Commentary

Wed
15
Mar

Huskies represent Aurora well both on and off the court

Husky Nation had something to celebrate last weekend in Lincoln.
Though the Class B boys state basketball tournament ended one game sooner than Aurora players, coaches and fans would have wanted, there was something special about what this group did on and off the court that leaves a lasting impression.
This team was not only fun for its fans to watch, it made others with no allegiance to Aurora High School sit up and take notice. That takes some doing in this day and age.
Outside the locker room moments after those pesky Bearcats ended the Huskies’ run in the semifinals for the second straight year, a Scottsbluff representative told Tom Leininger something not all coaches get to hear.

Wed
08
Mar

Governor’s property tax relief plan backed by sound premise

“Ultimately, what we have to do is figure out how to grow our state. If we’re going to grow Nebraska, we have to grow our number one industry -- agriculture.”
I couldn’t agree more with the message Gov. Pete Ricketts shared last week at the Aurora Cooperative’s annual meeting in Grand Island. He was preaching to the choir of course with an ag-based audience, but his message was spot on, as was his proposed strategy to make it happen.
Providing real and sustainable property tax relief has been talked about for years in our great state, but the need for turning words into reality has perhaps never been more pressing than it is right now. Ag income is down from $7.5 billion in 2012-13 to a projected $4 billion this year, causing a ripple that has created a $350 million statewide revenue shortfall in this one budget year alone.

Wed
08
Mar

Column written in 1935 still humorous today

As we begin a celebration of the birthday of Nebraska (150 years), we also find ourselves examining the history of our own community as well as the history of the newspapers in Hamilton County. That has brought us to the revelation of an Aurora Republican-Register editor Joseph E. Allen, who in 1935 published many of his columns in booklet form called, “Home Town Tales.”
They were a recollection of his memories of the Aurora community when it was his home for 36 years and he then wrote in the book’s preface, “With the thought of some of these writings might be enjoyed by former residents.” Throughout the year of our state’s 150 year celebration we hope to honor his wish. One of those recollections follows and emphasizes history can have humor, too.
Editor Allen wrote:

Wed
01
Mar

Manhunt offers unplanned test of emergency protocol

Life returned to normal this week in Aurora after a rather dramatic manhunt had citizens on edge. Weird things can and do happen in small-town America, we were reminded, and in the end there were some valuable lessons to be learned.
Chief among them is the fact that local citizens should feel good about the level of protection they receive here in Hamilton County. Between the Aurora Police Department, Hamilton County Sheriff’s Department and Nebraska State Patrol, the bad guys in this case were fighting a losing battle. The way these agencies cooperate when the heat is on is very impressive, and effective.
The two initial suspects in the case made some really stupid decisions from the get-go, speeding away from a traffic stop that in all likelihood would have ended with a simple speeding ticket. The sad reality is that the whole episode could and should have been avoided.

Wed
01
Mar

Congressional members avoid town hall meetings

During the week-long Congressional break it wasn’t surprising that few Congressional members followed tradition by holding town hall meetings in their districts. In reality, it shouldn’t have been “too surprising” to most of us that our Republican or Democrat politicians, preferred to bypass the meetings and avoid facing constituents who have a barrage of questions.
There is no question those town hall meetings would not have been the most pleasant of gatherings for the politicians, but our representatives must remember they serve all people in their district and not those who voted just for them. It might be amazing what can be learned when we quit shouting at each other, listen and try to cooperate.
***
We’ve been told it takes someone older than most people now living to remember when dime stores were so named. If the trend continues, in a few more years we might even be trying to remember dollar stores.
***

Wed
22
Feb

Years of marriage make gift shopping difficult

Valentine’s Day has come and gone. It now appears there’ll be no more “gifting” between the Betterhalf and me until anniversary time. That is, unless the Betterhalf thinks we’re Irish enough to celebrate St. Pat’s Day with the wearing of the green.
Each year it has become more difficult to solve the gifting for Valentine’s Day. It seems the longer a couple is married those initial gifts of the early years that once filled the needs of our bare necessities’ household are no longer appearing on our gifting list. In those early years small appliances such as a coffeemakers, or hedge trimmers were popular gifts for him or her. Today we are fortunate in our household there exists not really too many him or her voids that our past Valentine gifts have not already filled.

Wed
22
Feb

Respect for ‘Nebraska way’ could/should help end logjam

George Norris must be turning in his grave.
The visionary U.S. senator from Nebraska has been praised for more than 80 years after creating the framework for what would become the nation’s only one-house legislature. Nebraska is a small, unified state, he reasoned, and therefore should be able to conduct the state’s business without the partisan politics that even at that time often bogged down Washington D.C.
The hybrid Norris plan, which features a one-house unicameral, has worked relatively well for 83 years ... until now.
Nebraska lawmakers are already a third of the way through this year’s 90-day session, though very little has been accomplished to date. The tone was set on Day 1 with a power play designed to sweep all or most of the committee chairmanships toward Republicans, and has carried over the past month with a nasty rules debate some say would in effect silence minority groups by making it easier for the majority to end filibusters.

Wed
15
Feb

Pages of the past worth reading again

The pages are yellow, tattered on the corners and brittle to the touch, but the messages preserved in faded ink are as interesting today as they must have been back in 1877.
Without a doubt, the oldest known copy of the Hamilton County News, dated April 13, 1877, is a fascinating read. It’s been stored in the back room of the Plainsman Museum for decades, until we unsealed the wrapping this week to turn back the pages to the past.
With all the focus on history looming, as Hamilton County celebrates its 150th birthday this week and Nebraska kicks off a sesquicentennial celebration March 1, it seemed appropriate to dust off the bound volume and take a look back for old time’s sake. As co-publisher of the modern day Aurora News-Register, I was intrigued with the writing style and entertained by the candor with which publisher C.P. Whitesides kept local readers informed.

Wed
15
Feb

Local input will be critical to county’s comprehensive plan

So what’s the plan, Hamilton County?
How can we attract our best and brightest back home with jobs and opportunity? How can we preserve the ag-based foundation we have while also opening new doors without creating conflict?
How can we grow the population in area villages and throughout the county while protecting our precious valuable resources, including groundwater, soil and air quality?
How do we, as a county, feel about wind energy, solar energy, livestock expansion projects, adult entertainment and other issues of our time?
Bottom line: How do we determine the best land use policies for the future? Those are fundamental questions worth pondering these days, and they are among many area residents are about to be asked, on the record.

Wed
15
Feb

Times have changed, marriage practices too

It must be the age, but we catch ourselves looking back to the past. But, what else do we have to compare our experiences to?
That is the case when I spotted where the average wedding today was around $35,000.
That $35,000 wedding cost just re-enforced my belief I married the Betterhalf at the right time. Again when I suggested marriage, outside the cost  of the engagement ring, I was pretty naïve about the cost of being married.

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