Nebraska

Sidney, Nebraska, has prospered while many rural cities have struggled. For decades, the city has been home to Cabela’s, a major outdoor retail chain.

As Cabela’s completes a deal in which it will be bought by a rival, however, the future of Sidney’s economic engine is in doubt. As in other rural cities that have faced the loss or closure of major industry, the question is how the community will move on and grow in the 21st Century.

In rural Nebraska, over 70 percent of the state’s net job growth come from people creating their own jobs, by owning their own businesses, but a current law is undermining the success of small business by favoring online retailers.

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A bill being proposed in the Nebraska Legislature would protect Nebraskans from being sued over just a few hundred dollars in debt.

As ProPublica reports, a Nebraska lawmaker has introduced a bill that would curb what collectors can take from debtors after filing suit and obtaining a court judgment.

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The Center for Rural Affairs warns cutting income tax rates could potentially break Nebraska’s economy in the middle of its slow-but-steady recovery.

As senior policy associate Brian Hansen writes, “those in Nebraska pushing for income tax cuts promise that doing so brings economic and job growth, but Kansas’ results make those promises ring hollow.”

RIck Ruggles / Omaha World-Herald

The League of Women Voters of Nebraska has weighed in on recent claims that the U.S. election system is rigged. The group called the rhetoric “unfounded and irresponsible.”

Omaha World-Herald

Next month, Nebraska and Oklahoma voters will go to decide state initiatives on the death penalty. In general, the trend in America is heading away from capital punishment.

As the Omaha World Herald notes, Nebraska is one of 20 states that have done away with the death penalty. Eight of those 20 states have done so in the last decade.

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If you live in Freeport, Maine, your livelihood probably depends on L.L. Bean. Same goes for Bentonville, Arkansas, and Walmart.

And if you live in the small Western Nebraska city of Sidney, your life was probably thrown into a tizzy when it was announced that your hometown retail giant Cabela’s had been purchased by Bass Pro Shops. In fact, many in this Nebraska community of seven thousand are wondering what the future holds.

Bo Rader / Wichita Eagle

The State of Kansas has enough money on reserve to last for a total of two days, according to a new study by Pew Charitable Trusts.

As The Wichita Eagle reports, if the Sunflower State had to exist solely on its cash reserves, the state wouldn’t last more than 48 hours. In 2012 and 2013, Gov. Sam Brownback urged GOP lawmakers to slash taxes. Ever since then, Kansas has struggled to balance its budget.

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A new study finds that, on average, Nebraska counties that receive a certain livestock-friendly designation gain more cattle farms and lose fewer hog farms than counties without it, reports The Sioux City Journal.

The designation is part of a program created by the Nebraska Legislature over ten years ago. Some rural counties are give0n the designation, and this often leads to more business.

nebraska.tv

Nebraska Senator Deb Fischer gathered a prestigious roundtable of telecommunication and agriculture leaders at the Nebraska State Fair this week, Nebraska.tv reports. The commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission even paid a visit.

Jonathan Baker

I’m Jonathan Baker, a writer in Canyon, Texas, and I’ve been asked to talk about Willa Cather’s My Antonia.

I have an addiction. I take photos constantly with my phone. Sometimes in West Texas, during a particularly epic sunset, I’ll instinctively start driving west, away from town, out where there are no buildings. Where the good views are.

Later, when I go back and look at my images, I often find I have no nostalgia for the day I snapped the photo of a particular sky. Because I was looking at my phone the whole time.

The death penalty is costing Nebraskans over $14 million annually, reports the Omaha World-Herald. The number comes from a new study commissioned by Creighton University.

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The economy in Nebraska appears to be going strong, according to a new study. Economic growth in the Cornhusker State is expected to continue through the rest of the year, reports the Lincoln Journal-Star.

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A new report predicts that construction will be the fastest growing sector of Nebraska’s economy through 2018, says Net Nebraska. The study predicts that construction employment in Nebraska will reach a record level this year and continue to grow. The sector is expected to expand by almost 10 percent over 2007 levels. Much of the construction growth will be due to state tax dollars for roads projects.

NTV

Surrounded by weeds in a remote section of Webster County, Nebraska, sits an unremarkable clearing. You wouldn’t think it was anything special if you stumbled upon it, notes NTV, but if this pasture could talk it would tell you a secret. There used to be a baseball field here, and a legend pitched from its mound. His name was Denton True Young. But most folks know him as “Cy.”

Orlin Wagner / AP photo

In an attempt to understand how well Kansas Governor Sam Brownback’s grand experiment of slashing taxes to stimulate economic growth has affected unemployment, The Pittsburgh Gazette recently compared the state’s stats with those of Nebraska.

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The Center for Rural Affairs has announced a new program to promote rural leadership. The announcement was made in conjunction with The University of Nebraska Omaha. It’s called the Virtual Leader Development Program. The initiative hopes to attract those in rural Nebraska who are relatively new to leadership experiences in their work.

Ben Bohall / NET News

NET Nebraska recently delved into what it means to be a homeless student in Nebraska. When most of us hear “homeless,” the word conjures certain images in our minds. But Bryan Seck’s job as homeless outreach specialist for Lincoln Public Schools is to change that perception. “Family homelessness is not folks on the street,” Seck explains. “Family homelessness is working class people and something bad has happened to them and they don’t have savings.” 

Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

Grant Gerlock at Harvest Public Media has written a dispatch from the Pierce County Fair in Nebraska, where he checked in with Emily Lambrecht, a 17-year-old 4-H and FFA exhibitor who has spent months preparing for the fair. Lambrecht has been showing animals since 2009, and this year she once again showed calves from her family’s herd. Emily has trained the animals to walk with a rope halter, like a dog on a leash.

Grant Gerlock, NET News/Harvest Public Media

Nebraska Farmers are bringing in what’s expected to be a record-breaking harvest for both corn and soybeans. But all that productivity has a big financial downside. Only two years after peaking, grain prices are at their lowest level since 2009.

Jeremy Bernfeld/Harvest Public Media

The U.S. cattle herd has changed dramatically over the last four years, largely thanks to drought.

The supply of beef has been in free-fall. Perhaps you’ve noticed sky-high prices for hamburger and steak.