Latest Blog Posts

Christmas Causes

November 29, 2012 at 2:25pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

This is, of course, the time of year that many folks get involved in all kinds of extra charity work. I’ve already gotten into the spirit a bit via some donations of used kid stuff, and our family has more activities on our plate: some stuff for Foster Care Closet; loading and unloading donated gifts for City Impact; and The Missus and the Young ‘Uns are ringing bells for Salvation Army.

I’m sure many of you have your own causes you’re supporting this winter, and others of you are probably looking for some opportunities. What are you involved in as we approach the holiday season? What opportunities would you like to plug?

Your Candidates

November 28, 2012 at 2:18pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Twenty-six individuals have thrown their names into the ring to try to become the next City Council member. They are:

  • Roy Christensen
  • Karla Cooper
  • Allan Eurek
  • Darlene Fletcher
  • Connie Hilligoss
  • Lloyd Hinkley
  • William Jackson
  • John Lenich
  • James Lisec
  • Tyler Mainquist
  • Megan Mikolajcyzk
  • Britt Miller
  • Tom Nesbitt
  • Marcella Ochsner
  • Perry Pirsch
  • Amanda Podwinski
  • Franklin Roby
  • Bennie Shobe
  • Matt Starr
  • Scott Stuart
  • Ross Teske
  • Daniel Thompson
  • Bob Van Valkenburg
  • Diane Walkowiak
  • Kristin Yates
  • Judy Zohner

Most of the individuals are relative unknowns. You can learn more about them by perusing their applications. You’ve got everything from a lawyer with a background in Celtic Studies, to somebody who still uses AOL, to the father of a good friend of mine.

So ... who should be chosen?

Trapping in the City

November 27, 2012 at 3:10pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Do any of you have any experience with local restrictions on trapping within Lincoln? I noticed a trap in a neighbor’s yard this morning and it felt out of place. I asked around on Twitter and I was directed to Chapter 6.04 of the City code. That ordinance specifies that certain types of traps are illegal—evil, nasty, inhumane sorts of traps—but apparently the act of trapping itself is not prohibited. I suppose that’s fine. There are legitimate reasons to trap an animal.

Still, I’m surprised that City ordinances don’t talk more about “good” trapping versus “bad” trapping. The trap I saw this morning seemed to be intended for squirrels or rabbits or something. But what if the neighbor’s dog or cat were to get caught? Are there any regulations describing what I can or must do with a trapped animal? I’m sure that stuff is written down somewhere—state law, perhaps?—but I haven’t come across it yet.

I could of course ask the neighbor what the trap is for and settle my curiosity. Unfortunately we don’t exactly have that kind of relationship. His home isn’t adjacent to mine and our earlier interactions have been ... cold. (He once yelled at me because my dog stepped on his grass while I was walking her. She didn’t poop or pee. She stepped on the grass.) If I were to knock on his door I’m afraid he’d take any questions negatively. So I’m left to wonder what sort of fearsome suburban critter is worthy of being trapped (and what will happen to it once it’s caught).

Semi-related memory time: Once when I spent the night at a friend’s house I heard an occasional “pop” from outside. It turns out his father was sitting on the balcony shooting squirrels off the power lines with a pellet gun. At the time I didn’t know whether to find that hilarious or horrifying. He was a damn good shot from what I remember.

Where in Lincoln is this?

November 26, 2012 at 2:28pm By: Mr. T Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

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EDIT: Solved.

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Nope, Nope, and Nope

November 20, 2012 at 2:00pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Mayor Chris Beutler said nope, nope, and nope to the three Pershing Center replacement proposals. His reason in all three cases: taxpayers would be on the hook for too much in each situation.

I haven’t evaluated any of the proposals in near enough detail to know for certain that Beutler made the right move here, but what I do know of his reasoning seems sound enough. He hasn’t said no to any of the basic ideas. Rather, he has rejected the amount of taxpayer investment required through TIF, site preparation costs, ongoing expenses, and so forth. In other words, any of the proposals could still happen as long as the funding structure changes to something more palatable.

