Saturday, April 30, 2016

Christina "Tina" Mohlman

Christina Mohlman
Christina L. (Jones) Mohlman, 95, of Blue Hill, Nebraska, died Tuesday, April 26, 2016, at Mary Lanning Healthcare, Hastings, Nebraska. Services are 10 a.m. Saturday, April 30, 2016 at St. Paul Lutheran Church, Blue Hill, Nebraska, with Pastor John Dinkins officiating. Burial will be at the Blue Hill Cemetery. Visitation will be Friday, April 29, 2016, from 9 a.m.-8 p.m. at Merten-Butler Mortuary in Blue Hill and one hour prior to services at the church.
 Memorials are suggested to the church. 
Merten-Butler Mortuary is in charge of arrangements.

Friday, April 29, 2016


Duane A. Lienemann
Nebraska Extension Educator

      As I write this week’s edition it is Arbor Day. It probably behooves me to dedicate this week’s discussion to this effort in environmental stewardship that originated right here in Nebraska. For you that don’t know, in 1872, J. Sterling Morton proposed to the Nebraska Board of Agriculture that a special day be set aside for the planting of trees and this holiday, called Arbor Day, was first observed with the planting of more than a million trees in Nebraska. Arbor Day is now observed throughout the nation and the world. You can be proud that Nebraska has led the world in recognizing the power of the tree. It has been said that wherever they are planted, trees are a source of joy and spiritual renewal. I cannot argue that, and in fact it does come to mind the poem that many of us had to learn as young school children – “Trees” by Joyce Kilmer.
     Let’s see if I can still recite that poem from the memory of so long ago at the Ash Grove District 22 School that served our family and neighbors so well. Here we go:  “I think that I shall never see; A poem lovely as a tree. A tree whose hungry mouth is prest; against the earth’s sweet flowing breast. A tree that looks at God all day; and lifts her leafy arms to pray. A tree that may in summer wear; a nest of robins in her hair. Upon whose bosom snow has lain; who intimately lives with rain. Poems are made by fools like me; but only God can make a tree.”  How did I do?  I am betting you were saying it too.
     What is poignant is that that poem still holds true through today. You don’t have to be a tree-hugger to appreciate trees or to celebrate Arbor Day or for that matter all year round. I personally hate to see all the trees that have been torn out over the years. It saddens me to see great windbreaks that have been dozed out for just a couple more acres of farm land. I remember both of my grandfathers, telling me why they were planted and I can just imagine how they would look on this, much like they would the removal of grassed waterways, terraces and of course all the grassland that has been converted to farm land. I hope we don’t rue the day that we did this. Not only did these trees break the wind for wind erosion, provided shelter for wildlife and cattle in pastures and fields during the winter months and shade during the summer months they accomplished much more. I found some more interesting facts that I will share in the rest of this article.
     Excess carbon dioxide (CO2) caused by many factors is a building up in our atmosphere and contributing to climate change that many believe is occurring. Trees absorb CO2, removing and storing the carbon while releasing the oxygen back into the air. In one year, an acre of mature trees absorbs the amount of CO2 produced when you drive your car 26,000 miles. Furthermore, trees absorb odors and pollutant gases (nitrogen oxides, ammonia, sulfur dioxide and ozone) and filter particulates out of the air by trapping them on their leaves and bark. In one year an acre of mature trees can provide enough oxygen for 18 people. You might think that those are the only things that trees provide. Believe me there is much more.
     Trees cool their surroundings by up to 10°F, by shading our homes and streets, breaking up urban “heat islands” and releasing water vapor into the air through their leaves. Three trees placed strategically around a single-family home can cut summer air conditioning needs by up to 50 percent. By reducing the energy demand for cooling our houses, we reduce carbon dioxide and other pollution emissions from power plants. Shade from trees slows water evaporation from thirsty lawns. Most newly planted trees need only fifteen gallons of water a week. As trees transpire, they increase atmospheric moisture.
     Trees reduce runoff by breaking rainfall thus allowing the water to flow down the trunk and into the earth below the tree. This prevents storm water from carrying pollutants to the streams, rivers and lakes. When mulched, trees act like a sponge that filters this water naturally and uses it to recharge groundwater supplies. We must not forget that trees help prevent soil erosion from both wind and rain. On hillsides or stream slopes, trees slow runoff and hold soil in place. 
     Don’t forget that trees provide food! An apple tree can yield up to 15-20 bushels of fruit per year and can be planted on the tiniest urban lot. Aside from fruit for humans, trees provide food for birds and wildlife. When you think of it, these trees create economic opportunities. Fruit harvested from community orchards can be sold, thus providing income. Small business opportunities in green waste management and landscaping arise when cities value mulching and its water-saving qualities. Vocational training for youth interested in green jobs is also a great way to develop economic opportunities from trees. 
     Trees block things. They can mask concrete walls, parking lots, and unsightly views. They go a long ways in muffling sounds and even smells from nearby streets, farms, feedlots, equipment and even school yards, and creates an eye-soothing canopy of green. Trees absorb dust and wind and reduce glare. Not only that, trees provide wood. Trees can be selectively harvested for fuel and craft wood. Important for landowners, trees increase property values. The beauty of a well-planted property and its surrounding street and neighborhood can raise property values by as much as 15 percent. What is important to many of us is that trees mark the seasons. Is it winter, spring, summer or fall? Just look at the tree!
     I urge all citizens to go past the celebration of Arbor Day and to support efforts to protect our trees and woodlands and to plant trees to gladden the heart and promote the well-being of this and future generations. It does a soul good to plant and cultivate a tree and even more so – several trees. I believe that it was Lucy Larcom who said: “He who plants a tree plants hope.”  In regards to what is happening all around us in today’s world we should take to heart the words of the immortal Ralph Waldo Emerson who said:  “In the woods we return to reason and faith.”  Nothing so soothing, as sitting under a tree!     

