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March 2007

Welcome to the Statehouse Observer

Chief Standing Bear Photo in CapitolOver the last few months many changes have occurred with the Statehouse Observer. One of the most noticeable changes is the Statehouse Observer’s transition to an online publication. The online version allows us to provide information on a timely basis and gives you immediate access to the information.

DAS – State Personnel’s vision is to continue to evolve the Statehouse Observer and increase its value to the employees of the State of Nebraska. If you have any suggestions or questions, want to contribute an article, or know of an upcoming event please let me know.

We are especially interested in stories that acknowledge achievements of our State Employees including employee recognition (employee of the month), promote State of Nebraska Activities, and articles that provide important information or resources to State Employees.

If you would like to contribute an article or have any suggestions please let me know. You can email me at

Thank you,
Stacey Dvorak, Editor of the Statehouse Observer


State of Nebraska Employees Recognized for Charitable Giving

State Advisory Board Pictured with Governor Heineman

On March 7th, the Governor’s Charitable Giving Advisory Board presented the Governor with awards for the 2006 Charitable Giving Campaign. The Governor accepted the awards on behalf of the employees of the State of Nebraska.

Sharlette Schwenninger, Executive Director for the Community Services Fund, presented the Governor with a certificate that recognized the Nebraska State Employee Charitable Giving Campaign as the 2006’s 2nd largest campaign. The State of Nebraska campaign has shown a 45 percent increase since 2003. She also presented him a Community Services Fund candy jar “to symbolize how things are sweeter for the recipients of the funds.”

Cathy Hietbrink, the Lincoln Director for the Community Health Charities of Nebraska, presented the State of Nebraska with the “Gold Award”. The “Gold Award” is given to the top three campaigns in Lincoln. The State of Nebraska’s campaign was the third largest campaign in Lincoln and the second largest campaign statewide. The Governor accepted a certificate and a framed photo showing five of the recipients of the campaign’s donations.

At the United Way of Lincoln and Lancaster Count Annual Meeting on January 18th, the Nebraska State Employee Charitable Giving Campaign was recognized as being one of the Top 10 Campaigns. The State of Nebraska’s Charitable Giving Campaign ranked fourth overall. Brian Wachman, the Executive Director of the Lincoln United Way, presented the Governor with an award recognizing the State of Nebraska’s achievement.

The 2006 Charitable Giving Campaign was a 10 percent increase over 2005’s campaign, with 2,783 participants donating $305,484. The table below shows the State of Nebraska’s growth over the last three years.

Charitable Giving Chart

This year’s Charitable Giving Campaign starts July 16th and runs through August 24th. For more information on this year's Charitable Giving Campaign please contact Stacey Dvorak at

Martin Luther King Celebration – “Time to Step up to the Plate.”

(Article and Photo provided by Charles Roberson, Affirmative Action Specialist)

Martin Luther King ceremony

The state’s Martin Luther King Celebration took place in the State Capitol Rotunda on Friday, January 12.

The celebration was presided over by Oscar Harriott, the State Deputy Ombudsman for Corrections, and featured an inspiring keynote address by Rev. Dr. Wayne Reynolds of Grace United Methodist Church. The Lincoln Northeast Concert Choir and Scott Middle School Choir also performed at the event.

The Dr. King Humanitarian Award was given to Frank T. Peak, Administrator for Community Outreach Services in the Creighton University Medical Center Partnership in Health. Peak has a long history of community activism and leadership in health and human services initiatives. He is the co-founder and President/CEO of NETWORK, Inc. - a Nebraska non-profit prevention organization addressing high-risk behavioral issues for all youth in general, and youth and communities of color, in particular. Peak is considered to be a champion in the area of health, and serves as a hero for the recipients of numerous services generated through his work.

Recognition certificates were also given to Pete Ferguson, Vice President of Leadership Lincoln Inc.; and Annie N. Stokes, Counselor at Lefler Middle School (Lincoln Public Schools) for their work in living up to the teachings of Dr. King. Ferguson was recognized for his dedication and strong commitment to training youth of all racial backgrounds as the future generation of leaders. Stokes was recognized for her continued support of Dr. King’s legacy within Lincoln Public Schools and also as a result of her work with community organizations such as the NAACP.

