Those Eyes

By: Mr. Wilson on January 18, 2007
I'm on daddy duty with a sick kid today. Doesn't look like anything serious, but we'll probably try to get in to the doctor this afternoon. It's easy for me to tell when Robert doesn't feel well. It's all in his eyes. And right now his eyes say "Oy, I feel like poo." At this point I can't tell if it's going to be an easy day with a slightly tired Robbie, or a tough day with lots of whining and coughing. So far the latter. Poor kid.

Beutler, Svoboda, Yant Do a Q&A

By: Mr. Wilson on January 17, 2007
The three candidates for mayor -- Democrat Chris Beutler, Republican Ken Svoboda, and Independent Roger Yant -- stood before the Lincoln Independent Business Association for a question and answer session yesterday. One thing is becoming increasingly clear: the candidates are veritable carbon copies of one another on many of the issues. That demonstrates just how dissatisfied Lincolnites are with Lincoln's current direction, and how united they are in searching for somebody who can offer things like "bold vision" and "strong leadership". It also demonstrates that if you like Lincoln's current direction, or if you support an alternate proposal for the community's future, you're out of luck. According to Deena Winter, Ken Svoboda came out on top as the strongest speaker; Chris Beutler knows the issues but is long-winded; and Roger Yant came across as the least polished. The other major differences among the candidates were ... uhh, well, that's pretty much it. Looks like Lincolnites may end up voting based primarily on the candidates' peepees -- party and personality -- unless real policy differences emerge between now and voting day. As it stands right now, here is my simplified scorecard: Pros:
  1. Beutler: Outsider with experience; has put proposals on the table; decent speaker.
  2. Svoboda: Republican taking on an unpopular Democrat; good presence; experienced in City issues.
  3. Yant: Outsider; long history of trying to improve city.
  1. Beutler: Long-winded (eek, John Kerry?); limited experience at City level.
  2. Svoboda: Member of City Council that's often seen as part of the problem.
  3. Yant: Inexperienced; unpolished.

Lincoln Airport Numbers Down

By: Mr. Wilson on January 17, 2007
It probably doesn't come as a surprise to most of you that the Lincoln Airport's passenger numbers are down over the past year by 6 percent. Meanwhile, Eppley's numbers continue to rise. There's a very simple reason for Lincoln Airport's decline: flights tend to be cheaper out of Omaha than out of Lincoln, and many people in the region are all too happy to drive to Omaha to save a few bucks. Is that a problem? Should Lincoln be worried? Maybe. I don't think it is panic time, but neither is it a good time for us to sit back and let the numbers slip away year after year. As Lincoln has learned well, "sit back and watch" is not a good economic development strategy.

In a Fog

By: Mr. Wilson on January 16, 2007
The Journal Star is running this image alongside articles related to the 2007 Unicameral session. Any chance somebody at the LJS chose the image as a metaphor for the 2007 session? The Nebraska State Capitol building, shrouded in fog Well, OK, probably not. Nonetheless, it's fun to think about all of the ways this image could be interpreted.

Unfair Comparison

By: Mr. Wilson on January 16, 2007
Sure, the city's snow crews did a good job with the latest batch of snow. But why is anybody bothering to compare 3 inches of practically moistureless snow with New Year's weekend's 7 inches of wet, dense snow? Apples and oranges and all that. The street maintenance crews may or may not do a better job under Wayne Teten, but let's not draw too many conclusions based on this little snow.


By: Mr. Wilson on January 15, 2007
Robert had a big breakthrough this weekend -- literally. After months of saying "He must be teething; I'm sure we'll see a tooth soon", a tooth has finally popped up. It's actually not as dramatic as that, since you can only feel the very top of the tooth. But hey, parents get excited over the little things. In other Robert news, he has learned that playing in the dog's water dish can be a blast. Guess we're going to have to find a new place to put Daisy's food...

The Return of Dollar Gas

By: Mr. Wilson on January 13, 2007
It has been a while since we last saw sub-two dollar gas here in Lincoln, but it looks like some gas stations have dusted off their 1's and begun posting them today. Sure, we're just talking $1.999 and $1.989 here, but the return of the 1 is awfully refreshing. Next up: buck-fifty?

Friday Five

By: Mr. Wilson on January 12, 2007
I'm not feeling very creative for today's Friday Five, so here are five anagrams related to Lincoln. Bonus points if you give me some good suggestions for future Friday Fives.

