Latest Blog Posts

Super News

May 16, 2006 at 12:25pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Lincoln is finally going to get its long-awaited Super Target. The 174,000 square foot store will be located at 40th Street and Yankee Hill Road. In all likelihood it won’t be Lincoln’s last Super Target.

Free Rides on Star Tran on Saturday

May 15, 2006 at 12:30pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Star Tran is offering free rides (PDF) this Saturday as part of a National Transportation Week promotion. In addition, Star Tran is running a prize drawing throughout the week. You can enter on any bus.

Coddington’s Trees

May 15, 2006 at 12:25pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Every time I see an article like this morning’s article about trees along Coddington Avenue, I wonder: do folks across the country react the same way Lincolnites do when it comes to trees being cut down to make way for street widening projects? Lincolnites love their trees, and boy do they get fired up when the trees are at risk. Trees are so beloved in Lincoln that they can even effectively be used as a shield against road expansion, as on South 27th Street, where residents planted dozens of trees in the right-of-way to use as a public relations weapon in light of road widening talk. It worked.

I have always had the mentality that anything planted in the right-of-way is at risk. It’s a sort of grey area between private property and public property. But one should always know that when road widening time arrives—and it will arrive on most arterials—that area will evaporate. Yet time and time again Lincolnites seem surprised when the news comes.

Is it all just classic nimbyism? Or does the presence of trees make the discussion deeper, more personal? In which contexts should trees matter, and in which should they be non-players?

Too Cozy?

May 12, 2006 at 12:30pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Joseph W. Johnson, Jr. asks if the City and Douglas Theaters are too cozy in this morning’s LJS letters to the editor:

Am I the only citizen who wonders what is wrong with the picture of enduring alliances among former Mayor Don Wesely, current Mayor Coleen Seng and Douglas Theatres?

Now we read that after the a Wesely/Seng-orchestrated, financially disastrous switch from private ambulance service to Lincoln Fire Department service, and after the eminent domain creation of The Grand, owned (through tax increment financing) and operated by Douglas (as is every other screen in Lincoln), Seng now supports a high-rise and civic center proposal which — how amazingly — buys Douglas Theatre’s now nearly worthless properties downtown for millions of dollars.

Am I the only one who is concerned?

It’s easy enough to blow aside Mr. Johnson’s concerns because of how he has chosen to write his letter. For example the Fire Department slam is awfully disingenuous in this context. But the overall question that concerns Mr. Johnson, snarkiness aside, is a reasonable one.

To begin, I pin The Grand more on the City and the Downtown Lincoln Association than on Douglas. Douglas just took advantage of what was presented to them. One can hardly blame them. And to be fair, the City’s first plan for the block that The Grand now sits on was in fact much more grand, and much less Douglas-centric.

It is also unfair to blame the Douglas 3 building sale on some sort of City/Douglas conspiracy. It’s a bad building in a prime spot, a nasty combination if our goal is to revitalize Downtown. Combine that with the City’s longtime goal of establishing a Downtown park, and a consultant’s recommendation that the site would make a great location for such a park, and you’ve got the buyout we see today. It really isn’t surprising or conspiratorial.

That brings us to the purchase of the Star Ship 9. The SS9 situation is a little stranger, primarily because I don’t understand Douglas’ motivation for selling the property so easiliiy. By most indications the SS9 is reasonably popular with the public and it does a fair amount of business. Perhaps “a fair amount” just isn’t good enough to keep the theater afloat in the contemporary media entertainment climate. Or perhaps Douglas wants the cash to put toward another project they have their eyes on. In any event I don’t immediately sense a conflict of interest.

In summary, then, I think Mr. Johnson is overreacting in the context he has presented. I think it is proper for Lincolnites to raise an eyebrow or two, but I don’t see any shenanigans. I do have a problem with Douglas’ de facto monopoly status, but that’s a slightly different issue, and one which Mr. Johnson didn’t raise.

Friday Five

May 12, 2006 at 12:30pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Five ways I plan to take a vacation in my hometown this summer:

First Zesto of the Year

May 11, 2006 at 10:30pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

The Missus and I stopped for our first Zesto of the year last night. Zesto is really more of a summer activity, but it felt good to get the first trip under our belts. I expect many more will follow.

Stay in Nebraska This Summer

May 11, 2006 at 10:30pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Governor Dave Heineman wants you to vacation in Nebraska this summer. The state’s new tourism campaign—slogan, “More Vacation. Less Travel”—is designed to highlight Nebraska’s in-state vacation spots. In light of expected high gasoline prices this summer (a while back I predicted a peak of $3.75/gallon), it’s not a bad campaign idea. Hopefully the weather cooperates.

Perhaps it says something about my travel habits, but many of my favorite vacation and mini-vacation spots are in Nebraska. They include:

  • Henry Doorly Zoo
  • Strategic Air Command Museum
  • Arbor Day Lodge
  • Indian Cave State Park
  • Fort Robinson
  • Chadron State Park
  • Niobrara River
  • Ponca State Park

...plus plenty of other places. What are your favorite in-state vacation spots?