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: or on the web at: 

Friday, April 22, 2016

Competing in the Global Economy

Rep. Adrian Smith
      Producers throughout the Third District stress to me how crucial trade is to their economic success. Not only do trade agreements and memberships in international trade organizations open new markets for Nebraska products, but they can also level the playing field for producers, manufacturers, and consumers by ensuring everyone abides by the same set of rules.
A great achievement happened just this month when China dropped some of its export subsidies following a dispute brought by the U.S. to the World Trade Organization. This is a vital step in bringing relief to U.S. industries forced to compete with artificially low-cost Chinese products. The ruling by the World Trade Organization demonstrates our ability to hold our trading partners accountable while increasing market access for U.S. products.
In the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade, we unanimously passed a bill this week called the American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act. I am a cosponsor of this legislation to reform the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill, or MTB, process.
The MTB temporarily suspends tariffs on imported goods needed by U.S. manufacturers for which there is no domestic production, reducing their import costs and helping them compete globally. Since 2012, when the last MTB package expired, U.S. companies have been forced to shoulder an annual $748 million tax increase. According to the National Association of Manufacturers, this costs our economy nearly $2 billion annually.
Approximately 50 percent of the last MTB package was targeted toward agriculture products, increasing its importance to the Third District – the top agriculture district in the country. By passing a new MTB, we can help producers throughout the supply chain lower their costs, increase production, and create more jobs.
Trade agreements currently being considered by the U.S. also have the potential to break down barriers for Nebraska exporters. Negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) among the U.S. and 11 other countries on the Pacific Rim have concluded, and the agreement is now being reviewed. In Nebraska, 109,000 jobs depend on trade with these countries.
Through my role on the Ways and Means Committee, I am helping to vet TPP while gathering feedback from Nebraska producers and consumers. So far, I am encouraged by the broad support for the agreement throughout the agriculture sector. I am closely monitoring newly proposed domestic support programs for pork and beef in Japan, one of the world’s largest economies, to ensure barriers to Nebraska products would indeed be lowered under TPP.
We have the opportunity to engage in extensive review of TPP and other agreements because Congress passed the Trade Priorities and Accountability Act (TPA) last year, which established a process for scrutiny and congressional oversight. With TPA in place, President Obama cannot simply bypass Congress and the American people and sign TPP into effect. I have consistently supported efforts to achieve the best possible TPP for Nebraska producers and consumers, and I will continue to diligently examine the details of the agreement.
Meanwhile, the U.S. and the European Union are in the process of negotiating the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, another trade agreement which provides additional opportunities to combat unscientific efforts which attempt to keep modern agriculture products out of the marketplace.
To maintain U.S. leadership in the global economy, we must be involved in writing the rules rather than leaving this responsibility to China and other growing world powers. I will continue working to ensure Nebraska and our country gets the best possible agreements to help our exporters compete in more markets and drive economic growth.


