Commentary

Wed
02
May

Graduation season an exciting time to look ahead, celebrate

Turning tassels. Tipping hats. Flipping the page and moving forward.
Transition is in the air these days, with lots of pomp and celebratory circumstance permeating our community.
It’s graduation season, which is always an exciting time for graduates, their families and all those near and dear in a circle of influence who helped the honorees reach this significant milestone.
Hampton High School’s graduating class kicks the season off Saturday, with the first group of seniors honored to receive their diplomas in the new gymnasium, followed by Giltner a day later. High Plains grads will take center stage May 12 and Aurora High will honor its Class of 2018 on Sunday, May 13, Mother’s Day.
The top scholars at all four area schools are honored in our annual “Making the Grade” edition this week, earning recognition for stellar academic achievement. That’s a very big deal, worthy of an added spotlight we are happy to provide.

Wed
25
Apr

Penner represents a vote for positive change in Washington

Kirk Penner is a straight shooter, a person of integrity well known in Hamilton County as a successful businessman and a conservative leader who knows how to get things done. America needs people like Kirk Penner in Washington and he is the right choice in the Republican primary for Nebraska’s Third Congressional District.
There are simply not enough of those strong voices today in Washington, which is a growing concern. Whether the issue involves spending, trade, taxes, immigration, or you name it these days in D.C., there is far too much party-line politics at play. Incumbent Adrian Smith has had a decade to make his mark, and while he has been a consistent supporter of GOP policy, he has not shown the ability to move the needle on debate that directly involves his constituency.

Tue
24
Apr

Old Man Winter has overstayed his welcome

Recently the Betterhalf and I battled ice, slush, snow and windy road conditions when we made a trip to Texas. Normally we would not have faced the challenge, but the Betterhalf had a babysitting commitment involving grandkids. As all grandfathers are well aware when it comes to spending time with the grandkids, grandma sez “Go” and doesn’t matter what obstacles stand in the way.
Although Old Man Winter may have slowed our travel, the trip was completed with just a few minor interruptions.
 As I look back it wasn’t hard to realize Old Man Winter has been around way too long. Some say it is climate change that is extending his stay with a couple of late snowfalls and cold temps in April. I think it might be something more.

Wed
18
Apr

Positive, local news far better than phone alerts

This past week I broke down and finally took a peak at the messages on the Betterhalf’s smart phone.
Over the past few years I’ve witnessed many smart phone users bump into each other walking along a busy sidewalk and nearly knocking each other down as they intently were trying to text each other. In a recent case the Betterhalf and I witnessed a family of four sit in an adjacent restaurant booth pull out their smart phones and not communicate with no one other than another smartphone user through the entire mealtime.
My displeasure of smartphones was re-enforced again this past week when I headed out in the early morning and decided to hit the button on the Betterhalf’s smartphone that was being recharged on the kitchen counter.

Wed
18
Apr

Nebraska lawmakers get an incomplete on 2018 report card

The jury is still out on whether Nebraska lawmakers had a successful run in a 60-day session which wraps up this week, but on one key topic the report card can only say one thing -- INCOMPLETE.
Despite an unprecedented approach to try and build an alliance of various interest groups, at the end of the day support for property tax relief proposals just wasn’t there. Once again, an issue widely viewed as a high priority for a state facing a stressed ag economy is being put off for another day.
Unlike previous years, however, that day may not wait until the Unicameral reconvenes next January.

Tue
10
Apr

Debut of Westfield Quality Care a milestone for Aurora

There were a lot of reasons to celebrate this week as residents of the former Hamilton Manor made a symbolic move across town to Westfield Quality Care.
First and foremost, the community sent a strong message by opening the doors to a brand new 64-bed skilled nursing facility. Simply put, Hamilton County cares about its elderly population!
There have been headlines in recent weeks telling a much different tale about nursing homes in Nebraska, some of which are facing dire financial struggles. That is not the case now in Aurora, though the picture looked vastly different just two years ago.

Tue
10
Apr

Exposure to innovation won’t ensure greatness

I found some consolation in a statement that “thousands of lost Einsteins’ would have been successful had they been exposed to careers in innovation as children.” Well, I have to dispute that statement.
If I look back (I won’t say how many years ago), if I could have been an Einstein when my mother thought I would have been the next “Dorsey” of playing the trombone in my junior high years.
It was pretty obvious her dreams were dashed when I had difficulty playing “off-beats.” My musical ability was never doubted by our instructor where I remained third chair in the junior high band. However, I made the big move entering high school band and became aware those trombone players marched in the first row behind the baton twirlers and the drum majorettes.

Wed
04
Apr

The retirement workload isn’t enough to earn pay

We all hear much about a “living wage.” The government releases figures about a national living wage. Workers report their living wage is too low. Bosses counter that they are paying above the living wage. So just what is a living wage?
It’s pretty obvious the living wage scale for the Midwest is not the same for those who live and work in the heavily populated areas such as the east or west coasts, or even for some who live in isolated areas such as Alaska. The government justifies its living wage info being keyed to national poverty guidelines.
Let’s face it, we all feel we are under-paid...even when we’re retired and that weekly paycheck is no more. In my case, I’ve looked back over the past 18 years of retirement and figured I haven’t done much to even deserve a wage of any kind -- living or otherwise. The Betterhalf, no doubt, concurs. However, I should report she contributed to some of my nonproductive retirement workload.

Wed
04
Apr

Candidate forum offers good opportunity to be informed

Election day is upon us, or soon will be, which means it’s time to start listening in to what local candidates have to say.
There are several choices to be made in the May primary, a healthy sign of interest in any community. Voters will decide who will fill the District 1 and District 5 seats on the Hamilton County Board of Commissioners, while also narrowing the field of candidates running for Aurora mayor from three to two.
Incumbent Becky Richter faces a challenge from Rich Kinsey in the District 1 race, while District 5 voters will have a choice between incumbent Tim Bergen and challengers Roger Nunnenkamp and Ivan Hongsermier. In the race for Aurora mayor, Phil Hupf, Marlin Seeman and Stan Valasek have thrown their hats in the ring, with the top two vote-getters to advance to the general election in November.

Wed
28
Mar

Don’t fill up on health foods, leave room for the good stuff

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says we adults are not eating enough fruits and vegetables. Federal guidelines recommend having 1-1/2 to 2 cups of fruit and 2-3 cups of vegetables daily. Now that figures out almost 4-5 cups of the so-called “health foods” each day.
Looking at my own intake of food if I followed the CDC’s recommendation I believe there would be little room left in my tummy for the “good stuff” like meat and desserts.
***
Here’s some advice based on our past experiences. “If a woman wants a welcome when she gets  home, she should leave her husband with the baby when she goes.”
***
The topic of “flipping a coin” drew a smile from the Betterhalf recently. She recalled how when she and her sister were youngsters, her dad flipped a coin to see who would go up the farm lane to get the mail. He pointed to each girl and said, “Heads you go, tails you’re sister goes.”

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