Latest Blog Posts

Least Surprising Headline of the Day

July 23, 2008 at 1:15pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Raise your hand if your surprised that one of the big dogs in Lincoln’s housing industry thinks Mayor Beutler’s cash handouts for new house purchases are a good idea. Heartland Homes’ Duane Hartman thinks that if the stimulus payments were at least $3,000, and if 200 people used those payments to buy a new house, the city would see a $1.4 million payday, or $7,000 per person. I don’t know where he got his $1.4 million figure, but let’s just go with it for now.

First, let me say that I agree with Mr. Hartman that Beutler’s $1,000 payments are much too low to do any good. I don’t know if $3,000 is the magic number, but it’s closer.

Beyond that, is it realistic to think that 200 extra people can be persuaded to buy a new house because of a single $3,000 payment? If a person would not purchase a new house without the payment, then sure, that’s a nice chunk of new cash for the city, and the one-time grant makes economic sense. On the other hand, if a payment goes to somebody who would have purchased a home anyway, then all the taxpayers are doing is subsidizing a larger down payment—with zero return to taxpayers—or perhaps the purchase of a new bedroom set (probably from Ernie’s or Nebraska Furniture Mart)—with a small return to taxpayers.

I wonder how you differentiate between those people who need the cash to buy a house, and those who don’t? We need to tell the groups apart in order to determine the success of the stimulus, but should we distinguish the groups in order to tell who gets the cash and who doesn’t?

The Winds of Change Blow Mainly on the Plains

July 22, 2008 at 1:50pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

We may be a ways from being known as Nebraska ... The Wind State, but NPPD is taking steps to add 400 megawatts of wind power to Nebraska’s power generation portfolio. The investment over the next 12 years could total $1 billion.

Now if we could just get some nuclear action to happen around here ...

No New Taxes; Few New Ideas

July 22, 2008 at 1:30pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

The City Council made a few tweaks to Mayor Beutler’s budget proposal yesterday. The skinny: no new taxes, and no one-time funds. That means, of course, that the Council will have to come up with another $1.5 million (or so). Unfortunately, nobody shared any bright ideas on where that money would come from.

Ken 'The Hammer' Svoboda

Ken “The Hammer” Svoboda says that he has more than $1 million in budget cuts—but he won’t share them with us just yet. He wants to discuss the cuts with department heads first. While I understand the desire not to spring any unpleasant surprises on City departments and to clarify with department heads the effects of various cuts, I also think it is important at this stage to put all ideas on the table. We should be doing some heavy brainstorming at this point, and as we’ve all learned in school, ideas put forth in a brainstorming session are just that: ideas, not proposals. Even mediocre ideas can help move the discussion forward.

Thanks, Garbage Dudes

July 22, 2008 at 1:25pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

I just want to give a quick shout-out to the guys from Uribe Refuse who do our route every Tuesday morning. Robbie really looks forward to the weekly arrival of the garbage truck. Every Tuesday morning we wait until we hear the truck. Once we do, we go sit outside on the front porch and watch. When they get to our house, the guys are good about waving to Robbie and hamming it up for him. Today, Robbie even got to “help” one of the guys drag the trash can up the driveway. It’s a little thing, sure, but it made Robbie’s morning. I appreciate it when somebody takes a moment to humor a little kid.

A Good Barber in Lincoln?

July 21, 2008 at 5:02pm By: Mr. T Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

My old barber just packed up and left town in a flurry. If anyone knows of a good barber (preferably someone who specializes in men’s hair) please weigh in.

Where in Lincoln is this?

July 21, 2008 at 1:45pm By: Mr. T Posted in The Lincolnite Blog


Lincoln carnivore and grill master West A Dad correctly identified the location of this picture. Congratulations again West A Dad!

West A Dad leads the pack in correctly guessing the right location in this series (yes, I am keeping track).


A Bike Path Failure

July 21, 2008 at 1:30pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Some of Lincoln’s bicyclists are complaining about a section of the Jamaica North Trail. It’s easy to see why:

That is one screwed up trail. It’s very unfriendly to bikes in two ways. The first is its crookedness. You could get seasick on that thing. More importantly, it crosses many streets and driveways. Crosswalks and driveway crossings are very dangerous for bicyclists. Not to mention the problem of cars parked in driveways blocking all or part of the trail.

Others have already noted that this portion of the path probably should have been on-street, either with or without a marked bike lane. There’s nothing wrong with an on-street bike path, especially in a neighborhood like the one shown.

What do you think? Have you used the trail?

Did You Medal?

July 21, 2008 at 1:20pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

OK all you Cornhusker State Games participants ... how did you do? Did you rock the foosball table? Leave the other disc golf competitors in the dust? Don’t be shy; brag away!

