It’s Game Day

By: Mr. Wilson on September 10, 2006
It's another Husker game day, and chances are my score prediction, like thousands of Husker fans at Memorial Stadium, will turn out all wet: Huskers: 58 Colonels: 17 Go Big Red!

Friday Five

By: Mr. Wilson on September 8, 2006
As a preview for my upcoming series on the Lincoln Downtown Master Plan, I present five features of Downtown Lincoln that are, according to the Plan, "inappropriate" and would be discouraged if they were to be done today:
  1. Wendy's, Amigos, and Arby's (too suburban)
  2. Nebraska Bookstore (too much blank wall)
  3. The O Street skywalk (between 12th and 13th Streets) (skywalks are bad, especially ones that draw attention to themselves)
  4. Tour de Lincoln (amateur art is discouraged)
  5. The Douglas Grand (too gaudy)

Four and Out

By: Mr. Wilson on September 7, 2006
Mayor Colleen Seng won't run again after serving four years at Lincoln's helm. The reaction will undoubtedly be mixed; Mayor Seng's tenure has proven to be very divisive, with the "haters" being the most vocal. Of the pro- and anti-Seng crowds, I will say this: they are both right. Mayor Seng helped move Lincoln forward in some ways, but in others her leadership style was insufficient to help Lincoln overcome the obstacles laid before the city. This much can be agreed upon: Colleen Seng knows how to cut ribbons. Now that the campaign for Mayor will be wide open, I hope Lincolnites can get clear answers to some of the community's most pressing questions. How will the candidates rebuild trust in the Fire Department? How will they improve Lincoln's business climate? Where will Lincoln get the money to pay for the billions (yes, billions) of dollars of projects planned for the next two decades? And so on. But that's all for later. For now, I want to thank Mayor Seng for her service, and for her wise decision to step aside. Even though I'm not shedding any tears over her departure, I honestly hope she remains involved in efforts to make Lincoln a better place.

Get Your Tickets

By: Mr. Wilson on September 7, 2006
I have six tickets to Saturday's Husker football game I'm trying to help get rid of. Two are in South stadium (away from the student section, if that's a concern). The other four are some of the best seats you'll ever have, on the 47 yard line in the East balcony. All six are available for face value. (Face value is about $50, but I can't remember for sure right now.) I prefer to sell them in pairs, if possible. All the tickets are first come, first served. Claim 'em in the forum.

Comment Spam

By: Mr. Wilson on September 7, 2006
By the way, comment spam on Lincolnite finally forced me to require non-logged-in visitors to answer a CAPTCHA before being allowed to comment. Please let me know if you have any problems with the new system.

The Plan

By: Mr. Wilson on September 7, 2006
Yesterday I downloaded the Lincoln Downtown Master Plan and the accompanying Lincoln Downtown Design Guidelines. The two documents are filled with lots of interesting (and extremely ambitious) stuff. I think I will try to put together a few posts describing the contents of the documents, peppered with my assessment of concepts big and small. I will probably try to do a five-part series. If you have any topics you would like me to cover, or questions you would like answered, please let me know.

Whatcha Doin’, Mr. Wilson?

By: Mr. Wilson on September 6, 2006
I have had some folks ask me in private what I've been up to lately. Actually, I have been working on a very large project. A web-based calendar application, to be precise. It's easily the largest such project I have ever attempted.

Read more…

Little Things

By: Mr. Wilson on September 6, 2006
It's amazing how easy it is as a parent who sees his child every day to miss the little things in your child's development. Like, how Robbie laughs so much more these days, and how he laughs at things that are actually kind of funny; and how he follows people (and puppies) around the room with his eyes, even from far away; and how he is teaching himself the basics of coordination by removing and attempting to replace his pacifier; and how he has a new fascination for his feet; and how he has more than doubled in weight since Gotcha Day; and on and on. These are things other people -- like his maternal grandparents, who came from Albuquerque to visit him this weekend -- notice, but The Missus and I sometimes take for granted. He grows and changes every single day. One thing hasn't changed, though: he's still a pretty darn cute kid.

