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Murray Newsletter - September 23, 2009


A few days ago, I spent the whole Saturday morning with my daughter, Trish, and grandson, Lucas, at the Farmer's Market in downtown Omaha's Old Market district. The sidewalk stands were filled to overflowing with just about any kind of fruit, vegetable or flower you could think of. Wooden crates and woven baskets were bent and misshapen from the bounty they held. Beds of pick-ups were loaded down with produce so high, I doubt the driver could see out the rear-view mirror. We had fun as we picked and poked through the vast assortment of Concord grapes, twisted gourds, heirloom tomatoes, cantaloupes, potatoes and jars of fruited honey. Vendors, with their fruit-stained aprons, enticed potential customers with samples of jams, jellies and smoked cheeses that were taste-tested with the utensils of the day...colorful toothpicks and tiny plastic spoons. Freshly-baked breads and pastries lent their light fragrances to the damp morning air.

People huddled under awnings and umbrellas, trying to avoid a gentle mist that teased the crowd off and on. Sidewalk cafe tables were crowded with morning coffee cups, while diners watched the buzzing throng of shoppers strolling by. What an enjoyable way to start off a weekend! You should try to make it up there, too, before the Farmer's Market ends for the season.

Below is testimony to what our area's rich fertile gardens and farmlands produced this year.  We are all so blessed........









This is YOUR Newsletter, so please feel free to contribute to it. The deadline for each current week's Wednesday edition is noon on the prior Monday.

Submit photos, event announcements, recipes, birthday or anniversary congratulations, sports news, your organization's meeting minutes or any other articles that you feel would be of interest others. (Please send photos and fliers in jpg format.) Then, when your event is over, tell us know how things went.

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School Reminder......

Conestoga schools, District 56, will dismiss early this Wednesday and Thursday, September 23rd and 24th for Parent-Teacher Conferences.

Also, there is NO SCHOOL on Friday, the 25th, but classes resume on Tuesday, the 29th.

Yay...a 4-day weekend!!





6 medium green peppers
1# ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 tsp. salt OR seasoned salt
dash pepper
1 16 oz. can diced tomatoes,UNDRAINED
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup uncooked long-grain rice (NOT instant rice)
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 cup (4 oz.) shredded Cheddar or American cheese

Cut off tops of peppers, removing seeds and thick, white membranes. For crisper peppers, don't precook; otherwise, cook in boiling salted water 4 - 5 minutes, then drain, upside down.

In skillet, brown meat; drain.

Add onion and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Add tomatoes, water, rice and Worcestershire sauce.

Cover, simmer till rice is tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in cheese.

Stuff peppers and stand them upright in a lightly sprayed 10x6" baking dish.

Bake, uncovered at 350* for 20-25 minutes.

'WOW' -  MPC Sunday Rally was a BIG SUCCESS!

Everyone had a wonderful time at the Murray Presbyterian Church Rally Sunday on September 13th. The kids enjoyed popcorn, a prince and princess bounce house and lots of tatoos during the Sunday School hour. The newly formed children's choir, Wonders of Worship (WOW!), sang "This Little Light of Mine" during the worship service. Everyone enjoyed pizza and more bouncing after the service. Thanks to all who made the start of the new Sunday School year a big success!!

Lots of pictures of the fun event are shown below...enjoy!










Peaceful Beauty Can Awaken Your Spirit!

Say hello to the crisp autumn breezes and heartwarming colors that accompany fall in Nebraska. For breathtaking views, check out our many state parks where hiking and biking paths provide a vibrant array of color and fun. Also take advantage of Nebraska's Missouri River communities that offer rich fall foliage and other attractions.

Many area attractions are coming up, so be sure to get out and enjoy the beauty of Nebraska in Autumn.


Living History Sundays at Arbor Lodge State Historical Park
2600 Arbor Ave
Nebraska City, NE

Featuring a variety of old time skills and entertainment.

Date(s): Sep 27-Oct 18
Time: Sun, 1-5pm
Admission: $3 adult, $1 children for mansion admission
For More Information: Phone: (402) 873-7222


Arts in the Park
Riverside Park
Beatrice, NE
Live entertainment, craft and food vendors, and the Inspiration Station - children's craft area.
Date(s): Oct 3
Time: 10am-5pm
Crafts/quilts/antiques show.
For More Information: Phone: (402) 223-2338


DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge
5 mi. E. on US Hwy 30
Blair, NE

Located along the Missouri River, the refuge provides a haven for wildlife and a historic treasure of the past. Enjoy picturesque views of DeSoto Lake and more than 200,000 cargo artifacts from the 1865-era steamboat Bertrand. Fishing, photography, mushroom gathering, interpretive programs and nature trails.

Refuge open during daylight hours.

Visitor center open daily, 9am-4:30pm.

Closed federal holidays.

Admission: $3 per car, $15 annual pass.

Group rates by reservation 2 weeks ahead: $20 commercial vans and buses, $30 for groups of 21 or more people.


