Commentary

Wed
13
Jun

‘Pull factor’ report raises serious questions to ponder

How does Aurora view itself? Are we a retail trade center where people come to buy goods and services, or are we a bedroom community?
That question came up in the midst of an interview with Ken Lemke, a PhD who compiled an economic and demographic trends study for the Nebraska Public Power District. Lemke was very matter of fact with his statement, looking at Aurora’s .85 pull factor as an indicator that Aurora is below the state average in terms of per capita spending. He was quick to note that our community is holding its own and actually showing some very positive signs of economic growth, adding that our numbers would look better if totals for vehicle and ag equipment sales were added in, which they are not.

Wed
06
Jun

Times have changed, as has perception of middle class

Most all of us have some sort of wish list. One popular subject that seems to be attractive to many is a wish list for a new home that “must-have” the current trends in luxury homes.
Here in rural Nebraska it’s hard for us to hear many younger couples are purchasing a new home for $750,000 that in the metro areas is described as a “middle class” structure. Those middle class homes include wine rooms, second kitchens and three- or four-car garages.
My, times have certainly changed. We came from the era when you finally afforded a middle class home it had three bedrooms, a basement that could be finished, one bath and a half, and a garage. We even got excited when we had a home with the bath on the main floor and a shower in the basement. We planned to live in that home for a lifetime along with the hopes we could be able to make a few improvements over the years.

Wed
06
Jun

2008 storm taught valuable lessons to our community

Wherwe were you on the night of May 29, 2008?
If you were in or around Aurora on that fateful night you likely remember exactly what you were doing when a destructive force blew threw our community, shredding millions of dollars worth of property in a few minutes time. Though a decade has past, the images of damage amongst our friends and neighbors are forever etched into our collective memories.
Thankfully, no lives were lost in that storm, though there was a great deal of anguish left in the wake of what was later described as a series of tornadoes and straight-line winds. A story in this week’s edition takes a look back to that day through the eyes of some of the many storm victims.

Wed
30
May

Holidays geared toward three-day weekends

At our age over the years we’ve witnessed the change where many national holidays are now saluted either on a Friday or a Monday.
The change has come about because the majority of the working public is subjected to a five-day work week with weekends “off.” This meant it was logical to add a Friday or Monday date to the already off-days of Saturday and Sunday and thus allow for a three-day weekend.
Date changes became particularly noticeable to me this week when I looked at my May calendar and Monday, May 28 was shaded and marked “Memorial Day.” A closer look drew a smile. In addition I also observed the midweek non-shaded Wednesday, May 30, square with the words, “Memorial Day (True)” also marked on my calendar.

Wed
30
May

Memorial Day a powerful reminder of freedom’s cost

America turned the page toward summer Monday, pausing to honor the men and women who fought and died for our country while also cherishing the memories of lost loved ones.
Memorial Day has become a traditional day of transition, marking the end of another school year and the beginning of summer. It’s a welcome change of pace for many, and a breath of fresh air no matter what your age or occupation.
At its core, however, this day is intended to focus our thoughts on the heroic men and women who have worn a military uniform. The day invites us to remember the cost of making America what it is, while also reminding us to acknowledge that the price is not yet paid in full.

Wed
23
May

Robots are the future, beginning in our homes

The Betterhalf is a very good housekeeper, but a year ago she told me she was going to purchase an “IRobotic Roomba.” At first I thought I misunderstood her and she had decided to take dance lessons. However, deeper into the conversation I realized she wasn’t talking about Rumba dancing, she had in mind a robotic vacuum cleaner.
Over the year I became accustomed to the robot moving throughout the family room while I was in the easy chair reading the newspaper. I even found some amusement as it randomly bounced from wall to wall; went under the coffee table; and even worked its way out after momentarily getting trapped in corners or among furniture legs. Several times I found myself distracted; put down my reading of the newspaper; and caught myself being entertained by the antics of the robot.

Wed
23
May

Lady Hornets very much at home on track’s biggest stage

The Lady Hornets wrote a chapter in Nebraska sports lore this weekend, posting a mark few other teams in any sport ever have.
For the fourth consecutive year, the Giltner girls won the Class D state track and field championship, and this one wasn’t even close. When Reagan Janzen crossed the line as the anchor leg in the 4x400 relay, the Lady Hornets added another gold medal to finish with 89.5 points, 49 more than runner-up Elm Creek.
The Hornets finished with 13 total medals, led by seniors Reagan Janzen, Alexa Preissler and Jordan Hansen. This dynamic trio put a lot of points on the board at the state meet throughout their high school careers, and they left no doubt Saturday that they fully expected to do as well as they did.

Wed
16
May

Discovery of an electric typewriter brings memories

Recently cleaning out a closet I came across an old portable Smith Corona electric typewriter. That old typewriter got me thinking about my past when I experienced not only our near dozen manual typewriters at the newspaper, but the earlier years in high school when the new innovation of an electric typewriter came on the scene and our class shared the chance to type on a keyboard that required just a light touch.
Well, as I assume L. C. Smith, Remington and a host of other manuals have been lost in history. Still, memories exist and I hope I don’t bore you with sharing a few of those memories.
On the old manuals, newspaper people had time to allow their thoughts to flow from the brain to the fingertips. Not like today, when a light touch of the computer keyboard expressed a passing thought that disappeared with the quick push of a “delete” instead of the old past of allowing time for cooling our thoughts by punching a bunch of “XXX’s on the manual keyboard.

Wed
16
May

Timing, vision for Blueprint Nebraska could not be better

The tone of a Friday teleconference announcing the formation of Blueprint Nebraska hints that this may well be one of the most significant endeavors our great state has taken on in years.
A story in this week’s edition explains that the statewide coalition will begin working soon to develop a plan for economic growth, competitiveness and prosperity in Nebraska for the next 150 years and beyond. With low commodity prices rippling across our state’s economy, and low unemployment making it difficult to hire employees when and where needed, the timing of this project could not be better.

Wed
09
May

New addition to family... a pug or a weight trainer

A few weeks ago we reported we added a second dog to our household . . . a southern dog from Tennessee named “Oscar.” Little did we know, even as a dog lover, such a critter could change our lifestyle . . . and that of our 10-year household dog companion “Missy.”
You see Pug Oscar came in a little over weight. To be exact he weighed 36 pounds when he should have tipped the scales at 22-26 pounds, according to the dog guides. But, we not only inherited the dog, we inherited an animal that made our whole household weight conscious.
“Ol’ Fatty,” as I call him has over the last month dropped about 6 pounds and is really impressive. Well, I guess we say “impressive” since his owners didn’t skinny-down at the same pace. Just how has a dog got us in a position to think about weight at our age?

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