Commentary

Wed
11
Jul

Changes on the school front reflect sign of times

Today’s needs for the education of our students are on the fast track. Curriculum, technology, physical facilities, student numbers and safety are all items that once changed every few years and now seem on the public education agenda daily.
Proposed 5-year plans for schools in the Omaha schools to be built or remodeled in the Omaha area were aired recently. While the metro area plans hinged on pupil growth, it was quite evident the task of educating not only for the metro students, but for our rural out-state students is rapidly changing to meet the demands of our rapidly changing world. Here are just a few “then and now” examples we can recall from our old high school days. For example:
We were required two years of science and could “duck” chemistry by taking frosh general science and biology the next year. Today it is reported 70 to 90 percent of high schoolers are enrolled in four years of a science curriculum.

Wed
11
Jul

Wedeking’s vision for Leadership Center continues to grow, evolve

Fifty years after the late Irv Wedeking helped create the vision for a youth ag training facility in Aurora, The Leadership Center celebrates its golden anniversary on a campus that has come to represent so much more to its founders, guests and host community. The 43-acre campus on the east edge of town shines as a pillar of success, giving Aurora and the center’s founders an earned reputation for progressive leadership.
During this golden anniversary year, The Leadership Center is celebrating its proud history while sharing the story of how Mr. Wedeking, Dr. Ted Ward and Norval McCaslin launched this remarkable endeavor. (See related story in this week’s edition) Those three men put up $27,000 of their own money, a huge and risky investment in 1968, to plant a seed that has continued to grow.

Tue
03
Jul

Think F1rst

What does the First Amendment mean to you and how does it affect your life as an American?
That’s a question not often asked in today’s society, but the results of a recent poll which asked young people that very thing was alarming to say the least. According to a civics survey taken by the Annenberg Public Policy Center, four in 10 students couldn’t name even one of the five freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment.
That’s not good. In fact, it’s shocking to think that a whole new generation of Americans may not understand or appreciate the freedoms that let them do what they want to do, say what they want to say, worship in whatever manner they so choose and in general live in a society founded on principles of freedom.

Tue
03
Jul

Manual typewriters said to be alive and well

Several weeks ago we mention in this column we came across our old electric Smith-Corona portable typewriter and it brought back memories of writing our column and how our computer world has now changed the old-style mechanical “typing and deleting” to more physical ease. The evolution has also brought frustration to many of us who are still slow learners in this computer-tech world.

Wed
27
Jun

Wayward raccoon a nice diversion from real world

 It was refreshing this past week to have our attention diverted from what has become the regular news coverage concerning presidential tweets, immigration, political investigations and the negativism of the human race.
That diversion is exactly what happened when in a metro population of over 3 million people who were concerned with the antics of a raccoon who soon was about to become a death-defying hero.
What got more attention than even a top publicity agent couldn’t achieve was national social-media audience’s awareness of a raccoon that chose to scale a 22-floor skyscraper in downtown St Paul, Minn. The raccoon was assumed to be searching for a pigeon egg meal and captured over 24-hour attention from an audience with the question, “Will he fall or won’t he?”

Wed
27
Jun

Who gets to decide which EMS option is best for community?

A conversation that will ultimately determine who responds to emergency calls when local residents dial 911 is headed for a decision within the next 90 days or so, demanding the attention of anyone who calls Hamilton County home.
This issue has been in the public eye for more than a year now, if not longer, though an Oct. 1 transition deadline and the emergence of three possible alternatives promises to bring some finality to what has become a very sensitive and at times controversial topic.
The core issue involves the Hamilton County Ambulance Department, which has provided countywide emergency medical service for many years. The quality of advanced life support (ALS) service has never been questioned, and in fact is unanimously applauded, though the cost for that service has been documented to be higher than that of other communities of similar size.

Wed
20
Jun

Regardless of the political climate, there’s still humor

It seems in this day and age about everyone agrees that our country and democracy are not better off than 50 years ago. They cite in particular the year 1968 as the beginning of a deep decline because of assassinations of Robert Kennedy, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., riots in American cities, violence at the Democratic National Convention and the list goes on and on.
Personally, I really can’t figure out how to point to one year or century as the start of good or bad in our country.
I judge my opinion on a book titled, “20th Century Year by Year” that tells about the good or bad of people and events that shaped the last 100 years.
Rather than dwell on the negatives, I would like to point out what I feel is the humor in many situations of this current 21st century. It is quite evident change still continues and hopefully it will for years and if lucky, for centuries to come.

Wed
20
Jun

A’ROR’N Days a chance to relax, show off community’s progress

It’s showtime in A-Town.
Aurora will simultaneously hit the pause and go buttons this week with a celebration that has evolved into an annual highlight of the summer.
If you want something to do, the four-day agenda offers all kinds of opportunities to go, go, go with a variety of  events for people of all ages. If you are looking for a breather, a chance to slow down and catch up with your neighbors, friends and former Huskies, A’ROR’N Days fits that bill as well.
To Husky graduates back in town for their reunion and other guests visiting Aurora this week, we invite you to look around our little corner of the world. Despite the challenges brought on by $3 corn, there is an awful lot of visible progress in Aurora and Hamilton County.

Wed
13
Jun

Whistle while you work, add humor to your day

Even when saddled with a lot of work, some can find a way to either “whistle while they work” or add a little humor to the most tedious of tasks. We found that was the case when the Betterhalf and I took our morning walk on a blacktopped Minnesota roadway recently.
There was lots of evidence that a road crew had been busy pouring hot tar in the roadway cracks that were caused by the harsh winter. Now that job has to emit some discouragement to the road crew when they look ahead down the road as far as they can see and realize there seems to be no end to the work facing them. The optimism is not bolstered by that crew lugging hoses filled with hot tar when the outdoor temps are peaking at 90 degrees. But, this crew apparently added a little humor to their chore.

Wed
13
Jun

‘Pull factor’ report raises serious questions to ponder

How does Aurora view itself? Are we a retail trade center where people come to buy goods and services, or are we a bedroom community?
That question came up in the midst of an interview with Ken Lemke, a PhD who compiled an economic and demographic trends study for the Nebraska Public Power District. Lemke was very matter of fact with his statement, looking at Aurora’s .85 pull factor as an indicator that Aurora is below the state average in terms of per capita spending. He was quick to note that our community is holding its own and actually showing some very positive signs of economic growth, adding that our numbers would look better if totals for vehicle and ag equipment sales were added in, which they are not.

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