Latest Blog Posts

Save the Industrial Arts Building

September 20, 2010 at 1:20pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Direct from my inbox:

Please go to www.savetheiab.com for details on the No Wrecking Ball, a benefit for the Industrial Arts Building.

September 30, Welfare Hall, 1430 No. 10th, 5:50-9:00 pm. The Rockerfellers will be playing, we’re selling signed photos of the IAB by Joel Sartore - food, fun, suggested donation of $10 will be used to further publicize the plight of the IAB.

I personally am not on the “save the IAB” bangwagon. It doesn’t strike me as a particularly worthwhile effort. But hey, we all tilt at windmills now and then. If you’re feeling a bit quixotic these days, head on over and see what options are still available to the cause.

No Longer Seeing Starz

September 17, 2010 at 12:45pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

No offense to the good folks at KLKN, but I’ve got to say I really preferred Starz Kids and Family over their content. Alas, the siege is over. We’ll likely never know who caved and for how much, nor will we really know who was the “bad guy” (though plenty of people have their guesses). I wonder if KLKN took these past two weeks to work on the signal they send to Time Warner. A guy can hope, can’t he?

Who Stole the Cookie From the Cookie Jar?

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

It amazes me that people call the police for things like a stolen cookie worth all of $0.75. And a suspension? Come on, you’re joking, right? Granted that story is one snapshot out of what could be a series of incidents so it’s best to not be too quick to judge. Still, you’d hope LPS could exercise a little creativity here.

Then again, “creativity” in punishing this sort of offense would probably send a non-trivial proportion of parents straight to their lawyer. Better safe than sorry, I suppose. Ugh.

Explain This One To Me

September 16, 2010 at 12:45pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Who takes a snake to a shopping mall in a McDonald’s bag and leaves it sitting in a corner? No really. Who does such a thing?

Was it some kind of prank? If so it was a mighty lame prank. There are oodles of far better ways to pull a prank with a snake. Leaving a snake sitting in a corner isn’t much of a prank at all.

Was it a plea to take the snake off somebody’s hands? Fine, but why take it to a mall of all places. And why in a McDonald’s bag?

Was it art? Is art art?

I give up. People are weird.

Wilsons’ Story

September 15, 2010 at 12:55pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

MyBridge Radio (95.1 FM) is featuring our foster care story on the air this week. You can hear our two-minute bit here.

Storm Damage

September 15, 2010 at 12:40pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Although we didn’t see much action here at 625 Elm Street from the storm the other night, some areas took a good pounding. Moses sent me some photos from near Ithaca (up around Wahoo):

Hail stones:
hail stones

Damaged beans:
damaged beans

Damaged corn:
damaged corn

Thanks for the photos, Moses!

Dirty Dancing in Lincoln

September 14, 2010 at 12:50pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Whatever you think about the appropriate time for bars to close, can we all agree that a law barring dancing after 1a.m. is really stupid?

“Public dancing” is a pretty silly thing for a City Council to regulate. I hope the Council doesn’t just adjust the time (to match the new 2a.m. bar closing time), but actually wipes the law off the books completely. In the mean time, I hope all you young kids out there take this opportunity to go out and break this particular law. That way when you have kids you can tell them harrowing tales about how when you were younger you rebelled against The Man by dancing after dark. They’ll be impressed both by your moxie and the fact that you apparently grew up during the dark ages.

This little hiccup in the law isn’t all fun and games. It illustrates how rushing to change one ordinance (bar closing times) can have unforeseen effects on other ordinances. At this point the City still doesn’t know how many laws may be affected. In this particular circumstance the consequences of conflicting laws are likely pretty minor. Still, I hold that it’s good practice to not rush changes unless it’s absolutely necessary. Ensuring that folks can get drunk later into the night doesn’t exactly fit the bill.

Missed Out

September 14, 2010 at 12:45pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

So apparently there was a storm or series of storms in Lincoln last night. Yet here at 625 Elm Street life carried on pretty much like normal. There was a little wind, a little rain ... and that was all. Honestly I feel like I missed out on something exciting. Since I love storms yet I was unable to enjoy last night’s storm on my own, perhaps you can give me some vicarious enjoyment by telling us about your harrowing storm-related tales. Pretty please?

Where in Lincoln is this?

September 13, 2010 at 3:26pm By: Mr. T Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

image

EDIT: Solved!

Read more...

Worse Off

September 13, 2010 at 12:50pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

The Journal Star’s editors picked on Nebraska’s foster care system the other day in an editorial. The piece, headlined “Foster care numbers troubling”, argues that because Nebraska has some of the highest rates of children in foster care in the United States, that makes Nebraska a child-stealing, parent-hating, monstrous place. Whereas the Journal Star’s editors think throwing numbers around is enough to make their case, I require a bit more rigor from my data analysis. Numbers alone aren’t enough to diagnose those flaws, and they certainly aren’t enough to direct us toward solutions.

Make no mistake: there are oodles of flaws in Nebraska’s foster care system. The flaws negatively affect the kids, the parents, the foster families, the foster care agencies, and yes, even the State. I’ve only barely been a part of the system and already I can list myriad complaints, either my own or others’.

Yet among all the numbers—and many of them are downright depressing—I don’t see much depth. That’s true of the LJS editorial, and of advocacy pieces I’ve seen around the web. It is difficult for me to make the leap from “these numbers look bad” to “these numbers actually represent terrible situations”. Consider that “Nebraska ... ranks second-worst in the nation in the number of children in foster care compared with the number of impoverished children. Leading child-welfare advocates are saying that many cases of neglect that lead to child removal really come down to poverty, which can be dealt with without putting the children in foster care.” The numbers (we’re 2nd-worst!) suggest Nebraska is doing something wrong. But is that actually true? Is Nebraska punishing poor families for the non-crime of being poor? It’s quite possible we are. On the other hand there could be other factors at play. Perhaps poverty in Nebraska—a large chunk of it rural poverty—is different in some way such that situations for children are worse than in other places. Or maybe we do a crummy job providing social services to the poor. And just what does that word “many” mean in the LJS editorial? How many is many? Surely if there are many stories, some of the affected families want to talk about it. These stories need to be told!

