Posts Tagged Nebraska

Nebraska Sand Hills, Thanksgiving 2011

Driving back from Denver this time, I took a detour through an area of Nebraska known as the Sand Hills. It’s a part of the state that most people never see, because I-80 is designed to avoid anything interesting. It serves as a very quiet, and largely unheard, rebuke to those who think that Nebraska is table-top flat. (As always, click on the photos for the full size.)

It’s not necessarily the most dramatic scenery. Nothing as majestic as the Rockies. But the hills are essentially large dunes, with enough water around to sustain grass, and therefore ranching, if not farming.

The Ogallala Reservoir is very close to the surface. Close enough that wind power can actually do something useful, like draw water for cattle.

As I said, it’s not exactly the Rockies. But the Hills can be quite high, and you can easily see where the Plains provide ample cover for ambushes and pre-drone, pre-GPS maneuvers. Without a GPS or roads, getting lost out here wouldn’t be difficult. Not getting lost would be.

The non-reflective parts of the lake are frozen. Yep, happens early and ends late out on the Great Plains.



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Friday Morning Spy

On the road, trying to avoid I-80 this time, so the spy is taking in some of the local color instead of drinking from the Internet firehose this morning.

And a for little comic relief, a blast from the 80s:


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The 49th Parallel

How many states can be 49th?  Let us count the ways.

A few years ago, my friend Ben DeGrow noticed that whenever the subject of budget restraint touched on public education, the state teachers union would immediately make one of two claims: either the state was 49th in school spending, or would be after the change was made.

You’ll notice that I declined to name the state in question just now.  That’s because this claim was being made, simultaneously, all over the country by various Education Associations.  Apparently, we are all 49th now.

Nebraska, welcome to the club:

Two of the state’s largest public employee unions gave a hearty thumbs down Monday to a new proposal generated by state business groups to reform the state’s much criticized labor court, the Commission of Industrial Relations.

Officials who represent state K-12 teachers and state employees said the new plan would “eviscerate” collective bargaining and force down public employees’ wages as much as 15 percent.

Karen Kilgarin, a spokeswoman for the Nebraska State Education Association, said the plan would put Nebraska at 49th in the nation in teachers’ salaries.

First of all, there’s the obvious question of who’s 50th.  I mean, if you’re the least bit skeptical about this claim, you’d think that would be the first thing you’d ask, if only so that you could have a good laugh at their expense when you were filing your story.

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