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Saturday, Oct. 25, 2014
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We should be careful of machines
I think I've lived during some of the best times in human history. I grew up in the '50s in a small town in Arkansas where things were leisurely and relaxed. Those were the days of flat-top haircuts, wheat jeans and penny loafers and every day during the summer was fun. ...
Conservatives get most of their news from fewer sources
If you think America has become too polarized, you might not have to look as far as Washington to find the reason. You might check the buttons on your remote control to see which ones are worn out. We were a lot more homogonized when everyone tuned in to the 5:30 p.m. news to see what Walter Cronkite had to say about the Vietnam war or the Watergate scandal...
Daydreaming of pillows and punching bags
I  was folding clothes one afternoon earlier this week, daydreaming about the upcoming Rams game, when Declan said he wanted a pillow with my face printed on it for Christmas. I was flattered and continued to fold clothes as the comment shifted my imagination away from sports and towards a more serene setting...
My 'Odd' goodbye to working on the McCook stage
This week, instead of my usual fiddle-dee-dee, I've decided to cover some personal territory. If you indulge me by reading it, I'm thankful. Of course, you may feel free to ignore this one -- not that you need my permission to do that. Sunday afternoon, I stepped onto (and then, about three hours later, off of) a McCook stage for the final time. And it was all I had hoped it would be...
Facts about cedars
Due to the fact that I was born in Colorado, I spent a lot of time in the mountains. I enjoyed the wild flowers and learned to identify the different types of trees. The smell of pine needles made me feel invigorated. When I moved to Nebraska, I was pleased to see ponderosa and cedar trees growing in many places. (Farmers use them for windbreaks and shade.)...
Happy, proud
Dear Editor,
Recently road crews have repainted traffic lines on our streets and highways. They did a terrific job. There were few, if any drips, splatters or crooked lines. We should all be happy and proud!
Stephen Stramel,
McCook, Nebraska
Conundrums
Here are six Conundrums of socialism in the United States of America: 1. America is capitalist and greedy -- yet half of the population is subsidized. 2. Half of the population is subsidized -- yet they think they are victims. 3. They think they are victims -- yet their representatives run the government...
Still another health risk worse than Ebola
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...
Hang on, there's an a election in a couple of weeks
Remember when -- what now seems like ages ago -- I suggested that you keep track of the Nebraska Primary Elections by using a large sheet of paper, a pencil and an eraser to write the names of the gubernatorial and senate candidates and keep track of them?...
Putting virus outbreaks in perspective
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...
Junkyard Kid
Grannie Annie has been on my case this week for being a little hard on politicians in this column as of late. It is hard to resist, this being election season when the airways are filled with incumbents trying to defend a record of poor judgment, and hopefuls making promises that we know won't be remembered. Oops!...
World agriculture has new tool for better efficiency
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
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
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...
Finish what you start
We've developed a malady in this country that involves quitting before we're finished and it's especially bad among young people. They're so accustomed to instant gratification that when something tends to be tedious or too detail oriented, they quit and go on to something more fun and exciting. The thrilling element partly explains the interest young people have in playing video games. They don't get bored while they're doing it because every game is different...
Of this and that
Received a little insight into the ongoing, so-called Ebola crisis and our President Obama. Remember one of the first things he did after becoming president was to wage a big liberal campaign against "big pharma," the large U.S. drug manufacturing companies...
A thank-you letter to farmers
As I push my cart down the aisles of the local store, rows of shiny cucumbers, golden oranges, glossy red tomatoes and yellow corn greet me. I stop before an endless variety of cheeses, creamy yogurts and milk products before moving on to the meats. Reaching for a lean, reasonably priced steak or a package of pork chops to tempt my family, I think of you, who help make this part of my life so easy...
Best defense?
A Sept. 14 news item was titled State Policies Muddy Water Regulation. I tend to agree with the headline but found much to disagree with in the article. Dean Edson, who has the title of Executive Director of Nebraska Association of Resource Districts was quoted as saying the local NRDs have significant legal authority. The article continues on saying in contrast to Nebraska's local level system other states water laws are controlled at state level...
News events undermine CDC confidence
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
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...
One year later
On this day a year ago, I was in the cardiac care unit at Good Samaritan Hospital in Kearney after an emergency stent had saved my life the day before. For several years, October 9th had caused good feelings to well up in my heart but last year there was nothing good about October 9th and no one was more surprised than me...
Native Americans, rock legends and the pipeline saga
Help me get my head around something here friends. There are nearly 21,000 miles of hazardous liquid and natural gas pipelines in Nebraska already. So what makes the battle over the latest one proposed -- the Keystone XL -- so special? Just asking. Nearly 8,000 people gathered on an Antelope County farm on a beautiful fall Saturday afternoon to listen to music legends Willie Nelson and Neil Young perform. ...
New Events Center name is fitting tribute to generous family
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
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."...

Bountiful harvest left to rot
America is so bless with bounty but way to many think food has to come from giant grocery stores. Past generations must roll over in their graves for the waste and seeing no one willing to do the work of harvesting locally. So much Bounty just left to rot...