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Friday, July 29, 2016
Hinckley release revives Simants concerns (07/28/16)
Cynics will find some way to connect the release of the man who tried to killed the Republican Party's icon Ronald Reagan and the Democratic Party's national convention but it's only the latest twist in a process that started 35 years ago. John W. Hinckley Jr., 61, who shot the president and three others outside the Washington Hilton Hotel on March 30, 1981, no longer poses a danger to himself or others, according to a 103-page court order issued by U.S. ...
Time to get kids' immune systems ready for school (07/27/16)
Summer was fun while it lasted, but you can now count on one hand the number of weeks until school starts again. With school opening comes the chance to meet new friends and become reacquainted with old ones. But while kids' minds are adjusting to the new social situation, their bodies are reacting to new microbes those interactions bring along...
Even binge-watching TV can be dangerous (07/26/16)
If you're tire of convention coverage, you might be tempted to binge watch those old episodes of "Orange is the New Black" or "House of Cards." You might want to go for a walk or play a round of golf instead, according to some studies. First there was a University of Texas at Austin study that found a connection between binge-watching and depression, lack of self-regulation or loneliness...
Election year shapes up as strangest since '68 (07/25/16)
Despite the Republican Party's selection of a sometimes belligerent nominee and Cleveland residents open-carrying assault-type weapons -- or perhaps because they were -- the GOP convention came off relatively smoothly. This week's Democratic Party convention in Philadelphia is shaping up to be entirely different...
Local troopers deserve credit for traffic safety (07/22/16)
Troopers would be the first to say they didn't deserve all the credit, but local troopers certainly deserve their share for helping prevent needless traffic fatalities last year. The McCook Sergeant Area was the only Nebraska State Patrol work area in the state to record zero fatality accidents during the 2015 calendar year...
Two messages, one goal: Healthier lives for children (07/21/16)
"Team Henry" rolled through McCook this week with the message that kids can overcome obesity with an active lifestyle and healthy eating habits. You can read about Dr. Pierre Rouzier's cross-country bicycle trip on mccookgazette.com or in Wednesday's Gazette, where a story and pictures about his visit to the McCook Public Library were printed on page 7...
FEMA offers smartphone app to deal with heat (07/20/16)
If you were around in 1936, this weather may feel familiar. Nebraska's all-time highest recorded temperature was 118 F on July 24, 1936 in Minden. That was just one of many days and weeks of weather over several years that led to vast dust storms, crop failures and depopulation of parts of the Plains and migration to California during the Depression...
No great artists among Mrs. Trump's speech writers (07/19/16)
The quote "good artists imitate; great artists steal" has been widely attributed to Pablo Picasso. It's also been credited to everyone from Steve Jobs to T.S. Eliot and Igor Stravinsky. When it comes to speech writing, however, Melania Trump's scribes are not being praised as great artists following her speech Monday night to the Republican National Convention...
Report lays out plans to help sex trafficking victims (07/18/16)
We read about prostitution stings each year in Nebraska - usually around major events such as the College World Series when law enforcement conducts stings, but most of us like to think "The Good Life" doesn't include "great" opportunities like that, especially in rural Nebraska...
The west will have to admit it's at war (07/15/16)
Internet wags were quick to call on authorities to ban trucks following Thursday's terrorism in France, but the truck attack shows just how difficult it is to fight an enemy that will stop at nothing to destroy anyone who disagrees with their religion and are only too happy to kill themselves in the process...
Road rage possible, even in sparsely populated regions (07/14/16)
Southwest Nebraskans joke about traffic jams, but dangerous conflicts arising from road disputes are not unheard of, even in our sparsely populated corner of the state. Wait at the corner of West Fifth and J on a busy school morning, and you'll agree that road rage is possible anytime motor vehicles and time schedules are in use...
Thinking outside the box on road repair, construction (07/13/16)
We haven't made a study of it, but a couple of innovative ideas have caught our eye in recent days when it comes to streets and highways. A television report Tuesday how injected foam was being used to repair a major traffic artery in Grand Island, which apparently was improperly constructed in the first place...
New GMO rules should tell whole story (07/12/16)
Rather than let Vermont dictate GMO food standards for the country, the Senate passed a labeling law last week and the House will take up the issue in short order. There's no guarantee the House will go along with the requirement. While humans have been modifying their foods for centuries through selective breeding, it's only been a few years that they've been able to manipulate DNA directly, by inserting a gene from one plant or animal into another...
