When Brad Bailey of Hastings and his wife, Lorinda Bailey, arrived at the event center in Doniphan Saturday morning for the Y to Y Marathon, the halfway point felt too quiet.
The 26.2-mile run held in January is informal, with the finish line at the 16th Street YMCA in Hastings and a celebration that begins around 11:30 a.m. Runners can start whenever they like in the morning at the Grand Island YMCA or in Doniphan for a half marathon. They also can finish whenever they want.
Unknown to the Baileys at the time, the race had been canceled for a second year, due to icy conditions that caused a safety hazard.
But Brad, 56, decided to run anyway. As it was a beautiful morning, the couple thought they might have missed the other runners and he had planned to participate in the race.
“It was gorgeous out. The snow was all frozen over, and it was glistening off that and all the ice,” Brad said.
It was also going to be Brad’s third attempt at running an entire half marathon since he suffered a stroke in 2012. The stroke caused by a work accident tore one of his carotid arteries in half.
Brad was an avid runner before the accident, finishing seven half marathons and having been running for 10 years at that time. His first half marathon was in 2001 in Grand Island.
The medication Brad takes to manage his torn artery made his hobby difficult.
“Some of those meds mess with my muscles,” he said. “I haven’t been able to run as fast and that drove me crazy.”
Brad’s family members suggested that he pick up another hobby that wasn’t as physically demanding. But Brad liked running and didn’t want to stop.
“It’s not like I’m good at it or have ever been good at it. I do it because I feel better when I’m doing it,” Brad said.
His last attempt was in Deadwood, South Dakota, where he was able to finish but had to walk occasionally. Walking a half marathon, for him, wasn’t satisfactory.
“It’s not like I get a low fuel light,” Brad said. “My engine just quits and I have to walk. I’ll walk awhile, then I’ll be able to take off jogging, but still, it feels like I failed.”
Brad found that running in colder weather is easier, making the January race ideal for him. The temperature Saturday morning was about 17 degrees when he started.
As Brad ran the canceled marathon and Lorinda followed in a car to help other runners who needed water or called it good, the roads soon started getting rough and there were no footprints from other runners.
Lorinda started getting concerned, for her husband and the other runners that hadn’t shown up.
But Brad was feeling good. His legs started hurting before his lungs, where the exhaustion usually starts to set in, did.
Despite the challenge, Brad finished at the Hastings YMCA.
“In my own mind, I felt that I was not going to be able to stop,” Brad said. “I was really tickled that I was able to make it.”
While there wasn’t a party at the YMCA with the other would-be runners, the Baileys decided to get breakfast at Perkins to celebrate the achievement.
“She was teasing me at breakfast. She said ‘If you are are the only one, you can say that you won a half marathon,’ “ Brad said.
Brad said he is grateful that his wife drove alongside him and kept him motivated.
Growing up in Hastings, Mary Lainson Olsen was familiar with many of the women who shaped the community.
They were women who were and are active in the community, with a love of the community and commitment to local institutions such as the YWCA of Adams County, Hastings College and Hastings Public Library.
Many of those women are now honored in the exhibit “Vital Contributions: Women of Hastings,” on display at the Hastings Museum until May 31.
“They were forces to be reckoned with,” Olsen said during the “Vital Contributions” reception at the museum on Jan. 16.
That includes her mother, Gretchen Lainson, who will turn 104 later this month, and is among the women featured in “Vital Contributions.” She has been a mainstay of organizations such as the First Presbyterian Church, YWCA and P.E.O.
“I’m extremely proud of my mother and all she has accomplished through the years,” Olsen said. “She’s very humble about what she does. She and my father loved the community and did all they could possibly do to make it a better place and of course it is.”
Near Gretchen Lainson’s entry is one for her sister-in-law and Olsen’s aunt, Phyllis Lainson, who was Hastings’ first and only female mayor.
“Vital Contributions” is a celebration of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which gave women the right to vote. The year 2020 marks the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment.
From the beginning, women have played key roles in the lives of their families and children, in the management of homes and households, and in the organization of faith communities. The 19th Amendment was the first step in an ongoing broadening of women’s influence.
