Vern P. McAfee, 91, of Emerson NE

Vern P. McAfee, 91, of Emerson, NE passed away Saturday, February 28, 2015 at Heritage of Emerson in Emerson, NE.

Funeral services are pending with Munderloh – Smith Funeral Home in Emerson, NE.

Tree Care Workshop Hosted by Nebraska Forest Service

The Nebraska Forest Service will be hosting a Tree Care Workshop in Norfolk on March 12, 2015 at the Lifelong Learning Center on the campus of Northeast Community College, 801 East Benjamin Avenue. This work-shop will focus on communities being ready for disasters such as Thousand Cankers Disease and Emerald Ash Borer and is geared towards arborists, municipal workers, and those who work with community landscapes.

The workshop is from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. ReTree Nebraska Ambassadors can register for a discounted fee of $20. Students, master gardeners, tree board volunteers, NSA Inc. curators, NAA, NNLA and ISA members receive a $5 discount.

Participants can earn CEUs from the International Society of Arboriculture and Nebraska Arborists Association. For more information contact Graham Herbst at 402-444-7875, The cost is $55 and includes lunch. Register online by March 1 at:

Amy Fahnestock, 86, of Grand Island NE

Amy Fahnestock, 86, of Grand Island, Nebraska passed away at CHI-St Francis in Grand Island on Thur, Feb 26th.  Services to celebrate Amy’s life will be held at 11 a.m. on Monday March 2nd at Calvary Lutheran Church, 13th and Custer, Grand Island. Pastor Sheri Lodel will officiate.  There will be no visitation as Amy chose to be cremated.  The family requests in lieu of flowers memorials be given to either Calvary Lutheran Church or donor’s choice.  All Faiths Funeral Home in Grand Island is serving the family.

Mrs. Fahnestock was born on a farm south of Scribner, NE on January 23rd, 1929 to Martin and Martha (Nieman) Schroeder.  Amy graduated from Scribner High in 1947. On February 10th, 1950 she married the love of her life, Robert Fahnestock, also of Scribner. They were blessed with 59 happy years of marriage. Son, Rob Jr and daughter, Jill, were borne out of this union.

In the early 70’s, Bob and Amy became members of the Foster and Adoptive Parents Association of Nebraska. They provided a loving home for foster children Lucy, Virginia, Mark, Jolene, Margie, Vickie, Jeanna, LaRae, Justine, John, Michael, Roberta and Monica over the next 10 plus years. They were active supporters of foster and adoptive care through their retirement years.  They were honored as Native Son and Daughter of the Year by their hometown of Scribner for their work on behalf of foster children.

In their retirement years, both Bob and Amy worked as family supporters for the State of Nebraska; working with families in crisis.
For 20 years, Bob and Amy were active in, and thoroughly enjoyed participating in, a Marriage Encounter Spiral Group.

Amy was an active member of Calvary Lutheran Church. She served on the board, sang in the choir, taught Sunday School, spent 10 years as Calvary’s funeral lunch coordinator and served as co-president of Women of Calvary for many years.   One of Amy’s favorite Bible verses was “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Amy loved playing games and cards with her family. She loved writing and won a contest, had a story published and a true story she wrote was used by her Veterinarian, both at a convention and later in a book he wrote. Amy loved dogs, cats, oil painting, collecting recipes, word game books, reading and dancing. Amy began painting again during her stay at Wedgewood, but left-handed. She was proud and pleased to sell her first painting at 85 years of age.

Amy was preceded in death by her husband, Bob, in 2009; parents, sister Laura and two brothers-in-law.

Amy is survived by her son Robert Jr, his wife Virginia Fahnestock, daughter Jill Fahnestock, grandson, Ben Fahnestock; all of Grand Island. She is also survived by 13 foster children, sister Arlene Carper of Oakland, brother-in-law and sister-in-law Ken and Lou Ann Henkins of Omaha, seven nieces and nephews, as well as many cousins and friends.

Amy Fahnestock

Amy Fahnestock

Reminder: Burt County Fair Kick-Off Tomorrow


4-H Pride Spelled Out in Craig

4-H pride during 4-H Week was spelled out in Craig on an icy snow pile by the Argo 4-H Club. Helping in the freezing cold were: Colton Smith, Ryan Smith, Madeline Pearson, Karley Eriksen, Greta Pearson, Brinley Eriksen, Parke Loftis and Justin Smith all of Craig.Photo Credit/Mary Loftis.

4-H pride during 4-H Week was spelled out in Craig on an icy snow pile by the Argo 4-H Club.
Helping in the freezing cold were: Colton Smith, Ryan Smith, Madeline Pearson, Karley Eriksen, Greta Pearson, Brinley Eriksen, Parke Loftis and Justin Smith all of Craig.Photo Credit/Mary Loftis.

Flying Needles 4-H Club Makes Muffins to Take to Golden Living Center

Izzy Connealy and Lily Willing get help making muffins from Jessica Fleischman while 4-H leader, Kim Jackson reads the recipe. The Flying Needs 4-H Club made apple and banana muffins which were shared during Burt County 4-H Week with the residents of the Golden Living Center, the Methodist Church coffee hour and the Extension Office. Photo Credit/Mary Loftis.