Latest electronic game gets players off Mom's couch (07/11/16)
On one hand, the newest video game craze encourages exercise. On the other, it can have dangerous consequences. If you see someone staring at their screen and walking down the street, they may be playing a new "augmented reality" game. The game, Pokemon Go, has exploded in popularity since it was released Wednesday, sending players out into the real world to find online "pocket monsters" -- Pokemon. ...
Officers deserve support, even after honest mistakes (07/08/16)
Many have dangerous jobs, and we're wise not to take our loved ones for granted when they head off to work. Even so, it's shocking and outrageous to hear that five police officers lost their lives Thursday night as they were working to protect the rights and lives of peaceful protesters only a few blocks from where President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963...
Sorry, but your hoverboard may not be safe (07/07/16)
If you're disappointed that it's 2016 and you still don't have a jet pack, you might have consoled yourself by riding your hoverboard. Sorry about that, but you'd better pay attention to a notice from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Basically, if you've got a hoverboard more than a couple of months old, you should send it back, including those received as Christmas presents...
Can U.S. oil reserves keep us out of more wars? (07/06/16)
Oil has always played a pivotal role in wars from the B-24 raids on Hitler's refineries in Ploiești, Romania, the Imperial Japanese invasion of the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia) to Dick Cheney's contention that the invasion of Iraq could be paid for with oilfield proceeds...
Whatever reason, now is good time to donate blood (07/05/16)
One of our staff members at the Gazette who has O negative does his best to show up for local blood drives, but he has selfish reasons. Yes, O negative blood is much in demand because it can be given to anyone who needs it. But when someone with O negative blood needs a transfusion, it can't come from just anyone. It has to be O negative blood...
Good news, bad news for Fourth of July holiday (06/30/16)
It could be a great weekend if you plan to travel, but it could also be one of the worst, according to AAA Nebraska. Starting today and extending through Monday, July 4, nearly 43 million Americans will be traveling 50 miles or more away from home. It will be the cheapest travel in years if gasoline prices are taken into account, with U.S. drivers saving about $20 billion on gasoline so far this year compared to the same period in 2015...
Celebrate freedom without encroaching on others' rights (06/29/16)
They say my freedom to swing my arm ends where your nose begins. The same could be said for my freedom to celebrate the Fourth of July. That freedom ends where my neighbors' peace, quiet and safety begin. Tuesday night's thunderstorm put an end to the pre-Fourth reverie, nature's fireworks making the best Nebraska-legal firecrackers sound puny by comparison...
Environmentalists make point, taxpayers pay the bill (06/28/16)
We'll have to wait to see how the arbitration turns out, but the company that thought it was going to be able to build the Keystone XL pipeline wants to be paid $15 billion because the Obama administration rejected the plan. TransCanada Inc. planned to spend $8 billion to connect Hardistry, Alberta, Canada, with a point in Steele City, Nebraska, where 830,000 barrels of crude oil per day would be routed into existing pipelines to Gulf Coast refineries...
When hobos found a welcoming home in Southwest Nebraska (06/27/16)
The onlyinyourstate.com website cited some history about Oxford, Neb., that is shared by many towns along the railroad and contrasts with today's conditions. Once a division point for the old CB&Q Railroad, Oxford had a large roundhouse and, nearby, a high river bank that quickly became a "hobo haven" for men who were down on their luck...
What does Brexit mean for the next presidential election? (06/24/16)
In Scotland to visit one of his money-losing golf courses, Donald Trump congratulated Britain on its vote to leave the European Union, saying he was happy to see people take their countries back. Stock markets weren't so sure about the Brexit vote. The U.S stock market dropped about 2 percent on open but was coming back at press time...
Travelers get ground-level view of our flyover state (06/23/16)
Nebraska is sometimes derided as a "flyover state" for politicians seeking votes from the major population centers on the coasts, but it hasn't always been that way. Summertime brings reminders of earlier times when trappers, "49-ers," longhorn drovers and travelers on the Mormon and Oregon trails spent long days traversing our loess hills on the way to their final destination...
