Commentary

Wed
16
Sep

Close to home

Fun in the sun is now, officially, just a short cast away from Aurora.
After years of planning and more than $1.3 million in improvements, the Pioneer Trails Recreation Area is open for business, offering a wonderful, local outlet for area residents who love the great outdoors. Who among us doesn’t count themselves in that category?
Which means the new lake, located less than two miles northeast of town, could and should get lots of traffic in the years ahead. Finding time to break away and get to the nearest lake will no longer be a reason not to go off the grid and enjoy some peace and quiet.

Wed
16
Sep

Seat, perspective, change for home Big Red games

When Nebraska football games come around I begin to feel like the guy in the movie “Driving Miss Daisy.” The betterhalf is a strong Husker fan. She is a stronger fan than me and a week ago proved my point.
The opening season game was predicted to be played on the hottest day of the week and I am not a hot weather fan (pardon the pun). No matter what the weather, the betterhalf had no intention of missing a Husker game, even after I told her to find someone who wanted to sit in that hot stadium with her and I would relinquish my ticket to a him or a her.
My offer brought her immediate reaction which I see has no reason to be repeated other than to say, “I went to the ballgame under limited protest.”

Wed
09
Sep

Unsustainable

What to do about rising Nebraska property taxes?
Regardless of current commodity prices, the trend in recent years has been for property valuations to go up significantly, levies to drop slightly, and property tax bills to rise, particularly for area farmers. It’s a dilemma that’s been talked about for years, and should be high on the agenda again when Nebraska lawmakers convene in January for the 2016 session.
Here in Hamilton County, for example, the funding formula for too many taxing entities banks heavily on what has become an annual, expected rise in property valuations. There has been substantial new growth in recent years, which is a blessing many regions of the state and nation do not enjoy, though a majority of the increase can be attributed to rising ag land values.

Wed
09
Sep

Law enforcement jobs may soon be hard to fill

I wonder in a few years if the biggest threat to law enforcement will be finding individuals who will want to have a career in law enforcement. According to national reports, large metro area police forces are finding it difficult to meet new recruit quotas.
Cases are increasing where law officers are being sued by arrested criminals and law breakers who claim discrimination or unfair treatment. Forgotten is the fact that the arrested party was endangering citizens by violating laws; threatening (and at times succeeding to kill) law officers with a deadly weapon; or refusing to obey an officer’s command. In all fairness there has been evidence in some cases where excessive force has been used and it should be legally brought to light and eradicated. However, we must also remember if law and order is going to prevail, officers should not be browbeaten or intimidated when doing their duty.

Wed
02
Sep

‘We are ag’

“We want you. We value you. We understand what you bring to our economy. We are ag.”
County commissioner Gregg Kremer sent a clear message this week regarding his feelings about the need to promote, invite, and encourage animal agriculture development in Hamilton County. With his help, and many others, that message is being sent on a broader scale.
Hamilton County is now, officially, livestock friendly, as designated by Gov. Pete Ricketts and the Nebraska Department of Agriculture. Signs will be going up soon along our local highways, touting the fact that we are in fact open to agri-business and all that comes with it.
What that means, in legal terms, is that county zoning regulations have been reviewed and are consistent with setbacks and other statewide regulations regarding livestock operations. That’s a very big deal for prospective agri-business developers, large and small, knowing that the county’s permitting process is fair and consistent.

Wed
02
Sep

‘Just say no’ to alcohol sales at Pinnacle Arena

We’ve always told our kids, “Just because everyone else is doing it, that doesn’t mean you need to do it.”
That’s the same advice I would give to the UNL Board of Regents, who could be asked to consider in the future alcohol sales during Nebraska basketball games in the private suites and club seating at the Pinnacle Arena. The proposal is now being mulled over by Lincoln city and Haymarket officials as a possible additional revenue stream to both Lincoln and the university.
It has been cited 37 of the 65 institutions in the “power five conferences” allow sales in private suites and club seating. Beer sales at two Nebraska institutions already allow beer at their arenas.
It appears to me as a regular attendee at Nebraska football games, some fans have had little trouble finding plenty of beer before and after a game. I don’t think it’s necessary to “wet their whistles” during the game, too.

Wed
26
Aug

No longer a newbie

The last, sure-fire sign that summer is turning into fall is set to begin Friday with the kick off of the Nebraska State Fair in Grand Island.
This is year six for the event since its much publicized move from Lincoln. The newness factor has worn off, which means this ag-based celebration should have created its own identity by now and be standing on its own as a legitimate, self-sustaining enterprise. From our vantage point 20 miles away, organizers have accomplished that goal.
Statistics indicate that more than 85 percent of State Fair attendees have been there before. That’s a healthy report, indicating that people who take the time and effort to find their way to the State Fair enjoy themselves enough to want to come back again and again. Attendance at the Grand Island venue is expected to get close to 2 million this year (more than 325,000 per year), which surpasses the crowds Lincoln was attracting in an average year.

Wed
26
Aug

Reunion conversation changes over the years

 As summer winds down activities now seem to revolve around school events. Summer vacations are over. The outdoors is no longer the host to social functions. Most annual family reunions are completed for 2015.
“Nothing speaks Americana more than a family reunion,” one Oklahoman said. That may be true for some who have large families, but as for me, our family reunions have become once in five-year events and host a gathering of no more than 10 to 15 people.

Wed
19
Aug

A clean slate

New beginnings never get old.
It is hard to believe it’s that time of year again, but the calendar says it is in fact time to turn the page to a whole new season of fresh beginnings, and for some students a whole new chapter in their lives. There is clearly an energy and sense of anticipation in the air.
It seems to me the start of the school calendar comes much earlier than it once did. Back in my day, we had two solid weeks of two-a-day football practices and the summer’s grand finale, the Chase County fair, leading up to the start of classes at the end of August. It’s a whole different timetable these days, which seems to cut the summer short.

Wed
19
Aug

Finding fault a lazy man’s job, both then and now

I try not to be a complainer or let negativism dominate my thinking, but sometimes the old brain gets loaded with pessimism.
I have some stew and fret moments. The dark-side generally shows up after I’ve read my morning newspaper or viewed the evening TV news. The betterhalf regularly calls my attention to my dilemma with the simple straight forwardness of raising her voice and tells me to, “Knock it off.”
While I grumbled about the debate (such as it was); the failing U.S. government policies in the Middle East; the Iran deal; and the federal politicians taking the month of August off, other critics were concerned about the real serious problems. Those serious concerns included the gender labeling of toys at Target or calling for schools to open later because studies showed students weren’t getting enough sleep.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Commentary