Medicare Basics Workshop

News Release

Mary Loftis

NE Extension Associate and SHIIP Counselor

August 19, 2019


Medicare Basics Workshop

          Have you been receiving an increasingly large amount of Medicare mail lately?

Are you invited to informational meetings hosted by insurance companies? Or maybe there’s a speaker scheduled at your local senior center regarding Medicare insurance options. Whatever the scenario, you are either becoming eligible for Medicare or you might already be on it and it’s getting close to the annual Medicare Open Enrollment period. That makes you a target for anyone selling Medicare associated coverage.

Don’t just throw up your hands in confusion and frustration! You are welcome to attend any of these meetings, but don’t sign up for anything until you visit with someone who has absolutely nothing to gain from the Medicare plan you are considering.

The Nebraska Senior Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP) provides free unbiased information from the Nebraska Department of Insurance. SHIIP counselors provide this information to individuals becoming eligible for Medicare and for those already on it who need to compare their drug plan coverage each year.

A Medicare Basics Program will be held Wednesday, September 11. It will be held in Fremont at the Nebraska Extension Office in Dodge County at 1206 West 23rd Street beginning at 7:00 p.m. Mary Loftis, Nebraska Extension Associate and Nebraska SHIIP Counselor will be conducting the program.

Please register by calling the Dodge County Extension Office at 402-727-2775 so enough materials are available. Everyone is welcome to attend so bring a new to Medicare friend with you!

Heat Advisory


The National Weather Service in Omaha/Valley has issued a Heat Advisory, which is in effect until 9 PM CDT this evening.

* HEAT INDEX VALUES…104 to 110 degrees due to temperatures in the 90s and dewpoints in the upper 70s.

* TIMING…The hottest conditions are expected between 4 and 7 PM.

* IMPACTS…The heat and humidity may cause heat stress during outdoor exertion or extended exposure.


A Heat Advisory means that a period of hot temperatures is expected. The combination of hot temperatures and high humidity will combine to create a situation in which heat illnesses are possible. Drink plenty of fluids, stay in an air-conditioned room, stay out of the sun and check up on relatives and neighbors.

Crop Dusting in High Gear Locally

Crop dusting is in high gear right now. Maybe the painted lady butterflies that turn into caterpillars and feast on bean fields have something to do with that! Both photos credit of Denise Gilliland, Editor and Chief, Kat Country Hub.

Upcoming Medicare Basics Class

Mary Loftis

Nebraska Extension Associate and SHIIP Counselor

News Release

August 6, 2019


Welcome to Medicare Basics Class:

Celebrate your upcoming 65th birthday by attending a “Welcome to Medicare!” class.

If you or a family member are turning 65 in the near future, it’s a milestone birthday and a cause for celebration. It can also be a cause for concern and confusion.

Once you know the basics you can handle the rest, or at least you’ll know who to call for unbiased help.


Join the Medicare Basics informational meeting on Wednesday, September 11 at the Dodge County Extension Office at 1206 West 23rd Street in Fremont, NE.


The meeting will begin at 7:00 p.m. and absolutely nothing will be marketed or sold at this event.

It’s a free informational meeting presented by Mary Loftis, a trained Senior Health Insurance Information Program counselor. Anyone from any county or community is welcome to take part in this program. Family members are encouraged to also attend.


A future Welcome to Medicare session will be held January 30st at 7:00 in Tekamah in the Burt County Courthouse meeting room if that date works better in your schedule.


Please call Nebraska Extension in Dodge County today at 402-727-2775 to register for the September 11thMedicare education session.

Last Call for Pop Tabs

By Mary Loftis

Extension Associate


September 15 is the deadline to  turn in your aluminum pop tabs for the Ronald McDonald House.  Year-long collection sites are the Extension Office at the Burt County Courthouse in Tekamah and at the Lied Tekamah Public Library.   This is an on-going project of the Burt County 4-H program.  Over the past 18 years more than 1.1 million tabs have been collected  from Burt County.


Pull tabs from any product are accepted, including fruit, vegetable, soup, any beverage and pet food.


Tabs will be recycled and funds will support the Ronald McDonald House in Omaha, a “home-away-from-home” for families so they can stay close by their hospitalized child at little or no cost.