To celebrate this centennial, the Hastings Museum has developed “Vital Contributions” honoring the pioneering accomplishments the women of Hastings have contributed to their community through the years.
Among women included in “Vital Contributions” who are still living is Maria Rubalcava.
She founded in May 2018 Raices de me Pueblo, a dance troupe that performs traditional Mexican dances in customary regalia. The group includes 15 children who practice up to eight hours per week while learning more about their heritage.
The group started as a way for Rubalcava’s family to cope in a difficult time and included only her three children.
Realizing other Latino children needed the therapeutic benefits of dancing, she opened up her lessons to any child willing to demonstrate respect, honesty, loyalty, discipline and commitment.
It is important to her to increase appreciation for the Hispanic community in Hastings.
“There are beautiful traditions that new generations are losing,” Rubalcava said.
She said she is grateful for the unexpected honor of being included in “Vital Contributions.”
Hastings Museum partnered with the Adams County Historical Society on “Vital Contributions.”
“They were a great resource to go to,” said Curt Gosser, Hastings Museum curator of exhibits.
He said he also asked around in the community — working with venerable institutions such as the YWCA and Hastings College — and “just kind of dug down into just finding women that have done different, important things.”
Having lived in Hastings since 2010, Gosser said he was familiar with many of the names included in “Vital Contributions” prior to working on the exhibit. Still, he was able to learn a lot.
“It was very interesting just to find out their stories and where they all kind of came from,” he said. “The contributions they made were so varied. It didn’t have to be a ground-breaking contribution to our community.”
“Vital Contributions” included women who were directly involved with the suffrage movement, such as Margretta Dietrich, who served as president of Nebraska Women’s Suffrage Association during the ratification of the 19th amendment.
But Gosser said everyone included in “Vital Contributions” contributed to progressing the role of women and the community of Hastings as a whole.
“They were all kind of pushing for rights for each other even if they weren’t directly impacting the suffrage movement,” he said.
LINCOLN — A state lawmaker who has fought for years to restrict human trafficking in Nebraska is now trying to hit traffickers in the wallet with a proposed sales tax on dating and escort services.
The bill introduced last week would eliminate a sales tax exemption for the services, which include legitimate dating websites as well as businesses that act as a front for prostitution and human trafficking. Money generated from the tax would go into an existing state fund to help pay for housing, therapy, health care and other services for human trafficking survivors.
The measure’s sponsor said she learned about the tax break last year and was shocked that escort services receive it, given the Legislature’s multi-year push to crack down on human trafficking.
“It seems like a no-brainer,” said Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks, of Lincoln. The Legislature “has been very supportive of laws that protect victims of human trafficking, and I thought this would be a wonderful way to show that.”
The tax exemption for escort services has been in places for decades, and its origins are unclear. An aide for Pansing Brooks said it appears that escort services haven’t been required to pay Nebraska taxes because lawmakers never bothered to impose one on the industry.
Nebraska generally taxes goods that are sold but does not tax services, although there are dozens of exceptions carved into state law, according to the state Department of Revenue.
The department doesn’t break down the exact amount of revenue the state forgoes because of the exemption, said Lydia Brasch, an agency spokeswoman. Escort and dating services are lumped into a broader “personal services” category that costs the state about $1 million a year in lost revenue but also includes services such as shoe-shining, wedding planning and bail bonding.
Even though getting rid of the exemption wouldn’t generate much revenue, Pansing Brooks said the tax could become “one more arrow in the quiver” of prosecutors to bring charges against human traffickers when they can’t prove a more serious crime but can show a failure to pay the tax. She pointed to the case of Al Capone, the notorious Prohibition-era Chicago gangster who went to prison for tax evasion.
The bill could face resistance, however, from conservatives who have promised to fight any potential tax increase. Gov. Pete Ricketts, who has previously supported efforts to stop human trafficking, reiterated last week that he’ll oppose any measure that raises taxes.
