Latest Blog Posts

Lincoln a Go Go

April 30, 2010 at 11:30am By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Lincoln’s Updowntowners has been renamed GOLincolnGO. Their slogan: Go live. Go connect. Go Play. They made the announcement yesterday.

I can’t say I’m a big fan of the new branding. The name is OK—but for an event or a campaign, not an organization. As an organization name it feels contrived. Which it is, of course. The name Updowntowners was around for 26 years. I can’t see GOLincolnGO sticking around nearly that long.

The new branding certainly is more vibrant and evocative than the old, so that’s a plus. It also doesn’t tie the organization to Downtown any more. And for this former trumpet player, any organization that uses a trumpet in its logo earns bonus points from me.

What do you think of the new name and branding? Thumbs up or thumbs down?

UPDATE: Crud, I totally ruined it for myself. I was standing in the kitchen making breakfast when my brain—through no conscious effort—thought: “GOLincolnGO kind of sounds like some sort of city-wide urinary incontinence campaign. Or maybe a portable toilet company.” Thanks, brain. Thanks a lot.

Spammers Can Kiss My…

April 29, 2010 at 1:45pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Lincolnite has been taking some abuse from spammers lately. I’ll see what I can do about it, but I’m pretty swamped with work right now. In the mean time, please just ignore any spam comments you come across. I’ll delete them as soon as I can.

On a related note, some people are reporting that they receive an error message when trying to comment. Something about needing to wait 8 seconds between page load and when you submit your comment. That in itself is a spam prevention feature. The only thing is, it’s happening to people who have been on the page longer than 8 seconds. For now it seems to work if you just go back and sit on the page for a bit before resubmitting. Annoying, I know. I’m looking into that problem, too.

Staples is Open (?)

April 28, 2010 at 1:30pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

I had no idea that Staples had already opened at 50th and O. It seems like that would have made a bigger splash, considering how much trouble it took to get the thing built. Or maybe it did make a splash and I missed it. Either way: Woo! Progress at 48th and O!

Mr. Wilson’s Half Marathon

April 27, 2010 at 8:15pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

In a comment, Fletch mentioned that rather than running in the Lincoln Half Marathon—which he missed signing up for because registration filled up so quickly—he might just hit the trails and run 13.1 miles on his own. That made me think to myself, “I wonder if I can put together a nice half marathon course that mostly sticks to the trails?”. And so I did. On my first try I put together what I think is a pretty decent course that measures in at 13.5 miles. I know, I know, that’s 0.4 miles too long. I have two responses to that: suck it up; or find a place to chop off that extra 0.4 (see below for one possibility).

Here is a link to a map of the route, and a quick overview:

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An overview:

  • The route starts and ends in the parking lot at the end of South Shore Drive at Holmes Lake.
  • Begin by following the shoreline trail along the south shore, across the bridge, and along the north shore.
  • The first uphill begins after the 1.5 mile mark as you climb up to the end of the dam. It’s followed by a nice decline on the other side of the dam to the 2 mile mark.
  • Follow the bike trail along Antelope Creek. Mile 3 comes just before 48th Street; mile 4 is near Elks Field.
  • Continue until you reach what we used to call the OK Corral on the north side of the zoo. Then hop onto the Rock Island Trail and head south. You’re five miles in.
  • Continue south until Highway 2. Mile six is around Lake Street and mile seven is just past Rousseau Elementary. Turn left onto the Helen Boosalis Trail.
  • Proceed east along Highway 2. The eighth mile is right near the green bench past Runza. Mile nine comes right before you dive under 48th Street.
  • Turn left at 56th Street. This is the only off-trail portion of the course, and it’s also by far the hilliest (but it’s not awful, I promise). Mile 10 comes right at Elkcrest Drive, right before you head uphill toward Pioneers Boulevard. Continue past Pioneers to Prescott Avenue.
  • At some point along 56th Street cross to the east side of the street. You should be able to find a large enough break in traffic that you won’t have to break stride. Turn right at Prescott and go into the neighborhood.
  • Turn left at 58th Street. You’ll see the start of the Holmes Lake dam on your right. Get onto the dam. Mile 11 comes a couple hundred yards onto the dam.
  • Turn right off the dam, but instead of going back down the hill you came up, stay on the trail that roughly follows Normal Boulevard. Mile 12 comes just before you cross North Shore Drive. Stay on the sidewalk until 70th Street.
  • Now turn right onto the trail along 70th Street. Turn right again at North Shore Drive and run on the road until you can get on the trail that takes you across the bridge. Just beyond the bridge lies mile 13.
  • Instead of staying on the trail, get onto South Shore Drive and follow it until you arrive back at the parking lot where you began.

