Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Bismark Tribune reports N.D. white supremacist Cobb buys up property in Red Cloud


Craig Cobb, A white supremacist . from Sherwood, N.D., who was jailed and ordered to stay away from Leith, N.D.  after terrorizing the town appears to be repeating his tactics in small towns in Nebraska.

   Craig Cobb purchased three delinquent tax properties at a Webster County sheriff’s sale Sept. 23, according to a report by Lauren Donavan of the Bismark Tribune.
Cobb is living in Sherwood, N.D.,  while serving a four-year probation for felony terrorizing with a gun, the end of a bizarre few months when he flew Nazi flags in front of his house in Leith and painted swastikas on his trees and buildings.
The report says that the town of Red Cloud, Neb., held an emergency town hall meeting Tuesday to look into its legal options for dealing with the situation,. Two of the properties Cobb purchased for $25 and $100 are in Red Cloud, while another worth $3,410 is in the nearby town of Inavale.
Mike Goebel (Red Cloud resident) is reported to have said a local militia also met Monday night because of threats and racial insults posted by Cobb or someone impersonating him on a community Facebook page.
“I don’t want my kids to grow up seeing that kind of hate,” Goebel said.
Cobb won’t formally own the property until a district court judge confirms the sale in court, likely scheduled in November, said Webster County Attorney Sarah Bockstadter. She said anyone with an interest in the property can redeem it first, or someone can make a higher offer when it’s in court.

Monday, September 28, 2015


Duane A. Lienemann
UNL Extension Educator
     I just got back from the 88th Annual Ak-Sar-Ben Livestock Show. For you that have been there in the past it has changed over the years. It has moved from its old grounds on 72nd Street to its new digs at the CenturyLink Center on 10th Street. The facilities are wonderful as is the air conditioning, along with the filtration of the air.  I fondly remember the old Ak-Sar-Ben building which had a certain charm and historic aura about it, including perhaps a slightly moldy aroma. I also remember what we, not so fondly, called the Ak-Sar-Ben flu. Many of you that had the opportunity to be at the old Ak-Sar-Ben settings would attest to the improvement in air quality that is evident. It did at first seem a bit weird to have animals walking on smooth cement with roofing paper for traction, but I am getting used to it. It is always fun to watch young people compete with their animals because Ak-Sar-Ben is considered the peak for 4-H exhibitors here in Nebraska.
     It may interest you that more than 2,000 4-H families, from a ten-state area participate in the Show. Categories of this event are catch-a-calf, dairy, stocker feeder calves, breeding beef, horse, market beef, market broilers, meat goats, market lamb and market swine, rabbit, and dairy steers as well as almost a dozen other entry opportunities including quiz bowl, premier exhibitor and more. States eligible to enter are Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming.  It was, and still is, under the auspices of the Knights of Ak-Sar-Ben. I know our county has benefited, and would bet every county in this state has benefitted from the activities and funding that was made available by this group.  I believe that the original 4-H exhibit hall that we renovated in Webster County was built, at least in part, by funding from Ak-Sar-Ben. I think it appropriate this week to take a closer look at Ak-Sar-Ben.
     Did you ever wonder how this organization got its start?  Well I did, so I did a little research.  If you know a little Nebraska State Fair history, you know that it used to be located in Omaha in the early years of our statehood. Let’s go back to 1895. Omaha at that time was the home of the Nebraska State Fair. But the State Fair Board, angry because Omaha businessmen failed to provide suitable evening entertainment for families attending the fair, laid down an ultimatum: "Provide entertainment other than saloons, gambling houses and honkey-tonks for the 1895 fair or lose it to a competitively alert Lincoln." If you think of it, Lincoln actually lost the Nebraska State Fair about 7 years ago because Grand Island was more “competitively alert”!  It goes to show you that what goes around comes around.
      To face the challenge put forward by the State Fair Board, financial needs were first met by Omaha businessmen to provide the needed improvements for the city and the State Fairgrounds, but then, on the evening of March 28, 1895, a meeting was called with 60 of the most prominent businessmen of Omaha in attendance. At this meeting, the 12 men who formed the Executive Committee of the Omaha Business Men's Association (an organization still in existence) and who had taken charge of the festivities of Fair Week presented an ambitious plan for securing all floats which had appeared in February's New Orleans Mardi Gras Parade for the Omaha fair. These 12 men became the original members of the Board of Governors of the Knights of Ak-Sar-Ben. The group traveled to New Orleans with a mission in mind.
     They became convinced that a permanent organization like the Mardi Gras Society was just what Omaha needed to add zest to its progressive outlook, complete with "royalty" and "coronations."  So on the train ride back from New Orleans, the Omaha delegation decided that they needed to name their new organization. One businessman, Dudley Smith, suggested "Why not reverse the name of our beloved state, since everything seems to be going backwards these days?" Another member suggested that since this group had saved the State Fair for the city, the organization should be called the "Knights of Ak-Sar-Ben." Thus, Ak-Sar-Ben was born in 1895 and on September 19 that same year they held their Mardi Gras style parade and its first coronation ball, based upon the Spanish legend of the Kingdom of Quivera.
     The Knights of Ak-Sar-Ben contributed mightily to the effort of keeping the State Fair in Omaha. However, during 1900 the State Legislature moved the Nebraska State Fair to Lincoln regardless of their labors. But Ak-Sar-Ben continued its popular parades (including electric floats), carnivals, annual Royalty coronation and ball.  In 1919 Ak-Sar-Ben purchased the 200 acre tract at 63rd & Shirley Streets that had been the State fairgrounds, to build a permanent community center.  In 1921 parimutuel wagering was introduced to Nebraska at the new Ak-Sar-Ben racetrack and grandstand. Revenue from the races supported Knights of Ak-Sar-Ben charities and programs through the mid-1980s, including the ball, scholarships and added premiums to the state fair and county fairs as well as stipends to help 4-H across the state.  Racing lost its favor and those funds dropped off considerably and races were discontinued in 1996, which changed the landscape for Ak-Sar-Ben.
     The Livestock Exhibition has been a big part of Ak-Sar-Ben. The very first Livestock and Horse Show was held November 3, 1928 in the new Coliseum that was built along with some barns one year after a fire destroyed the original Ak-Sar-Ben Den, along with most of the historical records. It stayed pretty much the same until 1966 when they renovated the Coliseum and barns, covering the brick with metal and updating the interior. In 1998 Ak-Sar-Ben supported the development of Qwest Center and in 2002 the old Coliseum was destroyed and the Livestock Show moved the following year to the Qwest Center which now is called the CenturyLink Center. Now called the Ak-Sar-Ben’s River City Rodeo & Stock Show, it is still one of the largest premier youth livestock shows in the Nation ….and now you know why!

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: 

Sunday, September 27, 2015

President Signs Fischer-Nelson E-Warranty Act


Bipartisan Bill is Fischer’s Second Signed into Law

Washington, D.C. – Last night, President Obama signed into law S. 1359, The E-Warranty Act of 2015. The E-Warranty Act, was introduced by U.S. Senators Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) and Bill Nelson (D-Fla.). This bill modernizes warranty requirements and allow manufacturers to save paper and printing costs by posting warranties online. It passed the Senate unanimously on July 9 and was agreed to in the House of Representatives by a vote of 388-2 on September 8.
Senator Fischer released the following statement:
“To remain competitive in the era of the Internet of Things, we must be able to streamline and modernize redundant regulations. The E-Warranty Act is a bipartisan success because it brings common-sense solutions to outdated rules.
“The world is changing. Our technology is getting smaller, faster, and more efficient. Our laws must follow suit.”
Senator Nelson released the following statement:
“Consumers and businesses will now have the ability to take advantage of new and improving online technologies to help with their commerce.”
Federal Trade Commission (FTC) rules are unclear as to whether manufacturers are permitted to meet their warranty notice requirements online. The E-Warranty Act streamlines warranty notice rules and provides explicit direction to manufacturers, making it clear that they have the option to meet their warranty requirements on their company’s website. The online option:
  • Provides relief to manufacturers and sellers to improve efficiency.
  • Boosts consumer access to warranty information.
  • Advances common-sense environmental benefits by reducing waste.
  • Promotes U.S. global competitiveness in the Internet of Things and domestic economy.
  • Modernizes government rules to better reflect the digital age we live in.
  • Preserves robust consumer protections for warranty access.
Senator Fischer has been a champion in the Senate for modernizing manufacturing requirements. Her E-LABEL Act, which was signed into law last Congress, mirrors the principles in the E-Warranty Act.

