tickets, call (402) 461-7380 or e-mail tickets@hastings.edu.
Hastings College Department of Theatre Arts presents
Six Characters in Search of an Author
By Luigi Pirandello
 An Italian play said to be one of the most extraordinary and mysterious plays of the 20th century, “Six Characters in Search of an Author” speaks directly to an age of uncertainty: where do we come from, where are we going, how do we become what and who we want to be? Six people, very strange people, interrupt a theatre rehearsal. Trapped inside a traumatic event from which they long to escape, they are characters who desperately need a writer to complete their story and release them.
Directed by Aaron Pierce of Cozad, Nebraska
THE FATHER – Joe Prickett from Hastings, Nebraska
 THE MOTHER – Emma Parrish from Sterling, Colorado
 THE STEPDAUGHTER – Emma Atuire from Denver, Colorado
 THE SON – Dylan Brehm from Grand Island, Nebraska
 THE LEADING LADY – Sallie Myers from Thermopolis, Wyoming
 THE LEADING MAN – Aaron Spracklin from Elmwood, Nebraska
 THE YOUNG ACTRESS – Rebecca Holcomb from Parker, Colorado
 THE YOUNG ACTOR – Nathaniel Sass from Hastings, Nebraska
 THE FEMALE UNDERSTUDY – Alyssa Rock from Aurora, Colorado
THE MALE UNDERSTUDY - Nate Mohlman from Blue Hill, Nebraska

THE OTHER ACTORS - Kathryn Edwards from Louisville, Nebraska,
       Tawnny King from Grand Island, Nebraska
 STAGE MANAGER – Jasmine Radetski from Calhan, Colorado

ASSISTANT STAGE MANAGER – Alex Goerner from Yuma, Colorado – Robert Lent from Hastings, Nebraska

COSTUMES – Laurel Teal from Castle Rock, Colorado

MAKE-UP/HAIR – Taylor Ahrens from Doniphan, Nebraska

LIGHTING – Adam Neely from Lincoln, Nebraska

SOUND – Andy Jones from Bladen,Nebraska
PROPERTIES – Cheyenne Knehans from Riverton, Nebraska

BOX OFFICE – Jordan Samuelson from Kearney, Nebraska
Founded in 1882, Hastings College is a private, four-year liberal arts institution located in Hastings, Nebraska, that focuses on student academic and extracurricular achievement. With 64 majors in 32 areas of study and 12 pre-professional programs, Hastings College has been named among “America’s Best National Liberal Arts Colleges” by U.S. News & World Report, a “Best in the Midwest” by The Princeton Review and a “Best Buy in College Education” by Barron’s. Visit