Judging from the activities in our community, it appears volunteering is alive in well whether it is an organization or an individual doing the volunteering. While various clubs have seen numbers dwindle in recent years, volunteering to help with projects and services continues to at least remain steady.
There’s no doubt more volunteers are welcome and in some cases present volunteers have increased their volunteer hours to meet local demands. But, a good nucleus of young volunteers has stepped up to the plate to help. It’s heart-warming to see local youth aiding and working along with adults on common projects that range from local campaigns to even national or international causes.
However, in today’s world there seems to be somebody out there always wanting to put a damper on goodwill. That was case in Robbinsdale, Minn., where the American Humanistic Association is threatening to sue an elementary school for participating in an effort to feed hungry children in Haiti.
Last month first, second and third graders joined hundreds of others from the community at a church to help pack food boxes to feed the hungry children in Haiti. The program was run by Feed My Starving Children, a Christian nonprofit and the church served as a center to pack that organization’s food boxes. Both the FMSC, church and school had taken steps to enable the involvement of public school children without exposing them to religious views.
A normal prayer at the end of the packing was not held and all religious symbols had been removed from the packing room. The school principal wrote in a letter to the parents, “The purpose of this service learning activity was to teach our students civic responsibility and provide opportunities for our students to become active positive contributors to society.”
It was even pointed out that students were not required to participate in the program and offered other alternatives for those students.
An attorney for the Humanist group notified the school they objected to a public school encouraging its students to participate in a program run by a religious organization contending it’s in violation of the First Amendment principle of church-state separation and if the program continues they will consider suing the school to stop it.
It appears now attorneys may be doing battle. Alliance Defending Freedom, a law firm which specializes in religious liberty cases, has offered to defend the school free of charge. The firm contends “The Constitution does not prohibit students from cooperating with a religious organization to help starving families, which is not any sort of government endorsement of religion.”
I’m glad I’m old enough to recall when life (or volunteering) was simple.
RL Furse is publisher emeritus of the News-Register.
Anonymous attack ads reflect a lack of nerve
When heading to the doctor you generally are looking for a ray of optimism. A friend of mine had a smile on his face after taking his elderly mother-in-law to the doctor’s office for a minor ailment. In the general conversation with the doc, the MD happened to mention he had earlier examined a 99-year old patient who recently had a pacemaker installed. He told how after her first visit she wanted to know just how many years she could expect the batteries the pacemaker were going to last. Now, that is what you would call a prime example of optimism. *** I have found you don’t want to be near the telephone in an election year. Four times on Saturday I fielded robo-calls asking to conduct a political survey. If that wasn’t bad enough, I fielded two more calls Sunday afternoon after returning home from church. Let’s just say I crossed six candidates from my election list. *** While on the subject of elections, nothing rankles me more than to see an election advertisement smearing another candidate and to find it is sponsored by some distant political organization with no individual name attached to the ad byline. In the newspaper business most newspapers refused to print letters to the editor written by our dear friend “anonymous.” Let’s just be brief and make my opinion short. If you haven’t the nerve to tag your name to criticism, your personal opinion is not worth more than just lining the bottom of a bird cage. *** A list recently appeared ranking the “Greenest” 2014 cars. For a country that is supposedly concerned about the environment, not one car was listed from America’s big three of GM, Ford, or Chrysler. *** It’s been a tough year thus far trying to hold scheduled high school track meets. We would venture to guess probably more meets have been postponed or canceled than actually have been held. If tracksters think the weather has been too tough, maybe they should have been on the Giltner spur a few weeks ago. We spotted a tough young mother jogging while pushing a stroller into a 30 mile per hour wind. Now that’s what I call a serious workout RL Furse is publisher emeritus of the News-Register
"Brinners' won't make the menu in all American kitchens
A new meal title has entered our world and it should please anyone who prepares breakfasts, dinners or suppers. The word is “Brinner” and is the joining of two words – breakfast and dinner. That means a household, if it chooses, can get by with two meals a day. In our household we’re definitely a three mealer so I really don’t know how this new concept of a “Brinner” will play out. Most of the time we each fix our own breakfasts and the betterhalf then goes solo planning and cooking dinner and supper. My betterhalf is far from being lazy when it comes to kitchen chores. Judging by the high stack of cookbooks in her kitchen cupboard it’s obvious she has a fascination with cooking and does a pretty darn good job. She is not one who is consistently trying new recipes, although she may add a leftover ingredient or additional seasoning to a dish that has the potential to give her cooking routine a whole new appearance. She is still basically a meat and potatoes gal when it comes to cooking, and I like it that way. The majority of the time she sticks with her favorite cookbook, The New Better Homes and Garden Cookbook. I question the title of the book since the word “new” is mentioned in that title. She received the book with the red checkerboard cover as a wedding gift back in 1959 and I assume by now has memorized most of the recipes. The tattered pages are splattered with stains from ingredients she has followed over the past 54 years transforming from a novice cook to one who can match a Midwestern gourmet chef and serves very few meals on my plate that I don’t clean up. Am I dissatisfied over those past 54 years when she has tweaked many of those recipes and repeated, repeated and repeated them? My waistline is my testimony I am completely satisfied and smart enough to know not to criticize a good cook. My life’s history shows I’m the kind of guy when I find something I like such as a car model, brand names, or a job, I stick with it. Come to think of it, that philosophy has followed me ever since merging with the betterhalf, who I must emphasize I want her to keep serving those basic meals of potatoes, meat, veggies and homemade desserts. As I sign off, let me extend to the betterhalf a big “Thank you” for no plans to bring to our table the new modern trend of “Brinners.” That could mean I’d be facing (and leaving on my plate), specialties such as Bacon Jam, Blueberry Compote, waffles stuffed with Thanksgiving dressing and Shakshuka. “Shakshuka” is as bad as it sounds -- it is eggs poached in a Middle Eastern tomato sauce. Ugh! *** We’ve been told a vegetarian diet is best for those who wish to be beautiful. Well, it does not seem to have done much for the elephant. RL Furse is publisher emeritus of the News-Register
Change of mind means weatherman likely a woman
This winter we’ve managed to see the temps go up and down and at this point the weather temps seem to be stuck on the downside. The temperature’s up and down action got me thinking the other morning as I prepared to walk the dogs and was debating how long to walk each dog.