Blue Hill football 2 wins, 2 loss.

Blue Hill Bobcats defeated Franklin Flyers Friday evening with  a score of 78 to 46.  This was the 4th game of the season for Blue Hill.  They lost the first two games, falling to Bruning Davenport Shicklley on Sept 4th with a score of 21 to 38.  On Sept. 11, they lost to High Plains with a score of 28 to 49.  September 19th they came back with a win over Heartland with a score of 63 to 36.  Next Friday, October 2, the Bobcats will face Shelton. 

Friday, September 25, 2015

Smith Statement on Speaker Boehner’s Resignation

Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) released the following statement today after House Speaker John Boehner announced he will resign at the end of October.
“Speaker Boehner’s decision today is an incredible act of humility.  John Boehner is a good man who has faced an extremely difficult task in countering the Obama administration while upholding the Constitution.  I thank Speaker Boehner for his years of service to our country and wish him all the best.”

It's National Farm Safety Week

     Each year since 1944, the third week of September has been recognized as National Farm Safety & Health Week. 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. Join with all of us who are concerned about the safety of our farmers, ranchers and everyone that is involved in agriculture production in observing this important event, which this year is September 20-26. This time makes perfect sense as it heralds the traditionally most dangerous time in agricultural communities – harvest. We should not only pray for the safety of all involved but utilize observations like this to solidify our support of our farmers and all of those involved in agriculture as we harvest the bounty of our work. To help ensure a safe harvest, stay alert for dangerous situations, exercise caution, and always put safety first.

    Please join Nebraska Extension in promoting safe and healthy practices on our farms and ranches across the U.S. and in our neighboring countries as producers enter the harvest season. As our area farmers start, continue and complete harvest this fall we should keep this in mind. From being alert on rural roadways to ensuring the safety of children, farm families know that agricultural safety amounts to much more than lip service. It’s a life and death matter. This year’s National Farm Safety & Health Week slogan reinforces that mindset. This year’s theme centers on “Ag Safety is not just a slogan, it’s a lifestyle.” Which reminds local and rural communities that agriculture represent one of the most dangerous occupations in the US. Farm injuries and fatalities are preventable through education. The most recent data from the U.S. Department of Labor indicates that in the most recent study done in 2013, farming accounted for 500 fatalities, or 23.2 deaths per 100,000 workers. That should resonate with all of us.   

      Following traditions of many other administrations, the White House released a proclamation that all of us should hearken to. It is as follows: “Since the days of our Revolution when farmers across the Colonies took up arms in defense of our country, America's farmers and ranchers have played a critical role in shaping our progress and forging a better future for coming generations.  Through centuries of hard work, they have supplied our Nation with products and services essential to the economic and physical well-being of our society.  This week, we recognize all those serving on our farms, and we recommit to safeguarding their health and livelihoods.”

     “Farmers and ranchers make tremendous contributions to the way of life our ancestors fought to establish, yet they face considerable hazards in the course of their daily responsibilities.  To protect the safety of those working on America's farms, we must take steps to guarantee they have the knowledge, tools, and resources necessary to mitigate and reduce risks to themselves and their families.  From handling hazardous chemicals and machinery to working in potentially dangerous areas such as silos or grain elevators, our Nation's farmers, ranchers, and farmworkers should be able to secure the prosperity of their land, their loved ones, and their country without sacrificing their own.”

     “Each year, thousands of people are injured on farms and ranches in America, and we need to remain committed to pursuing pragmatic, responsible solutions to prevent these tragedies from occurring. Across our country, those who work on farms bolster our economy and nourish our people by providing what we need at a most human level, helping to uphold America's founding creed:  Out of many, we are one.  This week, let us recognize the steadfast dedication and commitment of agricultural producers and their families, and let us reaffirm our resolve to promote their health and safety. We also urge Americans to honor our agricultural heritage and express appreciation to our farmers, ranchers, and farmworkers for their contributions to our Nation.”

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Senators Introduce Born Alive protection Act.

Sasse: "If we can’t come together and agree that newborn babies deserve care, our talk about 'human rights' and 'inherent dignity' is empty."

Washington, D.C. - Today, U.S. Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE), along with 23 Senate co-sponsors, introduced the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act.

"If we can’t come together and agree that newborn babies deserve care, our talk about 'human rights' and 'inherent dignity' is empty," said Senator Sasse. "This is an opportunity for well-meaning people to set aside our differences and work to protect babies. I'm grateful that the House did that last week and I'm glad to begin that process in the Senate today."

The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, which is identical to that passed by the House of Representatives last week on a bipartisan vote of 248-177, would protect newborns that survive abortions by requiring appropriate care and admission to a hospital.

"Nebraska has always been a leader in providing protections for unborn children," said Senator Deb Fischer. "I’m proud to cosponsor this legislation to help ensure that these babies receive the care they deserve at every stage of life. I commend Senator Sasse for introducing it."

"We have a moral responsibility to protect our most vulnerable, and to prioritize precious human life over death," said Senator John Cornyn. "The necessity to protect the life of a newborn child should be without question or controversy, and I hope my colleagues on both sides of the aisle can unite behind this important legislation."

"We cannot stand idly by and allow those who can't fight for themselves receive substandard care or simply no care at all," Senator Steve Daines stated. "The right to life is protected by our Constitution and is part of the framework of the Declaration of Independence. We must continue to be a voice for those who have none. We need to get this common sense legislation passed and on the President's desk."

"As a mother and grandmother, I remain steadfast in my commitment to protect the most vulnerable, which is an important measure of any society," said Senator Joni Ernst. "This commonsense legislation ensures that all babies born into this world – regardless of the circumstances surrounding their birth – are treated with the dignity, care, and compassion that they rightly deserve."

"This bill is about protecting the most innocent and vulnerable," said Senator Chuck Grassley. "It’s about ensuring that every breathing baby gets a chance at life. And, at its most basic level, it’s about a common sense principle that a baby who has survived an abortion procedure deserves to be treated with dignity. This is a bill worthy of everybody’s support."

"Society has an obligation to protect life," Senator Ron Johnson said. "It is my hope that we all can agree on this fundamental truth. In today’s society, the need to protect life outside the womb is urgent. I support the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act in the hope that it will strengthen protections for the most vulnerable people in society."

"I believe it is the duty of our government to protect the life of the born and unborn as a right guaranteed under the Constitution," Senator Rand Paul said.

"This bill ensures innocent babies who are born alive receive the care and medical treatment they need," Senator Rob Portman stated. "It's about treating all human life with dignity, no matter how vulnerable, and I'm pleased to support this bill."

"This is not a pro-life versus pro-choice issue: it is a matter of fact," said Senator Mike Rounds. "A baby who survives an abortion has the same rights under the law as any other newborn baby. In the history of the world, the true test of society is how well we treat the most vulnerable among us. The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act is an opportunity to do the right thing and make certain we are protecting the most helpless and defenseless in our society."

