Commentary

Wed
28
Feb

Nation’s call for change grows louder with each mass shooting

The argument over whether or not and how to disarm those who would shoot to kill innocent victims with firearms has never been hotter in our nation.
Yet again we watched in horror Feb. 14 as the details of a mass shooting confirmed what we already know -- this has got to stop. Seventeen people died in a Florida school this time, another chapter in a tragic tale of sequels dating back to Columbine in 1999.
Our culture has drastically changed somehow, creating a mindset that allows a troubled individual to even consider picking up a gun and causing such unspeakable horror. Guns have been around forever, though the act of walking into a school or public venue and executing people at will is a tragic, modern phenomenon. At its core it reflects a lack of respect for others and life itself, as well as a complete inability to cope with challenges. There is no simple or short-term fix for that societal shift.

Wed
21
Feb

While thankful for the snow, it would have been nice all at once

When it comes to Nebraska weather it’s hard to satisfy all of us. That was the case a few weeks ago when for three days we received a couple inches of snow each day. After the third snowfall and scooping sidewalks and driveways I made a plea to the Man Upstairs. My plea: “Wouldn’t it have been easier if  You just gave us the six inches of snow one time and been done with it?”
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In this day and age we have noticed lots of entrepreneur-hopefuls have been so busy trying to learn the tricks of the trade that they have forgot to learn the trade.
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We’ve got a grandson who is planning to be married this spring. In his conversation with “gramps” he told me that he was going to need to buy a new suit. I offered him a couple pieces of advice.
“The number one attraction at a wedding is going to be the bride,” I said. Then I mentioned to him that the groom’s major role at a wedding is simple -- “Just show up!”

Wed
21
Feb

Spirit of Olympic competition inspiring on so many levels

The world seems like a smaller place when Olympic athletes take center stage.
With the flame burning now just miles away from a North Korean nation in the midst of a very different global battle, the winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea have drawn us together yet again, reminding us what athletes can achieve. It’s a welcome relief from the kinds of headlines we’re are used to seeing these days from that part of the world.
It’s also fascinating to watch the winter version of the Olympics, which features unique events typically out of the global spotlight. I’ve been glued to the tube for years when the ski jump comes on, watching daredevils fly through the sky in an event that makes you wonder how it ever started. This time around, we’re seeing new twists from winter risk-takers, with Big Air snowboarding taking flight and a lengthy list of other high-flying theatrics that require as much or more acrobatic skills as snow skiing ability.

Wed
14
Feb

Valentine’s Day made simple with a shopping trip offer

As I searched for subject matter for a column this week, it suddenly dawned on me that Valentine’s Day has arrived. After 58 years of marriage and marriage experience I still haven’t got the courage on Valentine’s Day to just give a good morning kiss; present a nice card; and then follow with suggestion of going out to eat later in the day.
I do, however, soften my routine by adding the words, “Would you rather go out to eat, or would you rather go shopping?” It doesn’t take long for her choice between me or shopping.
The Betterhalf replied, “I can see you every day!”
Although her shopping result may not occur until late spring, summer, or when we journey to see our families in the metro areas, the end result is we are both happy with her decision making. She picks what she wants and I don’t spend a bunch of time trying to find a Valentine gift that may be something she did not care for or having to accompany her on such trips.

Wed
14
Feb

Planning process, end result both impressive in Hampton

Hampton area residents have reason to be proud of a new-look school that sends a very strong message about their community.
Walking into a facility that features a combination of new construction and significant remodeling is very impressive, giving the feel of a much larger school. The learning environment is better, safety and efficiency were both enhanced by bringing K-12 students all under one roof, and the physical structure is now poised for the long-term future. Only time will tell if this investment will lead to enrollment and community growth as many hope it will.

Wed
07
Feb

Beatification is out of hand when camels get Botox

It looks like this beautification business is getting out of hand by even extending its extremes worldwide. Let’s be clear -- I’m not referring to landscaping; new building construction replacing old dilapidated eyesores; or sculptures and other forms of art. I am referring to plastic surgeons’ favorite remedy – the use of Botox for cosmetic enhancements.
According to a news report a dozen camels were banned from a beauty contest during the King Abdulaziz Camel Festival in Saudi Arabia because they were given Botox injections to “enhance their natural beauty.” A veterinarian had been caught performing cosmetic surgery on the camels by injecting Botox to make their ears smaller. Other camel beautifying vets had been caught in earlier instances using Botox for the lips and nose to make the camel head more inflated.

Wed
07
Feb

Local would-be candidates need words of encouragement

Hamilton County needs a few good men, and women, to step up to the plate.
The filing deadline for numerous election positions is fast approaching, though the time is now for folks who care about their communities to seriously consider the call to serve. Running for public office is not only a noble calling, it is also a vital component of the democratic process.
A number of positions are up for election this year in various jurisdictions. That includes Hamilton County, the City of Aurora, 4R Public Schools, and all of the villages and area school boards. You can also add to that list the District 34 legislative seat now held by Sen. Curt Friesen, who has filed as an incumbent.

Wed
31
Jan

County, city workers more efficient than Washington

What a week! We’ve witnessed the federal government shutting down and then capped it with a good old Nebraska blizzard (although we were more concerned with the wind and snow than the incompetence in Washington DC).
As usual, we relied on Midwestern Nebraska competence from our city and county road crews to bail us from the snow storm once the wind and snow ceased. And also as usual we expected a political failure in Washington as our political “leaders” stumbled again by failing to miss the federal budget deadline.
City and county road departments and their crews left us with a satisfied smile of a “job well done” while our politicians left us taxpayers with a billion dollar daily bill because of concern whether Republicans or Democrats were going to get credit for their efforts.
Just one more political thought before  moving on.

Wed
31
Jan

Robot tournament reflects culture of high-tech opportunity

A rare and exciting opportunity awaits this weekend in Aurora to help kids connect the dots between building robots for fun and pursuing jobs in the real world of high-tech innovation.
YETIbotics (which stands for Youth Engaged in Technology Innovation) will be hosting a robotics tournament at the Hamilton County Fairgrounds Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. The Aurora-based program has hosted robot competitions before, but this year there is twist.
In addition to the robot action inside the 12x12 foot arena, which looks like a lot of fun in and of itself, participants will be learning valuable lessons about how they might make a living putting those robotic skills to use. A number of local businesses will be offering hands-on lessons on how they use innovation right here in Aurora and Hamilton County, sending a priceless, two-fold message to young folks. (See related front page article.)

Wed
24
Jan

Eating more veggies turns out trendy after all

A close friend of mine has over the years ridiculed me for my love of a heavy diet of vegetables at meal times. He kept pointing out that “green stuff ...” has no benefits despite my proclaiming what I believe were numerous health benefits such as eating all I want with minimum weight gain; no ulcers causing a sore tummy; lower cholesterol; and of course that old age concern of  “regularity.”
Recently I jumped on a study that showed a daily diet of vegetables makes your mind 11 years younger. Immediately I telephoned him after scanning the result of the study in a recent newspaper.
I asked, “What do you think about this study showing my brain is 11 years younger than my body because I’ve been eating all that green stuff?”

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