Nebraska’s 150th birthday celebration is putting a spotlight on the state’s heritage this year, and so too is a unique program designed to invite folks to see all there is to see in the Cornhusker state, including its hidden gems.
The Nebraska Tourism Commission has rolled out the 2017 Nebraska Passport Program, touting 80 attractions on 10 themed tours from May 1 through Sept. 30. Aurora made the list not once, not twice, but three times, which in and of itself is a feather in our community’s collective cap.
The Edgerton Explorit Center is featured for the second time, this year as part of the “Be a Kid Again” tour. Executive director Mary Molliconi reported that the center had a 33 percent spike in visitors during the five-month Passport program in 2015, so she understandably has high expectations for this year. The Edgerton Center is clearly on a roll, having topped the list last year as the state’s outstanding tourist attraction.
As our lifetime progresses we get indications we are being viewed as senior citizens. Lately those indications have not come from a few aching joints, but from outsiders who observe our actions or have simply seen the gray hair and conclude this guy needs some help.
More and more frequently when I enter a store and hand reaches out accompanied by a young person’s voice saying, “Sir, let me get the door for you.” Struggling at a checkout counter the carryout person offers to carry my purchase to the car and when I decline, the question then arises, “Are you sure?”
I must admit I am not a computer geek, or at best computer literate. That message came home loud and clear to me a month ago when I was invited to attend a state seminar to learn a lodge secretary interface because the state lodge had revamped its website and reporting procedures for local Nebraska lodge secretaries.
A new report will be welcomed by those mothers who hate to try to keep a spotless house. According to findings in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers studied 60 children in Hutterite and Amish farm communities with similar genetic ancestry. Hutterites use modern farm machinery on large farms while Amish live on single-family farms, close to barns, with children spending more time in the barns than Hutterites.
Amish house dust was rich in bacterial debris that Hutterite dust lacked. About five percent of Amish children (ages 6-14) have asthma -- half the U.S. average and one-fourth the Hutterite average. Mothers will rejoice in the study’s conclusion that has come from the report saying barnyard dust must stimulate children’s immune systems and protects against asthma.
Husky Nation had something to celebrate last weekend in Lincoln.
Though the Class B boys state basketball tournament ended one game sooner than Aurora players, coaches and fans would have wanted, there was something special about what this group did on and off the court that leaves a lasting impression.
This team was not only fun for its fans to watch, it made others with no allegiance to Aurora High School sit up and take notice. That takes some doing in this day and age.
Outside the locker room moments after those pesky Bearcats ended the Huskies’ run in the semifinals for the second straight year, a Scottsbluff representative told Tom Leininger something not all coaches get to hear.
“Ultimately, what we have to do is figure out how to grow our state. If we’re going to grow Nebraska, we have to grow our number one industry -- agriculture.”
I couldn’t agree more with the message Gov. Pete Ricketts shared last week at the Aurora Cooperative’s annual meeting in Grand Island. He was preaching to the choir of course with an ag-based audience, but his message was spot on, as was his proposed strategy to make it happen.
Providing real and sustainable property tax relief has been talked about for years in our great state, but the need for turning words into reality has perhaps never been more pressing than it is right now. Ag income is down from $7.5 billion in 2012-13 to a projected $4 billion this year, causing a ripple that has created a $350 million statewide revenue shortfall in this one budget year alone.
As we begin a celebration of the birthday of Nebraska (150 years), we also find ourselves examining the history of our own community as well as the history of the newspapers in Hamilton County. That has brought us to the revelation of an Aurora Republican-Register editor Joseph E. Allen, who in 1935 published many of his columns in booklet form called, “Home Town Tales.”
They were a recollection of his memories of the Aurora community when it was his home for 36 years and he then wrote in the book’s preface, “With the thought of some of these writings might be enjoyed by former residents.” Throughout the year of our state’s 150 year celebration we hope to honor his wish. One of those recollections follows and emphasizes history can have humor, too.
Editor Allen wrote:
Life returned to normal this week in Aurora after a rather dramatic manhunt had citizens on edge. Weird things can and do happen in small-town America, we were reminded, and in the end there were some valuable lessons to be learned.
Chief among them is the fact that local citizens should feel good about the level of protection they receive here in Hamilton County. Between the Aurora Police Department, Hamilton County Sheriff’s Department and Nebraska State Patrol, the bad guys in this case were fighting a losing battle. The way these agencies cooperate when the heat is on is very impressive, and effective.
The two initial suspects in the case made some really stupid decisions from the get-go, speeding away from a traffic stop that in all likelihood would have ended with a simple speeding ticket. The sad reality is that the whole episode could and should have been avoided.
During the week-long Congressional break it wasn’t surprising that few Congressional members followed tradition by holding town hall meetings in their districts. In reality, it shouldn’t have been “too surprising” to most of us that our Republican or Democrat politicians, preferred to bypass the meetings and avoid facing constituents who have a barrage of questions.
There is no question those town hall meetings would not have been the most pleasant of gatherings for the politicians, but our representatives must remember they serve all people in their district and not those who voted just for them. It might be amazing what can be learned when we quit shouting at each other, listen and try to cooperate.
We’ve been told it takes someone older than most people now living to remember when dime stores were so named. If the trend continues, in a few more years we might even be trying to remember dollar stores.
Valentine’s Day has come and gone. It now appears there’ll be no more “gifting” between the Betterhalf and me until anniversary time. That is, unless the Betterhalf thinks we’re Irish enough to celebrate St. Pat’s Day with the wearing of the green.
Each year it has become more difficult to solve the gifting for Valentine’s Day. It seems the longer a couple is married those initial gifts of the early years that once filled the needs of our bare necessities’ household are no longer appearing on our gifting list. In those early years small appliances such as a coffeemakers, or hedge trimmers were popular gifts for him or her. Today we are fortunate in our household there exists not really too many him or her voids that our past Valentine gifts have not already filled.
George Norris must be turning in his grave.
The visionary U.S. senator from Nebraska has been praised for more than 80 years after creating the framework for what would become the nation’s only one-house legislature. Nebraska is a small, unified state, he reasoned, and therefore should be able to conduct the state’s business without the partisan politics that even at that time often bogged down Washington D.C.
The hybrid Norris plan, which features a one-house unicameral, has worked relatively well for 83 years ... until now.
Nebraska lawmakers are already a third of the way through this year’s 90-day session, though very little has been accomplished to date. The tone was set on Day 1 with a power play designed to sweep all or most of the committee chairmanships toward Republicans, and has carried over the past month with a nasty rules debate some say would in effect silence minority groups by making it easier for the majority to end filibusters.