Latest Blog Posts

Dining With Don (and Millie)

July 29, 2011 at 1:25pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

The Wilsons ate at Don & Millie’s on Wednesday evening. It was packed, even standing room only for a while. You don’t see that too often at fast food restaurants in Lincoln these days.

I like D&M’s because it’s no more or less than what it says it is. It’s decent fast food at reasonable prices. If that sounds like faint praise ... well, that’s not my intention. I enjoy the consistency and the food, even as the health-minded part of me cringes every time I look at the menu. But come on, how can you not like a cheese frenchee?

What I really enjoy is seeing the same faces behind the counter and in the kitchen, even if I haven’t been back in months. That strongly suggests good things about the management, and I find that comforting.

Are any of you Don & Millie’s fans?

Paul’s is (Almost) Back

July 29, 2011 at 1:00pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Let’s focus on the good news first: Paul’s is set to reopen next week. The BBQ restaurant was formerly located near 48th and Pioneers. Its new location will be 5650 N. 33rd Circle—north of North Star. And yes, you read that correctly. It won’t be opening at 48th and O as originally planned.

While the reopening is fantastic news, I can’t help but feel sour about it. Paul’s used to be located in my neighborhood. Although I wasn’t giddy about it, I at least understood why they wanted to move to 48th and O (more traffic). But this new location? If I may be selfish for a moment: it’s so blasted far north! Even from a more objective standpoint it feels like a demotion rather than an improvement over the old spot. It’s off the beaten path, and the demographics just don’t seem quite right to me. On the other hand, a location farther west, on the other side of 27th Street, would seem more up Paul’s alley.

I’m probably just cranky because you folks in Paul’s new neck of the woods get to enjoy their BBQ, whereas I will only very rarely (if ever) get up to that location for a meal. Maybe one day Paul’s will open a second location. I hear there’s an empty former Blockbuster in Edgewood right now…

The El Chaparros

July 28, 2011 at 1:30pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Can anybody explain to me the connection, if any, among Lincoln’s three El Chaparro locations? I thought they were all linked, yet the “Today’s Deal” from the LJS is only valid at the North 48th Street location.

Anybody?

Regardless, I shouldn’t let this opportunity pass to remind you that El Chaparro—all three locations, as far as I know—is excellent.

Mr. Wilson’s Multiple Personalities

July 28, 2011 at 1:00pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Within the past 24 hours I was referenced by two misdirected tweets that couldn’t possibly be any more different. The first, from @realEvan: “@MrWilson have u seen dat nigga @YoungxPrimetime rap videos?!”. The answer is no. No I have not.

That was followed soon after by a compliment from @thefrankreport: “A very convivial lunch w superb food by @MrWilson and his team. Cracking 08 Rousseau Chambertin Clos de Beze made 4 a v happy lunch..”

I would love to put the “MrWilson"s that each of those tweets was intended for together in a room just to see what happens.

I Hope You Like Taxes

July 26, 2011 at 12:40pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

It appears that Lincolnites who asked for a tax increase will get their wish. The City Council has voted to keep Mayor Beutler’s tax increase requests, and on top of that they’ve voted to keep the fire station in Air Park; library hours won’t be cut; and an extra $1 million will go toward parks.

I’m going to pick on Councilman Adam Hornung just a little bit here. He’s frustrated with the outcome and I can understand why. But he loses me here:

Although I’ve been on the city council for two years, and I keep seeing these same problems come up and these same solutions. I’ve gotten pretty used to proposing things that would fix the budget and watching them get voted down.

I’m not sure which “same solutions” Mr. Hornung is referring to. The big solution this year involves raising property taxes, which is certainly not a “same solution”. Mr. Hornung says he’s proposing something “that would fix the budget”. What did you have in mind, Mr. Hornung?

We’ve got a settlement coming in from Verizon that’s going to be upwards of 1.7 million dollars. That’s $1.7 million that we could have used to avoid a property tax increase.

Huh? That’s not “fixing” the budget! And if you want to talk about “same solutions”, that’s exactly the sort of one-time, short-term thinking the City Council and Mayor have engaged in for years! Mr. Hornung has a legitimate point that we do need to have some long, honest discussions about the role one-time monies can play in Lincoln’s budget. But selling the Verizon settlement as a “fix” and implying that it’s not the exact same approach used over the past few years isn’t entirely honest. Is it?

Where in Lincoln is this?

July 25, 2011 at 1:23pm By: Mr. T Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

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EDIT: Solved!

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The First Booze-Filled Event at Pinewood Bowl Is…

July 25, 2011 at 1:10pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

It looks like it’s all but a lock that booze will be allowed at Pinewood Bowl sometime soon. We’ve been told for years that allowing alcohol sales will increase the number of events held there each year. Sounds good to me.

If you could choose, which event (or type of event) would you like to see first? Is there a particular artist you think would be more likely to come to town to play at Pinewood Bowl? Is there a type of performance you’d like to see here?

I Still Call it the Centrum

July 25, 2011 at 12:30pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

I used to spend quite a bit of time at the Centrum and Atrium when I was a kid. They used to be filled with shops and restaurants. And then, seemingly overnight, they just ... emptied out.

That’s a kid’s eye view of the situation so it’s pretty simplified. These days the Centrum is known as the Energy Square Building, but in the not-too-distant future it’ll entirely belong to Southeast Community College.

