Last week’s announcement regarding plans to build a new long-term care facility in Aurora comes as a breath of fresh air on a most challenging front. For years now, our community has been struggling to find a balance between wanting and needing to take care of its own senior citizens while respecting county taxpayers. Despite all the good intentions and commitment to do the right thing, trying to run an efficient business in a worn out structure was an expensive, tax-weary proposition. County commissioners were asked repeatedly to write checks for hundreds of thousands of dollars, much of that coming out of an abused Inheritance Fund. Continuing on with the status quo was simply not an option, but neither was closing the doors of the Hamilton Manor. County commissioners, the Manor board and numerous consultants spent countless hours on the issue, but it seemed as though there was no end in sight ... until now!
I guess I whined enough a week ago about trying to keep in good graces with Gramps by having my shoes shined. If you recall, I had searched locally for Cordovan shoe polish and reported after I found a possible source the store was closed early for the day. Thanks to a former Aurora resident of ours when the Betterhalf and I lived on 15th Street in Aurora, I now can have a sheen on my Cordovan hard-shell oxfords. Getting to the point quickly, Dr. Beth Ann Brooks (AKA earlier as a young Aurora high schooler who lived a block away from our old homestead) came to my rescue. In the mail Monday was a small package with a return address of Beth Ann Brooks that contained a jar of professional Cordovan shoe cream along with the following note: “Butch, I thought you might be in need of this! Best regards!”
America will hit the pause button this week for a much-needed time of reflection. It’s been a stressful year in our nation, particularly on the election front, making it all the more significant that we log off the daily grid for at least a day and give thanks for the blessings in our lives. We are indeed blessed here in Hamilton County, Nebraska and the good ol’ U.S. of A, though it seems easier than it should be to lose sight of those positives we sometimes take for granted. The initial heritage of this particular holiday is based in part on giving thanks for a bountiful crop, which Hamilton County produced for yet another year. Prices could be higher, that’s a given, but we are indeed thankful for a productive and safe harvest season.
There was no question that the first couple of weeks of November the warm, sunny weather was certainly appreciated. As temps were reported in the high 70s and low 80s in points across Nebraska weathermen highlighted the fact many 75-year-old temperature records were shattered. For many years now we have heard about “global warming” being caused by our present lifestyles. That got me wondering then what caused that warm November weather 75 years ago and if people at that time were shouting their concerns of “global warming.” Could it possibly be warm weather in a Nebraska November could be a natural phenomenon that just happens every 50 to 75 years? Maybe we all get to thinking too deep regarding situations. *** Here’s a reminder. “Thanksgiving comes after Christmas for people over 40.” ***
Well Gramps, this may be coming to you a little late, but I hopefully can send you a message that I apologize for having a tough time following your teachings of over 70 years ago. While I was watching you shave one morning you told me, “When you go somewhere always make sure your shoes are shined and your hair is combed.” Well Gramps, that has been difficult in recent years. My hair has grown thinner and there’s less hair to part. And now shined shoes are becoming a problem. The shining of shoes is not as difficult as finding shoe polish to put the sheen on my scuffed up wing-tips and my Cordovan oxfords.
State champions! That’s a season-ending claim local teams have made four times this calendar year, giving area fans lots to cheer about while making lifetime memories for players and fans both on and off the field of competition. The most recent success story, of course, featured Hampton’s volleyball team, which finished the season Saturday with a remarkable 35-0 record. The Lady Hawks dominated from start to finish at the state tournament, just as they did all year long. The purple and gold lost only two sets all season, with both of those coming in the same match during a CRC title bout with Exeter-Milligan.
There’s lots of things that change around the house when a guy retires. Most notably we concede the guy is not the head of the household. Silly me, at one time I believed I actually was the head of the household. But, a few years of retirement brought me back to reality and I discovered my authority in decision-making began and ended at the front door of the newspaper. Now even 16 years into retirement I have found some habits are still hard to break and my authoritative mistakes still surface on the home front. Those miscues seem to be common with most of us male retirees after hearing some comments from our spouses. Quite frequently as the Betterhalf and I exchanged conversations I catch myself addressing her by telling her, “To make a note of that” or “Remind me of that later.” Now the lightbulb has gone off in her head and a not too bright a light still has not reached me.
A two-hour legislative committee hearing last week in Aurora put into perspective just how important broadband internet access has become in our world. Whether you live in Omaha, Hamilton County or the beautiful Nebraska sandhills, being able to consistently log on and get high-speed access from your home computer, laptop, cell phone or drone is rapidly becoming an essential part of life. That may seem obvious to most Nebraskans, but the depth of our digital reliance has grown to a staggering level and is going deeper on an exponential scale. Consider this. Internet speeds have gone up by a factor of 125 since 2000 and the demand is reportedly doubling every 18 months. There is every reason to believe that trend will only escalate.
We are former Nebraska judges united in our call to retain LB 268, which was passed by the Nebraska Unicameral in 2015 repealing the state’s death penalty and leaving in place life imprisonment. Each of us is intimately familiar with our state’s legal system, and committed to seeing it function in an effective manner that protects Nebraskans. Our legal experience has led us to conclude that the death penalty is an unworkable and failed policy.
For those of you who don’t know, I was given the amazing opportunity to travel with Aurora High School’s 11th grade class along with a group of veterans for a fast and furious one-day trip to Washington D.C. By fast and furious I mean leaving at 2:30 a.m. from the high school parking lot, driving to Omaha, flying out and getting into D.C. at noon. We raced our way to Arlington National Cemetery, witnessed the changing of the guard at the tomb of the unknown solider, and then jumped on a bus tour to visit as many war memorials as we could until we had to be at the airport for our flight home at 7:15 p.m. This was all part of the AHS Heroes and Huskies project, which started on Aug. 31 with American History teacher Brenda Klawonn and Tim Elge, who is team teaching with her this semester. The two brought in 10 veterans to meet student partners they would work with for the next two months.