Duane A. lienemann
Nebraska Extension Educator

     I have been asked if we had a million dollar rain. The short answer is “Heck Yeah!” I can tell you this, this rain probably saved at least a million dollars in our area in pasture and wheat and for the future crops that have yet to be planted. Just the few days before the rain I was out checking pastures and wheat fields and was dismayed at what I saw. The grass and wheat both had gone backwards from where it was two weeks previously. They both had a blue look to them and dryness was evident wherever I looked. You could once again row the wheat fields and that is not a good thing for this time of year. Now comes the big – however! I have said time and time again that wheat has fooled me way too many times as it does seem to have 9 lives. I hope this is the case this time as well. I would have ventured a guess that we had some damaged growing points and we still may have, but what a difference a week can make. These fields don’t even look the same.
     I was actually checking for any signs of disease or rust and believe it or not, I did not find anything other than some frost damage on some bottom leaves and of course the shriveled and dry look of plants that desperately needed water. That being said however, we must now be sure to check our wheat fields for fungus, powdery mildew and disease with this moisture. My guess is that we had some fields that have it, but it was held in check by the dry weather and dry conditions in the fields. The incessant winds of course help with this natural anti-fungus remedy – which is also an anti-yield conundrum. 
     When you go out and check, you might pay particular attention to the potential for striped rust, and aphids which can carry barley yellow dwarf virus to the healthy wheat plants. If you see stripe rust in your field and favorable weather conditions (moisture, wind, and cool to moderate temperatures) are forecast, consider applying a fungicide to protect the wheat crop. The recommended timing is at 50% to 100% flag leaf emergence.  However, if the risk of stripe rust development and spread is high, an earlier application at the jointing growth stage may be warranted.  Consider the yield potential, resistance level of the wheat variety planted, and the price of wheat when making the decision to spray. According to Dr. Stephen Wegulo, Nebraska Extension Plant Pathologist, you want to keep in mind that stripe rust can form new races that can overcome the resistance in varieties rated as resistant, and resistance can be overwhelmed if disease pressure is high. Therefore, even if you have planted a resistant variety, consider a fungicide application as a second line of defense.  Fungicides that are effective in controlling rust diseases. You can find a list of potential fungicides by searching for North Central Regional Committee on Management of Small Grain Diseases (NCERA-184). If you prefer, we have copies of the document in our office.
     Let’s take a look at the aphids. Aphids are being found in several Nebraska wheat fields. I had not found any as of about Wednesday of this past week, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t around. Regular scouting of wheat for aphids while checking for disease is important because numbers can increase rapidly.  There are several types of aphids in wheat which may be found in Nebraska. The identification of the pests is key because the damage potential varies among species.  If you find aphids and want to know more about what you have I suggest going to NebGuide G1284 - “Cereal Aphids” for more information. Once again you can do a search or call our office and we have copies of this publication as well.
      As I mentioned earlier, Aphids can transmit barley yellow dwarf virus to wheat. So we must act quickly if you find aphids. The most common vectors of the barley yellow dwarf virus (BYD) include the (a) English grain aphid, (b) oat bird-cherry aphid, (c) greenbug, and (d) corn leaf aphid. You can’t fix BYD but you can at least help keep the wheat plants from getting infected. Once again, barley yellow dwarf cannot be controlled once it occurs, but controlling aphids can reduce infections.  It is recommended that aphids be controlled based on actual aphid damage (rather than the potential for transmitting barley yellow dwarf. This is because aphids that fly into the field after an insecticide spray can still transmit the virus. Symptoms of barley yellow dwarf include yellowing or purpling of flag leaves from the tip to the bottom and from the edges to the midrib which can significantly reduce yield. As if we don’t have enough problems!
     Earth Day: As I write this column it is actually Earth Day 2016 (April 22). This event is now entering the 46th year of a movement that created to inspire, challenge ideas, ignite passion, and motivate people to action. According to the Earth Day website:, in 1970 (a little after the hippy movement) the first Earth Day was used to give voice to an emerging consciousness, channeling human energy toward environmental issues. While I have no problem with environmental stewardship, or for that matter any attempt to help our ecosystem, I just hope that like so many other things over the past decade that today’s Earth Day has not been utilized for the purpose of an ideology. Why would I say that? 
     In all the years I have been watching, I have come to the conclusion that Earth Day has been hijacked by extreme climate change alarmists. The specter of “global cooling” at first, then later - “global warming”, and now - “man-made global climate change” has overshadowed all other environmental goals, as alarmists issue dire warnings about catastrophic climate change and push for stringent regulations and taxes on carbon. The myopic emphasis on an ideology blinds environmental activists to serious environmental problems and solutions that may not even involve climate. Yet Earth Day, all across the nation, should introduce citizens to earth’s diversity, highlighting both its destruction and beauty, its problems and solutions. Focusing solely on any one issue masks the wondrous variety that the earth has to offer. Despite the gloom and doom, virtually none of the projections of the original Earth Day from 46 years ago came to pass, but it is good that we celebrate “Pachamama!”  

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: or on the web at: 

Friday, April 15, 2016

Young Nebraskans Serving Community and Country

Rep. Adrian Smith
Spring is the high season for school group visits to the nation’s capital. Over the past few days, I had the opportunity to welcome students from Aurora, Boone Central, Clearwater-Orchard, and Wood River schools to Washington, D.C.  
As I talk with these young Nebraskans about the issues we are working on in the U.S. House, I deeply appreciate their thoughtful questions, feedback, and ideas. One of my priorities as a Member of Congress is helping more young people get involved in serving their communities and country.
Each year, I have the privilege of nominating a select group of young Nebraskans to attend the U.S. Service Academies, including the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York; the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland; the U.S. Air Force Academy at Colorado Springs, Colorado; and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, New York. These esteemed institutions equip the next generation of military leaders while also preparing them to succeed in public or private careers.
On Saturday, April 30, 2016, I will host my annual Academy Day in conjunction with the offices of U.S. Senators Deb Fischer and Ben Sasse. The event will take place at the Kearney Public Library, located at 2020 1st Avenue in Kearney, from 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Academy Day provides information to help Third District students and their families determine whether an education at a U.S. Service Academy is the right choice for them. Academy representatives will discuss the application process, academy life, and benefits of enrolling.
To be considered for nomination, students must submit a completed Academy Packet to my Grand Island office with a postmark date no later than September 30, 2016. Students will be asked to provide details about their academic records and extracurricular activities as well as letters of recommendation. More information on Academy Packets can be found on my website at or by calling my Grand Island office at 308-384-3900.
Students who submit their completed packets by the deadline will be invited to interview with my Academy Advisory Council in late fall 2016. Once interviews have concluded, I will nominate a select few applicants for admission. The final decision to admit a nominee belongs to the Service Academies, but it is an honor to lend my support to the young men and women in Nebraska who are willing to answer the call of duty.
At the end of March, I had the opportunity to meet with members of my Youth Advisory Council in the Third District and discuss issues ranging from the federal budget to energy innovation to the rising cost of higher education. It is refreshing to hear directly from the next generation of leaders and talk about real solutions to better serve Nebraskans.
My office has begun accepting applications for the 2016-2017 Youth Advisory Council. Any rising high school juniors and seniors from the Third District interested in sharing their thoughts and concerns with me at meetings throughout the school year can visit my website and download an application form. I also encourage high school teachers and administrators to share this information with interested students. For questions about the Youth Advisory Council, please contact my Washington, D.C. office at 202-225-6435.
The future of our country depends on the development of young leaders. Whether young Nebraskans are interested in military, government, or community service, I am eager to help them get involved and reach their goals.