The Guns on the Bus Go Bang! Bang! Bang!

By: Mr. Wilson on January 12, 2007
Sorry folks, but if you plan to wait at a Star Tran bus shelter, you'll have to leave your weapons behind. New "No Weapons" stickers have popped up at bus shelters across town. I can't say it boosts my confidence in public transit to see a sticker like that as I board my bus.

Traffic Signals Gone Wild

By: Mr. Wilson on January 11, 2007
I had the pleasure of witnessing the traffic signals and railroad crossing arms go berserk at 48th and Highway 2 just now. It was pretty entertaining to watch, except that I was stuck in traffic as a result. When the lights on 48th Street turned green, the crossing arms would come down. When the Highway 2 lights turned green, the arms went up. But the really fun part was that you never knew how long the green light would last. Sometimes the light on Highway 2 would only stay green for a few seconds. Long story short, within a matter of minutes traffic was backed up for blocks. I have to assume the problem was caused in part by the semi parked across the tracks and pointed south in the northbound lanes of 40th Street at Highway 2. I'm not sure how it managed to get there, nor did I get a good look at the scene as the bus drove by.

Fie on Pfeiff Field

By: Mr. Wilson on January 11, 2007
Perhaps I am missing something, but I fail to see the problem with renaming Lincoln High's football field to Pfeiff Field, after one of the school's football coaches. The argument from opponents, as I interpret it, is that a facility used by all schools should be named in a way that is relevant to all of the schools. Otherwise it implies that the facility belongs to the school on whose property it sits, and that implies inequity issues (i.e. "why does that school get a fancy football field while we get a strip of mud and weeds?"). I'm not convinced. I don't have any problem with a school having ownership over facilities on its grounds, even if the facilities are technically for the use of all schools in the district. I especially don't have a problem with it in the case of the football field at Lincoln High, which was Lincoln High's football field long, long before there were even any other schools in the district. Decades of Lincoln High-specific history are tied up in that field. Why deny that fact? Can anybody convince me otherwise?

Another Bungled Economic Development Project?

By: Mr. Wilson on January 11, 2007
Local business owners won't pay for it, and now it appears neither will the City Council. The "it", of course, is the extension of 50th Street from O to R. *sigh* A new Hy-Vee in the 48th and O corridor would be a nice, attractive addition to the area, especially relative to what's there now. I can understand why the City pursued the deal, and why Hy-Vee made their proposal contingent on the 50th Street extension. What irks me is how the City keeps flubbing these economic development opportunities after promoting them so heavily. John Q. Hammond's hotel evaporated; the Verizon RFP had to be scrubbed; and now this. I would even add a project like The Grand Theatre as an example of an opportunity lost. Is it just a string of bad luck, or is it symptomatic of problems endemic to the City's economic development policies and procedures? (That's an actual question, by the way, not an accusation disguised as a question.) Lincoln can do well, of course. Downtown's Embassy Suites is a good example of economic development success, and even Verizon will be an overall success once the RFP mess gets sorted out. Hopefully the Hy-Vee deal can be salvaged (or replaced by something even better). Regardless, the City needs to figure out what it can change to better help prevent these snafus. They aren't good for the City's image, and they don't do anything to build the community's faith in major projects like Antelope Valley, the proposed Downtown parking garage/high rise, or a new arena/convention center.

Time Warner’s Digital Cable “Upgrade”

By: Mr. Wilson on January 10, 2007
I don't subscribe to Time Warner's digital cable, but I have heard that the new navigation software is no good. To add insult to injury, many subscribers lost cable altogether this morning. Did any of you suffer the outage? Is the new software as bad as advertised, or is it just different?

Paging John Q. Hammond

By: Mr. Wilson on January 10, 2007
Lincolnites should thank Monte Froehlich, who stepped up and bought Taste of China from Chan Hua for $730,000 so that the City could move forward with its plans to build a parking garage and high-rise at 14th and Q. The deal required some unusual twists, but at least the City was spared from having to renege on its promise not to abuse the power of eminent domain in order to take hold of the property, thus setting up a potential legal mess. Froehlich will ultimately break even on the deal. We also should give Chan Hua a pat on the back for standing up for himself and his business. In the face of government pressure he held his ground until he got a deal he could live with. Good for him.
 < 1 2 3 4 5 >