Recent Posts for the 'Essays (Ellen Sue Says)' Category

Earth Day, Every Day: Keystone XL Pipeline Affects Agricultural Land

Tuesday, May 16th, 2017

Bold Nebraska

Tell the Nebraska Public Service Commission: Reject Keystone XL

TransCanada has submitted a new application for a permit to build the Keystone XL pipeline with the Nebraska Public Service Commission (PSC).

The permit application process at the Public Service Commission typically takes from eight months to a year, and includes public hearings, and opportunities for public comment and for citizens to apply as official “intervenors” on TransCanada’s permitting process. The PSC has already begun accepting written comments on KXL.

ACTION: Submit a #NoKXL comment to the Nebraska Public Service Commission: 

  • (We provide a sample comment below that you may edit, or replace with your own words.)
  • Explain why you are against the Keystone XL pipeline.
  • Urge the PSC to reject TransCanada’s permit application because the pipeline is not in the public interest of Nebraska or its citizens.
  • As an agriculture-based state, Nebraska does not need to take more agricultural land out of production using eminent domain for private gain to benefit a foreign company’s export pipeline.
  • Any pipeline route should avoid the sandy porous soils of the Sandhills, shallow water tables, and recharge part of the Ogallala aquifer, as well as endangered species habitats of the Burying Beetle, and migratory paths of the Bald Eagle, and the Sandhill and Whooping cranes.
  • We urge the PSC to consider the scientific, peer-reviewed Univ. of Nebraska at Lincoln’s report on risks of a worst-case spill to our water supplies [1], as well as the US Coast Guard and National Academy of Science’s report on the risks of tarsands’ spills to water.[2]
  • A fact sheet to inspire your comment with more background on why KXL is all risk and no reward may be found here:
Use the form below to send your #NoKXL comment to the Nebraska PSC:

Public Service Commissioners Re: No. OP-0003

Nebraska Public Service Commission


[1] “Analysis of Worst-Case Spills From the Proposed Keystone XL Pipeline.” John S. Stansbury is Associate Professor of Environmental/Water Resources Engineering at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. The author of numerous studies on water resources and hazardous waste management published in peer-reviewed journals, he has also been an instructor for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers risk assessment program. The full study with complete references is available at

[2] “Spills of Diluted Bitumen from Pipelines: A Comparative Study of Environmental Fate, Effects, and Response,” The National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine, 2016.

Valentine’s Day

Sunday, February 12th, 2017

Note: I met my husband Alan two days before Valentine’s Day in 2003, so this holiday has become special to me. I have written a short essay about an earlier tradition on Valentine’s Day in the essay below.

Heart Handkerchiefs: An Old-Fashioned Idea that Needs a Second Look


Every morning my mother would wrap the coins for my lunch money in one of her pretty cotton handkerchiefs, tying the opposite corners and making a soft knot that I could untie to pay for my lunch. I loved her lace-trimmed and crocheted-edged hankies, especially those embroidered with her initial B in calligraphy. I carry that memory with me every time I place a cotton handkerchief in my pocket or purse.

Unfortunately, women’s hankies are somewhat difficult to find in department stores or big box stores. The cotton hanky seems to be a dinosaur in America, although they were readily available when I went to Italy and found them in specialty stores that carried lovely linens. They are also online from eBay. (Picture above is one from eBay.)

When I pulled out my hanky at my older daughter’s, she made a funny face and commented how unsanitary a handkerchief is. I said, “I am using it only on my nose and placing it in the laundry when I get home.” She still wrinkled her nose, so I was vindicated when my sister-in-law pulled out her hanky on my last visit to see her. And when I told my younger daughter I wanted cotton hankies for my birthday, she found them online and sent them to me as a gift. No wrinkled nose there!

I am not sure why men’s handkerchiefs are still readily available and not women’s. Then I saw a short article on the last page of Martha Stewart’s Living Magazine that, in the 1930s and 1940s, sweethearts bought and mailed their sweeties heart-covered handkerchiefs for Valentine’s Day. What a nice idea!

So, I say, bring back handkerchiefs for women, starting with Valentine’s Day!♥ 

0This cat named Bunny belongs to my daughter and daughter-in-law. The red bow is especially for Valentine’s Day. 

P.S. If you don’t have a sweetheart, share this day with someone your love, like your pet, a family member, a colleague, or someone you’d like to know better. It’s all about LOVE.