At one time the Otoes and Missourias, along with the Winnebago and Iowa Tribes, were part of a single tribe that lived in the Great Lakes Region of the United States. In the 16th century the tribes separated from each other and migrated west and south, although they still lived near each other in the lower Missouri River Valley.
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).
Now that National Bicycle Month is drawing to a close, National Trails Day offers another reason to celebrate trails. Trails have long provided corridors to link resources necessary for human survival. Today’s trails infrastructure are no different, continuing to provide transportation links within and between communities, safe routes to work and school, opportunities for economic development and options for physical activity and improved health.
Jan. 13, 1992
I have always had a special interest in trees, which seems odd considering I was born on the Midwest plains, which were more grass than trees. The individuality of trees—cottonwoods, in particular—were the cause of this compelling interest. When I think about the plains, my thoughts concentrate on space.
On May 2, 2011, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers blew up a two-mile stretch of levee in Missouri to save the town of Cairo, Ill., from catastrophic flooding. This intentional breach opened the Birds Point-New Madrid Floodway—a 130,000-acre area of farmland—to take in some of the rushing floodwaters of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers. Within two weeks, two floodways in Louisiana, the Bonnet Carre and Morganza, were opened to lower Mississippi River flood levels from Baton Rouge to New Orleans. This marks the first time in history that all three of these floodway systems have been in operation at the same time.
Last month we announced a multi-part series, beginning in July, which will look into the Affordable Care Act and what hope reforming America’s health care system holds for the Midwest and Great Plains and, in particular, those of us that reside in and around America’s rural communities.
From the advent of the cotton gin to use of pesticides and transgenetic plants, farming practices have evolved to produce increasing yields with less labor. Despite the obvious benefits, farmers and consumers are increasingly concerned with the ethical implications of these same agricultural advancements.
No Child Left Behind (NCLB) was a 2002 law that gave the federal government an unprecedented involvement in K-12 public education, touching in some way every school district in the country and proposed by conservative Republican President George W. Bush. It had survived a long and torturous journey in 2001, including many months of congressional debate over content and funding, the distraction of the Sept. 11 terror attacks and a shift in the majority from Republican to Democrat in the Senate.
One of Nebraska’s most famous artists, Dale Nichols (1904–1995) is the cornerstone artist of the collection of Bone Creek Museum of Agrarian Art. Almost since its inception the museum has sought to examine and explain the deviations in Nichols’ art from his formal associations with regionalism, an art movement of the 1930s that sought to portray the unique culture of America. Early on it became clear to Mark L. Moseman, chief curator of the museum, that there was more to Dale Nichols than nostalgic pictures.
The term community forest refers to the collection of trees, shrubs and related vegetation growing in cities and towns. Simply put, community forests are the trees around us. Individually and as a whole these trees improve water and air quality, reduce noise pollution, increase property values, reduce heating and cooling costs and improve community cohesion.
This past summer I taught my wife the term “herbaceous perennial.” After I pronounced it a few times, defined it and used it in sentence as if at a spelling bee, she began to roll it around in her mouth as she walked our garden. “Her-BAY-shus,” she said over and over. “Perennials that die back to the ground each year,” I called after her from a distance as I weeded. “Is this a herbaceous perennial?” she asked, smirking as she touched the 8-foot stem of a joe pye weed in late August. “Yup,” I said, “and a native one at that.”
Bt-corn is a genetically modified organism (GMO) that was developed to increase resistance to corn borer larvae, which cause millions of dollars in damage per year to Nebraska cornfields. A GMO is a plant or animal that has been genetically modified through molecular techniques with material from another organism. The technique is done to give the plant or animal genetic traits to provide protection from pests, tolerance to pesticides or improve its quality. Growers use Bt-corn (one of several GMO crops, including Bt-potatoes, Bt-sweet corn, Roundup Ready soybeans, Roundup Ready Corn and Liberty Link Corn) as an alternative to spraying insecticides for control of European and southwestern corn borer.
Public land is relatively scarce in Nebraska. In fact, 97 percent of land within the state is privately owned, producing a mosaic pattern of land use, management and ownership. Such diversity is not a bad thing. Fragmentation, however, can be problematic for wildlife and ecosystems.
The United States is veering ever closer to a financial calamity that would lead inevitably to the Great Decline. The lack of will in Washington to exercise fiscal responsibility has caused the rating agency Standard and Poor’s to downgrade U.S. Treasury debt, once considered the world’s most secure investment.