In any business some level of certainty is always beneficial. That certainty provides a basis to make short term and long term plans, assess investments into the business or needed changes to an operation.
My farming operation is no different! The farm bill sets farm policy for the next five years so it is extremely important to you and me to know what that policy will be.
This year has given us plenty of uncertainty due to a drought that has plagued the nation and the implications can be seen across many facets of agriculture. But as a farmer one certainty that I am asking for is a farm bill. Whether you are a food producer or food consumer, you should be asking for the same and I ask that you pass along your message that we want a Farm Bill Now!
The current farm bill is set to expire this year and collectively Congress has yet to pass a farm bill although a version has been passed by the Senate, a version has yet to be passed by the House. I and other producers need the certainty that a farm bill provides as we begin to make decisions for next year, decisions that include thousands of dollars in seed, chemical, fertilizer and other inputs.
As a food consumer or a food producer, you have a voice and now is the time to send a message to those that represent you -- that we need the certainty that a farm bill can provide and we need it now.
In closing, time is running out for action. Congress will only be in session a few days in September and then the "lame duck session" following the November elections. So I ask that you visit with your senator or congressman, thank them for their past work and ask them to press for passage of a farm bill. You can also go to www.farmbillnow.com and send a message via Twitter or Facebook or simply sign a petition.
Your story about the certainty that a farm bill would provide your operation is a powerful message, and one that I ask you share with your representative or senator.
District 3 Director
Nebraska Corn Board
County volunteer effort top notch
I just wanted to say, being a non-Nebraska native but a cheesehead all my life, I was very impressed by the positive atmosphere at this year’s State Fair.
For example, nowhere else have I ever experienced being waved at by every person passing me on a sky tram. Only in Nebraska... Also, I am proud of Hamilton County’s efforts to help serve at the State Fair via our volunteer day or like seeing the Edgerton Exporit Center showcased, not to mention Husker Harvest Days, Diplomats, the AACD and the numerous other regional and statewide positions of leadership and volunteerism that occur from Hamilton County residents.
Way to go Aurora and Hamilton County!
Christian W. Evans
County 1.5% raise a slap in the face
I have been reading the paper the past several weeks and, needless to say, I am embarrassed at what is going on in the county commissioners’ meetings. Folks who I know from out of the county tease me in good nature about what is being printed about the meetings. We have become the laughing stock of the area. It sure appears that there is a personal vendetta against some people.
I didn’t feel the need to write the paper until I saw the part about our county employees getting a 1.5 percent raise. If you want to take morale to a new low, that is the way to do it. I remember when I was sheriff, this was done. How can I go back to my men and women and tell them that they are worth only that small bit and then try to motivate them to go to their respective jobs and give it all they’ve got. Several of them told me to take that 1.5 percent and "stick it" as it was just a slap in the face.
I didn’t say it, but they were right. I tried to explain to the commissioners at that time that it costs more to keep training new people than it does to pay the ones I had a decent wage. To help you understand, I had to pay two people doing the job of one while in training. This isn’t a job that you can learn in a short time. It takes a lot of hours to train for these kind of jobs.
The dispatchers have the hardest job that I know of. At that time, they had to dispatch, take 911 calls, get all the necessary people to the emergency, put up with additional calls and emergency calls all by themselves. In the meantime, they had to take calls from the scene, usually from a very excited deputy who wanted wreckers, more emergency services as needed and wanted them 10 minutes ago. And, along with that, had to do their prisoner checks each hour.
My point is that you get what you pay for! It is a very, very high-stress job.
When you see a deputy’s car driving down the road some of you think, wow, that is a cushy job. He is doing one of many things. He may be trying to collect personal property taxes from some deadbeat who doesn’t pay them. Those folks don’t answer their door and say, "I am so sorry, I just forgot." Most of them hide from you and don’t answer their door. It takes a lot of extra time trying to outfox them and then you listen to them make excuses and they want more time to pay, etc.
He may also be trying to serve a warrant for failure to appear in court, or he may be trying to serve a notice from court that he is being sued. Sometimes it is an arrest warrant for them to appear in court for several things, including not paying child support. These people don’t want to be found!