"When it comes to protecting babies, we know what’s right and what’s wrong. What’s right is providing them the opportunity to grow, to learn, to become the bright eyed, world-changing children who we all cherish and protect, and I’m proud to be an original co-sponsor of this bill," said Senator Thom Tillis

The legislation requires that, when an abortion results in the live birth of an infant, health care practitioners must exercise the same degree of professional skill and care to protect the newborn as would be offered to any other child born alive at the same gestational age. It also requires that the living child, after appropriate care has been given, be immediately transported and admitted to a hospital.

Original co-sponsors to the legislation include Ms. Fischer (R-NE), Mr. McConnell (R-KY), Mr. Blunt (R-MO), Mr. Coats (R-IN), Mr. Cornyn (R-TX), Mr. Crapo (R-ID), Mr. Cruz (R-TX), Mr. Daines (R-MT), Mr. Enzi (R-WY), Ms. Ernst (R-IA), Mr. Graham (R-SC), Mr. Grassley (R-IA), Mr. Inhofe (R-OK), Mr. Johnson (R-WI), Mr. Lankford (R-OK), Mr. McCain (R-AZ), Mr. Moran (R-KS), Mr. Paul (R-KY), Mr. Perdue (R-GA), Mr. Portman (R-OH), Mr. Rounds (R-SD), Mr. Rubio (R-FL), and Mr. Tillis (R-NC).

Monday, September 21, 2015

A Bad Deal

Senator Deb Fischer
 Like so many Nebraskans who have contacted me to express their opposition to the president’s deal with Iran, I have a number of concerns about the agreement.
President Obama’s deal neither advances nor protects America’s interests. I am troubled by both the broad scale and highly technical aspects of this deal. The fact that inspectors will not have the access to the sites they need to verify Iran’s compliance with this agreement is alarming. Furthermore, I do not believe there is an effective mechanism for punishing Iran, if and when they violate this agreement. 
Put simply, this deal will not stop Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. All meaningful restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program expire in 15 years. At that point, Iran’s nuclear program will be legitimized and it will be free to build an industrial-scale enrichment program. 
This means the “one-year-breakout” time the administration has used to defend this deal is only temporary.  
Some argue that even if this deal does not permanently prohibit Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, it’s still better than the status quo. Even if we’re right back where we started in 10 or 15 years, they insist, buying time isn’t a bad thing. But we won’t be right back where we started – we’ll be in a far worse position.
Iran’s current program was built in violation of its Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) obligations and U.N. Security Council resolutions. The illegality of its program was the basis for international sanctions. Now, with this deal, Iran’s program will be in good standing with the NPT and the sanctions regime will be repealed. That means if the United States sought to limit Iran’s program after 15 years, we would need to rebuild a sanctions regime from scratch and attempt to develop support for targeting a program that, under this agreement, is deemed to be acceptable. 
How likely is it that sanctions could ever be imposed if Iran rapidly expands its program after year 15 of this agreement? I think it will be incredibly unlikely.  
Moreover, I’m worried about the significant rewards Iran will reap as part of this deal. Iran will receive access to tens of billions of dollars now frozen as a result of sanctions. With sanctions repealed, trade will resume and Iran’s economy will grow. This influx of cash means the Iranian regime will have more money to fund terrorist proxies all over the world. 
Additionally, the American delegation’s last-minute decision to lift the U.N. embargos on the sale of conventional weapons and ballistic missile technology to Iran is a victory for them. Our top military advisors have repeatedly warned against this, at all cost. Because of the administration’s concession, we have fewer tools to limit Iran’s military development, specifically its ability to build a missile capable of reaching the United States. 
I simply cannot support an agreement that attempts to trade inadequate, short-term limits for dangerous, long-term concessions.  
As your senator, my most important duty is providing for our national security and protecting our country from threats. In the days, weeks, and years to come, I will continue working to ensure this remains our top priority. 
Thank you for participating in the democratic process. I look forward to visiting with you again next week. 

Sunday, September 20, 2015


Duane A. Lienemann
Nebraska Extension Educator

     Did you look at the calendar? We are almost at the end of September. Where did this month and this year go? But then my guess is that most of us don’t have to look at calendar or even a clock to know what time of year it is. One only has to look at the dust coming from the combines in the soybean fields or the silage and farm trucks traversing down the country roads and highways carrying the cargo that represents this year’s harvest of the inputs, time, sweat and equity. It is bitter sweet for many of our farmers as we are reaching the culmination of a year that was filled with early promise, the worry of uncertain weather and rain and especially the uncomfortable feeling of missing out on those rains that so many of our neighbors to the east were getting. Compounding the equation is the prospect of less of a harvest than what you hope for and then the price that we will receive for the commodities that will come from all that has been put into these enterprises.
     It is not only praying that the weather and the crop itself holds up for harvest, that the machinery doesn’t break down and then actually getting the crop in the bin or to the elevator. These farmers have a lot of other things on their minds as well. Let’s take a look at a couple of these additional responsibilities, as with all that is going on some reminders may be good.
     This past year was a traumatic one with decisions that had to be made concerning the 2014 Farm Bill, which took a lot of paperwork, worry, and sleepless nights as they had to make decisions on updating yields, acreage and then which direction to go with no program, or more likely ARC or PLC, and then of course insurance decisions. I can tell you that I was a part of that and you really didn’t feel you had a full grasp on the ramifications of your decisions and that it was nothing but a big, risky crap shoot. But then if you look at the reality of it farming has always been a guessing game with high risk, but this all just seemed like someone else had control and the decisions could have consequences that were out of your control.
     We will soon see what those decisions brought us but there is something that all farmers need to do and the time is running out. I know the timing is terrible and you have already made countless trips to the FSA office, but this is a critical part of what is required with as the requirements and the rewards for the this Farm Bill are kicking in. Yes one more trip is in line to finish up the paperwork for 2014-15 and prepare for next year as the enrollment deadline is here!
     ARC/PLC Program Enrollment Deadline – September 30: Just so farmers, who are single minded right now about harvest have something else to worry about. The end of this month also means the deadline for producers to complete their ARC and/or PLC contracts for the 2014 and 2015 program years. I suggest highly that if you haven’t already done so that you call your county FSA office to make an appointment now if you have not completed your ARC/PLC contracts.  Please make note that all farmers enrolled in the Farm Bill program must complete this enrollment process by September 30th, this includes having all signatures on the contracts back into the county office.  Payment eligibility may also need to be updated before payments that may be earned can be issued. It should be noted that these new programs, established by the 2014 Farm Bill, trigger financial protections for producers when market forces cause substantial drops in crop prices or revenues. I think that most of you will see that this will be the case for this year. For more information go to
     NAP: While we are on the subject of government programs and are coming out of a very dicey year for many of our area farmers, it may be an advantage to farmers who looked at NAP coverage to notify their county FSA office in a timely fashion if they had a crop that has failed or even if you had a loss of production. You will need to obtain a form CCC-576, “Notice of Loss”, which is used to report failed acreage and may be completed by any producer with an interest in the crop. Timely filing this report is required for all crops. Failed acreage must be reported on this CCC-576 form for losses to crops covered by the Non-Insured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP). It should be noted that losses on NAP crops must be filed within 15 days of the occurrence of the disaster or when losses become apparent. The reason for loss must be due to a weather related event. It is no secret that some individuals had storms and too much rain and others not near enough!
     Changes in Pesticide Applicator Training: As many producers know, in order to obtain a pesticide applicators license and purchase Restricted Use Pesticides (RUPs), every three years you complete a private pesticide certification program or self-study program. The EPA is stepping in again to make our lives a little more complicated. As if worry about WOTUS is not enough, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing stricter standards for people to use RUPs. Yep, that affects our local farmers and those that work for farmers. You might ask “How do these proposed rule changes impact private pesticide applicators?” It looks to me that the proposal changes age requirements and then requires that both private and commercial applicators receive Continuing Education Credit (CEUs) covering core (general standards) content. It could be as many as 6 CEUs for private applicators, 3 CEUs for each private category (new categories proposed: aerial, soil fumigation, and non-soil fumigation), and 6 CEUs for each commercial category. A CEU is considered as 50 minutes of active training time. Currently NDA does not require a specific time for training but instead requires that each competency be addressed during private and commercial recertification training. This will likely change if these rules are implemented. For more information on this topic please go to
. If you have thoughts on this, you may want to provide your feedback.  EPA is accepting comments on the proposal until November 23. To comment, please enter Docket ID: EPA-HQ-OPP-2011-0183 at
. You can make a difference!

