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 Urban Farmer

By Tim Ellsworth

Having lived on a farm as a youngster, I have this love of the country that just won’t quit. I think there are quite a few people that are so afflicted. I have a good friend, a city “boy” from Connecticut, who bought a place in the country several years ago, and he and his wife have now moved to their acreage and they both love it. Instead of selling stocks and bonds, he is now raising rabbits and chickens.

Husker Train

Example of a bi-level gallery car (D. F. Barnhardt & Associates)

By Matthew Roque

Sounds awesome, I’d definitely ride it” is the usual response I get when talking to somebody about my train idea. The idea of exploring the feasibility of a commuter train from Omaha to Lincoln for Cornhusker home games was presented to me by an employee of Union Pacific. He figured the demand was high enough to warrant offering the service. He couldn’t have been more right. Bi-level gallery cars gleaming down the track with thousands of rabid Husker fans pouring out of them when they reach their destination: this is the dream that has come from that simple project idea.

Heritage Nebraska highlights Hidden Treasures and Fading Places for 2010

By J. L. Schmidt

Just in time for your short Nebraska-based “staycations “ or extended weekend outings, Heritage Nebraska has released its 2010 list of Fading Places and Hidden Treasures. The Fading Places are those endangered places that are suffering from neglect, inappropriate or inadequate use or economic or environmental factors out of control. Hidden Treasures are those gems that you won’t find advertised on the tourist brochure racks at the Interstate 80 rest areas or the local tourist attractions, but they are worthy of mention just the same.

Rediscovering the schools of Brown County

By Alan Bartels

Generations of Americans were educated in the familiar one- and two-room country schools that once dotted the Great Plains. Though some remain, due to budgetary challenges and shrinking rural populations, the rural school is fast fading from the Nebraska landscape. Ruth Ann Steele of rural Brown County, Neb., through persistence and amateur archaeological expeditions, works to preserve not only the country school where her husband and children attended but all of the schools that have ever existed in Brown County.

Nebraska's byways offer diverse attractions, amenities for RV travelers

By Matt Gersib

With nine scenic and historic byways, eight state parks, 65 state recreation areas and numerous private campgrounds, Nebraska is a great place to travel in a recreational vehicle. The towns and campgrounds along the state’s byways enthusiastically support RV travelers, and the routes take visitors to some of Nebraska’s most magnificent destinations.

Nebraska Digital Newspaper Project

By Katherine Walter

In an age when news is increasingly being sought online, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Library of Congress have stepped up to the plate to fund and develop a major online resource of historical newspapers. Eventually, the National Digital Newspaper Program will include papers from each state in the U.S., and the state projects are beginning to round the bases. Through the program, the Nebraska Digital Newspaper Project hit its first home run last summer.

Czech and Slovak Americans from an international perspective

By Bruce Garver

Most Americans of Czech and Slovak ancestry are descendants of immigrants who came to the United States from Bohemia, Moravia and northern Hungary between 1865 and 1914. At least half of all such immigrants settled in the states bordering the Great Lakes, while nearly a quarter of all Czech immigrants settled in the Great Plains states to which they were attracted by affordable agricultural land, greater political and religious freedom and lucrative commercial opportunities. Just as the history of these states cannot be comprehended without reference to the rest of the nation, neither can their economy be understood apart from that of the upper Middle West and especially Chicago, as William Cronon has so clearly demonstrated in his imaginative and solidly documented monograph, “Nature’s Metropolis: Chicago and the Great West” (New York, N.Y.: W. W. Norton Co., 1991).

Norma Wilson

Poet Norma Wilson lives in rural Vermillion, S.D. She taught English at the University of South Dakota for 27 years and currently serves on the board of the South Dakota Peace and Justice Center and as president of the Vermillion Area Arts Council. Her poems have been published in several publications, including South Dakota Magazine and Paddlefish.


Volunteers become family at Rowe Sanctuary

By Alan J. Bartels

Audubon’s Rowe Sanctuary near Gibbon hosts thousands of human visitors each spring, as well as hundreds of thousands of sandhill cranes. The efforts of volunteers are crucial in Rowe’s continued ability to protect crane habitat and educate people about these magnificent birds. Though many of these volunteers initially came to Rowe to work on behalf of the birds, reuniting with the members of their tight-knit but far-flung crane family has become just as important to them.

Green gold

By Charles Yost

Seeing molten gold is a very special experience. It shimmers and dances much as you might expect the surface of the sun would. Gold is truly an amazing material. Humankind has used gold as the definition of wealth and status for thousands of years.

Bessey and smoking

Tobacco has long been attacked by reformers and medical authorities for the damage it does to human health. The contemporary push for a smoke-free environment in Nebraska has roots in the state’s past. The Nebraska State Journal of Lincoln on Sept. 20, 1907, noted that the University of Nebraska prohibited smoking on campus and was reemphasizing that policy during student registration:

The murder is the message

Richard Behar will present “China in Africa: The New Scramble?” as the fourth lecture in this year’s E. N. Thompson Forum on World Issues. An award-winning investigative journalist, Behar writes about the career of his mentor Robert W. Greene and the future of investigative journalism with passion and insight.

Robert W. Greene (Newsday file photo/AP)By Richard Behar

When I heard the news in 2008 that Bob (“Big Daddy”) Greene had died at age 78, I walked around with this real feeling in my gut like he’d been murdered and I’d been mugged. After a few hours of this bizzarity, it finally dawned on me why this seemed like such an injustice: His legacy was, and still is, being hacked to death—day after depressing day.

Curiosity never retires

By Dee Aguilar

The 553 members of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln are finding new ways to enjoy their lives and time. They are being challenged to stretch their minds in new ways that are stimulating and satisfying. Classes, special events and travel are successful as long as these provide a variety of subject matter that is rich in content.

From fat to fit: How Nebraska can free itself from childhood obesity

By Matt Gersib

No matter how you look at it, childhood obesity in Nebraska is at a critical level. Our children are big, they’re getting bigger and we’re not doing enough to turn the corner on the problem.

“It’s especially alarming,” said Dr. Rob Rauner, M.D., “since the consequences of childhood obesity aren’t felt today. They’re felt 10, 20 years down the road.”

History Brownville

By Nora Tallmon

It doesn’t take much in the place I live to discover history. Turn over a few inches of dirt to plant melons and discover a pre-Civil War honey pot; move some floorboards to drop electrical wires and there is a tiny, faceted carnelian ring resting on an 1880 receipt for a bushel of grapes. It’s been like that since we moved to Brownville, Neb., going on three years ago.


Immigration in Nebraska

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