Learn to Share

By: Mr. Wilson on November 15, 2007
I want to support the idea of the University of Nebraska and the State Fair sharing the same land. It sounds like a fine idea. Compromise, yay! Sometimes compromise is great, but more often than not, compromise creates as many problems as it solves. This may be one of those cases. In the short term, a land sharing agreement would be fine. Sure there would be some problems with parking and transportation during the Fair, but those issues could be resolved. In the long term -- say, 15+ years out -- there's no way a successful Fair and a world class research park can commingle. If we're going to put resources into both the Fair and the research park, eventually the two will butt heads. And then what? If UNL is going to create a research park at State Fair Park, eventually the Fair has to leave. Not today, and not necessarily five or ten years from now. But that time will come, and it will come sooner than we might think. That doesn't make the land sharing idea a bad one in the short term, but let's not forget that a compromise today is only putting off the inevitable.

Lincolnites Like Their Docs

By: Mr. Wilson on November 15, 2007
Kudos go to Lincoln's physicians and hospitals, considering Lincoln's first-place finish in a healthcare satisfaction survey conducted by National Research. An impressive 83.74% of Lincolnites rated their last hospital, ER, or clinic visit as "excellent" or "very good". Add in another 11.78% ranking it "good" and that leaves only about a 5% rate of "fair" and "poor" experiences. Here's the big question, though: What makes Lincoln's healthcare satisfaction so high? Are our physicians, nurses, and facilities just that good? Are we less likely to complain about poor experiences, even in an anonymous survey? For what it's worth, I've only had one truly bad experience with a physician in Lincoln. I had a terrible case of the flu and my longtime family physician had just retired. I went to his old clinic and ... well, I've never been back. Every other experience has been, at worst, "good". Even at places like LincCare, where once a doctor took one look at me, tore up my check, and ordered me to get my butt to an emergency room. (I spent the rest of the night hooked up to IVs in the Bryan East ER.)

Too Soon!

By: Mr. Wilson on November 15, 2007
Argh, the Christmas music has begun. My annual ritual of radio station avoidance thus commences. I'm not anti-Christmas music like some people are, though I admit I get closer every year. I don't have a specific time frame that I think Christmas music is "ok", but generally speaking I think December is a good rule of thumb. Maybe Black Friday. Beyond that, I think there has to at least be the possibility of "Christmas-like" weather. Snow is ideal, but at least some nice frosty days. So far this year we haven't even come close. Without the appropriate weather, how can it feel like Christmas? Somebody must love listening to Christmas music this early. Radio stations wouldn't play the music if there weren't an audience. So fess up. Who are the early Christmas music lovers among us?

Dancing Man

By: Mr. Wilson on November 14, 2007
Robbie's got the moves, baby: Oh, that big pile of toys? It should be gone soon. Huzzah! The toy box we've been waiting on for months is finally here. Long story. I'm just glad we can de-clutter a little bit.

Deep Thoughts

By: Mr. Wilson on November 14, 2007
County Commissioner Bernie Heier has been doing some thinking about the new jail:
As far as I’m concerned, transportation, I think that’s just one of those things we have to do. I think it’s far cheaper to transport them than it is to go out to another block down to the south here, or two blocks and buy all those houses up and buy more land.
He thinks the plan he just voted for is cheaper? After all of this time and study, he doesn't know? He just spent $2,250,750 of our money, and he doesn't know if it was a smart move or not. Fantastic. I wonder if Mr. Heier accepts uncertainty in major personal financial decisions. I suspect not. It's easier to be unsure when it's not your money.

Home Comfort

By: Mr. Wilson on November 14, 2007
I'm curious at what temperature Lincolnites tend to keep their houses, especially as we enter a new season. Here at 625 Elm Street we've been keeping the thermostat at 68 during the day -- The Missus and I are both home during the day, remember -- but on sunny days the house stays above 70 thanks to some southern windows. At night the thermostat drops to 65. Last year we kept the house warmer because of Robbie, but I've hardly noticed the change this year. I know The Missus feels it more than I do, and occasionally she'll "cheat" and bump up the temperature. Are we in the normal range among Lincolnites? At what temperature do you keep your home?

