In an unheated shed near Stapleton, Nebraska in the late 1950’s, Emery Blagdon began twisting old wire and foil, threading hundreds of beads, and shaping everyday castoff materials with one purpose – to generate natural energy to heal. Spurred on by personal tragedy, Blagdon’s obsession to create a “Healing Machine” was life-long as he believed people could be cured by his artful chandlers, cascades of wire, and geometric paintings. Now, 40 years after his death, Emery Blagdon is considered to be a man with boundless visionary creativity: an American artist of great significance.

Watch the NET Television documentary on this inspiring Nebraska man tonight at 9:30 p.m. CT on NET1. Learn more in these two stories from NET News. 

Healing Machine: Preserving The Legacy Of An Eccentric Nebraska Artist
When visitors to the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan, Wisconsin walk up to the rustic wood shed built in the main gallery they aren’t quite sure what to make of the cluttered, twinkling objects on display.  They might be mistaken for homemade wind chimes or mobiles. Intricate, even delicate webs of wire, foil, and beads are clustered together.  One man, an eccentric Nebraskan, made nearly 400 of these constructions. 
Leslie Umberger, once a curator at the Kohler, calls it a healing machine.  The creator, Emery Blagdon, called them his “pretties.” 
“They are made of all kinds of things predominantly wire, both standard hay baling wire and copper wire,” Umberger said, describing the work.  “They have magnets and other little treasures rescued from inside of cast-off radios and televisions and things like that.”
Blagdon, who passed away in 1986, never referred to himself as an artist.  In his view, he was a man building a machine. 
Everyone in Stapleton, Neb., the nearest town to his remote farm, was familiar with the wild-eyed, shaggy-haired man always quick to share his often baffling outlook on the powers of the universe with people who wanted to know more …
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Healing Machine: Preserving The Legacy Of An Eccentric Nebraska Artist

When visitors to the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan, Wisconsin walk up to the rustic wood shed built in the main gallery they aren’t quite sure what to make of the cluttered, twinkling objects on display.  They might be mistaken for homemade wind chimes or mobiles. Intricate, even delicate webs of wire, foil, and beads are clustered together.  One man, an eccentric Nebraskan, made nearly 400 of these constructions. 

Leslie Umberger, once a curator at the Kohler, calls it a healing machine.  The creator, Emery Blagdon, called them his “pretties.” 

“They are made of all kinds of things predominantly wire, both standard hay baling wire and copper wire,” Umberger said, describing the work.  “They have magnets and other little treasures rescued from inside of cast-off radios and televisions and things like that.”

Blagdon, who passed away in 1986, never referred to himself as an artist.  In his view, he was a man building a machine. 

Everyone in Stapleton, Neb., the nearest town to his remote farm, was familiar with the wild-eyed, shaggy-haired man always quick to share his often baffling outlook on the powers of the universe with people who wanted to know more …

Continue reading

How farmland changes possession over the next generation could alter the rural landscape in Nebraska and beyond. We’ll talk about it online with University of Nebraska-Lincoln Agricultural Economist Bruce Johnson and Harvest Public Media reporters today, Wednesday, June 31 at 8 p.m. CT: http://netnebraska.org/screening. Join us to watch the NET News special, Changing Lands, Changing Hands, about the trends of aging farmers and rising land prices and how they’re impacting the ag industry. During the show, add your questions and comments to a live discussion with Bruce Johnson, NET News reporter Grant Gerlock and other Harvest reporters. Changing Lands, Changing HandsWednesday, July 31, 8 p.m. CThttp://netNebraska.org/screening

How farmland changes possession over the next generation could alter the rural landscape in Nebraska and beyond. We’ll talk about it online with University of Nebraska-Lincoln Agricultural Economist Bruce Johnson and Harvest Public Media reporters today, Wednesday, June 31 at 8 p.m. CT: http://netnebraska.org/screening

Join us to watch the NET News special, Changing Lands, Changing Hands, about the trends of aging farmers and rising land prices and how they’re impacting the ag industry. During the show, add your questions and comments to a live discussion with Bruce Johnson, NET News reporter Grant Gerlock and other Harvest reporters. 

Changing Lands, Changing Hands
Wednesday, July 31, 8 p.m. CT
http://netNebraska.org/screening

Every day this week on NET News, we’re airing a special report on the aging American farmer, Changing Lands, Changing Hands. It’s produced in partnership with Harvest Public Media, and culminates Friday, July 12th with the premiere of the NET News documentary of the same name at 7 p.m. CT on NET-1/NET-HD. Watch a trailer for Changing Hands.

TODAY: NET News reporter Grant Gerlock reports on the growing number of American farm operators older than retirement age - 25 percent, compared with 5 percent of the workforce overall. But after decades of work, many aging farmers are comfortable. They’re making a good living likely own their farmland. And, although time is working against them, they’re in no hurry to give it up.

TUESDAY: Inevitably as they age, farmers can physically do less on their land. Sometimes, families anticipate the coming changes and plan for them. Often, transitions happen gradually…and in some unfortunate cases, change can be abrupt.

WEDNESDAY: It’s not just lifelong farmers who feel the pull of the land as they get older. For some Americans, retirement is an opportunity to begin the farming dream. 

THURSDAY: A recent report from the Census Bureau that says from 2010 to 2012 — for the first time ever — the overall population in rural American counties declined. We look at a rural farm town in Illinois where civic responsibilities weigh heaviest on the older set.

