June 2008


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).

The psychology of tanning

By Rodney S. W. Basler, M.D. In 1978, as I was finishing my tenure on the academic faculty of the University of Arizona and preparing to return to Lincoln, I published a paper in a medical journal entitled “Damaging Effects of Sunlight on Human Skin.” To my surprise, this seemingly innocuous review article, covering the handful of preliminary studies on the subject that were starting to appear in the medical literature, ignited a mini-firestorm of controversy and considerable interest. I was interviewed by a number of newspapers, including The New York Times and answered questions on talk radio.

The status quo is not an option: It's time to make hard choices

By Paul R. Cullinan In recent issues of the Prairie Fire, the coming fiscal calamity facing the United States has been described and decried by a diverse set of respected policy analysts and former public officials. If federal spending policies are not changed, the country can expect the government to claim an ever-increasing share of the country’s resources either through higher taxes or greater borrowing (essentially requiring future tax hikes). Given an aging population and health-care costs that grow much faster than income, tax rates or debt levels would eventually get sufficiently high to discourage Americans from working and saving and foreign investors from buying American debt.

Meadowlark Music Festival Nebraska

By Dianne Kennedy In many ways, the Meadowlark Festival is the antithesis of a typical American chamber-music concert, but in many ways it is the distinctiveness of the entire festival experience that has helped the Meadowlark Music Festival grow from an upstart in Lincoln to an event recognized by the national classical media. One of the secrets to the festival’s success is rooted in the technique of booking concerts at places, in Nebraska, where people would be inclined to go during the summer. This year is no exception.

The International Quilt Study Center & Museum - Textile history comes alive in the finest quilt museum in the world

By Maureen Ose Passion fueled the building of the world’s largest collection of quilts. More intense dedication led to the construction of a glorious new home for the quilts. Lincoln, Neb., is now home to the finest quilt museum in the world. Why quilts? Why a quilt museum?

Bright Dreams, Hard Times - America in the '30s

By John R. Wunder

For many historians, the ’30s represents a time when the American people were looking for ways to survive in a national crisis. Indeed, the crisis was not a simple one. Its complexities featured an extensive economic depression, a devastating environmental disaster—the Dust Bowl on the Great Plains—and the looming signs of yet another world war. How Americans sought to understand and prevail over these national catastrophes is a tale of determination and success.

Sonny's Corner

By Dick Fellman I miss Sonny. We were friends for 35 years or more, we had lunch or dinner together from time to time,; we went to Nebraska football games together and spent the day; but most of all, we talked; and the best of our conversations were not about football. We talked politics.

Genocide - Will we learn from the mistakes of the past

By Mark Gudgel I am in an airport in New Jersey, by accident. Accidents like that can happen in the United States, much more so than they can happen in other places, I am told. It’s called Newark, after the city it’s in, after the city the people came from hundreds of years ago, I’m guessing. It’s shiny; the floor squeaks under my feet as I approach the terminal, and there is enough neon lighting there to open a casino. I am flying to Seattle to coach basketball, and I am waiting for my flight. I acknowledge that I am very blessed. I sit down to have a beer in a dimly lit airport pub; it costs eight dollars, but that doesn’t improve its taste. The pale woman next to me, perched awkwardly on her stool, is from New Jersey, the first and, of yet, the only state to have mandated “Holocaust education” in the state school’s curriculum.

In the last 30 years, the Platte River Trust has changed the way we view the river

Whooping cranes on the Platte River.

By Maren Thompson Bzdek This December marks the 30th anniversary of the Platte River Whooping Crane Maintenance Trust, known more informally as the Platte River Trust. The organization and its supporters have much to celebrate, including the successful restoration of 10,000 acres of migratory bird habitat in central Nebraska and steady gains in the whooping crane population.

Lake McConaughy Visitor/Water Interpretive Center - Helping to understand a finite resource

By Jack Pollock Less than a year after a fire that caused nearly $900,000 in damage, the visitor area of the $2.5 million Lake McConaughy Visitor/Water Interpretive Center has reopened. In addition to serving as the lake’s headquarters for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission and the Central Nebraska Public Power and Irrigation District, the center was built to tell the importance of Nebraska’s most precious resource: water.

The multiple uses of water

In addition to the interpretive displays relating to the various uses of water inside the entryway to the Interpretive Center, there are several other exhibits including the historic diving bell used in the early 1940s, a history of Kingsley Dam, a mural on the many competing uses of water, an exhibit on the Platte River Basin Water Supply, and the “Changing Gallery,” an ever-changing area for Nebraska science and art students to display their projects on water.

Immigration in Nebraska

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