Political capital, not gun violence, main Senate target (06/22/16)
One measure would ban gun sales to suspected terrorists. Another would deny gun sales to known or suspected terrorists as long as a judge agrees within three days. A third would expand background checks to private gun sales and a fourth would encourage states to share more information on suspected terrorists with the FBI...
Time to revive ignition interlock for teen drivers? (06/21/16)
Remember ignition interlocks? For one year, 1974, American cars were equipped with a gizmo that prevented cars from starting if the driver's seat belt wasn't buckled. You may be familiar with another modern-day ignition interlock if you've run afoul of laws against driving while intoxicated...
Big cats not unheard of in Southwest Nebraska (06/20/16)
Many dads were recognized on Sunday's Fathers Day for all they do, but we have to pay tribute as well to the Colorado mom who saved her 5-year-old son's life by pulling his head from the jaws of a mountain lion. The Pitkin County police said the child was playing outside Friday with his brother when the mother heard the sound of screaming...
Vacation no time to let down your guard (06/16/16)
Our hearts go out to the Nebraska family who suffered the unspeakable horror of seeing their toddler snatched away by an alligator while they were visiting a Disney World resort Tuesday night. Although the manmade lake had "no swimming" signs posted, the boy was playing in about a foot of water in a beach area when he was grabbed by the reptile, four to seven feet in length. The boy's body was discovered nearby about 16 hours after he was taken...
Court sides with public in net neutrality ruling (06/15/16)
The internet was invented with a grant from the Department of Defense in the 1960s, was popularized by invention of the World Wide Web protocols in the 1980s, and wasn't completely opened to commercial activity until 1995. Originally carried by copper phone lines, it's increasingly transmitted wirelessly and through fiberoptic lines...
Flying American flag at half-staff too often loses meaning (06/14/16)
If you're like many of us, you'll feel the hair stand up on the back of your neck when you see an online video of a protester standing on an American flag. That's especially true for those of us who grew up hearing stories of wars fought to preserve all it stands for...
Warped view of reality common denominator in terror (06/13/16)
Both sides of the gun debate scrambled to find the "right" side of the issue, especially politicians hoping to translate the tragedy into votes. The left naturally funneled the issue into the need for gun control, blaming the instrument of mass murder, while downplaying the ideology behind the Orlando attack in the name of tolerance...
Fewer teens choose, have chance for employment (06/10/16)
Want your teens to learn accountability, grit and the ability to handle adversity? Get them summer jobs. They'll learn how to manage things they don't necessarily like and experience that may last them a lifetime. They'll also have a leg up on the competition...
Smartphones not only dangerous to driving but your career as well (06/09/16)
Using personal electronics can be illegal and downright dangerous while driving, but they're not much help when it comes to being productive at work, either. A new CareerBuilder study found that 20 percent of employers think they're getting less than five hours of productivity out of their workers every 8 hour days, and they think smart phones are to blame...
Are border beer, Colorado pot the same issue? (06/08/16)
A substance that is crossing the Nebraska state line is legal on one side of the line and illegal on the other. While businesses on one side of the line profit from sale of the substance, law enforcement and social workers on the other are left to deal with the mayhem the substance creates...
Prosecutors make right choice in tragic zoo incident (06/07/16)
It was a no-win situation for everyone involved in the shooting of a rare gorilla at the Cincinnati Zoo after a 3-year-old fell into the animal's enclosure. Fortunately, the local prosecutor didn't yield to mob rule and file charges against the mother in response to internet outcry...
Putting today's heroes into perspective (06/06/16)
The news has been filled with tributes to Muhammad Ali, and with good reason. At once inspiring, controversial and polarizing, he became an elder statesman and spokesman for various causes such as Parkinson's syndrome, as a "U.N. Messenger of Peace" to Afghanistan, and kept in the spotlight with actions such as the support of Ronald Reagan's re-election, talking a suicidal man down from a ninth-floor ledge in Los Angeles and lighting the torch at the Atlanta Olympic games...
Prince death throws spotlight on addictive painkillers (06/03/16)
Pain management is an important part of health care and the healing process, but painkillers that were hailed as effective and non-addictive only a few years ago have helped fuel a new opioid and heroin epidemic. The death of entertainer Prince, ruled to be as a result of an overdose of the painkiller fentanyl, a concentrated opioid, has thrown the spotlight on a growing problem...
