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Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014
Thumbs Up to Business Stories
Heritage
Recently your columnist lost a childhood playmate and lifelong friend. His name was Gary Mills. Our families farmed in the Stone Church neighborhood a definitely rural area some 15 miles south of Culbertson, Nebraska. As is my sometimes practice, I wrote a letter of my memories of the deceased to his family. Gary's daughter-in law Michelle Lytle responded with a pleased thank you and urged a future column to include those memories...
'Thanks a frickin' lot'
It was a typical call. "Thanks a frickin' lot," was the sign off on the answering machine. Maybe not so typical after all -- most callers would have used the original word.
Debate on debates: How many is enough?
When you're the underdog -- read that Democrat in a Republican state -- you want to take advantage of public exposure. When you're underfunded, you want all the media coverage possible. One way to get both is by debating your opponent as many times in as many places as possible...
Careful travel key as school opens again
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...
Barack Obama's segregation of rural America
Representative Adrian Smith recently opined on "the problems facing rural aviation." An excerpt: "This year many small airports around the country are facing a barrage of flight cancelations ... Businesses and entrepreneurs are more likely to invest and expand in communities with dependable transportation services including aviation ... ...
Three old guys
It was a reunion of sorts. Three old guys talking about some of their adventures in Vietnam. Two were helicopter pilots, Chuck Trail with the Navy and Jim O'Dell Air Force, the third was your author Dick Trail, KC-135 tanker pilot extraordinaire, at least in my own mind...
Combination of causes for a tragic death
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
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
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...
A typical (for me) trip to Denver
With summer vacation winding down, I was looking for a little R&R time away from McCook and I got it in the form of a text message from a good friend of mine who recently moved to Denver. Norm (affectionately nicknamed by his friends from the character at the bar in the television comedy series Cheers) told me about a concert coming up we should go to at Fiddler's Green that featured Boston and The Doobie Brothers. ...
Characters the real marvels in Marvel's 'Guardians'
"Guardians of the Galaxy," the latest movie out of the Marvel Studios pipeline, is that company's biggest risk since the first "Iron Man," and much like that movie, it's a giant, delightful surprise -- maybe the most purely entertaining blockbuster of the entire summer. ...
Officials goaded into action on sentencing flap
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...
A legislative committee looks at tax breaks
Let's talk about the Tax Incentive Evaluation Committee and the monumental task it faces. I am sure some of you would rather watch paint dry or have a root canal. But stay with me here. I'll point out what's important. This special legislative committee was created (Legislative Resolution 444) during the recent legislative session and assigned to come up with specific and measurable goals for evaluating each of six statewide tax incentives. ...
No, 'password' is not a strong enough password
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...
Decline of Christianity
"How can you have church in a school?" was Ray's comment. Good question in today's more politically correct America but it wasn't always that way. Small rural communities throughout our western area came together to first build school buildings which were multi-purposed as church meeting places until a more religious structure could be built by the small congregations. ...
African visitor
Residents, staff and visitors at El Dorado Manor in Trenton were able to tune out the news media's bombardment of remarks about religious intolerance, racial profiling and political battles recently. Father Pius, a young priest from Uganda, came to help with Friday bingo. He accompanied volunteers from St. James Catholic Church in Trenton...
New 'gluten free' labeling goes into effect
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
'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
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...
Militarizing the police
One of the jobs I had after leaving the Tulsa Police Department was being the Criminal Justice Planning Director of the North Central Planning Commission in Beloit, Kansas. That position and others like it all over the country came about as the result of a federal program called the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration (LEAA) and a sister program, the Law Enforcement Education Program (LEEP), both passed by Congress in the late '60s. ...
Child safety, common sense collide in Florida
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...
Opposition forming to minimum wage ballot question
Nebraska voters will have an opportunity in November to weigh in on raising the minimum wage to $9 an hour by 2016. Proponents say raising the minimum wage would allow more Nebraska families to make ends meet. Opponents say it will be a burden to small businesses and will force them to increase prices or lay off staff to make ends meet...
Who's really to blame in the prison sentencing scandal?
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...
The best of 'Weird': Pop parodist has first No. 1 album
State Fair promising 'A Bumper Crop of Fun'
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...