About that extra 0.4 mile. You could just stop running 0.4 mile early. Or you can lop off pretty close to 0.4 mile by turning left at A Street rather than following the bike trail around the zoo.

So what do you think, runners of Lincoln? Any thoughts on this course?

Where’s Robbie?

April 27, 2010 at 1:45pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Over the weekend we heard through the grapevine that Robbie is featured prominently in a photographic display somewhere in Lincoln. Your task, should you choose to accept it, is to find out where in Lincoln the apple of my eye is hiding.

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Here are a couple hint photos to help you identify him. I haven’t seen the display yet, but I’m told the photo of Robbie is from a while ago so look for a slightly younger version of him. I’m also told he’s busy as a bumblebee in the photo. That being said, he’s apparently very recognizable from the display; Robbie went to see his photo yesterday and an employee at the site of the display immediately recognized him and said, “Look, it’s the boy!”.

So what’s your incentive for tracking him down? I’ll send you a $20 gift certificate to the location of the display, or to any locally-owned/operated business of your choice. I’m only aware of one of these displays in town, but in the event there are more I’m going to limit the prize to a single winner. I’m not rich, ya know! Also, employees of the site of the display are not eligible. That wouldn’t be fair, would it?

To help you out I’ve dropped a few clues. Good luck!

Accounting for the Ditch

April 27, 2010 at 1:10pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Those of you who have followed Lincolnite for a while know that I’ve long been critical of the Antelope Valley Project. I like parts of the project—and someday I may even learn to love the project as a whole—but certain aspects of the AVP have bugged me. Add to that list: the lack of accountability for taxpayer dollars, costing us millions extra. That’s not acceptable, particularly since many of the factors that led to waste—such as the complications associated with getting many different government partners to play nicely with one another—were eminently foreseeable.

I’m particularly dissatisfied with the response from Joint Antelope Valley Authority Chairman Glenn Johnson and Mayor Chris Beutler. Their public comments in reaction to the audit seem dismissive. Mayor Beutler said, “Leadership demands that we don’t abandon progress simply because we can’t achieve perfection.” Don’t give us that load of baloney, Mayor. Nobody is talking about “perfection” here (though that sure would be nice!). We expect and demand responsibility and accountability, both of which were obviously lacking at various points in the project. Quit conjuring “nobody’s perfect” straw men and instead tell us how you’re going to fix the things that need to be fixed. That, Mayor Beutler, is leadership.

In other AVP news, the roadway from P to Vine is due to open in early May. At least the project continues to move forward.

Lincolnites Ready to Run Around

April 27, 2010 at 1:00pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

The Lincoln Marathon is Sunday morning. If you’ve lived in Lincoln for a while you know what that means. If not, here’s all you need to know: have patience. A substantial chunk of Downtown and south Lincoln will be all but inaccessible Sunday morning as thousands of athletes and athletes-for-the-day make their way around the 13.1 or 26.2 mile course. Check out the course map and plan accordingly. Some streets—particularly those in the first half of the course—are completely uncrossable for an hour or so once the first runners arrive, and intermittently crossable after that. There will be 8,000 participants, after all. It takes a while for that many bodies to go past.

My mom is walking the half marathon for the first time. It should be fun for her, and it will be fun for Robbie and my niece and nephew as they cheer her on. My annual tradition is to walk up the street to Lamar’s, grab a donut and a milk, and sit on the curb to watch everybody go by. Look for me near 48th and Pioneers if you’re in the neighborhood.

