Sunday, 30 December 2012

Agriculture dominates middle months of 2012

By CHABELLA GUZMAN
Editor’s Note: This is the second in a three part series that will review the events of 2012 that had an impact on residents of western Nebraska and eastern Wyoming.
During the month of May, Scottsbluff High School students were pledging not to text and drive and the preparation for the first ever marathon for the Panhandle, the Monument Marathon, was being planned.
The GOP thinned its ranks, choosing Deb Fischer to run against Bob Kerrey for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Ben Nelson. The political arena, much like the state, was only beginning to heat up.
Unseasonably warm and dry weather in May, June, July and August, made the Panhandle and Goshen County, Wyo., prime targets for fires.
The Nebraska National Guard helped to fight fires in Colorado in June and fires blazed in Guernsey where smoke could be seen in the Panhandle. Locally, fires popped up in grasslands, creating problems for ranchers, as they looked toward the winter with little forage for their cattle.
In July, a wildfire consumed trees and blackened grassland in about 300 acres of the northwest corner of Nebraska. Fires continued in August, closing schools in Chadron and putting a damper on Labor Day events and camping sites.
While politicians argued the health care bill and economics, the agricultural community began to feel the bite of the lingering hot dry weather.
The wheat crop suffered, and by June, many forecasted it would not reach projected yields. In July, many began to say the drought was going to be the worst since the 1930s.
When the storms finally came, they came with a vengeance bringing hail and tornadoes to many areas of the Panhandle and Goshen County. Hailstorms in June battered trees, fields and homes.
The crops damaged from the June storm ran from Nebraska to Wyoming along Highway 92. In Wyoming, around 300 acres of sugar beets were damaged by the hail, and in Nebraska it was estimated that more than 4,000 acres were damaged.
In July, the dry weather caused the state Department of Natural Resources to limit the water available to junior water rights holders. Reservoir levels in Wyoming dropped and many hoped for a wet winter.
Agriculture wasn’t the only events in the news.
In May, District Judge Randall Lippstreu ruled and granted partial summary judgment and motion for temporary injunction sought by Scotts Bluff County against Western Engineering Inc. Mining operations on the Summerville property were shut down.
Torrington, Wyo., native Lexxie Madden won the title of Miss Wyoming in June and the Scottsbluff Elks celebrated 100 years in May.
In June, the town of Alliance hit national news with a hostage situation at Theile Gift and Pharmacy downtown. The daylong event ended with pharmacist Charles Lierk escaping with a gunshot to his shoulder from Andres Gonzalez. It was revealed later that Gonzalez had also killed Josh Bullock, who had been missing for several months.
On an up note, in August, the Gering Platte Valley Companies senior legion baseball team won the Class B Championship title in Wahoo. The celebration was 30 years in the making since this team was only the third Gering team to accomplish the monumental feat. The Gering Senior Legion teams from 1953 and 1982 also won championships.
Original Article Here

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