Three Lincoln elementary students also were recognized as the winners of the annual essay contest organized by McDonald’s Restaurants. The winning students are Brandon Gallardo (Brownell Elementary), Emma Jacoby (Fredstrom Elementary), and Stacie Bubb (Zeman Elementary). They will have the opportunity to share their essays with the public.

This year’s Celebration theme was “Let’s Do It…Love One Another” and many of the speakers and award recipients spoke of the need for all of us to “step up to the plate” and take responsibility for forwarding the message of love and unity that was so eloquently spoken by Dr. King time and time again.

The Martin Luther King Celebration is coordinated each year by the Martin Luther King Committee – consisting of employees from both the State and City of Lincoln.

Don’t Forget Wildlife at Tax Time

(Article provided by Rick Schneider, Coordinator/Ecologist - Nebraska Natural Heritage Program Nebraska Game and Parks Commission)

You can help conserve wildlife in Nebraska by donating to the Nongame Species Conservation Fund. Just look for the “check for wildlife” symbol on your state income tax return (or alert your tax preparer) and designate all or a portion of your refund to the fund. If you’re not getting a refund this year you can still help, donations can also be made online at the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission’s website All donations are tax deductible and go directly to benefit wildlife.

Over 2000 species of birds, mammals, fish, reptiles, amphibians, and plants and tens of thousands of insect species are considered nongame species in Nebraska - species that are not hunted, trapped or fished. These constitute 99% of all species in the state. By law, revenue from hunting and fishing licenses cannot be spent directly on nongame species. This makes the Nongame Species Conservation Fund the state’s primary source of state funding for monitoring, researching, managing and conserving the vast majority of our wildlife. Federal grants available for nongame wildlife have increased over the past 5 years but our ability to take advantage of these new grants depends on our being able to provide matching state funds. This is why the Nongame Species Conservation Fund is so vital to our state’s wildlife; typically every state dollar is matched with 3 to 9 dollars from federal grants or partner contributions.

Some of the projects that received Nongame funds in 2006 include:

  • Education. The Shortgrass Prairie Education Partnership, which delivers educational programs to students, teachers, and landowners in the panhandle. Interpretive signs at Ft. Kearney State Recreation Area explaining how habitat restoration and management benefit a variety of species. Interpretive signs at Chadron State Park describing how management designed to reduce the potential for catastrophic wildfire is benefiting wildlife. Publication of crane and waterfowl viewing guides for the central Platte region. Webcam viewing of peregrine falcon nesting activity in Lincoln and Omaha.
  • Research and Inventory. Radio-telemetry study of river otters in the central Platte region to understand their daily and seasonal movements, home range, habitat use, and survival. Inventory of turtles along the Missouri river to assess the effects of restoration and management activities at mitigation projects. Inventory of natural communities and at-risk plant species on the Valentine National Wildlife Refuge to better inform land management. Toad and frog surveys in the rainwater basin region to determine abundance and distribution of these species in relation to land use and habitat. Continued support for annual monitoring of at-risk species such as bald eagle, least tern, piping plover, and whooping crane.
  • Habitat restoration. Restoration of the Griffith Prairie near Aurora. Mechanical removal of invasive tree species from prairies on a variety of the Game and Parks Commission’s Wildlife Management Areas. Purchase of a specialized seed harvester to collect local ecotypes of native prairie plants.
  • Continued support of conservation partnerships such as the Tern and Plover Conservation Partnership, the Prairie Partners Program and the Shortgrass Prairie Partnership

The Nongame Species Conservation Fund allows everyone to be a part of conserving our state’s wildlife and wild places for the future. Any donation amount is helpful and every dollar goes directly to conserving Nebraska’s nongame wildlife and wild places. We can all make a difference for our future.

Separate Beneficiary Designations

(Article provided by Nebraska Public Employees Retirement Systems)

Last fall State employees completed the open enrollment process for 2007 employee benefits by using the Nebraska Information System (NIS) and the “employee self-serve,” to select vision, health and dental insurance, flexible spending accounts and income protection insurance. In making your benefit selections, you designated your beneficiary(ies) as those who would be provided for if you were to meet an untimely death.

