For those who long for the days of yore, your days may be just around the corner particularly if you live in Nebraska. According to a couple of news reports modern technology is being replaced with of all things, a herd of goats and streetcars. Well in all fairness, the herds of goats has already become state employees on a two-year contract and as for the street cars – the cars are still on the drawing board. Happy Goats Grazing Service has entered into a two-year, $120,000-max contract that provides up to 1,300 goats to take care of undesirable weeds on wetland migration sites and interstate areas. In fact, some goats could be near our area when they go to work on 56 acres near the Rain-Water Basin. Apparently the “Rent-A-Goat” service is cheaper than chemicals, equipment and labor that had previously been used. I can’t help but wonder if the goats work an eight-hour day or charge additional for overtime. ***
Editor’s note: This guest column was written by Irl Gilliland of Aurora. Shortly after the landslide midterm elections last year, half the country, the so-called conservative half, was ecstatic that now, finally, we can fix all the damage the progressive side had done in the previous six years. The week immediately following the elections, I had the opportunity to attend a meeting of a friend and his cronies, all in their 70s and 80s, who meet weekly to discuss a variety of topics, not the least of which are world and national events. All of these men come from the conservative viewpoint. I listened quietly, but intently for two hours as they rehearsed the previous six years and how the Republicans were now in a position to correct the ills perpetrated by the Democrats.
Controlling your weight. Maximizing your energy. Feeling good about yourself physically all day, every day. Staying healthy is a challenge all of us face in every stage of life, though that challenge seems to get harder and harder with each passing year. It’s a personal battle, inevitably, though it helps a great deal to have a support team in your corner encouraging you along the way. That’s been the premise of the Hamilton County Health Challenge for seven years now and it’s been rewarding to see so many people engage in the process. By our count, participants have lost more than 4,300 pounds in this competition, which is fantastic. Hoorah to all who have been involved.
We’ve always been told that “early to bed” is a good health trait. My parents told me that from the early years and even now that I am older, doctors have chimed in with the same theory. I’ve continued to follow through with this routine even though I’m old enough to do what I want. I struggle at my age to make it to the 10 o’clock TV newscast and the majority of the time 9 o’clock has become the time I turn to the bedroom TV and hit the sack. Simply put, a TV program is my nighttime lullaby.
As a 24-year-old freshly graduated from college, newly married and starting a new career, landing in Aurora, Neb., was unexpected. After my husband, Jeremy, was offered a job at Aurora Cooperative two years ago, we took a drive through the small town, and I have to admit that I didn’t instantly fall in love (gasp!). Growing up in a small community, I wasn’t new to the small town feel at all, but Aurora is half the size of my hometown of Gering. After getting my feet under me here at the News-Register and meeting more and more members of the community, I caught myself quickly enjoying nearly everything about this town. My husband and I rented a small apartment for two years and during that period we both were skeptical about calling Aurora a long-time home. Despite our initial feelings, within a year, we were on the hunt for a home.
It’s time to celebrate. Aurora will roll out the red carpet this weekend with another chapter of what has become an annual feel-good helping of hometown fun. A’ROR’N Days is traditionally a highlight of the summer for this proud community, inviting alumni, family and friends to enjoy festivities that couldn’t be more genuine. A core group of volunteers deserves a pat on the back for locking this weekend on the calendar each year. There is a lot of synergy now in the 26th year with other groups and organizations adding their own activities to the itinerary, but it simply wouldn’t happen without the focus and dedication of the original planners. The late Jim Schneider had a great idea back in the day and we’re glad it’s been kept alive, giving past, presents and perhaps future residents something to look forward to.
Best laid plans sometimes go astray. That was the recent case of a friend of ours who this year tried to wrap up Mother’s Day and birthday gifts all at one time for his wife. Since his children were out of the country when Mother’s Day came around he planned to step in with a Mother’s Day gift and then follow up a few weeks later giving her his own personal birthday gift. He told his children since they would be absent for mom’s special day he had bought a set of earrings to represent their Mother’s Day giving and then purchased a matching necklace to present to her as his own personal gift at birthday time. A pretty good plan he thought since he had always let the kids take care of Mother’s Day and occasionally he had a tough time finding the perfect birthday gift for the wife. He successfully made the earring and matching necklace purchases and had them individually wrapped before sneaking them into the household while the wife was absent.
Thirty years after Clay Mathile found what he was looking for in a site to manufacture pet food, the Iams Company has reason to celebrate. The story is legendary now, how Mathile quietly came to Aurora in 1984, kicking the tires and looking beyond the logistical criteria to determine where he wanted to build a new plant. The quality of the school system, he would later explain, the area’s strong work ethic as well as the community’s progressive mindset convinced him to plant the Iams flag on a Highway 34 site three miles west of town. That decision has proven to be monumental, both for the company and its host community. Iams became a billion dollar brand many years ago and is known as a quality product for beloved cats and dogs around the world. The Aurora plant is one of its key producers, filling bags 24/7 bound for distributors throughout the western United States.
This past couple of weeks I’ve had a chance to read the top high school seniors’ comments taken from speeches made at their graduation ceremonies. As I scanned those comments I must say “I was impressed” and have come to the conclusion we senior citizens should be taking the contents of those speeches seriously.
Nebraska natives know better than to complain about the rain. Life-giving moisture falling from the skies, or lack thereof, permeates our lives in so many waves, causing massive ripples throughout both our social calendars and the local economy. It’s a given, year in and year out, that weather -- good, bad or otherwise -- is a hot topic of conversation. But holly cow, rain is coming down in buckets this spring and summer! Just a year or so ago we wrote about NRD water restrictions and how perilously close the Upper Big Blue District was to hitting record low aquifer levels. Had the spring readings come in just a smidgen lower last year, area producers and communities that rely on the precious underwater reservoir would have had to deal with strict water allocations, which have been a harsh reality in western Nebraska for decades. What a difference a year makes!