Fiscal study puts Nebraska near the top (06/02/16)
Gov. Ricketts has drawn criticism for his opposition to expanding Medicaid and his penchant for treating state government like a business, but his type of fiscal conservatism has placed Nebraska next to the top when it comes to financial health. Eileen Norcross, a senior research fellow with the Mercatus Center at George Mason University leads its State and Local Policy Project, which seeks to take the mystery out of financial reports...
Emotional state plays important part in driving (06/01/16)
Someday perhaps we'll all be whisked to work by self-driving cars immune to human problems. Until then, we have to do our best to arrive safely despite the failings of the weakest link in the chain -- the human driver. The Nebraska State Patrol is again conducting its "100 Days of Summer" initiative, with extra enforcement each day between Memorial Day and Labor Day, the most dangerous months of the year...
Legislative letter: Norris would have been proud (05/31/16)
Conflict is an inherent part of our political system as ideas compete for a chance to change the direction of our society. Political parties are the vehicle we use to help advance ideas, and Gov. Pete Ricketts was fulfilling his role as a Nebraska Republican leader when he said legislators should support the party platform and work to elect more Republicans...
Remembering local sacrifices to win World War II (05/27/16)
President Obama's visit to Hiroshima today was no simple undertaking. Critics call the visit itself an apology for the atomic bombing 71 years ago, but the president took special pains avoid appearing to apologize for an act that ended the war Japan started with a sneak attack on Pearl Harbor...
If state's death penalty is broken, it can still be fixed (05/26/16)
Death penalty opponents offer some valid reasons Nebraskans should vote against reinstating capital punishment. Nebraska's death penalty is broken, State Sen. Colby Coash said during a stop in McCook on Tuesday, and the state has been unable to execute anyone in 20 years...
Don't let insects ruin your holiday (05/25/16)
We may have to deal with rain, but most of us are looking forward to a Memorial Day holiday Monday. We hope you'll attend ceremonies nearest to you as part of your holiday as well as getting outdoors to enjoy a day off. When you do get ready to head to the park or lake, be sure to grab the insect repellent...
Recycled sewer gas to power buses (05/24/16)
The city of Lincoln is planning on putting its sanitary sewer system to work hauling residents around town. Actually, methane gas from sewers is at work in Lincoln, running generators to produce 40 to 60 percent of a digester plant's electric power...
Film offers insight into 'good old days' in Washington (05/23/16)
Depending on how many elections you've lived through, the HBO film "All The Way" will bring back memories or add to your knowledge of political history. It also draws an important distinction between today's congressional gridlock and change by "executive order" instead of the old-fashioned glad-handing, arm-twisting and horse trading that resulted in landmark legislation like the Civil Rights Act of 1964...
Ensuring summertime safety takes special precautions (05/20/16)
Summer's supposed to be a fun time as kids and families take advantage of free time to get outdoors to vacation, play organized and improvised sports and enjoy the warm weather. But it can also be a dangerous time for unsupervised kids and adults who overdo it or indulge in risky behavior...
Conservative voters face choice of lesser of two evils (05/19/16)
Franklin Graham offered some good advice to Nebraskans during the Lincoln stop on his Decision America Tour Wednesday. Get involved, he said, don't be afraid to apply Christian values to government and participate in this year's election, even if they have to vote "for the lesser of two evils."...
Cash case throws spotlight on clash between states (05/18/16)
We concluded a recent editorial with the statement that "occasionally allowing guilty people to go unpunished is the price for preserving freedom for the rest of us." It didn't take long to reinforce that idea. Monday, a Nebraska judge threw out a case against a Minnesota man who admitted he was taking $65,000 in cash to Colorado to buy pot that he intended to sell back home...
Many graduates lack some desired skills (05/17/16)
So you've got that college diploma, now it's time to make the big bucks, right? If you're fluent in Scala and GO computer programming, or an expert in mergers and acquisitions or equity management, you can expect 17 to 20 percent more than the average college graduate...
Man's best friend may help make air travel safer (05/16/16)
A new air carrier is slated to take over service to McCook Ben Nelson Regional Airport this summer, and while "lines" are next to nonexistent going through security here, that's not the case at larger airports. Passengers are told to arrive as much as three hours early because of tightened security measures and tight TSA budgets...
