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First Day of School Traditions

August 17, 2010 at 12:20pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Tomorrow is not only the first day of school for LPS. It’s also the first day of school for The Wilsons as one of our kids enters second grade tomorrow. He’s the first school-age child to come out of 625 Elm Street.

When I was a child my mom always tortured my sister and me on the first day of school by dressing us up in new clothes and—gasp!—taking our photograph. Shocking, I know! I’m not sure why I always made such a big deal out of such a simple little thing. I suppose each year I felt like I was “too old” for the tradition.

The Missus and I are thinking about what sort of first day of school traditions we would like to start. Photos? A gift? Perhaps something the night before? I’m sure some of you have or had great traditions. What are (or were) yours?

School Week

August 16, 2010 at 1:00pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

As with most large organizations, LPS has lots of awesome individuals, but at times the overall organizational experience leaves you scratching your head. For example, the principal at our kid’s school has been awesome to work with. That’s comforting since I’m sure we’ll interact with him many times in the upcoming school year. On the flip side, we still haven’t received our “packet” of material that we’re supposedly supposed to have received by now. Apparently it contains oodles of important paperwork. It sure would be nice to have that stuff considering that school starts 48 hours from now. We didn’t even find out our kid’s teacher until Friday. When I was in elementary school I remember knowing my teacher in June.

In any event, The Wilsons are looking forward to tonight’s open house at school. I’ll be playing the role of solo parent with one excited second grader and two mischievous pre-schoolers. That should be entertaining.

The Missus, meanwhile, will be attending orientation night for Lancaster Learning Link. She will teach two math classes there this fall. She is very excited to get back into teaching after taking a few years off. Her two math classes combined with home preschool for our two young ‘uns ought to keep her educator juices flowing this fall.

How many of you are prepping for the start of school this week?

Where in Lincoln is this?

August 16, 2010 at 12:31pm By: Mr. T Posted in The Lincolnite Blog


EDIT: Solved!


Foster Care is a Money Pit

August 13, 2010 at 8:00pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Keep an eye on headlines like this: Child welfare reform proving costly for providers. I’m still pretty ignorant of the inner workings, but every indicator I’ve seen suggests that foster care is in deep doo doo right now in Nebraska. Lead contractors are losing millions; communication between participants is horrible; foster parents are over-stressed and under-compensated; and so on. For a system that’s supposed to serve some of the state’s most fragile populations, it’s in a remarkable state of disarray.

I’ve Been Living in a Hole

August 13, 2010 at 1:00pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

I don’t know where I’ve been hiding lately, but I completely spaced off the fact that Ribfest began yesterday and continues through Sunday. Perhaps my level of busyness of late is to blame. Or maybe it’s the fact that I’m mostly pescatarian these days. No matter—go get some bones this week outside Pershing Center.

If you take their word for this sort of thing, the folks behind Ground Zero rated Porky ‘n’ Beans #1 for the second straight year. In other words, expect them to have a heck of a line.

If paying a cover charge and standing out in the heat isn’t your thing yet you still like ribs, then maybe you’ll be interested in Buffmeat’s Best Ribs in Lincoln. It’s not a comprehensive list, but it ought to be enough to get you started.

Sporadic Internets

August 13, 2010 at 2:28am By: Mr. T Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Sheesh! Anyone have a good explanation for why the intertubes were down earlier?

Private Parking

August 12, 2010 at 12:55pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

The budget isn’t technically final at this point, but for all intents and purposes you can plan on parking enforcement in Downtown being privatized. If you thought tickets were handed out quickly before, you’re really not going to like what comes next.

I’m curious how this will all work out. Will the parking enforcement company be paid only with the quarters we deposit in meters? Will they receive a portion of ticket revenue? How much control, if any, will they have over meter and ticket rates? Lots of questions.

I fully expect the Journal Star’s Letters to the Editor page to be filled with complaints once the change takes effect. But practically speaking I doubt there will be many real differences from the status quo. I hope not, anyway.

Slow Down, You Move Too Fast

August 11, 2010 at 1:05pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Love or hate the notion of moving Lincoln’s bar closing time from 1:00am to 2:00am, surely you can agree that the world isn’t going to end if the City Council takes a few weeks to come to a decision. It seems obvious, doesn’t it? Yet certain City Council members are in a big rush. Why? To change the time before the first Husker football game? Helping Husker fans get super-extra-mega drunk (as opposed to just super-mega drunk) doesn’t strike me as a compelling reason to hurry the political process.

In any event, it seems like a 2am closing time is all but assured at this point, doesn’t it?

Running Out of Options

August 11, 2010 at 1:00pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

The Industrial Arts building on Innovation Campus is running out of options now that UNL has rejected the only redevelopment proposal offered by the July 1 deadline. For all the talk from the building’s supporters about how nifty the building is—and it is an interesting building—nobody seems willing to put up the money to save it.

