[mccookgazette.com] Fair ~ 54°F  
High: 85°F ~ Low: 44°F
Friday, Oct. 24, 2014
Still another health risk worse than Ebola (10/23/14)
One of the ironies of the ebola "crisis" is that Americans have become more aware of the relative risks of more common diseases such as influenza. In fact, by some reports, more people are better prepared to prevent flu infection, through vaccination, handwashing and other measures, as a result of the ebola scare...
Putting virus outbreaks in perspective (10/22/14)
Diseases have been prominent on the Gazette's front page in recent days, from Tuesday's story about Community Hospital's preparations to deal with Ebola, to the confirmation of the enterovirus to a death associated with the West Nile virus. Ebola victims die a horrible death, and while there officially have been about 5,000 deaths among fewer than 10,000 cases, worldwide, the vast majority of them in Africa, some believe the actual numbers are much higher...
World agriculture has new tool for better efficiency (10/21/14)
We've been keeping an eye on the nascent agricultural drone industry and are convinced it has a bright future once regulatory roadblocks are overcome. The technology allows a farmer to "scout" every field as often as desired, spotting problems with irrigation systems, finding specific spots with infestations or lacking nutrients, or myriad other issues...
'Tis the season for inappropriate costumes, toys (10/20/14)
Free enterprise keeps our country running, but it also keeps commentators on the job as it pushes the boundaries of good taste. Halloween has turned into one of the year's biggest holidays when it comes to retail sales, so it's not surprising when companies go a little overboard to try to land their piece of the pie...
Cellular phones no longer a luxury to be taxed as such (10/17/14)
Remember the "luxury tax"? The idea is understandable -- anyone who can afford luxury items like furs, cars, yachts, private jets and jewelry probably won't bat an eye at a few extra dollars. Congress bought the argument, enacting such a tax in 1991, signed into law by President George H.W. Bush...
News events undermine CDC confidence (10/16/14)
We're told repeatedly that Americans don't have anything to fear from Ebola, but recent events haven't done anything to engender public confidence. Because she took a flight, at last 100 airline passengers are now at risk of contracting Ebola. While space-suited workers prepared to load the latest patient onto a private plane bound for Atlanda, an unidentified man walking with the group, carrying a clip board and dressed in shirt sleeves, handling a container and hazmat trash bag from one of the workers in full-protective gear and later boarding the flight.. ...
Minden may bring sales tax to bear on water repair issues (10/10/14)
Minden residents sometimes can't tell whether they've flushed the toilet or not. Tests show the water is safe to drink, but city officials are getting tired of people bringing in photos and samples of water ranging from yellow, to red and brown. It stains clothes and, in parts of town, barely dribbles out of the faucet...
Turkey trauma (10/09/14)
As a busy mom, Hubby and I don't get the chance to spend a lot of alone time together so when we do, I look forward to it. Last Friday, he and I had to go to some mandatory all-day meetings out of town for our jobs, and it worked out just so, that we would be traveling just the two of us the day. ...
New Events Center name is fitting tribute to generous family (10/09/14)
The MCC Events Center is a clean, no-nonsense modern facility that quietly goes about the business of supporting McCook Community College and the students it prepares for the future. It's only fitting that it now bears the name of Peter and Dolores Graff, who have quietly gone about the business of improving the community they and their family call home...
Even green energy can have its costs (10/08/14)
Not everybody is completely sold on green energy, judging by comments made by neighbors to a proposed wind farm in Southwest Nebraska. "I think it's going to negatively impact our property values," neighbor Larry Chapman said at a Hallam Village Board meeting Monday. "I don't oppose the project, but I don't want one (wind turbine) that's close to my house. Nobody's going to want to buy that acreage."...
Electricity shares blame, credit in household fires (10/07/14)
Too often, when authorities make a news report following a fire, "electrical" is listed as a suspected cause. It's true that electricity can cause destruction when it's not confined to the proper circuits -- or occurs in the wild, such as the bolt of lightning that ripped the bark from a tree on West 10th Street Sunday evening...
Casting votes best way to honor forebears (10/06/14)
It's popular to be patriotic on the Fourth of July, Veterans Day and Memorial Day, and to honor those who have served and are serving in the military, but too many of us don't take advantage of the most appropriate way to honor those who have won us our freedoms...
