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Notice:

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).

A Brief History of Organized Labor and the Democratic Party, Part Two

By Ron Kaminski

Samuel Gompers was the first elected president of the American Federation of Labor (AFL). Gompers was not a social reformer. He believed in limiting the goals of organized labor to helping workers get their fair share of the profits their work created. He much preferred lobbying both major political parties for favorable legislation than actively supporting candidates for office. Gompers was against the AFL endorsing any political party because he didn’t want the labor movement to be beholden to that outside influence.

Algeria, Islam and Ramadan

By Gene R. Bedient

July 20, 2012: The first day of Ramadan: I am out for an early morning walk. It happens to be Friday, which is Muslim holy day, and there is always less activity on Friday than other days. However, today is different. None of the usual coffee shops or newspaper/ cosmetic/tobacco shops are open. Everything is closed. Ramadan is the most holy season for Muslims and a good day to begin this discussion of religious practices in Algeria.

To describe to an outsider the religious practices of any area of the world is not a simple task. Ancient tribes practiced rituals concerning light, darkness, weather, harvest, marriage, birth, death, etc. Many of these practices were carried over, at least in part, to more formalized religions. To describe Algeria and the Maghreb or northern Africa today as predominantly Muslim is true; however, there are sociological layers upon layers that lead to contemporary practices. Many centuries of recorded civilizations existed before the Islamic conversion of the Maghreb by Damascene Muslims, who arrived around 670 CE. The most prominent ancient tribe of the Maghreb and still a proud and largely anti-Arab force today is the Berbers. Their presence predates but is later interrelated with the Numidian kingdom beginning around 200 BCE, therefore also predating the circa 150 CE arrival of the Romans. The Visgoths, Vandals and Byzantines also had a presence in the area and centuries before that, the Phoenicians.

There has been some presence

A Brief History of Organized Labor and the Democratic Party, Part One

By Ron Kaminski

This state and nation do best when there’s an opportunity for hard-working people, who play by the rules, to earn a decent standard of living. There was a brief period in our history following World War II and lasting through the mid-1970s where that was as true as it had ever been. Organized labor and the Democratic Party played an important part in making that happen. This is an attempt to explain how we got there.

Internet Founder to Discuss the Future of Technology and Opportunities for Nebraska

By Rod Armstrong

Vint Cerf is widely recognized as one of the “Fathers of the Internet.” In his current role with Google, he is well known for his predictions about how technology will affect the future society. Vint will share his deep knowledge of technology issues and trends at the second annual Broadband Connecting Nebraska conference in Lincoln.

Applied Hope

By Amory B. Lovins

The early bioneer Bill McLarney was stirring a vat of algae in his Costa Rica research center when a brassy North American lady strode in. What, she demanded, was he doing stirring a vat of green goo when what the world really needs is love? “There’s theoretical love,” Bill replied, “and then there’s applied love”—and kept on stirring.

Many of us here stir and strive in the spirit of applied hope. We work to make the world better, not from some airy theoretical hope, but in the pragmatic and grounded conviction that starting with hope and acting out of hope can cultivate a different kind of world worth being hopeful about, reinforcing itself in a virtuous spiral. Applied hope is not about some vague, far-off future but is expressed and created moment by moment through our choices.

Brownville, Neb.: Travel Matters

By Kimberly Downing Robinson

I am a summer visitor in Brownville, Neb., so I feel it my duty to share with you what I did not expect to find when I arrived here a month ago: driving off I-29 onto US 136 and into the village proper is an American version of Lark Rise to Candleford, that being my first impression of Brownville’s pristine homes, lawns and gardens. Home to the River Inn Resort, the Village Theatre and the Robert W. Furnas House Museum, as well as many other impressive aesthetic and historic venues for lodging, the performing arts and historical interpretations of the American frontier and the U.S. railroad system, Brownville’s history aligns well with that of my permanent residence in Fort Smith, Ark. A recent visit to the Methodist Church, built in 1857, affirms not only spirituality but also architectural simplicity. Learning that Willa Cather had ties to Brownville after traveling here in 1894 to research and write a piece in honor of its 40th anniversary further cements my interest in this area for its literary connections. I could go on, but, honestly, the list of associations is quite extensive. I am simply amazed that this small community has a cultural center rivaling that of much larger towns, so I write today to share my first impressions of this beautiful area and to encourage you to visit.

The Attractiveness of a Liberal Arts Degree

By Alex Ringgenberg

One brisk morning last winter on my way to class at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, I parallel parked behind a car that sported an encouraging bumper sticker. It read, “The more you know, the less you need.” Being an English major, this quote had the same effect a warm cup of coffee might. It warmed me up and comforted me. I know that my educational path is the right one for me. An English degree requires almost no knowledge of computers, and it definitely doesn’t require business knowledge. Consequently, I am forced to field the question, “What are you going to do with an English degree?” A fair and valid question, no doubt, but one I am tired of dealing with. I walk from lecture to lecture prepared to defend the department I am enrolled in. This article aims to be an extension of that defense with the hope that if people know what kinds of skills a liberal arts degree cultivates, then maybe they won’t feel the need to ask, “What are you going to do with an English degree?”

Arthritis: How Far Have We Come?

By Melvin Churchill, M.D.

Arthritis, for many individuals, remains a mysterious diagnosis that belongs to a few unfortunate individuals. The diagnosis of a rheumatic disease or some form of arthritis is actually quite common. One out of three households has a member with significant disability, based on the diagnosis of arthritis. In fact, 46 million people have doctor-diagnosed arthritis, and it’s estimated, by the year 2030, 67 million or 25 percent of the U.S. population will suffer from conditions known as arthritis. Arthritis is the number one cause of disability, and costs in the United States are estimated to be more than $130 billion dollars annually. In actuality, one out of every five adults with doctor-diagnosed arthritis is a reality. An estimated 300,000 children have arthritis in this country.

Kresge Selects Omaha for Prestigious Award

By Kara Henner Eastman

In 2011 Detroit’s Kresge Foundation invited the Omaha Healthy Kids Alliance (OHKA) to apply for a grant under their Advancing Safe and Healthy Homes Initiative along with 35 other groups from around the nation. On July 1, 2012, OHKA was selected as one of six grantees to receive the award of $750,000. The grant will fund the alliance’s work around creating green, lead-safe and healthy homes for children and families in Omaha, Neb. The Kresge Foundation is a $3 billion private, national foundation that seeks to influence the quality of life for future generations through its support of nonprofit organizations. Their new Advancing Safe and Healthy Housing Initiative is intended to make homes safe and healthy by addressing asthma triggers, such as dust or pests, lead poisoning hazards, like deteriorating lead-based paint in older homes and safety issues from a lack of carbon monoxide hazards to radon.

Prairie Fire's Take-along Guide for the Nebraska Passport

By Shannon Peterson

Sometimes people ask me, “What is there to do in Nebraska?”

They ask with a hint of sarcasm in their voice as if to imply there couldn’t possibly be anything to do here. Even people who live here—we’re a humble, modest group—often dismiss what Nebraska has to offer. We have a hard time believing in ourselves.

But Nebraska is amazing and diverse.

Nebraska Passports Lead to Great Adventures

By Shannon Peterson

The Nebraska Passport is back and better than ever. The 2102 program includes new stops, fun tours and exciting prizes.

This year’s Passport has expanded to feature 80 attractions on 10 themed tours: culinary, culture, family fun, festivals, golf, GROW Nebraska, parks, unique accommodations, water adventure and wineries. So no matter what travelers are interested in doing on their vacations, they’ll find something appealing in the Passport.

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Immigration in Nebraska

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