I told one of the female volunteers at the animal shelter I had come to the conclusion the weatherman was not necessarily a man, but the weather must be controlled by a woman, or weatherwoman. I based my reasoning on the fact the weather was always changing and that “change” seemed to be a characteristic of my betterhalf.
Over the years I’ve tried to follow the betterhalf changing her mind on various issues, plans and even changing long-used recipes. After the female volunteer patiently listed to my conclusion, she tended to agree. But, her conclusion was not necessarily along my same line of thinking.
“You are possibly right,” she politely said. “You also must realize most of those changes a woman makes come about because she tries to make her husband happy.”
So much for my reasoning the weather is being controlled by a weatherwoman. That weatherwoman, or if you rather believe, a weatherman, certainly hasn’t made too many of us happy thus far this winter. ***
We now live in the world dominated by smart phones. If you think the use of smart phones will subside, forget those thoughts. A father was standing outside a hospital nursery observing his newborn son moving his arms. The father was trying to determine if the son would be left or right handed. Finally a nurse passed by and joined the father. She eased his concern when she theorized the newborn’s movement of the left or right arm was only an indication of in which hand he would hold his smart phone and not one with which he would throw a ball. *** Have you noticed the number of legislative bills that propose tax cuts for us Nebraskans? There seems to be one major hurdle with all those tax cut proposals. You cannot cut taxes thus decreasing tax revenue, and still maintain financing the programs the state already has.
It appears to me most of the tax resolutions call for several options. Those options in reality result in no tax cuts at all for Nebraskans. Tax cut options call for replacing revenue by taxing merchandise and services not already taxed. Other options being touted include: increasing sales tax rate; taking over county inheritance tax revenue; and/or transferring state government programs so those programs are funded by our local governments.
There’s only one way to cut taxes and it’s to cut spending.
Of course, if spending is cut, you will have to decide which programs to cut. We all know what that answer. . . “cut the programs that I don’t use.” ***
There was a very gracious lady who was mailing an old family Bible to her brother in another part of the country.
“Is there anything breakable in here?” asked the postal clerk
“Only the Ten Commandments,” answered the lady.
RL Furse is publisher emeritus of the News-Register
Lawmakers shouldn’t be asked to fix all woes
The Nebraska Legislature in this short session will attempt to consider more than 450 bills that have been introduced. Judging from the list you can reach a couple of conclusions.
First, it’s pretty obvious seeing the number of bills why the wheels of government turn slowly. Secondly, people have asked the legislature to solve problems that should be solved, not by government, but by those very people or organizations themselves.
A prime example is a new legislative proposal that requests reclassification of some high school varsity sports teams based in part on their success, not just their enrollment. Those with winning teams year after year would be put into the next higher class. The bill was introduced primarily out of concern about the disproportionate share of state championships won by private and parochial schools.
I would be the first to admit it’s sometimes frustrating to have a powerhouse team win year after year, but I am not ready to concede to the idea of punishing or tearing down successful sports programs and to bring them to the level of poorer teams. Of course, that seems to have become the modern day interpretation of the American way – take down any successful program or business and make it just average. No more competition; no more striving to be better; just get lazy and be average.
The big question is if people feel parochial and private schools compete unfairly, why not request the Nebraska School Activities Association change their guidelines? The NSAA governs the rules for Nebraska schools. If a majority of its representatives feel change is needed, let the school administrators and coaches suggest the changes instead of a state legislator. ***
While on the subject of sports, do you remember when you went to Nebraska football games to watch the game? Well, some of us (I’m not included) had wives that went to the game to see what women’s fall fashions were in style.
There were no fancy suites; just sideline boxes with folding chairs. Premium-paying season ticket holders now sit were there was once the low cost knothole section at the south end of the field. Concessionaires sold only hot dogs, popcorn, hot coffee or pop instead of today’s Runzas, pizzas and ice cream.
The college football world has changed and it now has become a business instead of just a game. Capacity seating needs to be met each Saturday. TV coverage and replay screens are a stadium necessity. Good sound systems blare out halftime shows from bands and pop stars. And judging by news articles of the past week, more fan attractions are coming to Memorial Stadium and even to the new Pinnacle Arena.
The NU regents signed on for a $12.3 million project for installing Wi-Fi at the stadium. The proposal called to upgrade the stadium’s sound system and install wireless Internet throughout to meet the demands of the new-age football fan
As most of you know, I have a reputation for leaving some games early despite protests from the betterhalf. I feel these new improvements might not be all bad.
Now I can text her when I learn how to text, or call from a distance and tell her to meet me at the car.
In making the announcement about the expenditure of $12.3 for the stadium improvements, the UN public relations department may have ruffled a few feathers of students and parents. At the conclusion of that same news story it was stated: “In other business, the Board of Regents passed room and board rates for the next academic year, including up to 4 percent at UNO, up to 4.5 percent at UNL and up to 5 percent at UNK.” Ouch!
RL Furse is publisher emeritus of the News-Register