“We want you. We value you. We understand what you bring to our economy. We are ag.” County commissioner Gregg Kremer sent a clear message this week regarding his feelings about the need to promote, invite, and encourage animal agriculture development in Hamilton County. With his help, and many others, that message is being sent on a broader scale. Hamilton County is now, officially, livestock friendly, as designated by Gov. Pete Ricketts and the Nebraska Department of Agriculture. Signs will be going up soon along our local highways, touting the fact that we are in fact open to agri-business and all that comes with it. What that means, in legal terms, is that county zoning regulations have been reviewed and are consistent with setbacks and other statewide regulations regarding livestock operations. That’s a very big deal for prospective agri-business developers, large and small, knowing that the county’s permitting process is fair and consistent.
We’ve always told our kids, “Just because everyone else is doing it, that doesn’t mean you need to do it.” That’s the same advice I would give to the UNL Board of Regents, who could be asked to consider in the future alcohol sales during Nebraska basketball games in the private suites and club seating at the Pinnacle Arena. The proposal is now being mulled over by Lincoln city and Haymarket officials as a possible additional revenue stream to both Lincoln and the university. It has been cited 37 of the 65 institutions in the “power five conferences” allow sales in private suites and club seating. Beer sales at two Nebraska institutions already allow beer at their arenas. It appears to me as a regular attendee at Nebraska football games, some fans have had little trouble finding plenty of beer before and after a game. I don’t think it’s necessary to “wet their whistles” during the game, too.
The last, sure-fire sign that summer is turning into fall is set to begin Friday with the kick off of the Nebraska State Fair in Grand Island. This is year six for the event since its much publicized move from Lincoln. The newness factor has worn off, which means this ag-based celebration should have created its own identity by now and be standing on its own as a legitimate, self-sustaining enterprise. From our vantage point 20 miles away, organizers have accomplished that goal. Statistics indicate that more than 85 percent of State Fair attendees have been there before. That’s a healthy report, indicating that people who take the time and effort to find their way to the State Fair enjoy themselves enough to want to come back again and again. Attendance at the Grand Island venue is expected to get close to 2 million this year (more than 325,000 per year), which surpasses the crowds Lincoln was attracting in an average year.
As summer winds down activities now seem to revolve around school events. Summer vacations are over. The outdoors is no longer the host to social functions. Most annual family reunions are completed for 2015. “Nothing speaks Americana more than a family reunion,” one Oklahoman said. That may be true for some who have large families, but as for me, our family reunions have become once in five-year events and host a gathering of no more than 10 to 15 people.
New beginnings never get old. It is hard to believe it’s that time of year again, but the calendar says it is in fact time to turn the page to a whole new season of fresh beginnings, and for some students a whole new chapter in their lives. There is clearly an energy and sense of anticipation in the air. It seems to me the start of the school calendar comes much earlier than it once did. Back in my day, we had two solid weeks of two-a-day football practices and the summer’s grand finale, the Chase County fair, leading up to the start of classes at the end of August. It’s a whole different timetable these days, which seems to cut the summer short.
I try not to be a complainer or let negativism dominate my thinking, but sometimes the old brain gets loaded with pessimism. I have some stew and fret moments. The dark-side generally shows up after I’ve read my morning newspaper or viewed the evening TV news. The betterhalf regularly calls my attention to my dilemma with the simple straight forwardness of raising her voice and tells me to, “Knock it off.” While I grumbled about the debate (such as it was); the failing U.S. government policies in the Middle East; the Iran deal; and the federal politicians taking the month of August off, other critics were concerned about the real serious problems. Those serious concerns included the gender labeling of toys at Target or calling for schools to open later because studies showed students weren’t getting enough sleep.
The term “body language” has been around for years. Actually I’ve never thought much about it other than when my body doesn’t work the way I want, I then use some special “body language.” Many psychologists tell us our body reflects our state of mind and most of us agree with that. That finding is really nothing new. Most of us throughout our years have been using body language to describe how we feel. Here are some of those thoughts: Most of us breathe easier when we get a load off our chest. We get worried sick waiting for the doctor and there’s nothing to do but sweat it out. Sometimes it gets under our skin.
When you are in the deadline business, moving that deadline up an hour is a very big deal. The News-Register staff is adjusting to a “new normal” as of this week, pushing our entire production schedule up an hour across the board in order to meet new postal guidelines. It’s only an hour difference on the clock, I realize, but unfortunately the earlier timeline will have a ripple effect impacting many of our advertisers. As of this week, all advertising layouts must be proofed and approved by the end of the day Monday, which means we no longer have that Tuesday morning cushion to wrap things up. That’s a significant change, one that will take some adjustments on our end, as well as our advertisers, to make the process run smoothly.
An ominous black cloud lifted over Aurora last week which had nothing whatsoever to do with the late summer weather. The announcement that all outstanding litigation between Pacific Ethanol and the Aurora Cooperative has been dismissed by mutual agreement is incredibly significant, clearing the way for a multi-use agri-plex to finally start delivering the strategic benefits first envisioned way back in 2006. This is a game-changing development for both companies.
An interesting concept surfaced at last week’s Aurora City Council meeting which deserves consideration. Citing a budget-cutting strategy implemented earlier this summer in Crete, city officials say they want to explore the possibility of outsourcing 911 dispatching services. Mayor Dave Long said there are many factors to consider in making that kind of transition, and at this point the discussion is in its infancy stage. Nonetheless, it’s a concept worth the time and effort it will take to do some homework in the weeks ahead. That homework assignment should be a joint venture by the city and county, naturally, since they now share responsibility for dispatch services currently housed in the Hamilton County Law Enforcement Center.