Are lifestyle changes key to victory over Alzheimer's? (10/03/14)
It's too early to say they've found a cure, but there's reason to hope scientists are on to something when it comes to Alzheimer's disease. At the very least, research begun by UCLA scientists should be expanded to many more test subjects. The California team subjected 10 Alzheimer's patients to a personized regimen including a comprehensive diet change, brain stimulation, exercise, sleep optimization, specific drugs and vitamins and other steps affecting brain chemistry...
It takes reliable workers at all levels to keep things humming (10/02/14)
For want of a nail the shoe was lost. For want of a shoe the horse was lost. For want of a horse the rider was lost. For want of a rider the message was lost. For want of a message the battle was lost. For want of a battle the kingdom was lost. And all for the want of a horseshoe nail...
We should stay vigilant against threats (10/01/14)
The world has enjoyed instantaneous electronic communication since the invention of the Internet, but worldwide air travel has put physical "communication" close behind. In the old days, crossing the ocean took days or weeks, meaning many diseases would have run their course by the time the carriers reached shore. Airline travel has cut transit time to the point that travelers may as well be beamed by Star Trek transporters...
Let's work to reverse rural accident trends (09/30/14)
School consolidation has been a fact of life in rural Nebraska for decades, and while there are budgetary advantages, families pay the price through increased travel, whether by school bus or private car. Unfortunately, that travel can be dangerous and is getting worse in rural Nebraska, according to AAA Nebraska...
Congratulations on another great Heritage Days (09/29/14)
Congratulations to the McCook Area Chamber of Commerce on another successful Heritage Days, which certainly lived up to its theme, according to Executive Director Taci Fawver. "Grow With Us" was the chosen theme for this year's Heritage Days celebration, and in many aspects of the weekend, it fit so well!" she said...
State ranks high when it comes to highways (09/26/14)
Nebraska and its neighbors are often disparaged as "flyover states" when the national political season heats up, but most of us do our traveling on the ground. With that in mind, it's nice to hear we're doing a good job of making that a pleasant experience...
It's shaping up to be a great Heritage Days (09/25/14)
Congratulations to all the honorees for this year's Heritage Days festivities -- Parade Marshalls Howard and Janet Kool, Grand Marshalls brothers Brett and Toby Warren, Honor Family Eugene and Marilyn Anderson, Queen Erica Wood and King Isaac Langan...
Learning safety by playing with dangerous things (09/24/14)
You have to feel for the teachers. Four students were injured, one seriously, when a teacher was pouring methanol onto a table top and igniting it during a chemistry class demonstration Monday at Denver's Science, Math and Arts Academy, a charter high school...
Income not whole story of happiness (09/23/14)
Money can't buy happiness goes the old saying, and it's as true as ever. Or can it? Yes it can, up to a point, if you want to believe a recent study. Let's just hope Washington isn't paying attention. Otherwise, they'd be tempted to impose a 100 percent tax rate above $75,000, the point above which researchers contend we gain no more happiness with each additional dollar...
Food waste not confined to the school lunch line (09/22/14)
From the "you can lead a horse to water" department, there's more frustration on the lunch line as schools see millions of dollars a day of food dumped into the trash because kids refuse to eat it. Of the $12 billion a year the U.S. Department of Agriculture spends on the National School Lunch program, researchers at Cornell and Brigham Young universities estimate some $4 million in food a day is being wasted...
Skills, education best investment for state's workers (09/19/14)
While fast-food workers nationwide are campaigning for $15 an hours, there's a more modest drive under way in Nebraska, a ballot issue to raise the state's minimum wage to $9. Nebraskans for Better Wages released a study in support of the change, saying one out of six workers in the state would receive a raise as a result...
Insurance controversy continues (09/18/14)
Treatment of an Ebola patient in an Omaha hospital reinforces Nebraska's reputation as a state with good medical care, but a dispute between a major health insurance company and one of its largest medical networks stands to undermine that status. An Aug. ...
Ebola, ISIS issue have a familiar ring (09/18/14)
An American aid doctor being treated in Nebraska is expected to recover after receiving an experimental drug and a transfusion from another aid worker who had recovered from Ebola. Before the doctor can be discharged from the Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, he must have had two blood tests, 24 hours apart, that are negative for Ebola...
