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).

Population Health Management: The Next Frontier for Health Care

By Brad Stephan, RN, BSN, BA

As a nurse, allow me to sum up the traditional medical model driving the health care industry, as follows: We sit and wait for the phone to ring. Of course, the “we” is the health care provider—physicians, nurses, hospitals, etc.—and the person at the other end of that phone is you, a typical patient whose symptoms have progressed to the point of being self-evident or intolerable. In other words, the traditional medical model represents “reactive medicine,” which is so 20th century! And, now, here’s the problem: Our 21st-century budget cannot afford 20th-century medicine, particularly with the added burden of an aging population coupled with a struggling economy. Something (or, more precisely, someone) has got to give.

Breast Cancer: Prevention and Early Detection: October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

By Paul Nathenson, RN, ND

Prevention begins with recognizing the causation of chronic illness, including cancer, heart disease, diabetes and respiratory illness. There are five controllable factors related to health and disease prevention and one uncontrollable factor, which is genetics. The five controllable factors include smoking status, nutrition, stress management, exercise and sleep. The first one is easy; it has been well documented and widely publicized that smoking cigarettes causes cancer—not just lung cancer but breast cancer, cervical cancer and a variety of other carcinomas. It should be clear by now that you shouldn’t smoke and that you should avoid second-hand smoke, which has been thought by some to be more dangerous that the act of smoking.

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.

Hidden Treasures and Fading Places in 2011

By J. L. Schmidt

It came to me some years ago as I steered the car off the Interstate and onto one of Nebraska’s secondary roads. I was doing it as much for me as for my two young sons in the back seat of the station wagon.

I don’t want these kids to grow up and think that Nebraska is an endless stretch of four-lane highways, rest areas and fast food restaurants, I told my wife. I want them to see and remember the places and things that we experienced as kids.

A Rational Approach to Maintaining a Healthy Weight

By Paul Nathenson, RN

In order to maintain a healthy weight, it is important to understand the mechanisms that cause weight gain. Once you have an understanding of what causes weight gain, you will be in a position to make the right nutrition choices, and you will be able to avoid being fooled by diet foods or even some foods labeled as healthy that actually cause weight gain.

Algeria: One North African Country at the Beginning of the 21st Century

One of the many spectacular vistas looking toward the Mediterranean from El Biar. (Gene R. Bedient)

By Gene R. Bedient

Our adventure in Algeria began when my spouse, Gwen Bedient, decided to apply for employment with the U.S. Foreign Service. In January 2010 we received notice that she had been accepted and was being invited to Washington for orientation. Because I have been working toward retirement after 41 years with the Bedient Pipe Organ Company, the timing seemed ideal because living outside of the continental United States had been a dream of ours. A sudden shifting-of-gear was necessary to set in motion the many arrangements that needed to be made prior to her reporting to D.C. for training on March 15. Shortly after arrival, she learned that her first assignment would be at the American Embassy in Algiers, capital city of Algeria on the northern African coast. My retirement plans were launched.

Celebrate National Trails Day

By Tim Montgomery

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.

The Brisbane Floods

By Paul Gottlieb and Kay Pearse

After more than a decade of drought, Queenslanders in Australia were revelling in a return to a more regular summer season in 2011. The gardens were greening up, the cicadas and frogs were chirping again and we could shower for longer than the three minutes required during the extended water restrictions.

The source of Brisbane’s water, Wivenhoe Dam, had dropped to just 16 percent during the drought, and now it was full to overflowing. At the peak of the flood, it reached 190 percent capacity—which includes 100 percent of its water supply and 90 percent of its flood mitigation capacity.

Quarks, Muons and Moses or "What I Did on My Vacation"

By Eli S. Chesen

We are leaving Iraq, contemplating the building of mosques in Manhattan, quibbling with our founding fathers’ church-versus-state paradigm, and in the meantime various and sundry indigenous religious wars are conflagrating in locations beyond the awareness of the geographically challenged. We have been killing each other for hundreds of thousands of years as uncivilizations argued over who was or was not a genuine prophet speaking for this God or that God.

Organic Label Certification: What's in a Name?

By Justin Van Wart and Charles Francis

Organic” on a label at the local grocery store usually prompts thoughts of a pesticide-free, exceptionally nutritious and better-tasting product. While there is evidence pointing to the superior quality of some organic products, there is also evidence to the contrary. In the midst of this confusion, does the word organic mean anything? How does a product become certified as organic and what faith can we have in the label? It is no wonder that consumers are confused.

Elderquest: Gender Identity in the New Old Age

By Charles Nicholas, Dee Aguilar and Sarah Quandahl

Elder heroes behave very differently from younger ones: their journeys are often inward rather than outward, backward rather than forward, slow and intentional rather than fast and impetuous. But their actions are just as heroic, if not more so, for the stakes are higher, time is short and the flesh is weak. Victory, and it’s far from guaranteed, is full acceptance and then a willingness to let it go as one helps others to prepare for the ascendancy of the next generation. This is what we call the elderquest—the search for wisdom, connection and integrity in later life, and those who go on this quest are providing us with new and more positive narratives for successful aging.

The Rally to Restore Sanity: A Timeline

By Kandra Haha

My friend Pat Knapp and I have come to Washington, D.C., for Emmy-winning comedian Jon Stewart’s Rally to Restore Sanity. I saw him announce it on his show Sept. 17 and thought right away about going. Pat, a Lincoln, Neb. lawyer, read about it and sent an e-mail to a group of friends with the subject line, “OH MY GOD I WANT TO GO!!!” I replied and, typical of me, had already checked flights and prices. Our friends demurred, citing preexisting sanity. Pat and I had plane tickets and a room in a couple of days.

Cool Communities

By Kim Huston

Can a small town compete with a “cool” city? So many books have been written about the creative economy and what it is that our next generation is looking for in a place to live. Is it a Starbucks on every corner, is it an exciting nightlife or is it the large array of shopping outlets? Richard Florida in his book “Rise of the Creative Class” is adamant about his belief that all cities aspire to lure that “creative class” of individual, and to do that we need creative environments and stimulating places to live and work. But honestly, how do small towns compete with this?


Immigration in Nebraska

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