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  • -Isms: Views on life in rural America

    LuAnn Schindler, Publisher|May 22, 2024

    Ahh, sweet summertime. As the unofficial start of the summer season kicks off this weekend, I’m making a list of everything I want (and need) to accomplish this summer. It’s a long list. It got me thinking, wouldn’t it be great to go back in time, when summer days were spent at the swimming pool. My sister and I would arrive when the doors swung open for business, grab a basket for shoes and towels and pretend to take a shower before dropping off the wire container at the guard shack. Then...

  • Selling Nebraska to current, potential Nebraskans

    George Ayoub, Nebraska Examiner|May 22, 2024

    As is its wont to do, U.S. News and World Report recently released its Best States "rankings," a list on which Nebraska placed third, up one spot from 2023. Only Utah and New Hampshire bested our fair environs in the best states standings. So, yes, go ahead. Yay, us! The magazine's methodology included rankings in eight primary categories: fiscal stability, opportunity, infrastructure, crime and corrections, economy, education, health care and natural environment. Each of those were subdivided...

  • All things Nebraska

    Paul Hammel|May 22, 2024

    Welcome to a new corner of your newspaper. For years, this column has been called "Capitol View" and for the past several years, it's been written by J.L. Schmidt, an old buddy and former Associated Press reporter at the Lincoln Bureau who could turn a phrase or two. Before that, it was written by someone named "Melvin Paul," who was really a long line of statehouse reporters (including me) who penned a weekly missive using the nom de plume about happenings from the "Hall of Hot Winds," an old...

  • -Isms: Views on life in rural America

    LuAnn Schindler, Publisher|May 15, 2024

    Recently, a friend and I had a conversation about relationships and whether we argue with our spouses. I found the topic humorous because A.) A press release landed in my inbox that day about the very topic and didn’t provide solid advice or facts; B.) Most arguments in our household are political in nature, usually ending when I fact check Scott’s rhetoric; and C.) We rarely have over-the-top arguments. Occasionally, an intense conversation about business takes place, but those are at a min...

  • Pushing back on unworkable executive mandates

    Rep. Adrian Smith|May 15, 2024

    In 2014, President Obama famously said, “I’ve got a pen and I’ve got a phone,” telling the American people he didn’t care whether Congress had provided legislative authority for his favored policies—he would go it alone whenever he felt like it. Ten years later, Obama’s then-vice president, now-President Joe Biden has been ruling in the same fashion daily. Biden’s executive actions don’t just ignore congressional intent; they are expensive, unwise and unworkable. A recent report by the Hou...

  • Fischer, Ricketts urge postal officials to maintain North Platte processing center

    Senators Rickett and Fischer|May 15, 2024

    A reprieve, for now. On May 13, Sens. Deb Fischer and Pete Ricketts confirmed that U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy confirmed the U. S. Postal Service will pause the movement of mail processing operations, including the processing and distribution center in North Platte. Ricketts said, “The Postal Service’s primary responsibility is to provide timely and reliable delivery to every community across our country. Modernization plans should improve customer service, not reduce it. I’m glad the postmaster general listened to our call to delay...

  • -Isms: Views on life in rural America

    LuAnn Schindler, Publisher|May 8, 2024

    "Wear sunscreen.” That is the first piece of advice given in “The Sunscreen Song,” a list of recommendations to the graduating class of 1999, set to music by Baz Luhrmann. It’s solid advice. Trust me, I wish I’d taken the same guidance when my mom pounded it into my head. I kinda, sorta listened, but when you’re 18, you think you’re invincible, that you are way smarter than everyone else, and you’re going to live life on your terms. I get it. Here’s my advice to you, members of the class of 2024...

  • Time to rebuild

    Sen. Deb Fischer|May 8, 2024

    I never expected that after attending a couple events in Omaha I’d be rushing to a friend’s basement for cover from massive tornadoes at the end of April. But that’s what thousands of Nebraskans were doing that weekend. The strongest tornadoes our state has seen in years swept across Nebraska, leaving unbelievable damage in their wake. Miraculously, there were no fatalities in Nebraska. But tragically, the tornadoes did destroy people’s homes and livelihoods. They derailed train cars and upr...

