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July 14, 2006 at 12:20pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Last night’s Cornhusker Summer Music Games competition was rained out. The Blue Stars performed all of eight measures of their opening piece before the rain came down in buckets. Event organizers waited an hour before finally pulling the plug.

Oh, and did I mention there are no refunds on the $17-$27 tickets?

There are going to be some angry phone calls made today. Be glad you don’t work in the UNL Band Office, the Lied Center Box Office, or wherever in the Athletic Department angry refund-seekers will try to call. I worked in the Band Office several years ago during a particular firestorm involving the Band’s director. Not fun. This, I can only assume, will be much, much worse. Good luck Rose & Co.!

Being out sixty bucks certainly doesn’t feel good, but I, for one, am not angry. How can I be? The purchase agreement says the tickets are non-refundable. And outdoor event cancellations happen all the time. It’s a risk the ticket-buyer takes. And really, as dry as Lincoln has been this summer, whodathunk a storm would pick last night to come through?

Some will complain that the rain was subsiding and that the show could have gone on. Perhaps. But if I were in charge of one of the bands there’s no way I would have put my group back on the field. There was too much lightning around, and there were signs of another line of storms to the west. Forget the performers, those uniforms and instruments are expensive!

Upon sending the crowd home an announcement was made that ticket holders would be able to purchase tickets next year at a discount. I suspect an overwhelming chunk of last night’s crowd—estimated by D.M.B. and me at 8,000 to 10,000—will say no way. Who can blame them? Families with children were out $100 or more. That’s not a loss you take lightly.


July 13, 2006 at 12:20pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Big news! The fountains in Centennial Mall have been declared a Superfund site. The action was initially discussed after squirrels, rabbits, and birds in the area began giving birth to young with extra limbs and heads. But the straw that broke the camel’s back came yesterday when a young child fell into one of the fountains and instantly dissolved. During the cleanup Centennial Mall will be renamed The Mall of Stench and Despair.

OK, none of that really happened. But give it a few months. It’s coming.

Suicide or Murder?

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

Looks like Lincoln woke up to a suicide or murder this morning.

Old Murder Case Solved

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

It isn’t often that old murder cases get solved, so it is great news to see that a man has been arrested in the 1997 killings of Harold Fowler and Duane K. Johnson. DNA evidence linked Jeffery Eugene Hoover to the crime.

On a less positive note, Police Chief Tom Casady once again proves that logic is not his strong suit. The murders are believed to have been committed over a small amount of marijuana. Chief Casady’s reaction?

Anyone who thinks that marijuana is a harmless recreational drug wasn’t there in the apartment to see the bodies of these two men murdered as a result of that failed drug transaction.

Memo to Chief Casady: marijuana’s role as “a harmless recreational drug” had nothing to do with the murders. Rather, the fact that marijuana is illegal is responsible for the two deaths. After all, if it were legal, the men would have been shopping for their pot at Walgreens. Prohibition, not marijuana’s recreational value, killed Fowler and Johnson.

LPD Jumps Into the Fire

July 11, 2006 at 12:30pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

LPD has entered the fire truck fiasco. Good for them. I’m not so much looking for somebody’s head as I am thirsty for more information. A criminal probe should help answer questions about what went wrong. In particular I would really like to know if ex-Fire Chief Mike Spadt is a crook or just a moron. (I know a lot of you think the answer is both!) Here’s hoping officials keep the probe open and honest.

More Blight

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

Lincoln has declared yet another chunk of the city blighted, this time South Street from 6th to 17th Street. It’s an understandable move. The area will be tough to spruce up because of odd lot sizes and cramped quarters. Hopefully developers are able to find some new uses for the area that don’t involve booting existing businesses from their homes via eminent domain. In particular, nobody better try to mess with Zesto or there’ll be heck to pay!

Colleen’s People

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

Is it just me, or does pretty much every Colleen Kenney article seem like a really bad Bart’s People segment?

Houses Galore

July 10, 2006 at 12:20pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Looks like I was on to something a while back when I noted how many houses are for sale in Lincoln, along with the heavy FSBO presence. Lincoln is facing a surplus of houses for sale, relative to previous years. Over 2,000 houses are on the market through realtors, and scores more are for sale by owner.

Bad news if you’re trying to sell, but good news if you’re in the market to buy and you want plenty of choice.

Spadt is Snuffed!

July 7, 2006 at 8:25pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Lincoln Fire Chief Mike Spadt has resigned. Mayor Colleen Seng asked for his resignation after new fire trucks—the center of an ongoing scuffle—failed to meet the City’s specifications, despite assurances from the Fire Department that they did. Mike Spadt has been in hot water with some Lincolnites for years. The focus of much of the ire was the heavily contested LFD takeover of ambulance services.

Assistant Chief Rich Furasek will replace Spadt until a permanent replacement can be found.

Friday Five

July 7, 2006 at 12:30pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Five foods you should try this month, just because:

  1. A cheese frenchee at Grandmother’s
  2. The DBQ pizza at Doughboyz Bistro
  3. Fried chicken at Lee’s
  4. An ice cream cone at Zesto (the original on South Street, of course)
  5. A slice of pie at Stauffer’s

Oh My Stars!