Group tours.

Handicapped accessible.

For More Information: Phone: (712) 642-4121


Old Market
10th to 13th Sts, from Farnam to Jackson Sts
Omaha, NE

This turn-of-the-century marketplace of brick streets and buildings features a variety of quaint restaurants and shops. Special entertainment and craft fairs. Open year-round. Shopping hours: Mon-Sat, 11am-8pm; Sun, Noon-6pm. Store hours vary. Free. 402-346-4445

Group tours.

Handicapped accessible.

For More Information: Phone: (402) 346-4445



September 16, 2009

The Fort Report

Speaking with Nebraskans about Health Care

Over the past several weeks, thousands of Nebraskans have shared their views with me regarding the health care proposal in Congress. I have hosted a public field hearing on "Addressing the 'Health' in Health Care," held personal meetings with constituents, conducted town halls, and received numerous emails, letters, and phone calls.

While these forums have demonstrated a diversity of thought and opinion, including discussion about the challenges of affordability and the need for reasonable reforms, many Nebraskans have expressed serious concerns about the government-run public option plan before the House of Representatives. I take these concerns very seriously, and believe that Americans deserve a thorough policy debate that is focused on strengthening the best aspects of our health care system.

As you know, the massive health care overhaul which was crafted by some members in the House of Representatives was delayed. I was very concerned with the speed and forcefulness by which this bill was being rushed. In its current form the bill is over 1,000 pages long with a cost of more than $1 trillion over 10 years. The size and scope of this proposal, and its central components, demand more thoughtful deliberation as there are many elements of concern to many Americans.

I believe that Congress should be focusing on one essential question: how do we improve health outcomes and reduce costs while protecting vulnerable persons? A thorough policy debate must be grounded in these cornerstone objectives to effectively improve the quality of and access to health care for all Americans, rather than simply developing a new government financing mechanism without regard to unsustainable cost projections.

As I continue to emphasize, building a culture of wellness, strengthening the best of patient-centered care, and creating new insurance models may help meet these goals. Seventy-five percent of our nation's current $2.2 trillion overall health care expenditure is spent on the treatment of chronic lifestyle- and obesity-related diseases, much of which could be prevented or managed more responsibly, saving perhaps hundreds of billions of dollars. Right now, our doctors are paid to cut, fix, or prescribe. An essential component of health care should be prevention. We need a better approach to chronic disease management and must change our focus to one that is patient-centered rather than system-centered. The August congressional field hearing I hosted at Madonna ProActive in Lincoln examined the extraordinary opportunities to improve outcomes and reduce costs through wellness initiatives centered on prevention and good nutrition. You can view the hearing and read witness testimony on my official website,

We must also address more cost-effective avenues of health care delivery for our most vulnerable individuals, such as strengthening community-based safety nets that provide such care less expensively-for instance, Community Health Centers. Nearly 40 percent of patients who access community health centers are uninsured, and sadly, many are children. Similarly, home health services can provide care management to the chronically ill and disabled in the comfort of their homes, while significantly lowering the costs of care.

It is also imperative to have a creative discussion about new insurance models that, among other things, address portability and allow for the purchase of insurance across state lines. There should be flexibility for organizations and businesses, individuals and families, and nonprofit entities to associate and operate nimbly in a free and informed marketplace with added choice of insurance coverage options. In addition, we could expand subsidies for high risk insurance pools for those who are priced out of normal rates due to chronic illnesses or pre-existing conditions and those who are having affordability problems. Medical liability reform, the elimination of excessive testing due to the practice of defensive medicine, a potential expansion of Health Savings Accounts, as well as team care coordination for complex medical difficulties are other important considerations.

Health care policy is complex. Washington should take the time to get the necessary reforms right. These policy suggestions are only a few components of the necessary tasks at hand, but help optimally answer the fundamental question of how to improve health care outcomes and reduce costs. Clearly, if we incentivize wellness, and expand and promote a culture of health with a true paradigm shift to prevent rather than simply treat diseases, we will succeed in tackling one of the primary drivers of health care costs for families and small businesses, while strengthening the health of Americans.

I appreciate the many constructive discussions I have had with Nebraskans over the past several weeks. Together we have the opportunity to do something good and right for the American people, meeting the critical objectives of improving our health, reducing the costs of care, and protecting vulnerable persons.

Congressman Jeff Fortenberry

Contact Information:

Washington, DC Office
1535 Longworth HOB
Washington,D.C. 20515
Phone: (202) 225-4806
Fax: (202) 225-5686
Lincoln Office
301 South 13th Street, Suite 100
Lincoln, NE 68508
Phone: (402) 438-1598 | 866-725-5255
Fax: (402) 438-1604
Norfolk Office
125 S. 4th Street, Suite 101
Norfolk, NE 68701
Phone: 402-379-2064
Fax: 402-379-2101
Fremont Office
P.O. Box 377 629 Broad Street
Fremont, NE 68026
Phone: 402-727-0888

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