Oh, and one of the really nice ones involve a court order for them to sell your property, because the bank is foreclosing on them. This is not a bash at banks, they have a right to do this. A lot of the folks who I had to foreclose were people I had known for a long time. The interest rates were 18 percent and there was no way for them to pay that and keep in business. Some of the property that I had foreclosed on had been in the family for years. Some people actually thought I had a choice whether to sell their property and made threats to my family.
All of this for people who thought that 1.5 percent raise was doing us a big favor. It just stinks.
Extraordinary ambulance staff
Having been a nurse for 27 years in a rural community, I have had the opportunity to interact with many different ambulance services and companies.
On May 9, I had the unfortunate incident of stepping in a hole at the corner of 9th and G streets here in Aurora. My left ankle was twisted beyond belief and to the point that, from my view, I could only see the end of my leg and not my foot. The next thing I knew, a passerby (thank you to whoever you are) had dialed 911 and I was surrounded by the angels of the Hamilton County Ambulance Service.
As you can imagine, I did have excruciating pain, but these very skilled and competent professionals splinted my leg, packed me up and before we took off, they made sure that I would have the least amount of pain necessary on the way to our destination. During the ride, they gave me the utmost tender loving care. They were professionals and they were always thinking of me first in their every task.
This community can be proud of these men and women who get out at any time of the day or night, in any type of weather, and bring health care to those who need it. They are an extraordinary extension of the great healthcare that is available in Aurora and Hamilton County.
Jacy Henk, RN, BSN
The last burrito tells a story
Thinking back to my childhood in Aurora, my brother and I would fight for the last Coca Cola, Frosted Flakes, or the famous Chuck’s Drive Inn BBQs. We could care less about sharing with each other, we were simply inconsiderate and just a couple of selfish siblings. I would like to think our behavior growing up was not normal, but selfishness amongst siblings is probably more common than one would expect. I imagine most parents understand the relationship like my brother and me, and can recall a few stories of “bickering,” as said by our mom. While in our camp this evening, we were happy to see dinner arrive from Forward Operating Base (FOB) Justice. We all noticed the amount of rations (burritos) were limited. This happens sometimes and no one complains since we always appreciate hot chow. Knowing that there are 28 hungry soldiers in our camp, 18 of which are infantry, I waited last to eat since I am an old officer. After all, the young soldiers’ calorie consumption is much more important than mine... especially when we compare waistlines. When chow is limited, this tradition of officers eating last is as old as the US Army. Back to my childhood again, I remember a particularly hot summer day in Aurora where I swam all afternoon in the “new” Parkview Pool, then departed to deliver the Lincoln newspaper to 20 homes bordered by J and M Street, 9th and 12th Street. This one hot day, coupled with all the activity, anyone could develop a great thirst. Parched, I just could not wait to get home where I knew there were several cold bottles of Coke in the refrigerator. Once my paper carrier was empty, while peddling my green Coast-to-Coast bike, I raced for home with the expectation of a cold soda and good burn as the carbonation passed my throat. Walking in the door, I saw my older brother gloating and immediately knew all the soda was gone. As I scooped up some rice and vegetables in our camp’s eating area, I noticed that there was one burrito left. Unlike the old man writing this story, a young officer would think “ah... the soldiers left one for me” -- an appropriately innocent thought for a 23-year old lieutenant. There are many things that civilians do not know about a team of soldiers living in Afghanistan. One of these many things is their remarkable care for each other. In our camp, I watch these fine young soldiers in utter amazement as they are so splendidly selfless. No one tells a soldier to take a plate of food to his battle buddy in a guard tower, it just happens like breathing. I watch how soldiers wrap the food for their partners to be sure it remains warm and not sprinkled with dust on the trip to security post. Details like the plastic flatware, salt, pepper, and cold drink are packaged like a gift at Christmas. I often wonder about competitive and inconsiderate siblings and how their relationships turn out as they grow older -- distant or close? I am sure there have been many studies over years. Well, siblings are not soldiers in a strange country. However, in both groups the surroundings do influence how they treat each other. If only we could share this one evening of observing soldiers with young “bickering” siblings. Going back to the last burrito in the pan -- the soldiers rarely take the last item in the pan, just in case one of their buddies is still hungry. What a neat profession in which to be a member. Thank you for the online newspaper. Monte Yoder Gardez, AFG