Please do not confuse your beneficiary designation for open enrollment purposes with your beneficiary designations for the mandatory State Retirement Plan and voluntary Deferred Compensation Plan (DCP). They are separate designations; one does not cover all. While you may choose the same persons (parents, spouse, children, etc.) to receive your benefits should something happen to you, you must make your designations for retirement purposes on the NPERS’ Beneficiary Designation Form.

The Beneficiary Designation Form for your retirement plan or DCP is available on the NPERS’ web site at or by contacting NPERS or your employer. Any new form you sign, have notarized and send to our office will automatically replace what we previously had on file for you. You may name the same entities as beneficiaries for both plans (provided you’re also a member of DCP) by checking the appropriate boxes in the upper right corner. Or you may name different beneficiaries for each plan by submitting separate forms.

If you have not recently updated your beneficiary designation for retirement purposes, or do not remember who you designated, it’s easy to obtain a new form, have it notarized and send to NPERS. Even if you name the same person(s) again as beneficiary(ies), we don’t mind processing the paperwork knowing we have your current designations and their contact information. Call NPERS at 800-245-5712 or 402-471-2053 if you have any questions.

Campaign Against Hunger Kicks-Off April 9th

The State of Nebraska’s “Campaign Against Hunger” kicks-off April 9th and run through April 20th. The State of Nebraska began participating in the Campaign Against Hunger with the Lincoln Food Bank in the 1980’s. Last year’s campaign raised $10,355 with 24,279 pounds of food donated to the Lincoln Food Bank a significant increase from 2005 totals of $4,289 and 15,880 pounds of food.

The Lincoln Food Bank, founded in 1982, and is a non-profit organization that distributes food and personnel care items to 16 southeastern Nebraska communities. Last year the Lincoln Food Bank collected 2,783,175 pounds of food and distributed 2,792,123 pounds of foods which is an equivalent of 5,976 meals per day.

An estimated 9,200 individuals are assisted weekly by the Lincoln Food Bank, according to the “Hunger in America 2006 Survey” a national survey conducted in 2005. Approximately 28% of the individuals assisted by the Food Bank of Lincoln are under the age of 18 and 16% are elderly.


Items most needed by the Food Bank include:

  • Coffee
  • Tuna and other canned meats
  • Cereal
  • Soup
  • Canned Fruits and Vegetables
  • 100% Fruit Juices
  • Peanut Butter
  • Macaroni and Cheese
  • Toilet Paper
  • Diapers
  • Soap/Shampoo

The Lincoln Food Bank also has two special programs that items can be donated towards:

The House Warming Project provides needed items to victims of domestic violence who are leaving the shelter and moving on to their own housing. Items needed for the program include: pure and natural soap, Shurfine blue deodorant soap, Best Choice Bath Tissue (4 pack), Best Choice paper towels, Xtra powder laundry detergent (93 oz), Joy Lemon Dish Soap (18 oz), Comet Powder (14 oz), Formula 409 All Purpose Trigger (22 oz), Glad 13-Gallon Tall Kitchen Bags (35 count) and Broom (O Cedar Angle Broom).

The LPS BackPack Program provides nutritious meals, activities and backpacks to Lincoln school children. Currently 37% of the elementary school students qualify for free or reduced lunches and for many of these children the meals they receive at school or their most nutritious or in some cases only meals they receive. Items needed for the BackPack program included: 18 ounce Grape Jelly, 7.25 ounce Macaroni and Cheese, 26 ounce Spaghetti in tomato/cheese sauce (canned), 11.5 ounce Welch’s Juice Concentrate (non frozen or refrigerated), 10 packs of Kellogg’s Variety Pack cereal, and15 oz cans of Fruits and Vegetables.

Items can be placed in donation barrels which will be located throughout State Building and Facilities. Monetary donations are also welcome can be given to the Food Bank Coordinator in your office.

For more information on this year’s Campaign Against hunger please contact Stacey Dvorak at

For more information on the Lincoln Food Bank please visit their website at:

State Receives Grant from Department of Environmental Quality’s Litter Reduction & Recycling Program.

