The thing I recall most about starting school is my mother’s caution not to talk unless the teacher said to. Being quiet so people could study, so the teacher could teach, was a big thing, and although there were times when the teacher had to tell some of the more boisterous kids to sit down…

Seven years of bank statements and tax forms inserted a sheet at a time into that trusty wastebasket shredder. Doable over a span of several hours. Join Keep Alliance Beautiful instead during our Community Shred Week, Sept. 21-25.

Take time to get to know some of Alliance’s downtown merchants while having a little fun this week. The “200+ Block Rocks” block party began Tuesday and runs through tomorrow, Sept. 10.

Signs of autumn are increasing. Crickets everywhere, for one thing. I like having them sing me to sleep through an open window, but am not thrilled when they hop across the house, or chirp relentlessly from a corner of the kitchen at midnight.

Tiny houses. I had one once. Twenty-eight square feet and rent free. The landlord really never helped me fix it up though. Wind blew in the front screen door and out the back where a wall should have been. I liked it just fine -- a dream home for a second grader.

Children are back in the classroom yet plants know the summer sun still shines. The grass waits to be mowed as gardens burst with produce. Yards take time and energy. Keep Alliance Beautiful is hosting a yard cleanup contest to recognize that effort.

Or so the old prospectors are said to have claimed. And they were right, at least where the Black Hills of South Dakota are concerned. As has always been the case, when word of a gold strike got around—and there’s no keeping a secret like that—all manner of folks flocked to the area to seek …

John’s wife called this week to let me know my old friend had died. Bruce and I had promised ourselves to visit them ever since they relocated from the Sandhills some years ago, but now her life will change and who knows when, or even if, we will meet again.

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Day in and day out we tend to follow patterns and practices established over years. Certain things may have been ingrained as far back as childhood and now we still embrace what our parents taught us. Step back and think about what makes up your current lifestyle.

There’s a song stuck in my head. Been there all week, but at least it’s one I like. Amarillo by Morning is the first song my husband and I danced to, but I wouldn’t expect him to remember that. Those kinds of memories are a woman deal, but I liked the song before that, and still do. I suppos…

Keep Alliance Beautiful is going topless!

I’m going to assume that most of you out there are as disturbed as I am by the violent actions and rhetoric that’s going on all across the nation in the name of peaceful protest, and even political campaigns. My policy for this platform is to avoid political controversy, but it’s time to say…

Get out of town! My family and I are taking this advice and heading to the Black Hills National Forest for a week of camping. It is possible to be environmentally conscious at home or on a trip with a little planning and effort.

The other day on the internet, I saw an old commercial of a semi truck that had these words painted on the side: JONNY KAT, KITTY LITTER. For some reason that had a profound affect on me. Imagine a semi full of kitty litter! 40,000 pounds of scented, colored, and packaged cat box contents!

Since the advent of the Covid 19 Pandemic this past spring some of us have had more time on our hands, at least for a while. It has been a time to try new activities and reinvigorate old hobbies. Though we have not been out every day, most days my family takes a walk or bicycle ride around t…

Every town has a slogan. For years now Alliance has been “building the best hometown in America.” If we aspire to be the best, the city should be well-kept and tidy. Keep Alliance Beautiful strives to make this a reality with education about the environment, promoting litter cleanups and off…

A common saying in the Sandhills is that we are always only two weeks away from a drought. 2020 has been a series of crises so far, a pandemic, rising unemployment, market instability, and violence and unrest nationwide. But the situation most urgent in our own backyard is lack of rain and a…

On a sunny afternoon in Broomfield,Colo., my family and I had just finished lunch when a friend of my wife joined us on the sunny concrete patio. As we visited the conversation touched on my job and recycling in general. The friend asked me, “Is it worth it?” “Yes,” I replied with why I thought so.

Slowing life down has been a revelation for me in several ways. I thought we would need to fill the gas tank when we went to town the other day, until I noted it was still on full, and realized I hadn’t been off the place for more than a week. And perfectly content not to, which is nice. Wit…

Independence Day celebrations will look different this year but that doesn’t change our responsibility to recognize the sacrifices that allow us to live in America. The men who argued and hammered out the precepts on which the new nation would be based did it at great risk. Their lives and b…

On my recent visit to the Kimball Recycling Center with other Keep Alliance Beautiful staff members, I found the facility much like I had pictured it. However, it seems that the community would be a little small to handle so much recycling materials from other towns. Through conversation wit…

A few months ago I met Spud Rowley. Manager of the Kimball Recycling Center, he came by our recycling center to talk to my boss, G.O. Thompson. Not long after that Rowley received the contract to haul all our materials (except milk jugs) to his location and Ogallala. Last week I traveled wit…

We seem to get a new batch of rules for politically correct speech every week. It’s not my intention to keep up with all the new language because most of the people I hang out with probably don’t understand those new terms any better than I do. But all this fuss has me thinking about the pro…