Summer, Fishing, Gardening. Let’s Make This World a Better Place

I absolutely love summer! I only wish it would slow down. It’s not that I don’t like fall. It’s more that I dread winter. I remember last winter! It makes me shudder to think about.

What has everyone done this summer? We have taken the boat out several times to go fishing. I wish we could brag about the number of fish we have caught, or even “the one that got away”, but I don’t have one single fish to brag about. Unless catching a small blue gill is bragging rights! I hope we catch a keeper before summer is over! But, what I enjoy most is the time Jeff and I spend together. When we aren’t catching fish, we spend the time talking, laughing, sharing memories of the past and making more memories for the future.

We recently celebrated our 23rd anniversary. We have been together 25 years. As with any married couple, we have had our ups and downs. We have always gotten through the hard times together. We support each other, stand by each other, and always love each other.

We went away for a few days to a cabin. I have discovered with time, and with age, gifts to each other for an anniversary aren’t important. Time spent together is the greatest gift of all. We made some good memories during those few days together, enjoying peace and quiet. It is nice to get away from life sometimes and relax. Everyone needs some time away.

I have also learned that every day is a blessing. When we are both home in the evenings, after a busy day, we sit on the patio, weather permitting, and talk about whatever comes up!

We have also been very busy this summer with our enormous garden. It definitely is keeping us hopping! We share our garden veggies with others, which is why we made it larger. We have our own farmers market here at our house on Main Street. The cucumbers keep growing! Tomatoes are taking off now and as I type this, I am thinking I should be in the garden! I will tend to it shortly. I am going to cook eggplant for lunch! I love all the garden goodies. I do believe there is nothing better than homegrown vegetables. They are so tasty!

Enjoy the rest of your summer. We are planning on more fishing trips and hope we finally catch some fish so we can have a fish fry with some friends! We are also hoping for another getaway before the snow flies. If that doesn’t work out, we can always change the date to spring.

Take care. Share a smile with someone. Lend a helping hand to others. There is enough hate in the world we live in. It is up to us to make a difference. I know we can do it if we work together!

Just a few of the garden veggies we have picked this year. Photo Credit, Denise Gilliland, Editor and Chief, Kat Country Hub.


The Painted Lady Butterflies Are Back!

News Column

John Wilson

Extension Educator

August 8, 2019


They’re Back!

That sounds like a good title for some horror movie sequel, but that’s not where I’m going with it today. As I’m sure many of you noticed, we’re getting an abundance of butterflies… AGAIN! These are Painted Lady Butterflies… although I’ve heard them called many things… some I can’t repeat. These are the adults of the caterpillars that were devouring many soybean fields, and lots of other plants, a few weeks ago.

Fortunately, the adults do not injure crops as they only feed on the nectar of flowers. They are a bright, colorful, addition to our summer landscape and really don’t do any damage unless you consider smearing up your windshield as you drive down the road. However, the larvae of the painted lady butterfly, sometimes called the thistle caterpillar, can be another story.

To understand when and how these defoliating insects impact soybeans, one of their favorite food sources, you need to understand a little about their life cycle. Painted lady butterflies do not overwinter in Nebraska. They migrated and moved with wind currents from the southern U.S. and Mexico earlier this summer, arriving in Nebraska in June. Where they are concentrated depends a lot on weather patterns, so just because we had a lot of them this year does not mean we will have an abundance of them in 2020.

Unlike some insects that lay large masses of eggs, Painted Ladies will lay individual eggs on the leaves of thistles, soybeans, and over 100 other species of plants that serve as a food source to the larvae once they hatch. In five to seven days, the eggs hatch and the larva begin feeding. Because the eggs are laid over several days up to a week or more, it is common to have different sized caterpillars on a single plant.

The larvae feed an average of four weeks, but sometimes up to six weeks. However, the majority of their feeding damage occurs towards the end of the larval stage as their size and appetite increase. To protect themselves from predators, they often pull several leaves together and connect them with a fine webbing, forming a sheltered area to feed.

Mature caterpillars are usually 1½ to 1¾ inch long and can vary in color, but are covered with numerous branching spines. Once they mature, they form a pupa or chrysalis which hangs from the underside of a leaf and can be blue, brown, or green in color. In seven to 17 days, a new adult Painted Lady butterfly emerges and starts the life cycle over again.