From my angle it would have been nice to see the building saved—and there’s still a small chance it could be—but I’m not going to lose a wink of sleep over its demolition. “Old” and “funny-shaped” aren’t good enough reasons to save a building. Neither is the fact that lots of people have fond memories of the building. Those factors make it worthwhile to put in a little extra thought before demolishing the building, but without a viable long-term plan they just aren’t enough to save the building outright.

I suppose the building’s supporters can hope that some white knight shows up with millions in cash and an offer the University can’t refuse, even at this late date. He had better hurry up.

It’s Hot. Damn Hot.

August 10, 2010 at 1:10pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

This seems appropriate:

Do Other Cities Have Foresters?

August 10, 2010 at 1:00pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

One question I haven’t seen answered so far in the discussion over the City Forester position is whether such a position is common among municipalities. Which types of communities have one, and which don’t? How does Lincoln’s forester position compare to others in terms of responsibilities, qualifications, pay, and so forth?

I’ve tried to find an answer on my own but so far my Google-fu is failing me. About the only thing I’ve discovered is that Omaha recently filled its Forester position after several years without one. That’s a step in the right direction. Who among you can help fill the gaps?

Where in Lincoln is this?

August 9, 2010 at 1:32pm By: Mr. T Posted in The Lincolnite Blog


EDIT: Solved!


Reflections on the County Fair

August 9, 2010 at 12:50pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

The Wilsons went to the Lancaster County Fair—I can’t bring myself to call it the “Super Fair”—yesterday. Yes, that’s right, we went on a miserably hot afternoon. Talk to The Missus about that.

I don’t know if the fair is particularly “super”, but there is a heck of a lot more activity at today’s county fair than there was back in my day. It’s no State Fair, but I’m not sure it needs to be. It’s enough of a fair to satisfy most Lincolnites’ appetites for a fair experience each year, and that’s probably what organizers are after. The State Fair folks out in Grand Island can’t be happy about that. Even the midway is surprisingly adequate. Granted, my expectations for fair midways are pretty minimal. But my kids were pleased, and I never once thought I was going to die while riding the ferris wheel.

Still, it is “just” a county fair. You can only squeeze so many exhibitors out of Lancaster County. That limits browsing time. And only so many people are going to be interested in going to a county fair. As a result I think stretching the fair to 10 days is a mistake. I think a five- to seven-day fair would be more “dense” and therefore more enjoyable.

Now about those tickets. The “official” word is that you have to go to U-Stop to get your free tickets so that you can get in. You don’t. The “tickets” are nothing more than U-Stop coupons, albeit extremely fancy coupons. I appreciate that U-Stop is probably forking over some large amount of cash to support the fair. Good on them. But telling customers to jump through a lame and unnecessary hoop is off-putting and insulting. The tickets need to offer value to fairgoers or nobody will get them. The policy of not requiring a ticket is a good one. But how about those people who do show up with a ticket can redeem it for ... well, something. An even better U-Stop coupon perhaps. Anything to convert the ticket from a burden to a reward.

Who else among you have been to the fair, or plan to go this week? What are your thoughts on the experience?

Remember That Mexican Place Downtown?

August 6, 2010 at 1:00pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

For no reason in particular, Tico’s recently popped into my head. I haven’t thought about Tico’s in ages. Even when I drive right past it on 17th Street I barely give it a thought.

I’m curious if this “out of mind” phenomenon is unique to me, or if Tico’s—by all rights a bit of a Lincoln landmark—is really fading from the local consciousness. Have you eaten at Tico’s lately? (I haven’t.) Do you know anybody who has? (I don’t.)

I loved Tico’s when I was a kid. During my teenage years I liked to get the three- or four-item platter. The huge plate of food, combined with plenty of complimentary chips and salsa and a bowl of soup, was among the few things that could truly leave me stuffed. Oh, and the food tasted good, too. I suppose I should mention that. These days, though, my tastes for Mexican food have changed a bit. I’d just as soon have a torta from a mom and pop joint as a “fancy” (ahem) dinner at Tico’s.

Anyway, back to the original question. I still believe Tico’s has a role in Lincoln’s dining scene. But who’s keeping it going these days? Is it you?

A Good Walk Spoiled

August 5, 2010 at 1:00pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Lincoln—the City, that is—now owns five golf courses: Highlands, Mahoney, Pioneers, Holmes, and Ager. The courses require zero tax dollars, with user fees taking care of all expenses. All the courses are paid off in full.

Let’s do a little thought experiment. (And that’s all this is; I’m not actually proposing anything.) Why should a city own a golf course? Would Lincoln be better served by selling off one or more of the courses to private buyers? We sure could use an influx of a few million dollars. Why not go for it?

One argument against such a sale might be that the private buyer could close off access to the public or otherwise limit accessibility. There are many variations on that basic concern, some likely more valid than others. Those concerns could at least theoretically be put to rest, however, if the City were to place conditions on the sale. Would anybody want to buy a course with X, Y, or Z conditions? I don’t know.

Rather than continue with pros and cons I’ll open the floor to discussion. Should Lincoln hold on to its golf courses?

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