Event offers chance to learn more about dogs, support shelter (09/17/14)
A story on the wire caught our eye this morning, about how a Nebraska breeder had "donated" 26 small dogs to the Grand Island animal shelter. How generous! Despite the questionable wording, turning the dogs over to the shelter was certainly preferable to actions taken by other mysterious breeders, who have chosen to dump dozens of small dogs in the Southwest Nebraska countryside a couple of times in the past few years...
Emergency preparedness must include pets (09/16/14)
It's heart-warming to see -- and write -- stories about first responders taking care of family pets once they know the people at the fire or accident are taken care of. But, while the firefighters and paramedics do have soft hearts when it comes to cats and dogs, they know there's more to it than that...
New jail is positive addition for McCook (09/15/14)
It's been a long time coming, and the new jail's existence and location were far from unanimous decisions, but congratulations to everyone involved in construction of the new county law enforcement facility. County Commissioner Vesta Dack's symbolic ribbon cutting -- using bolt cutters to sever a link on a pair of leg irons -- frees Red Willow County from the shackles of "farming out" our long-term prisoners to jails in places like Trenton and Curtis...
New tools available to fight crime (09/12/14)
Many Nebraskans take pride in being able to leave their doors unlocked and keys in the ignition of their pickup trucks. They used to, anyway. Unfortunately, there has been an uptick in certain crimes, especially those involving theft of items left in unlocked, unattended vehicles...
Times have changed, but our resolution must not (09/11/14)
We hope you take time to attend tonight's performance of "The Guys," which promises to revive personal memories and emotions all of us felt, even here in mid-America, far from the attacks in New York and Washington. The play will be presented by McCook Community College at 7 p.m. at the Fox Theatre; admission is a free-will donation to the McCook Fire Department...
Heidemann's woes are loss for entire state (09/10/14)
There's good news and bad news from Lincoln, if you have political ambitions. The good news is, there's an opening in the statehouse. The bad news is, it's the office of Nebraska Lieutenant Governor. Lavon Heidemann took that post only 18 months ago, after the Omaha World Herald discovered that Rick Sheehy had been using the state cell phone to make thousands of personal phone calls to four women other than his wife. They had since divorced...
Good news, bad news on latest health concerns (09/09/14)
One of the hazards of sending kids back to school is knowing that they'll probably come home with the latest bug that is making the rounds. That's true again this year, but instead of contracting the common cold, kids in Missouri, Kansas, Iowa and Colorado are reporting hundreds of children being hospitalized with an unusual strain of summer cold, Enterovirus 68...
Trees hold special place in hearts of Nebraskans (09/03/14)
Nebraska's new marketing slogan, "Visit Nebraska. Visit Nice" has met with some negative reviews, both from Nebraskans who prefer "The Good Life" and from Minnesotans who have long claimed "Minnesota Nice" as their own. But it is true that Nebraskans do tend to be nice, thanks to their neighborly heritage and to the simple fact that there just aren't that many of us, especially places that aren't Lincoln or Omaha...
Let's pay railroads full respect (09/02/14)
Note to team photographers: While it's great to be creative, don't get the railroad involved. The Union Pacific, which sends 50 trains a day across tracks near North Bend, halted them Thursday after railroad workers found the North Bend Central volleyball team was using the tracks as a prop for team photos...
Katrina anniversary important reminder for preparedness (08/29/14)
Nine years ago, New Orleans was going through the nightmare created by Hurricane Katrina, people stranded on roofs and in attics, patients dying in hospitals and rest homes. Despite the backhanded "good job, Brownie" compliment President George W. Bush gave his soon-to-depart FEMA director Michael D. Brown, the administration received heavy criticism for its response to the disaster...
Old auditorium should have been part of original plans (08/27/14)
They say hind sight is 20/20, and with or without the corrective lens of memory, that's usually true. There are many times we wish we would have spoken up when we saw things running off the track, afraid to be nay-sayers "on the wrong side of history."...
Nebraska education maintains reliance on local property taxes (08/26/14)
There were few surprises in a study released Monday about Nebraska's educational funding system, but that doesn't make them any less remarkable. In 1990, Nebraska ranked 49th nationally in state aid to K-12 education. Now, many years and many legislative efforts later, Nebraska ranks ... 49th nationally in Fiscal 2012, the latest year for which figures are available...
