Commentary

Wed
07
Oct

Depth and detail

Local, local local.
Newspapering is all about local content these days, providing news, information and editorial insight focused on your hometown, your neighbors, your school, and our shared ag-based roots in rural Nebraska.
That mission hasn’t changed over the last century, though our industry most certainly has. Welcome to the new normal.
Newspapers across the country are joining hands this week in a celebration of National Newspaper Week. “Power of the Press,” a phrase etched in The Fourth Estate’s proud history, is every bit as relevant today as it was 20 years ago, though the information game has changed dramatically.
As we mark the 75th anniversary of this national celebration, I firmly believe the News-Register’s future is as bright as it has ever been. I say that not just as a co-publisher in a vibrant community, but as an interested information consumer.

Wed
07
Oct

Neighborhood newspaper a good read

Lucy Tobier and I are kindred spirits.
I bumped into this spunky young Michigan girl this summer at the Grain Place and discovered we have a shared passion for newspapers. Having grown up in a newspaper family, I had ink pumping through my veins at a very early age, but this young lady has me beat my a mile in terms of whetting her journalistic appetite while still in elementary school.
Lucy loves to read, she told me over lunch with her parents and younger brother, Oscar. She has an insatiable thirst for knowledge and said her favorite source of news is the New York Times. That’s not your average read for an 11-year-old, but then Lucy is not your average kid.
“I love reading the national and international sections of the paper,”  she said with all the conviction of a college senior. “I scan the paper for something interesting and just start reading.”

Wed
07
Oct

Pope Francis’ visit to U.S. struck a positive chord

Pope Francis’ visit to America drew amazing crowds at each of his stops. Amazing was his positive reception and the spirit he carried with him.
After witnessing some news coverage of his speeches and TV cameras panning the crowds, I was suddenly struck with something that was missing when large crowds of people generally converge. While crowds numbered in the thousands, I noticed the absence of any spectators clamoring for attention by holding protest signs concerning local, national and international issues. Even when Pope Francis addressed Congress there was no jeering from the audience in the balcony. That all had to be a rarity, and that rarity was sure refreshing to my eyes and ears.
***

Wed
30
Sep

Changing times

The times they are a changin’ these days on Aurora’s economic front.
Some changes are good, some downright disheartening, reflecting the rapid pace of change in our society.
On the positive side, there are signs of growth and expansion all around our community in a wide range of businesses. A diverse commercial base is healthy for any community, which is why Aurora has worked hard over the years to recruit, support, and help grow business and industry in several unrelated sectors. Though this community’s economic engine is strongly tied to its ag-based roots, such job diversity is vital.

Wed
30
Sep

Pay as you go still the best way to fund roads

The State of Nebraska is trying to figure out a way to complete a highway expressway plan that was implemented at least a decade ago and has left some areas with no expressways or other areas in the state with incomplete expressways. One that has caught recent attention because of incompletion is the expressway from Norfolk to Omaha.
The state says it is short of funds to complete not only that expressway, but many roadways in Nebraska and the already 6 cents increase in gas taxes over the next four years is not the sole answer for completion.

Wed
23
Sep

Driver beware

We recognize National Farm Safety and Health Week this exciting time of year, kicking off a busy and potentially dangerous harvest season.
Bringing in the bounty from area fields is a rewarding yet stressful phase of ag production, ripe with opportunity for injuries if we’re not paying close attention. A little reminder, no matter how many times we’ve been through this annual fall ritual, can be helpful.
The rate of fatalities in agriculture continues to decline, but still remains the highest of any industry sector, according to preliminary data from the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, recently released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. These figures are especially relevant during harvest season, as farmers put in long hours under the stress of weather delays, equipment breakdowns, and high operating costs. Indeed, there is an added stress factor this year knowing that commodity prices aren’t where they need to be.

Wed
23
Sep

Calfornia wildfires char memories

The rolling hills looked vaguely familiar in the news last week, though they were covered with flames and clouded in a smoky haze.
Fire is raging through Northern California these days, fueled by high winds, drought conditions and mile after mile of unprotected brush and timber. That part of the world is known as fire country, but this year it’s going up in smoke like never before. At last report, five people have been found dead.
The gut-wrenching video of flames roaring through the rural communities around Clear Lake took me back in time about 27 years when I once called that area home. It seems like a lifetime ago that I listed California as my home address, first in the town of Clearlake and later in a hillside home overlooking the lake in Kelseyville. Those were good times, especially for a young, Midwest lad ready to explore the coastal region and City by the Bay every chance I got.

Wed
23
Sep

Winters in Nebraska a hard sell to snowbirds

The betterhalf and I were among retirees in Minnesota this past week and most of the Minnesotans were preparing to head for winter homes in Arizona or Florida. As they expounded on heading south for the winter one of the couples inquired, “Where do you winter?” We quickly replied, “Nebraska.”
It was worth the expression we saw on several faces as we described our winters in Nebraska and what they were missing if they didn’t winter with us. Surprisingly they turned down our offer.

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.”

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