FRIDAY: The average American farmer is getting older - most recent census data shows the average age is 57 - and while that tells us who is farming now, it also shows who’s not. While the farming community continues to age, fewer young people are filling the ranks.The question is raised: Do young people even want to farm anymore?

NET News has received two regional Emmy nominations!

The first is for the documentary “Hispanic Farmers On Broken Ground,” a co-production with Harvest Public Media, which is a finalist in the public/current/community affairs category. Congratulations to former NET News producer Clay Masters, NET videographer/editor Brian Seifferlein and NET audio engineer Emily Kreutz.

The second is for our television special “Campaign Connection 2012: Voter Voices, which is a finalist in the interview program category. Congratulations to NET News producer Mike Tobias and NET editor Ray Meints.

Good luck to all the nominees at the awards gala in July!

visionmakermedia
visionmakermedia:

“Don’t work in isolation,” Sneve advises potential filmmakers. “Shoot, write, edit. It is a collaborative process and you need smart people on your team. Watch lots of documentaries, follow the films you like and meet the filmmakers. Attend film festivals, go to school, and you will learn so much about filmmaking and how to tell a story.”
Students interested in film careers might consider college majors in New Media, journalism, film-making, or mass communications, which is the background of the three filmmakers on their full time staff.
Learn more about Vision Maker Media and read advice for filmmakers @ indianz.com.

Vision Maker Media is in the same building as NET, and we’ve collaborated on many projects.

visionmakermedia:

“Don’t work in isolation,” Sneve advises potential filmmakers. “Shoot, write, edit. It is a collaborative process and you need smart people on your team. Watch lots of documentaries, follow the films you like and meet the filmmakers. Attend film festivals, go to school, and you will learn so much about filmmaking and how to tell a story.”

Students interested in film careers might consider college majors in New Media, journalism, film-making, or mass communications, which is the background of the three filmmakers on their full time staff.

Learn more about Vision Maker Media and read advice for filmmakers @ indianz.com.

Vision Maker Media is in the same building as NET, and we’ve collaborated on many projects.

In March 1913, the worst tornado outbreak in Nebraska history left hundreds dead, injured and homeless in communities like Omaha, Ralston, Yutan and Berlin (now called Otoe). Later this month NET News tells the tragic and inspirational story of the Easter Sunday tornadoes in a new documentary, “Devil Clouds: Tornadoes Strike Nebraska.”  Leading up to the March 22 premiere on NET Television, there are several opportunities to preview the documentary. Screenings and discussions with NET Senior Producer Mike Tobias will be held in Omaha on March 10 and March 19; Syracuse on March 11 and Wahoo on March 14. Reservations are required for some of these events; for more information on all of these events, go to the website for the “Devil Clouds” project, http://netNebraska.org/devilclouds.

In March 1913, the worst tornado outbreak in Nebraska history left hundreds dead, injured and homeless in communities like Omaha, Ralston, Yutan and Berlin (now called Otoe). Later this month NET News tells the tragic and inspirational story of the Easter Sunday tornadoes in a new documentary, “Devil Clouds: Tornadoes Strike Nebraska.”

Leading up to the March 22 premiere on NET Television, there are several opportunities to preview the documentary. Screenings and discussions with NET Senior Producer Mike Tobias will be held in Omaha on March 10 and March 19; Syracuse on March 11 and Wahoo on March 14. Reservations are required for some of these events; for more information on all of these events, go to the website for the “Devil Clouds” project, http://netNebraska.org/devilclouds.

In 1878 Kearney County Sheriff lead convicted murderer Samuel Richards to the gallows built for the occasion in Minden.  As hundreds of spectators watched, a hangman placed a noose around his neck.  Richards became the first person in the state’s history to be legally executed.  

Whether by hanging or electrocution, Nebraska, since declaring statehood, has used capital punishment sparingly.  As the state prepares for its first execution by lethal injection,  NET News asks a simple question, “How did we get here?”  The result is the documentary “…until he is dead: A history of Nebraska’s death penalty.” 

The program reviews a century and a half of differing methods, changing law and shifting public opinion.  Fascinating stories, illustrated with rarely seen photographs, shed light on the legal and ethical choices made by public officials and the disturbing background of those who were executed.  Viewers will leave with fresh insights into the rationale for and opposition to the ultimate punishment given the worst of society’s offenders. 

Research by NET News producer Bill Kelly revealed a wealth of long-forgotten details about the history of the death penalty that both amaze and educate.  Kelly examined hundreds of old public documents, press accounts, and court records from across the state.  Interviews with experts in history and law provide context to the stories of horrific crimes and the public’s demand for justice.

The result is a program that will become an essential part of the discussion of Nebraska’s complicated relationship with capital punishment. 

"….until he is dead: A history of Nebraska’s death penalty" premieres tonight, Feb. 8, at 7 p.m. on NET Television’s NET-1 and NET-HD.

Think the death penalty is a hot-button issue now? One of Nebraska’s most controversial executions was the 1887 hanging of William Jackson Marion. That tale is the subject of today’s Signature Story, part of NET News producer Bill Kelly’s series leading up to the premiere of the original documentary “… until he is dead: A history of Nebraska’s death penalty.”Learn more about the documentary.
Think the death penalty is a hot-button issue now? One of Nebraska’s most controversial executions was the 1887 hanging of William Jackson Marion. That tale is the subject of today’s Signature Story, part of NET News producer Bill Kelly’s series leading up to the premiere of the original documentary “… until he is dead: A history of Nebraska’s death penalty.”

Learn more about the documentary.