     The preceding information comes from the research and personal observations of the writer which may or may not reflect the views of UNL or Nebraska Extension. For more further information on these or other topics contact D. A. Lienemann, Nebraska Extension Educator for

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Rusty Skarin takes plea deal after altercation with Jeff Kort

 Blue Hill resident, Rusty Skarin, 27, took a plea deal Sept. 9 in Adams County on charges connected to the stabbing of  Jeff Kort , also of Blue Hill in May.
Skarin pleaded no contest in Adams County District Court to the reduced  charge of attempted second-degree assault, rather than the previous assault charge.  Attempted second degree is a Class 4 felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Earlier he had entered the not guilty plea. 
In exchange for changing his plea, prosecutors reduced the charge to an attempt and dropped a charge of use of a deadly weapon to commit a felony, a Class 2 felony punishable by up to 50 years in prison
Adams County District Judge Terri Harder ordered a pre-sentencing investigation and set Skarin's
sentencing for Nov. 10 at 11:30 a.m.
On May 10, according to Investigators in Adams County, Rusty Skarin got into an argument with the other Blue Hill resident, Jeff Kort,  while the two were together in a truck belonging to Kort.
Jeff Kort told a sheriff’s deputy that he forced Skarin to get out of his vehicle on the way home, but changed his mind and went back a short time later. According to Kort the two resumed fighting and Skarin stabbed him.
Despite his injuries Kort was able to get back into his truck and drove himself to Hastings for medical assistance. When he arrived at the hospital he was reluctant to discuss what had happened to him with law enforcement. Later, he agreed to talk about the incident.
Skarin was then interviewed and related a similar story.
According to Skarin's account of the events Kort choked him into unconsciousness on  the road. He said later when he regained consciousness Kort choked him  a second time.
Skarin never mention any knife and refused to answer any questions about the stabbing.
Both Skarin and Kort have several previous  assault charges on their record. 
Use of a deadly weapon to commit a felony is a Class 2 felony punishable by up to 50 years in prison. Second-degree assault is a Class 3 felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a $25,000 fine.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Evan Matthew Sharp January 12, 1993 to September 11, 2015

Evan Matthew Sharp, 22, of Blue Hill, Nebraska, died at home Friday, September 11, 2015, with family by his side . Services were held  10 a.m. Tuesday September 15, 2015 at Trinity Lutheran Church in Blue Hill with the Rev. Ronald Kuehner Officiating. Burial was at Blue Hill Cemetery. .

Evan Matthew Sharp was born January 12, 1993 in Hastings, Nebraska to Jay Sharp and Vicki Kimminau Sharp. He was quickly transferred to Omaha for medical reasons.   Evan was born with numerous challenges.  His medical providers did not expect him to live long and so his parents took him home and loved him fiercely knowing their time with him was limited. He left the hospital with numerous medical challenges.  He went from one medical crisis to another. But because of the tremendous love his family provided Evan lived for 22 years.  He lived much longer than his doctors expected him to live. He lived much longer than any other person afflicted with the same challenges had lived.
 Evan had two brothers and a sister, younger than him who watched over him and loved him just as his parents did. 

Evan attended school, he was awarded a certificate with the graduating class of Blue Hill, in 2014.

Evan loved animals and they loved him.  Numerous pictures show him with various kittens and puppies..
 He had an infectious laugh or giggle and smiled often.  It was easy to see when he was pleased.  He had a beautiful smile.  His 22 years here on earth was spent teaching lessons on love, on patience, tolerance, compassion and showing us what true strength is.  His siblings were his best students.  God sent down to earth  a very special Spirit  to teach us many things.  Evan touched many people in many ways. He was a true blessing.  Memories of Evan brings joy to many hearts.

Friday September 11, 2015 Evan Sharp's time here ended and with his family all there to wish him goodbye he went home to his Father in Heaven leaving behind those who loved him.
With great love comes great pain.

Left behind to cherish his memory are his father Jay Sharp, His mother and step-father Vicki and Andy Alber, his siblings, Garrett, Chyanna and Ethan Sharp,  Step brother Tyler Schmidt, Step sister, Brianna Harvey.  Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, and friends.

A meeting was held quite far from Earth!
It's time again for another birth.
Said the angels to the LORD above,
This Special Child will need much love.

His progress may be very slow,
Accomplishments he may not show.
And he'll require extra care
From the folks he meets down there.

He may not run or laugh or play,
His thoughts may seem quite far away,
In many ways he won't adapt,
And he'll be known as handicapped.

So let's be careful where he's sent,
We want his life to be content.
 Please LORD find the parents who
Will do a special job for you

They will not realize right away
The leading roll they're asked to play,
But with this child sent from above
Comes stronger faith and richer love.

And soon they'll know the privilege given
In caring for their gift from Heaven.
Their precious child, so meek and mild.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Gen. Austin to Fischer: Only 4 or 5 Trained Rebels in Syria


Testimony at Armed Services Hearing Casts Doubt on U.S. Strategy in Fight Against ISIL in Syria

Click on the image above to see the exchange, see below for the full transcript.

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) released the following video of her exchange with the commander of U.S. Central Command Gen. Lloyd Austin III during a full committee hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee this morning. The hearing, which focused on U.S. military operations to counter ISIL, revealed an ongoing lack of progress in training Syrian rebels.
Two months ago, Defense Secretary Ash Carter reported to the committee that the Obama administration hoped to train a few thousand rebels within the year. In her questions today, Senator Fischer cited a recent report from Foreign Policy magazine of a scaled back presence in the area, which General Austin confirmed as being “a small number, and the ones that are in the fight is—we’re talking four or five.” 
Click on the video above to view the exchange as well as the full transcript below:
SEN. FISCHER: General Austin, when [Secretary] Carter was here before this committee in July, he testified that there were only about 60 Syrian fighters that had been trained in our ‘train-and-equip’ program and reinserted. We’ve heard reports about the attacks on those individuals when they were reinserted back into Syria. Can you tell us what the total number of trained fighters remains?
GEN. AUSTIN: It’s a small number, and the ones that are in the fight is — we’re talking four or five.
FISCHER: A New York Times report on September 6 indicated that among the lessons learned from that experience was that these fighters should be returned to Syria in larger numbers than the 60, obviously larger than the four or five that are there. Do you agree with that?
AUSTIN: I agree with that, Senator. Whenever that’s possible, it is in our best interest to make sure that we have an element that can protect itself and also can go in and combine efforts with other elements that are on the ground.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Start the Year Safe