A Nice Stocking Stuffer

By: Mr. Wilson on November 13, 2007
If you're looking for a simple gift for a Lincolnite in your life, you might think about giving them a Pogo Card. The card features discounts at a number of area restaurants and businesses. Many, but not all, of the discounts are of the "buy one, get one" variety. The Missus and I have worn out a few Pogo Cards over the years. The card features a nice mix of places we like to frequent and places we'd like to try. (Along with, inevitably, a few places we'll never go.) At 20 bucks, it'll pay for itself quickly if you keep it in your wallet or purse. And if it does what it's designed to do and it encourages you to try out more area businesses, it's a win for them as well. Why do I bring this up? The card is on my mind because I noticed an ad and coupon on the back of Section B in today's Journal Star. Pogo Cards will be available two-for-one on Thursday at Scooter Mart (415 N. 66th Street) from 3:30 to 5:30. KFOR is doing a live remote from the store. (It's not clear if the coupon is required to get the special price. I'm checking on that. The coupon is not necessary.) Ten dollars a pop is a good deal, in my opinion, so I think I'll plan to go pick up a couple cards. Maybe I'll see you there. (Note: This post is not an advertisement and I don't have any relationship with the Pogo folks. I'm just a satisfied customer.)

You Want to Put WHAT in a Floodplain? That’s Insane!

By: Mr. Wilson on November 13, 2007
I'm not nearly as opposed to the proposal to build housing for mentally ill residents in the Salt Creek floodplain as many others seem to be. Population that needs housing + a place for that housing = sounds good to me. Ok ok, it's not that simple. But why shouldn't it be? The main complaint seems to be that the housing will flood. Well, yeah, it is in a floodplain after all. But aren't there very simple methods to prevent that? Like bringing in dirt and building up the area under the homes? If there's a flood, they'll have their own private island for a while. That doesn't seem so bad. And even if the houses to flood, it's not like folks with mental illnesses are stupid. They'll just evacuate. Or go upstairs. Of course, if they aren't bringing in dirt, why the heck are they proposing to build there? Because somebody in the flood insurance business has a vote on the City Council? Unfortunately the news I've seen and heard about the proposal doesn't mention raising the area five feet. I haven't seen any reference to extra dirt at all. If it's true that the plan is just to build in the floodplain and roll the dice, that sounds risky. I think others have already tried that experiment. Early results from the lab haven't looked good.

Gotta Love the Lincoln Diocese

By: Mr. Wilson on November 13, 2007
I don't buy into the argument that follows the pattern "If you have nothing to hide, what's the big deal?" Sometimes it's right to refuse to do something, even though doing it would cause you no harm or hardship. Still, when you're the most hard-headed among all Catholics in the country -- as the Lincoln Diocese is on the subject of sex abuse in the church -- well, that's saying something. On that topic the Lincoln Diocese is back in the news, as Call to Action members were denied the ability to sneak petitions into a U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops meeting. It's not quite the press you'd like Lincoln to receive, but whaddayagonna do. I knew the Lincoln Diocese forbids girls from assisting at services, but I didn't realize it's the only one in the country to have that policy, too. I don't know a whole lot about Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz, but I suspect he is not often described as "progressive". At least the guy has -- or wants to appear to have -- principles.

O No!

By: Mr. Wilson on November 12, 2007
I hope you didn't plan to cross the Harris Overpass into or out of Downtown today. Or tomorrow. Or any time until about a year from now...

Darn You, Alltel!

By: Mr. Wilson on November 10, 2007
Aaargh, Alltel's cell phone service has been crappy these last few days, and it was especially bad yesterday afternoon and evening. Unconnected calls; calls that say they connect but never really do; calls that connect on the caller's end but not on the receiver's end; incorrect caller ID information; and so on. I haven't had problems with my cell phone service in ages so I'll give them a break for now. But that doesn't mean this customer doesn't expect an apology of some sort. I accept apologies in the form of discounts and/or service upgrades. Unsurprisingly, Alltel's website is silent on the problem. The LJS comments, not so much.

Lincoln is Number One! But We Already Knew That

By: Mr. Wilson on November 9, 2007
Lincoln has been rated the nation's top "digital city" (population 125,000 - 249,000) by the Center for Digital Government. I'll admit I'm surprised. True, InterLinc offers lots of online services and plenty of information. But I can think of many ways Lincoln could improve its digital offerings. Then again, that's not such a bad thing. If we've already got the ball rolling, it will be much easier to keep it rolling. Imagine if we were one of the bottom tier cities trying to catch up...

A Fresh Face at Public Works

By: Mr. Wilson on November 9, 2007
Mayor Beutler on Wednesday booted Karl Fredrickson as Public Works director, and on Thursday named Greg MacLean the new head of the department. Public Works isn't one of the departments you're going to hear a lot of praise about, but whether or not the somewhat negative reputation is deserved is a topic worthy of debate. In any event, keep an eye on news coming out of Public Works, especially after the new year. It'll be interesting to see what Mr. MacLean has in store.
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