Best decisions result from look at scientific evidence (08/25/14)
McCOOK, Neb. -- A local woman escaped injury by fire Sunday morning after she was alerted by her neighbor of smoke coming from her attic. McCook emergency responders arrived at 808 East 4th Street, the home of Lorine Bauguess, just after 7:30 a.m. Sunday to find visible smoke and fire coming from the attic area...
State fair hitting its stride in new, closer location (08/22/14)
"Greater Nebraskans" who live in our end of the state like to joke that our eastern Nebraska friends think the state ends at Grand Island. We probably shouldn't be too harsh on them, our friends from Scottbluff and Chadron probably feel the same about us...
Good test scores only part of complete education (08/21/14)
Critics decry "teaching to the test," but we have yet to see a system, other than a test of some sort, that can determine whether or not a student has learned the required material. By that standard, McCook High School is doing a good job of preparing its graduates, who scored a composite 22.3 in English, math, reading and science on the ACT college entrance examination...
Despite dangers, nonlethal force still preferable when possible (08/20/14)
"Don't taze me bro!" It was a viral video a few years ago, but the ACLU of Nebraska thinks our state's law enforcement agencies are misusing the electronic stun devices. Tasers apply 50,000 volts to the body, incapacitating the subject long enough to be subdued, but sometimes causing death -- the ACLU cites figures showing 540 deaths in the past 13 years, including three in Nebraska...
Careful travel key as school opens again (08/13/14)
Scraps of Fourth of July fireworks probably had to be swept away to clean the pavement so crosswalks could be repainted in preparation for the reopening of school this week. "Time flies like an arrow" according to an old Chinese saying, and we all need to be aware of the changing tempo of life as students return to school...
Combination of causes for a tragic death (08/12/14)
Few deaths have been felt more deeply by more people than that of Robin Williams, who spent his life making other people happy only to fall victim to his own misery. Comedy often sprouts from pain, and if Williams' brilliance as a performer is any indication, the pain must have been very deep indeed...
Dealing with fallout from new FAA rules (08/11/14)
There's more than one way to skin a cat. In the case of air service, rural Nebraskans may be starting to feel a draft. Maintaining air service at small airports like McCook has been a long-term battle, dating back to the deregulation of the airline industry during the Reagan years...
A frightening reminder of the need for vaccinations (08/08/14)
The World Health Organization has declared the Ebola outbreak in West Africa to be an international public health emergency requiring an all-out effort to combat. Ebola, which inflicts about half its victims with a bleeding, horrible death, has had about 20 outbreaks in central and eastern Africa since it was first identified 1976, but this is the first one that has affected West Africa, emerging in Guinea in March and spreading to Sierra Leone and Liberia...
Officials goaded into action on sentencing flap (08/07/14)
Heads have begun to roll now that the prison sentencing scandal has resulted in a criminal investigation, announced today. Local observers were not surprised when it turned out that higher-ups weren't exactly going out of their way to keep prisoners in an overcrowded correctional system any longer than necessary...
No, 'password' is not a strong enough password (08/06/14)
Who are you? If you've been on the Internet lately, you may now be a Russian hacker, and it's time to change your password to get your identity back. By some estimates, 2 billion people a day log on to the World Wide Web, and, according to a New York Times story quoting a Milwaukee online security firm, Russian hackers have captured some 1.2 billion username and password combinations...
New 'gluten free' labeling goes into effect (08/05/14)
Eggs are bad for you. Tropical oils are terrible. Stick to a low-fat diet. Don't eat any carbohydrates. Eat a lot of protein. Try this special cabbage soup, three times a day. Eggs are good for you. Tropical oils are wonderful. It's tempting to lump the current "gluten free" trend with other fad diets, but it is a very serious issue for those with a particular autoimmune disorder, celiac disease, who have to avoid the tiniest amount of gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye...
Rec facilities good, always room for improvement (08/04/14)
'McCook has all its recreational bases covered' we headlined a story Friday about a recent city survey. We stand by that headline, but that doesn't mean there isn't room for improvement. That also doesn't mean there can't be a chicken-or-egg argument made...
Industrial technology important weapon in educational arsenal (08/01/14)
Think back on your education career. How many classes did you take, and how many of them do you use in your daily life? Someone in journalism is lucky -- there is no subject he or she is unlikely to encounter in the course of a media career. But day-to-day skills such as typing, grammar, spelling and composition are the nuts and bolts of the daily work routine...
