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Stalemate hurts vulnerable youth

Since 2013, Nebraska officials' improved juvenile justice approach has achieved benefits, a new audit finds. It has provided more in-home services and proved more cost-efficient.

At the same time, a glaring shortcoming remains: The state Administrative Office of Probation needs to cooperate with Julie Rogers, the state inspector general for child welfare, to provide needed transparency for her investigations into teen suicides and suicide attempts in the juvenile justice system.

Rogers' recently released annual report states that she abandoned her investigations into three suicides and 15 suicide attempts by youths under Probation supervision because of a lack of information. Probation argues that Rogers, who works for the Legislature, is encroaching on the proper authority of the judicial branch, of which Probation is a part.

This stalemate ill serves the public interest. Oversight and accountability are crucial in state government, and a clash between branches of government mustn't get in the way of enabling the state to improve the care of vulnerable youths.

- Omaha World-Herald


Remember farm safety at harvest

With harvest approaching, farm safety is a huge concern in Central Nebraska. Everyone will be hurrying to get as much work done in as short a time as possible, while the weather is good.

Many farmers will be waiting later for their crops to mature, but they also must get the crop in before snow and freezing temperatures hurt the quality. It's important to recognize that throughout the year, men, women and children on farms throughout this area are doing dangerous jobs in order to feed the world and support their families.

In Nebraska and throughout the Midwest, farming is a family operation. In many cases, women and girls do as much work on the farm as men and boys do.

The 2017 U.S. Census estimates that 36% of all producers are female and 56% of all farms have at least one female decision maker. The total went from about 970,000 women in 2012 to about 1.2 million in 2017, a 27% increase.

Traditionally, women in leading roles on the farm have not had access to safety training resources customized to suit their unique needs. Also, it's typical on farms for both women and men to just jump in and do what needs to be done without concern for risks to their health.

- Grand Island Independent


No winners in urban-rural split

Tensions between urban and rural areas are growing. A new report by the Brookings Institute and The Wall Street Journal indicates it is happening on a national scale.

* In 2008, U.S. House districts that voted Democratic comprised 39% of the total land area of the U.S., while Republican House districts totaled 61%. But by 2018, the divide became much deeper: just 20% for Democrats, compared to 80% for Republicans.

That's not a map of a country. It is a map of a battleground.

* 70% of the nation's digital and professional services economy takes place in Democratic House districts, while 60% of the nation's agriculture economy takes place in Republican House districts.

* In 2008, the median household income of Republican House districts was $55,000 vs. $54,000 for Democratic House districts. In 2018, it changed to $53,000 and $61,000, respectively.

America is made up of both population and places. They are both important.

Much needs to be done to make America a more united place, but putting more value on all of our places — whether they are red or blue, shrinking or growing — would be a good first step.

- Lawrence (Kan.) Journal-World

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