Nuke plant shutdown foreshadows coming changes in energy mix (05/13/16)
Nuclear power was hailed as a miracle when it was first implemented back in the 1950s, and still shows promise in the form of nuclear fusion, which has been "just a few years away" for many decades. We agree with the view that the most practical course is a cocktail of energy sources -- coal, oil, wind, solar, hydro and nuclear -- but in the end, simple economics will be the deciding factor...
Foster parents make a difference, one child at a time (05/12/16)
We're sure you've heard the story about the old man walking along the beach, who spotted a boy in the distance. Every so often, the young man would bend over, pick something up and throw it into the water. Drawing closer, the old man discovered the object of the boy's activities. Starfish...
Now that plan is approved, public must stay involved (05/11/16)
Congratulations to the McCook Economic Development Corp., executive director Kirk Dixon, board members and the community in general for approving and extending McCook's economic development plan. New on the job, Dixon isn't likely to accept much credit for the wide margin of approval, but he and the MEDC leadership that put him in place deserve recognition for the positive vote...
Play good odds to stay safe in tornado season (05/10/16)
Lincoln commuters on the way home from work Monday had to deal with more than traffic as a storm pounded the area, dropping snowdrifts of hail up to football size, as much as 6 inches of rain and spawning at least one tornado. Red Willow and Frontier counties were spared serious damage when two or three tornadoes twisted through the area Sunday, but summer 2016 seems to be shaping up as a stormy season...
After speeches, consider cold economic facts (05/09/16)
Speakers gave this weekends' graduates a lot of advice, but dropping out of school wasn't among it. We've all heard the stories about college dropouts doing well -- Time has a Top 10 list in fact: Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Frank Lloyd Wright, Buckminster Fuller, James Cameron, Mark Zuckerberg, Tom Hanks, Harrison Ford, Lady Gaga and Tiger Woods...
No shortage of opportunities to honor your mother (05/06/16)
If your mother says she loves you, check it out. Grizzled old editors used to give that advice to cub reporters, but the reality of a mother's love only serves to illustrate the point. Sure, Dad will sacrifice everything for his kids, aunts and uncles love their siblings' kids and even good friends have real affection...
Audit throws spotlight on state tourism expenditures (05/04/16)
Our current slogan is "Visit Nebraska. Visit Nice." but the Nebraska Tourism Commission is not so sure some of the agency's spending is "nice." Meeting in one of the state's top attractions, the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, the commission went into a closed session Tuesday after reviewing an audit that disclosed a number of questionable expenses...
McCook has long history of public-private development efforts (05/02/16)
A posting on the popular Facebook page, "Remember When in McCook, Nebraska" shows that economic development has been part of our town since the beginning. "How We Build a New City In The Far West and Offer Rare Chances for the Artisan, Tradesman & Speculator" reads the headline on a notice in the McCook Weekly Tribune of Jan. 31, 1884...
Plenty of good reasons to plant a tree on Arbor Day (04/29/16)
Trees were a rare commodity in the early days of Nebraska, a situation J. Sterling Morton sought to rectify through his efforts in Nebraska City, planting many rare varieties and heirloom apple trees around his 52-room mansion styled after the White House, now in Arbor Lodge State Historical Park...
Bison assuming rightful place as American symbol (04/28/16)
The suggestion by East Coast scholars Frank and Deborah Popper that the Plains be turned back into a "Buffalo Commons" raised the hackles of Southwest Nebraska residents, to the point that an annual event was named the Buffalo Commons Storytelling Festival in defiance...
Voters face important decision on future of McCook (04/27/16)
Voting against the economic development program on the May 10 ballot won't lower city sales taxes, but neither will it spell the end of economic development. In 2015, voters approved combining and extending the 11⁄2-cent sales tax until 2033, but voted against continued funding of the McCook Economic Development Program...
Firearm education needed (04/26/16)
Playing cops and robbers or cowboys and Indians used to be a harmless part of growing up in America. Not any more. It's not just because of political correctness, where a child can be suspended for chewing a Pop-Tart into the shape of a gun, or the post-Columbine or Sandy Hook Elementary world...
More of us convinced politics, public talk increasingly rude (04/25/16)
If you feel like political discourse has degenerated to the level of a playground argument, you're not alone. That's especially true in the Republican race, where nothing has been out of bounds, to the appearance of candidates' wives to the size of a candidate's hands or genitalia or a moderator's menstrual cycle...
