Commentary

Wed
13
Jul

Compassion part of small town living

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“What’s so great about living in a small town?” It’s a question I’ve been asked consistently from my bigger city friends after I moved back to the area just last year. It’s a tough question sometimes because the answers you want to give don’t always seem like the easiest to explain, but I do my best when asked for my opinion.
For me, it’s more than just a general question about small towns and more about the specific area itself, Hamilton County. After coming back to the area and being a part of city council, school board and local foundation meetings, I’ve discovered that the heart of our community comes from the care and compassion our citizens share with each other, something not many other places can claim.
I recently found two stories that I think represent the differences people may find in small town communities across Nebraska and other Midwest states.

Tue
05
Jul

Letter to the editor

Amendment 48 will end public military band gigs

 

Tue
05
Jul

Independence Day much quieter than yesteryear

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It’s amazing how quiet the Fourth of July holiday can be when you have no young kids or grandkids around the household.
It’s also equally amazing how inexpensive celebrating can be with the absence of those younger generations around -- although I must admit we would gladly reach in our pockets if we could repeat our earlier years of those July Fourth get-togethers.
Our first clue, “firecracker time” was not as quiet as we thought when our dog Missy emerged from under our bed about 3 a.m. on July 5th.
***
 The betterhalf and I still have trouble believing people are concerned with the environment. We walk the streets around our community and are constantly picking up cans (There are just as many pop cans as ale cans) as well as diapers and other castoffs litterbugs have thrown to the wind.
Many people fail to understand the basics of overflowing landfills and waste being scattered throughout our community and roadsides.

Tue
05
Jul

Precious resource

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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