U. S. Senator Deb Fischer
The school year is in full swing. Backpacks are loaded, classrooms are full, and teachers are busy planning their next lesson. Each morning, when we see the friendly and familiar yellow school bus riding through our neighborhoods, we are reminded that the next generation of leaders are headed off to gain knowledge and the tools they need for success.
This is always an exciting time for Nebraska families as they adjust back into the school year routine. Mornings start bright and early. Time needs to be set aside for homework. Dinner table conversations revolve around new friends and how school is going. It’s so important to talk to our children and stay engaged in their academic experience.
In the Senate, I serve as the chairman of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Surface Transportation. In the spirit of the new school year, I recently joined the ranking member of my subcommittee, Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey, to introduce a bipartisan resolution designating September 2015 as “School Bus Safety Month.”
Across America, nearly 480,000 school buses carry 26 million children to and from school each week. This comprises the largest mass transportation fleet in our country. Whether along farm roads in Nebraska or the turnpike in New Jersey, our school buses travel over five billion miles per school year. The bright yellow school bus symbolizes an opportunity for the future. With this resolution, we kick off another school year where our students will be challenged to work hard and seize the day on the road to the American Dream.
Before my time in the Nebraska Legislature, I served on my local school board in Valentine and as president of the Nebraska Association of School Boards. Those experiences helped shape my belief that education decisions are best made at the local level.
Parents, teachers, school boards, and communities are in the best position to know the needs of their students. For that reason, I was proud to support an education reform bill, known as the Every Child Achieves Act, which passed the Senate in July. This important legislation restores control to parents and communities so they can determine education policies to ensure every child’s academic success. It will end the Common Core mandate by letting states determine their academic standards without any interference from Washington. And ultimately, the bill replaces “one-size-fits-all” bureaucracy with real reforms that will set our students on the path to a brighter future. 
Rest assured, I will continue my efforts to make sure education decisions are made at the local level. From my family to yours, I wish you and your family a wonderful school year.
Thank you for participating in the democratic process. I look forward to visiting with you again next week.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Sasse Statement on Anniversary of September 11th Attacks

"The world watched in helpless horror but, somewhere in the Pennsylvania sky, Americans fought back."

Lincoln, NE - U.S. Senator Ben Sasse, a member of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, issued the following statement on the 14th anniversary of the September 11th attacks:
"On this anniversary, we remember the thousands of Americans who lost their lives to violent jihad. Our hearts break anew. We mourn with children who never met their fathers, spouses who said hurried goodbyes, and all who suffer wounds that time cannot heal.
"Although the remembrance of that day's events brings pain and sadness, it also lends courage and resolve. Perhaps none more so than the heroism of the passengers of Flight 93.
"The world watched in helpless horror but, somewhere in the Pennsylvania sky, Americans fought back. Determined that no more innocents would die at the hands of cowards, 33 passengers and seven crew members perished so that others might live.
"Todd Beamer, a husband and father, gave new breath to freedom's enduring cry with a simple phrase: 'Let's roll.' After Al-Qaeda turned airliners into weapons, Beamer and others made a drink cart their battering ram. While we know few details beyond the discordant sounds of a voice recorder, this much is clear: their fight to retake the cockpit saved untold numbers-perhaps the White House or Capitol.
"Fourteen years ago, America's first counterattack in the war against violent jihad was won in a field outside Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Make no mistake: that war continues today.
"May we renew our commitment to liberty and draw strength from the bravery and selflessness of Todd Beamer and his fellow passengers."

Restoring Accountability

Rep. Adrian Smith
Holding federal agencies accountable is a key responsibility of Congress. Unfortunately, the Obama administration has complicated these efforts by ignoring the Constitution’s separation of powers, bypassing the American people’s elected representatives, and taking unilateral executive action. Despite these challenges, Congress is working to restore accountability in government.
As we observe the anniversary of the September 11th and Benghazi terror attacks, we remember all of the Americans killed at the hands of those who wish to destroy our country. The House Select Committee on Benghazi continues to seek answers for the families of the four Americans killed at the U.S. consulate compound in Libya three years ago. We must keep pursuing the issues surrounding Benghazi to hold accountable those responsible for the attack.
The work of the Select Committee has led to a number of important developments, notably discovering former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had handled and stored classified information on a personal email server. The use of a private server by Secretary Clinton demonstrates avoidance of open government, data security, and records retention laws.
Additionally, Nebraskans are fed up with the lack of accountability shown by the administration in implementing the President’s health care law, especially following the collapse of Obamacare’s CoOportunity Health. With news at the end of August of a third failed Obamacare Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan (CO-OP), this time in Nevada, it is more clear than ever the President’s health care law is not working and is actually harming many Americans.
Though Congress never appropriated funds for Obamacare’s cost-sharing subsidies, the administration gave away tens of billions of taxpayer dollars. This violation of the Constitution’s checks and balances demonstrates yet again the administration’s refusal to follow the rule of law. Earlier this week, a federal judge ruled the lawsuit brought by House of Representatives challenging the administration’s spending on Obamacare can move forward. This decision is an important victory in the effort to stop Obamacare and an opportunity to hold President Obama accountable for his lengthy track record of rewriting the law and going around Congress.  
Many Nebraskans also want Planned Parenthood to be held accountable for atrocities committed against the unborn. The videos exposing Planned Parenthood’s abortion procedures and harvesting of fetal body parts are abhorrent and difficult to watch. Knowing we need all the facts in order to stop these practices, I have signed onto a letter in support of congressional investigations into Planned Parenthood’s activities. Multiple House committees are working together to hold hearings and gather the necessary information to move this effort forward.
All persons regardless of age or stage of development have a right to life, and I will continue working to end taxpayer funding of abortion. I am a cosponsor of the Defund Planned Parenthood Act and the Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act to prohibit federal funding for abortion providers. Considering there are 83 health care clinics for every Planned Parenthood in America, including 167 women’s health clinics in Nebraska compared to two Planned Parenthood locations, there is no reason we should be providing more than $500 million per year in taxpayer dollars to an organization with such objectionable and offensive practices.
Though the Obama administration has certainly made the task more challenging than ever before, Congress will continue working to restore accountability across the federal government

Governor Pete Rickets Newsletter

By Governor Pete Ricketts

As I travel the state, ag producers, manufacturers, and small business owners tell me that one of their greatest barriers to growing their operations is recruiting the right talent with the right skills.  The center-pivot industry needs irrigation technicians.  Manufacturers face a shortage of welders.  IT companies are looking for a broader pool of developers and programmers.  To address these challenges, we must always be expanding educational opportunities for young Nebraskans and exposing them to the great career possibilities available to them right here in our state. Introducing our young people to these opportunities early on can help them make Nebraska their home as they look for a place to live, work, and raise a family in the coming years.
To this end, I announced the creation of the Nebraska Developing Youth Talent Initiative (NDYTI) in my State of the State address earlier this year.  This program will foster partnerships between private industry and public schools that will connect young Nebraskans in 7th and 8th grade to careers in the manufacturing and technology sectors.  Through this initiative, the Nebraska Department of Economic Development is providing grants to two businesses per year in the upcoming school years.  A few days ago, I announced that Flowserve Corporation of Hastings and Hollman Media, LLC of Kearney received the first two grants.
Both companies are launching great programs in partnership with their local public school districts.  Flowserve Corporation is the head of a group of businesses in the Hastings area working in collaboration with Hastings Public Schools and Central Community College.  Through their partnership, they are expanding programming that will help create awareness about the kinds of jobs available in the manufacturing industry in the Hastings area and the skills necessary to take those jobs.  With the help of the NDYTI grant, they will be able to reach middle school students with curriculum that includes basic instruction in welding, construction, transportation logistics, and design and engineering.
In Kearney, Hollman Media, LLC will expose more than 1,000 students to careers in IT annually through their partnership with Kearney Public Schools.  In 6th grade, the program will allow students to use existing software to create simple programs of action.  At the 7th grade level, they will facilitate entrepreneurial problem-solving experiences through technology such as LEGO robotics and laser engravers.  By the time they reach 8th grade, students will learn basic software development using applications such as the Android App Maker.  Students can continue to pursue the interests they have developed through their middle school years in a related Kearney High School program.
Other schools are taking action, and starting their own programs to provide young Nebraskans with new opportunities and address local workforce needs.  For example, York High School, in conjunction with Reinke Manufacturing and Central Valley Ag, launched a new program that will allow students to earn an irrigation technician, agricultural chemical applicator, or diversified agriculture certificate from the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture.  All these programs are great examples of how we can help expand educational and career opportunities for the next generation of Nebraskans across our state.  Throughout my administration, I will continue to open up new opportunities for our young people.  If you have questions or ideas of your own, please contact my office at or by calling 402-471-2244.  I look forward to hearing from you.



