Latest Blog Posts

In Stitches

March 31, 2008 at 1:48pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Did any of you make it to the grand opening of the International Quilt Study Center and Museum this weekend? My family has a long history with quilting, so I know I’ll be making the trip to 33rd and Holdrege in the near future. Good work, folks; the facility looks great.

Dan Brown’s Rubik’s Cube Video

March 31, 2008 at 1:28pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

The JournalStar has mentioned Lincolnite Dan Brown’s award-winning How to solve a Rubik’s Cube (Part One) about 36 times over the past couple weeks. If you haven’t already seen it, here it is:

Good work, Dan!

Loyal Lincolnites, I Need Your Advice

March 28, 2008 at 2:07pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Lately I’ve been thinking about scrapping all of the (woefully unused) “extras” on Lincolnite and turning lincolnite.com into “just” a blog. All the extra stuff I’ve had planned just isn’t going to happen right now, just as it hasn’t been happening for months (and months and months). I think I’ve let the overall “Lincolnite” concept languish because I’ve been unable to reach all of my goals with the site. (My big dream, by the way, is [was?] a comprehensive community resource.) The site currently generates $0 for me. I can’t spruce things up without it paying for itself, and it’ll never pay for itself if I don’t spruce it up. Chicken, meet egg.

I’m starting to think that I need to focus my sights on an attainable goal. That goal? Making Lincolnite a “damn good blog”. I can see that happening. It’s sort of like paying off a big pile of debts. If you focus on how far you are in the hole, you feel overwhelmed. But if you nibble away at the little debts first, you feel successful and empowered.

If I do make some changes, I think I will also begin placing advertisements on the site. I’ve had a few people contact me about advertising on Lincolnite. Up until now I’ve said “I’m not quite ready for that”. I think it’s time. But don’t fret, there won’t be any obnoxious seizure-inducing animations or v1@6ra sales pitches. Lincolnite is my baby, and I’m not going to let just anybody slap a tattoo on her forehead. Besides, I know you folks’ll let me have it if I go too far.

I would love to hear your thoughts on these and related topics.

It Ain’t Easy to Buy a BMW

March 28, 2008 at 1:29pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

I’m intrigued by Ken Tanisaka’s battle with Husker Auto Group. The skinny: Mr. Tanisaka placed the winning bid for a BMW on eBay. Husker Auto then said, “Whoops! We didn’t mean to sell it at that price.” Now the blogosphere is up in arms over the whole thing, and Husker Auto is getting a ton of flack from around the country.

The difference between the car’s “intended” minimum price and the price Mr. Tanisaka bid is something like $7,000. I find it hard to believe that the virtual flogging Husker Auto is receiving is worth seven G’s. It’s not the fact that they won’t sell that bothers me; if the lower price really was a mistake, and if the auction is correctable under eBay policies, then there’s no problem. What bothers me is how poorly the dealership is managing the situation. They’re not only allowing themselves to be portrayed as a villain, they’re actively playing the role. Why?

A Storm Watcher’s Delight

March 28, 2008 at 1:14pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Tomorrow is the Central Plains Severe Weather Symposium, an all day severe-weather event at Hardin Hall, 33rd and Holdrege. It’s a pretty neat event for those folks who, like me, are fascinated by severe weather.

I also like to find shapes in the clouds. When I look at the CPSWS logo I see a guy wearing a battleship hat. What do you see?

Done Deal?

March 28, 2008 at 12:59pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

The talk over the past couple weeks regarding the future of the State Fair seems to have shifted. Its future in Lincoln appears less and less likely. I don’t want the Fair to leave, but if I had to choose between the State Fair and “Innovation Park”, I would pick the latter every time. And Grand Island—the frontrunner for the Fair’s new location—isn’t a terrible place for it to go.

My question for you is this: Do you think Lincoln still has a realistic shot at keeping the Fair in town, or is its move out west all but inevitable at this point?

Dear Marcus Corp.

March 27, 2008 at 1:41pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Now that it’s official that Douglas Theatres has been purchased by Marcus Corporation of Milwaukee, I’m curious to see where this takes us. I don’t expect any immediate changes, but it’s not unreasonable to assume that over the next three years Lincoln’s theaters will evolve a bit. I think the three biggest questions right now are:

  1. Will we see a new second-run theater?
  2. Will north Lincoln finally get a theater?
  3. Will Lincoln relax its rules governing the size and placement of theaters, thus inviting competition?

