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Those Who Crave Power Should Not Have It

February 26, 2010 at 2:00pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

I’m curious what you, good Lincolnites, would do to the three prison guards who were suspended for recent Facebook posts. The skinny is this: One guard gloated about “smash[ing] an inmates [sic] face into the ground”, and two other guards applauded his efforts. Word of the posts made it to Ernie Chambers, then to Attorney General Jon Bruning, and then to the Department of Correctional Services.

Unfortunately I haven’t found the full text of all of the posts. Without that—and without knowing for sure what happened on the day in question—it’s tough for me to come to any conclusions. So instead I’ll speak generally. As the title of this post states, I don’t like to trust power to those who crave it; nor do I trust power to those who gloat over its exercise, which is what happened here. Abuse of power concerns me as a citizen, and as a taxpayer who has to foot the bill if a power tripper gets sued. The best soldiers and police officers are modest and humble. Those who would react with glee about assaulting somebody for whom they are responsible—even if the assault is justified by the circumstances—cannot be trusted with the responsibility of protecting the public.

I suppose that makes it pretty clear what I think should happen to the initial poster. I’m less certain about the fate of the other two guards.

Do you have enough information to decide what you think? What would cement your opinion about these officers’ punishments and future as employees of the State?

Some Of You May Enjoy This

February 26, 2010 at 1:55pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

The forecast calls for temps to pass freezing today. Most of you probably already knew that, but most of you probably don’t mind hearing it again.

Little Ditty ‘Bout Jack and Deena

February 25, 2010 at 2:00pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Deena Winter is clearly not a big Haymarket Arena fan; Jack Mitchell is. So when Deena Winter writes a negative-toned article you can be sure that Jack Mitchell will be close behind with a rebuttal. Whichever side you’re on, hopefully you agree that the banter between two relatively prominent local media figures is a good thing.

Ridership Up on StarTran, But At What Cost?

February 24, 2010 at 2:20pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

The good news is StarTran ridership is up in February over last year, thanks to $0.25 fares throughout the month. Last year there were 55,832 riders during the first two weeks of February; this year there were 64,728. That’s great news if increasing ridership is your goal.

But then consider the costs of the $0.25 promotion. For every rider who would have ridden the bus for $1.75 (the regular fare), it takes six new riders (at $0.25 apiece) to make up the $1.50 difference. I don’t know how many of StarTran’s riders pay the full $1.75 per trip. Just for fun let’s say it’s 10%. If we assume that without this promotion ridership would have been approximately the same as last year, and we assume 10% pay full fare, then it would take around 33,500 new riders just to break even. As it was, ridership went up around 8,900.

Looking at it another way, I’m sure StarTran assumes some of the new riders will hang around into March and beyond. Hopefully that’s true. If they wouldn’t have become a regular rider without the promotion, then every day they pay their fare after the promotion is a win for StarTran. I hope local media do a follow-up a couple months from now to see how many $0.25 riders hung on. (HINT HINT!)

Whatever. I’m a proponent of public transportation, but StarTran clearly isn’t a popular way to get around town. Lincolnites fork over $6+ million every year to subsidize the buses, and the Feds and state kick in another $3 million. Riders’ fares are but a drop in the bucket.

It’s Beginning to Feel a Lot Like ... Christmas?

February 23, 2010 at 2:00pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Now that we’re two months out from Christmas I’m curious how many Christmas light stragglers we still have around Lincoln. This is the first winter in my memory where I excuse the slackitude. I mean let’s be fair, it has been a rather cold winter and there has been snow on the ground since mid-December. I can only think of a couple good light-taking-down days in the past two months.

On the other hand, I’m not crazy about turning on your Christmas lights in February, which is what my neighbors still do. Call me a grinch, but February just doesn’t scream “Christmas spirit” to me. Maybe it should. Still, I cringe each time I look out our front window.

Do you still have your Christmas lights and/or displays up, and if so do you still light them each evening? How ‘bout your neighbors?

Spelling Lessons

February 22, 2010 at 2:15pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Let’s say you’re a member of NASCAR‘s public relations team. You understand that your sport isn’t the most well-respected sport out there, in part because your spectators are heavily stereotyped as ... well, not sophisticated folks. So anyway, one day you decide to put together an amusement device. This device is a kid-sized race car that contains a TV screen. Pop in some money and a video fires up taking the kid on a ride. The car even tilts left and right as the vehicle makes its way around the track. It’s a nice little distraction for kids that will be placed in amusement centers and shopping malls around the country.

Now, given that you don’t really want to facilitate the stereotypes of your sport and/or your fans as being unintelligent, don’t you think you would thoroughly test and proof-read the device before releasing it?

NASCAR's Road Coarse

Sorry about the crappy quality of the photo. There’s a layer of plastic covered in grubby kid paw prints that sits in front of the actual TV screen. Between that, the angle, and the fact this was shot with a cell phone camera the pic didn’t come out so well.

Good News for All You Stauffer’s Fans

February 22, 2010 at 2:10pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

If you haven’t already heard, Ville Grille in Uni Place has closed. But don’t fret! Stauffer’s will take its place, giving the home-cookin’ eatery locations on two ends of 48th Street (the other is at 48th and Highway 2). According to a sign in the window, Stauffer’s plans to open the Uni Place location on March 1.

I wonder how well Stauffer’s will do in that location. The south location has a fairly old clientele, relatively speaking. Parking at the north location won’t be as good, so will it still be able to draw a crowd of the same age? Or maybe it will turn into a bit of a college comfort food location for nearby Nebraska Wesleyan. I guess we’ll find out over the next few months.

Where in Lincoln is this?

February 22, 2010 at 1:31pm By: Mr. T Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

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EDIT: I guess this one was too easy.