Child safety, common sense collide in Florida (07/31/14)
Dominic Gainey, 7, rides his bicycle two miles to school every day, passing a fire station, community pool, library, church, public park and daycare along the way. He wanted to go to the park the other day, but his bike had a flat tire, so his mom decided to let him walk the half mile to the playground. As usual, he carried a cell phone so he could check in with his mom...
Who's really to blame in the prison sentencing scandal? (07/30/14)
We've been following the Veterans Administration scandal and written about it here a couple of times, but a new controversy that seems to have common components hits closer to home. Some Veterans Administration officials are accused of gaming the system, for example, by collecting bonuses for improving service to veterans by instructing lower level employees to keep appointment lists off the books to make waiting times look much better than they actually were...
State Fair promising 'A Bumper Crop of Fun' (07/29/14)
Did you enjoy the Red Willow County Fair? How about the fair nearest your home town, already past, going on this week or coming up soon? We'll bet they generate memories to carry through the long winter into next summer's celebration season. But let's not move on just yet...
How your morning wake-up drink, immigration crisis are related (07/28/14)
There are no simple answers to the immigration crisis, and that's in part because it's not a simple problem. The U.S. Senate is complicating things more, politicizing both immigration and aid to Israel with one fell swoop -- Democrats adding $225 million to deal with immigration in a bill to give Israel more funding to rebuild its dwindling supply if Iron Dome anti-missiles, used to defend against Hamas attacks...
Tragic events don't mean we have to change our plans (07/25/14)
Did we mention, "when it rains, it pours'? We pulled out that cliché in this space Thursday in regard to hailstorm repairs. Unfortunately, it applies to other, more serious topics this week as well. Plane crashes are one example -- on Thursday, an Air Algerie airliner went down in Africa...
Don't be victim of fly-by-night roof contractors (07/24/14)
When it rains it pours, but sometimes it hails. That was the case recently, and neighborhoods are buzzing with activity, first as adjusters take a look at property damage, then as crews make repairs. The recent hailstorm was not as damaging as storms of recent years, although because a second storm came up unexpectedly, a lot of car dealerships were caught off guard and are now offering hail-damaged bargains...
Teen HGH doping not worth the risk (07/23/14)
It won't be long now, football fans. Yes, we've enjoyed baseball season, and the World Cup was a pleasant distraction, but we all know what the real sport is. In Nebraska, NU volleyball and, to a lesser extent, basketball, have made themselves felt, but Big Red means football...
Whatever you drive, keep your seatbelt buckled (07/22/14)
Three people were sent to the hospital, one of them transported to an out-of-town hospital, following a horrible accident Monday evening, involving an SUV and a car. We've noticed several local accidents, some of them inside town at relatively slow speeds, where tall vehicles, most of them SUVs, have rolled as a result of the collision...
How Mexican meth made it into our area (07/21/14)
Ogallala celebrates its past as a rip-roarin' cattle town of the late 1800s, with monuments and tourist attractions. It earned its claim to fame after the railroad reached what would become Ogallala in 1867, the closest point for Texas beef to reach transportation to the hungry East...
Grassroots idea grows to feed 3 billion people (07/18/14)
Driving through freshly harvested fields of wheat, thriving fields of corn and soybeans and it's hard to believe that there is hunger anywhere in the world. This year, especially, our Golden Plains are producing an abundance of food -- at least the majority of fields, those that didn't receive hail -- and there is no reason some of it can't get to people who would otherwise starve...
Expanded gambling, whatever the form, remains a bad idea (07/16/14)
We can't remember the specifics, but there was surely a comedy sketch somewhere during the early days of videotape about two guys watching a football game between their two favorite teams. One remark leads to another, resulting in a wager over the outcome of the contest. The clock runs out, money changes hands and, of course, the audience laughs when the pair turn out to have been watching a videotape...
Cellphone ethics involves more than rude behavior (07/15/14)
Next time you're out with a group of friends, here's a game that will make the evening more enjoyable and just might pick up your tab. Everyone takes out their cell phones, stack them in the center of the table, and waits. The first person to grab their phone from the stack picks up the bill...
