September 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).

Chinese and American 'netizens' clash in cyberspace

By Kaiser Kuo

Sino-American relations in the Obama Administration are off to an encouraging start—at least at one level. Despite Beijing’s apprehensions over an Obama victory, the first seven months of the new presidency have seen a rare, nearly friction-free transition. Secretary of State Clinton and House Speaker Pelosi, both veteran critics of Beijing’s human rights record, were conspicuously quiet during visits to China earlier this year. For its part, Beijing has focused on common ground with Washington in dealing with the economic crisis, and even offered praise, after a fashion, for the Obama Administration’s “balanced” response to July’s ethnic violence in Urumqi.

Educational partnerships with China, part two

By Jane Hanson

The University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) has hosted academic exchanges with Japan and China for more than 25 years and has also previously collaborated with Shanghai Jiaotong University School of Medicine (SJTUSM) and the Graduate University of Chinese Academy of Sciences. This interaction culminated with the formation, in 2005, of the Asia Pacific Rim Development Program.

Book Review: American Quilts in the Modern Age, 1870 -1940

Review by By George W. Neubert

“American Quilts in the Modern Age, 1870–1940”
Co-editors: Patricia Cox Crews and Marin F. Hanson
Publisher: University of Nebraska Press

American Quilts in the Modern Age, 1870–1940” is an important recent publication produced by the International Quilt Study Center (IQSC) at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln that examines quilt making in the United States from the Civil War to World War II from both an artistic and historic perspective.


Wildfires scorched more than 1.4 million acres in and around Yellowstone National Park in 1988. (Jim Placo, National Parks Service).

By Mark Derowitsch

America has some of the world’s most breathtaking trees.

Think about it for a moment. There are majestic, towering redwoods along the West Coast. Colorful, vibrant maple trees throughout the New England countryside. Stand after stand of pines, as far as the eye can see, high up in the Rocky Mountains. And lush, green parks liberally scattered around the nation filled with trees of all different shapes and sizes.

Growing food and community

By Ingrid Kirst

When asked why she likes having a community garden plot, Sherry Simons said, “We’ve been eating a lot more fresh vegetables, which has been great for my kids because it’s teaching them to like vegetables and build a preference for fresh, healthy food.” Jennifer Verhein said, “There’s something magical about planting tiny tomato plants the first week in May, and now they’re taller than me in mid-July.”

Plant trees this fall to preserve Nebraska's community forest resource

By Becky Erdkamp and Jessica Kelling

Our community forests are the trees in our parks and surrounding our homes, businesses and buildings. Both individually and as a whole, these trees provide clean air and water, increase property values, increase consumer spending in business districts, reduce heating and cooling costs and reduce the need for “hard infrastructure” by extending the life of roadways and managing stormwater runoff.

Prairie: Up close and personal

By Twyla M. Hansen

Prairie is from the French, a word defined as a treeless, grass-covered plain. But I would add and so much more. Prairie provides us with a solid sense of place, as in this is our natural heritage. Try to imagine the entire central U.S. and Canada covered in grasses and forbs—millions of acres—alive with animals great and small, above and below ground. Prairie is the epitome of rootedness, as in we are not going elsewhere, as in we’re adapted to harsh winters, fierce winds and punishing summers. And in spite of losing most of this historic vegetation to the plow, we still have excellent examples of tallgrass prairie close by to experience up close and personal.

Sonny's Corner

By W. Don Nelson

Given the amount of hyperventilation that is taking place by some participants in the health care and health insurance reform debate, we urge continued thoughtful and civil discussions. The rhetorical food fights replayed after numerous public meetings are a disappointment. Fear and anger are not satisfactory explanations of bad be­hav­ior. The U. S. health care system is far too complex for any of us to understand without hard examination of the facts and critical comparisons of the trade-offs that inevitably will occur as any component is adjusted.

Immigration in Nebraska

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