August 2007


Prairie Fire Newspaper went on hiatus after the publication of the September 2015 issue. It may return one of these days but until then we will continue to host all of our archived content for your reading pleasure. Many of the articles have held up well over the years. Please contact us if you have any questions, thoughts, or an interest in helping return Prairie Fire to production. We can also be found on Facebook and Twitter. Thank you to all our readers, contributors, and supporters - the quality of Prairie Fire was a reflection of how many people it touched (touches).

New war, new pain

By Roger Lempke

New technologies and tactics have added distinct peculiarities to American wars and in turn caused new types of injuries and new treatments. At the time of the American Civil War, newly invented cylindrical lead bullets called minié balls produced an advanced level of deadliness. Torso penetrations were usually fatal and hits on extremities tended to crush and mash bones. Amputation became the main form of “treatment” for arms and legs damaged by large-caliber minié balls. Wooden prostheses were so much in demand after the war that lumber shortages resulted. World War I is remembered for the introduction of chemical warfare and its attendant injuries. World War II and the Korean Conflict saw dramatic improvements in battlefield evacuation (the helicopter was introduced during the Korean War) and field hospital treatment. Agent Orange and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) became associated with the Vietnam War. The recent War on Terrorism in Afghanistan and Iraq, a fight generally against insurgents, has developed a signature injury known as traumatic brain injury—or TBI.

The term “traumatic brain injury” covers a wide range of injuries to the brain from sudden trauma. Classified from severe to mild, the milder forms of TBI can be difficult to diagnose and treat because of latent symptoms. Severe trauma is quickly suspected when visible signs such as bleeding, bruising, swelling and object penetration are evident. The mild form, or MTBI, is not as easily identified because external wounds do not exist and telltale signs, such as memory loss, dizziness and confusion can be somewhat subtle and slow to emerge, making diagnosis difficult. In many situations, treatment goes beyond repairing physical wounds, requiring medical rehabilitation programs to restore motion functions, vision, speech and memory.

The crime of the century

By Richard Lamm

I have just participated in the greatest embezzlement in all of history. In my seventy-plus years, I have never seen such a perfect crime. Like most other master criminals, I am heady with success and feel a need to brag. I kid you not—never before has one group appropriated as much money that belonged to another group in the history of crime. The victims, while they are increasingly suspicious, still do not know they have been had. It was literally and figuratively as easy as taking candy out of the mouths of babies.

Some thoughts on the present tension between youth and age in the body Anglican

By Don Hanway Like its parent, the Church of England, the Episcopal Church in the United States has been a missionary body, founding and supporting many new churches overseas. These younger churches are now growing up, in numbers and assertiveness, and are feeling their powers, notably churches in Africa. It is a situation not unlike that of parents and their teenage offspring, who are adult in size and inclined to question the judgment and authority of those who brought them into being.

Loren Corey Eiseley - Naturalist and modern shaman

By Deborah Derrick Loren Eiseley once likened the brain of a writer to an attic that stores pictures from the past—pictures that are later recalled and woven into story. Many of Eiseley’s stories in the books that won him international fame originated with experience he laid away in his early years in Nebraska. It is only fitting, then, that a tribute to Eiseley in his centennial year would take place in his home state. On Sept. 7 and 8, the Friends of Loren Eiseley, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Bison Press and other friends will hold a series of events in Lincoln to educate the public about Eiseley and his work. Now, more than ever, his message about humankind’s relationship to the environment is relevant in light of global warming, pollution, population growth and resource depletion. Eiseley may even prove to be a modern shaman as he calls for us to remember our roots and seek our “sacred center” in nature.

Remember our rivers! An overview of instream flows in Nebraska

By Gene Zuerlein Nebraska’s obligation to protect streams and fish and wildlife resources (recognized as the Public Trust Doctrine) originated in the 6th century A.D. in Roman history. Justinian, emperor of Rome at the time, codified a law stating “By the law of nature, these things are common to mankind—the air, running water, the sea, and consequently, the shore of the sea.” England adopted this Public Trust Doctrine as common law, which was subsequently exported to the original 13 colonies here in the United States. Following the fight for independence, the Public Trust Doctrine was adopted as part of the basic laws in each state. Under U.S. Constitutional provisions, rights and obligations not specifically reserved for federal jurisdictions were transferred equally to all new states joining the union. When Nebraska accepted statehood in 1867, it accepted certain rights, common laws and obligations provided to the 13 original states and each additional state. Among others, each state accepted the common law known as “The Public Trust Doctrine (PTD).

Quad States' Trail, Part II - Trail development challenges and solutions

By Katie Blesner People and their communities enjoy many benefits when hiking/biking and equestrian trails are located nearby. Despite numerous benefits, trail advocates often face many obstacles in their quests for trail development. These challenges have prompted supporters to build partnerships and develop connections with other supporters to implement their dreams for more trails.

Sonny's Corner - New Orleans

“New Orleans is open for business,” was the buzz phrase that many were repeating before we departed for a relief trip to New Orleans. It was nearly a full two years after Hurricane Katrina and the subsequent floodwaters, but the call to assist still came out loud and clear. The Times Picayune published an article while we were there that exclaimed that, though the French Quarter was back in operation and tourism was almost back to full steam, it was important to remember that the lives of everyday, ordinary residents of the New Orleans metropolitan community were decidedly not returning to normal, and it would take years and billions of dollars before they did. It would also take the interest and dedication of Americans like my group and me to exact lasting change to systematic problems that continue to be the obstacle to relief, rebuilding and moving on.

Immigration in Nebraska

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