Duane A. Lienemann
Nebraska Extension Educator

      It is a rather somber day for many. If you look at the date of this column you will note that 9-11 holds a special place in this generations memories. I don’t believe that anything else comes close to what happened 14 years ago today. I remember it well as we were in North Platte and had just witnessed the beginning of life for our third grandchild. In fact I have a picture of him being held in front of the TV with the screen showing the attack in the background. Who would have known that in just a few hours after this new life began that so many people would lose theirs over a senseless act of terrorism that resonated all across the world and continues to have huge effects on all of us? You cannot really quantify the impact on our lives including our economy, travel, security and yes, even agriculture. We shall always pay the price of this attack.
      It is so important to keep the memory of those who died on 9/11 alive and to honor them. Today we honor the victims that lost their lives, the families that are still hurting from the tragedy, and the people that came together to show their support for a country in emotional ruins. I like the motto that came out directly after the attack on the Twin Towers and I hope that it continues for decades to come. It goes “911: Never forgive, Never forget!” Unfortunately we now seem to live in a politically correct world where tragedies like this seem to be swept under the rug and ideology trumps history. Our country and our world will never be the same as it was the day my grandson was born and I fear for the world he will live in.
     Husker Harvest Days: This coming week most of the farmers and a lot of FFA members will be headed to Husker Harvest Days, which is recognized as the World’s Largest Totally Irrigated Working Farm Show and features the most extensive state-of-the-art information and technology available for today’s agricultural producers. September 15-17 is the date for this storied Farm Show. For those that don’t know it is located a few miles west of Grand Island on aptly named “Husker Highway”.  Or if you prefer you can go 1-1/2 miles north and 2 miles west of Alda. Either way the drive is well worth it. I don’t know how many people remember when it started, but I do. I can even give a bit of history on it. The Nebraska Farmer magazine, working with the Agricultural Institute of Nebraska in Grand Island, developed the Husker Harvest Days event in 1978, on 1,000 acres of former U.S. Army Ordnance land located west of Grand Island, NE. The goal for the event, from its beginning and today, is to showcase the latest products, services, information and practices in agriculture. That goal is what made this event an important part of my teaching career and even today as a county agent.
     I was a young teacher in Blue Hill when Husker Harvest Days started and remember that so many kids checked out of school to go the event with their parents and/or grandparents and soon I would be taking a bus of ag ed students on FFA Day. I so fondly remember those days with the wide-eyed kids who had never been there going "WOW!" and then scurrying off to see what they could see and grab what goodies they could get in the time they were there. I didn’t even try to catch up with them or to follow them, it would have been like herding cats. But it brings a smile to my face to bring back memories of HHD.
      I also wanted to make sure that this event was educational and that they just didn’t go for the food so I contrived a scavenger hunt each year that was required and even provided prizes for the big winners.  All the young people were winners as they got to see the newest and the best and more importantly got to network with fellow students and visit with companies and individuals that many of them one day would do business with. The trip home was fun with the kids going through their bags of goodies with pencils, pens, seed corn hats, leather gloves, milo cookies, popcorn, pine tree saplings, amongst all kinds of literature and who knows what. I always liked to go, not only to be with these young people, visit with vendors and other people in agriculture, get educational material, keep abreast with new equipment and ideas but I could once again refill my pen and pencil supply that always seemed to dwindle considerably during the school year.
     You can expect over 100,000 people to attend Husker Harvest days. Visitors have access to nearly 600 exhibitors with agriculture’s latest product introductions, meet face-to-face with company representatives and gain hands-on knowledge about the latest products and services for their farms and ranches. Each year, visitors have the opportunity to see everything, from the latest in technology to seed to crop chemicals to field demonstrations to livestock handling and equine events. Additionally, rural lifestyle, health screening services, antique farm tractors and equipment, and arts and crafts exhibits are included in the show. Husker Harvest Days was one of the first farm shows to conduct cattle handling demonstrations. It may interest you that you can actually see what is going on this year via a webcam that gives several views. You can find it at: .  HHD Android apps are available  and the Apple based apps at: . You can find both by searching for "Husker Harvest Days."
     UNL Extension has been a part of HHD for 40 years and will be there again this year. “Successfully Weathering Extremes” is the theme for our exhibits dealing largely with planning for potential weather extremes from climate change on the farm and ranch, as well as climate change-induced challenges and opportunities in our everyday lives. IANR staff will be available to answer questions on a variety of extension and research-related topics, provide copies of helpful NebGuides, and direct those needing further help to extension experts in their local area. You will have the opportunity to receive the latest information on the challenges and opportunities facing the economics of agriculture, including variability and extremes in planning successful agricultural operations. Please come see us at UNL’s Husker Red steel building at Lot 321. Go HHD!!

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

Deam Holman November 7, 1921 to September 9, 2015

Aldean HolmanAldean Holman
(November 7, 1921 - September 9, 2015)
U.S. Veteran Christian Biography of Dean K Holman
         Aldean Kenneth Holman, the son of Sofus and Thyra (Larsen) Holman, was born on November 7, 1921 in Hardy, Nebraska. He passed away on September 9, 2015 at Mary Lanning Memorial Hospital in Hastings, Nebraska at the age of 93 years, 10 months, 2 days. Dean attended the Community School near Hardy, graduating from Superior High School.
Upon graduating he attended 2 years of College. He was inducted into the United States Navy on July 25, 1942 and was discharged as an Aviation Metalsmith on October 8, 1945.
         On May 30, 1959, he was united in marriage to Shelta Woods at Ventura, California.
          Dean repaired airplanes and made parts at Northrup in Thousand Oaks, California, retiring in 1977. He also worked for Nebraska School Board for 20 years.
He was a custodian at the Blue Hill Schools. 
 His hobbies included camping, traveling, woodworking, and rebuilding old houses. He enjoyed working after his retirement at Walmart in Hastings for 10 years.
            Dean was a member of the Blue Hill VFW and fishing clubs.
           He was preceded in death by his parents, Sofus and Thyra; two sons Ronald and Michael Holman, a step-daughter Theanna Langston and one sister Shirley Goldbeck.
          Survivors include his wife Shelta of Hastings; sons Steve McKinney and wife Barbara of Prescott, Arizona and Larry Holman and wife Diane of Pine Grove, California; 9 grandchildren, 8 great grandchildren and 2 great great grandchildren; other relatives and host of friends.
Services at: Megrue-Price Funeral Home, Superior, Nebraska Time of Service: Saturday, September 12, 2015 at 10:30 am Clergy: David Johnson Burial with Full Military Honors: Spring Creek Cemetery, Ruskin, Nebraska Memorials to: Prescott Community Church, Prescott, Arizona in care of the family       

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Fischer: This Deal Should Not Be Approved

WASHINGTON – Last night, U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) spoke on the floor of the U.S. Senate during a historic debate over the nuclear deal with Iran. Click on the image below to watch the full video of her speech:
Click here or on the image above to watch Senator Fischer’s floor speech on Iran.

