Latest Blog Posts

Three Fifty

April 22, 2008 at 1:38pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Well, folks, gas prices have hopped right on past the $3.50 mark. A couple years ago I predicted that $3.50 would be the “magic number” that would get people to cut back. I was wrong. Then again, that was back when the dollar was worth something. I hesitate to guess what the “magic number” is now. Actually, I’m not convinced there is a magic number at all. Besides, it’s not like anybody goes anywhere these days. They’re all inside playing video games.

Trashy Singles

April 22, 2008 at 1:19pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

If you’re as sick of all that “Single?” litter on the streets of Lincoln as I am, you’ll be glad to know that a woman has been ticketed for the offense. Kathryn Welch-Macaitis claims she didn’t know what she was doing is illegal, which of course explains why the signs always seemed to pop up overnight rather than in the light of day.

In some ways it’s a shame that Welch-Macaitis is the one being punished. The real offender is the company. My quick research indicates that the company is pretty shady. Here’s what I believe to be the company’s contact information:

NuStar Solutions, S.A.
El Cangrejo, F Street
Building No. 13, Main Floor
Panama City, Panama
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Unfortunately, the worst thing about the stupid signs is that they have made other local businesses more bold about putting litter of their own around town. My wife’s employer happens to be one such offender. Hopefully now that there’s a little publicity about the illegality of this sort of advertising they will stop.

9 South on O?

April 21, 2008 at 2:21pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

I missed it, but according to The Missus there was a note in Friday’s Ground Zero that the former Downtown Taco Bueno location has been acquired by the owner of 9 South Chargrill. Unfortunately, our Ground Zero is AWOL and I can’t find any such article on the Journal Star’s website. If any of you have Friday’s Ground Zero, could you take a look and post the info in the comments?

Surviving Downtown

April 21, 2008 at 1:40pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

The Journal Star’s Jean Ortiz had a nice piece yesterday about the difficulties of running a restaurant Downtown. I found it interesting, for example, that Roost’s Ryan Bird wouldn’t locate Downtown if he could do it all over again. Also notable was how the new owner of Planet Sub badmouthed the former management. I can’t say I disagree with his sentiments.

Shakeup

April 18, 2008 at 2:00pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

There was an earthquake yesterday well to the east of us. It was too far away to have any effect on us here in Lincoln, but it made me wonder: have any of you ever felt an earthquake here in Lincoln? I know it’s possible for us to feel the occasional tremor, but I can’t recall ever talking with anybody who had noticed one. I’m not talking about the retrospective “Yeah, I kinda felt something” when you heard the next day that there had been an earthquake nearby. I’m talking about feeling it at the time and pretty much knowing what it was. Anybody?

Does Amigos Have a Friend in Lincoln?

April 18, 2008 at 1:32pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Lincoln original Amigos is having some troubles, which is forcing them to move their headquarters to their store at 14th and Highway 2. Oddly, they also closed the “burrito box” at 33rd and Pioneers even though it was making money.

There was a time that Amigos was an impressive success story. They offered some of the best fast food around. Then two things began to happen: Lincoln underwent a restaurant revolution starting in the mid-90’s, substantially increasing Lincolnites’ dining options; and Amigos coasted, relying on its built-up goodwill to keep people coming back rather than investing resources in its food, properties, and people. Amigos really jumped the shark when it started to hybridize, offering burgers, donuts, and lord knows what else. It became the anti-Raising Caine’s.

Amigos has only itself to blame if it can’t successfully sell Mexican(ish) food in Lincoln. We love Mexican food in this town. DeLeon’s is booming. Tina’s is always busy. Oso Burrito expanded to two locations. And several national chains have either entered the Lincoln market or expanded their presence. All while Amigos has stagnated.

What Amigos needs at this point is a wrecking ball; an interior decorator; a chef; and a new image. Maybe they could get a referral discount if they sign up Taco Inn, too.

John McCain on Ethanol

April 17, 2008 at 2:00pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

I’m not a big ethanol fan. It’s not that I’m opposed to it in principle. Growing gasoline sounds like an awesome idea. Too bad the reality of the situation involves incredible waste, inefficiencies, and subsidies up the ying yang that still can’t make ethanol competitive.

That’s why John McCain’s recent comments on ethanol caught my eye:

But I’ll tell you what, I would eliminate ethanol subsidies. I would eliminate the tariff on imported ethanol. I think our market is being very badly distorted as far as food prices are concerned. I know you know food prices skyrocketed 17 percent in a very short period of time. That’s because we’re distorting the market. I’m for biofuels, I’m for all that stuff, but let’s let the market play. Let’s not subsidize ethanol or any other alternate form of energy. Let’s go ahead and take away the imports. Let’s eliminate sugar protection. My God, it’s amazing, still, the power of some of the sections of agriculture in America. And let’s eliminate loopholes that are specially targeted, rifle-shotted to specific industries and—both agriculture and business, and let’s let them all compete.

That’s one of the first things a presidential candidate has said this year that actually got me just a tiny bit excited. Not “I’m going to go vote for that guy” excited. But it’s a start.

Even early on I felt like the “ethanol boom” would ultimately prove bad—if not disastrous—for Nebraska. I hope I’m wrong. Yet I can’t shake the feeling that Nebraska’s agricultural sector is so desperate for short-term gains that they are ignoring the matter of long-term sustainability. Chasing corn-based ethanol is just one example.

If John McCain is elected president, will we see the subsidies he talks about disappear? Not a chance. Well, not without some substantial changes in Congress.

I’m not sure where the Democratic candidates stand on the issue. Their websites (Clinton, Obama) don’t directly address the subsidy matter, though they do both talk about “investing” in various “clean” energy sources. So far that sort of talk has given us some very wasteful ethanol subsidies. I’m sure some of you can help describe your favorite candidate’s stance.

Arena Open House Tonight

April 17, 2008 at 1:30pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Even though Lincolnites haven’t yet given the go-ahead for the Haymarket arena, the City is hosting an open house tonight at which you can express your thoughts on what the arena should look like. You can also submit comments online. Deena Winter has answered some of the basic questions you might have.

If you go:

Ridnour Room
809 P Street
4:00pm - 7:00pm

Pretty Flowers

April 16, 2008 at 6:42pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Cindy Lange-Kubick says Maple Lodge Park (20th and Euclid, between Prescott Elementary and Milder Manor) is looking especially pretty these days.


View Larger Map

You photogs out there may want to pay the park a visit. If you do, please be sure to share your shots with us.

To Tax the Users or Pull From Savings?

April 16, 2008 at 2:00pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

I understand State Senators’ discomfort with increasing taxes, but I think they made the wrong decision in taking money from the state’s cash reserve rather than increasing the gas tax to pay for roads needs. The gas tax is one of the fairest ways to pay for roads, short of setting up toll booths everywhere to directly target the users of a specific segment of road. The cash reserve, on the other hand, is funded by sales and income taxes. The long-standing precedent in Nebraska is to fund our roads budget with money that comes (primarily) from roads users; this decision by the Unicameral puts us on the path to forcing all sorts of state services to compete with roads for budget dollars.

Ultimately, the Unicameral’s decision is a shameless ploy to disguise a $15 million tax as “free” money. Taxpayers will still foot the bill, but the burden has been shifted away from those who will most benefit from the funds.

Time Machine: A Trip to the GI State Fair

April 15, 2008 at 1:45pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

I’m was a little slow to discover it—it originally aired on April 1—but the KLIN morning show’s spoof of the State Fair in Grand Island gave me a chuckle this morning. (Holdrege Senator Tom Carlson isn’t a fan.) It easily falls into the category of “it’s funny because it’s true”, and not just because of its portrayal of Grand Island.

Eating at the Union

April 15, 2008 at 1:35pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

UNL’s Student Union has hosted a number of different restaurants over the years. Currently the lineup is: Sbarro; Imperial Palace Express; Subway; and Burger King. But the lineup will soon get a shake-up. Burger King is leaving, to be replaced by Runza. That swap makes sense to me. On the other hand, the thought of Planet Sub replacing Subway boggles my mind. Maybe I’m just biased because I can’t get my disastrous first visit to Planet Sub out of my mind. But even on a good visit the food takes a few minutes to prepare. Can that work in a busy food court?

Notably, this opens the door for Burger King to locate somewhere else in Downtown. It has always seemed weird to me that there wasn’t a BK or McDonald’s Downtown. I could see the former Taco Bueno location hosting a BK in the near future.

Go Wild

April 15, 2008 at 1:30pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

The Lincoln Children’s Zoo opens today. You can be darn sure Robbie will hit the zoo a few dozen times this year. Last year he was really into it, but he didn’t really understand what he was looking at. This year it will be a lot of fun to watch as he learns names for all the animals. And considering his fascination with the elephant scatology and clean-up process at the circus (“Elephant poop! Scoop! Trash!”), I’m sure #2 will get some attention. Boy, will he ever be embarrassed by that when he’s a teenager…

Anyway, check out the Zoo this summer. Maybe we’ll see you there.

Sorry I Missed You, Susan

April 14, 2008 at 1:24pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

I admire politicians who literally go door-to-door trying to drum up votes in an upcoming election. It’s long and tedious work, and I’m sure you come across some real characters. I’ve always wanted to sit down and chat with a politician who comes to my door, but usually I just get lawn care companies and Boy Scouts selling popcorn. Until Saturday, that is. On Saturday, Susan Scott stopped by 625 Elm Street for a chat. Unfortunately, she caught me in the middle of a power nap between my niece’s birthday party and two soccer games I had to go ref. By the time I woke up and gained some coherence, Ms. Scott was already back on the sidewalk, making her way to the next house.

Did any of you have a chance to chat with Susan Scott this weekend? (She was in the vicinity of Zemann Elementary on Saturday.) Do any of you know much about her?

Lincoln Hits the Century Mark

April 11, 2008 at 1:17pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Matt Olberding notes an important milestone in Lincoln’s history:

One of the homes being built as part of the Journal Star’s Ulimate Home Delivery contest is in Waterford Estates and its address is 401 N. 100th Circle.

It’s my understanding that’s the first-ever three-digit street inside the Lincoln city limits.

I remember being wowed by addresses in the 7000’s.

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