August 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).

Educational partnerships with China, part one

The beautiful Temple of the Sea of Wisdom crowns the Hill of Longevity at the Summer Palace in Beijing. (Jane Hanson)

By Jane Hanson

On Aug. 8, 2008, the Olympic “Bird’s Nest” stadium in Beijing was the site of pageantry, protocol and fireworks for the 2008 Summer Olympics, as China very visibly stepped out on the world stage. If by any chance you missed the television coverage of the opening ceremonies at the Summer Olympics, you might not understand fully the need for a connection between China and the University of Nebraska. You might even ask yourself why events halfway around the globe, in a time zone 12 hours ahead of Nebraska, could have so much significance.


“Polking Around”
Oct. 24, 1974

While bird watching one noon we were walking a stretch of graveled road and caught sight of an old tone in a ridge of gravel. Ira Glasser had told us how he sometimes found arrowheads and pieces of worked tones in the gravel spread on roads and we always have that in mind when on gravel and occasionally turn our attention from the roadside bushes, grass and fence to the road surface.

Increasing American soft power by more effective public diplomacy

By Douglas K. Bereuter

This year I will have the privilege of presenting the first lecture in the 2009–2010 E. N. Thompson Forum on World Issues on Sept. 14, 2009. That lecture series will focus on China, and my remarks will center in large part on Chinese soft power relationships with Asia and the United States. Soft power, a term famously coined by Dr. Joseph Nye of Harvard University, occurs “when one country gets other countries to want what it wants,” via “intangible power resources such as culture, ideology, and institutions.”

Fugitive days

By Jack Bewley

Why war? Why at this late date, with all we know about history and science and logic and the human psyche, with all the art and wisdom and charity mankind has generated, do we still slaughter one another over imaginary lines on the ground and made-up titles and claims and labels of dubious authenticity? Forty years ago this spring as I left college, Americans by the thousands were fighting and dying in Asia for no comprehensible reason and thousands more—myself included—were engaged in a struggle here at home to halt that war and tarnish forever the concept of war.

Agrarian poets

By Mark L. Moseman

Poets Ted Kooser, Twyla Hansen and Leo Kovar will be featured as part of an exhibit about agrarianism in art and poetry at Bone Creek Museum of Agrarian Art in David City, Neb. Kooser is the well-known U.S. Poet Laurate. Hansen’s agrarian poems are in several books. Kovar is a writer who has composed poems just for this event. All of these poets focus on agrarian poetry.

Great American Comedy Festival leaves 'em laughing

By Kandra Hahn

11 p.m., Friday, June 19, Norfolk, Neb.

They did it again.

Norfolk rolled out the second Great American Comedy Festival (GACF), June 14–20, in homage to Nebraska’s greatest contribution to humor, Johnny Carson.

Back was Deacon Gray, last year’s winner of the comedy competition. He closed the Festival’s Friday After Hours adult show with a PowerPoint presentation to a room of 300 or so mostly beer-fueled, under-40 working stiffs and stiffettes. 

The wonders called butterflies

By Danny Staehr

It’s time for yet another Bugs and Butterflies class at the Lincoln Children’s Zoo. For today’s group of 5–8 year olds, this includes a visit to Laura’s Butterfly Pavilion. The pavilion is open from 10 a.m. till 5 p.m. each day. It is a seasonal exhibit that is in operation from June through mid-September. This is where I get the opportunity to bring together my little friends: the caterpillars, the butterflies and the kids.

Restoring Great Plains grassland landscapes

By Terry Zene Riley, Ph.D.

The Great Plains is a broad expanse of grassland that lies east of the Rocky Mountains in the United States and Canada, covering all or portions of the U.S. states of Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas and Wyoming, and the Canadian provinces of Alberta, Man­itoba and Saskatchewan.

Nebraska's first geothermal development is more than a field of dreams

By Matt Gersib

Leadership manifests itself in a number of ways. Whether on the field of sport, in the boardroom or in government, a good leader sets an example for others to follow and does so without boasting. It’s always more challenging to lead than to follow, but the rewards are greater with success for leaders.

Adapting to change on the Missouri River, part one

By Gene Zuerlein and Lacey Bodnar

Since 1776, the United States has passed through four eras of public land and resource management, each with its own legislative polices and environmental ethic. First, settlement and development of the original public domain occurred between 1789 and 1834; second, public land resource stewardship with a conservation bent materialized under President Theodore Roosevelt in the early 1900s; third, after World War II, there was ensuing national growth along with many surface water development projects during the big dam era from 1941 to 1962; and fourth came the environmental law era from 1962 to 1990.

Sonny's Corner: Why Christians and environmentalists cannot support animal rights

By Stephen Vantassel

As webmaster for the Internet Center for Wildlife Damage Management, I educate people about identifying, preventing and responsibly resolving damage caused by wildlife. For instance, if raccoons are raiding your garden or squirrels have entered the attic, I will provide informational resources to help you stop those problems. People are generally intrigued by my line of work but become unsettled upon learning that I am also a minister with a Ph.D. in theology. They seem puzzled that a minister would be teaching the public about techniques that involve shooting, trapping and killing wildlife. After all, aren’t they God’s creatures? Shouldn’t ministers be about peace and love and harmony?

Immigration in Nebraska

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