February 2009


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).

Online won't save the old media

Cartoon by Paul Fell

By Charles Hammer

Let’s say you owned a cookie store where you sell cookies for $3 each. You’ve seen a slow, steady decline in your sales. Your customers start asking you to sell them online. You do a few Web searches and realize that there are big sites that sell comparable cookies for $1.50 each. Then you realize that you’ll have to change the recipe and package the cookies so they’ll stay fresh longer.

The success story of HIV and AIDS control in Cuba

By Byron L. Barksdale, M.D.

Cuba has the lowest percentage of its population, a total of 11,243,000 people, infected with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) in the Western Hemisphere. Con­sidering the adverse effects of the U.S.-led embargo against Cuba and the limited means under which the Cuban health system operates, what has brought about this success story in mysterious Cuba?


“Polking Around”
August 18, 1977

Another store front on Main Street is being remodeled. MacDonald’s GW is gaining the permanent awning look of the buildings north and south of it. Homer MacDonald, the store’s slimming proprietor (he’s on a diet. He is not the male member of the TOPS club.) was taking down the IGA signs when one chunk crashed through a big plate glass window. This accident caused the timing of the remodeling and covering the remaining expanse of plate glass with a solid front.

Dragon down the memory hole

By Chad A. Novacek

As a freshly minted Peace Corps volunteer in China, I had a very superficial understanding of the country I was serving. To fill the large gaps in knowledge of that nation’s complex history, culture and perspectives, I interacted with locals and sought out a variety of reading material. Though I examined various periods of China’s 5,000-year history, no other issue proved more fascinating than the contemporary and controversial cross-strait relationship between “China” and “Taiwan.”

Book Review: "In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto" by Michael Pollan

Review by John Berrout

“In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto”
Author: Michael Pollan
New York: The Penguin Press

In response to the many readers of his “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” who asked, “OK, but what should I eat?” Michael Pollan wrote “In Defense of Food,” his manifesto as an eater concerned with the health of his body and the land. Pollan’s answer: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” Though this simple response remains the core of the novel, Pollan’s discussion touches on many subjects, including the rise of processed foods, the advent of the food industry and the imperfect science that have grown out of our desire to manipulate and refine the foods we eat, much to our harm.

Reflections on Charles Darwin and his enduring legacy

By Paul A. Johnsgard

Feb. 12, 1809, was a day when fortune shone upon this earth, for on that day two babies were born who were destined to become world famous, and whose lives would have lasting repercussions on subsequent world history. One was born to a poor family of frontier farmers in Kentucky and the other to a prosperous upper-class English family. Both would eventually be forced into taking actions and expressing ideas that at the time were both highly controversial, if not dangerous.

Understanding organized labor, part II: Getting a feel for the Employee Free Choice Act

By John Kretzschmar

Our economy is in the worst crisis since the Great Depression. But unlike the weather, economic vicissitudes are influenced by pubic policy. We arrived where we are thanks to economic policy decisions made by both Democratic and Republican administrations over at least the last 25 years. Now the new Congress and the Obama administration are shaping an economic recovery plan.

The new food movements: Organic Slow Food and local food movements are changing the way we eat

By Twyla M. Hansen

Organic agriculture raises awareness of food and food-growing systems. When people choose organic, they are concerned about what they eat, how it is grown and often where it is raised. Slow Food and Local Food are relatively recent social movements that also raise food awareness. Consumers play a huge market role through food purchases, whether it is organic, “slow” or local, as well as in food growing, consumption and environmental philosophy.

Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage

By Alline Anderson

Once upon a time there were three little pigs and the time came for them to leave home and seek their fortunes. Before they left, their mother told them, “Whatever you do, do it the best that you can.”

The first little pig built his house out of straw because it was the easiest thing to do. The second little pig built his house out of sticks. This was a little bit stronger than a straw house. The third little pig built his house out of bricks.

I’m here to tell you that the first little pig was right (although it is probably best if you do not let a pig build your straw house).

I live in a house built of straw bales. And no matter how determined the big bad wolf or the Alberta Clippers, there is absolutely no way it is going to blow down.

Sonny's Corner

After the release of information that points toward a lack of government funding, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights Education Fund (LCCREF) held a press conference call to discuss the DTV converter box coupon program and steps consumers need to take to navigate the digital television transition that will occur on Feb. 17.

Immigration in Nebraska

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