Asked whether the governor has taken a position on Pansing Brooks’ bill, Ricketts spokesman Taylor Gage said: “The governor’s office does not comment on bills early in the legislative process. The governor has laid out no tax increases as one of the principles for his budget.”
A spokeswoman for Attorney General Doug Peterson, a leading advocate in the state’s fight against human trafficking, did not respond to an emailed request for comment. Pansing Brooks said she spoke with lawyers in the attorney general’s office and doesn’t believe they’ll take a public position on her bill.
Lawmakers could debate a related bill as early as Tuesday, when they return to the Capitol. The measure by Sen. Lou Ann Linehan, of Omaha, would create a competitive grant program for groups that provide services to human trafficking victims, but money wouldn’t be available until government or private sources step in to fund it.
Nebraska has enacted a series of laws since 2006 to increase penalties for traffickers, encourage victims to work with law enforcement and provide special training to people who are likely to encounter victims, such as hotel and truck stop workers.
But the state still has work to do to ensure that human trafficking victims receive the services they need to avoid falling back into a life a prostitution, said Tiffany Seibert Joekel, research and policy director for the Women’s Fund of Omaha. Joekel said services are also important because they may encourage victims to work with law enforcement in the prosecution of their traffickers.
“We hope that funding is made available, and since there is some money available in this legislative session, we think that supporting survivors of human trafficking should be a priority,” she said.
AUSTIN, Texas — President Donald Trump thanked farmers Sunday for supporting him through a trade war with China as he promoted a new North American trade agreement and a separate one with China that he said will massively benefit farmers.
“We did it,” Trump said, recalling his campaign promises to improve America’s trading relationships with other countries.
At one point during his address to the American Farm Bureau Federation’s convention, Trump said he has strong support among farmers following his signing last week of a preliminary trade deal with China.
When Trump spoke to the American Farm Bureau Federation’s last year, he urged farmers to continue supporting him even as they suffered financially in the fallout from his trade war with China and a partial shutdown of the federal government.
His follow-up speech Sunday at this year’s convention in Austin, Texas, gave him a chance to make the case to farmers that he kept promises he made as a candidate to improve trade with China and separately with Canada and Mexico.
He thanked farmers for staying “in the fight.”
“You were always with me,” Trump said. “You never even thought of giving up and we got it done.”
The Republican president wants another term in office and is seeking to shore up support among his base, including farmers.
Trump announced he is taking steps to protect the water rights of farmers and ranchers by directing the Army Corps of Engineers to immediately withdraw a new water supply rule and allow states to manage water resources based on their own needs and what the agricultural community wants.
“Water is the lifeblood of agriculture and we will always protect your water supply,” Trump said.
Trump signed a preliminary trade deal with China at the White House last Wednesday that commits Beijing to boosting its imports of U.S. manufacturing, energy and farm goods by $200 billion this year and next. That includes larger purchases of soybeans and other farm goods expected to reach $40 billion a year, the U.S. has said, though critics wonder if China can meet the targets.
In Austin, Trump described the trade agreement with China as “groundbreaking” and said, “We’re going to sell the greatest product you’ve ever seen.”
Also last week, the Senate voted overwhelmingly in favor of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, a successor to the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement. The administration designed the new agreement to return some factory production to the United States, mostly automobiles.
Trump said in Austin that U.S. farmers will also benefit under USMCA, which he said will “massively boost exports” for farmers, ranchers, growers from “North to South” and “from sea to shining sea.”
NAFTA had triggered a surge in trade among the three countries, but Trump and other critics blamed it for U.S. job losses brought about when American factories moved production south of the border to take advantage of low-wage labor in Mexico.
The House passed the U.S.-Mexico-Canada deal in December. Trump said he would sign it after he returns from a trip to Europe this week.
In his remarks to farmers, Trump claimed his administration is doing things no other administration has ever done.
“And what do I get out of it? I get impeached,” he said. “That’s what I get. By these radical-left lunatics, I get impeached. But that’s OK. The farmers are sticking with Trump.”
The president’s trial in the Senate gets underway in earnest on Tuesday.