Alternative energy a hard sell in Nebraska (07/14/14)
The Keystone XL pipeline has been drawing the attention of activists over the past few years, and, as a purely public power state, our reliance on coal and aging nuclear power plans have raised environmental concerns, but selling Nebraskans on alternative energy may be an uphill battle, despite a strong ethanol industry...
Colorado extends long tradition with legalized marijuana (07/10/14)
A certain ritual used to be part of every 18-year-old's life in certain parts of Southwest Nebraska -- a trip to Julesburg, Colorado, to partake of beer with 3.2 percent alcohol, legal for young people of that age. We don't know whatever happened to the 3.2 beer ritual, but a new one has appeared to take its place...
Think twice about selling that old smartphone (07/09/14)
We all need to clean out the closets once in a while, and garage sales -- like the community-wide garage sale planned for McCook's Crazy Days next week -- are a good way to accomplish that task. Unfortunately for the compulsive collectors among us, that's also a good way to fill the closets back up, but that's another problem entirely...
Too many baby boomers have weight problems (07/08/14)
Huey Lewis and the News sang about it in 1986: "I like my bands in business suits, I watch them on TV "I'm working out most every day and watching what I eat "They tell me that it's good for me, but I don't even care "I know that it's crazy "I know that it's nowhere...
Subdivision roads issue only part of equation (07/07/14)
County commissioner Earl McNutt's prediction about maintaining roads in rural subdivisions seems to be coming true. McNutt was out-voted a couple of weeks ago when commissioners decided 2-1 to begin maintaining three roads in the Calabria subdivision, despite his warning that other rural private subdivisions would ask for the same treatment...
Local solution to a worldwide plastics problem? (07/02/14)
"I just want to say one word to you -- just one word -- 'plastics.'" The generation that followed that pronouncement in 1967's "The Graduate" certainly took that advice to heart. Today plastics are everywhere, from the wad of shopping bags in the pantry to the tiny beads in toothpaste, to industrial pellets and detergent bottles...
How about a week when we all just get along? (07/01/14)
Most of us are looking forward to a long weekend, thanks to Independence Day falling on a Friday -- and our sympathy and gratitude to those who do have to work that day, providing services the rest of us depend on, holiday or no. America's main summer holiday is a good time to enjoy the outdoors (we're hoping for good weather) and get together with family and friends...
Fourth of July commotion not popular with pets (06/30/14)
It seems to be the year for big animals to sell fireworks. A giant inflatable gorilla beckons buyers on North U.S. 83, a huge bald eagle dares B Street drivers not to pull in for seasonal incendiaries and various, odd dancing characters do their bit at other stands...
'Safer' fireworks substitute creates its own hazard (06/26/14)
It was only a year ago when we were talking about banning fireworks altogether because conditions were so dry. It will take a long time to recharge the ground moisture, but without even adding in all of the overnight precipitation, we've received almost three-quarters of an inch more precipitation than normal for the year, 11.63 inches of moisture...
Lessons on life from the eye of a photographer (06/24/14)
Say what you will about the social media, but nothing in history has allowed so many people to share their ideas with so many people so effortlessly. A post by our astronomy columnist, Vernon Whetstone, caught our eye on Facebook this week. A former professional photographer, he recalled a seminar where the presenter offered some sage advice:...
Returning sanity to public's view of food supply (06/23/14)
A prudish gentleman seated in a neighborhood diner inquired about the daily special. "Beef tongue," he was informed. "Oh, I could never eat something that had been in an animal's mouth!" he replied. "Give me a couple of scrambled eggs instead!"...
Overall climate more effective than targeted business incentives (06/20/14)
It's like a nuclear standoff, one official observes; "Unless everyone stands down, we've got to compete." State Sen. Galen Hadley of Kearney was refering to the Nebraska Advantage Act, which offers businesses tax breaks for creating new jobs. The only problem is, the law doesn't include a mechanism for determining whether it works...
Native American mascots placed in the spotlight (06/19/14)
These words are being written on a 5-year-old Macintosh computer, using 4-year-old software, the image eventually finding its way onto a 50-year-old press to be distributed around the southwest corner of an 150-year-old state. The technology is functional and well-taken care of despite its age, but someone was needed to invent it, get it working, and restore it to working order when something inevitably goes wrong. (Keeping the state in order is a question for another time.)...