Four of Lincoln’s Best Kept Secrets

April 26, 2010 at 1:05pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Last night I saw a sign that said that Satinni Leather is Lincoln’s best kept secret. Hmm, perhaps. But that got me thinking about the things in Lincoln that I would add to a list of “best kept secrets”. It’s not an easy list to compile, that’s for sure. Here’s a starter list:

  1. Stransky Park - Located at 17th and Perkins (just south of South Street), Stransky Park is a great little neighborhood park. Check it out in the summer when the park hosts concerts.
  2. Tuesdays at the ice cream shack at Coddington and West Van Dorn - I apologize for not remembering the name of the business. Many of you have been there after a meal at Lee’s or a trip to Pioneers Park. But did you know on Tuesdays they serve up lemon ice cream? My mother is a huge fan; you’ll see her there most every week.
  3. The trails at the Pioneers Park Nature Center - Sure you may have been to the Pioneers Park Nature Center. But have you really taken the time to explore all its nooks and crannies? Most people seem to not realize the diversity of habitats you can explore out there.
  4. Smokehouse Deli - There are a bunch of small businesses around town that most of us don’t know about. Smokehouse Deli, between Highway 2 and Old Cheney on 48th Street, is one of them. This tiny joint makes some impressive meats, but so far they’ve managed to fly under the radar.

I’m sure you can add to this list. Lincoln has lots of “secrets”. What are some of yours?

The Biggest Event in Lincoln’s History

April 26, 2010 at 1:00pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Time is running short. If you want to register to volunteer for the Special Olympics 2010 National Games, you need to do it by May 1. Here’s a hint for you: May 1 is this week. (Frightening, isn’t it?) Please volunteer!

Where in Lincoln is this?

April 26, 2010 at 12:48pm By: Mr. T Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

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EDIT: This was very tough.

Read more...

Lincoln’s Best Fast Food

April 23, 2010 at 1:05pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

As part of the Journal Star’s ongoing quest to minimize content and maximize fluff, Jeff Korbelik has been giving us lists of various “Top Fives” every Friday this year. It could be a fun and interesting project, but it’s neutered by the fact that Korbelik is limited to a whopping two sentences per bullet point. At least the photo printed atop each week’s entry is huge.

Anyway, this week’s list caught my eye. Probably because I’ve been hungry lately thanks to an increase in the quantity and intensity of my workouts. Here’s his list, in order, along with my comments:

  1. D’Leon’s: D’Leon’s is hit and miss for me. Sometimes it’s brilliant (I generally love their chimichangas), other times it’s horrid (like the time they gave me a torta that I’m pretty sure somebody sat on). It definitely deserves to be on the list, but plenty of folks will disagree with its #1 ranking.
  2. Runza: Duh. It’s a Lincoln original. Runza, too, can be hit and miss, but most Lincolnites don’t seem to care. I haven’t had a Runza in ages—in part thanks to my quasi-vegetarian diet—but I still crave one now and then.
  3. Culver’s: I have tried Culver’s three times. Three times I’ve come away saying “Meh” while others seem to think it’s incredible. Culver’s doesn’t even make my top ten.
  4. King Kong: I’ve never eaten at King Kong so I can only base my opinion on what others say. They usually say one of two things: The burgers are huge! or Mmm, grease! I suppose if huge and greasy are your things, then King Kong is the place to go.
  5. Taco Inn: I have an irrational attraction to Taco Inn. Objectively, Taco Inn isn’t much different from Amigo’s, which I dislike. Yet I love Taco Inn. I don’t know why.

Jeff Korbelik defines fast food simply: If it has a drive-thru, it’s fast food. There’s certainly something to be said for a simple definition, however it feels odd to leave out places like Oso Burrito / Qdoba / Chipotle, Quiznos, and Mr. Goodcents. Surely they are all examples of fast food, aren’t they? The only difference between Subway and those places is a hole in the wall. That’s pretty arbitrary. Then again, I can’t come up with a counter definition that’s as simple as Korbelik’s while still including the above examples. Can you?

