Commentary

Wed
17
Jul

‘Minnesota cologne’ a reflection of the weather

Each year we try to spend a few weeks up north in Minnesota with hopes of good fishing and just plain relaxing. The trips have been pretty routine over the past years and best can be described as fishing, family and fun.
This year has come up with a few new wrinkles and some unlikely experiences.
This year the Betterhalf and I were joined by our avid serious fisher-son and his German Shepard dog, Kalie. Good news! Caught lots of fish and he volunteered to clean them all as well as doing many other chores! Meanwhile, Kalie was joined by our two dogs, Oscar and Missy. Bad news! Lots of dog hair causing a plugged vacuum cleaner and careful walking in the yard thanks to our own canine trio and five other local hounds in the neighborhood.

Wed
17
Jul

Enough already -- Floodwaters ravage Nebraska yet again

Mother Nature is relentless!
Our hearts are hurting this week after watching the news and hearing details of yet another wave of nearby water-soaked destruction. While many Nebraskans are still in the midst of rebuilding their homes, properties and lives after the devastating March floods, the skies opened up yet again sending floodwaters across an already saturated landscape.
The images from Kearney, Lexington, Gibbon and Wood River looked eerily familiar to March, minus the massive dam that broke near Niobrara. It may take months to fully assess the damage, though we can already conclude that Nebraska has been hit with a second 100-year flood in just four months.
There are no words to fully describe what those folks are living through, especially the few who experienced flooding both times. They are literally living life one day at a time knowing that some sense of normal may be weeks or months away.

Wed
10
Jul

Museum project will bring national spotlight to community

The Plainsman Museum has long been regarded as a treasure trove of local history, preserving artifacts and archives for future generations to learn from and enjoy. The local museum is now making headlines of its own.
This week’s edition shares the story of how and why the Plainsman was selected by the world-famous Smithsonian Museum in Washington D.C. to participate in a pilot project focused on local work history. Over the next several months, Smithsonian officials will work with a local advisory team to create a top-notch exhibit showcasing Hamilton County on the job.
Anyone who has roamed the fascinating exhibits at the Smithsonian, spread out in several different buildings along the historic Washington Mall, knows what an amazing experience that can be. It’s like a time machine adventure, with so many original artifacts from all aspects of life teaching lessons and/or taking you back to an earlier era of American life.

Wed
10
Jul

Hearing sheds light on county’s road concerns

Dear Editor:
  I would like to thank Stacey Holloway for organizing the meeting Monday, July 1 with the Hamilton County Board in regards to the poor road conditions in Hamilton County. There was a huge turnout from every corner of the county.
  Everyone there had concerns that they wanted to address. We were limited to 30 minutes to bring these issues before the board and everyone was allowed three minutes to speak. If you do the math that allows 10 people three minute each to comment. We asked for another meeting where everyone could voice their concerns but I am very doubtful that the board will ever let that happen.

Wed
10
Jul

Summer fun now comes with less bang, more worry

It appears it’s getting pretty tough for kids to have traditional summer fun.
Some metro areas banned the shooting of Fourth of July fireworks all together. Many other communities shortened the legal firing of fireworks for three days only or less. For many states the sale of some old traditional fireworks such as firecrackers, candles, rockets, and other “big bang” items have been prohibited. In one short observation, you might say it is becoming a quiet Fourth for many young and old alike.
Another summertime entertainment is coming with a word of caution. That is swimming or simply going to the beach or pool. If you live near the ocean you are warned about shark attacks and the stings from jellyfish. Those of you going to rivers, lakes or pools are being warned about a parasite called “Crypto” that causes diarrhea.

Wed
03
Jul

‘Living wage’ a relative term in this day and age

“Living wage” has always been a puzzler to me as to what the meaning of a “living wage” really is.
For example, a living wage will be considerably higher in New York City than it would be in Omaha, Nebraska. Home costs, transportation, food and other living expenses will be higher in major metropolitan areas as compared to rural Nebraska. Heavy populated areas with more industrial and technological opportunities will naturally offer higher wages because there is more competition in the labor market for more skilled workers.
In other words, a higher living wage exists in those areas as opposed to rural Nebraska where a lower wage scale can be offset by those who are seeking a higher quality of a family lifestyle and lower living costs.
I am reminded when one of our sons was going to college and also working in Lincoln. He told me his job experience during the year was educational. I asked him, “What do you mean?”

Wed
03
Jul

Rural roads conditions quickly becoming county’s top priority

The tone was civil but the message blunt during Monday’s county board meeting -- rural roads throughout Hamilton County are downright dangerous.
Hearing complaints about the lack of gravel or maintenance on specific county roads is commonplace in rural Nebraska, though clearly this year is different. A brutally cold winter followed by massive amounts of spring rain have wreaked havoc on rural roads throughout Nebraska and the Midwest. That is nobody’s fault.
Hamilton County is certainly no exception to these brutal conditions, though some area residents testified that adjacent counties are handling the same challenges more effectively. A drive through the country illustrates why there is such grave concern.

Wed
26
Jun

Racing to keep up with the times can be futile

In this old world it’s hard to keep up with the changes. That was evident the other day when visiting a community it was announced there would be a 5K race held on a Saturday. However, I was somewhat confused when it was also announced there would also be a $35 entry fee for each participant.
Details of the 5K race continued and I was not sure if I had correctly interpreted the “5K” description.
Being from the old school I always thought a K, or kilometer was 5/8 of a mile. If my old math serves me correctly a “5K” race should be 3 and 1/8th miles. More details of the race continued to follow the announcement and my confusion became more complex. In addition to the steep entry fee, it was noted the race would begin and end at the home of the race’s sponsor, which was a local brewery. My confusion deepened.

Wed
26
Jun

Comprehensive plan will soon establish critical regulations

Area residents concerned with land use issues involving commercial wind energy and livestock expansion, among other things, should be tuning into a process that will soon give all a chance to speak up and be heard.
Efforts to gather information and input to be used in updating Hamilton County’s comprehensive plan started almost two years ago, tabling a discussion which at that time had sparked an emotional debate. A proposal to build four large wind turbines south of Aurora raised the question of if and where such projects should be allowed, which is what the comprehensive plan and related subdivision and zoning regulations are all about.
Hamilton County commissioners noted that the local plan was decades old and thus did not address some of the more timely issues of the day, including commercial wind energy development. They hit the pause button, in essence, so that new regulations could be written, reviewed and put in place.

Wed
19
Jun

Good thing my calling wasn’t in the kitchen

Nearly all of us at some time have questioned ourselves if we pursued the right career. Although I loved my many years of newspapering, the question would occasionally cross my mind, “What if I would have, etc.?” I would then chuckle to myself and decide I could have a second career in my retirement years after the kids were raised, many financial and business obligations subsided and the lifestyle slowed down.
A few weeks after my retirement I entered our home’s kitchen and announced to the Betterhalf, who had spent the afternoon playing cards, that I had rearranged her pantry and would like to learn how to cook some specialty dishes. My new pursuit at hobby cooking did not start well. I was told if I was messing with HER PANTRY I could begin doing ALL the cooking. Thus, my dream ended becoming a specialty chef who would create fabulous exotic dishes to the delight of my family.

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