What questions do you have for Marcus at this point? If you could give them advice about operating theaters in Lincoln, what would you say?

Money, TIF, Beer, Bikes, and Eschliman

March 26, 2008 at 1:17pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Deena Winter’s column this week touches on all sorts of topics. It’s a good read.

  • First up, Ms. Winter notes Mayor Beutler’s $1.615 million in unfunded commitments. Mayor Beutler says he’s short on cash because the budget is so lean. That sounds like a perfect excuse to not spend cash we don’t have, but that’s not how these things seem to work. Mayor Beutler has proposed an “economic opportunity fund” for the sorts of wants he can’t currently afford. It would allow the funding of “high-priority projects” in a “timely manner”. That sounds a lot like an “I’ll do whatever I want with it” fund with very little public or City Council oversight. Sorry, Mayor, but I’ll pass.
  • Next, City Councilman Jon Camp thinks we might be TIFing too much. I don’t know if we are or not, mainly because budgets aren’t my strong suit. But I do know that plenty of people have been complaining about overTIFification for a couple years. I wouldn’t mind hearing more community dialog about TIF.
  • Third, Ms. Winter raises the question of whether we should allow alcohol sales in our (hypothetical) new arena. I say, “Heck yeah!” Darn tootin’ I want the beer-drinkin’ crowd to subsidize my arena-going experience. If Dr. Tom says the Huskers won’t play if alcohol is on the premises, fine; just lock up the kegs (and cover up the advertisements) when the Big Red are in the house. But to bar alcohol sales altogether will just make the going even tougher for Nelnet Events Center.
  • The bike lanes are working? I wonder what the Pedestrian-Bicycle Advisory Committee’s definition of “working” is. I suppose they aren’t not working. That’s something. Still, can we really call the lanes a success? If we’re going to spend money on biking, I would very strongly prefer that money be spent on improving Lincoln’s trail system. The Downtown bike lanes feel like little more than a political statement, rather than a transportation revolution.
  • Bless Robin Eschliman’s heart. She tries so hard, and she’s so passionate. But every time she speaks up I get the urge to point and giggle. To wit, her rationale for opposing a charter amendment to prevent certain government officials from holding contracts with the City: “Should we have a charter amendment that says no mayor should live in a neighborhood because that constitutes a conflict of interest?” And: “I had a conflict of interest when I voted on LES rates. I get a bill from them every single month!” I wonder if she really doesn’t understand the distinctions between her analogies and the situation at hand? Opponents of the contract ban are going to have to find a much better spokesperson if the issue makes it to the ballot this fall.

A Full Day of Raw Politics

March 26, 2008 at 1:08pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

If spending your weekday watching political candidates spar is your idea of a grand old time, you’ll want to check out the League of Women Voters’ series of five debates on Monday, March 31. The debates include candidates from three legislative districts, a Board of Regents race, and the Republicans vying for Chuck Hagel’s U.S. Senate seat. The latter debate will be held from 5:30 to 6:30, the perfect time for you to catch Mike Johanns and Pat Flynn going head-to-head after work, but still giving you time to get home for supper. Check the link for the details on the other debates.

Today’s debate: Can Pat Flynn muster more than, say, 35% of the vote in the May primary against Mayor / Governor / AgSec Johanns?

A Bit Different Than I Remember

March 25, 2008 at 1:15pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

I grew up with a couple members of the Campbell family, so I enjoy watching what the family is up to these days. One of their big projects is Village Gardens, a new neighborhood on their property near 56th and Pine Lake Road. I took a tour through the neighborhood the other day. I love the fact that it isn’t a cookie cutter development. The homes in Village Gardens stand in stark contrast to the mundane rows of carbon copy homes in nearby developments. The styles aren’t for everyone, but that’s partially the point. Homes are allowed to be bolder, and thus more memorable. Some of the lots are hardly larger than the buildings that occupy them. That’s astonishingly small by my standards, but for those who don’t want to have to worry about a yard but who still want a house in a nice neighborhood, I suppose I can see the allure.

The weirdest part of driving through Village Gardens was seeing how much it had changed since I was last there. Some umpteen years ago I fished in the pond and spent the night in a pup tent in what is now a housing development. I guess that officially makes me old. I can already see myself telling Robbie, “Back in my day this was all just a bunch of trees!” He’ll roll his eyes and mumble something about me being senile.