(Article provided by Aaron Boucher, State Recycling Coordinator)

The State Recycling Office was recently awarded a grant through the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality’s Litter Reduction & Recycling Program.

This grant will provide desk-side containers to 2,000 State employees and also replace the larger recycling containers in the Nebraska State Office Building, the State Capitol and the Executive Building. All of the containers that will be purchased under this grant program have been manufactured with recycled materials – for example, the desk-side containers will all contain a minimum recycled content of 25%. The State’s buy-recycled policy (State Statute 81-15, 159) mandates that State agencies purchase recycled-content products whenever possible. In this case, the recycled-content products saved the State $1,500 vs. purchasing the same product from non-recycled materials.

Grant funding was also awarded to the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services for a new baler at the Omaha Correctional Center. This baler will be used to reduce the large volume of cardboard that is generated by this facility. In addition, the Tecumseh State Correctional Facility (TSCI) was awarded a grant for new containers that will help to greatly increase the volume of paper recycled at TSCI. If any agency, board or commission feels that there is a need for additional recycling containers or has ideas on how recycling could be improved at their facility, please contact the State Recycling Office.

Thanks to everyone for recycling their old toner cartridges! We have seen a substantial increase in the number of used cartridges that are being recycled. The State is now receiving $2 for each laser cartridge and $1 for each ink-jet cartridge. Please send your used cartridges to the dock of the Nebraska State Office Building via inter-office mail.

If anyone has any questions or needs information relating to recycling, please contact Aaron Boucher, State Recycling Coordinator at 471-2431.

Calculating Overtime Pay–Keep Your Hat on!

(Article provided by Kellie Graham, Personnel Analyst, DAS - State Personnel)

What components is your agency using to calculate overtime pay for your employees? Avoid common pitfalls when monitoring and calculating your employee’s overtime rate by paying attention to these key examples of what must be included in configuring the appropriate overtime rate:

  • On-call pay
  • Shift differentials

Now that we know this information, how do we calculate overtime pay appropriately? Simply put on your “math hat” and calculate according to the following two examples:

Computing Overtime without on-call pay or shift differentials:

  1. Regulations state that an employee’s “regular hourly rate of pay” is calculated by dividing his/her total remuneration in any workweek by the total number of hours worked by him/her in that workweek for which such compensation was paid. That is, by dividing the total payments for the week by the total number of hours worked. For example, if an employee makes $10/hour and worked 50 hours in a week, the worker must be paid time and one-half overtime pay for each hour worked over 40 hours. The calculation is as follows:

    [$10/hour (regular rate) x 1.5= $15/hour]

    Thus, the employee should be paid for 40 hours at the straight time rate of $10 (40x$10=$400), as well as 10 hours at the overtime rate of $15/hour (10x$15=$150), for a total of $550 that week. Sounds easy enough!

  2. Computing Overtime pay WITH on-call pay or shift differentials:

    Let’s say that the employee above also was paid $100 that week for on-call pay. It is necessary to compute the regular rate to include the add-on’s that may be present. In this instance, the employee’s hourly wages would be added to the on-call amount and divided by the number of hours worked in the week, as follows:

    [($10/hour x 50 hours = $500) + $100 = $600], divided by the total number of
    hours he/she worked, (50), for a regular rate of $12/HR.]

    The employee therefore must be paid, in addition to the $10 for each of the 50 hours (plus the on-call pay already paid), which totaled $600, an overtime premium of one-half the regular rate (1/2 x $12=$6) for each of the 10 hours worked beyond 40 ($6 x 10=60), for a total of $660.

You don’t have to count absence pay (sick, vacation), meal allowances, uniform allowances, or tuition reimbursement in order to calculate overtime pay. Holiday pay is considered as hours worked in calculating overtime pay.

Agencies are encouraged to review your payroll’s overtime calculation methods, and if needed, put on your “math hats” for calculating success!


Employers Guide to the Fair Labor Standards Act. FLSA 101-Calculating Overtime:

Overview of the Basics. December 2006.

Egg Handling and Safety Tips

(Article provided by Mary Torell, Public Information Officer, Nebraska Department of Agriculture, Poultry & Egg Division)

The egg has always been a symbol of new life, and people have believed that eggs given at this season would bring good luck. It’s been a custom to color, decorate and exchange eggs for hundreds of years. While eggs are good eating at any time, Easter is the season to enjoy them as gifts and special treats.

