Commentary

Tue
05
Jul

Precious resource

Time is measured not in years but decades at one of Aurora’s crown jewel facilities, so it seemed only natural that on Sunday the Plainsman Museum marked its own 40th anniversary.
Hamilton County is a pretty special place, especially for those who have long-time family ties to the area. The Plainsman Museum is a reflection of our ag-based community in that sense, housing a wonderful, historical archive which preserves local memories through exhibits and printed word.
The Plainsman is so much more than a collection of antiques, collectibles, newspapers and old photographs. It’s a living, breathing history lesson, maintained and updated over time by folks who genuinely care about preserving the county’s past. What a tremendous, timeless resource!

Wed
29
Jun

Miscues, sense of humor keeps family laughing

As you get older you need a sense of humor. You look back over the years recalling the history of one’s self and mine has been quite humorous -- to the family and in many cases not necessarily to me.
Sometimes it has been more than humorous and more times than I wish to admit it’s belly laughable, particularly as I get older. Notice I didn’t say as ‘‘we mature?” I said, “As we get older.”
In my case, history repeated itself so many times I am a regular laughing-stock to my family and friends, let alone to myself.
I may hold the record to my betterhalf asking her how she could have done such a thing and I follow up repeating her same miscue myself. Just how can you back into a car parked behind you in our driveway? One week later I backed into the repairman’s truck in our drive.

Wed
29
Jun

Reconnecting

Now that was fun!
I’ve heard many people say over the years that Aurora’s courthouse square looks a bit like a Norman Rockwell painting, and from my vantage point the canvass came to life this weekend with a vintage, feel-good summer celebration. The 27th version of A’ROR’N Days carried on a tradition that seems to just get better with age.
At the risk of sounding overly sentimental about the atmosphere on the square during and after the Saturday parade, it really was something special. Several thousand people (it would be interesting to know the actual number) lined the streets and courthouse square during the parade, and then they stuck around, finding old friends, making new ones and watching kids be kids. That’s my kind of gig.

Wed
22
Jun

Betterhalf sneaky, but good with motivational skills

Many uncomfortable conversations come up between the betterhalf and myself when I’m helping her with dishwashing duties after supper. Thank goodness those conversations are not too frequent because she has an auto dishwasher at home and our exchanges usually occur at the Minnesota cabin where I am just a dishdryer and she outranks me as chief bottle washer.
While I mumbled on an important household duty during the day she commented she never made me do anything I didn’t want to do. Unfortunately, I answered her comment by admitting her comment was somewhat true.
I admitted her comment was somewhat true, but not entirely. I explained there were times I didn’t want to do what she asked, but it was easier than fighting her “secret weapon.”
“What was that,” the betterhalf asked? Deep inside she already knew the answer, but still wanted me to explain.
“You have knack of shaming me into doing what I really didn’t want to do,” I said.

Wed
22
Jun

Welcome home

Aurora will be busting at the seams this weekend, welcoming alumni, family and friends back for a weekend of feel-good summer fun.
As much as I enjoy the annual A’ROR’N Days celebration, I’ve noticed a growing trend recently that suggests Aurora is a pretty great place to be all year long, and I’m not alone. More and more young people are looking for and finding opportunities to “come home,” giving Aurora a renewed sense of vibrancy and youthful perspective.
Being able to attract and retain younger generations is critical to any community, though statistics prove that’s a challenge these days in rural America. Aurora is certainly not immune to those challenges, and in fact is in dire need of more housing to accommodate those who might consider living here. That’s a positive challenge, mind you, but a challenge nonetheless.

Wed
15
Jun

Organizing the garage one tool at a time

A home improvement writer recently said homeowners often turn their garages into storage centers. I thought that was a novel comment for a cluttered garage and in my case should also have included our home’s basement.  
The writer then added to his list of pursuing neatness by adding a storage shed if necessary to take care of overflow. He’s got to be kidding! If I can’t keep the garage or basement neat, what are my chances of keeping a storage shed in proper order?
Following his directions I am to make the first step by taking everything out of the garage and determine what needs to go back in. Tools, mowers, snow blowers, scrap lumber, numerous hoses, sacks of nails, nuts, bolts and paint should be moved to their rightful locations or donated . . . or trashed.

Wed
15
Jun

Vietnam Combat Veterans Flight a classy tip of the hat

It was an emotional day last week when three planeloads full of Vietnam veterans, including two Hamilton County men, were honored with a “welcome home” many had never received.
The Vietnam Combat Veterans Flight was a classy, genuine gesture by organizers Bill and Evonne Williams of Omaha. Thanks to generous private and corporate donations, a lot of planning and pulling a few strings in Washington, Patriotic Productions celebrated the courage and patriotic service of more than 500 Vietnam vets with a long overdue salute. (See related story in this week’s edition)
Watching television coverage of the reception at Omaha’s Eppley Airfield after a long trip to and from Washington D.C. was in itself emotional. A crowd estimated at 4,000 to 5,000 showed up in red, white and blue, waving flags and applauding as humbled veterans walked through, shaking as many hands as they could.

Wed
08
Jun

Homework time

Conversation continues to stir in Aurora and Hamilton County regarding the prospect of building large wind turbines as a source of green energy and property tax relief.
As we noted in this space last week, reaction to this concept is mixed, with some very much in favor of the 21st Century technology and some very much against it. Personal perspective has an awful lot to do, and understandably so, with the proximity of proposed 400-plus foot wind turbines to neighboring homes and farms.
Hamilton County planners hit the pause button after a May 17 public hearing, voting to take some extra time in order for commissioners to go see for themselves what these projects look like. That made a lot of sense. Judging the sound wind turbines make and viewing their impact on the landscape is a very subjective process, so the best way to evaluate what they look and sound like is for commissioners to go take a look up close and personal.

Wed
08
Jun

Senior citizens enjoy coffee club conversation

Several couples from Lincoln visited us this past week and complimented on our fine community. They questioned just what we did daily and as we explained our activities I pointed out having coffee with friends at least once a day.
Actually, I was ashamed to admit sometimes that total could reach three times daily. Attempting to cover my embarrassment, I did point out there was more than coffee clubbing in our community and mentioned civic club involvement, volunteerism and other activities for senior citizens.
However, the coffee club statement began to haunt me and I began to think back and realized “coffeeing” was something most all of us had grown up with. In our younger days it was coke after school with friends at a kid’s hangout called, “Wimpy’s Inn.”

Wed
01
Jun

‘Not in my back yard’

The prospect of allowing 400-plus foot wind turbines to be erected in Hamilton County is stirring emotion and debate in our community on an issue that deserves thorough review.
The arguments for and against wind energy development both have merit, though the reaction to the concept has an awful lot to do with where you live and how you side when the issues of green energy versus personal property rights don’t align. Both perspectives have a lot of merit, frankly, though at its very core the conversation invites conflicting viewpoints.
There didn’t appear to be a lot of middle ground in a crowd of approximately 75 people at a May 17 public hearing in Aurora. Those who spoke were either very much in favor of harnessing the wind as a natural resource, or dead set against building giant towers that would change the landscape and potentially cause health, aerial safety and property value concerns.

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