Drama at the Playhouse

By: Mr. Wilson on July 14, 2009
Sounds like the Lincoln Community Playhouse is having a tough go In These Economic Times™. Not that the Playhouse's troubles are new, however. It sounds like cash flow has been a problem for quite a while, and a couple commenters on the LJS story hint that there's some underlying grumbling directed at the Playhouse's leadership. Hmm. I haven't been to a show at the Playhouse in years. When I was a kid I used to go at least once each year. Often I would be inspired to go after the cast came to Calvert Elementary to promote the show. I don't recall much about the shows I saw -- though the blueberry scene from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory stands out in my memory -- but wouldn't you know it, I do remember eating popcorn and drinking punch during the intermissions. Do you have any fond Community Playhouse memories? Do you have any insight into the LCP's current situation?

BB at SP is DOA; VZW is in the WC

By: Mr. Wilson on July 13, 2009
Matt Olberding comes back from vacation and this is the news he starts with:
Got confirmation from the developer that the Best Buy at Southpointe is officially dead. Lots of reasons, and the economy and demise of Circuit City did play a role.
Followed by:
The other big news from that area is that the old Whiskey Creek restaurant building is going to undergo extensive renovations and become a Verizon Wireless store.
Massive renovations indeed! I'm surprised no restaurants picked up on that space. The location is certainly desirable enough. Well folks, now that Best Buy is out, what is your next choice for those 30,000 prime square feet?

Why is Lincoln’s Crime Rate So High (But Not Really)?

By: Mr. Wilson on July 13, 2009
Want to know why Lincoln's rate of certain crimes is so low, while our rate in other crime categories is so high? It may be due to reporting. That is, Lincoln may simply report more minor instances of certain crimes. For example, here's a list of stuff that got stolen on July 1. Can you imagine cops in LA fretting about the disappearance of a pair of size 7 underwear? It makes you wonder: LPD Chief Tom Casady likes to point out how small Lincoln's police force is relative to other communities. If we were to add those officers, and if our existing officers already have enough time to deal with the theft of, say, a newspaper, what exactly would all of those additional officers do? I know I'm simplifying things a fair bit. Nevertheless, let's face it: LPD gets quite a lot done despite -- or because of? -- their numbers.

Thanks, Twitterers, for Embracing #LNK

By: Mr. Wilson on July 10, 2009
It was only four days ago that I proposed* making #LNK the unofficial hashtag for Lincoln-related tweets on Twitter. Since that time it appears to have caught on. Nice, did I actually start something? I guess that means I have some sort of power here on the interweb. The question is, should I use that power for good or evil? Hmm... * With a significant contribution from Gene, who recommended we go with ALL CAPS.

Recycling in Lincoln

By: Mr. Wilson on July 10, 2009
Karin Dalziel's tweet this morning reminded me that I have been meaning to ask folks about their experiences with various local recycling services. The Wilsons don't have a recycling service right now, but we would consider getting one. Let's consider this the start of that conversation. Which services are great or not so great? Which have you tried, and which do you recommend?

That’s Gonna Cost Ya

By: Mr. Wilson on July 10, 2009
Let me first say that, in general, I have no problem with funding public ventures with user fees as opposed to taxes. There are often perfectly good reasons to do so, and we probably could expand our use of user fees in several areas. Take the oodles of fee increases proposed by Parks and Rec. Most of them are wholly reasonable, if occasionally regrettable. Lincolnites have insisted time and again that they don't want their taxes raised; charging an extra $5 for Parks and Rec summer camps as a result isn't such a terrible outcome. The one fee increase that really concerns me -- and I'm sure it concerns a lot of folks -- is the proposed Pioneers Park Nature Center admission fee. The Nature Center is currently free. The new fee would "likely [be] in the $4 range". I don't necessarily mind charging a fee, but four bucks? Ouch! That's an awfully steep increase from free. I have a very difficult time imagining my family forking over $12 to go walk through the trees. We can do that for free at, say, Wilderness Park. And the educational opportunities? We have a zoo pass. Which isn't to say that I don't understand the difficult position Parks and Rec is in. I just can't imagine many families forking over that kind of cash for what will be perceived by most people, I think, as an insufficient return on their investment. I think a $1 or $2 fee could fly. If they do stick with the $4 amount I suspect they will really need to work on making the experience worth the money. What will that entail? I'm not entirely certain. I'm fairly confident that the current amenities won't be considered "worth it" for most Lincolnites. Are they right? It doesn't matter. What matters is whether they show up in great enough numbers to cover the budget.

Chase This!

