Commentary

Wed
13
Apr

Making a difference

A culture of giving continues to make its mark on Aurora and Hamilton County.
Over the past several decades, the tradition of making donations both large and small to help enhance our community and leave a legacy has made a profound difference. The latest count lists some 20 foundations with a combined value of nearly $80 million. That is an astounding sum for a community our size, setting an example for other cities of all sizes to follow.
One of those fine organizations passed a milestone this week, as the Memorial Foundation celebrated its 25th anniversary. Memorial Community Health Inc. is an important spoke in the wheel of Aurora’s quality of life, and the foundation, along with a Thrift Shop organization that in itself has contributed nearly $1.5 million over the years, is an integral part of MCHI.

Wed
13
Apr

Spring fever leads to lemons and blueberries

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Spring has been on my mind a lot lately. With the weather starting to warm up, slowly but surely, the stores around town have started to get out their flower supplies and gardening tools.
My husband and I recently got a plot in a community garden in town. I have never been so excited yet terrified all at the same time. I have so many plans of this little piece of ground. The only problem is I have no idea what I am doing or where to start. Of course I want to plant it all -- tomatoes, peppers, carrots, squash, cucumbers, lettuce, etc.
I fear our plot will be standing vacant after numerous attempts to plant produce. Luckily, after looking at the plot, my husband seemed pretty confident in our abilities to grow something, even if it just turns into a plot of sweet corn. He seems to know what he is doing, and that’s good enough for me.

Wed
13
Apr

What will virtual reality mean for the future?

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“He’s got his head in the sand,” was a comment when we humans visualized an ostrich. Now it looks like the human race is following suit by having their heads in a box – specifically placing a virtual reality (VR) headset over the ears and eyes.
For us oldsters who are falling behind in new-world technology, we better get accustom to individuals and VRs because sales of these units are projected to be sky high. Already several high-end manufacturers are in the process of shipping thousands of VRs around the world and low-end versions using smartphones as screens have for several months been on the market
The possibilities of these devices are numerous. Gaming, TV, film, teleconferencing, education, travel, sports and other forms of work or play are subjects available with a VR. And I thought the only people we had to worry about were those who were texting when walking or driving!

Wed
06
Apr

Sower a fitting image for state’s license plate design

The Sowergate mystery has been resolved.
The process of creating a new design for the state’s license plates hit a road bump last week when it was discovered that the Sower image used to symbolically tip the hat to our state’s leading industry was inspired in part by a sculpture on the campus of Michigan State University. It was an honest mistake, brought to light by Omaha artist Jeff Heldt, who submitted a similar design in a license plate design contest back in 2002.
Putting the brakes on this design was a good call by the Department of Motor Vehicles, and a fairly simple one at that once the dilemma was revealed. Borrowing anything from a fellow Big 10 school to use in a state-sponsored design would be a mistake, and in this case an error every single vehicle-driving Nebraskan would be reminded of frequently. No need to go there.

Wed
06
Apr

Nursing the aches and pains of getting older

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It’s been a tough week for the betterhalf. I got an indication of that when I asked her how her day was going and got a short answer telling me the whole week has been “not good.”
Let us begin with Monday when she awoke in the wee hours of the morning with a painful toe that necessitated her adjourning from the bedroom in search of a heating pad and then spending the rest of night on the family room sofa. As she gimped around at breakfast time she announced that she couldn’t walk shelter dogs, but did manage to leash up our dog to her bicycle and pedal around a block or two.
Her effort resulted in having the pain leave her toe and move to the bottom of her foot.
While being immobile, she was back on the sofa with heating pad being alternated with an ice pack for the bottom of her foot. She also had added a hot pack to her eye where she was “doctoring” a blocked tear duct that had recurred.

Wed
30
Mar

Time to ‘see the light’ on Daylight Savings Time

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It has been a couple of weeks now and I am still trying to condition myself to daylight saving time. I’ve tried going to bed at that new hour later bedtime, but unfortunately I now wake an hour later at 6 a.m. instead of my old regular 5 a.m. rise-and-shine.
I’ve reversed my plan and just go to bed at daylight savings’ 8 p.m. Then I wake up at 4 a.m. instead of my hoped for 5 a.m. The old body just doesn’t want to get in sync. Compounding the problem my weak mind at 4 a.m. even becomes confused and I just roll over and fall back asleep.
Personally, I support the more than 15 states who are considering alternatives to daylight savings time. One supporter said it best when he hoped, “Maybe Nebraska also will see the light.”
***
Speaking of sleep, I occasionally (the betterhalf sez more than occasionally) fall asleep in the easy chair after lunch. My sister-in-law has a theory that a fully-stretched stomach pulls the eyelids down over the eyes.

Wed
30
Mar

Top priority

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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

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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

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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!
***
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

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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.

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