Latest Blog Posts

Time For an Upgrade

June 30, 2009 at 2:45pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Firefox users rejoice: Firefox 3.5 is now available.

Don’t use Firefox? Then please be sure you’re using the latest version of Safari, Chrome, or Opera. Your friendly neighborhood web developer thanks you.

What’s that? You use Internet Explorer? Ugh. OK, if you have to use IE, for Pete’s sake PLEASE be sure you are using the latest version (IE8). Every time you use IE6 God kicks a puppy. You don’t hate puppies, do you?

The Pet Project That Won’t Die (Or Live)

June 30, 2009 at 12:05pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Mayor Beutler’s pet “one stop development shop” just can’t get off the ground. I can’t tell if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.

The idea sounds good enough: Local developers, along with Lincoln’s healthy population of folks who think the City does nothing right, have long complained that doing business in Lincoln can be tricky. Ugly, even. Whether or not that’s true isn’t the point. There’s a perception that it is true, and that in itself is a problem. Mayor Beutler’s proposed solution is to bring several offices under one roof to make several pieces of the development process simpler. Sounds great, right?

It’s not quite that simple. For one thing, it sounds like this is going to cost us at least $120,000 more per year. In a City Lincoln’s size that’s real money, and it has to come from somewhere. Furthermore, putting a bunch of people together under one roof doesn’t guarantee anything. Without a system-wide culture shift, nothing changes. Even then developer and public perception has to change as well.

One possibility is to create some sort of “Development Czar” position. That may give some cohesion to disparate offices and departments, but it’s yet another cost to deal with. Jon Camp even thinks a Czar would “de-politicize” the process. With all due respect to Mr. Camp, I hope he isn’t actually so naive as to believe such a silly thing. Nothing in local government is apolitical. Certainly a long-time City Council member should know that.

Other than generic “the process is difficult” complaints, I’m not sure what’s so difficult for developers. I would love to see a list of specific complaints. Better yet, I would love to see organizations like LIBA, the Home Builders Association, and the Chamber of Commerce each come up with their own lists along with a checklist of specific proposed solutions. That would be a huge help for people like me who are still fuzzy on the specifics of the problem and therefore can’t offer up much of an educated argument for or against particular solutions.

What’s your take on the “one stop development shop” and the current state of complaints related to doing business with the City?

The Money Pit

June 30, 2009 at 12:00pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

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Does anybody else get Tom Hanks’ voice stuck in their head whenever they read about Pershing Center’s latest troubles? Surely it isn’t just me…

South Lincoln Trails Gets a New Link

June 30, 2009 at 11:30am By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Users of Lincoln’s extensive bike trail system will enjoy hearing that Lincoln has received $300,000 in state funding for the Cavett Connector Trail project near Cavett Elementary. It’s a relatively limited victory for trail users, but it does provide a link from, say, the 27th and Highway 2 hub to Yankee Hill Road. That’s worth something, I suppose. My big question is why the state is chipping in $300k for what amounts to a residential trail. Isn’t this a strictly local project? In any event, it’s nice to see more and more of Lincoln’s trail system coming together.

Check out Lincoln’s trails plans (PDF).

First Flight Out of Here

June 29, 2009 at 9:25pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

So much for that little experiment.

After a short three weeks, Delta is pulling the plug on its Atlanta and Salt Lake City flights from Lincoln Airport. I doubt the news itself comes as a surprise to most of you, though the short lifespan of the routes is a bit odd.

Poor Lincoln Airport. It just can’t quite seem to find an identity. What I’m not able to put my finger on—and what you may be able to help identify—is the cause. Is it a leadership/personnel problem? An airline problem? A market problem? But maybe that’s putting the cart before the horse. What is Lincoln Airport’s identity?

Where in Lincoln is this?

June 29, 2009 at 1:26pm By: Mr. T Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

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EDIT: Spot on Kirsten! You correctly identified where these pictures were taken!

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Hello Haymarket Park

June 29, 2009 at 11:30am By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

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The Wilsons watched the first six innings of last night’s Lincoln Saltdogs game at Haymarket Park. What a great facility. Why haven’t we gone more often?

Last night pretty much had it all for Robbie: he got to cross a bridge and walk right over top of a moving train; he got to watch a baseball game; he met Homer; he met Ronald “Old” McDonald; he ate pizza and a snow cone; and he saw his former daycare provider and her kids. What more could a kid want?

This was only my second Saltdogs game, but it was such a relaxing and enjoyable experience hopefully I’ll be back more often. Heck it almost—almost—made me miss my umpiring days. But then again, no. Relaxing on the berm, not squatting behind the plate, is definitely the best way to watch baseball.

