Last Game of the Season

By: Mr. Wilson on November 26, 2008
Most of you know that I am a soccer referee. Last night marked -- I think -- the last game of my fall soccer season. The season ended on a good note. Overall it was a great season, and the latter part of the year brought three firsts. I had the opportunity to center the U17B Nebraska State Cup championship game. I was part of a crew on my first televised match, a Missouri Valley Conference womens match shown on Fox Sports Midwest. And just last night I was on the crew of my first NCAA tournament match. In addition, I completed the requirements to upgrade to a Grade 6 USSF referee. I should have finished that upgrade years ago; oh well, I won't allow the same thing to happen with my next upgrade. If any of you folks have ever thought about becoming a soccer referee at any level, please let me know. I would be happy to help you get started. There is a new referee clinic coming up in December.

Catalyst Done?

By: Mr. Wilson on November 26, 2008
Exactly one year ago I commented on the fact that little had been said about the Catalyst One highrise project. I posted a few other times on the same topic. So it was with very little surprise that I read this morning that the project is gasping for air. In all fairness, the project sounded ridiculously huge and expensive from the get-go. I was never optimistic that the end result would be nearly as grand as the proposal. But I did figure we would end up with something. And by "something" I don't mean two bugly blacktop parking lots. At this point I say we cut our losses and go with Karin Dalziel's original idea:
The cynical side of me believes these will stay parking lots for years. 😊 I say we build a big, adult friendly park - with grown up sized swings and slides, and a place to play 4 square. That’d be fun! (I admit I’m a bit weird, though)

SPAM from the Mayor

By: Mr. T on November 25, 2008
image Give the gift of mystery meat this year. The Mayor's office has issued a SPAM challenge in which they are matching donated cans of SPAM to the Food Bank. Sounds like a cool idea to me. Hat Tip Nikkidemas.

Lincoln’s Next Lively Debate?

By: Mr. Wilson on November 25, 2008
Lincolnites love a good local debate. Could Mayor Beutler's proposal to legalize automated traffic cameras be the next fiery topic? Nationwide, traffic cameras are loved and reviled. Municipalities love 'em. Traffic cameras increase revenue for relatively little cost. Revenue increases even more when municipalities shorten yellow light times to increase red light violations. A few communities have been caught doing that. Motorists hate them. Nobody likes being caught in the act of doing something you've always gotten away with in the past. Plus, all those new brake lights lead to substantial increases in rear-end collisions in communities that install traffic cameras. Moreover, plenty of folks think it's a little creepy to be watched by cameras wherever they go. Before Lincoln installs traffic enforcement cameras, Mayor Beutler and other local officials are going to have to prove two things: first, that there is a problem; and second, that traffic cameras are the best solution. Maybe both are true, maybe they aren't. Presumably we will learn more if the topic makes it onto the Unicameral's agenda, and again if the City Council takes up the issue. What is your gut reaction to the idea of using traffic enforcement cameras in Lincoln, whether for speeding, red light running, or other offenses?

Mr. T’s World Collapses

By: Mr. Wilson on November 25, 2008
I have some bad news for Mr. T and you other Catty Girls fans out there: the ladies are calling it quits. Today's was their last newspaper column. To whom will Lincolnites now turn for their fashion and etiquette advice? I'll start off the nominations with the power duo of Jack Mitchell and Matt Olberding. Will you gents step up and guide Lincolnites from the fashion abyss? Nominate your favorites here.

Christmas in Uni Place

By: Mr. Wilson on November 24, 2008
Lincolnite Angie Parde dropped me a note and asked me to let everybody know about an upcoming event in Uni Place:
Historic University Place Holiday Event will take place on November 29th from 1:00 to 3:00. Santa and his LIVE reindeer will be in the area for the little ones to see. Come shop the unique and fun shops in the UNI place area and Tiaras -- the new children's boutique will have Christmas cookies, prizes, drawings, and gift with purchase. Phone: 402-466-2100 for more information.
We may have to take Robbie to see the reindeer. He has been fascinated with reindeer ever since seeing the reindeer at the zoo trying to rid themselves of their antlers. Robbie likes to re-enact the event by banging his head on furniture and saying "Reindeer bang! Ouch!"

