Commentary

Wed
16
Aug

View of eclipse, size of Monday crowd all depend on weather

Scientists have known for decades that the skies will grow dark over Hamilton County Monday during a rare total solar eclipse, though our view of this spectacle now depends entirely on the weather man. Will we see it or will we not?
It’s sort of ironic, actually, that the stars will line up overhead for this once in 700 years viewing opportunity, putting Aurora and Hamilton County smack dab in the middle of the path of totality. And yet, the weather forecast we watch every other single day of our lives will dictate whether it’s just another cloudy day, perhaps a little darker than most around 1 p.m., or a day people of all ages might remember for the rest of their lives.

Wed
09
Aug

Old age gives one similarities to Rice Krispies cereal

The Betterhalf has indicated to me in the past year I seemed to be more frequently starting the day as a grouch. I tried to explain to her in case she hasn’t noticed when my body moves after a night’s rest, I feel I should be a Rice Krispies’ representative. That is because the first thing she would hear is the sound of my sore knees echoing, “Snap, crackle and pop”.
Well, maybe I do complain to her more than I should. In an apologetic moment I recalled to her the story of a wife and her hard-to-please husband, noting that her husband certainly was more of a grouch than me.
One day the wife was determined to please him. “Darling,” she asked when getting up, “what would you like to have for breakfast?”
“Coffee and toast, grits and sausage, and two eggs -- one scrambled and one fried,” he replied

Wed
09
Aug

Signs of fall are everywhere, whether we are ready or not

Is it just me, or does it feel like fall comes earlier every year?
School bells will start ringing this week, far sooner than I can ever remember. Summer vacations are now a memory, many of them scheduled into a tighter window of opportunity. Even the weather hints that it’s time to turn the page into a new season, with cool mornings feeling more like late September than the usual blazing hot dog days of August.
The first week of school is upon us now, with a familiar look and feel that reminds us another year of change, learning and opportunity has arrived. Whether your family is embarking on that first magical day of kindergarten, the jump into high school, that quantum leap into college life, or into unfamiliar “empty nest territory,” it’s yet another reminder that the only thing constant in this life is change.
We should embrace it, though sometimes that’s hard to do.

Wed
02
Aug

The jury is still out on the effectiveness of brain games

I’ve always been leery when I purchase something that needs assembling. In fact when the sales clerk tells me it’s so simple that even a child can do it, that’s when my inner-self wants me to say, “Then, let a child do it!”
The same is true when I attempt to play those supposedly brain-training games. Recently, I came across a 192-page book of mind puzzles that was given to me as a gift several years ago. It had been barely opened even when claimed it could build your brain power in just a few minutes a day. As you may have guessed the book of crosswords, word ladders, mazes, cryptograms, Sudoku, etc. had been opened just a few times and held evidence when only a few pages had pencil scratches of my meager attempts. My efforts showed I was not a good candidate for brain training.

Wed
02
Aug

Planning for unknown size of eclipse crowds a challenge

Scientists have known for decades that the skies will grow dark over Hamilton County during a total solar eclipse Aug. 21, though the reality of this phenomenal event is just now starting to really sink in.
This is a big deal! How big? It hasn’t happened here in Central Nebraska for hundreds of years and it won’t happen again for hundreds more, so it is in fact a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for several generations.
While the excitement is building for events in Aurora and Hampton, so too is a bit of angst. The fact that the path of totality covers only a small sliver of America, passing through 12 states in a matter of hours, has some officials predicting that it could be one of the worst traffic days in U.S. history. Approximately 12 million people live within the narrow band of totality, though about 200 million reside within a day’s drive of it. Talk about a potential traffic jam. You do the math.

Wed
26
Jul

Even during retirement, schedules remain

After years of retirement I was convinced that I had adapted pretty well. I seemed to have settled into the routine of most retirees participating in casual days of light pressure following no particular schedule.
Oh yes, there were some “honey-do” days; showing up for a few hours weekly at the animal shelter; having an early morning coffee break; taking a daily walk; and naturally picking up my News-Register at 2 p.m. every Tuesday. Everything had been going pretty well until the Betterhalf pointed out I was still on a schedule.
We were driving and on our way home when she questioned why I was impatient being slowed down by heavy traffic and several stop lights. I explained I wanted to be home by 6 p.m. She asked, “Why? Are you on a schedule?”

Wed
26
Jul

Annual July event showcases our area’s ag-based heritage

It’s showtime.
The area’s rich, ag-based heritage will be on full display this week with the 147th version of the Hamilton County Fair.
This is a highlight of the year for many area youth, serving as a milestone end-of-summer event as well for the entire community. Four days in July offer a made-to-order invitation to gather with friends and have some fun while celebrating our culture.
I grew up in western Nebraska, where the Chase County Fair provided memorable moments from my childhood. Though I wasn’t showing animals, many of my friends were and it gave me a sense of place and rural perspective that has endured my entire life. Fiftysome years later, those memories still endure, even for a “city kid.”

Wed
19
Jul

The new rule is that there are no rules

The Betterhalf jumped for joy when she saw in the newspaper evidence mounts that coffee seems to be just plain good for you. What really caught her eye was the statement, “Coffee drinkers live longer.” Judging by her jubilance she’s already making plans for her 100th birthday and birthdays beyond.
As for me, it looks like she going to leave me in the dust. I quit drinking coffee in the early years of marriage -- not because the coffee price went from a nickel to a dime -- but because coffee gave me stomach aches. Other bad habits have taken its place since and those habits are not going to improve my longevity.
This recent coffee acclaim follows years where studies have reversed earlier health opinions that basically were sacred. It leads me to our current society’s belief, “The rule is there are no rules.” And sometimes I wonder if that belief is not limited to just nutritional studies.

Wed
19
Jul

Nuisance abatement plan should be priority at City Hall

The villages of Hampton, Marquette and Phillips have all passed nuisance abatement ordinances recently, working to clean up their towns and tackle issues related to abandoned and neglected properties. The effort is making a difference in those communities and should now be considered by Aurora city leaders as well.
The Hampton Village Board deserves credit for taking the lead on an issue many would prefer to let take care of itself. That’s the problem, however, in that properties which have for whatever reason been neglected over the years are not likely going to change, and in fact are more apt to continue deteriorating. In some cases weeds are growing out of control while in others there are more serious problems including structural decline, inoperable vehicles and/or growing piles of clutter and trash.

Wed
12
Jul

July temperatures show no signs of letting up

Taking a look at the thermometer, it is quite evident July thus far is showing no sympathy to those of us who dislike hot weather. The temps remind me of a joke about a ditch digger who, on one of the hottest days of the year, had his hat off and was wiping his brow when the foreman approached him.
“Be careful,” warned the foreman, “that hot sun will injure your brain if you leave that hat on too long.”
“Stop worrying,” replied the worker. “Do you think I’d be digging ditches in the middle of July if I had any brains.”
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