New partnership will help meet demand for techs (06/18/14)
These words are being written on a 5-year-old Macintosh computer, using 4-year-old software, the image eventually finding its way onto a 50-year-old press to be distributed around the southwest corner of an 150-year-old state. The technology is functional and well-taken care of despite its age, but someone was needed to invent it, get it working, and restore it to working order when something inevitably goes wrong. (Keeping the state in order is a question for another time.)...
Feeling effects of international events in our area (06/16/14)
When old newspaper people used to get together, one would insult another by charging that his publication was "addicted to Afghanistan." It wasn't an altogether inaccurated allegation; it's always easier to fill space with news transmitted from afar via the wire services. That's why papers like this one emphasize local stories as much as possible -- no one in Afghanistan is especially interested in McCook goings-on -- unless it happens to be a service member from here, for one example...
One more reason you should protect yourself from mosquitoes (06/13/14)
Not many of us worry much about West Nile Virus, which first hit Nebraska in 2002, despite the fact it causes a few deaths and a few hundred clinical infections in the state every year. Still, it's a good idea to take precautions to do everything we can to prevent being infected, which occurs only by being bitten by a female mosquito carrying the virus...
Coffee may be good for you (06/12/14)
Visit your dentist regularly. Brush and floss your teeth properly. Avoid sugary foods. Oh, and drink plenty of black coffee. Wait, what? That's what a new study, "Antibacterial effect of coffee: calcium concentration in a culture containing teeth/biofilm exposed to Coffea Canephora Aqueous extract" seems to indicate...
Too many old, recalled tires are on the road (06/11/14)
What do a gallon of milk and a set of tires have in common? Neither one should be used after the expiration date. Actually, only the milk has an official expiration date, but some experts think the tires should, too. In 2013, GM began recommending in its owner manuals that tires should be replaced after six years regardless of tread wear, and Ford and Lincoln have followed suit...
Higher wages, entry-level jobs and the Turing test (06/10/14)
What's a fair wage? That depends on whom you ask, of course; minimum wage workers never think they earn enough, and employers always worry about staying in business while dealing with red tape and mandates like the Affordable Care Act, not to mention competition...
Welcome rain fails to put damper on weekend activities (06/09/14)
Was it the best of both worlds, or a pleasant compromise? We'll probably find somebody complaining about the rains, but they'll be vastly outnumbered by those of us who are grateful for long-overdue precipitation. Friday's horse race at the John Mullen Pro-Am had to be called for lightning on the 17th hole, but finished up Saturday morning...
D-Day numbers tell their tale (06/06/14)
With America now attempting to wind down its longest-lasting war, attention is focused on a single soldier who may or may not have been a deserter, in exchange for five captives who definitely were terrorists. As we debate the implications of the exchange of those six individuals, a look at the raw, nameless numbers from the D-Day invasion, occurring 70 years ago today, can bring things into perspective...
Rural areas should keep eye on net neutrality (06/05/14)
Did Native Americans argue about who got the best smoke signals? Some of them attacked encroaching Europeans building a better system, a telegraph line alongside the tracks used by the Iron Horse. Businesses and individuals who sent messages via the telegram were supposed to get equal treatment, whether it was birthday greetings for one of the Rockefellers or word of the sinking of the Titanic...
Bad times make good marriages? (06/04/14)
People who went through Tuesday's storm in other parts of the state probably don't believe the old adage that "every cloud has a silver lining." At least one credit expert thinks it is true, however, if we're talking about the 2008 recession. Bad financial times apparently caused more couples to take steps to have good marriages, Becky Frost of Experian Consumer Services told CNNMoney...
Do we face environmental or economic ruin? (06/03/14)
Nebraskans have traditionally enjoyed some of the lowest electrical costs in the nation, due, in part to its status, along with Alaska, as a totally "public power" state. That means the people who run the electrical systems answer not to investors looking to make a profit, but to customers who want to pay as little as possible for their energy...
Rural crime prevention is a team sport (06/02/14)
One of the beauties of rural life is the solitude it offers for those who prefer their peace and quiet. Unfortunately, that solitude offers opportunity for those who want to use that isolation to enrich themselves at the expense of unsuspecting rural residents...