Duane A. Lienemann
Nebraska Extension Educator
      I have this week heard a familiar question. “What in the world is that ugly short plant with the purple flower”?  I have had that question brought to me several times over the last several years and it is not just homeowners with lawns that seem to be thick with that particular weed, but farmers also, who are finding it in cropland, pastures and cattle lots. I had a question this week about if it was poisonous to livestock, so I figured maybe we needed to address this issue and at the same time how to control this troublesome plant.  This weed is called “Henbit.” Let’s take a little closer look at it in this week’s edition.
     Henbit: (Lamium amplexicaule) This member of the mint family (lamiaceae) is a winter annual with upright, square stems and pink-purple flowers. What makes this weed a “Winter Annual” is that it germinates in the fall, overwinters as a green plant, begins growing again in early spring, then completes their life cycle and go to seed in the spring or early summer. Henbit’s early establishment allows it to interfere with desirable plant growth. It is also thought to possess chemical qualities that inhibit the growth of some other plants. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by bees. The plant is also self-fertile. As an annual, henbit reproduces solely by seed, and each henbit plant is able to produce 2,000 or more seeds. Henbit also spreads by producing roots on lower stems that touch the ground. Henbit is sometimes called red henbit, purple deadnettle, or red deadnettle but is probably more properly just called “henbit”.
     Normally it is more common to find this weed in lawns but this year we are seeing a lot of it in croplands, overgrazed pastures and cattle lots. I have actually seen a lot of this weed in wheat fields this year. Livestock usually avoid grazing certain plants because of taste, smell, or toxicity. Remember that henbit is a member of the mint family. Apparently the poisonous nature of henbit is minimal since no cases of poisoning have been confirmed in the US. Cattle may graze weeds including henbit and in fact during late winter and spring, palatable winter weeds such as henbit and chickweed can provide high quality grazing on dormant grasses and in fact will have between 15-20% protein. A little henbit will usually not cause any problems. The best policy is of course is to use caution, especially in heavily infested areas. I mention that because of the fact that we are seeing this weed in pastures, this year too. As for toxicity, we’re primarily safe. But that being said, it has been considered a causative for “staggers” in sheep, horses, and cattle in Australia. Sheep particularly in Australia have been reported to exhibit hunched back, stiff back legs, tremors or shivering, and in rare cases may die if driven. 
     Henbit Control In Cropland and Pastures: By now the majority of henbit and purple deadnettle plants have bloomed or matured, consequently, there is probably very little to gain economically by spraying these with a post-emergence herbicide. Cultivation however will take care of these plants. Mature plants will eventually die back as temperatures become warmer. There is of course the thought of thousands of seeds that will be in the same spot in coming years. “Valor” may be used in a spring burn-down program with Roundup for burn-down control of henbit and chickweeds and residual control of waterhemp, common lambsquarters and black nightshade. Warning: It must be used 30 days before planting corn, so we are probably past the window of opportunity.  It also may be used for pre-emergence and contact activity in soybeans. Now in pastures, a newer product from Dupont works well. “Cimarron” not only will get the Henbit but a lot of other weeds in pastures including musk thistle, common mullein, prostrate spurge and even marestail. 
     Henbit in Yards and Gardens: Henbit, is often confused with creeping charlie, Glechoma hederacea. Both have square stems and are in the mint family. Both have lavender to blue tubular flowers, however henbit flowers tend to be more on the purple/lavender range and are clustered at stem tips with clasping leaves below the flower cluster. Henbit can be highly competitive in newly seeded areas and thin or dormant turf. Henbit thrives in cool, moist areas. Growing conditions can be made less favorable by lightening the soil or otherwise improving drainage, especially in shady areas. Heavy, constant shade should be lightened as well where possible. Shady areas should be planted with turfgrass species which do well in the shade and which will provide maximum competition to weed species that invade these areas. Propagation of henbit is through seed. If it is already present in your landscape, you may prevent its spread by removal of the plant before it flowers and seeds.  Roots are fibrous, so it is easy to pull small plants up by hand or hand-hoe. If you hoe, be sure to dig at least 3 – 6 inches deep to remove the whole plant and its taproot. Maintaining a regular mowing schedule will also reduce plant populations. 
      Chemical Control of Henbit in Lawns: There are several effective chemical applications available to the homeowner for control of Henbit. The use of pre-emergent herbicides at the right time of year may help with control of this weed. Use a selective post-emergent herbicide taking care to follow spray intervals if treating newly seeded areas. Optimum control will be obtained when henbit is actively growing and in the seedling to flower stage of growth.  It is not easy to control this time of year.  The best time for control is in the fall, but we do need to control it now.  There are a couple of sprays that work.  The most commonly used and probably effective chemical is Trimec.  It can be put on your lawns to control henbit, chickweek, and clovers not to mention the easier killed weeds like dandelions. For the more adventuresome, you can mix your own spray.  One of the common remedies is 8 parts of 2,4-D mixed with 1 part of Dicamba based herbicide (ie. Banvel. Clarity, or Sterling. Be sure to be careful of flowers and bushes that you want to keep as you could have some drift damage. You may have to apply a couple of times, about 2 weeks apart for best control. If you want to stop the seeds, you need to spray now!

