November 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).


By Eli S. Chesen On a light news day, there might typically be a feel-good special-interest story in the local rag about a child who was found, motionless, out in the lake, saved by an alert young fisherman, who pulls the victim out of the water and promptly and successfully performs CPR on him. The kid coughs up some water and begins breathing, just after which the rescue squad arrives. The EMT person peruses the situation and announces that, in another 30 seconds, the child would have died! The Samaritan receives kudos from the mayor, enjoys a free lunch at the Rotary Club and is the beneficiary of a $50 gift certificate, good at any Nike Store.

A time to remember

By Don Hanway This year marked the 23rd Annual Reunion of Nebraska Vietnam Veterans, the first such reunion I have attended. As I walked into the display and registration area of the Quality Hotel in Hastings (the former Holiday Inn) on August 17, it seemed to me that most of the vets were older than I am. That couldn’t be true: I was 23 when I was “in country,” and a lot of these men were probably younger than that when they served.

A primer of college savings plans

By Dave Bomberger Benjamin Franklin once observed, “An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.” There is as much truth in that statement today as there was in Franklin’s time. Education contributes to the success of individuals and to the productivity and competitiveness of the United States. The importance of education is especially significant as the American workplace evolves. During the past five years alone, job opportunities requiring a postsecondary education have increased almost nine times faster than jobs requiring a high school diploma or less.


September 25, 1980 br> "News, News, and News" The centralization of news-gathering and publishing is as much an abhorrence as concentration of farming into fewer and larger farms, a development we regard as anti-democratic. Just as agriculture in the United States is being industrialized, news-gathering and telling has become an industry. News is big business.

To Prairie Fire Newspaper

Thank you for your gracious invitation to the Nebraska State Fair Board to present our viewpoint relating to the University of Nebraska plans to relocate our state fair operations to another location. We find, however, that at this particular time we will not be able to accept your offer. It is not because there isn't a story to tell, but at this specific time a lot of it is still being determined. The Agriculture Committee of the Nebraska Legislature is in the middle of a study on determining the costs of both a potential relocation and leaving the fair at its current location.

What kinds of farms and ranches can survive in urbanizing areas?

By J. Dixon Esseks Approximately one-third of the total value of U.S. agricultural output is produced in metropolitan area counties (from a USDA Policy Advisory Committee on Farm and Forest Land Protection and Land Use report, “Maintaining Farm and Forest Lands in Rapidly Growing Areas,” 2001). With much or most of those counties tending to be relatively flat, they have been both conducive to agriculture and attractive to developers seeking space for new housing units and commercial facilities. For example, from 1982 to 1997, more than half (58 percent) of newly developed acres nationwide consisted of land converted out of agricultural use. Farming tends to lose out in this competition for land since nonagricultural usages normally earn higher annual incomes per acre as well as appreciate more in resale value.

Questioning tax valuation

By W. Don Nelson Every few years the Nebraska Legislature finds itself in the middle of a tax-reform discussion. The 2007 version of that debate was much like those of previous years. While such considerations attempt to weigh the differences in sales, income and property taxes, reform proposals too often focus on the percentage or trade off between the types of taxes. The property tax on real property (land and buildings), however, most often emerges as the most disliked of the three major sources of tax revenue. The source of this dislike, I believe, is the lack of input or control that the taxpayer has over property taxes, particularly the real property tax.

National service and the path to citizenship

By Sally Herrin You can accomplish a lot, if you don’t care who came up with the idea in the first place. That’s a paraphrase, and it might be Harry Truman who said it first. I don’t much care, just as I don’t care who came up with the idea of national service as a path to citizenship for immigrants. I like this idea. The more I think about it, the more I like it. I have my own ideas about what ought to constitute national service. I’d favor a program fashioned on a New Deal model to include public works, especially conservation, and anything that makes the lives of poor children better. In the meantime, though, I’d settle for service in a branch of the U.S. military.

Are you prepared? Disaster preparation in Nebraska and beyond

By Rick Sheehy It seems almost daily we hear, read or intently watch natural, accidental or intentional events, which adversely affect the lives and property of individuals. We have all been touched, either physically or emotionally, by these events or disasters. Think back to the coverage of September 11, 2001, and other terrorist attacks around the world. Recall the devastation of Hurricane Katrina and other floods, tornadoes, fires, shootings, infrastructure failures and structural collapses. Let’s not forget the ongoing discussion of the potential for an outbreak of pandemic flu. These natural, accidental or intentional events, whether we realize it or not, have changed the way we live our lives. Our lives are time stamped and measured by these events. Dinner table and coffee shop conversations across the country take place asking, “Where were you during this event?” Each of these events has also created significant public discussion of whether or how well your government will respond to these events in your community or state. The measure of public expectations has been significantly elevated.

The Last Chance - Part 2: Overfishing

By Mitch Paine Our oceans are some of the most bountiful places on Earth. Fish swim in schools so thick that “islands of fish” are created. Coral reefs teem with life from coral and sponges to dolphins and sharks. Estuaries are the birthplace of so many ocean-dwelling creatures and land-dwelling creatures. The open ocean is seemingly deserted until dolphins, tuna, sharks, seabirds, swordfish and humpback whales come across and feast on a school of herring.

The Platte: River of dreams or river of dust?

By Paul A. Johnsgard When I was a graduate student at Cornell in the late 1950s, two of my best friends were doing field research in the Platte Valley of Nebraska on hybridizing bird species pairs found there, such as the orioles, grosbeaks, towhees and flickers. At the end of each summer, they would return to Ithaca with stories of the beauty of the Platte’s riparian woodlands, its birds, and the natural glories of central Nebraska in late spring. I had grown up in eastern North Dakota but had never visited Nebraska, so I listened with quiet jealousy to their descriptions of the clear-flowing, sand-bottomed Platte, mentally comparing it with the sluggish and muddy Red River that was within easy walking distance of my home.

Immigration in Nebraska

Subscribe to RSS - November 2007