I am familiar with large orange bags. For the better part of two decades I have helped with our Knights of Columbus highway cleanup. The Nebraska Department of Roads provides sturdy, 50 gallon plus trash bags to us and other volunteer crews. Once the task is complete we leave them like disca…

We always know it’s time to set the live trap when the cat food in the barn starts disappearing too quickly. Usually, it’s a raccoon, but this week Bruce caught a skunk which was rather upset at being in jail and fully expressed displeasure. The dogs have learned to leave them alone, but thi…

Handle bags on curbside recycling for very long and it becomes easy to guess some of the contents at each stop. Bulky light bags mean corrugated cardboard. Stuffed bags that also have that crinkly sound usually contain mostly plastic bottles. Heavy bags that clink mean glass bottles and cont…

I’ve been re-reading “Don’t Know Much About History” by Kenneth C. Davis. This book ought to be required for all high school seniors, because it covers all the things that are no longer taught in American History classes, if that’s even in the curriculum anymore. What’s more, Davis writes to…

Passersby may have noticed an empty spot in the Alliance Plaza parking lot at West Third Street and Cody Avenue. Keep Alliance Beautiful has moved its five trailers (still at that location as of this writing but expected to happen prior to publication of this column) to the lot north of the …

I wonder if there are kids who still get an allowance. I first heard of such a notion when I was in high school, and it seemed pretty silly to me. None of the parents I knew had any extra money lying around, and youngsters were expected to do simple chores like helping around the home, or ra…

Under our kitchen sink a bucket keeps the white trash bin company. This 5-quart container is filled and emptied more often than the trash. Most of our food waste finds its way through the cabinet door to the compost bucket. On an average day there will be a collection of vegetable peels, fru…

We have a yard full of dandelions, and I don’t mind a bit. Diversity is a good thing, they say, and a monoculture isn’t really all that healthy. No doubt the farmer with a stand of wheat or corn would disagree, but as long as it’s green and doesn’t have stickers it can live in my yard. I kno…

April showers have brought May flowers. Tulips and other early spring blossoms have brightened Alliance and Hemingford neighborhoods. By this time serious gardeners have already spent many hours preparing their beds and planting hardy crops.

It’s turnout time. By now, the hay supply is depleted or non-existent on most ranches, and there’s just enough green to make a meal for the bovines that have spent the past month reaching through fences to get what grows in the borrow ditches. Once branding is done, the cattle are eager to h…

“Gonna find me a bluebird, let him sing me a song,

Keep Alliance Beautiful strives to do just that. From education to recycling to facilitating cleanups we want residents to keep Alliance looking its best. No matter how great your hometown looks, however, it is nice to get away sometimes -- even for just a few hours.

April 22 marked the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. It was an especially fitting day to think about the larger world and environment as most of us have become more acquainted with our lives at home and away from others during the Covid 19 Pandemic.

My parents were big on priorities. Some things you just did because they needed doing, and any other concerns could wait their turn. Most of those priorities concerned ranch responsibilities, but they were active in community affairs too, and kept themselves informed of national issues. One …

At times, since the advent of flat screen television, the space to the north of the Keep Alliance Beautiful Recycling Center has appeared to be a junkyard of the older box-shaped TVs.

Now that only “necessary” workers are to continue at their jobs, we have learned that “necessary” can be very basic. The world turns on the backs of truckers, plumbers, mechanics, waiters, janitorial staff, railroad workers, quick stop employees, cooks, and teachers, among many others. None …

The final breakout session I attended at the Keep America Beautiful 2020 National Conference centered on how to use simple technology.

Many of us chafe at restrictions imposed due to the pandemic. We humans are social creatures; even the introverts like me are discovering how much we need one another, and finding creative ways to connect. But I’m amazed, on the infrequent, but necessary, trips we make to town how few people…

Recycling was a principle point of discussion throughout the Keep America Beautiful 2020 National Conference. One breakout session focused on recycling education and outreach best practices, with tips and tools that can be utilized by communities all over, regardless of curbside versus drop-…

We will miss celebrating the Resurrection with our church communities this year, but perhaps this will be an opportunity to reflect more deeply on what the season means. With the directive prohibiting gatherings of more than ten people, even outdoors, sunrise services are out.

Times like these bring out the best and worst in people.

The week of March 15, 2020, the Keep Alliance Beautiful Recycling Center closed due to precautions taken with the COVID-19 Global Pandemic. While writing this Monday, March 23, we are in the middle of what was planned to be a two-week closure. While we are not fully staffed as this column ap…

While attending the Keep America Beautiful 2020 National Conference preliminary insights were shared on the National Public Attitude Survey.

In times like these we get to find out what we are really made of; our strengths, weaknesses, and what really matters. We are pared down to the bone, required to be creative, and hopefully, compassionate. An old song says to look for the silver linings, which are always behind the clouds. He…

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