Wanted: One Home for a Mediocre Chinese Restaurant

By: Mr. Wilson on September 6, 2006
If anybody out there has a home for Taste of China, Mayor Seng would love to hear from you. Taste of China remains the lone hold-up in the quest to start up the request for proposals process for the proposed Downtown high rise. In related news, the Douglas 3 should start coming down this fall to make way for the new "civic plaza". But what's this?
The civic plaza would be bordered by a four- to five-story building filled with retail shops on the ground floor and possibly offices or housing on upper floors.
I don't remember that being a part of the plan. I thought the entirety of the Douglas 3 property was going to be converted to greenspace open space. If a chunk of the property is going to be turned into a new building, isn't the plaza going to be awfully tiny?

Pirogi to the People

By: Mr. Wilson on September 5, 2006
A bit of Downtown dining news: looks like a new restaurant is opening between Oso Burrito and Abloom the flower shop (the name of which escapes me right now). A sign for Inna's Pirogi Cafe popped up recently. Looks like one worth checking out when it opens. If you're wondering, a pirogi is a crescent-shaped dumpling of unleavened dough, stuffed with sauerkraut, cheese, mashed potatoes, cabbage, onion, meat, or fruit.

Downtown Differences

By: Mr. Wilson on September 5, 2006
Whether or not you like Lincoln's efforts over the years to keep Downtown alive and kicking, at least some of those efforts have obviously made a difference. I witnessed the perfect illustration on Sunday. I was in Downtown Omaha around 1:00pm on Sunday. Cars were all but non-existent, and I didn't see a single pedestrian. Not one. Two hours later I was in Downtown Lincoln. Not only was Downtown abuzz, I had a heck of a time finding a parking spot and I almost had to resort to using a parking garage. I don't always agree with the methods used to support Downtown, but clearly something is drawing folks to Downtown Lincoln in a way that Omaha can't match. A downtown district cannot thrive if it's a 9-to-5, Monday-through-Friday district. Downtown Lincoln clearly is not, and that makes me very pleased.

And Then There Were Two?

By: Mr. Wilson on September 5, 2006
The Arena Task Force has moved away from the Haymarket Post Office site and is now focusing primarily on the two remaining sites: behind the train station, and the south end of the Haymarket. That's not to say the Post Office location is completely out of the running, but it's clearly the least favorite child. So which of the last two makes the most sense? I don't know that there is a clear frontrunner. The train station location, done right, could be really neat. The station would act as the front door, giving new life to a neat old building. The south location, on the other hand, would clean up a chunk of Downtown that isn't currently much to look at, and it would extend the reach of the active portion of the Haymarket. It's the latter point that really intrigues me. But the devil is in the details. Frankly, I'm still a little interested in the possibilities of a location east of Downtown. There are probably more complications over there, but I like the idea, at least in theory, of an arena and convention center kicking off development in Antelope Valley. We already know John Q. Hammons likes the area, so other developers would be certain to jump in as well.

Fairly Successful

By: Mr. Wilson on September 5, 2006
The Journal Star's positive coverage sure didn't hurt anything, but my impression is that the State Fair earned itself some good ratings from visitors this year. The final attendance count isn't in yet, but it sounds like it should be up from last year. Even slow, incremental progress is good news for the Fair at this point. That being said, the Nebraska State Fair still doesn't have that "killer" feature, nor does it offer the whole shebang to draw in the widest possible range of visitors. But if attendance keeps creeping up each year it demonstrates a commitment by visitors, and that, in turn, means they will make their preferences known. A few of my suggestions:
  1. The Fair has to find a way to upgrade some of State Fair Park's facilities. Whether that be in the form of new facilities or remodeled existing facilities, a facelift is in order. Perhaps the Fair Board should play the lottery...
  2. I like that there were "hot spots" and "calm spots" across the fairgrounds, but some spots were just plain dead. Some of the dead spots really sapped the Fair's energy. They need to find a way either to get rid of those dead spots, or to somehow convert them into assets.
  3. The proselytizer-to-vendor ratio was way too high. The solution, I think, is more vendors and activity booths, rather than fewer proselytizers. (Not that I'm a fan of being told I'm going to Hell while I'm trying to have a good time at the State Fair.)
  4. How about more free activities for adults? How-to seminars; state government information booths; a variety of lectures, speeches, and debates; and so on. They don't all have to be big draws (although some should be, of course). Instead, the mere presence of more activities and options makes the Fair more interesting.
What are your suggestions?
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