It may seem odd, but I hate to see another year come around. That means I’ll again be spending many hours stooped over in front of my paper shredder feeding it another year of old personal records. My shredding job has become extensive by my own choosing when I made a proclamation to the Betterhalf years ago urging her to save copies of bills, contracts, statements and invoices. True to her dedication to my words she did just that, but also added the statement stuffers, privacy notices and any other non-relevant items in those envelopes. Above the whine of the shredder I thought I may have a solution to my time-consuming job by opting for a computerized record keeping system. Gone would be a closet full of not clothes, but shoe boxes containing seven or eight years of records. I could just hand the IRS a small memory stick or disc and at the same time reclaim my office closet space.
Location, location, location. It makes all the difference in the business and real estate world, we’ve been told, and apparently the scientific realm as well. Aurora and Hamilton County have prospered for decades because of high traffic counts and underground water aquifer available at this location. In less than 200 days, we can also expect to see hundreds if not thousands of visitors come from around the globe to see a rare spectacle, simply because we’ll be in the right place at the right time. Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good. Aurora’s own Mad Scientist, Dan Glomski, shed some light last week on just how big a deal the Aug. 21 total solar eclipse will be. On that day, just after noon, a new moon will completely block out the sun in a spectacle that will last 2 minutes and 31 seconds.
This past week the Betterhalf got her outdoor Christmas decorations down just before the serious cold snap came in. By now most of the outdoor Christmas lights have disappeared throughout the community. But, old Mother Nature has now done some of her own outdoor decorating. The late Christmas Day windstorm brought in some late holiday tree and shrub “decorations” that replaced colored holiday lights and certainly aren’t pleasing to the eyes. It appears every plastic shopping bag and Christmas paper wrap in our community is now hanging from trees or tangled in bushes. Hopefully we residents will find time within the next week or so to complete a general cleanup of our own properties.
Building permit totals in Aurora tell an interesting tale for our community, with some good and not-so-good news reflected in the final 2016 numbers. As reported in a front page story this week, building permits issued at City Hall added up to $7.6 million last year, which ranks sixth highest of the past 10 years and is $1.7 million higher than the previous year. That’s not an aggressive year-end total by any measure, but put in broader perspective it is a respectable sum.
I always was told never give your Betterhalf pots and pans for Christmas, or you are pushing your luck if you fill her gift list with an appliance that could make her household chores easier. A recent conversation with another husband about Christmas gifting for that special someone left me amazed that he was still alive. He gave his wife a toilet. In fact, he gave her two toilets. Now he insisted the new toilet was the gift she requested so he believed his generosity of two stools would double her Christmas pleasure. After our conversation I thought a little deeper on his gifting and soon realized he might possibly have been lured into something that would lead to an even more expensive Christmas gift. Could it be possible his Betterhalf was thinking that with new toilets, new remodeled bathrooms were next on her list? ***
Nebraska lawmakers will once again converge in Lincoln this week, many of them entering a new legislative session with three key words in mind -- property tax relief. Finding a way to adjust the state’s tax structure to lighten the load on Nebraska’s largest industry has been a priority issue for several years now, though finding a palatable way to shift that load has been a challenge. That challenge won’t get any easier this year, particularly in light of a projected $900 million revenue shortfall. It’s a safe bet that any proposed bill or political strategy that requires more revenue will face an uphill battle. That’s a given. In and of itself, that’s not a bad thing. In terms of creating property tax relief, however, it could complicate an already complex debate.
It’s been a noteworthy year in Hamilton County, and then some. Our area community is typically a pretty busy place creating headlines from year to year, but 2016 was filled with more than its share of banner news, controversy and even a crime-related story we’re not used to seeing in rural Nebraska. The year that ends at midnight had some high points and low points, as you can expect in any given year, though once again we’ve noticed a trend that makes us appreciate the place we call home. Most of the headlines in Hamilton County reflect an upbeat tone, a general sense of optimism that should not be taken for granted. You don’t have to look far to realize it’s not like that everywhere. The News-Register conducted its annual news survey last week, seeking reader input on what the community as a whole perceives to be the Top 10 stories of the year. It’s a very subjective, non-scientific process from start to finish, but always an interesting one.
Another year is nearly over. As we get older the years seem to pick up speed and in all honesty seem to break the speed limit. Christmas is over and we hope you all had a joyous one. I liked a little comment by one who said, “To prove that isn’t the method, but the results that count, just watch a little fellow open his Christmas packages.” While we didn’t have any little ones around the tree we did have some grown-up grandchildren who proved that point. Ah, Christmas still holds the joy of watching our younger generations. *** Probably the person most disappointed with a Christmas present was the oldster who received an electric toothbrush. He says it kicks his dentures out of his mouth! *** Well, it’s time to make some New Year resolutions and as in years past that means they are meant to be broken. However, I am hoping I can follow this suggested list called, “Ten Rules for Making Every Day a Great Day: Think that good things will happen.
It’s Christmas card season in America, a time to connect with friends and family old and new, offering holiday greetings and tidings of goodwill. The postman (and postwoman) is no doubt busier now than at any time throughout the year, delivering cards and letters the old-fashioned way, by the thousands. This week’s News-Register looks and feels like a giant Christmas card to the community, from the community, offering up a warm, fuzzy slice of the Hamilton County holiday pie. This holiday edition reminds me so much of the giant basket that sat around the Johnson household while I was growing up. That basket was filled to the brim by Christmas Day with pictures of family and friends, cards from all over the country and letters highlighting the events of the previous year. I spent hours each year going through that treasure trove of holiday cheer, and look forward to doing that again when we venture to Imperial this weekend to visit my mother and family in Imperial.
I’ve shared this news with many, but for others this will be the first you are hearing it. My last day at the News-Register will be Dec. 21st. I have decided to take on a new adventure at the Aurora Cooperative. There is so much to say about my first ‘big girl’ job, I don’t even know where to start. I am forever grateful for what the News-Register has taught me over the last 2-1/2 years. When I first started here, it was definitely overwhelming. When people tell you to enjoy college because the real world isn’t all it’s cracked up to be...this is true, but it soon becomes a routine you get used to. I also had big shoes to fill coming in as everyone in the county knew and loved my predecessor, Laurie Pfeifer. Thankfully, she took me under her wing and was my mentor and still is to this day.