Egg Handling and Safety Tips
There are some important safe handling methods to remember this time of year when you’re decorating, cooking or hiding those eggs since eggs are handled a great deal more than usual around Easter. Remember to:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly with hot soapy water and rinse them
    before handling the eggs when cooking, cooling, dyeing and hiding them.
  • Be sure and inspect the eggs before purchasing them, making sure that they are not dirty or cracked. Dangerous bacteria may enter a cracked egg.
  • Store eggs in their original cartons in the refrigerator.
  • If you’re having an Easter egg hunt, consider hiding places carefully. Avoid areas where the eggs might come into contact with pets, wild animals, birds, reptiles, insects or lawn chemicals.
  • Make sure you find all the eggs you've hidden and then refrigerate them. Discard cracked eggs.
  • As long as the eggs are NOT out of refrigeration over two hours, they will be safe to eat.
  • Do not eat eggs that have been out of refrigeration more than two hours.
  • If you are planning to use colored eggs as decorations, (for centerpieces, etc.) where the eggs will be out of refrigeration for many hours or several days, discard them after they have served their decorative purpose.

Egg Toss
Whenever groups gather for picnic games, an egg toss is as predictable as a sack race. Partners line up in two rows facing each other. Every member on one side tosses a raw egg across. After each successful catch, the players take one step backward, adding to the difficulty of the next catch. This is repeated until all but one egg is broken and most of the players have egg on their faces! The couple with the last unbroken egg wins.

Egg Rolling
Many variations of egg rolling contests and games can be played. The egg rolling that takes place each year on Easter Monday on the lawn of the White House has become an American tradition, having been started by Dolly Madison in the early 1800’s. The American Egg Board provides the specially decorated eggs for the occasion.

Egg Salad Week
Each year, for the full week beginning the Monday after Easter, the U.S. egg industry observes Egg Salad Week. The week’s purpose is the enjoyment of all the tasty recipes that can be prepared with cooked and colored eggs. The occasion is meant to be fun, but is underscored with a serious intent. Since, at this time of year, refrigerators across America are stocked with Easter eggs, which should be used within a week of hard-cooking, the observance is both timely and appropriate.

Tangy Raspberry Salad
(Serves 6)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup water
¾ cup raspberry vinegar
1 tablespoon orange juice
¾ teaspoon finely minced garlic
salt to taste
pepper to taste
8 cups loosely packed, torn mixed salad greens (12 oz.)
1½ cups fresh or frozen (no sugar added) raspberries
1 tablespoon chopped green onion with top
6 hard-cooked eggs, quartered

In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, shake together oil, water, vinegar, orange juice, garlic and seasonings. Set aside while preparing salad or refrigerate.

Place salad greens in a large bowl. Add raspberries, onions, and eggs. Shake dressing again; pour over salad. Gently toss until ingredients are evenly coated with dressing.

Recipe Source: American Egg Board

For more egg recipes, egg decorating tips, or egg nutritional information, visit our web site at or contact Mary Torell, Public Information Officer, Nebraska Department of Agriculture, Poultry & Egg Division at or call 402-472-0752.

Employee Recognition


Sid Keelan Retiring after a Remarkable 39 Years of Public Service

(Article provided by Charles Roberson, Affirmative Action Specialist, DAS - State Personnel)

group photo, Sid and wife and friends

Sid Keelan is retiring from State government after an impressive career in public service that began in 1968.

Sid spent eleven years on active duty in the United States Air Force, including multiple tours of duty in the Viet Nam war resulting in military awards including the Outstanding Unit Citation with V for valor and the Bronze Star Medal.

Sid worked for the Air National Guard for nine years and spent thirteen years with DAS – State Personnel working as a Personnel Analyst. For the last nine years, Sid has worked as a Human Resources Manager with the Department of the Military. For the last few years, Sid has also been a proactive member of the Affirmative Action Committee.

Sid has touched many lives during his career and he will be missed.