By: Mr. Wilson on July 9, 2009
St. Monica's fourth annual Amazing Chase is open for registration. The skinny:
On Ocotber 10th 2009, teams of four will race across the city, gathering clues and completing challenges to cross the finish line first! The Chase is designed to remind us all that the road to recovery for the women of St. Monica's is never a straight line and there are many twists and turns and unexpected obstacles along the way. It takes tremendous courage, creativity and a little help from your friends to be successful.
Here are some highlights from last year's event: Looks like a blast!

Footloose Starts Tonight

By: Mr. Wilson on July 9, 2009
Footloose starts tonight at Pinewood Bowl. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for kids; adult tickets are $9 in advance at Russ's Markets, or $8 with a Privilege Plus card, while kids' tickets are $4 at Russ's. The show starts at 8:30pm. My family used to regularly attend shows at Pinewood Bowl when I was a kid. I remember taking a blanket, a bag of Little King sandwiches, and a can of bug spray. I haven't gone as frequently in the past several years, but I did see Fiddler on the Roof and Wizard of Oz (or was it The Wiz?). Are any of you planning to attend the show this year? Let us know what you think!

We Can Do Better Than 4.7%

By: Mr. Wilson on July 8, 2009
Come on, Lincoln, we can do better than 375 Special Olympics volunteers -- a mere 4.7% of the number that will eventually be needed. In addition, 500 volunteers are needed July 31 thru August 3 the National Invitational Golf and Softball Tournament, a precursor to the games. If you haven't already volunteered, please do so today! That being said, I have a suggestion for the Special Olympics folks: You need to reply to your e-mails. The Central Nebraska Soccer Officials Association extended an official offer to assist with soccer events (or even beyond) in any capacity it or its members are needed. We want to help. Unfortunately, nobody has yet responded to the offer. Now in our case our offer certainly won't disappear even if nobody gets back to us until next summer. We are committed. But from a management perspective it is poor form to take for granted this sort of generous offer by not offering up some sort of confirmation that the offer was received. Even something simple: "Thanks for the offer! We're swamped right now, but we plan to get back to you this fall to discuss how we can work with each other to make next summer's Games a huge success." Again, just a suggestion, but in my opinion a good one. UPDATE: I just noticed this comment on the Journal Star's website:
I have contacted two people to get our company signed up and have not heard anything back from either person. I have emailed both and left a voicemail for one....wonder if they responded to everyone they would be able to get more volunteers.......just a thought
It seems CNSOA isn't the only organization being left in the dark.

Catch a Crook, Make a Grand

By: Mr. Wilson on July 8, 2009
The Lincoln Police Department has launched LincolnCrimeStoppers.com where you can see photos of criminals or persons of interest. Providing LPD with information about the persons in the photos leading to an arrest may net you up to $1,000. Plus, you help make Lincoln just a little bit safer.

Upgrade in College View

By: Mr. Wilson on July 7, 2009
I live just down the street from 48th and Pioneers, so I'm intrigued to hear that the nearby Kabredlo's is starting over with a new facility. I didn't think the old one was that bad, especially compared to the ones right at 48th and Pioneers, and 48th and Calvert, along with the former Sinclaire station in between. But I certainly won't complain. I have long been surprised that College View doesn't get more love from developers. There is a lot of potential in that little stretch of Lincoln, particularly with Union College right there. Maybe I just need to be patient. After all, the past few years have brought The Mill, Five Willows and Paul's, and now this new Kabredlo's. I think the area could support one more sit-down restaurant (a bar and grill, perhaps?), along with some newer apartment/condo options. Do any of you know if there is some sort of College View business or neighborhood association promoting the area?

Thirty Thousand

By: Mr. Wilson on July 7, 2009
KOLN doesn't give a source for the stat, but they say 30,000 people watched Sunday's fireworks show at Oak Lake Park. Wow. That is a lot of people. I used to be a fan of moving the show back to Holmes Lake, but now I'm not so sure. Is there any way Holmes Lake could support 30,000 people without causing one heck of a logistics nightmare? There is another advantage I hadn't considered: bigger booms. Apparently, since the Oak Lake area isn't as densely developed the fireworks used out there can be bigger. Show organizers also don't have as limited a "fallout zone", so there is more flexibility with weather and that sort of thing. KOLN implies there is a geographical, north vs. south side to the Oak Lake vs. Holmes Lake debate. They're probably right to a certain extent. It's sort of a weird reverse-NIMBY situation where people seem to want the noise and traffic closer to their homes. Maybe one of these days the show will alternate between the two parks. That's what City Council member Jayne Snyder and others want to consider. From the perspective of community cohesion I'm not sure I like that idea. It strongly implies a your turn / our turn perspective that says the two locations are intended for two very different audiences. Do we want the city to support that sort of "the other side of the tracks" mentality? But back to the original point: I'm very pleased that this year's show went well and that a whopping 30,000 were able to attend the rescheduled show. Bravo!
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