Civil forfeiture law helps keep authorities honest (04/22/16)
Cops and courts are there to keep the rest of us honest, but who keeps them in line? In this case, it's the Nebraska Legislature, which passed LB 1106, and Gov. Pete Ricketts, who signed the bill Tuesday to reduce the opportunity for abuse of due process and private property rights through civil forfeiture...
Towns coast-to-coast banking on 2017 solar eclipse (04/21/16)
Montana is the "Big Sky Country," but Nebraskans enjoy a big sky of their own, uncluttered by mountains or clouded by city lights over much of the state. That's one of the reasons we've enjoyed bringing you Vernon Whetstone's "What's Up?" column every Wednesday, pointing out the beautiful and interesting details of the night sky...
Mid-Plains system ranks high in use of technology (04/20/16)
Sometimes smaller is better. That's especially true when it comes time to adapting to changing technology. The Mid Plains Community College system is proving that, according to the Center for Digital Education's annual survey. The survey, now in its 11th year, analyzes how community colleges improve services through innovative technology such as online courses and mobile environments, mobile apps, secure platforms and wireless networks...
'Infrastructure bank' has statewide, local potential (04/19/16)
Red Willow County doesn't have any bridges in dire need of repair, and a four-lane highway from McCook to North Platte isn't in the plan, but a bill signed by Gov. Pete Ricketts paves the way for those types of improvements elsewhere in the state. LB960 creates an "infrastructure bank" to provide a framework for infrastructure improvement that should be considered for similar efforts at all levels of government...
Gentle rain, yes, but Mother Nature is still in control (04/18/16)
McCook's Barnett Park was still closed today because of heavy rainfall over the weekend, but a drive down South Street offers just a taste of the view that greeted residents during the infamous 1935 Republican River flood. That disaster's not likely to be repeated, thanks dams along the river and modern communications, but that doesn't mean Mother Nature is no longer capable of flexing her muscles...
Questionable spending returns with revival of congressional earmarks (04/14/16)
Congressional candidates make all sorts of promises to win elections, then find out how little power they actually have once they arrive in Washington. As a result, they do what they can, where they can, usually by using earmarks. One example is the tax code, which is so loaded with special exemptions and incentives that just reading it is a lifetime occupation...
Even atheists benefit from religious attitudes (04/13/16)
Highly religious people are happier than others, according to a new Pew Research survey. However, even those who call themselves "religious unaffiliated" value religious attitudes. The unaffiliated group listed criteria for a moral life that might sound familiar to religious folk:...
Numbers shed light on IRS taxpaying process (04/12/16)
You've got an extra weekend to pay your taxes this year, provided you have to pay. April 15 is the traditional tax day, but Friday is Emancipation Day in Washington D.C., so IRS employees get the day off. Most of us wish taxpayers could have an Emancipation Day of our own...
NSAA schools forced to deal with controversy (04/11/16)
Nebraska isn't in danger of losing any major sporting events, thanks to a Nebraska School Activities Association vote last week. North Carolina is risking that, and has already lost events like a Bruce Springsteen concert over what critics are calling its "anti-LGBT bathroom bill" which prohibits transgendered people from using their choice in public restrooms, and also eliminates anti-discrimination protections...
POW Recognition Day reminder of vital sacrifices (04/08/16)
Something important will be missing at next month's Memorial Day services in Memorial Park Cemetery in McCook. We could always count on Willis Jones, fit and trim in his World War II Army Air Force uniform, standing at attention while taps played. Jones, who passed away in October, was taken prisoner when his B-17 was shot down on his 26th mission over Germany, spending 13 months as a prisoner of war...
Is that cupcake really worth an hour of running? (04/07/16)
In his book, "The Tipping Point," Malcom Gladwell contended that small changes can make a big change in society. Cleaning up graffiti helped New York lower crime rates, he claimed, by reducing the chaotic atmosphere that seems to tolerate crime. When a few Manhattan hipsters began wearing them, the Hush Puppies brand was revived, strictly by word-of-mouth. A college was able to boost visits to its campus clinic exponentially, simply by including a map on a brochure...
Cyber criminals finding success in lower profile (04/06/16)
Major hackers like those involved with the Panama Papers, Anonymous or WikiLeaks get all the attention, but others are cashing in by keeping a lower profile. These hackers do it by infecting computer networks to make them inaccessible, then selling the owners the cure...
