Commentary

Wed
30
Mar

Top priority

It’s crunch time in Lincoln.
With 10 days left in this year’s short 60-day session (as of Wednesday), the elephant in the room has yet to be addressed. The complex issue of providing real, sustainable property tax relief appears dialed up for full floor debate with two key hearings this week, finally, and it deserves all the attention it will receive.
Gov. Pete Ricketts pitched his case last week in Aurora, noting that property tax relief is far and away the No. 1 issue he hears about while travelling the state. Dist 34. Sen. Curt Friesen has made that observation as well, and as a farmer by trade has been extremely dialed in to the specifics of each and every related bill since being elected.

Wed
23
Mar

A slap in the face

Politics as usual has rarely been so glaring, or ugly, as last week’s turn of events regarding the nomination of a new Supreme Court justice.
In the midst of a political campaign that is stirring all kinds of angst in America, the process of nominating a judge to the nation’s highest court now appears stuck in neutral, the victim of situational ethics and election year timing.
Less than 24 hours after President Barrack Obama introduced U.S. Court of Appeals Chief Judge Merrick Garland as his high court nominee, Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell stepped to the mic and said thanks but no thanks. There will be no confirmation hearing, he said, because it’s too close to Election Day for Obama to make this critical appointment.

Wed
23
Mar

‘Bird dog’ caught red-handed

This past week I noticed a few dandelions blooming and a thought just occurred to me as I gazed at them. How exclusive it is to live in Nebraska because where else could I spray on weed killer and still have my snow shovel on the front porch ready for a snowfall that was predicted to move our way the next day. Yes, it’s springtime in Nebraska!
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The betterhalf and I started a bad habit several months ago when we allowed our dog to lick the inside of empty ice cream containers before throwing them in the recycle bin. We monitored our routine carefully even though the dog would head to our kitchen when he heard the sound of the dishes being removed from the table. However, no matter how closely we watched her eating habits, a weight gain was beginning to appear.

Wed
23
Mar

An inside look at speech

Walking through the hallways of an unfamiliar school can be a nerve-racking process, depending on what has caused you to stumble into the hallowed walls of someone else’s alma mater.
The drowning smell of hairspray, cologne and teenager angst brought together into a convulsing ball of uncertainty for what the day will bring can be distinguished in the air. Heartache, excitement, disappointment, and even a heavy dose of apathy seem to waft through the airways as each performer exits their prison of judgment after every performance.
If someone has never experienced the enjoyment of attending a high school speech meet, this is all the motivation needed to pull you into their world.
As students flow through the halls looking for the next room to present their hard work, another set of individuals is experiencing the emotions and stress on the day -- the judges.

Wed
16
Mar

Let the sun shine in

The sunshine is invigorating this week, in more ways than one.
Like many of you, I am thoroughly enjoying the springlike weather and a chance to get outside and enjoy some sun. As a journalist, I am also celebrating Sunshine Week, a national initiative to promote dialogue about the importance of open government and celebrate the freedom of information in our democracy.
Why should that matter, you might ask? In the modern age of technology we live in, the concept of openness in governmental affairs, at all levels, has never been more important than it is today. It does matter.
Our government, by design, is intended to be of the people, for the people and by the people. Transparency in what our elected officials are doing on our behalf is critical at all levels, but as we know from recent events in Washington citizens aren’t always told the whole story.

Wed
16
Mar

The joys of housework

Phyllis Diller once said, “Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing is like shoveling the walk before it stops snowing.”
Now that we have been in the senior citizen ranks I get a guilty feeling when my friends tell me their wife has a cleaning lady, or more formally, “We subscribe to a domestic service.” Since I have been helping the betterhalf with the household chores of regular vacuuming and the occasional taking the recycling box and trash bin to our curbside, I have become more conscious of housecleaning and the duties entailed.
I approached the betterhalf about having such a service and she, to my relief, claims she doesn’t think at this point in our lives, a cleaning lady is necessary. But, judging from the tone of her answer, “not necessary” doesn’t mean she’s adamant about not wanting a cleaning lady. “If I had a cleaning lady, it would not be weekly and maybe even only once a month,” she said.

Wed
09
Mar

Trump leading GOP, country down a one-way road to chaos

America is entering unchartered territory.
Eight months before we will go to the polls and elect our next president, there is division unlike anything I can ever recall. It’s discouraging, frankly, and makes it tempting to just tune out the process entirely.
We can’t afford to do that, of course, though sadly I’m hearing more and more chatter here in Hamilton County that reflects disbelief if not downright disgust with the choices voters may have come November.
The banter we’re hearing from the campaign trail is disturbing, partly because of the severe lack of specific vision and policy content, but more so because of a divisive character who seems to be getting more popular with each outrageous statement he makes. It’s not unusual to hear such posturing a year in advance by some extremist seeking 15 minutes of fame, but we’re now hearing and reading jaw-dropping comments from a man who, as hard it is to believe, has a legitimate shot at the White House.

Wed
09
Mar

‘Super’ heading should not apply to politics

Sunshine Week will be celebrated nationally this next week. No, we’re not talking about the weather, but a week sponsored by the American Society of News Editors and Reporters.
Sunshine Week in the news industry is a celebration of open government and that open government protects your right to know.
While here at the Aurora News-Register on page A2 the Public Record has appeared for well over 50 years. Most newspapers have some form of a public record page. Some newspapers also publish a police log detailing routine police activities such as noise complaints and minor irritations from people who have phoned a complaint to the law center.

Wed
02
Mar

ANR series invites area residents to share view of the world

What is your perspective on life here in Hamilton County?
How and why did you decide to live here?
What do you believe are the community’s greatest assets, and its biggest challenges?
What, in your view, is the area’s most defining feature?
And from your personal vantage point, life would be better here if ...
If you asked 20 different local residents those questions, you would likely get 20 different answers. None would be right or wrong, of course, as they would reflect individual outlooks on the world based on a whole lot of factors.
Your age, for example, or the number of times you’ve been around the proverbial block makes a huge difference on how you view certain issues, as does gender, education, faith and perhaps your political persuasion. What makes you think the way you do is by any measure an inexact science.

Wed
02
Mar

Thinking, talking positive getting harder by the day

It’s becoming more difficult to find an optimistic approach to column reporting each week. Government outlooks, stock market results and political campaigns have certainly not enhanced our optimist outlook for the majority of Americans. However, if we look back over the past 50 years, we thought then the world was going to X@# in a hand basket. Well, we’re still here and despite my present attitude I’ll survive.
I had to smile when an evening TV news broadcast led off with the story of a Macadamia nuts recall. Thank goodness it wasn’t chocolate. I don’t ever recall knowingly buying or eating Macadamia nuts
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