My Tilt: My Reply

May 11, 2006 at 12:25pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

I didn’t get the response I was hoping for when I asked for you folks to tell me your perceptions of me, but at least a few of you replied. One or two were even semi-serious. Oh well, I said I would reveal the answers to some of the items, so here goes:

  1. How old am I? I may sound like a cranky retiree sometimes, but I’m only 27.
  2. What is my approximate income? I ain’t rich and I ain’t poor.
  3. Approximately where in Lincoln do I live? 48th and Highway 2 is a close enough approximation.
  4. What is my religion? I was raised Methodist, but I don’t think I can claim that title today. My core beliefs are two-fold: (1) There is a God and (2) I’m not Him.
  5. Which political party is listed on my voter registration card? Republican.
  6. On economic issues, do I lean left or right? Right.
  7. On social issues, do I lean left or right? Left.
  8. What is my opinion of the death penalty? The government screws up too often to be trusted with the power to kill its citizens.
  9. What is my opinion of abortion? Morally opposed, legally undecided.
  10. What is my opinion of immigration? Let ‘em all in through a few controlled access points, and secure the rest of the border to keep out the riffraff.
  11. What is my opinion of banning concealed weapons in Lincoln? It’ll stop roughly five gung-ho NRA types, and that’s about it.
  12. Dave Heineman, Pete Ricketts, and Ernie Chambers are in separate carnival-style dunking booths. I have only one baseball to throw. Who do I dunk, and why? This one’s easy: Pete Ricketts. He exudes insincerity, and that bugs the heck out of me.
  13. I have to leave the country for 10 years, but before I go I can eat at one Lincoln restaurant. Which restaurant do I choose, and why? I really have no idea. Possibly Lazlo’s, for sentimental reasons.
  14. Describe me in five words or less. This one was for you folks, not for me.
  15. Dogs or cats? Dogs by a mile.

We’ve Spent Enough

May 10, 2006 at 12:30pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Nebraskans and Lincolnites alike apparently think we’re spending enough. Nebraskans shot down Amendment 1, the state senator pay raise, 55/45. I’m not too surprised by that. Voters have always seemed to think that low legislative wages encourage humble, “just like me” legislators, even though low wages actually keep out those folks. It will be interesting to see how the $12k salary and term limits interact over time.

Meanwhile Lincolnites killed the parks bond. I can’t say I’m surprised. The bond faced an uphill battle since it got a late start, and it had the misfortune of following a huge school bond back in February. Sure the parks bond would only cost a cup of coffee per year, but Lincolnites have long been hesitant to approve bond issues. The loss does not bode well for any of the other bonds the Seng administration is looking at. In fact, the overall financial situation in Lincoln looks tricky for a while, with hundreds of millions in projects to be completed, but a sales tax shortfall to deal with and a public that feels like it is paying enough.

Is it an Upset?

May 10, 2006 at 12:25pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Now that Heineman has won the primary over Tom Osborne and we have the benefit of retrospect, was it an upset?

One of Those Days

May 9, 2006 at 6:00pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Ladies and gentlemen, it is one of those days in Lincoln. You know, one of those days that makes you wish you could spend the entire day outside. Working in the yard. Washing the car. Napping under a tree. Reading a book by a lake. So my question is: what’s stopping you?

Reasons to Vote

May 9, 2006 at 12:20pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Remember, The Dave/Tom/Dave race isn’t the only issue worth heading to the polls for today. Here are two other issues that should attract you to the polls:

  • Amendment 1, to raise the pay of state Senators to $21,000 per year. In my opinion it would be worth our money to pay even more than this, but $21K is a start over the laughable $12,000 we pay right now. If we want somebody other than rich folks running for Senator, we need to pay them something they can live on. I’m voting for.
  • Parks bond, to pay $2.7 million to buy 130 acres of land along the South Beltway for eventual development into a linear park. I don’t buy into all of the hyperbole being used to push this issue (the radio commercials are awful), but I do value green space, and Lincoln’s success with trails through linear parks (Highway 2, Antelope Park, Capital Parkway) should be replicated. I’m voting for.

If you’re too antsy to wait until tomorrow morning to see the results, the Lancaster County Election Commissioner’s website has what you’re looking for.

Dave or Tom?

May 8, 2006 at 10:30pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

OK people, it’s time for your predictions. Who wins the Republican nomination Tuesday, Dave or Tom? Or, uhh, the other guy.

A New Week

May 8, 2006 at 12:20pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Lincoln was pretty quiet over the weekend. There was the marathon, of course. Daisy had a good time checking out the runners. I was too distracted by a guy running barefoot to pay much attention to anybody else. The Haymarket Farmer’s Market kicked off for its summer run. And students at UNL headed home for the summer.

The big news for this week is, without a doubt, the primary election tomorrow. Don’t forget to vote, if that’s your druthers.

Expect Delays

May 6, 2006 at 3:00pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Don’t forget, folks, the Lincoln Marathon is Sunday morning. Expect delays if you plan to drive anywhere between Downtown and Highway 2, 10th Street and 70th Street.

Better yet, why not get out and offer some encouragement to the runners and wheelchair racers? Here are some tips:

  • Cheer, clap, hoot, and holler for everybody. They really appreciate it.
  • Use your creativity and humor. There’s nothing wrong with the traditional “Good job!”, but creative encouragement gives the runners something to think about other than “Ow ow ow ow ow ow ow.”
  • Give a special shout-out to the National Guard runners from around the country who come to Lincoln just for the race.
  • You may think hosing down the runners with your sprinkler would be appreciated, but you’d be wrong. Wet shoes suck.
  • Always make sure you have plenty of space before you try to cross the course. If you get in a runner’s way, he may very well kill you. And frankly, if I were on the jury, I’d acquit him.

Most importantly, have a sense of humor. The marathon will dominate the streets Sunday morning. Being cranky won’t help anything. Every year I see a traffic cop have to berate an idiot driver or two. Don’t be that idiot.

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