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Men vs. Women

February 20, 2010 at 8:54pm By: D.M.B. Posted in D.M.B. Sports Report

No this blog is not to debate on if the current Husker women’s basketball team could beat the men’s team.  But its about the popularity of each program.  I was lucky enough to go to the Husker women’s basketball game on the 17th (60-50 over Iowa State).  I decided I needed to see this team live at least once before the end of the year for many of the reasons as I’ve said in previous blogs.  This is a team that needs to be seen, because seasons like this don’t just come around very often.  I walked up an hour before tip-off and got a GA seat for $5 bucks.  I had no trouble finding a seat in the first row of the C section right behind one of the baskets.  For the womens games, GA is above row 19 in the C section on the sidelines and all of the C sections in the corners and behind the baskets.

Wednesday’s game drew just a tad over 10k and honestly I was a bit disappointed at the time.  After seeing today’s attendance (12747) it seems that it was the result of the weekday.  But what prompted this blog was a comment a lady next to me said during pregame.  She asked me how big Devaney was, I said 13500-14000. (Actual capacity 13595) But the lady then said something very interesting.  She said “You know its sad, this team is 23-0 (at the time) and we can’t get them on TV, but they follow the men’s team down to Manhattan to broadcast a terrible basketball team.”  Not really wanting to get into an argument with her I said, “Well its all about money” And then she said something else, “No, because if it was about money we’d have these girls on TV.”  I shrugged my shoulders and let it end there.

Had I continued the conversation with her, I would have posed this question to her: “Think about this, if the men’s team was 23 and 0, ranked #3 in the nation and playing the #3 team in the nation…could you have got a general admission ticket to this game?” “Could you have sat in this seat for the mens game?”  “Could you have walked up to the ticket window and bought a $5 ticket an hour before the game?”  “Would you have been able to get a ticket even a week before this game?”  My point would have been, had the mens team been in the situation that the women are in right now, you couldn’t FIND a ticket because this place would be jammed packed.  And here we are, and the arena is only three-fourths full.  Why is that?

Who Does Number 2 Work For?

February 18, 2010 at 3:00pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

USA Today takes a look at two number 2’s today, the metropolitan areas with the 2nd highest and 2nd lowest unemployment rates. Which two are they? Hint: You live in one of them.

Hat tip: Nikkidemas

The Rise of the P

February 18, 2010 at 2:00pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

For years the City and Downtown Lincoln Association have talked about prioritizing P Street (“The Marketplace”) in Downtown Lincoln. Progress was slow. But could we finally be seeing the movement pick up steam? Some pieces of the puzzle have been place for a while. The Lincoln Children’s Museum and The Grand are two old pros along the stretch. Last year we finally saw something go into the Arbor Day Foundation Building (the former Plaza 4) ground level space—a new Panera. This spring we’ve got Sam & Louie’s immediately filling the void left behind by Planet Sub; there’s a rumor that Qdoba will cozy up next to Panera; and the odds seem to favor Five Guys locating near 13th and P when it opens sometime this year.

To really make the “Marketplace” concept stick we need to accompany all of this restaurant news with some new stores. That can be tough-going Downtown, but with this sort of momentum and the right concept, it’s doable. Add in the Downtown Plaza—maybe it’ll be built this decade—and you’ve got the makings for a nice little stretch of activity.

Let’s hope so. As long as I get my Five Guys I’ll be happy.

It’s Time to Commit

February 17, 2010 at 2:05pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Admit it. You have thought about volunteering for the Special Olympics but you just haven’t gotten around to submitting your information. That’s OK, we all do that. I know I do.

I’m here to ask you to stop procrastinating. Right now—yes now, before you forget—head on over and sign up to volunteer. They need volunteers of all sorts. You and your skills are needed.

For what it’s worth I will spend the entire week of the Games at Abbott Sports Complex where I will be Competition Administration Coordinator for soccer. If you are looking for an event to latch on to, soccer would love to have you! We also need to fill some more leadership positions. Contact me privately if you are interested in learning more about those roles.

I Wish I Went There More Often

February 17, 2010 at 2:00pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

While celebrating a cousin’s birthday last night at The Isles in Havelock I couldn’t help but wonder why The Wilsons don’t go there more often. I like The Isles. It has a nice feel to it, the food is good, and the people are fun. Alas, I have only been there twice. The location isn’t great relative to where I live, and I don’t often find myself in that neighborhood.

The Isles, for me, is the sort of place I wish I frequented, but instead I only very rarely visit. I have several places like that around Lincoln. Another example are the Wilderness Park trails. I love walking and running on those trails, but I am lucky to actually go out there more than once each year.

What are your places around town that you wish you visited often, but instead you just never quite seem to visit as much as you would like?

Where in Lincoln is this?

February 15, 2010 at 2:32pm By: Mr. T Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

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EDIT: Wow. Just wow.

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The Dirty Side of the Arena Project

February 15, 2010 at 2:00pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

I am working my way through issues surrounding the Haymarket Arena project as I decide how I will vote in May. One of the issues on my mind right now is the cleanliness of the site. That is, what surprises lurk underground thanks to decades of use by railroads? The City’s deal with BNSF would “release BNSF from legal liability for any environmental damage”. That’s fine for making a deal, but what does that mean for those of us who will be stuck with the bill?

... Nuts, I’m needed at work right away. I’m going to have to make this shorter than I intended. ...

On page 135 of this document (PDF, 7MB) you can start to read about some of the environmental issues that need to be dealt with. Are you satisfied that Lincoln won’t get stuck with any gigantic clean-up bills from the EPA is the arena vote passes? What lingering questions, if any, do you have about the arena project from an environmental standpoint?

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