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Farm bill should promote stability

Some federal lawmakers are playing for political points in new farm bill legislation.

The House version narrowly passed, with no Democratic support, because it would impose strict work requirements on able-bodied adults seeking food stamps. The Senate's version has no major changes to food stamps. Rather, it contains what agriculture needs: federal crop insurance, risk management tools for farmers and ranchers, support for conservation programs, livestock disaster programs and funding to promote trade.

We suggest this once again: Why not address nutrition programs in legislation separate from the farm bill? Lawmakers should focus solely on what's needed for farmers, unencumbered by debates about issues not directly tied to agriculture.

Because of the dual focus on both farm support and nutrition programs, passage of the farm bill frequently becomes a tug-of-war between urban lawmakers interested in food for their constituents and rural lawmakers wanting to provide for the needs of the agricultural industry.

- Scottsbluff Star-Herald


Picotte hospital restoration is worthy cause

In 1913, Dr. Susan La Flesche Picotte, the first Native American woman to earn a medical degree in the United States, realized a dream: She opened a 33-room hospital on the Omaha Indian Reservation in northeast Nebraska.

It was a high point in an admirable career devoted to promoting the health and interests of Picotte's Omaha tribe.

These many years later, the National Historic Landmark building has fallen into disrepair, but Nebraskans from a variety of backgrounds are coming together in a fundraising campaign to restore it as a community asset.

The goal: revive a museum in the building and create full-time offices for the Omaha Tribe and other organizations. Judi gaiashkibos, the executive director of the Nebraska Indian Commission, says the building "is symbolic of this great Nebraska hero."

Picotte left a remarkable legacy of service. This restoration project is a great salute to it.

- Omaha World-Herald


Low jobless rate helps felons find jobs

McCook's Work Ethic Camp was created with the goal of helping ex-cons transition back to being productive members of society.

That role has eroded with the overcrowding of Nebraska's prison system, but a new trend may make it easier for convicts who have paid their debt to society to get back into the legal workforce.

Having a felony conviction is a major roadblock to landing many jobs, but a shortage of workers in the Midwest is causing many employers to reconsider. U.S. manufacturers have added nearly 260,000 jobs over the past year, construction workers are in demand, and with an unemployment rate of 3.8 percent, many employers can't be as picky as they previously were.

Some offenders will still have a more difficult time finding employment than others, but prison population pressures should help more convicts find a productive place in society.

- McCook Daily Gazette

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