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Recent editorials published in Nebraska newspapers

By The Associated PressSeptember 16, 2019

Omaha World Herald. September 13, 2019

Congress should stop the delays and pass the new North American trade pact

Congress resumed work this week, and it should move promptly to pass the new U.S. trade agreement with Canada and Mexico. The Trump administration and congressional Democrats need to wind up their negotiations now so the process can move forward.

Lawmakers adjourn in three weeks, and if resolution isn’t reached in the negotiations, final consideration will be delayed until sometime next year.

A wide range of U.S. agricultural organizations participated Thursday in a rally in Washington, D.C., to make clear that the nation’s ag sector can’t wait for such delay.

Participants in the rally included the American Farm Bureau Federation; National Corn Growers Association; American Soybean Association; National Association of Wheat Growers; Farmers for Free Trade; and National Milk Producers Federation.

Tom Vilsack, a former U.S. secretary of agriculture and Iowa governor, attended the event.

The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, the successor to the North American Free Trade Agreement, has broad backing.

This summer, more than 600 U.S. industry associations, agriculture producer organizations and chambers of commerce sent a joint letter to members of Congress, urging them to pass the agreement.

“U.S. manufacturers export more made-in-America manufactured goods to our North American neighbors than they do to the next 11 largest export markets combined,” the letter noted, “and the two countries account for nearly one-third of U.S. agricultural exports.”

Signatories to the letter included the Nebraska Retail Federation; the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce & Industry; the chambers of commerce for the Omaha area, Lincoln, Kearney, North Platte and Scottsbluff; and 11 Iowa economic development organizations.

The proposed trade agreement would maintain the existing free trade benefits under NAFTA and make various improvements. It would address e-commerce for the first time, safeguard intellectual property and enable customs efficiencies.

The three countries have agreed on the highest-quality sanitary assurance for agricultural exports.

Passing the agreement would provide a measure of much-needed stability in the agricultural sector, which has been buffeted by trade tensions and weak prices. The longer the delay in approval, the worse for ag producers in terms of uncertainty.

Mexico and Canada “are the U.S. corn industry’s largest, most reliable market,” the National Corn Growers Association notes.

Mexico is the No. 1 importer of Nebraska corn and wheat, and it’s No. 2 for Nebraska’s exports of soybeans and soybean products, dry edible beans, sorghum and distillers grains.

Now is the time for the administration and lawmakers to wind up their negotiations and get this agreement across the finish line, for the sake of U.S. ag producers, manufacturers, retailers and consumers.


McCook Daily Gazette. September 10, 2019

Closing our eyes to suicide won’t make problem disappear

Back in the days when our media options were limited, it was easier to get a message across.

When we got all our news from a newspaper a two, a handful of television channels or a favorite radio station, it was impossible to avoid stories we didn’t like, but needed to hear.

Today, with unlimited sources of information, accurate or otherwise, we can focus on messages that reinforce our own beliefs and prejudices.

But some realities can’t be avoided, some stories we need to hear for our own good, and like it or not, we’re responsible for our reaction.

Today’s World Suicide Prevention Day is one of the realities we have to face.

Turn as many pages or channels, click whatever links you like, and sooner or later, despite your best efforts to avoid the issue, the suicide of a friend, relative or acquaintance is going to intrude on your self-created “reality.”

“We can no longer bury our heads in the sand about suicide in our communities. Suicide can happen to anyone regardless of their age, gender, ethnicity, or socio-economic status,” said Wendy Shifflet, Program Therapist at Tri Valley Health Systems.

Tri Valley’s Senior Life Solutions is working to raise awareness during September’s National Suicide Prevention and Awareness month.

The effort is an intensive outpatient group therapy program designed to meet the unique needs of older adults suffering from symptoms of anxiety and depression often related to aging.

Trained staff use standardized, evidence-based tools for screening patients at risk of suicide, and help the patient create a plan to prevent future suicide attempts or suicidal thoughts.

Patients meet up to three times a week in a supportive, encouraging group setting, including a board-certified psychiatrist, licensed social workers, a registered nurse and other healthcare professionals.

More information is available at (308) 697-1299.

Suicide affects more than seniors, however. It is the second leading cause of death for people 10 to 34 years of age, the fourth leading cause among people 35 to 54, and the eighth leading cause among people 55 to 64 years of age.

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death for all ages in the United States, responsible for nearly 45,000 deaths in 2016, approximately one every 12 minutes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, an average of 129 deaths by suicide occur per day, and there are an estimated 1.4 million suicide attempts per year.

Often lost in the gun debate is the fact that the person most likely to be killed by a gun is the owner. Two-thirds of gun deaths are suicides, and many mass shooters have suicide or suicide-by-cop in mind when they start their rampage.

Don’t flip the channel, turn the page or click a different link if the subject of suicide comes up.

If you or someone you know is thinking of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.


Grand Island Independent. September 13, 2019

Buffet continues to offer sage advice on life

There is no doubt that Warren Buffett is Nebraska’s most famous personality. The billionaire has a worldwide following of investors who value his wisdom, as well as his ability to explain complex things in terms that are understandable.

Buffett turned 89 Aug. 30, and time hasn’t diminished either his enthusiasm for investing or his willingness to share his thoughts on a wide variety of subjects. His messages don’t scold, nor does he pretend that his views are the only ones that count. He simply offers his opinions, leaving it to us to accept or reject them.

With this in mind, we share with you several of his “best pieces of life advice,” with thanks to CNBC for assembling them. Again, they may not fit everyone, but few would argue that they aren’t worth considering.

Marry the right person. This is the biggest decision of your life, according to Buffett. As he stated 10 years ago, “I’m serious about that (choosing the right spouse). It will make more differences in your life. It will change your aspirations, all kinds of things.”

Invest in yourself. Learn how to communicate both in writing and in person. Educate your mind and take care of your body. Failure to do this will be a major handicap in achieving happiness and success.

Associate with “high-grade” people. Who you spend time with matters. If you are consistently with good people, you’ll start acting more like them. Conversely, “if you hang around with people who behave worse than you, pretty soon you’ll start being pulled in that direction.”

Work for people you respect. “You don’t want to take a job just for the money,” said Buffett. By working for people you admire, you are more likely to pick up habits and traits that will pay off in the future.

Ignore the noise. Investing can get emotional, and it doesn’t help if you check stock prices throughout the day or constantly focus on the news. The best strategy, Buffett contends, is to keep a level head and stay the course . even when the market is tanking.

Success isn’t measured by money. The test is whether the people you are closest to love you.

This last thought is offered not only by one of the world’s richest men, but also by pastors in churches throughout the nation. If more people behaved accordingly, the world would be a more peaceful and happy place.


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