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You know how you can take a limp, neglected and pale old houseplant, repot it in good soil, and fertilize it, water it, give it good sun, and in no time it will be lush and green and beautiful again? That’s what Julie Shrader wants to do. Only not with plants. With people: girls and women who have been victims of sex trafficking. “I just have this powerful connection with them, hearing their stories, knowing what they’ve been through,” Ms. Shrader said. “They’re victims, but they’re being treated like criminals who don’t matter. Well, they do matter. They matter to me. They matter to a lot of people. Most of all, they matter to...

Friday, 01 May 2015 12:09

Accidental Broadcasting

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We did a major remodeling on our house. One of the Hideous Things That Had to Go was a brown plastic intercom. It looked like a spaceship console from a cheesy 1950s sci fi movie. The new intercom system had a nice, white, modern-looking master console for the wall next to my computer in the kitchen. It came with several replacement speakers for around the house. They all hooked up to the doorbell. Ooh! So now, when people came to the door, we could decide whether to let them in, or keep pretending we werenÕt home. Perfect! The wiring was already in place, so installation would be a snap, the salesman said.But when the intercom workmen arrived, Áarriba! All they could speak was Spanish. They smiled broadly and...

Friday, 01 May 2015 12:05

Happy Green Mother's Day

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VERY LITTLE OF what I did when our children were young has failed to bound back to bite me . . . with accrued interest. I wasn't picky! I was just trying to teach them to be neat and tidy, and to have discriminating taste . . . exactly like mine. It never worked. All those proper, preppy clothes? Think turned-around, grease-stained baseball caps, Goodwill Industries cargo khakis and nasty, no-lace Nikes. Table manners? One hand in the lap, please, while the other maneuvers a normal morsel of food? Think picking up a full saucepan simmering on the stove, and slurping from the cooking spoon. Our salvos turned into ugly skirmishes when I frequently...

Here’s an activity to plan for a future Friday night: You can use your public library to obtain free materials for your very own family literary festival. Everybody should pick a favorite author, playwright or movie actor or producer, and make a list of the literary or video works of art that you want to read or see. Maybe you want both the book and the DVD of the same story, to compare and contrast with your own discussion afterwards. Or it might be fun for everybody to watch the same movie, discuss the story, and then split up to read your separate choices of books. The point is to shut off the darn TV for the weekend, let the weekend chores go just a little bit, and set aside some...

A junior from Ravenna won her third consecutive high jump crown at the Central Nebraska Track and Field Championships. The competition was held this week at Grand Island's Northwest High School. Ravenna's Alexis Dale, the defending Class C state champion in the event, jumped 5'5" to beat the nearest competitor by three inches. Dale said she wants to improve on her school-record 5'7" jump, accomplished earlier this year. She said 5'8" is her...


  • Hall County to Send Vietnam Vets to D.C.

    Several Hall County Vietnam War Hero Flights to the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, D.C., are being planned in Grand Island, starting in mid-2016. The initial fundraising activity will be a hamburger feed from 5 to 8 p.m. April 29

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  • Fort Calhoun Nuke Plant Returns to Routine Operation

    For more than three years, the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Station was the only nuclear energy plant in the country that was in a special federal oversight program for reactors with performance problems. But last month, it was released to routine

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  • Governor Urges End To Ethanol Regulation Delays

    Gov. Pete Ricketts has called for the Environmental Protection Agency to announce its new renewable fuel standard, which dictates how much ethanol must be blended into the nation’s gasoline supply. The standard has been delayed for two years for 2014

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