Anyway, I’m looking forward to seeing how the neighborhood matures. I don’t plan to move any time soon (or necessarily at all), but if I did, I could see myself digging some of those houses.

Lason and Spa

March 25, 2008 at 12:55pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

On both Saturday and Sunday I happened to drive on South 56th Street between Old Cheney and Pine Lake Road. On the west side of the road, just south of Old Cheney, there are some relatively new commercial buildings. A sign on one of them drove me nuts:

lason spa

What the ... ? Did the sign installers swap the L and the S? I’ve heard of a salon & spa, but “lason” isn’t a word I’ve ever heard of. I assumed it was just a very public typo.

It was bugging me enough that I did a little research. As it turns out, it is a new business called “Lason Spa”, and they are having a ribbon cutting (PDF) on April 3, sponsored by the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce. Darn, not a typo. But what is a lason?

What’s He Talking About?

March 24, 2008 at 1:43pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

There goes Neal Obermeyer again, being all cryptic. What ever could he be talking about?

Neal’s list makes me wonder: has any consultant ever included some variant of the phrase “Keep it modest” in their recommendations? That’s a rhetorical question, of course.

Food Poisoned?

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

The Missus woke up Saturday morning feeling pretty crummy. I’ll spare you the details, but let’s say she spent the entirety of Saturday in a state of extreme abdominal distress. (And I do mean extreme. At one point Saturday evening she nearly called me to have me take her to the emergency room.) Fortunately, Robbie and I appeared to have escaped the illness’s wrath.

Then came Saturday evening. I took Robbie over to my parents’ house for Easter dinner. Even though I was hungry—I had reffed two soccer games earlier in the day, and I had hardly eaten anything all day—I only ate about five bites. Not long after, I was praying at the porcelain throne. I quickly made arrangements for Robbie to spend the night with grandma and grandpa and scooted home. My fun wasn’t over.

The Missus and I were mostly better on Sunday, though both of us were still a little weak and pretty tired. It seemed we had been hit by some sort of 24-hour demon. We were ready to shake it off.

Then this morning there was a short note in my inbox: “Did you guys get sick this weekend?” It was from a friend we had eaten with late last week. Could we have been poisoned by the local eatery we had visited? I’m still waiting to hear back from my friend, but considering our only recent contact was at that restaurant, it looks likely. Damn.

Here’s my question: If my friend confirms similar symptoms, what is our next step? Should we call the Health Department, and if so, which office should we call? Should we call the restaurant?

And another question that’s eating me up (so to speak) ... Should I tell you where we ate? On the one hand, I don’t want to harm a local business if this was a fluke (e.g. a sick person had sat at our table just before we did, having nothing to do with the restaurant or the food) or even a complete coincidence. On the other hand, I don’t want people getting sick, and if this wasn’t a fluke, such an outcome is certainly possible.

A Great Place to Do Business

March 21, 2008 at 1:28pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

With all the jabbering and bickering about Lincoln’s friendliness toward “business”, it’s easy to get confused about just how good a place this town is for setting up shop. Forbes, at least, thinks we’re pretty good. Lincoln sits at #18 this year (out of 200), down insignificantly from last year’s 15. Omaha is #34.

Lincoln scored well on “Cost of Doing Business”, “Cost of Living”, and “Educational Attainment”. We scored poorly on “Colleges”, “Crime Rate”, “Culture and Leisure”, and “Job Growth”. If you’re interested, go read more about the rankings.

Local Business News

March 20, 2008 at 1:51pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

I just recently discovered Matt Olberding’s Biz Buzz blog over at the LJS. Looks like it’s going to be a good blog to keep an eye on. For example:

Kohl’s is coming to 27th and Yankee Hill. That’s big news for southsiders like my mother who would willingly drive across town to the current location (84th and O) in an ice storm if it meant catching a good sale.

Also, Matt is reporting that a new tenant on Southpointe’s east side will require moving some current tenants, including Office Max. Why in the world would Office Max be willing to move? Presumably, the new tenant is a biggie. A commenter on Matt’s blog suggests it could be south Lincoln’s long-awaited Best Buy. That would be huge news. Unfortunately, all that new retail activity, though good for neighboring businesses, could be a disaster for traffic in the area.

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