Below is the full transcript of Senator Fischer’s floor speech:

M. President, I rise today to discuss the recent nuclear deal with Iran.  I join my colleagues in opposition to this deal and agree with many of the arguments that have been put forward.  
Like so many Nebraskans who have contacted me to express their opposition, I have a number of concerns regarding this deal. 
One of the difficulties when it comes to explaining opposition to this deal is the sheer volume of problems with it. 
There is no simple and succinct way to package all of the deal’s weaknesses, which range from highly technical questions about access to suspicious sites, to broad overarching problems.  
Overall, I believe that, while the administration claims this deal "permanently prohibits" Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, the plain language of this agreement simply does not support that claim.  
I am very worried that inspectors do not have the access they need to verify Iran’s compliance. 
Moreover, there is no effective mechanism for punishing the low-level violations Iran is sure to attempt.  
However, even if you put aside the technical questions and assume the agreement will function exactly as intended, the fact of the matter is that all meaningful restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program expire in 15 years. 
At that point, Iran’s program is legitimized and it is free to build an industrial scale enrichment program if it chooses.  This means the one-year breakout time the administration has placed so much emphasis on, is only temporary.  
In their analysis of the agreement, the non-proliferation experts at the Institute for Science and International Security concluded that, after year 15 of the agreement [quote]: 
“Iran could have in place a nuclear infrastructure that could produce significant quantities of weapon-grade uranium rapidly and turn that material into nuclear weapons in a matter of months.”  
Some may contend that, even if it’s not the “permanent” prohibition the administration claims, it’s still better than the status quo.  Even if we’re right back where we started in 10 or 15 years, buying time isn’t a bad thing, they insist.  
But, colleagues, we won’t be right back where we started; we’ll be in a far worse position. 
Iran’s current program was built in violation of its Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) obligations and U.N. Security Council resolutions.  The illegality of its program served as the basis for international sanctions and relegated Iran to a pariah-status in the community of nations.  
Now, with this deal, Iran’s program is legitimized; it is welcomed as a member in good standing with the NPT and the sanctions regime is repealed, not temporarily waived.  
Thus, if the U.S. sought to limit Iran’s program after year 15, we would be attempting to rebuild a sanctions regime from scratch and to target a program that, under this agreement, is deemed to be acceptable.  
Supporters of this agreement – many of whom argue that the sanctions regime is already on the brink of collapse – need to ask themselves, how likely it is that sanctions could ever be imposed if Iran rapidly expands its program after year 15 of this agreement.  
I think the answer is that it will be incredibly unlikely.  Is permanently giving up our ability to sanction Iran in exchange for a temporary delay of its nuclear aspirations a fair trade?  
Of course not.  Is buying 10 or 15 years-time worth agreeing to the perpetual instability of an unrestrained nuclear Iran after that point? No. 
There are many other reasons to conclude that we will be a worse position in 15 years, despite the administration’s claims to the contrary.  
Not only will Iran’s nuclear program be able to proceed without limitations, it will be far richer with this agreement.  
There’s some debate about how much Iran will receive when the agreement comes into effect but, whether it’s $50 billion or $100 billion, there is no disagreement that Iran stands to profit massively from this deal.  
Moreover, as sanctions are repealed and trade resumes, Iran’s economy will grow, bringing further profit to the regime.  
Although the administration argues that alternative restrictions can be used to hinder Iran’s support for terrorist groups, it’s difficult to believe that relieving sanctions pressure and infusing Iran with cash will do anything other than improve the positions of Iran’s proxies and the terror groups it funds.  
The additional resources will also allow Iran to increase its military capabilities, which will be further enhanced by the negotiators’ decision to end the U.N. conventional weapons and ballistic missile technology embargoes on Iran.  
I find this decision to lift the embargoes – particularly on the transfer of ballistic missile technology to Iran – highly concerning and a compelling example of just how this deal fails to advance our interests.  
Rolling back Iran’s ballistic missile program has been a key objective of the United States for some time because, as Director of National Intelligence Clapper put it in his statement assessing worldwide threats to the Armed Services Committee this year [quote], “Tehran would choose ballistic missiles as its preferred method of delivering nuclear weapons.”   
Secretary Carter, in his confirmation hearing, built on this and unequivocally stated that Iran’s ballistic missile development was [quote] “a threat not only to the United States, but friends and allies in the region.” 
Last year, I joined a number of my colleagues in sending a letter to the president, urging him to use the negotiations process to achieve further restrictions on Iran’s ballistic missile program.  
The administration’s response to our letter stated that Iran’s ballistic missile program [quote] “will need to be addressed in the context of a comprehensive solution.”
This position was repeated by U.S. negotiators.
Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman also stated on multiple occasions that Iran’s ballistic missile program [quote] “has to be addressed as part of a comprehensive agreement.” 
The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Dempsey, weighed in at a July 7 hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee, testifying that [quote] “under no circumstances should we relieve pressure on Iran relative to ballistic missile capabilities and arms trafficking.”
Then, a week later, news reports surfaced that negotiators had agreed to an 11th hour Iranian demand that the embargos be lifted.  
Indeed, when the deal was announced, on July 14th, the president revealed that after 5 years, the conventional weapons embargo would be removed and, after 8 years, restrictions related to ballistic missile technology would also expire.  
Let me repeat that point.  Instead of exchanging sanctions relief for further limitations on Iran’s ballistic missile development – as many of us in this body had urged – U.S. negotiators agreed, at the last minute, to relax the restrictions.  
These are the weapons that our intelligence community tells us will be Iran’s preferred way to deliver a nuclear weapon and our most senior military officer testifies we should “under no circumstances” relieve pressure on.  
When the administration said Iran’s ballistic missile programs would have to be addressed, few would have guessed that this is what they meant.  
Now, Secretary Kerry has argued that this concession won’t have an impact because many other tools – such as the Missile Technology Control Regime and the Proliferation Security Initiative – are available to prevent Iran from acquiring ballistic missile technology.  
But, the U.N. restrictions were imposed in order to bolster these measures, which were on the books long before the U.N. measures were passed. Removing them will give our counter-proliferation efforts one less tool to limit Iran’s military development and, in particular, its ability to build an ICBM capable of hitting the United States.  
The administration has also argued that keeping the embargo on conventional weapons in effect for five years and eight years, with respect to ballistic missile restrictions, is a victory.  After all, they claim, Iran, Russia and China all wanted the restrictions removed immediately.  
Watering down the last-minute demands of a minority of negotiators is not a victory for the United States. 
Any attempt to argue that we were lucky to avoid complete capitulation to the demands of Iran, Russia and China admits a negotiating atmosphere so dysfunctional that no positive agreement could have emerged.
I believe the repeal of the U.N. embargoes will foster Iran’s conventional weapons and ballistic missile development.  
Thus, under this agreement, in 15 years we are likely to see an Iran that has emerged as a threshold nuclear state with an advanced enrichment program, has a more advanced conventional army, and commands a larger, better trained and better equipped proxy force. 
It may even have an ICBM with which it can threaten to retaliate against any U.S. strike.  
All of this will be achieved without violating the agreement that’s before us today, which reflects how far short it falls of advancing U.S. interests.  
Worst of all, legitimizing Iran’s nuclear program diminishes the chance that sanctions could ever be imposed on Iran in the future, and fostering its military development undermines the threat of force, should Iran ever attempt to develop a nuclear weapon. 
M. President, I believe that this vote will be one of the most important I make as a U.S. Senator and is worthy of robust debate.  
I am disappointed that more of my colleagues, in particular those on the other side of the aisle have not come down to share their position.  
Their silence has been deafening. 
As I have looked around this chamber today, I have been wondering, where are the supporters of this agreement?  
Why are they not on the floor to defend the substance of this deal?  
Forget the politics; forget the false choices, the straw men, and the bluster. We should be here to debate substance.
M. President, in conclusion, I cannot support an agreement that attempts to trade inadequate short term limits for dangerous long term concessions.  
Nebraskans and all American families are depending on us to ensure that our nation’s security is protected. This deal should not be approved. I yield the floor.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

