Boys State Citizens Named
Wednesday, 08 April 2015 09:55
Ethan Osnes, son of Mary Ellen and Aaron Osnes, along with Braxton Coleman, son of Kari and Tim Gaswick and Dallas Fowler, have been selected by Leo Brinda Post 90 and the Sons of the American Legion Squadron 90 as Valentine High School representatives.
They'll join nearly 400 other high school juniors from across Nebraska who will participate in the American Legion Cornhusker Boys State, May 31st through June 6th, 2015, at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln downtown campus.
The annual citizenship program, sponsored by the Nebraska American Legion, is designed to provide youth with a better understanding of how city, county and state governments operate.
American Legion Cornhusker Boys State is set up as a functional "51st state" and each student learns how government subdivisions operate by actually doing the job.
Participants will campaign for offices, hold elections, take part in band and chorus, compete in athletics, and be involved in other various activities as part of the citizenship training program. They will set up their own state government and draft bills.
Special lectures and addresses will be delivered by experienced public officials and professional leaders, including Governor Pete Ricketts and Supreme Court Chief Justice John M. Gerrard. National acclaimed motivational speaker Dr. JoAnn Owens-Nauslar is also scheduled to address the group.
Congratulations to these two young men from the Valentine American Legion Family.
-Article from Midland News
Despite dry conditions, more than 3,000 acres burned during training
Wednesday, 08 April 2015 08:26
Fifty-five participants plus 14 days, minus some “red flag” days, equaled another successful Fire Training Exchange in the Niobrara Valley.
“The training was a huge success,” Rich Walters, program director for The Nature Conservancy’s Niobrara Valley Preserve, said. “The most important lesson we can impart is that safety is paramount. As much as we might want to, we simply do not burn when the wind isn’t right, or it’s too dry. Fortunately conditions were favorable enough to get 3,691 acres burned.”
Walters said fire is a natural and necessary ecological process.
“Fire can be your best friend or your worst enemy,” Walters said. “We’ve certainly experienced both. Our aim is to maintain fire’s role in this landscape for the benefit of people and nature. Fire is a major influence on ecosystems, and when we can restore it successfully we manage against invasive species, and really invigorate grasses.”
This is the sixth year the exchange has been held at the preserve. A total of 55 firefighters, college students and professors, fire practitioners and ranchers met during the two weeks. As part of their lessons, they burned on seven units, both at the preserve and at the Fort Niobrara Refuge.
The exchange was the culmination of a year of planning and coordinating. Prior to any units being burned, months of preparation occurs.
“Burn units are based on grassland management needs, research and location,” Walters said.
He said all units are within grazed pastures.
“We don’t set aside grass to implement a burn. We use fire and grazing together, within the same pastures, to manage the rangelands. Our objective is to create a mosaic of grasslands that differ in vegetation species and structure. This diverse range of plant species and structure provides habitat for a diverse range of wildlife and resilient grasslands for grazing.”
Jeremy Bailey, associate director for fire training for The Nature Conservancy, said, “The trainings in Nebraska are exemplary. These trainings were really developed in Nebraska over the past several years. Now the Nebraska model is being replicated all over the world.”
The participants included 25 students and professors from six different universities: University of Idaho, Northern Arizona University, Colorado State University, University of Missouri, University of Nebraska at Lincoln, and Doane College.
“Nebraska has become a spring break destination for students who are interested in fire science,” Walters said. “They are serious about safety and professionalism.”
They were joined by 35 others from 12 different states, including personnel from Washington State, the Los Angeles Fire Department, Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, the Gering Volunteer Fire Department, and other state and national agencies. The preserve also welcomed 11 participants from Spain.
They leave Nebraska having implemented techniques such as black lining, which is burning around a unit with very low, controllable flames, so the fire stays within control lines. They spent classroom time learning about ecology, wildfire prevention, and cell phone technology to use during fires. They scouted units, patrolled assignments, practiced as teams, executed plans, and did mop-up after the burns.
“Nebraska’s resource managers are dedicated to bringing fire to landscapes that need it, and pooling resources and professional expertise makes this event a success,” Walters said. “We’re already thinking about next year.”