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: or on the web at: 

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Corn Board Acknowledges Lienemann

For 25 years, the Nebraska Corn Board has acknowledged outstanding representatives in the livestock, ethanol and agribusiness industries, as well as awarding an organization in the media. The Corn Board presented its annual awards to five exceptional individuals and organizations during its Cooperator and Awards Dinner in Lincoln last week. 

One of those individuals is Duane (Dewey) Lienemann from Blue Hill. He was joined by Don Hutchens, past Executive Director of the Corn Board, who received the Ag Achievement Award; Kum & Go who received the Ethanol Industry Appreciation Award for their efforts in promoting E-85; KOLN/KGIN TV’s daily show, “Pure Nebraska” earned the Media Appreciation Award; and Cargill who was presented with the Agribusiness Appreciation Award as a special recognition of their generous contribution to Raising Nebraska—the award-winning ag literacy experience on the Nebraska State Fairgrounds in Grand Island.  

Lienemann was presented the Nebraska Corn Board Livestock Industry Appreciation Award. He is the Nebraska Extension Educator in Webster County, whose focus is primarily on beef systems. Lienemann was selected for this award based upon his outstanding 45 years of focused commitment to Nebraska agriculture education and his continued enthusiasm to share his wisdom about the beef industry with young agricultural leaders in 4-H and FFA.

“Dewey has always had a wonderful ability to share the story of agriculture with youth,” said John Greer, farmer from Edgar, Nebraska and director on the Nebraska Corn Board. “Over the years as an FFA advisor and extension educator, he has helped students and community members not only understand, but appreciate the value of the livestock industry in Nebraska. He was very deserving of this award.” 

The Nebraska Corn Board is a self-help program, funded and managed by Nebraska corn farmers. Producers invest in the program at a rate of 1/2 of a cent per bushel of corn sold. Nebraska corn checkoff funds are invested in programs of market development, research, promotion and education.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Blue Hill School goes into Lockdown as Authorities Process Shooting Threats.

  "This was a strange and unnerving experience for everyone"  Superintendent Joel  Ruybalid
Michael D. Head, a 47-year-old resident of  Blue Hill.  was arrested by Webster County Sheriff's department officers Monday after allegedly having threatened to shoot children at the school.  He had also threatened harm to Blue Hill city council members because his dogs had been killed.
According to the arrest affidavit, Michael D. Head was in the Blue Hill Tavern on Friday evening  ranting about city officials. He was upset saying that he felt that city officials were involved in the death of three of his dogs.  Witnesses overheard his comments and reported the incident to local authorities.
City official had in 2012 declared Head's dogs to be dangerous.  An inspection warrant was obtained to remove three dogs from Head's residence on Ash street in Blue Hill.
Witnesses who were at the Blue Hill Tavern Friday evening told Webster County Sherriff's authorities that Head said, “And if they think they are going to do anything to this dog I have now, I’m going to the next city council meeting and starting to shoot them all. Then, I’m going to work my way to the school.”
Head is alleged to have said he was going to show people what mass murder looked like by going to the school.  He said he intended to start with the youngest class and work his way up in grades. Head  said he had two pistols and an assault rifle to carry out his threat, according to witnesses.
Head accused children of lying about being bitten by his dogs because he said his dogs would never hurt kids.  That he said was his reason for intending to go to the school to shoot children.
Head was asked to leave the bar, but returned about 45 minutes later only to be turned away. Head was reported to have threatened to fight and to kill a bar patron with whom he had been discussing his plans.
Early Saturday morning this incident was reported to the Webster County Sheriff’s Department.  Sunday Webster Co. authorities took four calls from concerned Blue Hill citizens about Head walking around town with his daughter writing in a note pad at the addresses of city council members while consuming alcohol.
These activities were considered suspicious considering the events Friday in the tavern. These incidents combined to cause concern among many citizens which led to the Blue Hill Community Schools being  locked down for about three hours Monday morning.   Parents of some Blue Hill students gathered around the school Monday morning out of concern for students safety.
Superintendent Joél Ruybalid issued a statement to patrons Monday.  He tried to explain that students of the school weren’t in imminent danger. A precautionary lockdown was used to err on the side of caution.
Head was arrested about 10:40 a.m. Monday morning. 
Webster County Sheriff Troy Schmitz, posted a statement on the Webster Co. Sherriff's facebook page.  The post indicated that an arrest warrant was issued about 10:15 a.m.  Head was found walking down the street with his hands in his pockets. He was arrested without incident.  He is being held on a $500,000 bond with 10 percent cash needed for his release.
Head is being held on one charge of making  terroristic threats.
Terroristic threats is a Class 3A felony punishable by up to three years imprisonment and a $10,000 fine.
Click on this link to read the letter to Patrons issues Monday 4/11/16 from the school superintendent about Monday's incident.
This statement was issued by the Webster County Sheriff's Department on their facebook page Monday.