Or are you like most Lincolnites in thinking, “the Cornhusker State Games were this weekend?”

Ethiopian Cuisine Comes to Town?

July 18, 2008 at 5:59pm By: Mr. T Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Yahya over at Holy Land Cuisine just told me he *may* convert Holy Land’s original North 27th location into an Ethiopian/Southern Sudanese restaurant. This strikes me as being a good business move as it would be - to my knowledge - Lincoln’s first restaurant exclusively offering such fare.

Nebraska ... The Corn Beef Wind State?

July 18, 2008 at 3:20pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Nebraska, like Texas, has oodles of potential for generating wind electricity from electricity

wind. Could you ever see Nebraska taking on a wind power initiative like Texas’ $5 billion project? Is it even a type of “green” energy worth the money, or should we put our money elsewhere if we’re going to spend that kind of dough?

It’ll Be Easy ... In Two Years

July 18, 2008 at 3:05pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

I see Lincoln is due to greet its first Staples in 2010 near 50th and O. I have never been in a Staples. Should I be excited, or is it just another run-of-the-mill office supply store?

Meet The Hammer

July 18, 2008 at 2:55pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Ken Svoboda

You have no idea how tempted I am to start calling Ken Svoboda by a new nickname” [last item].

Ken “The Hammer” Svoboda. I like it.

UPDATE: Thanks to West A Dad for the comment that inspired the image.

The Quad Countdown: No. 42 Nebraska

July 18, 2008 at 2:07pm By: Mr. T Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Husker blurbs hit the New York Times this morning in the Quad Countdown blog:

Husker fans, just try to forget the last four years ever happened….

Peanuts, Steak, and a Lot of Noise

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

The Missus, Robbie, and I dropped by the new Texas Roadhouse [Warning: audio] in Apple’s Way last night. It opened for business on Monday. We were eager to go because TR was actually one of Robbie’s first restaurants. We went to the location in Methuen, Massachusetts when he was just 4 weeks old. Here are some quick reactions to last night’s visit.

Two things about TR are obvious right away:

  1. It’s new. Customers don’t quite know how it all works, and the employees are green. Plus, the peanut shells haven’t had time to get ground into every surface. Patience is a virtue.
  2. It’s not from Texas. In fact, it’s from Indiana. This is a Texas-themed restaurant, not a Texas restaurant. There’s an important distinction there, like the difference between Disney’s Main Street USA and an actual main street.

The restaurant is very polished. From the television and chalkboard floor in the waiting area, to the nifty extendable tables, it’s obvious somebody has put some thought into how a restaurant should be put together. Then again, they also placed POS machines and server supplies in the path of major walkways. Why do designers do that?

It didn’t take me long to come to despise TR’s birthday celebration shtick. There’s a lot of hootin’ and hollerin’, the birthday boy or girl sits on a saddle, and then, on the count of three, everybody is supposed to yell ‘Yee haw!”. It’s the sort of thing that might be cute once, but it’s really intrusive, and it happened no fewer than five times last night. Five times! Apparently 10% of Lincolnites were born on July 16. Who knew?

Did I mention that TR is loud? It’s LOUD. Forget about having a conversation.

OK OK, but how was the food? [PDF] There were highs and lows. The Missus ordered the mushroom jack chicken sandwich ($7.79). The sandwich received a thumbs-up. The fries, on the other hand, were 25% potato and 75% seasoning. Those puppies were salty. I love salt, but a single bite of one fry was enough to make my eyes blink.

I went with the 10 oz. Fort Worth ribeye ($13.29) smothered in mushrooms and onions, with mashed potatoes and baked beans on the side. I ordered the steak medium, and it was fantastic. It was tender, it was juicy, it was cooked just right. Two thumbs up. The mashed potatoes, complete with lumps and skins, were good, too. I wasn’t a big fan of the baked beans, though. The flavor of the sauce just didn’t do it for me.

So let’s sum it all up: The joint was loud; the entrees were tasty; and the sides were hit and miss. Overall, it’s a place Lincolnites are going to love, not unlike the arrival of Famous Dave’s several years back. It’s going to be busy for a while, so if you go, you might want to give the call-ahead seating service a try (420-0155).

Fair Voters Come Up Short

July 17, 2008 at 1:45pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

The Fair Vote Nebraska folks came up short in their drive to get the matter of the State Fair’s move on the November ballot. Now they’re exploring their legal options. Great. I admire their spunk, but I really loathe the notion of a drawn-out legal battle on this issue. I wonder what their argument will be?

Whatever the case, supposedly we’ll know the group’s next move within the next couple days.

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