So the butterflies we are seeing now are the adults of the thistle caterpillars that were feeding on soybean fields a couple weeks ago. Knowing the life cycle, we know we can expect to see more larvae feeding in about four to five weeks and can plan our scouting accordingly.

Knowing how to scout is just as important as knowing when to scout. I won’t go into the full explanation on how to scout your fields for defoliating insects, but I can tell you most people will overestimate the amount of defoliation because thistle caterpillar feed at the top of the plant where it is most visible. An easy way to estimate defoliation can be found at I really like the images that help you more accurately estimate the percentage of defoliation.

This method applies to all defoliating insects… grasshoppers, bean leaf beetles, thistle caterpillars, wooly bear caterpillars, and any other type of defoliating insect. At this stage of growth for the soybean plant, we don’t want to see defoliation exceed 20% of the total leaf area. Frequently defoliation on the upper leaves is greater, but when we consider the whole canopy, the defoliation has not reached this threshold.

So be prepared to check your fields because I can just about guarantee we will have more thistle caterpillar feeding… and possibly other defoliators. The important thing to know is when that damage just looks bad versus when it is actually reducing your yield… and your profitability. For more information on managing thistle caterpillars and other defoliating insects, contact your local Nebraska Extension office.


A Few More Tractors from Sunday

Here are a few more tractors from Sunday’s trip around the county. All photos credit of Denise Gilliland, Editor and Chief, Kat Country Hub.

Lyons City Council Meeting Agenda


A Copy of the “Open Meetings Act” Has Been Posted on the Bulletin Board on the East Side in the Council Chambers.



Tuesday, August 6, 2019 – 5:30 P.M.


The City Council reserves the right to go into Executive Session at any time as deemed appropriate and in accordance with State Statute.



  1. Meeting called to order.


  1. None.



Recommended Action: Approval of Consent Agenda

NOTE: All items are automatically approved when the Consent Agenda is approved unless moved to the Regular Agenda by the request of any single Council member.

  1. Dispense with reading of minutes of meetings held July 2, 2019.
  2. Claims as presented.
  3. Treasurer report.

Motion and second to approve the Consent Agenda/Tabulation of Vote.



Consideration and Action:


  1. Dave Ziska and Matthew Smith of Olsson – Discuss the updated numbers on the H & K Subdivision streets.


  1. Discuss if the City wants to hook up to the rural water system for the City’s water and what it would take to do that.


  1. Discuss the financing for the Water Tower and Water Treatment Plant. Consider a decision.
    1. Motion and Second by City Council.
    2. Tabulation of votes.


  1. Police report by Chief Buck.


  1. Library & Grant reports by Mike Heavrin.


  1. Utilities report.
  1. John Deere 544 J Loader.
  2. Swimming Pool.
  3. Flood of March 2019.
  4. Fire Hydrants.
  5. Gas Operator Qualification Training.


  1. Clerk’s Report.
    1. Income Statements.
    2. Budget Reports.
    3. A budget workshop is scheduled for Tuesday, August 13 at 5 p.m.


  1. Discuss swim lesson refunds.


  1. Motion and second by Council members to adjourn the meeting.
    1. Tabulation of vote.

Jean Speak, 84, of Texas formerly of Tekamah NE

Jean Speck, 84, a long-time resident of Tekamah, NE slipped peacefully away on July 31, 2019 at her home in Texas. Born in Grand Island, NE on September 24, 1934 to Kenneth and Mildred Rapp (nee Price), Jean grew up and lived in Tekamah for all but the last four years of her life. She is preceded in death by her parents, her husband of 60 years, Donald Speck, and her son, Leon Speck. She is survived by her sister, Elizabeth Smith of Sioux Falls, SD, daughters Leta (Helmut) Liesch of Kimball, NE, Judy Meyer of Lucas, TX, grandchildren Lora (Bryce) Kubli and Benjamin Speck of Marshalltown and New Providence, IA, respectively, great grandchildren Kathryn and Andrew Kubli, and numerous nieces and nephews.

Graveside eulogy planned for Saturday, Sept. 28, 2019, time to be determined. In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to Good Dog Rescue of Nebraska at


Memorial Contribution


Jean Speck

%d bloggers like this: