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School Zone: No Taxes

July 31, 2008 at 2:05pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Lincoln State Senator Bill Avery wants Nebraska to follow Iowa’s lead and have an annual tax holiday during the back-to-school shopping season. It seems like an awfully Omaha-centric proposal. Who, besides folks in the Omaha metro, rushes to Iowa to shop every year? Consider folks driving from Lincoln. Let’s say you spend $15 on gas getting to Council Bluffs and back. If you save 5% on taxes, you would need to spend $300 just to break even. And that’s without factoring in the two hours of time you just lost. You don’t value your time at $0/hour, do you?

(Pst, if you do go to Council Bluffs, be sure to fill up your gas tank at the station just east of Ameristar. Cheapest I’ve found in the area.)

Maybe the problem is much greater in Omaha. But is it great enough that we would recoup the costs of applying this program across the state? Where’s an economist when you really need one?

The LJS article includes this bit:

Avery says he’s “tired of seeing parking lots in Council Bluffs full of cars with Nebraska license plates” and that he can’t blame Nebraskans for crossing the river. he plans to introduce a bill for a sales tax holiday next legislative session.

Well now I’m curious. What is Bill Avery doing hanging out at Council Bluffs shopping malls?

Civic Duty Time: The City Budget

July 31, 2008 at 2:00pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

It’s time to do your civic duty, folks, and study up on the proposed City budget. You might start with the Mayor’s proposal (summary [PDF]), and then move on to the Council’s version (summary [PDF]).

The City Council’s budget session is Monday, August 11 at 2:30pm, so if you’ve got something to say, that’s your time to do it.

Hard Times at the LJS

July 31, 2008 at 1:30pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

The Journal Star announced yesterday it has laid off 16 employees. Times they are a changin’ in the news industry, and this is just one symptom. The LJS still employs 424, so this isn’t a huge reduction, though try telling that to the folks who got laid off.

Interestingly, the very first commenter on the story suggests charging for online subscriptions. I’m sure the LJS is considering that. I’m not so sure that would be a good idea. Many media organizations much larger than the Journal Star have dropped or scaled-back their pay-for-content plans because they found that they weren’t as profitable as anticipated.

Gnawing on Bones

July 30, 2008 at 2:30pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Ribfest is coming up next weekend, August 7 - 10. How many of you would be able to make it over the lunch hour on either Thursday or Friday? I’ll even pay your admission fee!

Why So Quiet?

July 30, 2008 at 2:00pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Sorry things have been a little subdued around here lately. This blog—like most blogs—goes through the occasional periods of diminished activity. This is one of them. Here’s why:

First and foremost, work is keeping me busy. Since I’m self-employed, that’s a good thing. I can’t, unfortunately, tell you much about the project I’m working on right now, but it’s a biggie. I’m doing javascript, PHP, and ExpressionEngine work for a new website for a large, multi-national corporation. The site is due to launch on Friday “or people get fired” (as the guy I’m working for so succinctly put it). No pressure, right?

That’s on top of my regular workload. For example, last week I began working with a local small business to develop their first ever website. We haven’t signed a contract yet, but that should come this week or next.

Then there’s soccer. Last week, for instance, Nebraska Rush hosted other Rush clubs from around the country—Colorado, Michigan, Virginia, Arkansas, California, Hawaii—as part of a four-day clinic. They began each morning with games, so I got to help out there.

And of course there are the family responsibilities. Two year olds are awesome, but they do take time, don’t they? Robbie is on Day 3 of going diaper-less in the daytime. I’m not sure we’re welcome back in Barnes & Noble any more, but other than that, he is doing great!

Not that I’m trying to make excuses. I just don’t want you to think I’m sick, or burning out, or bored, or anything like that. It’s just the classic problem of too many responsibilities to fit into too few hours. I’ll have things back up to full speed just as soon as I can.

Mueller Planetarium is 50

July 29, 2008 at 1:20pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

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Mueller Planetarium is 50 years old. To celebrate, admission prices are being discounted to $0.50 for adults and $0.25 for kids this Saturday, August 2. If you haven’t been to the planetarium in a while—or if you *gasp!* have never been—this might be a good weekend to check it out.

Lincoln’s Thieves are Bored

July 29, 2008 at 1:15pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

OK, thieves of Lincoln, it’s time for you to explain yourselves. Who the heck steals a Daewoo? Twice?!

U-Stop Gets the Go-Ahead (Almost)

July 29, 2008 at 12:55pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

It is up to Mayor Beutler now to either continue the three year U-Stop saga at 21st and K, or give the project the thumbs-up after the City Council voted to do just that. This has to be one of the most micromanaged gas station projects in Lincoln’s history. The project has met all zoning restrictions and other regulations since Day 1, and yet the City has given the developer fits, preferring an empty parking lot over a $3.5 million development.

Can we just finish this thing already?

Agile Sports in the NYT

July 28, 2008 at 2:53pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

The New York Times has a nifty article on the front page of today’s sports section about Lincoln’s own Agile Sports. Congratulations, guys!

Hat tip: Jesse Whidden

How Does Your Garden Grow?

July 28, 2008 at 2:00pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

If your garden is like mine, you’re probably seeing the fruits of your labors by now. What’s coming up in your garden?

We have had some really nice cucumbers so far, a bunch of Hungarian yellow wax peppers, and a few cayenne and serrano chiles. My anaheim chiles are close to being ready, as are several varieties of sweet peppers. But the items I’m really concerned about? My three plants worth of habaneros. There are dozens of fruits on the plants. What the heck am I going to do with dozens of habaneros?

Has LES Waited Too Long to Hop on the Wind Bandwagon?

July 28, 2008 at 1:45pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

In a Sunday letter to the editor, Ron Kriha accuses LES of “not having the foresight” to explore so-called “alternative” energy sources. Given LES’s request for a 10% rate hike, Mr. Kriha is not alone in his sentiments.

I wonder if he is correct. Has LES waited too long to aggressively pursue new power generation possibilities?

Given all of the current uncertainties about gas prices and electricity rates, it’s easy to say yes. Time will tell if the numbers support that answer. After all, the costs of generating electricity from “green” (or “greener”) sources are just now coming down. Wind power costs have dropped to one-fifth their amount in the 1980’s, for example. An earlier switch would have meant higher initial costs. In fact, maybe costs are still too high for LES, relative to the alternatives. I would love to see those numbers worked out.

Anyway, while we’re busy pointing fingers at the utility, surely we also have to point into a mirror. Lincolnites certainly haven’t been clamoring for change. Quite the contrary; we’ve been content to sit back and enjoy our low rates with barely a peep about looking too far into the future. We may always want the latest and greatest facilities for our Husker athletic events, but we aren’t exactly the types to clamor to be among the early adopters of new and expensive power generation techniques and technologies.

If you’re curious, here’s a simple comparison of costs among various forms of electricity generation. According to those numbers, wind is much more competitive today than the last time I looked at cost comparisons. Remember, though, that those numbers are generalizations. Does anybody know how they compare to our actual local costs?

Where in Lincoln is this?

July 28, 2008 at 1:20pm By: Mr. T Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

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Nikki once again correctly identified where this picture was taken. Way to go Nikki! Your encyclopedia-like knowledge of Lincoln is impressive.

Read more...

I Don’t Know What a Bodega Is, But it Sounds Cool

July 24, 2008 at 1:15am By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

I doubt you’ll see me doing my weekly shopping there, but it’s cool to see a new grocery store in the Haymarket. Rojo’s Goods, located next to Old Chicago, focuses on the staples, but will almost surely evolve as it strives to meet the wants and needs of the Downtown residents who are most likely to shop there. Congratulations to owner Tissy McMahan

as well as the mysterious other owner(s) the Journal Star didn’t name in their article

and Mary Beth Kos!

Carmela’s is Open

July 23, 2008 at 1:55pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

I know almost nothing about it, but I hear Carmela’s Bistro and Wine Bar is open at 70th and Pioneers Boulevard. Our insurance agent told The Missus that he was headed to Venue the other day, but instead went to Carmela’s when he saw it was open. He described it as American with a bit of an Italian flair. He said it reminded him of Vincenzo’s, but less Italian-y. He said it was one of the better dining experiences in Lincoln.

With that brief, second-hand introduction in mind, let us know if you visit Carmela’s. Or maybe you haven’t been there but you know more about it. Please share.

Bike Trail News

July 23, 2008 at 1:45pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

I can’t believe it’s finally happening. Lincoln has for years been discussing the construction of a bridge over North 27th Street near X Street, and now it’s finally happening. It is an important component of the Mopac trail, which extends all the way from UNL’s City Campus to 84th Street and beyond.

In other bike trail news, I noticed construction equipment near the underpass at 48th and Highway 2. Looks like they’re finally going to repair the portion of the trail that was poorly rebuilt after work in and around nearby Beal Slough. Hopefully they get it right this time.

And one last item: I recently saw that the 27th and Capitol Parkway underpass is closed. What’s the story there?

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