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Friday Five

September 29, 2006 at 1:00pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Karen Dalziel gave me the idea for today’s Friday Five: five places I’ve lived in Lincoln, as seen from above. Can you identify all of the neighborhoods?

  1. Satellite image of a Lincoln neighborhood
  2. Satellite image of a Lincoln neighborhood
  3. Satellite image of a Lincoln neighborhood
  4. Satellite image of a Lincoln neighborhood
  5. Satellite image of a Lincoln neighborhood

Ben and Pete Have a Long Ways to Go

September 28, 2006 at 12:30pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Ben and Pete’s attack ads don’t come anywhere close to topping this one:

And Then There Was Ken

September 28, 2006 at 12:20pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

From the Least Surprising News of the Day files comes Ken Svoboda’s announcement that he is running for Mayor. Mr. Svoboda joins Chris Beutler, a Democrat, and Roger Yant, an independent, in the race. Who is your early pick to win, place, and show?

Sharing Spaces

September 27, 2006 at 12:30pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Cheers to LPS and the Lincoln YMCA for working together to build a new middle school and YMCA in Fallbrook. It should be an excellent example of the benefits of public/private partnerships.

The Bubble Bursting Isn’t All Bad

September 27, 2006 at 12:25pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

There seems to be at least one positive side to the slowing of home sales in Lincoln: homes for sale that are in need of a facelift are getting just that. I can think of three houses just in my neighborhood that, thanks to a couple weekends’ worth of work, now look like they’re worth thousands more than before. I don’t know what shape the insides are in, but hey, I’m just glad the yards look groomed and the exteriors have been fixed up.

Southside Seafood

September 27, 2006 at 12:20pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

The Missus pointed out to me yesterday that Midwest Seafood is moving in at 48th and Highway 2. I haven’t been on North 27th lately; is that location still there?

It Looked Great on Paper…

September 26, 2006 at 12:20pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

This year, Lincoln Public Schools ditched many of their schools’ copiers and printers in favor of a centralized printing and duplication system from Xerox located at the District Offices. The marketing premise is what you might expect: save money, keep track of resource usage, and so on.

Two things come to mind. First, when government bodies try to maximize efficiency through grand schemes like this—orchestrated, of course, by allusions to utopia from slick salespeople—they almost always fall flat on their face. Indeed, the LPS personnel I know have feelings on the issue ranging from reluctant tolerance to heated disapproval. The system has failed more than once already this year, and early projections of the capacity the system would need to serve were, of course, too low. But that brings to mind the second thing: often, government bodies can’t win in these sorts of situations. The prior decentralized system was expensive, difficult to maintain, and impossible to audit. The current system is just slightly less expensive, difficult to maintain, and prone to catastrophy.

Thus, my question: is there any way LPS could win on this topic? How can they find the least expensive, most maintainable and scalable, easily trackable printing and duplication system? Is there such a thing?

[Link changed at noon, 9/26/06, since the LJS website is stupid.]

The Blight Train Rolls On

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

City officials want to declare yet another big chunk of Lincoln blighted, this time over 1,200 between West O and Corhusker, Sun Valley and Capital Beach. The sarcastic “Why don’t we just declare all of Lincoln blighted?” jokes are quickly losing steam, so instead, some exciting bullets:

  • Is Lincoln spreading its resources too thin? By declaring so many large chunks of Lincoln blighted, are we decreasing the effectiveness of each individual blight designation?
  • Blight carries such negative connotations. “Prime Redevelopment Zone” sounds so much better. If you were bringing a business to town, would you rather locate in an area officially described by the City as “One of our crappiest!”, or would you rather locate in an area “Ripe for economic expansion”?
  • The tax benefits that go along with a blight designation are all well and good. But when property taxes from huge chunk after huge chunk of the city are suddenly turned inward, what strain, if any, gets put on property tax-dependant bodies?

Perspective

September 22, 2006 at 12:35pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Costs for new roads over the next 25 years are estimated at $2.43 billion. That’s an incredible chunk of change, and as I’ve said before, these big projects almost always cost much more than expected.

Is $2.43 billion doable? Well, let’s break it down. $2.43 billion over 25 years is $97.2 million per year. Lincoln is expected to grow to around 350,000 people by 2030, and we’re around 250,000 now, so let’s assume an average population of 300,000. That gives us a cost per resident of $324 per year. That doesn’t sound completely unreasonable, does it? Except that the Wilson family of three now owes nearly $1,000 per year for new roads alone, and we haven’t even begun to pay for road maintenance, schools, or any of the hundreds of other things our taxes need to cover.