Battle of the Lakes

June 26, 2009 at 1:05pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

The City’s Independence Day celebration will be held at Oak Lake again this year. That to the consternation of “traditionalists” who think the festival should return to its previous location at Holmes Lake on the other side of town.

I ask you, Lincolnites: which is the better location for the festivities, Oak Lake or Holmes Lake?

I don’t have a dog in this fight. As much as I love a good community festival, Independence Day for the Wilsons has always been more about spending the day with the family around home. I do have a bias toward Holmes Lake, but that’s only because I have spent much more time there and I love many aspects of the park’s recent facelift.

What’s your druthers?

Sell!

June 26, 2009 at 1:00pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

And so it begins. After yesterday’s 4-1 vote, Lancaster County will begin trying to sell Lancaster Manor.

I have tried to follow the issue of Lancaster Manor’s status and future, but I have to admit I still don’t know exactly what to think. There are advantages to either County or private ownership. There is certainly a lot of passion out there from folks who want to keep the Manor a County-owned facility, and that’s great. But it’s somewhat difficult to determine how much of that passion is driven by facts and how much is driven by inertia.

Many of you no doubt have very strong feelings on this issue, and I’m sure some of you have done your homework. Did the County Board make the correct decision yesterday? Why or why not?

Our (Deep) Deficit Spending At Work

June 26, 2009 at 12:47pm By: Mr. T Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Love it or hate it, it appears you don’t have to go to Argentina for some stimulus. According to this report from 10/11, the federal stimulus project has created over 100 jobs here in Lincoln so far.

Wouldn’t it be great if there was a way one could easily keep track of all the stimulus funds deployed in Nebraska? Well there is: The State of Nebraska has set up a fairly nice Recovery Nebraska site where one can actually subscribe to an RSS feed. Lincoln also has its own recovery web page here, but its not as stimuluating as the state site.

Lincoln’s Big Siblings Are the Best

June 25, 2009 at 11:50am By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Congratulations to Lincoln’s Heartland Big Brothers Big Sisters for winning the national group’s agency of the year award! That’s good stuff, folks. Keep up the good work.

Are any of you big brothers or big sisters, or have you been in the past? Please tell us about it. Who knows, you might help recruit a new volunteer or three.

A Net Battle That May Hit Close to Home

June 25, 2009 at 11:40am By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Look, I understand why Time Warner and Comcast are fuming. It sucks to have to pay for a service that your former customers can receive for free elsewhere. They have a legitimate gripe.

As a customer, though, I just want my ISP to pump data through the pipes as quickly as possible. I don’t want to have to worry about whether or not I can view XYZ website’s content under my current cable subscription. Those sorts of considerations are unfortunately becoming more and more the norm. It drives me nuts. I would make the argument that if ISPs aren’t careful they will squeeze out their own customers. Although that is somewhat true, in fact many consumers have few options to go elsewhere.

Now that I think about it, I wonder if Internet Nebraska‘s cable broadband service would be hamstrung in the same way as Time Warner’s, if Time Warner does cut off certain services. Do any of you know more about how that might work?

Back At the Keyboard

June 25, 2009 at 11:30am By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Hi all. Sorry about my brief and unexplained absence. It has been a busy, hectic past few days.

I haven’t paid any attention to local issues since late last week, other than the gorgeous weather we’ve been having. Did I say gorgeous? I meant blargh. At least my garden is growing well. Too bad the weeds are growing best of all.

It may (or may not) take me a little while to get back into the swing of things. I’m tired and drained. On the other hand, it feels like Monday to me. The prospect of a two day week sounds pretty awesome to me.

OK, now back to this blogging thing…

Weathering The Storm

June 23, 2009 at 1:28pm By: Mr. T Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Remember that “news” item a few months ago in which Nebraska was deemed happiest state in the nation? Yes, it was truly a really REALLY bad example of operationalizing variables to arrive at a questionable conclusion. But there are some green shoots out there. In the current edition of Business Week, Omaha was named one of the plains’ high-tech centers, with Google and Yahoo both with established entities in the area:

Meanwhile, high-tech companies are flocking to the Omaha area, which boasts an abundance of land and power, an extensive fiber-optic network, and a favorable tax regime.

There is definitely a lot of potential for Lincoln to benefit from this growth as well, with the state capitol being the host for UNL and the future research park. We should be pursuing these opportunities ruthlessly. Whether or not we will is another story.

Where in Lincoln is this?

June 22, 2009 at 12:57pm By: Mr. T Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

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This is a hard one. I will be surprised if any of you can identify the location of this photo.

EDIT: Woohoo! Good going MattF, you correctly identified where this was!

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