December 2009


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).

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.

Annual enrollment for over-65 health plan

By Bev Carlson, APR, PAHM

The annual enrollment period for the U.S. government’s over-65 health plan is Nov. 15 to Dec. 31. During this annual enrollment season, people with Medicare can join, switch or drop Medicare prescription drug and Medicare Advantage plans. Changes take effect Jan. 1, 2010, and there will not be another opportunity to change drug plans until November 2010.


Jan. 9, 1975
"Kicking the can"

The late Rev. J. F. Balzer of Crete once preached a sermon on “Things” beginning with “Not long ago, while we were having our kitchen remodeled to make more storage space, one of the painters entered the room and set up his ladders. He surveyed the room critically, and then peered into the new cupboards. ‘It’s the same everywhere,’ he said, ‘too many things: the more cupboards, the more things. It doesn’t pay.’” Balzer recognized this as a “contemporary version of the Emersonian dictum —Things are in the saddle and ride mankind.”


New directions for the prairie economy: Connecting conservation and rural development

By Curt Freese, Dawn Montanye and Kora Dabrowska

Rural communities and landowners of the Great Plains are at a crossroads. The intersection involves towns that are struggling to survive, a generational transition in land ownership, an important but uncertain future for agriculture, and prairie ecosystems and wildlife of importance to both local communities and the American public. This report examines the potential role of a nature-based economy in supporting and diversifying the economic base of the Northern Great Plains (NGP) of the United States (encompasses Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming and Nebraska).

Book Review: "Prairie Fire" by Dan Armstrong

Review by Peter Eberhardt

"Prairie Fire"
Author: Dan Armstrong
Publisher: iUniverse

Despite all that’s gone wrong, we’ve got something big going for us right now,” says National Grange President Forest Mahan to a grange hall full of angry farmers in response to a grain harvest shortfall in Asia that has the wheat they sold cash-advance in January for $4.50 a bushel selling at $12 in June. “The grain reserves are down to almost nothing. Meaning what we have in the field right now in wheat and corn represents a sizeable portion of what’s available worldwide.

Forbs and grasses and Cheshire cats: What is a tallgrass prairie?

By Paul A. Johnsgard

When I was very young, I used to walk along railroad track right-of-ways near my home in the Red River Valley of eastern North Dakota. I didn’t know that the “turkey-foot grass” that grew higher than my head was something special, and under its more formal name of big bluestem is a charter member of the tallgrass prairie that once covered much of eastern North Dakota.

Sonny's Corner

Most federal officials, whether they are elected or appointed, have an immediate swearing in so they can assume their office as quickly as possible after they have been elected, appointed or confirmed by the United States Senate. Shortly thereafter, a second more formal and ceremonial swearing in takes place. This was the case on Nov. 6, 2009, in Omaha, Neb., when United States Attorney Deborah R. Gilg was sworn in before friends, officials and family at the United States Courthouse.

Immigration in Nebraska

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