Commentary

Wed
27
Jan

Sherman Ranch purchase takes PPRI to new level of maturity

More than 35 years after Bill and Jan Whitney first created the Prairie Plains Resource Institute, their vision is coming into focus now, perhaps even clearer than they might have imagined in their wildest dreams.
A nonprofit entity that long ago earned credibility for its ability to preserve, explore and share the diversity of nature here in the Heartland, PPRI has now reached a whole new level of maturity. The pending purchase of the Tom Sherman Ranch west of Marquette opens so many new doors, expanding the organization’s view as well as that of any and all who venture outdoors to what they hope and believe will resemble a national park experience.

Wed
27
Jan

Getting demoted to the bedroom television

A couple of weeks ago a friend in Minnesota told us she was wishing for colder weather because the lake ice was still pretty thin for this time of year. Of course she was conscious of ice thickness because ice fishing season is normally in full swing weeks before Christmas. The betterhalf warned her to be careful for what she wishes for.
Just like the betterhalf had told me to be careful about my wishing for something, our Minnesotan found her wishes to come true. Over a 72-hour period this past week she experienced temperatures of 26, 32 and 27 below zero. We have no report the weather was cold enough for her to be happy with her fulfilled wish.
***
I wonder what percentage of married couples enjoy watching the same TV programs together. I realize I am one of the few fortunate husbands whose wife watches sports and likes football best.

Wed
20
Jan

A likable guy

He was, in a word, presidential.
Barack Obama rocked the house last week in Omaha, delivering a message that ignited a clearly pro-Democratic crowd while also reminding anyone and everyone how and why he got elected.
He was genuine. He was funny. He was full of energy and optimism. And, even after acknowledging that he got “whupped” by voters in the Cornhusker state during the 2012 election, he said he loved Nebraska anyway, and it was hard not to believe that he meant it.
Say what you will about Obama’s politics, and there is a lot to say on so many fronts, his visit to the UNO campus was a feel-good event. Not only does he command a presence, he comes off as a likable guy. That leaves a lasting impression, especially here in the Heartland.

Wed
20
Jan

Patriotism, comic relief with the prez

I didn’t vote him, but I came home from Omaha last week with a new perspective on our nation’s 44th president.
Barack Obama can’t leave office soon enough as far as I’m concerned, but what I witnessed last week made me understand how he got elected. He’s a sincere, likable guy, up close and personal, a persona he converted into votes not once but twice on election day.
I’m glad I took the time to go see and hear a man I’d probably enjoy playing a round of golf with, though I’d prefer he not report for work in our nation’s most powerful office. I think it’s safe to say there are a lot of folks of all political persuasion who feel the same way.
I’ve had the honor and privilege of seeing three U.S. presidents, each of whom made an indelible impression. I sat in on a Ronald Reagan news conference back in 1985 in Washington and covered Bill Clinton on his one and only visit to Nebraska in 2008. Each was an experience I’ll never forget.

Wed
20
Jan

Reluctantly, I must admit smartphone era here to stay

I’ve finally reached the stage in my life where I feel society has overtaken me as it seems I fall further and further behind with technology and more specifically that thing called a “smartphone.”
Of course it’s easy to criticize something you can’t operate. However, it makes it worse when you find the betterhalf has advanced in the tech world and now is a constant reminder of learning about those technological advances her new smartphone has brought her.
In a sense she has become a madwoman in the way she commands her new phone. She now texts her grandsons (because that is the only way to since they no longer answer land-phone communication). Now when I question what the weather is going to do, the betterhalf can’t wait to punch a few numbers and tell me the hourly, detailed weather changes for the next 24-hour period.

Wed
13
Jan

High priorities

Rising property taxes and roads funding.
As the 2016 legislative session begins in Lincoln, those two issues should be among the top priorities facing state lawmakers. The can has been kicked down the proverbial road for years on these two fronts, though we’re quickly running out of road on a path that is simply not sustainable.
Property taxes are talked about every year it seems, especially as it relates to K-12 education funding and the heavy burden placed on ag producers. That burden has grown exponentially in recent years, which is particularly painful when commodity prices are as low as they are.

Wed
13
Jan

Kitchen mishaps and the consequences

Prior to Christmas the betterhalf purchased a new coffeepot. Since I don’t drink coffee I was not consulted about the purchase.
But, because I am the first one up in the morning, it became my job to start the automatic coffeepot so she can stumble from the bedroom to the kitchen for her morning cup of java.
This new coffeepot, I have found, is called by its formal name, “FLEXBREW.” I guess that title was selected because if you flip the brew selector to the left it brews a full pot and if the selector is turned to the right it makes only one cup.
Of course like all accommodating husbands I never read the directions because the betterhalf had already demonstrated the “automatic” of the new brew pot. And again like all husbands by the next morning I was trying to recall what she told me.

Wed
06
Jan

President Donald?

Now that the calendar says 2016 has arrived, Americans will start paying closer attention to a decision that looms large this November. Who will follow Barack Obama in the White House?
Presidential posturing seems to start earlier each election cycle, especially when the incumbent is nearing the end of an eight-year run. For many who don’t normally pay attention early on, the 2016 campaign smacked us in the face since mid-summer, begging us to tune in thanks in large part to a man whose personality is larger than life, dwarfed only by his ego.
Donald Trump has been beating his chest for decades, first as a business tycoon in New York and later as a popular television personality. On both those fronts he is the man, like him or not. And that seems to be about the only choice when it comes to The Donald, love or hate the man, which is fine by him.

Wed
06
Jan

Getting the gifts that are needed for Christmas

Well, another Christmas has passed and a new year has arrived. Funny, how fast 2016 has come around and how fast Christmas 2015 has gone into the memory of past Christmases. As far as past Christmases, the Christmas of 2015 again had some special memories.
This year the youngest member of our family was in attendance with his fiancé. Gone are the days when our youngsters scattered gift wrapping across the floor and excitedly told us “Santa brought just what I wanted!” Now that has been replaced with fewer gifts and the comment, “This gift is just what I needed!”
Speaking of the “Just what I needed gifts,” the betterhalf’s intuition came across this year. It is possible she may have bought me a gift she felt she needed, but it appeared under our tree addressed to me.

Wed
30
Dec

And the winner is?

What will you remember most about 2015?
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. 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.
We scanned our pages from January through December, taking note of on-going issues and more timely, breaking news. Then we asked approximately 75 local residents from all walks of life to weigh in, ranking their top 10 choices.

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