The Webster County Sheriff's Department investigated some threats that were made over the weekend. This morning the Blue Hill Community Schools were placed in lock down as a safety precaution. The students were at no time in danger this morning, again the school did this as a safety precaution. At approximately 1015 this morning an arrest warrant was issued for a male in his late forties for Terroristic Threats, (Class 3A Felony) in connection with the investigation. This man was taken into custody by the Webster County Sheriff at approximately 1040. The male was walking down the street with his hands in his pockets. He complied with all orders given by the Sheriff and he was placed in handcuffs without incident. He is being held in the Webster County Jail on a 500,000.00 Ten Percent Bond.
We want to thank the Blue Hill School Administrators, staff and community members for helping the Sheriff's Department in keeping our community safe! Sheriff Troy R. Schmitz

Below is a letter to school district patrons from the school superintendent about Monday’s incident and the decisions behind a precautionary lock down and the release of information:
The school received a report from the Webster County Sheriff’s Department of verbal threats made against Blue Hill Community Schools. The decision was made to go into a precautionary Lockdown for today’s school day (4/11/16). From what we knew and understood at the time, students were not in imminent danger and there was no immediate threat to their safety. We do, however, always want to error on the side of caution by being mindful of the best available and most accurate information.
By having the Lockdown procedure in place, we were very confident in the teacher and staff’s ability to keep students safe. The idea of Lockdown is to follow the best practices for a possible intruder as described by the National School Safety Center. This includes having students in school and not out and about roaming the community when a suspect is in the community. Our Critical Incident (CIT) Committee has received training and all Lockdown procedures were reviewed with staff prior to the start of the day. Our intention was to stay in Lockdown until we were contacted about a change in status from the Sheriff’s Department. In this incidence, there were two Sheriff’s Deputies and later on State Patrol in town. After receiving the word that the suspect that made the threats of violence towards the school was arrested, the Lockdown was lifted.
I know some parents were upset about not being notified of the Lockdown prior to its happening. The school was informed that there was not an immediate threat. Doing so would have compromised the effectiveness of the procedure of law enforcement. The school did not want to put information out that would interfere with or compromise the investigation of the Sheriff’s Department. Although many times we may feel the wheels of justice turn slowly, we do want to make sure that when the time comes and charges are made that the charges will “stick.”
This was a strange and unnerving experience for everyone and I understand the reluctance of parents to send your students to school today. If your student did not attend today they will not be counted as unexcused absent but they will be responsible for missed work, notes or assignments.
Also, there were no incidences of violence at the school this morning. We heard from concerned patrons who asked about the violent incident that occurred at the school today. We had high school students who were driving to school who were stopped at a street corner and were being told to go home because there was a shooting at the school.
I know many of you dealt with a “Roller Coaster” of emotions today, but rest assured the safety of our students is the utmost priority of the teachers, staff and administration of Blue Hill Community Schools. After today’s occurrence, we will meet again to review today’s events to be better prepared for the future.
Joél Ruybalid

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Verna Mae Siebrass Koepke May 1929 to April 9, 2016

Verna Koepke
Verna Mae Koepke, 87, of Blue Hill, Nebraska, died Saturday, April 9, 2016, at the Blue Hill Care Center in Blue Hill, Nebraska.
Verna Mae,  the daughter of Fred W. Siebrass and Alvine Augusta Kranau was born May 14, 1928 on the family farm near Blue Hill, Nebraska.  She had one brother Kenneth Siebrass. 
She married Melvin Koepke June 22, 1952  at Trinity Lutheran Church in Blue Hill.
The Koepke's  farmed and raised polled Hereford cattle south of Blue Hill.
They were the parents of three children,  Eldon, Dale and Elgene
Verna Mae was preceded in death by her parents, her husband of 57 years (on July 19, 2009) her son Dale, ( May 7, 2007)   and her brother Kenneth (May 28, 1994) .
She is survived by her son Eldon, Daughter Elgene Grafel and husband Mike,
Services were at  10:20 a.m. Thursday, April 14, 2016 at Trinity Lutheran Church in Blue Hill, Nebraska, with Rev. Joshua Lowe officiating.
 Burial was in the Blue Hill Cemetery in Blue Hill, Nebraska.

