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Sunday, Feb. 1, 2015
Thumbs Up to Business Stories
Sometimes stranger than fiction
If you scan news magazines and news sites like I do, you discover some pretty fascinating things. I've put together several examples of that for this week's column. I enjoy doing this from time to time because there are all kinds of things going on in the world that most of us have no idea about unless someone tells us. ...
Rural residents find many ways to make a living
It's not surprising that a lot of people in rural Nebraska are farmers or have farm related jobs, but the self-employment trend is increasing, according to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's latest Nebraska Rural Poll. It's a glass-half-full, glass-half-empty sort of situation...
Don't let your home undermine your health
Some of us are fatalistic when it comes to our health, especially "the big C," cancer. Yes, maybe we've quit smoking, or maybe we never did smoke, but a majority of us have anecdotal evidence that non-smokers can get lung cancer, too. Second-hand smoke, other environmental factors, bad genetics or just bad luck may be enough to make a non-smoker another cancer statistic...
Scallop Festival
The lesson today was about the time that Jesus was walking the lakeshore and came upon Simon and Matthew, professional fishermen, working on their nets. Jesus commanded that they "Come with me and be fishers of men." The men dropped their nets and went to become lifetime disciples of Christ, two of the twelve. Talk about an abrupt change of profession and a wholly new lifetime of commitment...
Odds catch up with unvaccinated Disneyland visitors
Measles was virtually eliminated in the United States 15 years ago, but inspired by now-discredited research linking vaccinations and autism and promoted by misguided celebrities, many parents are choosing not to have their children vaccinated. While many of those parents can afford to have their children immunized, other parents, those living in other countries, may not have the opportunity to obtain the shots...
Readers respond to online polls
Readers had a few things to say about Thursday's editorial asking whether all cell phone use by drivers should be banned. That poll is still open, but so far, 19 readers said yes and 14 said no. "Head sets should be used. You see officers of the law driving around with a cell phone held to the side of their head all the time, or even on the computer device they have in the patrol cars," one reader commented. ...
Three minutes to doomsday
The title of this week's column was the proclamation of Kennette Benedict, executive director of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, the group in charge of the symbolic Doomsday Clock. The clock had been at five minutes to midnight since 2012 before it was recently moved forward by two minutes...
Warning: Approaching objects may be fueled by bad advice
Declan is approaching the downhill stretch of his third grade year and our "experiences" over the last year have evolved as I think most people would have anticipated. He amazes himself on a near daily basis by figuring out life lessons he previously argued, with stubborn abandon, were impossible for him to master...
Council has three good choices regarding old building
The McCook City Council has a decision to make about the old public safety center, most recently the county "jail" before the new, proper county jail opened last fall. Council members can sell and/or lease the building to an automotive detail shop, offer a free lease to a program that trains prisoners skills to work in the building trade, while building homes, or keep the building for storage -- or perhaps some other option will come up...
Hope is in the air
Fox News is back on Dish Network. It has been a long dry spell. I was even getting tempted to subscribe to the local cable provider. Most friends that I talked to were having the same withdrawal frustrations but we are happy now. A recent news story reconfirmed my happiness of living in Southwest Nebraska. ...
Sa'n' ta or Sata'n'?
A local (only) stamp outght to be cheaper. Will ye shred the Bill of Rights of landowners? (Liable for leaks and spills -X/+) Trenching in a foreign pipeline -- eminent domain is for schools and roads -- not Walmart casinos etc. Canada is closer to the Atlantic and Pacific than Texas. Piping oil through the USA for export -- cut supply -- or haul fuel back is fiscal folly (like the post office!)...
Don't discount short commutes as local advantage
We had no trouble getting responses from local officials and readers when we sought comments on a USA Today story that listed Red Willow as the poorest county in the state. We suggested there were better ways to measure wealth than by median income, and now we've seen some confirmation of that idea...
If you get the flu,it will be more than a 'touch'
Think you might have a touch of the flu? Think again; if' you've got the flu, it will be more than a "touch. We've seen social media debates on whether or not to get a flu shot, and while this year's flu vaccine is not very effective -- only 23 percent, on average, more if you're younger, less if you're older -- getting a flu shot is still your best bet...