  • In the mailbag

    Cathy Pavel, Holt County clerk|May 8, 2024

    There is a lot of information floating around on social media about the integrity of elections. Since the May 14 primary election is around the corner, I wanted to share more insight into election procedures in Holt County. Holt County, like every other county in Nebraska, operates its own elections. Our duties include handling our county’s voter registration list, operating precincts on Election Day, operating and testing election equipment and completing other election-related requirements. Our office, including the permanent and temporary e...

  • Original views on life from rural America

    LuAnn Schindler, Publisher|May 1, 2024

    Over the weekend, Scott and I attended the annual Nebraska Press Association convention in Lincoln. Trust me, it’s one convention we likely won’t forget. Imagine being in a room with 100 other individuals when 100 cell phones start blaring the emergency warning due to a tornado warning in Lancaster County. We were already in the lower level of the Cornhusker, so the session we were in continued. When the speaker wrapped up her presentation, we mostly remained in the basement, networking wit...

  • Fifteen senators will be replaced

    J.L. Schmidt, Statehouse Correspondent Nebraska Press Association|May 1, 2024

    Term limits claim 13 Nebraska state senators while two are leaving for other reasons. That'll mean 15 new faces in the nation's only one-house nonpartisan legislature come January. I've made it clear before how I feel about term limits. I don't like them. This isn't the Washington, DC, swamp. This is Nebraska, one of those mostly square states out west where it's not that hard to vote somebody out of office. It has worked for years. Then along came the two-term limit, eight years, and...

  • Renewable Fuels Month is a reminder

    Dawn Caldwell, Executive director Renewable Fuels Nebraska|May 1, 2024

    This month is Renewable Fuels Month in Nebraska. It’s a chance for us all to celebrate the hardworking farmers, ranchers and producers, who help fuel the world from right here at home. But it’s also a reminder that while Nebraska is leading America’s energy revolution today, we have a lot of work to do if we want to deliver more of our homegrown fuel in the years to come. There’s no better example of this next chapter, or of what Nebraska needs to do to help write it, than one of this year’s hottest topics: sustainable aviation fuel. SAF is on...

  • Isms: Original views on life from rural America

    LuAnn Schindler, Publisher|Apr 24, 2024

    There will never be another Rita. My first memories of the Orchard elementary teacher are from 2008, when I filled in during maternity leave for Kortney Sayers. Rita Shabram was one of the first people to welcome me. We’d stop to chitchat when we had a few moments. Occasionally, our lunch times would overlap and we’d talk about education and current events. The best times, though, were after school, when we’d venture to one another’s classrooms and spend an hour or two, talking about and bon...

  • DeKay reflects on Legislative session

    Sen Barry DeKay|Apr 24, 2024

    On April 18, the Legislature completed its work for this 60-day legislative session. Although the last day is typically reserved for veto overrides and closing remarks, the Legislature also took action on 15 bills remaining on Final Reading. Notably, the governor’s proposed property tax package contained in LB388 stalled when it became clear that the bill did not have the votes to break a filibuster. LB388 was then passed over on the agenda at the request of the introducing senator, meaning t...

  • Special session talk abounds at the capitol

    J.L. Schmidt, Statehouse Correspondent Nebraska Press Association|Apr 24, 2024

    In 2021, the last special session of the Nebraska Legislature lasted 13 days and cost the state $105,436. Do the math, that's $8,076.92 per day. Then ask yourself, is a winner-take-all election measure, which would bring Nebraska into the same fold as 48 other states, worth the money. For that matter, is a so-called solution to the state's property tax problems worth it? They're bantering the words "special session" around like it's nothing short of expected. Gov. Jim Pillen says he will call a...

  • Telecommunications, broadband top PSC workload

    Eric Kamler, PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION|Apr 24, 2024

    It has been a very busy and productive past several months at the Nebraska Public Service Commission. As spring arrives, I wanted to share another quarterly update on the work over the past three months. I am Eric Kamler and I am your commissioner for the 4th District of the Public Service Commission, which covers 31 counties of Nebraska. The Nebraska PSC is an elected five-member statewide board that oversees several industries which affect our everyday lives including broadband internet and...

  • Isms: Original views on life from rural America

    LuAnn Schindler, Publisher|Apr 17, 2024

    April is National Poetry Month, a time to celebrate the creative written word form, its expressive ebb and flow pulling you in. Reading poetry is great. Watching someone bring those words to life, through a spoken word presentation, is amazing. Poetry is one of my favorite competitive speech events. Where else can you pair Beowulf with one of Jack Prelutsky’s monster poems and come up with rhythm and flow that makes sense? (If you haven’t read any of Prelutsky’s children’s books, do it now. Yo...