Saturday, April 9, 2016


Duane A. Lienemann
Nebraska Extension Educator
         I find myself really struggling to keep my mind on task and my eyes open as I write this week’s column. I actually have a pretty good excuse for this as I rolled in late last night after an intense couple of days at the 88th Nebraska State FFA Convention. No, I have not been at all of them. I was however privileged to join many people who volunteer their time and efforts in helping to run the convention and the accompanying agricultural education contests and leadership contest events. I have now had this opportunity for several years and look forward to it each and every year.  I come away every year so highly impressed with the young men and women across our state whom I get to know a little better through these highly competitive and inspirational events. The last couple of years has been a little different than the many I previously attended, as this convention and its events were held at the Pinnacle Bank Arena, hotels in the Haymarket, and on East Campus. I believe that it is a good change. I have always been blown away by both the National and State FFA Convention and this year was even better. You could feel the enthusiasm and the electricity in the arena – the goosebumps always come!
     I spent the first 29 years of my agricultural career on the other side of the FFA convention, coaching, monitoring and hauling kids to where they needed to be, and of course reveling in the accomplishments of my “kids”. So working the convention from another point of view is more than interesting.  I had the opportunity once again to work with the FFA “Cream of the Crop” by helping with the Legislative breakfast, the State Proficiency finalist interviews and the Star State Degree finalist competition. It was also gratifying to see a former student, Scott Heinrich, once again take the stage as a 25 year Past State FFA Officer – what a kick that was! I have always known the innate and developed skills of these young people because as a teacher I had the privilege to work with some of the best in the land in my ag education classes and local FFA Chapter. I have to tell you that this event keeps me grounded and reaffirms my faith in the future of agriculture and our country with the talents and skills exhibited by these outstanding young men and women. And the legacy continues.
     This year’s State FFA Convention theme was “Amplify!” I like this buzzword because when you think about it the definition of amplify is: “To make larger, greater, or stronger”, and after witnessing more than 4600 young men and women all dressed in the Blue & Gold, with the enthusiasm, spirit and unbridled anticipation for their future that they bring, you cannot help but feel really good about our future. I believe that the FFA does indeed amplify the impact that our young people can and will have on the future of agriculture and the future of our state and nation because of the spirit, confidence, energy, work and determination that just oozes from these young adults. I believe in these young people and what they offer. I can tell you that our area young people in Nebraska represented us all very well and that they make us all proud.          
     These students had the chance to “Amplify: Boost the Impact” that they have accomplished at his years State FFA Convention. It was amazing to see these young people compete in Career Development Events (CDE) and of course Leadership Skills Events (LSE). It is unbelievable how many dollars these young people contribute to Nebraska’s economy and the hundreds of thousands of hours of service and volunteerism that they contribute to our local communities. “Amplify,” is designed to encourage youth to “boost their impact” on their community and the world. FFA gives these young people the tools to pump up their involvement and become a positive force for change. It is no secret that the organizations like the FFA and 4-H have contributed mightily to the future of countless thousands of young people all across our State and our Nation. I am so blessed to be associated with both. It doesn’t get any better than that for someone like me. I have personally had the great opportunity to see the impact that these organization have had on these young people and future leaders, but even more importantly the impact that these young people have had on our farms, ranches, small towns, cities and our state. So many have of these young people have gone on to be important contributors to society, businesses and even the legislative processes in this State. FFA of course is all about agriculture, but of utmost importance – Leadership!
     My former students will tell you that I always tried to instill in them that “It is not so much what you know in this world, but who you know!” What I was referring to of course was the networks that they can form in their activities and membership in both of these great agricultural organizations. This networking was so obvious at this year’s Convention. Not only at the convention sessions but all the activities that were provided for those that were in attendance. You saw blue jackets from all over Nebraska with different chapter names on it gathered together. That is really no different than when I was in FFA. Some of my best friends today are those that I made from other chapters 50 some years ago when I was in their shoes.
     I was personally touched, and felt good about one of the Keynote Speakers, Dr. Ronnie Green, who was this week announced as the new Chancellor for the University of Nebraska, who had one of the State FFA Officers come out with an FFA jacket. This jacket was special to him as it was his retiring jacket that he wore as a Virginia State FFA Officer. He attributed his growth in knowledge and leadership to his time in FFA and challenged the young people in the audience to take advantage of those opportunities afforded them, as the future is there for them. He reiterated the need for individuals in our Number One Industry – Agriculture. He pointed to the youth and said “Someone out there is just like me. Your future is ahead of you!” Dr. Green is an excellent choice for Chancellor and we as a State and a University are very fortunate to benefit from not only his love of FFA, but his background, his passion, his wisdom and especially his leadership! 

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: or on the web at: 

Monday, April 4, 2016

LaVona D. Borwege February 18, 1916 to April 2, 2016

LaVona D. Borwege, the daughter of Margaret (Blum) and John Armstrong, was born February 18, 1916 at Blue Hill, Nebraska. She departed this life on Saturday, April 2, 2016 at the Heritage Care Center in Red Cloud, Nebraska at the age of 100 years, 1 month and 18 days.
A lifelong resident of Webster county, LaVona grew up in the Blue Hill area and graduated from the Blue Hill High School in 1934 with a certificate in normal training. As a young girl she was baptized at the Blue Hill First Christian Church. Her father died when she was twelve and she dedicated herself at a young age caring for her siblings and working around the home. She was united in marriage with Norbert A. Borwege on February 4, 1934 at Osborne, Kansas. They made their home north of Bladen. In 1990, the farm was sold and LaVona moved to Westgate Manor in Blue Hill to live. Later in life after her family was raised she was employed with the Blue Hill Care Center as a nurse's aide and also a cook.
LaVona was a member of St. Paul's Lutheran Church and was active for many years with the Nebraska Hereford Women's Association. In her leisure time she enjoyed fishing, golf and bowling. Her love for her family was immeasurable, and she was happiest when they were spending time together. Her personality was pervaded by a strong work ethic and a devotion to her family and friends.
Preceding her in death were her parents; her step-father, Charles Stowers; her husband, Norbert on December 24, 1989; a granddaughter, Tracy Jane Borwege; brothers, John, Burdette, Marvin and Robert Eugene Armstrong; and sons-in-law, Derald Burgess and Larry Sanford.
Left to cherish her memory are her children, Sharon Burgess of Red Cloud, Nebraska; Bonna Vance and husband Larry of Inavale, Nebraska; Diane Overy and husband Larry of Pauline, Nebraska; Colleen Kucera and husband Leonard of Deweese, Nebraska and Norbert Scott Borwege and wife Sonja of Miltonvale, Kansas; 11 grandchildren; 2 step-grandchildren; 24 great grandchildren; 5 step-great grandchildren; a brother, Lyle Armstrong and wife Anne of Folsom, California; half-brother, Charles Stowers of Hastings, Nebraska; other relatives and friends.
Funeral services will be held Wednesday, 10:30 a.m., April 6, 2016 at St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Blue Hill with Pastor John Dinkins officiating. Interment will be at the Blue Hill Cemetery.
Visitation will be held Monday and Tuesday, 8:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m. at the Williams Funeral Home in Red Cloud, and Wednesday, 8:00 a.m. to service time at the church.
In lieu of flowers, a memorial fund has been established by the family.