Mr. Oscar Harriott, State’s Ombudsman’s Office...This year's recipient of the "Fulfilling the Dream" Award.

(Article provided by Concha Kroeger, NDCS)

On January 15, 2007, State Deputy Ombudsman for Corrections Oscar Harriott received “Fulfilling the Dream Award” from the University of Nebraska Lincoln.

This award is to honor those who have contributed to the UNL community and on a broader scope within the Lincoln community in their action in promoting the goals and vision of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Oscar is a very humble individual who continues day-by-day to encourage others, especially our youth of today to embrace the challenges of diversity and with their impact “they too, can make a difference”.

We as a State are very fortunate to have such a special person who strives daily to continue to impress upon others how important it is to “Fulfill the Dream” of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


Quick Fixes Aren’t the Answer for Healthful Weight Control: Learn to Spot Fads and Steer Clear – Then Seek Proven, Long-Term Solutions


Dieting is big business – spending on weight-loss products in this country reached $43 billion in 2004. But too many people wind up wasting their hard-earned money on fad diets, unproven products and weight-loss gimmicks that just don’t work. Still, the fads keep coming – and coming back.

“The lure of quick and easy weight loss is hard to resist,” says registered dietitian and American Dietetic Association spokesperson Dee Sandquist. That’s especially true for people who struggle to make changes that will optimize their health. They wind up on fad diets that can be harmful to your health in the long run.”

ADA defines “food fads” as “unreasonable or exaggerated beliefs that eating (or not eating) specific foods, nutrient supplements or combinations of certain foods may cure disease, convey special health benefits or offer quick weight loss.” For National Nutrition Month® and beyond, ADA encourages consumers to go 100% Fad-Free and achieve lifelong success through proven, science-based approaches to weight loss.

“The reality is, no ‘super food’ or diet approach can reverse weight gain resulting from overeating and inactivity. And because most fad diets don’t teach new eating habits and many require you to give up your favorite foods, people usually don’t stick with them,” Sandquist says. She offers the following tips to help evaluate a new product, diet or recommendation:

  • If it sounds too good to be true, it is – especially if the diet or product offers a “quick fix.”
  • Avoid products offering a guaranteed cure or which promote “limited-time offers.”
  • Watch out for products that describe certain foods as “good” or “bad.”
  • Is the source of the information – such as a book author – also trying to sell a product, like supplements?
  • Fad diets may require you to avoid foods or entire food groups.

“Countless reputable studies over many years have shown balance and variety are needed for good health. Any diet that requires you to give up whole categories of foods and to take supplements to replace their nutrients is, by definition, unbalanced,” Sandquist says.

“Spending even a small amount of time on the Internet or at the library can tell you much about whether a dietary approach or product is based on science and isn’t just a fad,” Sandquist says. “Are the product’s claims backed up by a body of scientific research rather than just one study – or none at all? Do reputable scientific and professional organizations support the claims?

“If the answers to these questions is no, then you can do better in developing a healthy weight-loss plan that is right for you,” Sandquist says. “A consultation with a registered dietitian is the perfect place to start. A ‘personalized plan’ will provide a balanced approach for long-term success.”

In evaluating a nutrition product, service, treatment or device, ask yourself the following questions drawn from The American Dietetic Association’s Complete Food and Nutrition Guide (3rd ed., Wiley 2006). If your answer to any of these questions is “Yes,” it likely means the claim is too good to be true and you should be suspicious.

Does it use scare tactics, emotional appeals or a money-back guarantee, rather than proven results? Playing on emotion, misinformation or fear is common among nonscientific pseudo-experts. Watch for terms like “breakthrough” and “miraculous” or claims that certain foods or additives are “poisons.”

Does it use non-scientific terms like “revitalize,” “detoxify” or “balance your body with nature”? Does it claim to increase stamina, stimulate your body’s healing power or boost your energy level? Words like “detoxify” are not scientific terms. And no product can increase your stamina, strength or immunity.

Does it offer “proof” based on personal testimonials rather than sound science?
Nutrition is a science, based on fact, not emotional belief. Be skeptical of case histories and testimonials if they are the only proof a product works.