So what does this mean? At this point it doesn’t mean much of anything. We’re still two years away from when the site will be available to developers so there is plenty of time to develop alternative proposals. And realistically it’s not so awful if Pershing sits unoccupied for just a little while, giving us even more of a buffer. (We don’t want a vacant Pershing for too long, of course. A vacant year won’t devastate Downtown.) If anything, delaying any decision about Pershin’s future may be a good thing, particularly if it becomes a private project instead of a public one. Why? Lincoln has a history of latching onto exciting projects early only to see the development wither (or die) by the time the “go” date is reached. Fall 2014 is a long time from now. Who knows what might happen to a developer during that time if we were to make a soft commitment today.

The proposals on the table are still good ideas and any one of them could still happen. Hopefully next year at this time, while we’re excited about the newly-opened Pinnacle Bank Arena, we’re also excited about a new batch of proposals that are more taxpayer-friendly. Given the trajectory of Lincoln’s economy and the continued pattern of growth Downtown, I don’t see any reason why that couldn’t happen.

Where in Lincoln is this?

November 19, 2012 at 2:31pm By: Mr. T Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

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EDIT: Unsolved.

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Men Among Saint E’s

November 16, 2012 at 1:29pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Just a quick post to let everybody know that I’ve spent too much time at St. Elizabeth’s these past couple days. My oldest boy, Joey, has been here since Wednesday evening after having surgery to remove a burst appendix. He’s doing well. Depending on his white blood count he’ll probably be discharged tomorrow, but there’s a chance we’ll get him out of here tonight.

I’m dying to write about the new intersection designs for 14th and Old Cheney and Warlick. The proposals sure are interesting. But does “interesting” equal good?

Happy Friday everyone!

Cops and Robbers

November 14, 2012 at 2:30pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Perhaps the data show something different, but it seems that in Lincoln different crimes come and go in waves. Right now robbery appears to be the crime of choice. Last year LPD investigated 18 robberies. This year we’re already up to 37, with 8 so far in November.

I don’t have a guess as to why robberies are up this year. You can’t really blame the economy. Lincoln escaped most of the brunt of the recession, and to the extent we were affected we’ve pretty much rebounded. If the economy were to blame, you’d think robberies would have been higher the past few years while dropping this year. Some crime patterns follow the weather, but that doesn’t seem like a likely explanation in this case. If you’ve got a hypothesis I’d love to hear it.

While LPD is working on all these robberies, perhaps you can help them out by taking a peek at the Lincoln Crimestoppers website. Who knows, maybe you’ll recognize somebody, help solve a crime, and pick up a cash reward.

Where in Lincoln is this?

November 13, 2012 at 12:52am By: Mr. T Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

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EDIT: Solved!

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Idea for Antelope Valley

November 12, 2012 at 2:40pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Four developers have come forward with ideas for redeveloping part of Antelope Valley near 21st and N Streets.

The general tone of most of the proposals is fairly predictable: somewhat mixed uses including housing of various sorts. One proposal does stand out as very different. Plant Oasis Group proposes a botanical garden and a plant conservatory. I don’t know if that’s practical or particularly interesting to Lincolnites, but you’ve got to give the group credit for bringing something different to the table.

The City’s history with these sorts of redevelopment proposals is mixed. But these four ideas, unlike the infamous Catalyst One, actually sound more or less achievable. Not only that, but they’re doable on a relatively short timeline. That makes them feel more real and thus, I hope, more likely to generate interest and excitement.

Do you have a favorite among the proposals? Would you have expected anything different for the area in question?

Hornung Hangs it Up

November 9, 2012 at 2:55pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Adam Hornung has quit the City Council to pursue a new job. That’s a pretty surprising move considering he’s the Council chairman. His term would have ended in May 2013.

(A quick side rant: I was going to link you to a 10/11 story so you wouldn’t have to worry about the Journal Star paywall. But bizarrely, there is no mention of Hornung on their news page. Ouch.)