Saturday, April 2, 2016


Duane A. Lienemann
Nebraska Extension Educator
       This isn’t April Fools…it actually is April! Can we really be in the fourth month of the year? No matter what, the spring season is full upon us along with all that goes with it. I am sure our area farmers are getting the chemical and fertilizer on and readying their tractors and planters. With one eye on the weather and one on the soil temp, it won’t be long and it will be “Katie bar the door!” Sometimes we also forget that our ranchers are getting cattle ready to move to pastures. Fences be checked and fixed if necessary; tanks and water systems checked and ready to go; animal health protocols being implemented or at least planned; and of course preg-testing for open or late calving cows; and possibly procuring new bulls for the herd.
     In talking beef I think we should be cognizant of what the beef specialists are saying what may be ahead as we plan for the future. Those farmers who studied and utilized the 2014 Farm Bill became very familiar with something called the Food and Agricultural Policy Institute (FAPRI) at the University of Missouri. We utilized their benchmarks to help make decisions on which direction to go between ARC-CO and/or PLC. In light of the troublesome outlook for grain production I wanted to see where we might be with the livestock industry and brought up the FAPRI projections. I was a little afraid of what they are looking towards and there is both good and bad news in the same sequence. We will also peek at crop projections.
    FAFRI Beef Projections: Unfortunately the FAPRI projections are also not an April Fool’s joke, but have both bad and good news. First the good news. Though profitability in the cow-calf sector is down sharply, it is still above historical levels. I think sometimes we get lulled into thinking we have not been in good straits these last couple of years. Maybe not so bad. It is likely that this will promote further small increases to the herd in coming years. At least that is what the analysts with FAPRI indicate in that organization’s ”U.S. Baseline Briefing Book” that was released earlier this past month. If you want to read it yourself you can go to: .
     I for one find it disturbing that the FAPRI projects net returns per cow this year at $211.53 per head which doesn’t sound too bad, but then declining to $85.55 next year and to $9.63 in 2018, showing a downward trend. And even worse entering negative territory in 2019 and 2020 (-$21.91 and -$14.02 respectively). That is the bad news for our cattlemen. However, the light at the end of the tunnel is that these same projections call for annual returns growing from $10.45 in 2021 to $98.32 in 2025. Not big gains by any means but at least not in the negative. But we have to look at the lean years in between. 
     In terms of specific prices, FAPRI projections see fed steer prices (all grades, 5-area direct) declining from an average of $133.41 per cwt this year to a period low of $117.94 in 2018. Prices increase from there to $135.74 in 2025. Feeder steers (600-650 pounds, Oklahoma City) average $194.34 per cwt for this year in the projections. They decline to a period low of $155.12 in 2019 and then increase to $189.51 by 2025. The FAPRI baseline model uses different variables to project a wide range of market outcomes for 2017-2025. Analysts note some of the resulting 500 outcomes are much higher or lower than the averages in the report. As we know from the Farm Bill with grain, FAPRI depends on a model that takes 500 samples to replicate potential for prices. I am hoping that later draws of 500 will be much more bullish, but I am not holding my breath.
     FAFRI Crop Projections: If you have been keeping up with the saga that is the Farm Bill you most likely are interested in what is projected for crops. What stood out is that the analysts suggest that the increasing carryover stocks from hefty global crops of grains and oilseeds the past couple of years continue to pressure crop prices in the FAPRI projections.
As an example, projected corn prices in the FAPRI projections average $3.75 per bushel for the 2016-17 marketing year. Corn prices average less than $4.00 per bushel for the 2017-2025 period. Corn prices exceeded $5.00 per bushel in about 10% of the 500 FAPRI outcomes for each year, and fell below $3.00 per bushel in more than 10% of the outcomes.
     Now just what does that mean? I think it appears that we are looking at several years of pretty tight financial situation for U.S. agriculture. I think most everyone, or at least those intimately involved in farming, know that farm income is less than half of the 2013 peak. I am certain both farmers, bankers and land owners are very nervous about this and unfortunately we can probably expect it to remain low for the next several years. It is true that we’ve had some cost reductions, but not nearly enough to offset the decline in receipts. Most input costs have stayed pretty much status quo and some have gone up.
     When you analyze all of this, with farm income below peak levels and interest rates forecast to increase, it doesn’t take an MBA to determine that there will likely be continued pressure on farm finances and farm real estate values. And as a matter of fact in order give some perspective, FAPRI analysts explain that U.S. average farm real estate values increased by 50% between 2007 and 2015. But according to USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). FAPRI projections call for farm real estate values declining by $250 per acre between 2015 and 2019. That’s on average, of course. The FAPRI folks note that actual results will differ across the country and will be sensitive to developments in agricultural markets and the economy. As we face these uncertainties we also have to contend with the property tax issues that don’t help the situation at all. Folks we may have a serious situation that we are just entering. What can we do to offset these challenges?
     One thing is for sure, we are going to have to be the best managers we can be. We will need to make some very tough decisions, perhaps tighten our belts a little and evaluate some practices we have implemented when crop and livestock prices were significantly higher. Work with your lender; communicate with landowners and family; and above all – Pray!

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: or on the web at: 

Friday, April 1, 2016

April Birthdays

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