Does it advise supplements as “insurance” for everyone or recommend very large doses of nutrients? Not everyone needs a supplement; in fact, taking too much may be harmful. Most healthy people can obtain all the nutrients they need from food. For some people, supplementation is warranted, but that is an individual decision that should be made during consultations with your health-care provider.

Does it claim it can “treat,” “cure,” or “prevent” all sorts of health problems, from arthritis to cancer to sexual impotence? No product or regimen can treat all that ails you. Even as a credible treatment strategy – such as for diabetes and some forms of cancer – nutrition therapy is typically a part of your overall health care, not the only factor.

Does it make unrealistic claims such as “reverse the aging process,” “cure disease” or “quick, easy approach”? There are no “magic bullets” when it comes to health. Most health-promoting approaches take some effort. Quackery thrives because people want simple cures and magic ways to change what is imperfect.

Does it blame the food supply as the source of health or behavior problems, belittle government regulations or discredit the advice of recognized medical authorities?
Quacks often criticize these sources, as well as claiming the traditional health community is suppressing their work. They call for “freedom of choice” and promote their unproven techniques as viable alternatives to proven methods. The fact is, you will find choices among well-researched methods.

Does it claim its “natural” benefits surpass those of “synthetic” products?
There is nothing magical or automatically safe about “natural.” From the standpoint of science, the chemical structures of natural and synthetic dietary supplements are essentially the same and the body uses them in the same manner (with the exception of vitamin E; “natural” is more potent than the synthetic form). Even substances found in nature can have natural toxins with potent, drug-like effects.

Does it mention a “secret formula” or fail to list ingredients or possible side effects on the label? By law, medications must carry product information on their packaging, including ingredients, use, dosage, warnings, precautions and what to do if reactions occur. Products sold through quackery may not report this information, including potential side effects and dangers.

Article reprinted “Courtesy American Dietetic Association” With approximately 65,000 members, the American Dietetic Association is the nation’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. ADA serves the public by promoting optimal nutrition, health and well-being. To locate a registered dietitian in your area, visit the American Dietetic Association at

Fad Diet Quiz

  1. What is a fad?
    1. Bellbottoms and polyester
    2. Pet rocks
    3. Low carb/high protein diets
    4. All of the above
  2. Following a diet fad is bad for your health…
    1. Always
    2. Sometimes
    3. Never
  3. Which fad diet was originally published in 1825 but is still popular today?
    1. Cabbage Soup Diet
    2. Grapefruit Diet
    3. Low-Carbohydrate Diet
    4. Banana and Skim Milk Diet
  4. A diet that recommends the following should raise a red flag:
    1. Special food or drink to detoxify the body
    2. Eating a specific food with all meals
    3. Eating protein and carbohydrates at separate meals
    4. All of the above
  5. It’s not a diet fad if it’s endorsed by a celebrity.
    1. True
    2. False
  6. Some diet fads work.
    1. True
    2. False
  7. What popular cracker was originally created as part of a health-food diet?
    1. Cheese crackers
    2. Saltine crackers
    3. Graham crackers
    4. Animal crackers
  8. Adding physical activity to your day can help give you:
    1. A healthy heart
    2. Stronger bones
    3. Less emotional stress
    4. All of the above
  9. If you eat 100 more food calories a day than you burn, you will gain how many pounds in a month?
    1. 1/2 pound
    2. 1 pound
    3. 2 pounds
    4. 10 pounds
  10. For the most reliable, fad-free, science-based nutrition information, consulting a registered dietitian is the best approach.
    1. True
    2. False


1. Answer: D. We all make mistakes. And if you’ve followed any of the fads —A, B or C — you’ve had lots of company. Fads are trends that seem like a good idea at the time, but often in hindsight are just the opposite. The most important lesson about fads is to avoid repeating them!

2. Answer: A. While you may lose weight with fad diets, they are potentially harmful to your health. A diet fad that excludes many foods or an entire food group eliminates key nutrients that are essential for health. Learn how to spot a fad diet. Don’t get caught in a diet plan that doesn’t allow foods you enjoy, promises fast weight loss or sounds too good to be true.

3. Answer: C. The low-carbohydrate diet has been around since 1825 when Jean Brillat-Savarin introduced it as the key to weight loss in his book The Physiology of Taste. Many decades and several variations later, low-carb diets are still among the most popular fad diets. Giving this diet another chance has never been shown to improve long-term health.