I’m curious to see how Lincolnites react to Mr. Hornung’s departure. On the one hand, work happens and it appears that Hornung’s opportunity isn’t the sort that you turn down. He has to take care of himself and his family first. He’s doing that, so good for him.

Yet he entered into a contract, of sorts, with his constituents when he ran for and won the Council seat. He told the public that if he were elected he would represent them for four years. With this move he has violated that contract. Voters have a right to be peeved.

Mayor Beutler now finds himself in an interesting spot because he gets to appoint Mr. Hornung’s replacement. Hornung wants Mark Whitehead to win that appointment. Beutler, meanwhile, might be more inclined to appoint somebody a bit more ideologically comparable to himself. Expect some fun partisan back-and-forth both before and after the appointment is made. Or Mayor Beutler could save himself the trouble and appoint somebody who is adored city-wide and who is decidedly non-partisan. Yours truly would do an excellent job, don’t you think?

Do you have any guesses on who else might be on the shortlist for the seat?

Praising Cane’s

November 9, 2012 at 2:45pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Those of you who get giddy over Raising Cane’s chicken fingers will be glad to hear that their Downtown location opens today. If you’re one of the first 100 in line—I’m told there are already a few dozen waiting—you have a chance to win free grub for a year.

I’m not a huge chicken finger guy so I greet this news with little excitement. But boy, some people are fiercely passionate about their Raising Cane’s chicken and their dipping sauce. Whatever floats your boat, folks.

Enjoy new restaurant number 76, Downtown diners.

Eating Out Today?

November 8, 2012 at 4:15pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Eating out today? Consider checking your favorite restaurant’s inspection history to see if they show a pattern of naughty behavior. Only the worst violations are shown in this database. If you want day-to-day minor violations you can see them at journalstar.com.

Belated Post-Election Wrap-Up

November 8, 2012 at 2:30pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

I sat out of post-election news for a day to let things settle. Now that we’ve all had a chance to process the happenings, here are a few of my reactions.

1. I’m glad the storm sewer bond issue passed. It’s too bad the margin of victory was only 55-45, though. I suspect a large chunk of those who voted “no” voted reflexively against the notion of a new line on their property tax bills. These sorts of bond issues, which come up every couple years, are critical to sustaining Lincoln’s infrastructure needs. These aren’t cute or pet projects; they address fundamental livability issues.

2. I’m surprised Kate Bolz won her battle against Larry Zimmerman in my legislative district. Ms. Bolz had a brilliant grassroots campaign effort. I met her twice via door-to-door visits, and her campaign staff made contact via personal phone calls. That’s powerful stuff for voters. Mr. Zimmerman’s campaign, on the other hand, was paralleled by big-money supporters who relied solely on mailings riddled with scare tactics, name-calling, and bad grammar. Regardless of what you think about the candidates themselves, it’s nice to see that the personal touch was victorious.

3. I’m positively giddy that Governor Heineman’s favorite local candidates were shot down. I don’t necessarily have anything against the candidates, but anything that makes Heineman sad puts a smile on my face. The Unicameral (justifiably) destroyed him in the 2012 session on Child Welfare Reform and other issues. I’m eager to see that continue.

4. As far as I’ve heard, voting at local polling places proceeded smoothly as usual. That’s something to be a proud of, particularly in light of all the snafus around the country. You can thank your local poll workers for a large part of that. Interested in helping out next time around? Learn more about becoming a poll worker.

5. The Journal Star seems to think that Taylor Martinez’s party affiliation is newsworthy. It’s weird enough to me that we worship these kids as idols, do we really need to drag them through the muck of politics too?

One More Thing…

November 6, 2012 at 3:00pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Oops! I completely forgot to talk about one issue that’s on the ballot today. There’s a $7.9 million bond issue for storm sewers and such. These bond issues pop up every couple years, and typically they pass relatively easily. That’s good. They feature critical infrastructure concerns that, while not sexy enough to deserve their own commercials and yard signs, are extremely important to our city. I strongly encourage you to vote FOR this year’s bond issue.

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