This is obviously just a simple analysis and it leaves out a whole bunch of variables. But it’s a starting point, and I think it illustrates nicely that we need to start planning soon for these costs. This is not a discussion Lincoln can afford to put off.

Inflation

September 22, 2006 at 12:30pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Critics have suspected it from the start: expected costs for the proposed arena are exploding. What once was estimated in the $85 - $100 million range is now estimated at $160 million. A word to the wise: don’t expect the costs to stop there.

Friday Five

September 22, 2006 at 12:30pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

For something a little different, here are five Lincoln businesses I couldn’t live without:

  1. Hy-Vee. I know Hy-Vee isn’t locally owned, but I have always preferred their stores to other options available in town. And when I travel out of town and need to visit a grocery store—such as when The Missus and I were in Boston for nearly two weeks this summer—I always feel lucky to have such a good store here at home.
  2. Avant Card. I purchase almost all of my greeting cards at Avant Card, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Why buy Hallmark when you can choose from Avant Card’s eclectic collection? Plus, their people are very helpful. Case in point: I was the first to know that we were getting Robbie, so I went down to Avan Card and asked if they had any Mother’s Day cards. Except, it was a couple weeks after Mother’s Day. But they came through and gave me a huge box of cards to browse through. I found the perfect one, and it made telling The Missus about Robbie so much more fun.
  3. Lincoln Running Company. Ann Ringlein’s store on P Street is the place to buy running shoes if you’re a local runner. But it isn’t just the shoes. The people are always helpful and knowledgeable, and Ann is, well, she’s Ann, and who doesn’t love Ann?
  4. The Mill. Well, actually I could go thorugh life just fine without The Mill, because I don’t drink coffee. But the thought of putting up with The Missus in a world without her coffee fix from The Mill is downright frightening. (Just kidding! Please don’t change the locks!)
  5. Ivanna Cone. I brag about Ivanna Cone all the time, but seriously folks, can you imagine if we had to go through summer without Ivanna Cone? I shudder at the thought.

What Lincoln business(es) could you not live without?

In the Year 2030

September 22, 2006 at 12:25pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

The Lincoln/Lancaster County Planning Commission has released a draft of its 2030 update to the Comprehensive Plan. I encourage you to check it out, not only to see where Lincoln is going (not too many surprises), but also to see how well Lincoln has followed the plan so far (I give the City a D).

Fly High This Weekend

September 22, 2006 at 12:20pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

I’m crushed. Ever since I heard about the upcoming Lincoln Air Show several months back, I’ve been looking forward to going. But I’m out of luck, since I have been assigned to referee soccer matches out of town on both Saturday and Sunday. Hopefully you aren’t so unlucky. Gates are open from 9:30am to 5:00pm, and admission is free. Let me know how it is. In fact, if you take photos, send them my way and I will post them here on Lincolnite.

Nealo on Lowes

September 22, 2006 at 1:00am By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Am I missing something, or is there a glaring error in Neal Obermeyer’s cartoon today?

Paul’s BBQ is Now Open

September 22, 2006 at 12:15am By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

As it turns out, Inna’s Pirogi wasn’t the only new, local restaurant to open on Tuesday. Paul’s BBQ opened on Pioneers Boulevard (between 47th and 48th Streets) the same day. The Missus and I grabbed dinner there tonight sort of by chance, since we found ourselves without any food in the kitchen. The restaurant gives off a definite small town vibe—it reminds me a lot of a place called Mick’s that used to be in downtown Firth. The interior features around ten tables with four chairs each. Patrons order at the counter, and your food is brought out to you a few minutes later. The menu is small, but just what you’d expect: chicken, ribs, pork, and brisket are the major entrees, and the sides include fries, beans, and cole slaw. Come to think of it, the menu at Paul’s BBQ is a lot like the menu at many of the Ribfest joints.

Paul’s needs some time to work out a few kinks—they were already out of several menu items due to heavier-than-expected business in their first few days—but I think once they do, they’ll find themselves welcomed warmly to the College View neighborhood.

A pulled chicken sandwich at Paul's BBQ

(Sorry for the crummy photo!)

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