Sunscreen advice still good today (05/30/14)
A 1997 Chicago Tribune column by Mary Schmich lamented that "Advice, like youth, probably just wasted on the young." It included an admonishment to "wear your sunscreen," and spawned a popular song ostensibly offering the same advice to graduates as a way to live a happier life and avoid common frustrations...
Surveillance networks have two sides (05/29/14)
George Orwell probably never thought of each of us carrying a networked computer that could keep track of our every word and move, but he knew Big Brother would have loved one. NSA leaker Edward Snowden told NBCs' Brian Williams that the government can use your cell phone or computer to take photos, checking your Internet activity, emails and recording your phone conversations, even if your device is turned off...
Veterans pay price for VA cooking bookds (05/28/14)
The scandal at the Veterans Administration reveals a couple of problems with the way organizations work, and how some techniques for improving them can actually have the opposite effect. The first is the tendency is "just go along to get along." Most of us want to do our job well and not create friction with our co-workers, but sometimes we need to make waves to avoid disaster...
Another tragic reminder to stay involved (05/27/14)
There was something for everyone in Friday night's tragedy near the University of California, Santa Barbara that left seven people dead, including the attacker, and seven others wounded. Gun control advocates will note that Elliot Rodger, a troubled college student who was able to convince authorities he was of no danger to himself or others, was found with three handguns, all purchased legally, with hundreds of rounds of ammunition in his car after he shot three victims and himself...
McCook military legacy in spotlight for Memorial Day (05/23/14)
It's hard to believe now, but many of us used to grow tired of hearing war stories from our fathers. For children of World War II parents, those stories are fast becoming a precious commodity. Even stories from Korea and Vietnam are nothing to be taken for granted...
Memorial Day starts 100 days of driving danger (05/22/14)
We're all looking forward to Memorial Day, the traditional first day of summer, a time to remember those who have sacrificed their all for us, a day to spend extra time with family and friends. But not everyone is looking forward to a good time. Officials know that Memorial Day is also the start of the 100 most dangerous days for teen drivers...
News from VA, ER front bode ill for Obamacare (05/21/14)
The whole health care issue comes down to one issue: Who pays? One of the major selling points of the Affordable Care Act was that, by covering more people, we could reduce the number of people who resorted to expensive emergency room visits for otherwise routine medical care...
One more reason to get kids to bed on time (05/20/14)
It's always hard to get kids to go to bed when it's still daylight outside at 9 p.m., but there is a reason other than they'll wake up grumpy. Eventually, they may wake up lumpy, according to a new study that linked childhood obesity to chronic sleep deprivation during infancy and early childhood...
Let's help kids have a fun, safe summer vacation (05/19/14)
School's out for summer -- almost; just ask a kid who hasn't graduated yet and may be counting down the hours until the final dismissal of the year. It's time to enjoy the outdoors, take part in baseball, softball and soccer, plan a family vacation or head to the lake. There are summertime jobs for older kids, and all of us adjust our daily activities in tune with the calendar...
Two-wheeled transportation has benefits (05/16/14)
It's a little too late for readers to take part in today's Bike to Work Day, and that means of transportation just isn't practical for many of us. That doesn't mean we shouldn't think about using it on other days, climbing aboard on our days off. It's not unusual to see someone loading up a bike at the local big-box store, and a visit to the local bike shop where dozens of two-wheelers await repair is evidence that bicycling is as popular as ever. ...
New facility frees cancer patients from hours of travel (05/15/14)
Nothing's as sobering as hearing that you have cancer, but it's not the death sentence it was in years past. American Cancer Society statistics show the death rate from cancer in the United States has declined steadily over the past 20 years. The cancer death rate for men and women, which peaked in 1991, had dropped 20 percent by 2010, the most recent year for which data is available...
Changing political cast of characters good, whatever the cause (05/14/14)
We've editorialized against term limits as a waste of experience and institutional memory, and nothing that occurred in Tuesday's election has changed our minds. Term limits were passed mainly to remove Omaha Sen. Ernie Chambers from his decades-long position, but worked only until he was eligible again -- while his replacement experienced personal problems with gambling...
Nonpartisan bloc gains importance (05/13/14)
When you walked into the polls today, the person ahead of you in line probably belonged to the same political party as you. But maybe not. A check of the registered voters at various precincts in Red Willow County provides an enlightening snapshot of the political leanings of various neighborhoods...
McCook Gazette
Our opinion