If I could add just one place to the list—removing Culver’s—it would be Don and Millie’s, hands down. They serve ranch dressing from a giant pump. I mean, come on people, that’s just awesome. Seriously though. They have good burgers, good salads, and it’s one of very few places in town to get a frenchee; they have shakes and margaritas; and they have televisions and a juke box. What’s not to love?

Deja Vu

April 23, 2010 at 1:00pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

I could swear I’ve read this article a dozen times already. Supposedly the motocross track at Abbott Sports Complex is really really going to happen this time. Really! We’ll see. I for one can’t wait to hear the dull roar of motorcycle engines while I referee.

One Haymarket Report Due Today?

April 22, 2010 at 12:00pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Rumor has it that Lincoln will release an EPA report on ground pollution in the Haymarket this morning at 10:00am. I’m not sure what percentage of the area this report will represent, but something is better than nothing. Look for more info later today.

UPDATE: The City has put out a press release. There’s nothing new to report about contamination on the BNSF property. That’s a good thing since the BNSF property is the largest of the seven relevant chunks of land. But there remain six chunks that haven’t been studied in this detail.

Talking Infrastructure

April 22, 2010 at 11:50am By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

When Lincolnites talk about Lincoln’s “infrastructure” problems, much of the focus tends to be on roads. Roads are, after all, a particularly visible and tangible component of Lincoln’s infrastructure system. But there are other pieces as well, including power distribution, sewers, and water lines. The latter needs $133 million in work over the next 25 years, according to one estimate.

Does that number surprise you? It probably shouldn’t. We haven’t exactly been throwing cash at our water lines.

Look for various water-related fees to increase—perhaps markedly—later this year. And, of course, look for the ensuing public discussion to get heated. Start educating yourself now on the topic so you can respond with knowledge rather than a knee-jerk.

Bike Trail Etiquette

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

Now that more Lincolnites are venturing onto the City’s excellent system of bike trails as the weather warms, it’s a good time to think about the etiquette that helps make the trail a nice place to be. Some starters:

  • Keep to the right. Some bike trails have a dotted line down the middle, some don’t. Either way, keep as far to the right as practical.
  • Don’t clog the trail. It’s great that your clan wants to work out together. Just do it without creating congestion. Again, stay to the right.
  • Don’t startle people. If you’re on a bike, use a bell, horn, or your voice to alert people that you’re coming up from behind. If you’re running, use your voice. “On your left” is a common and acceptable warning. Be sure to give the alert early enough that the person you’re passing can react to it. It doesn’t do any good to give an alert as you’re passing somebody. In fact, that can be more startling than not giving an alert at all.
  • Respect the trails’ many uses. Trails are used for transportation, leisure, and exercise. Know what type of user you are, know the types of users around you, and work to understand how you will interact with each other.
  • Don’t litter. I mean seriously, people. It’s 2010. Who the hell still litters? Throw your trash away.
  • Pick up your poop. Again, it’s 2010. Like it or not, as a dog walker you have a responsibility to clean up their poo. Come prepared and do your job. These days it’s far more embarrassing to not pick up after your dog than it is to take 6 seconds and scoop the poop. Just do it.
  • Be alert. So you want to listen to tunes while you use the trail? Fine. But don’t disappear into your own little rock fantasy. You have an obligation to be alert to what’s going on around you. Don’t put yourself or others in danger by not paying attention.
  • Teach your kids to respect the trails. I love seeing kids on the trails, but I hate the terror of cruising along on my bike only to have Junior veer into my path so he can inspect the spider that just crawled by. Bike trails aren’t like the sidewalk in front of your house. Kids are smart enough to understand that. Teach them.
  • Smile and wave. Why not?

Did I miss anything?

Two recent events spurred this post. The first occurred a couple weeks ago. I was jogging on the Rock Island Trail when I came upon a woman and two young men picking up trash along the side of the trail. On a whim I said “Thank you!” as I jogged past. Their faces lit up, and I got an unexpected burst of energy from the good vibes. The second event occurred just today. I started to walk after a burst of hard running. A man walking nearby started up a conversation. We didn’t talk about anything deep, but again, that two minute chat was enough to put smiles on both our faces and give our mornings a boost.

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