June 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).

UNL students create Prairie Fire marketing campaigns

By Stacy James

What is a capstone course anyway?

Every semester in the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s (UNL) College of Journalism and Mass Communication’s advertising sequence, senior ad majors face the much-anticipated and sometimes-dreaded capstone course called “Advertis­ing and Public Relations Campaigns.” A capstone course, by definition, is the learning experience in which students put it all together and work with a “real” client with real-world marketing and advertising challenges. They’re clients who need a strategically researched, conceived and executed promotional program, but don’t have the hundreds of thousands of dollars for a big-time ad agency effort.

A profile of Dr. Paul A. Johnsgard

Illustration of Paul Johnsgard by Bob Hall

By Jack Curran

While we are all endowed with special talents and gifts, it is vividly evident that Dr. Paul Austin Johnsgard has made the most of what he has been given. Like a true “Universal man,” he built a prolific career as a scientist, professor, researcher, author, artist, photographer and activist. By chance, he came to Nebraska—fell in love with the state, the prairie and the wildfowl that are found here. His many works have helped us to know and appreciate the wild world that surrounds us.

The Heritage Byway provides travelers with history, culture, nature and recreation

By Rosie Stockton

The Heritage Byway is one of nine scenic byways that criss-cross the state of Nebraska. The Heritage Byway was designated as a Scenic Byway by Governor Mike Johanns in 1999. The Scenic Byways Program provides for the designation of roads that have outstanding scenic, historic, cultural, natural, recreational and archaeological qualities. Nebraska’s scenic byways pass through some of the most enjoyable and intriguing landscapes in the state.

Lewis and Clark on the middle Missouri

By Gary E. Moulton

The flag was unpacked from its box and unfurled in the afternoon light. On a high hill overlooking the Missouri River the party assembled in military fashion to await the ceremony. This was no routine formation, nor was it a gathering for the usual purpose of honoring Indian dignitaries. This was a solemn occasion of the saddest kind. One of the members of the Corps of Discovery had died. Every member of the party must have wondered if this would be the only loss on the expedition and what fate lay ahead. Less than 100 days into the expedition an honored comrade had departed. Only a few days earlier a loss of another sort had occurred when two members of the party had deserted. One had been captured, but the other had made good his escape. Was this to be the fate of the Corps: desertion, death and perhaps ultimate defeat?

Bessey to be inducted into Nebraska Hall of Fame

A Nebraska visionary, Professor Charles E. Bessey (1845–1915), will be officially inducted into the Nebraska Hall of Fame at 1:30 p.m., Friday, June 26, in the Warner Chamber of the Nebraska State Capitol. Born in Ohio, Dr. Bessey was a nationally known University of Nebraska professor of botany and horticulture from 1884 to 1915 and a gifted administrator who served as acting chancellor of the University of Nebraska from 1888 to 1891 and again in 1899. When he arrived in 1884, the university was only 15 years old; the student body numbered only 373.


“Polking Around”
Oct. 7, 1971

Since 1955, when we first assumed the responsibility of publishing the Polk Progress, we have watched, and at times, recorded, the changes in Main Street businesses and farming. Our observations have confirmed the Great Truth—where there are humans there is change, and not necessarily for the better. We are not thinking about changes we can see in the mirror. The process of aging is a natural one which is hastened by the worries and anxieties of weekly newspaper publishing. The furrowed brow, twitching ears, slack jaw, reddened nose, watery eyes, thinned hair, stooped posture and limping step are the rewards of our work which we accept with the usual amount of necessary groaning.

What would FDR do?

By Dr. Patrick McGinnis

As we approach the second season of the current Kansas-Nebraska Chautauqua tour, the relevance of the theme “Bright Dreams, Hard Times: America in the Thirties” becomes starkly apparent. At summer’s end 2008, the U.S. economy began a sharp decline.

President Barack Obama and others are reading (many for the first time) about the nature and scope of the Great De­pression, seeking to discern possible parallels with today’s conditions, and also to take a fresh look at how President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal tackled that long-ago crisis. What would FDR do if he were president today?

Going backwards: Building an oil refinery in South Dakota

By Peter Carrels

In South Dakota, politicians and business leaders are cheering development of a major new fossil fuels energy center, including a massive oil refinery and gasification power plant, planned for the state’s southeast corner. If built, the oil refinery will be the first such facility constructed in the United States in more than 30 years.

The sea turtles of Ghana, part two

By Mitch Paine

Luckily, some, Westerners and Ghanaians alike, have taken to the sea turtle cause, after realizing the potential benefits for saving sea turtles. A number of conservation efforts are under way throughout the 335 miles of coastline.

I met one of those sea turtle heroes at the beginning of September 2008, just before the sea turtles would be coming en masse to nest. I navigated through the chaotic streets of Accra, and after a bumpy trotro (mini-bus) ride, I arrived at the beach house of Emmanuel Tetteh Kuhameh. He introduced me to his three dogs and cat and then proceeded to explain his story.

Cleaning up the river

By Mary Robb

Water is among our most important resources. Cities and schools throughout the Great Plains recognize this fact and are doing their best to promote awareness of the vital place water and waterways hold in our ecosystem.

Two events were held in May 2009 to promote water awareness and to clean up key rivers in the Great Plains.

Organic farming in Nebraska's future

By Chuck Francis and Shannon Moncure

Every Saturday this time of year, the lights go on at 4 a.m. in the vegetable packing shed at Shadow Brook Farm on West Denton Road, just southwest of Lincoln, Neb. It’s time to load organic produce—harvested, washed and prepared over the last two days by Charuth and Kevin Loth and their helpers—onto trucks and trailers. Then one truck is off to the downtown Omaha farmers’ market, while another makes the shorter trip to Lincoln’s Haymarket for its weekly sale day. Business will be brisk for four hours in Lincoln, with crowds at times 15 deep waiting to buy organic salad green mix for $10 per pound. Exhausted but pleased with their work, the young couple heads home to prepare for the Old Cheney Market that starts at 10 a.m. the next day.

Sonny's Corner - What you believe does make a difference

By Rev. Adrian George Edgar

It doesn’t matter what religion you are. They are all the same.” This is a quote found in our local paper a few years ago. I also heard it many times when I served as chaplain in a general hospital, as chaplain in a state psychiatric hospital and from others when they learned I was a minister. I also heard many tell me they didn’t go to a church or a synagogue or a mosque, but they believed in God and that was enough. There was a time when I wasn’t sure how to respond. I wasn’t as confident as I am now.

Immigration in Nebraska

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