Izzy Connealy and Lily Willing get help making muffins from Jessica Fleischman while 4-H leader, Kim Jackson reads the recipe.
The Flying Needs 4-H Club made apple and banana muffins which were shared during Burt County 4-H Week with the residents of the
Golden Living Center, the Methodist Church coffee hour and the Extension Office. Photo Credit/Mary Loftis.

Lady Cougars End Season Tying School Win Record

Northeast went into the sub-districts with a number two seed and a tough team to take out in round one.  Bancroft-Rosalie despite their 10-13 record were going to be a tough draw.  The game went into overtime with Northeast on top 51-48.


The Lady Cougars started the game in a rare attempt of zone defense  to combat the double post offense of the Panthers.  “We did a good job of stopping their offense with the zone,” said Coach Rex Haskell.  “We did not do a good job of rebounding though. The ball kept going to them as they had a 33 to 8 led at half time.  The second half we went back to man and out rebounded them by three rebounds.”


After a tie at 10 in the first period, the Panthers gained a 22-17 lead at half.
The third period was a defensive period with Northeast gaining back one point.  Northeast took the lead in the fourth quarter and looked to have game won before misfortune hit in the closing seconds.


“Our full court press got us back into the game and we had a three point lead with seconds to play. B-R was in a forced to foul situation, but the foul was not called,” stated Coach Haskell.  The Panthers got as steal and a three and the game went into over time.


“It was a game of free throws,” commented the coach.  We made ours in the overtime and they didn’t.  Lexie and Abby came through with some big shots.  We needed them because Brianne and Darcey had fouled out.”


During the game LDNE shot 39 free shots and made 23 for 59% accuracy.  The Panthers had 22 tries and converted just 9 for 41%.


The Cougar had three in double figures. Darcey Simonsen topped the team with 14 point,; Lexie Bacon had 12, and Brianne Haskell had 11. Vicki Gatzemeyer had a game-high 26 points for B-R.


LDNE              10        7          6          22        6          -51

B-R                  10        12        5          18        3          -48


2p        3pt       FT        RB       F          TP

Simonsen          4          0          6/11     8          –           14

Wakeley           0          0          3/6       3          –           3

Haskell 4                     0          3/6       3          –           11

Collins              0          0          00/       1          –           0

Bacon              0          2          6/8       8          –           12

Jessen              2          0          0/0       6          –           4

Peterson           1          0          5/8       4          –           7

Totals               11-33   2-11     23-39   32        –           51

B-R                  9-41     7-23     9-22     54        29        48




Perennial basketball power Wynot took on the Cougars in the sub-districts finals.  The (18-5) Blue Devils have been the State D-2 Champions for the last four years after taking runner-up in 2010.


“They pressed us the whole game full court.   It  took us a while to adapt to it and we did get some easy points.  You had to attack their press because if you ever picked the ball up they would trap you,” stated Coach Haskell.


Wynot jumped to a 17-8 first quarter lead.  Northeast cut the lead to five in the second quarter, but scores in the late period gave the Blue Devils a double digit lead at half.  Wynot came out with an 8-0 to start the second half and it was now a twenty point game,  Northeast was not able to mount any comeback until Wynot subbed out.   LDNE lost 65-49.


The Lady Cougars end their season with a school record tying fifteen wins.  They  lost nine times.




Wynot              17        20        14        14        -65

LDNE              8          16        9          16        -49



2pt       3pt       FT        RB       TP

Simonsen          5          0          0/0       4          10

Wakeley           0          0          0/0       7          0

Haskell 3          1          3/5       3          12

Collins              0          0          0/0       0          0

Bacon              3          3          2/2       3

Henneman     00          0/0       0          0

Jessen              1          0          0/0       13        2

Peterson           3          0          2/3       4          8

Totals               15        4          7/10     33        49

Sunday Afternoon at the Museum at Neihardt State Historic Site

The Neihardt State Historic Site is offering two “Sunday Afternoon at the Museum” programs in March.  On March 8, 2015, Nebraska author and historian Melissa Amateis Marsh will discuss her research and publication Nebraska POW Camps:  A History of World War II Prisoners in the Heartland.  Ingeniously weaving fact and narrative, Marsh’s book tells the story of several camps in Nebraska—at Camp Atlanta, Fort Robinson, and Camp Scottsbluff—where Axis prisoners were held during World War II.  Reviewed in the latest volume of Nebraska History, the Nebraska State Historical Society quarterly, Sheryl Shmeckpeper of Norfolk Daily News writes, “Marsh’s book is a direct and easily readable account of a subject that has been long neglected.  It provides a glimpse into the camps—both the main camps and the satellite camps-scattered around the state.  It analyzes the reason for their existence, the daily life of the prisoners they held, and the impact of the camps and the prisoners on the area economy.  It also shares stories of the relationships forged between some of the prisoners and the Nebraskans they encountered.”


