August 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 new face of behavioral health care

By Topher Hansen, JD

It wasn’t that long ago that we thought drug treatment was a separate issue from alcohol treatment. We didn’t think about providing housing for people with addiction or that many of the addicts we saw also had a mental illness. It was not unusual to ask our new clients about their substance issues, but we didn’t venture over the border to the mental health questions or the primary care issues they may face. We didn’t think about it. Mental health counseling was not what we signed up for, was outside our scope of practice and funding streams do not pay for it.


“The Sense of Belonging”
Sept. 11, 1986

“Your newspaper is about people. Polk is about people. Our newspapers, and big cities, are about institutions, organizations, and events. Urban people are nameless, faceless statistics, folks caught up in what Thoreau called ‘lives of quiet desperation.’ Big cities are loneliness factories; the Polks of this world are cottage industries that turn out men, women, and children who have a sense of belonging. Even should they leave Polk, the sense of belonging has a way of sticking. That’s why I subscribe, anyhow.

Tackling the entitlement crisis

By Paul Ryan

I have held over 400 listening sessions in my 10 years of serving Wisconsin’s First Congressional District. Every­where I go, people tell me, “Washington is broken and isn’t dealing with our nation’s most pressing problems.” They are right. By failing to tackle the greatest threat to our nation’s long-term economic prosperity—the explosion of entitlement spending—we are failing the next generation of Americans. The looming fiscal and economic crisis we face is no longer in question. What remains in doubt is whether America’s leaders will lead and set a different course for the next generation.

Book Review: The Post-American World by Fareed Zakaria

Review by Don Hanway 

“The Post-American World”
Author: Fareed Zakaria
New York: W. W. Norton & Co.

My attention was piqued by an abbreviated version of “The Post-American World,” the new book by Fareed Zakaria; it was titled “The Rise of the Rest” and appeared in the May 12, 2008, issue of “News­week Magazine.” So I read the unabridged version, and I was not disappointed.

Fareed Zakaria is in a wonderful position to give us a current view of America’s changing place in the world. As the editor of “Newsweek International,” he has wide-ranging contacts. Further, he is equipped by his own history to offer both an insider’s view and an outsider’s view of America as a player on the world stage. He grew up in India and came to the U.S. to attend college. He has stayed and become an appreciative citizen of this country, while also continuing his education and broadening his global perspective.

Book Review: "Thank God for Evolution: How the Marriage of Science and Religion Will Transform Your Life and Our World"

Review by Jack L. Kennedy

“Thank God for Evolution: How the Marriage of Science and Religion Will Transform Your Life and Our World”
Author: Rev. Michael Dowd
Tulsa, Okla.: Council Oak Books 

Sometimes, you can tell a book by its cover. That is evident from the moment you spy the dust jacket for “Thank God for Evolution,” with the subtitle “How the marriage of science and religion will transform your life and our world.”


By Michael Farrell


Smiley Canyon Overlook:

It is Friday, May 23, 2008— Memorial Day weekend. I’m sitting in my car, which is packed with photo gear, in a steady drizzle parked at an overlook near Fort Robinson, Neb. My cell phone says “No Service.” I’m writing on scrap paper unearthed in the car. The laptop is back at the Hilltop Motel in Crawford, which has no Internet service let alone wireless connectivity.

Opera Omaha celebrates Midwestern spirit with the world premiere of "The Blizzard Voices"

By Kelly Blice

Opera Omaha continues its 50th anniversary celebration and kicks off its 2008–2009 season with a series of community events and the world premiere performances of “The Blizzard Voices.” Composed by Pulitzer-prize winning composer Paul Moravec, “The Blizzard Voices” is based on poetry of another Pulitzer winner, former U.S. Poet Laureate Ted Kooser, and tells the story of the January 1888 Children’s Blizzard. While recent storms remind us of the devastating power of weather, the more powerful story is about the community that survives and comes together. Community events, including poetry readings and musical events, a clothing drive and an exhibit about blizzards surround the premiere performances and celebrate the ties that bind us together.

Nutrient Farming: An opportunity for change in the environment

By Donald L. Hey, Ph.D.

In the Midwest, the loss of millions of acres of wetlands over the past 200 years has directly led to multiple, interconnected environmental problems: poor water quality, increased nutrient pollution, rising flood-damage costs, vanishing biodiversity, degraded wildlife habitat and lost recreational opportunities. More than 100 million acres of wetlands in the lower 48 states have been drained since 1780, many of these areas drained to create dry land for row crops.

Immigration in Nebraska

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