Panama Papers provide roadmap to hidden assets (04/04/16)
"Follow the money" was the advice "Deep Throat" gave to Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, investigating the Watergate break-in that eventually led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon. If they were doing their job with today's access to the Internet, Woodward and Bernstein might have found a lot of that money headed overseas...
Health Department enlists Hollywood to get points across (04/01/16)
The people at the Southwest Nebraska Public Health Department are enlisting the entertainment professionals in Hollywood to get its message across. They still have a Website, news releases and brochures, but nobody beats Julia Roberts or Dustin Hoffman for keeping people's attention...
Farmers, ranchers step up to help southern neighbors (03/30/16)
Nebraskans are known for helping out their neighbors -- turning out to harvest crops for a family with a death or illness, working cattle, generally being neighborly. Sometimes there are quite a few miles between them and the neighbors in need. That's the case with the Anderson Creek Fire, a record-setting blaze that has burned across nearly 400,000 acres of land, destroying fences, livestock, outbuildings and other property in the process. ...
Too many of us taking too many opioid painkillers (03/29/16)
Thanks to our location near Colorado, the subject of legalized marijuana for recreational or medical use is the most common topic of drug-related conversation in Southwest Nebraska. But a much more potent class of chemicals, in the form of opium-derived legal and illegal drugs, is worthy of discussion...
Nebraska needs to keep energy options open (03/28/16)
At the risk of using an Easter metaphor a day too late, we'd say Nebraska is putting most of its eggs in one basket when it comes to energy. A bill to make it easier for private developers to build renewable energy facilities in Nebraska failed to make it out of committee this legislative session, so our state will continue to depend on coal for the majority of its electricity...
Candy's not key part of Easter (03/25/16)
A popular cartoon shows two chocolate Easter bunnies. One, which has its tail bit off, says "My butt hurts!" The other, missing its ears, says "What?" If you're like most Americans, the first one belongs to you. Eighty-nine percent of us eat the ears first, 6 percent start with the feet and 5 percent with the tail...
Tobacco taxes not a reliable source of revenue (03/24/16)
One of the the frustrations healthcare providers endure is knowing that many of the problems they treat are self-inflicted. Lack of exercise, poor diet and other lifestyle choices ultimately send many of us to the hospital or the morgue. It's tempting, therefore, to tax those poor lifestyle choices, both to make alternatives more attractive and, in this day of "universal" healthcare, to pay for the treatment required...
Drug, food stamp law strikes reasonable balance (03/23/16)
Giving food stamps to drug dealers only enables them to keep on breaking the law. Keeping food stamps from people convicted of drug felonies is only kicking them when they're down, and putting more pressure on local food pantries. For now, the Nebraska Legislature is taking the first position...
Only time will tell whether TIF vote right for McCook (03/22/16)
Let's hope current presidential candidates and other political figures take the lead from participants in Monday night's discussion of the controversial Holiday Inn Express TIF project before the McCook City Council. City officials admitted to losing some sleep over the decision of whether to grant $1.4 million in tax increment financing assistance to the $8.8 million, four-story project, but it sets a good precedent...
Construction zones require extra caution (03/21/16)
It's the time of year when the ravages of winter make themselves apparent on the surfaces of our streets and highways. City and state crews and contractors are already out repairing potholes and preparing for heavy summer construction projects. The projects are an inconvenience to drivers, but they're definitely preferable to the alternative -- the slow decay of one of our most important infrastructures...
Keep a lookout, seek help for gambling issues (03/18/16)
Gov. Pete Ricketts is helping throw the spotlight on a disease the government helps facilitate. While the state lottery generates millions of dollars for worthwhile programs, the fact some of those dollars go toward treating a disease it helps create should be a clue...
Irish Americans have many reasons to be a proud people (03/17/16)
"If I hear one more Irish stereotype, I'm going to put down this beer and beat somebody up!" St. Patrick's Day is a day we put any prejudice aside and all become Irish, not just the 10 percent of Americans who claim Irish ancestry. We don't blame them for being proud, the Irish have made a long list of contributions to modern society...
