Commentary

Tue
13
Nov

Smart spending helps Aurora tax climate

Editor’s note: The following is a guest column by Sarah Curry, policy director at the Platte Institute.
Local property taxes will be at the forefront of debate in next year’s session of the Nebraska Legislature. Agricultural land values and home prices have increased considerably over the last decade, and still Nebraska’s property tax rates remain the nation’s seventh highest on average.  
Few people object to paying taxes altogether, as long as the taxes are fairly assessed and the money is properly used. But many communities in Nebraska have been stretched thin by their spending priorities, making the property tax problem even worse.

Wed
07
Nov

Halloween candy selection can be a trick, and a treat

We made it through Halloween and the trick and treaters. In our area it’s a little slower than a continual doorbell ringing and it’s not because we turn off all the lights in the household.
 You see in our location the houses are located on only one side of the street while empty lots lay across on the other side. Also we live in a two-block area where street lights are few and darkness prevails. Still, we prepare with treats for those potential tricksters.
Over the years our Halloween preparations have changed for the Betterhalf and me. Simply put, “we once bought candy for the kids and batch of candy was always left over.” Now, we buy our favorite candies that we personally favor a few days ahead of Halloween and hope candy is left over for our trick and treaters. Several past years our sweet tooth got a little ambitious and we found we needed to make a late run to the store for another stash of replacement hard candies.

Wed
07
Nov

Community encouraged to see cooperative tone of EMS talks

Our community may still be a long ways from resolving the on-going dispute regarding countywide ambulance services, but elected officials took a huge, positive step forward last week by sitting down face to face and agreeing on a list of specific negotiating points.
City and county leaders both looked relieved as they sat down for an ANR interview Oct. 26 and again Friday, reporting initial progress as well as a shared sense of commitment to find a solution. A third meeting was scheduled Monday as of this writing, which is encouraging in and of itself that there is such a sense of urgency.
This issue has become an urgent matter, since it’s been on the local agenda causing uncertainty for more than a year now and the county’s initial date for ending its ownership/management role has already come and gone. It’s time to roll up the sleeves and sharpen the pencils, which is exactly what the negotiations committee is now doing.

Wed
31
Oct

Simple life of retirement not so simple after all

Many of us can recall when we lived the simple life, or what we tab as the time before passwords, desktops, smart phones, touch systems, nuke cooking, voice recognition security, auto infotainment system and the list goes on and on.
As we aged we had hoped to have gained enough knowledge making our lives more comfortable and less confusing. Instead we are more confused than ever in trying to improve our comfort level.
We were pretty proud years ago when we converted our household to a one key operation where one key could match the locks on all our home doors, garage door and even the deadbolt locks. Today, people punch away on keyboards hoping they remembered the correct sequence of numbers just to open the door of their home or garage.

Wed
31
Oct

Veterans bring perspective, valuable skill set to workforce

The News-Register staff turned the spotlight toward a most deserving subject this week with our annual workforce recognition edition.
Ask any entrepreneur, corporate executive or local manager what makes or breaks the bottom line and you’ll get the same answer no matter what the industry, current economic climate or location. It’s the people, the boots on the ground workforce, that gets things done.
The hard-working men and women who turn the soil, manage the store, teach our children, fix our vehicles and in various ways keep the economic engine of Hamilton County humming along are indeed the backbone of our community, state and nation. It’s fitting and oh so important to tip the hat once in a while to the local workforce, which we’re proud to do with this week’s special edition.

Wed
24
Oct

Does online order give same thrill as old Sears catalog?

Nearly every morning the Betterhalf and I walk dogs at the Aurora Adopt-A-Pet. It’s a great way for each of us to get some walking in and at the same time give the shelter dogs some companionship. We strive to take separate walking routes assuring each dog gets our individual attention.
One day this week the Betterhalf individually walked a total of three dogs while I walked five. Throughout our separate eight dog walks each of us had happened to pass by a cable worker who was not a resident of our community and was installing a cable in a yard.
As the Betterhalf came by him on the final leg of her third walk (I had already gone by earlier with my fourth dog), he stopped the Betterhalf.
He asked, “Just how many dogs do you guys own?”
The Betterhalf laughed as she explained they were shelter dogs. “Boy, I couldn’t imaging anyone having that many dogs in a household,” the puzzled worker said.
***

Wed
24
Oct

New geofence technology adding valuable security layer

Student safety appears to be getting a high-tech shield with a new “See Something, Send Something” app being introduced this month by the Aurora Police Department.
School and law enforcement administrators seem excited about the new “tool,” which invites anyone, especially students, with relevant information that may be cause for alarm to share it through a means almost always at or near their fingertips -- cell phones. Simply downloading this app to a smartphone brings you into the security loop, allowing users to send messages while also receiving alerts or notices pushed out in cases of emergency.

Wed
17
Oct

City, county need to trust each other and settle on EMS solution

The time has come in Hamilton County to resolve an issue that impacts anyone who might someday have to dial 911.
All local citizens have a vested interest in the status and quality of local ambulance service, so it is understandable why there is so much interest and emotion surrounding discussions to change the status quo.
What is not as easy to understand, quite frankly, is the lack of progress and public updates in recent weeks on making a decision and moving forward. The community has been told very little on the record, opening the door to speculation and rumor. That’s not healthy for our community, fueling the fire in what has already stretched into a more than year-long debate.

Wed
17
Oct

Cellphone alerts can start any day on a down note

Trying to start your day off right can be difficult sometimes. My day of  “starting off right” early in the morning a few weeks ago began to diminish when I spotted the Betterhalf’s cellphone setting on the kitchen counter as I headed out the door.
 I am no social media guy, nor do I care how the Betterhalf utilizes her phone. But, I have been fascinated how the smartphone, I-phone, cellphone (or whatever you want to call them) can give a near up-to-the minute weather report for our immediate area.
As I passed by the idle phone curiosity got the best of me. I wanted to know what to expect weather-wise when walking dogs, so I pushed the little white button at the bottom of the phone as the wife had earlier repeatedly instructed many times. Immediately a bevy of news flashes appeared.

Wed
10
Oct

Who said the ‘Silent Generation’ is silent

A lot of us have spent time trying to determine whether we are classified as belonging to the Silent, the Millennial, the Gen X generations, or if any generation classification at all. By my guideline I guess I would fall into the Silent Generation gap which I am told covers somewhere between shortly after the Depression to a few years past the conclusion of WWII.
I know it’s difficult to picture me as silent since I am a former newspaperman, but the word “silent” in this case meant we were not involved in protests and mass demonstrating. Most were just glad they survived the Depression, a war, and other hardships. They were able to get back to somewhat of quiet life with having a job; raising a family; and growing a quality lifestyle.

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