SCC, you may know, already owned the first floor. Now they own the second floor as well. That’s good news both for Downtown Lincoln—which will enjoy the dollars that students bring with them—and for SCC. SCC is doing some fantastic things with post-secondary and continuing education, and at very affordable prices. Well, relative to some of those other educational institutions in town, anyway.

Anyway, congratulations to SCC for their expansion.

You Think OUR Heat Problems Are Bad?

July 22, 2011 at 11:50am By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

If you think it is hot here in Lincoln, be glad you don’t live back East. According to 10/11, temperatures along the coast will reach an incredible 212 degrees or higher!

The extreme heat that’s been roasting the eastern U.S. is only expected to get worse, and residents are bracing themselves for temperatures near and above boiling point.

Yikes!

Updating the Wrong Road

July 21, 2011 at 1:00pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

As a frequent user of Pioneers Boulevard I’m very pleased that it’s being upgraded from 33rd to 56th Streets. It is receiving a new surface and a new center turn lane. Both are convenience items, although one could argue that the ridiculously bumpy surface in some areas represents a safety concern.

As nice as the new road will be, I can’t help but feel like at least some of the resources could have been put to better use elsewhere. 56th Street from Old Cheney to Pine Lake comes to mind. I realize that’s a different sort of project—full widening rather than Pioneers’ simpler needs—but it’s one that’s been needed for many years.

And Pioneers isn’t the only street that feels like it might be getting love out of turn. Was Sheridan Boulevard really in such terrible shape that it couldn’t have waited a while longer?

I understand there are oodles of factors that go into which streets receive improvements and when. Many of those factors are probably very frustrating to local roads folks. My point isn’t that decision-makers are wrong about these streets. I don’t have the expertise to claim something like that. But it does kind of feel wrong, doesn’t it? And that’s where local frustration comes from. People see Street A getting an improvement while Street B waits and waits ... and waits, and they start to grumble and mumble.

I’m curious how many street projects are going on around town right now that you think could have or should have waited. Likewise, which projects should (in your opinion) be happening but aren’t?

What Local Media Won’t Tell You

July 20, 2011 at 1:30pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

I’m extremely disappointed right now with local media. Nobody—not the LJS, not KLKN, not 10/11, not any of the radio stations—is covering the most important local topic of the day. Every day—every hour!—I look, I listen ... and not one peep about the thing I want to hear about most. So I’m going to break the story that nobody else will cover.

It’s hot outside. Really hot.

There, was that so hard, local news folks?

Competition

July 19, 2011 at 1:00pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Allowing a tax-subsidized department to compete with private businesses that pay property tax would be completely unfair.
Monte Froelich

Mr. Froelich, Councilman Jon Camp, and many others oppose a proposal to permit alcohol sales at Auld Pavilion and Pioneers Park Nature Center because they say that doing so would take away a competitive advantage currently held by private reception halls. And they’re right. It would improve the competitiveness of the two City properties. I doubt it would be hugely damaging to local private halls, but there would be effects.

I’m confused about where the line is that separates fair and unfair competition between public and private facilities. Is it the alcohol alone that makes the situation unfair, as Mr. Froelich implies? Surely having publicly owned gathering spaces at all is unfair competition to private entities with similar spaces. The same can be said of public golf courses, public recreation centers, and even public pools. Mr. Froelich is fired up about the reception hall issue because it directly affects him, which is fine. But I have to wonder if he likewise would close the F Street Rec Center, and if not, why not?

I suspect a lot of Lincolnites have already made up their minds about this, but let’s not be too hasty. There’s a lot of room for discussion and evaluation of principles here. If you think booze at Auld is fine, just how much public competition with private business are you willing to have? And if the booze isn’t ok (on competition grounds), where do you draw the line with other types of public encroachment into private services?

Give Me Some Credit

July 19, 2011 at 12:50pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

The timing of this morning’s article about updating parking meters Downtown to include credit card readers is perfect. After a few recent trips Downtown I’d been thinking about the matter of on-street parking. Payment convenience was one of the topics on my mind. The only reason I intentionally carry around change is to pay for parking. I sure wouldn’t complain if I could forgo change altogether.

The second thing on my mind is the cost of on-street parking. It doesn’t make any sense. It is way too cheap. On-street parking costs should at least double from their current $0.50 per hour. It wouldn’t hurt my feelings if meters in designated “hot zones”—much of the Haymarket, for example—were $2.00 per hour. I could also go for a plan where quick in-and-out parking (15 minutes) is cheaper per-minute than longer term parking. That would mean I could run into Juice Stop for a smoothie without feeling like I spent as much on parking as I did on the drink.

How much would you charge for parking at meters Downtown? Do on-street parking costs affect your decisions about whether (and where) to shop Downtown?

On the Plus Side

July 18, 2011 at 1:00pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Mr. T and I are both really digging the new Google+. Whereas I never really got into Facebook, G+ seems to feel more at home for me. Who knows if it’ll stay that way as the product matures, but for now it’s a fun toy.

Unfortunately, Google+ is pretty empty right now. That diminishes some of its value. It looks like you don’t need an invitation any more to get in, so if you need another distraction in your life, come on in. Be sure to throw me into your “Awesome People I Would Pay $1 Million To Meet” circle.

Where in Lincoln is this?

July 18, 2011 at 12:34pm By: Mr. T Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

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EDIT: Solved!

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