Garland deserves fair, bipartisan up-or-down vote (03/16/16)
Republicans have vowed to stall any nomination President Obama puts forth to replace Supreme Court Judge Antonin Scalia, but they'll have a hard time justifying opposition Merrick Garland, who the president was expected to nominate this morning. There are no qualifications spelled out to be a Supreme Court justice -- not even a law degree -- but one would be hard-pressed to find someone more qualified than Merrick Garland...
Broken cars one thing, broken tax system another (03/15/16)
In general, modern cars are more reliable than ever, lasting hundreds of thousands of miles with reasonable maintenance and provided drivers don't get in an accident. Drive any car long enough, and something's going to wear out, probably at the most inconvenient time, and need to be repaired...
Distractions create perfect storm of lost productivity (03/14/16)
It's a perfect storm when it comes to lost productivity. This might not be the most engaging space in the newspaper, but if you find your mind drifting today, you can probably blame it on the sleep you lost over the weekend. The time change has more serious consequences; a study of mining injuries across the U.S. showed a spike in workplace injuries of nearly 6 percent on the Monday following the shift to daylight saving time...
Increased heart attack risk part of time change (03/11/16)
McCook Fire Chief Marc Harpham told the City Council he was concerned about the number of ambulance calls for heart attacks, and the relatively young age of the victims. He might not have an explanation for the problem, but he might want to keep extra personnel on alert next week...
Millennials, gas prices, car sales complicated brew (03/10/16)
As is often the case, we've got good news and bad news. First the bad news: the price of gasoline is going up. Now the good news: the price of gasoline is going up. Ethanol-blend is pushing $2 a gallon again, thanks to the rebounding price of crude oil, up $5 a barrel since January, combed with seasonal refinery maintenance and switchover to summer blend fuels...
State joins in sympathy for Nelson family loss (03/09/16)
Our sincere condolences to former Sen. Ben Nelson and his family on the death of his daughter, Sarah Nelson, 46, at her home in Palm Springs, Calif. She had been on and off crutches in recent days following ankle surgery, and was home alone when she struck her head in a fall...
Company proves profits, humanity can go hand-in-hand (03/08/16)
With self-proclaimed democratic socialist Bernie Sanders winning votes, including Nebraska's Democratic caucus, Americans are taking a new look at the basic tenets of our society. Sanders has struck a nerve, thanks to outrage over Wall Street abuses and bank bailouts, and the perception that a disproportionate amount of wealth finds its way to the top 1 percent at the expense of a shrinking middle class...
Learning lessons of history from surprising sources (03/07/16)
ISIS is doomed to failure, according to one expert, who should know. None other than Osama Bin Laden warned his followers that creating an Islamic state too soon would be a disaster, according to letters captured in the raid on the compound in Pakistan where he was killed in 2011...
Choosing next POTUS no trivial decision (03/04/16)
Have you made up your mind who to vote for in this year's presidential primary and general election? Do you consider yourself an informed voter? Try today's quiz: (1) This candidate wanted to be an astronaut as a child -- even wrote to NASA -- and admittedly can't carry a tune...
Start now to get ready for loss of an hour's sleep (03/03/16)
We've mounted the anti-daylight-saving-time soapbox many times in the past, and while there's little chance we'll be relieved of the semi-annual misery anytime soon, we have more than a week to get our biological clocks ready for a forced reset. Ask most people what daylight saving time is for, and they'll say it benefits farmers. ...
Imported pot 'treats' threat to kids, dogs (03/02/16)
One thing about bringing "legal" marijuana back from Colorado. Don't. Just don't. For one, it's no longer legal once you cross the state line For another, it's an edible marijuana product, you could be placing your family and pets in medical danger as well as yourself in legal jeopardy...
150th celebration offers chance to share in success (03/01/16)
If we weren't already convinced we live in a great state, there were a couple of national stories within the last few days that should finish the job. For one, Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo, always ranked as one of the best, was approved to receive elephants imported from drought-ravaged regions in Africa. No small accomplishment in light of the current political climate...
Don't let that tax refund burn a hole in your pocket (02/29/16)
We noticed at least one car dealership offering special deals for shoppers who have tax refunds to spend on a new car, and that's a good idea, especially if it will reduce or eliminate the loan you have to take out to buy the car. Tax refunds are significant for most of us, with the average taxpayer receiving a refund of nearly $3,000 last year, according to NerdWallet.com...
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