The concept of renovating and adding on to the Hamilton County Law Enforcement Center appears headed for public bid again, only this time with a realistic expectation that the much-needed upgrade will come at a significant cost, much higher than initially projected. County commissioners have been talking about this endeavor for a long time now, having come to indisputable conclusion long ago that doing nothing is no longer an option. The county board is unanimous on that point. The Aurora City Council has endorsed the plan as well, offering to pay up to 40 percent of the cost, without knowing exactly what that will be. And in fact, we’ve heard no vocal opposition regarding the core plan to build additional working space and a create safer working environment.
Learning a second language is common for the students of today. During my high school days the common second language taught was Latin with a few larger schools also offering Spanish, German, or French. As for me, I jumped on Spanish – not necessarily because I believed it would be more useful -- but because I was told by some college acquaintances that Spanish was the easiest to learn and I would probably be required to enroll in a foreign language course when I went to college.
Open dialogue and transparency are critical when governing boards discuss job applicants, but so to is a clear understanding of when and if all those job applicants should be named in public. As written, state law is not as crystal clear as it could be in trying to achieve both of those goals. A bill introduced before the Nebraska Legislature, LB 282, seeks to broaden the use of closed meetings, adding a provision to Nebraska’s open meetings law that would allow governing boards to discuss job applicants in closed session before finalists are named. The bill has merit, though there is a slippery slope involved that creates concern as well.
A play on words always fascinated me. Maybe that’s why these “Puns for Educated Minds” caught my eye and naturally gave me a few smiles. The fattest knight at King Arthur’s round table was Sir Cumference. He acquired his size from too much pi. I thought I saw an eye-doctor on an Alaskan island, but it turned out to be an optical Aleutian. She was only a whisky-maker, but he loved her still. A rubber-band pistol was confiscated from an algebra class, because it was weapon of math disruption. No matter how much you push the envelope, it’ll still be stationery. A dog gave birth to puppies near the road and was cited for littering. A grenade thrown into a kitchen in France would result in Linoleum Blownapart. Two silk worms had a race. They ended up in a tie. A hole has been found in the nudist camp wall. The police are looking into it. Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana. Atheism is a non-prophet organization.
The Aurora News-Register turned a page in its 144-year history this week, debuting a new front page nameplate for the first time in more than 20 years. The logo of any commercial venture says a lot about the business it represents. Aurora and Hamilton County have a statewide reputation for being progressive in so many ways, and the News-Register’s mission is to reflect the community it serves. On that note, we felt it was time for a nameplate face lift. The new version you’ll see on today’s front page was created to reflect a more modern design. It’s rather simple and clean, on purpose, featuring a stylish font with a shadow effect intended to subtly create a 21st Century feel. Veteran composing department staff member Karla Senff did a wonderful job working through numerous prototype designs before we locked in the final look.
Recently a “freedom of choice” thing rankled me. That may sound odd coming from an ex-newspaper man who was guided by the freedom of press theme. My latest conflict of freedom of choice rose recently when cases of measles began to appear across our country. A decade or so ago, measles was classified by health departments as basically extinct. Today while the number is still low, measles has been a challenge in some areas. According to stats, about 3 percent of parents have chosen not to vaccinate their children for measles for a variety of reasons. Some claim the measles shot is not safe for their youngster. Others simply just don’t think it’s important.
What looked like a growing pile of lemons in Hampton now stands poised to be turned into lemonade. Village leaders and a visionary local businessman announced plans last week to work together in solving a perplexing city hall dilemma. Local residents should be impressed with the proposed plan, as well as the village board’s commitment to update the city hall/maintenance shop facilities for $750,000, or less. Apparently, building a new structure is an expensive proposition these days, more costly than even seasoned engineers are projecting. A discussion that started two years ago with a genuine desire to remove an “eyesore” on Hampton’s main street and replace it with a new, functional front door to the city, got complicated when estimated costs more than doubled.
I was busy this past week saving a couple of bucks and reminiscing about old school days. I was saving a couple of bucks by not buying a new pair of socks. I was reminiscing about a boys’ high school home ec. class where I learned how to darn socks by using not only a needle and thread, but also by putting a light bulb in the toe of the sock to make the stitching go much easier. At that time I had no plans to ever sew again. However, I and about 15 other senior high school boys who had been out for fall and winter sports found that instead of enjoying a final free quarter of no spring track or studies, we were required to enroll in the new class venture called, Boys’ Home Ec. Thus was the formulation of a very limited basis of cooking, baking, ironing, table setting . . . and sewing.
You could call him Aurora’s own Tom Osborne. Husky football has been blessed for the past 16 years to have Randy Huebert at the helm, carrying on if not raising the bar for a proud Aurora football tradition. Huebert announced last week that he is moving on next fall to roam the sidelines with the Class A Papillion-LaVista Monarchs, a challenge he and his family are excited about. We wish him well. Much like his former mentor, Huebert instilled a sense of pride, tradition and class into Big Red football. Having played for Osborne and the Huskers himself years ago, Huebert knows the Xs and Os of the game inside and out, but like TO earned as much if not more respect inside the locker room for the way he helped turn young boys into men. He learned by positive, often soft-spoken example, and in turn taught the same effective way.
The Academy Awards and the Oscars business never excited me much. Bluntly, I’m not much of a movie goer and probably wouldn’t recognize many of today’s movie stars even if they told me their names. This year I really didn’t realize just how far I’ve fallen from the screen flick wagon until a list of potential winners appeared in a Sunday daily newspaper. I was familiar with only one nominated movie title and found recognition of one movie actor, one actress, and no recognition of supporting actors or actresses ... and that was even when the names appeared under their photos.