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lnichols / By Lee Enterprises 

David Humm, shown during his playing days as a Nebraska quarterback, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1988, when he was 35.

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NPS quilts on display at Homestead

A collection of Nebraska-made quilts is returning to Gage County for one last display before being sent to National Parks across the country.

April is the public’s last chance to view the “National Parks in Quilts” display in its entirety.

The collection consists of 13 individual quilts that each depict a different National Park Service Site.

Homestead resource manager Jesse Bolli said the collection was first shown at Homestead in 2016, before it was put into rotation and displayed at a variety of NPS sites. After its current run at Homestead, which lasts until April 30, each quilt will be sent to the NPS site it represents.

“This is kind of its last hurrah,” Bolli said. “After this showing it’s my understanding that all the quilts are going to go to their parks. The Homestead quilt will stay here and volcanoes will go to Hawaii and so forth. This is the last chance to see all of them together.”

The artists belong to Fiber Works, a group of textile artists from the Lincoln-Omaha, area. When they heard about the Centennial of the National Park Service each artist created an art quilt inspired by a different National Park Service site.

The 13 art quilts were created to celebrate the centennial of the National Park Service. The artists who created the quilts will attend a reception on Sunday, April 15 from 2-4 p.m. at Homestead.

“I think it is a great opportunity to see all these quilts together and celebrate the local artists that we have here,” Bolli said. “These are truly unique pieces of art.”

The April exhibition at Homestead National Monument of America is the last in a two-year long, centennial journey, of the 13 chosen parks.

Parks on the tour included, in order of exhibition, Homestead National Monument of America, Joshua Tree National Park in California, Saguaro National Park in Arizona, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park in Hawaii, Statue of Liberty National Monument in New York, Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts in Virginia, Wind Cave National Park in South Dakota, Mount Rushmore National Memorial in South Dakota, Glacier National Park in Montana, Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado, Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, Everglades National Park in Florida, Jefferson National Expansion Memorial in Missouri, and once more at Homestead National Monument of America.

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New exam helps detect breast cancer

Starting April 9, Beatrice Community Hospital will offer a new type of mammography that’s aimed at reducing both false positives and false negatives in breast cancer screening.

It’s called digital breast tomosynthesis or 3D mammography, and it has the potential to reduce false positives by nearly half and can identify breast cancers that might have been missed by traditional mammogram somewhere between 10 and 60 percent more often.

The brand name of the new machine is the Genius 3D Mammography exam and, while it operates in a similar fashion to standard two-dimensional mammograms, it takes dozens of images as opposed to the one or two images of the standard exam.

Jesse Young, the director of diagnostic imaging at BCH said that if you think of the breast as a loaf of bread, and you’re trying to find two or three small nuts—or tumors in this case, just taking a photo of it wouldn’t really be that useful in finding the hidden nuts.

What the 3D exam does is comparable to a CAT scan, taking layered x-ray images of breast tissue, kind of like slicing bread.

“What if you took that loaf of bread and now cut it up into 50 small slices, pulled each little slice out and then looked at it,” Young said. “Your odds now of seeing that nut within one of those little tiny slices is much greater.”

Dr. Kim Coleman compared it to a photo of a snake. The snake on top of a plain background is very easy to see, but when that snake is on top of leaves that match its color, it’s nearly invisible.

The denser the breast tissue is, the harder it is to spot the cancer with a traditional mammogram. With digital breast tomosynthesis, each of those x-ray images give a clearer picture of what’s inside that tissue.

Women whose mammograms reveal that their breast tissue is dense receive a letter in the mail that lets them know that, while normal, their denser breast tissue could be an issue, Coleman said.

“It makes it more difficult to detect the cancer, and the dense tissue itself puts you at slightly increased risk,” she said. “We're not sure how much, but the actual dense tissue itself has more risk of becoming cancer.”

Having dense breast tissue isn’t necessarily a good or bad thing, it’s just nature, Coleman said. While it can vary a little bit with hormones and age, like having blonde hair or blue eyes, it’s just the way you are, she said.

