Capitol View - A Look at Nebraska From 30,000 Feet

By J.L. Schmidt - Statehouse Correspondent, The Nebraska Press Association
A new month has started. While unseasonable weather lingers, natural disasters, the cycle of life and a looming election continue to captivate our minds.
As I sit in an airplane 30,000 feet above Nebraska in a mad dash for some brief time off, I contemplate what is happening below.
Streams of cars flow from Omaha to Lincoln for an opening football game, driving on a nearly completed six-lane Interstate highway that has been under construction for a long time. Likewise, cars flow to and from the Nebraska State Fair and its fairly new location in Grand Island. The only slow spots on Interstate 80 west being in the Aurora area.
While the relentless hot wind and temperatures continue to dash the hopes of farmers, another natural disaster – lightning strike fires – burn thousands of acres in Keith, Box Butte, Dawes, Sheridan and surrounding counties of northwest Nebraska. These are new fires, adding to the blackening of the prairie that started with the July 20-29 wildfires that burned more than 75,000 acres in Boyd, Brown, Cherry and Keya Paha counties. Governor Dave Heineman, and U.S. Senators Mike Johanns and Ben Nelson have signed on in seeking federal relief to meet the estimated $5 million in costs and damages associated with the earlier fires.
With fewer than 60 days remaining until the election in which Nebraskans pick a new United States Senator to replace the retiring Nelson and vote for more than half of the 49 members of the state Legislature, there appears to be plenty on people’s minds. The lingering question of more debates in the Deb Fischer and Bob Kerrey race for Nelson’s seat fuels almost daily speculation. Pundits continue to ponder whether Kerrey’s 10-plus years away from the state – he lived in New York City after all, as if a stint in Iowa or Kansas would have been more palatable – will hurt him.
Husker football, the State Fair, drought, wildfires and elections aside – the cycle of life captures my attention:
-- A new Grandma in Lincoln apologizes to her Facebook friends for misinforming them of the name of her new grandson;
-- A young couple in Fremont captures every day in the life of their young son, born with underdeveloped lungs, who is on home hospice;
-- Newlyweds finish unpacking and putting away wedding gifts;
-- A friend in hospice awaits the Lord’s final calling as her husband and children make arrangements for the life that goes on;
--A friend in a hospital in Kearney recovers from surgery to repair calcified arteries.
And there, spread out below this gleaming silver bird, it is.
Nebraska. The Good Life.
Nebraska. Possibilities Endless.

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