July 7, 2006 at 12:30pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

I nearly fainted this morning when I opened the Ground Zero. Jeff Korbelik’s restaurant review includes actual ratings using a four star system! It’s an interesting, but welcome, move from the article that almost never utters a discouraging word. Here’s hoping Mr. Korbelik doesn’t suffer from rating inflation.

On a related note, this line from this morning’s review of Jack Binion’s Steak House struck me as pretty funny:

Entrees range from $22 to $48—a tad pricey by Lincoln standards—and do not include salad, soup or, even a side dish.

A tad pricey? Jeff, that’s downright obscene by Lincoln standards. There’s nothing tad about it.

Cornhusker Summer Music Games

July 7, 2006 at 12:25pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Don’t forget to get your tickets to the Cornhusker Summer Music Games next Thursday, July 13th. Some previews:

The Cadets:


Google Video features many more videos.

Show Me Your Glock

July 6, 2006 at 11:00pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

The Lincoln Police Union has voted to support Mayor Seng’s proposed concealed weapons ban (PDF). The vote shouldn’t surprise anybody. In general, police officers don’t want citizens to possess weapons. Who can blame them? It is in their interests to tip the balance of power in their favor whenever possible.

Two things are worth noting at this point. First, when thinking about and/or discussing Mayor Seng’s ban, be sure you know what is meant by “concealed weapon”:

9.36.140 Concealed Weapon; Definitions.
(a) For the purposes of Section 9.36.130 of the Lincoln Municipal Code, unless the context otherwise requires:
  (1) Concealed weapon shall mean any firearm, stun gun, knife, switchblade knife, any gun which releases any propelled object by spring mechanism, compressed air or compressed gas, or any other instrument the use of which is intended or likely to cause death or bodily injury;
  (2) Knife shall mean any dagger, dirk, knife, or 1 stilleto with a blade over three and one-half inches in length or any other dangerous instrument capable of inflicting cutting, stabbing, or tearing wounds;
  (3) Stun gun shall mean any handheld electronic device that is powered by an internal power source such as batteries, and that is capable of introducing an electrical current into the body of a person which when introduced to the body shall be capable of disrupting a person’s central nervous system and rendering the person temporarily incapable of normal functioning, for any period of time whatsoever. The electrical current may be introduced into the human body by
means of direct pressure to the body from fixed electrodes on the electronic device and/or by one or more electrodes attached to a length of wire or other connection and which upon being fired from a firearm or any other mechanical device, strikes the human body and produces the reaction
described herein.

It is a fairly broad definition that I think a lot of folks will be uncomfortable with. It’s not necessarily that police officers will go around charging everybody possessing a pocket knife, fork, or toothpick with a felony, but a concealed carry charge could legally be brought against an individual for something that minor if the LPD really wanted to stick it to somebody (so to speak). In my opinion the definition invites too many opportunities for abusive interpretations of the law.

Second, remain aware throughout any discussion that Police Chief Tom Casady is not a statistician. He is, on this issue, a salesman. He is marketing an idea he supports. He is obligated not to lie, but he has already shown a willingness to stretch the truth and use innuendo to support his cause. Consider two statistics he cites:

  • From January 1996 to August 2001, 5,314 Texans with concealed carry permits were arrested for various offenses, including 41 cases of murder or attempted murder, 79 sexual assaults, 833 assaults and 60 other sex crimes.
  • Last year, 1,395 people in Florida committed a crime serious enough to have their concealed weapons permits revoked.

What’s wrong with these data? Two things. First, Chief Casady is playing the correlation = causation game. It’s a common trap; don’t fall for it. Second, there are not comparison data provided for persons without concealed carry permits. We don’t know, from these data, whether persons with concealed carry permits are more or less likely than the rest of the population to commit the crimes mentioned here. I don’t doubt that the statistics are true, but so what? They are meaningless in the absence of context. I don’t know if the universe of crime data support a concealed carry ban or not, but I do know that Casady could find some much more meaningful statistics to aid his case. Instead, he has chosen to be a scare-monger. Hold him accountable. Demand better data.

As the ban stands right now, I oppose it. Not only have supporters failed to convince me that there is a problem needing to be solved, the majority of their efforts to date have consisted of little more than lame ghost stories. There are perfectly valid reasons to get behind this sort of a ban, but so far I’ve heard very few of them put forward by our government officials. (A few citizens, on the other hand, have made the case more effectively.) Until Mayor Seng, Police Chief Casady, and others in local government do a better job of justifying their motives, I’m giving them a thumbs down.

Write In Tom

July 6, 2006 at 12:25pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Let’s cut right to the chase: would you write in Tom for Governor this fall?

I’m giving that effort a big thumbs down. I appreciate their spirit, but their energies are misplaced. Hopefully Rep. Osborne comes forward and tells his supporters to spend their time and money on more worthwhile efforts.


July 6, 2006 at 12:20pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

I really feel for the individuals and families that lost everything in Tuesday’s house fire near 15th and D. The fire began when a 7 year-old boy, supervised by his mother, accidentally knocked a firework onto its side and leaves were ignited under the house’s porch. The accident is especially ironic since the boy and his mother were being careful to place their fireworks on a sheet of plywood to ensure that they fired from level ground.

I haven’t seen any information about a support fund for the affected individuals yet. If you hear of something, please post details here. In the mean time Red Cross is providing aid.

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