70th and Pioneers is the Place to Eat

By: Mr. Wilson on November 21, 2008
Matt Olberding says a new Sam & Louie's is coming soon to Pioneer Woods at 70th and Pioneers. That shopping center is becoming quite the dining hub. Sam & Louie's will join Venue, The Oven, Carmela's, NuVibe, and Culver's. With an ice cream shop just to the south and Holmes Park just to the north, you bachelors out there could do a lot worse than dinner, dessert, and a romantic lakeside walk on your next date. Well, maybe when temps warm up in the spring.

Will and Robert Get a Lecture

By: Mr. Wilson on November 20, 2008
I can't say I follow Robin Eschliman's recent rant in which she condemned WRK LLC -- the (in)famous Scott brothers -- for selling land in Waverly to a business that was leaving Lincoln. Here's the skinny, as far as I understand it: Watts Electric currently rents space in Air Park. Watts bought land on North 70th Street, intending to build out there. After the land purchase, flood plain maps were updated and now the land sits in a flood plain. Watts didn't receive the help (read: handouts) it wanted from Lincoln, so it looked down the road at Waverly. WRK had some available land in Waverly. Alacazam, Watts moves to Waverly. Apparently Ms. Eschliman thinks the Scotts have some sort of patriotic duty to only do business in Lincoln. Baloney. If they don't do what's good for themselves, then they don't have the resources to assist in the projects that are good for Lincoln. As for Watts Electric, who can blame them for doing what they need to do to stay competitive in their field? Rather than raving about companies' business decisions, perhaps Ms. Eschliman (and the City Council as a whole) should continue to look at the reasons why the businesses made those decisions. What made locating outside of Lincoln more attractive than locating inside Lincoln? Could we and should we have done something differently to change the outcome? I'm not presupposing any answers here; I don't know the details of this situation beyond what the media have told me. Maybe we did all we could. If so, better luck next time. If not, let's fix it. If somebody were really playing dirty I wouldn't have a problem with a City Council member calling them out. That didn't happen here. Instead, a couple businesses did what businesses do, and as a result a prominent member of local government needlessly called them out in a manner not befitting her position. What message does that send about the local climate?

StarTran as a Taxing Entity

By: Mr. Wilson on November 19, 2008
Apparently there's talk of creating a transit authority in Lincoln. That would mean the City Council would no longer have to deal with StarTran's budget, routes, and so on. Instead, those responsibilities would fall on a board of some sort. The authority would have the power to tax, meaning it would show up as a separate line item on tax bills. Arguably, the biggest downside to a "Lincoln Transit Authority" would be a loss of public attention on transit matters. Most people probably don't care about that, except that it would be very easy for the "LTA" to pass tax increases without anyone noticing. It is, of course, the public's responsibility to pay attention to these things, and any taxes associated with the authority will likely be pretty small. But a tax increase is a tax increase, and Lincolnites won't like that they might miss one. Never mind that Lincolnites pay little attention to the biggest property tax collector of them all (LPS) right now. I think a transit authority could be great for StarTran. Of course, it could also be a mess, for StarTran and for Lincoln. Based on the little we know at this point, what does your gut tell you about the idea?

Healthiest, Or Just Happy With Who We Are?

By: Mr. Wilson on November 19, 2008
Lincolnites are the healthiest in the country. It's true. I read it in a press release. Well, maybe not. I suspect our "I'm OK" self-perception is more closely aligned with Mr. T's recent observation about our unpretentiousness than with the actual status of our health. But a healthy attitude is a good start. Plenty of studies have shown that healthy mental states are correlated with healthy physical states. On the other hand, an excessively rosy perception of one's health may keep a person from taking appropriate preventative or treatment actions. You may think you're healthy as healthy can be, but if you don't get that prostate cancer screening... Knock on wood, The Wilsons are feeling pretty healthy these days. Are you and yours among those fluffing up Lincoln's survey results?
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