The following week, and just in time to kick off St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, Irish poet Desmond Egan will return to entertain us with poetry and story.   Egan lives in Newbridge, County Kildare, Ireland and visits the United States annually for a tour of readings and workshops. He appeared at the Neihardt Site in 2003, 2005, 2008, and 2014, and will be here once more on March 15 to share some of his new works. Egan is recognized as one of Ireland’s most distinguished poets, teaching literature and serving as poet-in-residence at University College in Dublin and creative director of the annual Gerard Manley Hopkins International Summer School.  He certainly has universal appeal, with over twenty collections of poetry and prose translated into a more than a dozen languages; one example is an anti-apartheid poem which graces Desmond Tutu’s bedroom wall. His most recent publication September Dandelion is a dual-language (English/Chinese) collection of poems published in China this past March.  His work has been the subject of two documentary films, he holds an honorary doctorate from Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas, and he continues to garner awards, such as the 2004 Macedonian Poetry Award.  His poetry is often humorous but more likely to be observations on the painful realities of poverty and war, such as his poem “Peace.”  Greatly influenced by American Jazz music, in the 1970s he used to come to New York to “starve about the place,” while absorbing the rhythms and nuances which color many of his works. Of his lighter pieces, among the most popular is his set of “Hokums,” an Irish blarney parody of Japanese Haiku poetry, a style he greatly admires for its simplicity and deep feeling.


Each presentation will begin at 2:00 p.m. at the Neihardt State Historic Site.  General programs are free and open to the public with a reception following.  The John G. Neihardt State Historic site is located at 306 W. Elm Street in Bancroft, Nebraska. For information call 1-888-777-4667 or 402/648-3388 or e-mail at  Visit our website at and Like us on Facebook.

March SAM Program Poster

Wind Chill Advisory


Center Urges Support for Medicaid Redesign Act

*Jon Bailey will be at the Unicameral today, testifying in support of LB 472 and specifically discussing details of the new Center for Rural Affairs report entitled, LB 472 and Leveraging Federal Dollars to Reform Corrections. His written testimony is available here:
Lincoln, Nebraska – Today at the Unicameral, the Health and Human Services Committee is hearing public testimony on LB 472 – a legislative proposal that would help redesign Nebraska’s Medicaid program and close the existing health care coverage gap for low-income, working Nebraskans.
“The Center for Rural Affairs supports LB 472, the Medicaid Redesign Act, for all of the supportive reasons you are hearing today and the for the reasons we supported LB 887 in 2014 and LB 577 in 2013,” said Jon Bailey, Director of Rural Policy at the Center for Rural Affairs. “We support providing health insurance to thousands of low-income working Nebraskans who are unable to obtain traditional Medicaid coverage, who do not have access to employer-sponsored private insurance, and who are unable to afford insurance plans in the health insurance marketplace, and thus fall into a coverage gap not of their making.”
Nebraska is losing over $930,000 every day by failing to provide health coverage to its low-income, working citizens and the federal funding that will provide it. Since January 1, 2014, Nebraska has lost a total of over $391 million in available federal Medicaid funds, Bailey added.
For an up to the minute figure on Medicaid dollars lost to Nebraska, see the Center for Rural Affairs Medicaid Gap Counter at:
“Today we come in support of LB 472 for another reason,” Bailey testified. “Today, in conjunction with Nebraska Appleseed, we released a report,  LB 472 and Leveraging Federal Dollars to Reform Corrections, showing the benefits of a redesigned Medicaid program to our corrections program, our corrections population and the state’s taxpayers.”
“Nebraska clearly has issues in its corrections programs that affect the state’s taxpayers and public safety. Just as clear is the connection between mental health and substance abuse treatment and criminal offenses and recidivism. Examples from initiatives in other states and long-term research show that this connection can be addressed through mental health and substance abuse treatment to low-income people where needed and to offenders released from the corrections population or on parole or probation.”
Jon Bailey, Center for Rural Affairs
Bailey provided a copy of the Center’s report to the Committee and it can also be viewed or downloaded here:
Bailey further explained to the Committee, based upon Nebraska corrections data, findings from other states, and findings from research on the connections between Medicaid and health insurance coverage, necessary treatments, and criminal justice system outcomes, that:
  • A lack of mental health services and substance abuse treatment is a primary cause of re-offending, recidivism and a return to jail or prison.
  • A redesigned Nebraska Medicaid program such as proposed in LB 472 would help keep nearly 400 people from returning to prison in one year.
  • A redesigned Nebraska Medicaid program such as proposed in LB 472 would result in gross savings to the state’s correctional budget of nearly $11 million in one year.
  • A redesigned Nebraska Medicaid program could save additional state and county dollars that have already been invested or will be invested in corrections reform.
“Research clearly shows recidivism can come from a lack of health coverage,” continued Bailey. “There is a consensus among national and Nebraska research and analysis that mental health and substance abuse treatment are what many in the corrections population need. Examples from national research and from other states clearly show linking people to coverage and necessary treatments work in reducing criminal offenses and recidivism.”
Since traditional Medicaid is unavailable to most of the correctional population and private health insurance is unattainable, Nebraska needs LB 472 to make these necessary connections. The Nebraska taxpayer and public safety, as well as those in the corrections population, will all be beneficiaries, Bailey concluded.
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