LINCOLN (AP) — Gov. Pete Ricketts says a new trade agreement that lowers tariffs between the United States and Japan would be a "big deal for Nebraska" and farmers in particular if both sides can reach an agreement.
Ricketts made the comment by telephone Monday from Japan, the latest stop on his foreign trade mission to promote Nebraska abroad and connect local businesses with Japanese officials.
Ricketts said that many officials and business leaders are cautiously optimistic about the agreement but that a lot has to be done in a short period of time and there are still some issues to resolve.
Japan is Nebraska's largest export market for beef, pork, eggs and wheat.
Ricketts says he has also encouraged Japanese businesses to invest in the state.
1 - Kool-Aid
In the 1920s, Hastings native Edwin Perkins was inspired by a juice-flavored drink concentrate called Fruit Smack. In his mother’s kitchen, he played around with formulas to remove the liquid from the drink until only a powder remained — a process that would reduce shipping costs. The result was what became known as Kool-Aid. Perkins moved production to Chicago in 1931, and Kool-Aid was sold to General Foods in 1953. Hastings still celebrates an annual summer festival called Kool-Aid Days on the second weekend in August. The beverage is known as Nebraska’s official soft drink.
2 - Car rentals
Appropriately located in a former horse stable, the Ford Livery Company at 1314 Howard Street was America's first car rental company, dreamed up in 1916 by Joe Saunders. He and his brothers expanded their company, later renamed Saunders Drive It Yourself System, to 56 cities by 1926. They sold to Avis in 1955.
3 - Baker's Candies
These chocolates, a Nebraska staple, are sold throughout the world. They’ve been produced in Greenwood for three generations.
4 - Reuben
The tasty concoction of corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and Russian dressing was invented at Omaha’s Blackstone Hotel by Reuben Kulakofsky. It first appeared on a Blackstone menu in 1925 and is now served internationally.
5 - Dorothy Lynch
In St. Paul, Nebraska, during the late 1940s, a woman named Dorothy Lynch developed a sweet and tangy dressing. Community members loved it so much that they brought their own bottles and jugs to have them filled with the popular concoction. In 1964, Lynch sold the recipe to Tasty-Toppings so it could be widely manufactured. Every bottle of Dorothy Lynch now comes from a production facility in Duncan.
6 - Vise-Grip
These days, the pliers are made in China, but the handy tool was made at a plant in Dewitt, Nebraska, until 2008. William Petersen, a blacksmith in DeWitt, came up with the idea for locking pliers in the early 1920s. He patented his first wrench in 1921, but the first Vise-Grip wrench with a locking handle was not patented until 1924. Petersen originally sold the pliers from the trunk of his car, but later formed a company and began manufacturing Vise-Grips in DeWitt in 1938. The company was acquired by Irwin Tools in 1993.
7 - Chair lift
Union Pacific engineer (not the train kind) James Curran came up with the design for the ski chairlift in 1936. He was inspired by hook-equipped banana conveyor systems that loaded cargo ships in the tropics. The first chairlifts were installed at a ski resort in Sun Valley, Idaho, in 1936 and 1937.
8 - Cliffsnotes
In 1958, Cliff Hillegass was working at Nebraska Book Co. when he met a Canadian man who published study guides. Hillegass acquired the American rights to the product and produced them under the name CliffsNotes. He continued to develop more, working from Lincoln. The company would go on to produce reference guides for subjects other than literature, saving the academic lives of millions of students time and again.
9 - Richtig
When blacksmith-turned-knifemaker Frank J. Richtig made a name for himself among knife enthusiasts by dramatically demonstrating his knives. Using a hammer, he would pound the blade completely through a ¾-inch-thick steel strap. Then he would slice a piece of paper with the knife that had cut through steel. Richtig’s feat was possible because the steel had been hardened through a process he both discovered and took to his grave in 1977. Richtig’s knives — many of which are in private collections — have been valued at more than $4,000 each.
10 - Eskimo Pie
Inspiration for the chocolate-coated ice cream bar came from a candy store in Onawa, Iowa, in 1920. But it wasn’t until owner and creator Christian Kent Nelson took his invention to a Nebraska chocolatier named Russell Stover that the Eskimo Pie went into mass production. Many variations of the delicious treat are available in grocery and convenience stores worldwide.
11 - SAFER barrier
The Steel and Foam Energy Reduction (SAFER) Barrier was developed at the Midwest Roadside Safety Facility at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln between 1998 and 2002. Dean Sicking led a team of engineers to create the special safety wall for racetracks, which reduces the danger to drivers in a crash. The system was installed on many IndyCar and NASCAR circuit tracks.
12 - TV dinners
In the 1950s, Swanson met the needs of busy American families with the creation of a meal that was easy and fast to prepare in single portions. Several other frozen dinners had been developed by other companies, but Omaha-based Swanson developed the idea on a nationwide scale. Though it’s widely assumed that the term “TV dinner” came from families eating the frozen meals in front of the television at dinner time, food historians say the name came from the tray’s original shape, which resembled a 1950s TV.
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