4. Answer: D. Requiring a specific food or beverage to be included with each
meal or eating certain types of foods separately are clues to spotting a fad diet. There are no miracle foods or beverages that can lead to quick weight loss or stop you from aging.

5. Answer: False. Celebrity endorsements shouldn’t replace sound science. Make sure your weight-loss plan is based on research studies that support effectiveness and safety. And be sure to talk with your physician and a registered dietitian about your weight-loss goals, especially if you have a health problem.

6. Answer: True. But only for the short-term. You may lose some pounds quickly; however, long-term maintenance of that loss is unlikely. Dieters often return to old eating habits and regain the weight they lost. Developing an eating plan for lifelong health, combined with regular physical activity, is the best way to reach and maintain a healthy weight.

7. Answer: C. Sylvester Graham may be the originator of food fads in the U.S. Beginning in 1830, he promoted a bland, meat-free diet and avoidance of rich pastries, alcohol, coffee and tea. Eating his whole wheat Graham bread was best. Graham crackers are his contribution to healthy eating.

8. Answer: D. Regular physical activity is important for your overall health and
fitness — plus it helps control body weight, promotes a feeling of well-being and reduces your risk of chronic diseases.

9. Answer: B. You will gain about 1 pound in a month. That’s about 10 pounds in a year. The bottom line is that to lose weight, it’s important to reduce calories and increase physical activity. Find your balance between food and physical activity.

10. Answer: True. Registered dietitians are your most valuable and credible source of timely, science-based food and nutrition information. RDs specialize in taking a personalized approach to weight management because one size does not fit all. RDs help individuals understand how healthy eating and physical activity are important in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Healthy Recipes
(“Recipe reprinted Courtesy American Dietetic Association”)



Chief Standing Bear "Equality Before the Law" Celebration Events

(Article provided by Zach Meyer, Public Information Specialist, Nebraska Commission on Indian Affairs)

Chief Standing Bear Advertisement

The Third Annual Chief Standing Bear Commemoration at the State Capitol Rotunda will take place on Friday, May 11. The program begins at 11:45 a.m. and will last until 1:00 p.m.

The first two commemorations drew large crowds as people came together to remember the 1879 trial of Chief Standing Bear and celebrate the significance of the event as a monumental moment in the history of civil rights in the United States. Admission to the event is free.

Arlan D. Melendez will be the keynote speaker at the second annual Chief Standing Bear Breakfast.

Melendez is only the second Native American person to serve as a member of the United States Civil Rights Commission. The event will take place on Friday, May 11 from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. at the Embassy Suites in downtown Lincoln. Doors open at 7:00 a.m. Tickets are $20 apiece or an entire table can be reserved for $200. Reserve a table or tickets by calling Nebraska Commission on Indian Affairs at 471-3475.

World Day on the Mall Celebrating Its 10 Year Anniversary

(Article provided by Charles Roberson, Affirmative Action Specialist, DAS - State Personnel)

Elliot School Choir at World Day

Charles Ahovissi at World DayWorld Day on the Mall will celebrate its tenth anniversary on Thursday, September 13. The event started in 1997, as “Pride in Public Service Day” and has expanded to include the celebration of diversity.

The theme for 2007 is “Beat of the World,” and this year’s celebration will feature entertainment acts, informative presentations on diversity topics, discussions on aspects of culture, and the opportunity to try various ethnic foods. The entertainment and presentations are free to all attendees.

There will be two rounds of presentations. The first round will begin at 10:00 am and end at 11:20 right before the official welcome and keynote address. The final round of presentations will begin at 1:00 pm and end at 2:30 pm.

This year keynote speaker will be Lt. Governor Rick Sheehy. The keynote address will begin at 11:30 in Centennial Mall area. Entertainment acts will immediately follow the keynote address.

More detailed information on this year’s event please visit our website at:

Also available on the website is more historical information, photos from previous years and a list of event sponsors and planning committee members.

Volunteers are still needed for this year’s event. If you would like to volunteer, please contact Charles Roberson at 471-3678 or by email at