General

Au Revoir

After seven-and-one-half years of inspired, bipartisan, civil discourse, we are likely bringing you the final twenty-four- page print issue of Prairie Fire. We have made a heroic effort to find a successor advertising manager after our revered co-owner, Nancy Hamer, became burned out after ninety monthly (successful) journeys to find twelve pages of advertising revenue each month.

Our Mission

We are pleased to have assembled a group of over five hundred advertisers, over one thousand distribution sites in seven states, and (depending on the month) eighty five thousand to one hundred thousand readers.

If you reread our mission statement in our inaugural issue (July 2007), you will see that we have accomplished close to all of our goals. For the few goals left unfulfilled, we shall (perhaps) add them to our next chapter, a path not yet precisely formulated. To our 1,080 essay writers, we say, “Well done,” “thank you,” and we urge you all to continue your great craft.

NEST Reaches out to Children and Teens: Program Provides More than $100,000 in Scholarships

By Don Stenberg

The seventh- and eighth-graders lined up on the infield at Werner Park in Papillion tell the story of the Nebraska Educational Savings Trust best of all. Ball caps and glittery sandals. Hometowns stretching from Valentine in the west to Elkhorn in the east. Smart kids united in their dream to one day head off to college.

The students were winners in the 2013 Why I Want to Go to College writing contest sponsored by the Nebraska Educational Savings Trust (NEST). By law, the Nebraska State Treasurer is trustee of NEST. In all, 12 seventh- and eighth-graders were recognized last year in the writing contest, which enters its 12th year in 2014. Each winner received a sizable contribution to a state-sponsored 529 college savings account.

Inflammation: The Problem with Heart Disease and What We Can Do About It

By Daniel R. Anderson, M.D., Ph.D.

When I talk to my patients about their heart disease, we’re really talking about inflammation.

Research has well established in recent decades the role inflammation plays in the development of plaques in the arteries or atherosclerotic disease. Inflammation is the steady drumbeat of a slow march toward heart disease that may not present any problems or even symptoms until a life-threatening heart attack or debilitating stroke.

Unfortunately, I don’t meet many of my patients until after one of those major events, and I’m confident every other cardiologist in the world can say the same thing.

Saving for College, Reducing Your Taxes: Nebraska's College Savings Plans

By Don Stenberg

Encouraging children to dream big and helping families prepare for those big dreams are at the heart of the Nebraska Educational Savings Trust (NEST), a division of the Nebraska State Treasurer’s Office.

NEST is Nebraska’s state-sponsored, tax-advantaged college savings program.

By opening a NEST college savings account yet this year—or by making an additional contribution to an existing account—Nebraskans can receive significant tax benefits.

No Safe Tan

By David Watts

During her junior year of high school, 17-year-old Kasey Shriver noticed a small but unsightly dark blemish between her shoulder blades. The lesion was visible above the back of her prom dress, so her mother took her to the doctor to have it removed.

Then the call came that changed everything. The biopsy had shown that Kasey had an aggressive cancer of the skin called malignant melanoma. Additional tests revealed that the cancer had already spread to a lymph node under her left arm. Kasey had joined a sharply rising number of young women in the U.S. diagnosed in recent years with melanoma, a potentially deadly cancer of color-producing skin pigment cells called melanocytes. Her doctors agree that early overexposure to ultraviolet radiation (abbreviated “UV radiation”) likely caused her melanoma.

Spiritual Lessons from Walking the Camino

By Duke Engel

It all started with my face. At 57 and a half, I started to be concerned about getting old, but I didn’t know why because it didn’t seem like anything had changed about my life. It took about six months before I realized the issue was my face. It was these bags under my eyes and these wrinkles. Regardless of how I felt inside, there was no escaping the reality that my face had changed and I was looking old. Once I had realized the change, I did the only logical thing I could think of… I felt sorry for myself. Self-pity got boring after a while, and then I got proactive. I decided that ages 60 to 80 were going to be the fourth quarter of my life. If I lived past 80, my life would go into overtime. If I lived into my late 80s, my life would go into sudden-death overtime.

The next question was, “What do I need to change about my lifestyle if I’m not just going to survive but thrive in the fourth quarter?” There were seven areas of my life that I identified that would need to change if I was going to enjoy my life in the fourth quarter, and each of these areas would need a major transition to mark the beginning of that change. The first change I wanted was to become a more spiritual person. The transition to mark that change was going to be to walk El Camino de Santiago, which is arguably the oldest and most famous walking pilgrimage in the world. Santiago de Compostela is a city in northwest Spain where legend states the remains of St. James were discovered in the eighth century. For 1,200 years Christians have been walking from all of Europe across northern Spain on a route called “The Camino” to reach the beautiful, huge cathedral in Santiago to see the tomb of St. James.

Labor Day

By John Kretzschmar

Labor Day traditionally signals the end of summer, the beginning of school and the start of the political season. This Labor Day, Nebraskan families will unite in backyards and public parks across the nation to enjoy one another’s company. That is as it should be, but there is something important missing.

Too few of us know the holiday’s history. New York City first celebrated Labor Day in 1882, a time when our nation’s industrial production was overtaking agriculture as the driver of the American economy. By the first federal celebration of Labor Day in 1894, 30 states were already celebrating this holiday. Put in its proper context, Labor Day is a celebration of the many contributions organized labor has made to expanding democracy, humanizing the employer/employee relationship and improving our national standard of living. After all, Labor Day is the nation’s only holiday dedicated to everyday wage earners: the people who built this great nation and who make it run each and every day.

Culinary Tourism in Nebraska

By Angela White

Culinary tourism is an emerging niche that combines agriculture, specialty food and tourism. It focuses specifically on the search for, and enjoyment of, unique and exciting food and drink while travelling. Yet it’s not just for tourists. From global travelers to locals, culinary experiences play a major role in helping us share and learn more about our surroundings.

Experiencing culture through food is the heart of culinary tourism, and communities throughout the country are discovering and rediscovering their heritage with the focus on food and drink. A great example of this is the Wilber Czech Festival in Wilber, Neb. The 52-year-old summer festival celebrates Nebraska’s rich Czech heritage with parades, music, cultural dancing, historical demonstrations and, of course, food. The festival offers many opportunities to enjoy authentic Czech cooking, including polish sausage dinners served with dumplings, sauerkraut, rye bread, wood-fired pork, jaternice, liver dumpling soup and kolaches. The festival attracts approximately 20,000 visitors over three days.

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