July 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).

Our Mission

This issue begins our third year of publishing Prairie Fire. As we celebrate our second birthday, we would like to look back for a moment to our inaugural issue and remember why we are here and consider how far we have come. That a newspaper of any type can show growth and success in these challenging times is an accomplishment, and we have experienced both in our time so far. Many readers have joined us since our July 2007 issue, in which we published our position statement. Our philosophy and our purpose have not wavered, and we feel that publishing that statement again is helpful for us and for all the new readers, advertisers and contributors who have joined us along the way.

Recycle yourself: How blood banks began and how you can help them today

By Lisa Lightner

As many of us learned from biology class, ancient medicine and philosophy went hand in hand. Greek philosophers Hippocrates, Plato and Aristotle believed health was a balance of the body’s four “humours”: Sanguine (blood, produced by the liver), Choleric (yellow bile, produced by the spleen), Phlegmatic (phlegm, produced by the lungs) and Melancholic (black bile, produced by the gall bladder). Of these “humours,” blood was thought to be the most important as the “seat and source of the passions.”

Summer vacation: Find hidden treasures that are remarkably close to home

By J. L. Schmidt

Just in time for summer travel, Heritage Nebraska—a new statewide historic preservation advocacy and education group—has released a first-ever list of Hidden Treasures and Fading Places. The purpose of the list is to help celebrate Nebraska’s unique heritage as evidenced through its built environment, culture and landscapes.


“Polking Around”
Aug. 1, 1971

John T. Arbuckle, an Indian, was convicted of possessing parts for a Molotov cocktail during a 1973 civil unrest and in Scotts Bluff County District Court was sentenced to four years’ imprisonment. The materials for making what was described as a “destructive device” were “plastic, gallon jugs, clothesline rope and can of gasoline.” What was meant by plastic the newspaper story didn’t detail.

The history and artistry of of Plains Indian beadwork

By Susan Curtis

Plains Indian beadwork encompasses the relationships of technique, design, color and dimension. Stunning examples of this art are the subject of the current exhibition at the Great Plains Art Museum. Included in the exhibition are selections from the museum’s permanent collection that depict Native American beadwork, historical examples of beadwork from the University of Nebraska State Museum and contemporary pieces worked in traditional techniques and designs.

Stewards of the land

By Amanda Mobley

Agrarian is “of or relating to fields or lands or their tenure.” According to Brian Donahue, author of “The Resettling of America,” agrarian values are land, beauty, food, work and community. “In 1790, 90 percent of American households were farm households. In 2004, farmers made up 2 percent of the U.S. population.” America has resettled to urban communities and agrarian values are being forsaken in the process.

The Lincoln Municipal Band tradition continues in Lincoln, NE

By Barb Schmit

The Lincoln Municipal Band is a professional concert band, comprised of some of the area’s finest musicians, including regulars with such ensembles as Lincoln’s Symphony Orchestra, Nebraska Jazz Orchestra, Nebraska Brass, Third Chair Chamber Players, and The New Music Agency. Each summer the band presents free concerts on Sunday evenings at Lincoln, Neb.’s Antelope Park, bringing together thousands of people with a thirst for good music and community camaraderie.

The art of conservation: A bug's-eye view of Lincoln's endangered wetlands

By Tierney Brosius and Mitch Paine

While we often think of tropical rainforests and tigers when we think of conservation, in Lincoln, Neb., a small insect offers a local illustration of a global issue. The Salt Creek tiger beetle lives in our backyard and as a result has become a symbol of Lincoln’s environmental conscience. Our community controls the fate of our backyard neighbor.

Water levels dropping in some major rivers as global climate changes

This map shows the change in runoff inferred from streamflow records worldwide between 1948 and 2004, with bluish colors indicating more streamflow and reddish colors less streamflow. In many heavily populated regions in the tropics and mid-latitudes, rivers are discharging reduced amounts into the oceans. In parts of the United States and Europe, however, there is an upward trend in runoff. The white land areas indicate inland-draining basins or regions for which there are insufficient data to determine the runoff trends. (“Journal of Climate,” modified by UCAR.)

By Kevin E. Trenberth and Aiguo Dai

A key scientific question is how the global hydrological cycle changes over time, especially with global warming. A particular focus of our work at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) has been how precipitation changes as the climate changes and changes in extremes, including risk of flooding and drought. We have therefore put together the most comprehensive dataset on river discharge into the ocean for comparison with precipitation changes over each river basin as checks on both the precipitation and river flow data.

Cooperation in conservation: The Tern and Plover Conservation Partnership

By Mary Bomberger Brown and Chris Thody

Picture a 30-ton, 30-foot-long front-end loader going bucket to beak with a 2-ounce, 6-inch tall bird over a patch of glistening white sand. Who’s going to win, the bird valiantly defending its nest or the person in the front-end loader filling an order for a customer? Here in Nebraska, if the bird is an Interior Least Tern or a Piping Plover and the front-end loader is at a sand and gravel mine or lakeshore housing development, both can win. The Tern and Plover Conservation Partnership is here to help all sides find a safe path to success. We believe that Nebraskans can, and should, be at the forefront of common sense conservation. Nebraskans and nature can live and thrive together.

Book Review: Design for Democracy: Ballot and Election Design by Marcia Lausen

Design for Democracy: Ballot and Election Design
Author: Marcia Lausen
Chicago: University of Chicago Press

Review by DiAnna Schimek

The flawed process of the 2000 presidential election triggered the examination of the election process in the United States. As a result, the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) was passed by Congress in 2002 to encourage states to revise their voting systems, and financial incentives were made available to states to implement the provisions of the act. Most states have now adopted either the optical scan or the DRE (touch-screen computers) systems and have abandoned the punch card machines with their “hanging chads” and difficult-to-interpret ballots.

Sonny's Corner - National Urban League’s The State of Black America 2009 report shows black and white equality still needs work

Contributed by Amber Jaynes

As the entire country observed the historic election of President Barack Obama amid one of the worst economic crises this nation has ever seen, these are the “best of times and the worst of times” for black America. The National Urban League released the State of Black America (SOBA) 2009 report, which shows that while the entire country is hurting during these tough economic times, black Americans are disproportionately hurting worse.

Immigration in Nebraska

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