September 2011


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).

The Missouri River Flood of 2011: New Report Examines Causes

**Web Exclusive**


Paul Dailey in his flooded cornfield, Jefferson, S.D. (Brian Lehmann/

By Gerald Mestl

Executive Summary

Many people throughout the basin are claiming that the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) either caused or contributed to the extent of the Missouri River flood through mismanagement or by managing the system for endangered species. They believe that the USACE could have prevented the flood by taking other management actions leading up to the flood. In order to examine the accusations we will present a timeline of water supply in the Missouri River basin during 2011.

Making a Healthier America, Part One

By Jon Bailey

Chronic diseases and conditions such as heart disease, cancer, strokes and diabetes are responsible for seven of 10 American deaths each year and 75 percent of the nation’s health spending. Many behaviors lead to poor health and these chronic conditions—behaviors such as tobacco use, poor diet, physical inactivity and alcohol abuse. Such is the case of today’s American health care system—the need to address diseases and conditions that, in many cases, are preventable. Little-recognized provisions of the Affordable Care Act seek to change the health care system by placing a greater emphasis on health and by promoting strategies that will help create healthier people and healthier communities.

American Landscapes: Contemporary Photographs of the West

By Toby Jurovics

Landscape photography is thought to be easily done. In its most literal form, it is an art of topography, an objective description of a particular site. The subject is usually expected to be a place notable for both dramatic scenery and the absence of people and their endeavors. This last belief, however, has also led to the assumption that “landscape” equals “wilderness.” This position was established by photographers like Ansel Adams and Eliot Porter, who were central to the growth and success of the conservation movement in the 1960s.

The Rich Heritage of the Pipe Organ

By Christopher Marks

What are all of those buttons for?” This is a question that you might expect to hear in the cockpit of a 747, but those of us who play the pipe organ hear it more often than any other question—except, perhaps, “How can you play with your hands and feet at the same time?” Both questions point to the complexity of the King of Instruments and the incredible artistry that goes into performing an organ recital.

'Across a Wide Horizon: Discovering the Uncommon Beauty of Nebraska's Plains'

By George Tuck

Wow! Outstanding images, beautiful printing, clever titles, dramatic scenery, spectacular wildlife, electrifying weather, peaceful landscapes and, well, you get the idea.

For many of us Jorn Olsen is an unknown. After this, his first book, he will join the ranks of Nebraskans whose photos about the state are legendary: Joel Sartore, Michael Forsberg, Bill Ganzel, Margaret MacKichan, Fr. Don Doll, Georg Joutras and others.

Grow Local Oaks, Part Three

By Jack Phillips

Upon leaving my faculty position in the humanities a few years ago, I set out on a journey to learn everything I could about trees. It was my good fortune to be taken under the wing of Dr. Alex Shigo, the controversial and hugely influential scientist who changed the way the world thinks about trees. He was hardest on those in whom he saw promise, so I guess I should have felt honored when he sent me to dig roots from a frozen pond in New Hampshire in December.

Groundwater: To Be or Not to Be?

By Cindy Kreifels

Over the past few months, groundwater and more specifically Nebraska’s major source of groundwater, the Ogallala Aquifer, has been making the news on a regular basis. It has been especially gratifying to see the number of people who are concerned about groundwater because of potential threats to its well-being such as nitrates, the Keystone XL pipeline, Missouri River flooding and a host of other potential contaminants. So, how can we turn the concern into positive action to protect groundwater?

Appreciate, and Plant Trees, Now

By Kendall Weyers

Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone / they paved paradise and put up a parking lot.” Joni Mitchell, in her song “Big Yellow Taxi,” is one of many who have said we often fail to appreciate something until it is gone. The same can be said of our feelings toward our community forests, the collection of trees on private and public property throughout our towns or cities. We tend to take our community forests for granted simply because we’ve “always” had them. The longevity of trees can create an illusion of permanence.

Sonny's Corner

Early this summer we invited many of our friends in the organized labor movement to prepare appropriate thoughts for the upcoming Labor Day. We were pleasantly surprised when we were overwhelmed with many thoughtful pieces. Unfortunately our print edition layout did not contemplate so many words so we squeezed in a few into our September print edition and are publishing all that we received on this web edition.

Thanks to all who took their time to prepare their remarks and we hope you enjoy reading them.

Immigration in Nebraska

Subscribe to RSS - September 2011