Commentary

Wed
22
Jan

Keys to happiness haven’t changed in years

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Once there was an old journalist joke that stated, “No news is good news, except if you published a newspaper.” Today news is not only delivered by newspapers, but by TV, radio, social media, cell phones and the list goes on and on.
In a 2019 survey, 54 percent of the public said that following the news causes them stress and in a 2018 another study had found 68 percent of the public felt exhausted by their news consumption. One significant reason claimed news tends to be more negative than the world really is and people possess “negativity bias.”
We need happiness. While cleaning out an old desk drawer I coincidentally found a 1964 birthday card touting the keys to happiness. It read:

Wed
22
Jan

PPRI mission, success a tribute to Bill and Jan Whitney

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Bill and Jan Whitney started a labor of love few people understood back in 1980. What a novel idea, they proclaimed, to preserve, maintain and restore native prairies and wetlands, and what better place to do it than right here in Hamilton County?
Four decades later, their initial vision is visible for all to see in the form of beautiful, natural prairies used for community education, recreation and sustainable economic development. The husband and wife duo is now handing over the keys to the Prairie Plains Resource Institute, retiring together from a shared mission that has been their life’s work.
Knowing their humble nature, Bill and Jan would prefer not to create a lot of fuss over their retirement. They would no doubt rather PPRI, its talented young staff and the vast prairies they helped restore speak for them. But it is deserving, and oh so appropriate, to shed some light, and perspective, on what has been accomplished under the Whitney’s watchful eye.

Wed
15
Jan

It’s a bird. It’s a plane. No, it’s a mysterious drone!

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Judging from observations coming from Nebraska and Colorado folks it appears we are witnessing a nighttime mass migration of drones that first appeared in the sky from Western Colorado and through Central Nebraska. Citizens, aviation and law enforcement officials were still trying to untangle the mystery at the time this column was written. Since no answer has been found yet, we have come up with a few preliminary observations of our own.
Over 1.5 million licensed drones are now registered in the United States and thousands of people in Nebraska received smaller drones this Christmas. I’ve come to the question which could be worse: A sky filled with drones or our present dilemma of getting out of the way of people looking at their cell phones while walking toward you?
Other questions have come to mind:

Wed
08
Jan

Quiet New Year’s Eve reflects pleasant reality

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As the sun went down and New Year’s Eve approached the Betterhalf and I were sitting in our La-Z-Boys watching the evening news. She turned to me and said, “You know this is the first time we didn’t plan anything special or go somewhere to celebrate?”
I waited a few seconds without replying and was relieved when the Betterhalf answered her own statement by saying: “I think it’s sort of nice.”
It was a cinch I wasn’t going to dispute her statement. She had planned a low-key, two-person meal featuring a delicious grilled swordfish steak dinner complimented by a desert that included an earlier-baked surplus batch of homemade Christmas cookies and fudge.
As the two of us reviewed New Years pasts in those early evening hours we realized at our age we were just happy to be able celebrate the arrival of 2020. Many of our old friends didn’t make it to 2020. Others faced senior aches and pains more troublesome than our own.

Wed
08
Jan

Influx in revenue offers hope for property tax relief strategy

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There will be a decidedly different tone in Lincoln this week as Nebraska lawmakers reconvene to start the 2020 legislative session.
Before the first gavel falls, everyone in the room knows there is money on the table, unlike most recent years, in the form of an unexpected $130 million projected increase in state revenues.
Though it’s been a tough year for agriculture, the most recent revenue report reflects positive economic growth and success on several fronts. That’s good news for Nebraska.
There have been years in Lincoln when lawmakers knew going in that bills with a large price tag attached were all but dead on arrival, due to the harsh economic realities of the day. This won’t be one of those years, but the reality is it could and should still be a challenge to gain support for new spending.

Tue
07
Jan

Letter: Walk for Life event Jan. 18

Dear Editor:
The Nebraska Walk for Life will be held Jan. 18. On the 22nd of January in 1973, the United States Supreme Court ruled in the companion decisions of Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton to make abortion legal in all nine months of pregnancy. It is legal in all 50 states of the union to kill a child in the womb via a procured (desired) abortion up until the point of birth.
Join me in proclaiming that each life is precious, and that abortion must become unthinkable!
Abortion mills in Nebraska are located in Lincoln, Omaha, Bellevue, as well as one in Council Bluffs, Iowa. The abortion pill is available from these facilities so that abortion takes place in privacy, often without the child’s father or grandparents, and uncles and aunts, even knowing that their precious little relative has been lost.

Tue
31
Dec

Remembering some of my old resolutions

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Be careful with using the word “new” when making your 2020 New Year Resolutions. According to an 1800s German materialistic philosopher Ludwig Feuerbach the “new” comes from exactly that quarter whence it is not looked for, and is always different from what is expected.
Remembering some of my own previous resolutions I find few of them were solid enough pledges to last more than a few weeks. In fact, it appears it could be a simple matter if I just renewed those old pledges. However, this year I vow to do better and add a few “new” resolutions and hope for the best of the good “news.” My 2020 New Year Resolutions carry a lot of “hope” on my part -- Hope that the resolutions turn out to be good resolutions for me as well for those who surround me.
In simple and serious terms with none being too earth shattering, here are some of those new 2020 New Year Resolutions:
May I know the difference between trivial concerns and serious worriment.

Tue
31
Dec

City’s comprehensive planning process deserves local input

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The words “comprehensive plan” and “zoning regulations” made the local headlines in 2019, and they will again in 2020 though on a smaller geographic scale.
As the new year begins, we urge local residents to tune into a process about to unfold at City Hall. City leaders have hired a planning consultant to update its comprehensive plan for the first time in 10 years, with the end result expected to be like “painting a picture of what the community can be,” according to Bobbi Pettit with Five Rule Rural Planning.
Pettit has met with the Aurora Planning Commission several times and is now in the process of finalizing an inventory of existing housing and commercial buildings. Part of her contract with the city is to complete a detailed housing study, which should provide interesting and useful information on several fronts.

Mon
30
Dec

Thank you, commissioners

Dear Editor:
I want to thank each of the Hamilton County Commissioners for their vote opposing the conditional use permit to install wind turbines in Hamilton County. It was evident that each one had spent many hours researching the information presented to them. They had also listened to the concerns of their constituents and then responded with a decision that will be the best for all of Hamilton County. It is much appreciated.

Jeanette Friesen
Aurora

 

Tue
24
Dec

Simple pleasures still bring smile at Christmas

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My how fast Christmas arrives! December 25th looked a long way off a week ago and another Christmas will pass before we know it. Still, I had time to enjoy one of my favorite parts of the Christmas season. “Thanks” to the Betterhalf putting up our Christmas tree and turning on the lights just after our Thanksgiving dinner dishes were in the dishwasher.
Sitting in a darken living room gazing at a beautiful decorated tree with its glowing lights, memories of Christmas’ past come alive. I am sure I am not alone in having this happen; past memories hit most all of us and hopefully they are precious.

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