The line in the editorial that really irks me was this one: “Despite the good intentions of those seeking to take children out of situations involving abuse and neglect, for most of those children, foster care leads to worse outcomes than leaving them in the problem homes in the first place.” I’m going to have to call baloney here. For “most” children coming from situations involving abuse and neglect, foster care is worse than the alternative? That simply doesn’t pass the smell test. Life in the foster care system may not be all roses and candy canes, but it’s sure as heck better than being abused or neglected. Perhaps the LJS is alleging that many of the things currently being called “abuse” and “neglect” don’t really deserve those titles, and thus foster care is a cure worse than the disease for “most” kids. That’s possible. But that’s not what the editors’ words actually say. They suggest it’s generally better to live with abusers than to have to live with strangers. I disagree.

The Journal Star’s approach may annoy me, but I’ll give them this: they’re covering a critical topic. I hope they continue—and continue relentlessly—even if I don’t always like how they do it. This topic needs to be in front of the public until the public demands (and receives) fixes. The problems with Nebraska’s foster care system are in fact symptoms of much larger problems with how Nebraska addresses issues like social services, crime, and mental health. As we work to fix foster care, we can’t help but address bigger matters as well.

Hear Me Promote Foster Care

September 10, 2010 at 2:30pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

The Missus and I have been featured a couple times already today in a radio ad on MyBridge Radio (95.1 FM) as part of the station’s promotion of Christian Heritage‘s 30 in 30 campaign. The campaign’s goal is to recruit 30 new foster families in September. If you’re listening to the radio today, tune in to 95.1 to hear us.

And yes, I’m going to go ahead and plug foster care again. It’s not for everybody, but if you think it might be for you and your family I encourage you to learn more. Remember, there are several different types of foster care. You can participate in any of the types, at your discretion. Every little bit helps.

Manor Millions

September 10, 2010 at 12:20pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Lancaster County has $2.6 million it doesn’t know what to do with. The funds are left over from the sale of Lancaster Manor. Now we just need to figure out what to do with it. That’s a nice problem to have.

County Commissioner Ray Stevens would like to see the money go to a foundation that will provide community-level funding on an ongoing basis. It’s hard to be against something like that. On the other hand, $2.6 million could go a long way toward solving one or more problems now. Or we could drop property taxes, an always popular move.

If it weren’t so expensive to pull off, I’d say we give every person in Lancaster County a $10 voucher (I rounded) that they can only spend in Lancaster County. Our own little stimulus! It might could work. Or maybe it would be a disaster. Hey, there are no bad ideas in a brainstorming session, remember?

Anyway, what would you have Lancaster County do with its $2.6 million?

Where Were You…

September 10, 2010 at 12:00pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

...32 years ago on September 10, 1978? It was a Sunday.

I was in Atlantic, Iowa. I awoke, took a deep breath, and looked upon the world with a fresh pair of eyes. Then I spent the next few months mostly sleeping and/or eating. Life was good, if simple.

Where were you?

Is Our Situation With TWC Unusual?

September 9, 2010 at 12:45pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Plenty of Lincolnites like to moan about Time Warner Cable—their rates, their channels, their service, and so on. Lately the hot topic is Time Warner’s impasse with KLKN, leading to the television equivalent of a blue screen of death on channel 8. It isn’t uncommon to hear folks clamor for a new cable company, but the fact is there’s nothing preventing a new cable company from coming to town. Neither Time Warner nor the City of Lincoln has anything to do with our single-provider setup in Lincoln.

I wonder how “normal” our situation is, relative to other communities our size. Is it normal for a community of a quarter-million to have a single cable service provider? I tried doing a little research on my own but so far I’ve come up mostly empty. I don’t have the resources to be able to dig in to the issue as much as I would like.

Perhaps one of you has some expertise or experience in this area. Could it be that a population of 250,000 just isn’t large enough to support two major cable service providers? Or is Lincoln just unlucky, perhaps through some fluke of history, geography, or circumstance? If there were hope of making money here I have to think somebody would have stepped up by now. And yet ... nothing. I suppose there’s a small chance nobody knows about our little corner of the world, but I find that unlikely.

I’ve been holding out hope for Verizon ever since they brought their call center to town. My fingers are crossed.

Not Every State Fair Park Building is Being Demolished

September 8, 2010 at 12:45pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

In a bit of a surprise move—from my limited perspective anyway—Husker volleyball coach John Cook has given the thumbs-up to a plan to turn Devaney Center into a volleyball arena seating about 7,000 fans. I knew that hosting volleyball at Devaney was a possibility, but I worried that if it was going to happen Cook might have to be “forced” to accept it. As it is, it sounds like he’s all in favor. That’s good news for fans and for the team.

A quality, 7,000 seat volleyball venue should be a lot of fun. More fans means more energy and, from a business perspective, more revenue for a program that has earned it. I’m excited that it will be ever-so-slightly easier to get tickets to see the team.

Now that basketball is getting a new facility and volleyball is getting a new facility, oh how I would love to see soccer next on the list. The Nebraska soccer field is pretty sad in a lot of ways. I would love to see a new soccer stadium take shape somewhere near Haymarket Park where it would be home to the current Husker team, as well as the future men’s soccer team that will be formed after our entry into the Big 10. (Hey, as long as I’m dreaming, why not dream big?) If Creighton can do it, so can the Huskers. Right?

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