  • LB1402 draws debate, moves forward

    Sen Barry DeKay|Apr 17, 2024

    Although the Legislature was only in session for three days this week, senators were productive in moving legislation to Final Reading. This year, there was not enough time to take up every bill that was sitting on General File due to the time a bill must lay over for review by the Revisor’s Office. Much of the remaining time was spent on legislation that was on Select File or Final Reading. After the 59th day, the Legislature will be in recess for a few days to allow the governor to sign or v...

  • Six words seem to have a Legislative curse

    J.L. Schmidt, Statehouse Correspondent Nebraska Press Association|Apr 17, 2024

    "I believe I have the votes." Those six words have become the curse of the Nebraska Legislature. The buzzkill. The harbinger of failure. Sen. Kathleen Kauth of Omaha learned that on Day 56 of the 60-day session when her Sports and Spaces Act did little more than use up four hours of time when an attempt to end the opponent's filibuster fell two votes short. The measure fell off the agenda for good this year. Likewise, a last-ditch attempt to return Nebraska presidential elections to a...

  • Energy funding available for Nebraska communities

    Val Ankeny, Policy associate Center for Rural Affairs|Apr 17, 2024

    Renewable energy development, energy conservation and energy efficiency improvements offer an opportunity for rural communities to save money, become more energy-resilient and increase the reliability of the electric grid. While many Nebraska communities are interested in such improvements, the upfront costs associated with energy-related projects have often been initially prohibitive, until now. The U.S. Department of Energy recently announced a funding opportunity for Nebraska communities....

  • Isms: Views on life in rural America

    LuAnn Schindler, Publisher|Apr 10, 2024

    The 11-year-old version of LuAnn was enthralled with studying the globe in our sixth-grade classroom. Pastel blue denoted water on the curved, glossy sphere. Continents lifted from the surface, outlining rugged terrain. Each country was color-coded, some purple, some red, others green. I’d spin the globe and, as the air movement slowed to stillness, would place a finger on the surface, open my eyes to discover what country I’d investigate next. In social studies class that year, my cla...

  • Legislature searches for property tax relief

    Sen Barry DeKay|Apr 10, 2024

    The beginning of April brings us closer to the end of this year’s legislative session. There are many bills still left to debate and little time to consider all of the priority bills brought forward this year. The week began with the resumption of debate on the governor’s proposed property tax relief package: LB388 and LB1331. LB388 initially proposed an up-to-1% increase of the sales tax, from the current rate of 5.5% to possibly as high as 6.5%, and raising taxes and eliminating tax exe...

  • Crunch time in Lincoln, it has even been thus

    JL Schmidt, Nebraska Press Association Statehouse Correspondent|Apr 10, 2024

    It's easy to understand but hard to remember that the one task of the Nebraska Legislature is to pass a balanced budget during the 90-day session and to make adjustments to and pass that budget again in the 60-day session. Mission accomplished again by the 2024 Legislature, which has a little more than a week of session left. The simple task often gets lost in the shadow of high-profile issues, such as this year's struggle to find a solution for skyrocketing property taxes. With all eyes on...

  • Unrestricted endowments prepare Greater Nebraska for the future

    Jeff Yost, President and CEO Nebraska Community Foundation|Apr 10, 2024

    Humans have a penchant for looking far ahead. Ask a room of kids what they want to be when they grow up, and you’ll quickly discover just how creative we can be when it comes to envisioning our future. Along the same lines, if you ask members of a community about their dreams for their hometown, you’ll leave with a long list. The tricky thing about the future, though, is that it hasn’t happened yet. Even with the most meticulous planning, events undoubtedly unfold in ways we can’t quite foretel...

  • Isms: Views on life in rural America

    LuAnn Schindler, Publisher|Apr 3, 2024

    I saw a quote recently and it’s been on my mind since then: “The nice part about being a pessimist is that you are constantly being either proven right or pleasantly surprised.” I like surprises, that’s the optimist in me shining through, looking for a lesson worth learning or a silver lining. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of pessimism in the world today. I see and hear it often in casual conversations and on social media. Its tentacles are permeating society, pulling us farther apart, creating...

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