“With dense breasts, this new machine really shines, as far as being able to detect cancer,” Young said.

The 3D mammography exam is covered by Medicare and by about 90 percent of insurance companies, he said. It runs about $100 more than a standard mammogram and requires a referral from a doctor.

There’s some argument over what the best age and frequency to get a mammogram is. Coleman encouraged women to talk with their doctors for a recommendation on when to have it done.

While the machine can help to detect breast cancer earlier, which increases survival rates, it also reduces quite a few false positives.

The hospital has about a 10 percent callback rate following standard mammograms, Young said. Of the 1,500 mammograms they do, 40 required a biopsy and, of those biopsied, four out of five turned out not to be cancer.

Using the digital breast tomosynthesis exam, false positives have been cut by about 50 percent, Coleman said.

The exam is giving doctors a new way of looking inside breasts and giving patients a better survival rate, Young said.

“It’s simply about finding things that were hidden before,” he said.

County Board talks Buss Stop updates

Plans are moving forward as the Gage County Sheriff’s Office prepares to expand to a former fuel station in Beatrice.

Gage County purchased the former Buss Stop fueling station, which is directly across the alley from the sheriff’s office and jail, last year.

The Gage County Board of Supervisors voted last October to buy the land and building at 620 N. Sixth St., directly north of the jail, for $250,000. The board voted the following month to purchase the lot with a small residence next to Buss Stop for $65,000.

Using the building for evidence storage was a driving factor in the purchase, and Sheriff Millard “Gus” Gustafson updated the County Board of Supervisors on the retrofitting process.

“What it does is eliminates us having to look at issues down the road because we can get all our property stored elsewhere on sight,” he said. “I don’t think I’ll get a lot of stuff out of our garage over there because it’s just too big. But this will do a lot of small stuff and tools.”

The sheriff’s office received some shelving from the former Beatrice Community Hospital building, and that the existing coolers could store blood, DNA and urine.

Gustafson said the department is skipping pass through lockers for $11,523 and gun and ammunition storage units at $5,812 to save money.

Board member Dennis Byars expressed frustration that the current building will still be used for some evidence storage, stating his impression was that all evidence would be moved to the new building.

“Our whole feeling was that all of your evidence was going to move into this building,” Byars said. “This was one of the main reasons for getting this building and you’re telling me you’re going to have a bunch of stuff over here still that can’t be moved.”

Gustafson responded that the department has more evidence in storage than people realize, and several large items, including vehicles.

“You don’t understand how much we’ve got,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of stuff and it doesn’t get released until (the county attorney) says it can be released or we have to sell it because we don’t have owners to come and get it.”

County Attorney Roger Harris said property, even vehicles, can’t be returned to its rightful owner until the legal process is underway, which can frustrate property owners and officials, alike.

“I’ve got two things right now that basically involve stolen vehicles,” Harris said. “Obviously the people want their stuff back, but we got to get somebody charged to get an attorney appointed to represent them so they can agree that we can take pictures to submit to evidence and get the vehicles back to the rightful owner…If I want a conviction on stealing a vehicle, I’d better have the dang vehicle.”

The board has also previously discussed if the county could use the existing fuel tanks at the former station to fill up county vehicles. Past discussions have leaned toward retiring the tanks, and the county will likely move forward with removing them in the near future.

“I think everybody’s in agreement that we don’t need the tanks sitting there anymore,” said board chairman Myron Dorn. “It’s just costing us money over the years. If we take the tanks out today, if there’s any leakage that is not the responsibility of the county because that was beforehand. If we put product in there and use them that could be a liability of the county if there was leakage.”

County vehicles are currently filled at the highway department. It was previously stated that updating the equipment for county use would cost nearly $20,000 because the current pumps don’t have card readers on them.

Board member Gary Lytle said the tanks currently have 5-6 inches of fuel in them, and must be drained to one inch or less before the tanks can be removed.

The board previously hired Terracon Consultants of Omaha in November to perform the study in support of acquisition of the Buss Stop. The study was to include a search for possible hazardous substances or petroleum products.