Online filing is open for business today
The IRS is in charge of enforcing Obamacare for the first time this year. The IRS has also had its budget cut by 17 percent from what it was five years ago. Despite official assurances, that means your return might be delayed, and the IRS will collect fewer taxes, compounding the budget shortfall, according to a leaked internal memo...
I'm not a scientist ...
Well, actually I AM a scientist, but a social scientist instead of a natural scientist. But that's the excuse given by those who oppose the notion of man-made climate change. "I'm not a scientist but ..." they say. And then they give their non-scientific argument to the notion of man-made climate change...
Elect Game & Parks commissioners
Wildlife conservation and science have been kidnapped by Nebraska Game and Parks Commissioners for self-serving political agenda. Nebraska Game and Parks Commissioners are currently appointed by the governor and have limited accountability to the citizens of the state. Nebraska wildlife and parkland resources should not be a "political football" managed at the political whims and self-serving interests of Commissioners...
Opening up of Cuba trade long overdue
The secret talks that led to a prisoner exchange and release of a U.S. governent contractor imprisoned in Cuba for five years have led to further thawing of the last remnants of the Cold War. Wednesday, the Obama administration announced that it was significantly loosening restrictions on American trade with, and investment in, Cuba...
Lessons learned
I was sad to learn of Bob Fraker's passing and read his obituary Jan. 5. He influenced me tremendously, running two successful businesses in Oberlin and McCook. I worked summers for him in the mid-70s at Red Willow Aviation. He hired me, said get a notebook to keep track of my own hours, gave me a key to the hangar and said feel free to ask questions. Being trusted and allowed to learn made this job the best opportunity ever...
Red Willow County poorest in state? We don't think so
Red Willow County is the poorest in Nebraska, reports USA Today, citing a 24/7 Wall St. analysis of the Census Bureau's American Community Survey. Yes, we have an unemployment rate of just 3.1 percent, and only 13 percent of people lived in poverty between 2009 and 2013, compared to a national figure of 15.4 percent, according to the figures...
Deployed and faithful
Grannie was going through the checkout line at Sam's Club in Grand Junction. She was purchasing a slew of hand and foot warmers to send to "her troops" in Afghanistan. A gentleman behind her in line overheard Grannie tell the clerk that she sends "care" boxes to our military personnel deployed overseas. ...
Settling in at the Capitol
The 104th Legislature, First Session, convened on Wednesday, January 7th. This is the "long session," which is set by the Nebraska Constitution. The Constitution requires sixty day sessions in even-numbered years and ninety day sessions in odd-numbered years. The reason why we have a 90 days session, is to set the budget for the upcoming biennium (2-years). Legislative days are working days and not calendar days. We are scheduled to adjourn on June 5th...
'Free' college may be no bargain
Free tuition at community colleges sounds like a great idea, but local college officials know nothing is really free. "Free sounds great if you're a student," said Ryan Purdy, Mid-Plains Community College president. "But from the taxpayer standpoint, the cost may exceed the anticipated outcomes."...
Some solutions can surprisingly be less costly
Gov. Pete Ricketts outlined some worthy goals in his inaugural address Thursday: Create a stronger economy and more jobs. Cut property taxes, reduce regulatory burdens on businesses, and strengthen education to provide the skilled labor modern businesses will need...
Rural mail service will suffer with more plant closings
A friend of mine from South Dakota noted that the U.S. Postal Service delivered a lump of coal to many small towns last Christmas when it proceeded to eliminate overnight mail in most of the nation in 2015. That was a good description. USPS will slow delivery officially by one day for First-Class and Periodicals mail. Many members of Congress have asked it to hold off. But USPS is plowing ahead...
Cancer and bad luck
When people get cancer, they and everyone involved with them want to know how and why. A groundbreaking study recently published in the journal Science and performed by Dr. Bert Vogelstein of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore and Johns Hopkins biomathematician Cristian Tomasetti claims that it's just plain old bad luck!...
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