Commentary

Wed
11
Jan

A running start

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.

Wed
04
Jan

Giving house appliances as Christmas gifts could backfire

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?
***

Wed
04
Jan

A worthy challenge

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.

Wed
28
Dec

A happening place

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.

Wed
28
Dec

Younger generations provide extra holiday joy

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.

Wed
21
Dec

ANR holiday edition reflects community’s shared goodwill

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.

Wed
21
Dec

Bidding farewell to the News-Register

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.

Wed
21
Dec

Looking for a ‘fresh report’ for the 2016 Christmas cards

I assume most people have their Christmas cards mailed, or in this day and age I should have said, “either mailed, or emailed.”
I guess I would be classified as one of the stragglers who just in the nick of time composed a short Christmas note in the wee morning hours this past weekend.
I’m not a real fan of writing Christmas letters, but don’t mind receiving them. However, the Betterhalf likes them and proclaimed since I am retired I must engage in the family duty of spreading good cheer to our friends through a Christmas letter. The letter duties were turned over to me back in 2000 and it has been 16 years of trying to create a fresh Christmas report of annual family activities.

Wed
14
Dec

An updated strategic plan would be a useful community tool

Strategic planning seems to be a hot topic in our community these days, and with good reason.
County commissioners are looking to update an outdated comprehensive zoning and land use plan, which, among other topics could help define how projects requiring rural development such as wind energy will be handled. As we saw first-hand in a series of public hearings on a wind energy proposal earlier in the year, having a plan, including language that protects the interests of all parties, is absolutely critical to the process.
Last week, Aurora 4R schools hosted an intriguing reVISION session, a focused self evaluation of the district’s career and technology education programs. The end goal is to create a 3-5 year plan identifying what the school needs to do to better prepare students for the work world, including jobs right here in Hamilton County. Another key piece of that effort, in the end, will be to identify what the community can do to support the process.

Wed
14
Dec

New toe may prove to be the key to kicking

We’ve all read about the guy with the “golden toe.” He was the football player who rarely missed booting field goals and put kickoffs into the end zone. My family may have a new twist only this time it will involve my Betterhalf.
Recently, the Betterhalf underwent some minor surgery to remove a bone spur on the joint of her foot’s big toe. She anticipated the surgery was probably nothing more than a scraping and recovery time would be just a few days. We now are concluding the third week and still the gal is gathering some sympathy as she walks with the assistance of her “boot.”
Her scraping became a little more complicated and now she sports what I term, “her titanium toe.” All is going well and going so well that we’re heading to Texas to see the grandkids. But, there could be a problem or two ahead of us.

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