August in Nebraska

U. S. Senator Deb Fischer
 August, I spent four productive weeks working back home in Nebraska. From Omaha to Scottsbluff, I logged over 2,400 miles traveling across our beautiful state. Our wonderful people and communities show why we call this the good life. It is truly a privilege to listen to you and hear what’s on your minds.
One of the most rewarding parts of my job is being able to thank our men and women in uniform for their brave service to our country. At a special ceremony in Elkhorn last month, I was honored to welcome home Army Reserve soldiers. I also hosted a roundtable discussion in Omaha with veterans of the War on Terror and Operation Iraqi Freedom. Their stories and the challenges they face reinforce my commitment to their legacy and our duty as a nation to provide them with the best care when they return home.
Transportation fuels Nebraska’s economy. But in order to support our economy, we need to ensure that our infrastructure is up-to-date. For that reason, I was proud to welcome U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx to Lincoln on August 12. Together, we held a roundtable discussion with Nebraska transportation stakeholders and held a site visit at the Diverging Diamond Interchange Highway project. This was a great opportunity to present our shared commitment to long-term infrastructure policy and funding. Throughout the month, I hosted many events with representatives from the small business community, city administrators, economic development leaders, medical professionals, and members of the agriculture community.
Nebraska is strong because our citizens are engaged and informed. During August, I hosted over a dozen listening sessions. One issue stood out at nearly every event along this journey: Nebraskans are frustrated with the EPA’s attack on our energy and water resources.
I’m working hard to address this federal overreach by fighting each one of the administration’s heavy-handed regulations. From the “waters of the United States” rule and the war on coal, to a proposed rule to lower the ozone standard, these punishing regulations will increase costs, hurt businesses, and harm Nebraska families. The EPA needs to hear common sense from Nebraska. To aid in this effort, I hosted a field hearing of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee in Columbus on September 1. At this hearing on the EPA’s ozone rule, Nebraska stakeholders went on record to voice their concerns and show how these regulations will hurt families, raise costs, and empower the federal government.
My most important duty in the Senate is providing for our national security and protecting our nation from threats. On the proposed nuclear deal with Iran, your voices were overwhelmingly aligned and candid. I share your concerns. This deal does not benefit our country, and it will make the world a more dangerous place. While I don’t believe we have the votes in Congress to stop the deal, I will remain a vocal opponent of this agreement and work to ensure that our top priority is the security of our nation. 
As I return to work in the Senate, I bring with me renewed dedication to making our country better for future generations. From Scotts Bluff Monument to Arbor Lodge State Historical Park, the unique beauty of our state shines brightly. Our state is a treasure, and our people make us proud. I will continue to work hard and serve the people of Nebraska. Your voice will guide my work and remain my most important source of information.
Thank you for participating in the democratic process. I look forward to visiting with you again next week.

Friday, September 4, 2015


Duane A. Lienemann
Nebraska Extension Educator
        It is September! Can you believe that? Where did this year go? Labor Day weekend is upon us and the Nebraska State Fair is in full swing. To many, including me, it brings a favorite time of year to mind.  It is football season with the nights and even the days getting cooler. I will have to admit that sitting at the State Fair it doesn’t feel much cooler, but you know it is just around the corner.  This time of year also brings us the sounds of the cicadas singing, which is also a well-known harbinger of the upcoming frosts that will be obviously coming our way.  If you haven’t noticed our crops are starting to show the end of their season. Some of course are showing it earlier than we like because of the lack of moisture this last month, but many fields are starting to turn and it won’t be long and we will be seeing the combines entering the fields and the grain trucks traversing the roads. It won’t be long now and probably sooner than what we think.
     The potentially early harvest in many cases will be good news for many of our cattle producers as there is no secret that we are fast running out of grass. Those harvested fields will look awfully good to those cows and to the producers who will need that residue grazing to stretch their feeds to what could shape up to be a cold, snowy winter if El Nino does indeed kick in. If we don’t get some moisture soon we will need to be considering a lot of things like supplementing the pastures, pulling cattle out of pastures into sacrifice areas or feedlots.  I suggest we look at early weaning to take some pressure off these pastures and for sure take a real hard look at the grass to make sure we don’t damage the crowns and leave enough leaves to get the grass through winter and a good start for next grazing season. 
     In my opinion, we really never got out of drought conditions. The subsoil moisture is gone and we have been living on borrowed time and a couple of timely rains. That lifeline unfortunately has ran out for many livestock producers in south central Nebraska and alternative practices may have to be looked at very seriously. I know this certainly sounds like a broken record, but it is what it is. We have not had “normal” weather for quite some time and we should be used by now to having to make some decisions as to pulling cattle, culling cattle, early weaning, supplementing and much more progressive management of our pastures, which will mean more work and time involved. One thing is for sure, we will all have to be even better managers of our resources by taking a complete inventory of where we are, what we have and what we can do!
     This will be a busy couple of weeks for many folks and I am one of them. I have the pleasure of attending the 6th Nebraska State Fair to be held in Grand Island. The open class shows are now complete and we the 4-H and FFA youth exhibitors are starting to come in. Tomorrow will be a big day as hundreds of youth and thousands of beef, sheep, goats, swine and rabbits will be descending on Fonner Park and the Nebraska State Fair to compete for ribbons, championships, premiums, cash awards and of course the ever illusive Grand Champion trophy and the chance to be a part of the Parade of Champions. That means that there will be a lot of support for these young people with moms and dads, grandpas and grandmas and a contingency of supporters from their home communities. It becomes a large family affair.
     I just got done watching the Supreme Breeding Beef competition with the champion breeding females and males in each breed paraded in front of two beef judges from Illinois and a third guest judge being Governor Ricketts. I have to tell you that we have some tremendous beef genetics in this state and we should be proud of that. Every producer has their likes and dislikes. That is why there are so many different breeds.  Each breed brings with it its own traits, style and qualities that make it appealing to their perspective owners.  It never ceases to amaze me on the quality and quantity of high quality animals that are brought to the fair and of course presented to individuals to purchase to improve their own herds. I am proud to sport my “Nebraska the Beef State” license plates as I firmly believe we really are the Beef State!  
     For those of you that haven’t walked the Midway, it is unbelievable the many things that you have to choose from to watch, see, experience and yes – even to eat. I didn’t know you could put so many different things on a stick, deep fat fry, embellish a hamburger or shredded brisket--- or create in such a way that it temps the culinary desires that all of us have in some way or form. I am usually a little more reserved about what passes my palate, but oh the smells and wonder each plate or food art piece on a stick that you see everywhere about you, all giving you the incentive to sample - if not to devour. All of us have our favorites. I would love to hear from any of you what your favorite food is at the fair. Please drop a line to  and I will give the results in next week’s column. I think I will likely try the Kettle Korn tomorrow!
     When the dust clears, the trailers are on their ways home, all the livestock loaded on the trucks for slaughter and the static exhibits picked up and ready to go home - it will all start again. These families, farms, adult and youth exhibitors will display their prizes, lick their wounds, talk about what they learned or what the judges saw or didn’t see and then rest. Many probably will say they are tired and this was too hot, too long, too expensive and too tiring and maybe it is time to hang up the halters. But I will guarantee that most of them will be soon heading for Ak Sar Ben and/or start looking again for that unique heifer or steer and eventually hog or sheep to start getting ready for next season. I understand that regimen and have myself done the same thing. It is hard to explain, perhaps a little hard to understand, but it is what we “barn rats” must do. It is on the level of Cornhusker Football. You can discuss it, cuss it, despair over it and then next year be ready to go again. Same exact thing in my books. Oh that is right! We also have football season ahead of us…. Go Big Red!!

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