By Eric Jones
As baby boomers hit retirement age, they’ve come to redefine what’s typically expected of the “golden years”. Many of them are not content to sit in a lawn chair and spray a hose over the garden while reading. They’re picking up side jobs merely for the pleasure of getting things done. Catey Hill of “Smart Money” released an article last Monday ranking some of the best places to retire in the United States. Lincoln came in at No. 2, besting even some of the larger tourist cities like Ithica, New York and Santa Maria, California.
Hill cited that the reason for this is that Lincoln boasts one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation. A mere 3.7% in a nation that’s stuck at an immovable 9%, and that’s drawing a lot of retirees who are not so keen on leaving the workforce. There’s also a direct correlation between low unemployment rates and low crime rates. Since most people with good jobs don’t have any reason to knock over a liquor store, Lincoln remains one of the safest places in the U.S.
Another reason many are retiring to Lincoln is that it remains a safe haven from the dried up housing market. The recent foreclosure crisis has left those heading into their retirement years scrambling for a place to put down some solid post-vocational roots. In the desolate world of foreclosures and toxic assets, Lincoln remains an oasis. The cost of living in Lincoln is 6.7% lower than the national average. Housing prices here have essentially remained flat since the crisis started in 2007, making it a respite from the rest of the country’s woes. That’s just the kind of bastion that retirees are hoping to find.
What Hill doesn’t mention is that Lincoln is one of the most unified cities in the nation as well. Even if retirees are not big football fans, there is a pride that comes from rallying together on Game Day that Lincolnites enjoy more than most other cities. The University of Nebraska football team is one of only six other teams to have won over 800 games, making them one of the best teams ever. They’ve also had a rich cultural history that spans over a hundred years, and have maintained strong ties to the community.
The rich communal ties between Lincoln and football have woven the fabric of loyalty, brotherhood and sisterhood tightly among Lincolnites, and that is an attractive feature in a retirement location. Lincoln is a big city, but it feels small, and carries the advantages of both worlds. Being located in the Great Plains gives it a direct route to some of the greatest scenic beauty in America. There are plains so flat that you can see three different types of weather from one spot. Also, since Lincoln is centrally located, it’s only a six hour drive to just about anywhere you’d want to go.
When looking for place to retire, why lock yourself into one tourist spot when you can pay low housing costs and find a spot that will easily allow you access to places like Chicago, IL, Denver, CO, Minneapolis, MN, Madison, WI, and Omaha, NE? For retirees hoping for affordable travel, all the showiness of the big city with the courtesy of a small town, and luxurious living, you can’t beat Lincoln!
By Alexis Abel
Summer is the season for sauerkraut. Whether it’s layered between thick slabs of pastrami on buttery, grilled rye in the perfect Reuben, or draped on top of a charred, barbecued hot dog, humble sauerkraut is cheap and surprisingly healthy. That is, if you ferment it yourself.
Fresh fermented sauerkraut is technically a raw food. Because it’s not subjected to the bacteria-killing pasteurization process, fresh fermented sauerkraut and its Korean cousin Kimchi, are crawling with healthy critters like lactobacillus and acetobacter. These potential cancer killers have anti-inflammatory properties and are the same bacterium and live yeast you find in Kombacha, the live tea quaffed by health seekers around the world.
Drew Nelson of Lincoln is an amateur fermenter, and he’ll be sharing his knowledge to other eager fermenters on Monday, June 13 when he hosts "Fermentation Base: Intro to Fermentation" at Indigo Bridge Books, 701 P St. #102, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Nelson, along with friend and "Fermentation Base" co-founder Rachael Wells, will teach the traditional practices, science and benefits of fermentation. Wells has previously taught a course in fermentation at Metro Community College in Omaha. Expect to learn how to make the aforementioned sauerkraut, along with sourdough bread starter and Kimchi.
By Alexis Abel
In an April 2009 New York Times article, Michael Pollan, award-winning writer of In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto and the Omnivore’s Dilemma, pondered why Americans would rather watch other people brown meat on their TV screen than do it in their own kitchens. He lamented that despite the iconification of many chefs — including Julia Child, Rachael Ray and Alice Waters, among others — Americans were cooking less and eating more fast and processed foods.
When cooking seems daunting, you’re short on time or you’re just uninspired, it’s easy to look to the drive-thru or a packaged meal. But before you throw in the kitchen towel, refresh your culinary perspective by taking one of many local cooking classes.
Open Harvest, 1618 South St, has been offering cooking classes since 2000. Their classes utilize healthy, whole food ingredients, including fruits and vegetables, whole grains and natural meats free of antibiotics and hormones. The classes change seasonally, based on customer interest, said Jackie Barnhardt, Open Harvest outreach director. Classes in March include Pizza! Pizza! Pizza! and East Indian Vegetarian Cooking. Chef and local culinary personality Judy Gillard, of Judy a la Carte, will also lead pork and lamb classes using meat from local farms that will, that will teach participants a variety of techniques for cooking meat.
With food costs increasing and people’s move to more natural foods, Barnhardt said she's seen the public’s interest for cooking classes grow. Many people struggle though because they may have never had the luxury of learning how to cook at home.
By Marcia Claesson
But not in Lincoln. Because of a successful program called Food Net, victuals that are at or near their expiration date are distributed free of charge to Lincoln residents.
Food Net was started in 1985 by Frank Marsh (then state treasurer) and two area pastors. They became aware of people going through garbage cans at local grocery stores and restaurants, looking for food, said John Hetcko, Food Net's vice president.
“They felt that there was a better way to take care of those type of needs,” he said.
By Alexis Abel
Every January, about 45 percent of Americans make New Year’s resolutions. The most popular are health-related: to lose weight, stop smoking or exercise more. While more than half of all resolution-makers abandon their goals by the six-month mark, resolutions can be a powerful way to bring positive change into your life.
This year, my resolution is to run the Lincoln Half Marathon on May 1. I started running last spring, and eventually competed in the Governor’s Cup 15k in October. But my drinking habits didn’t always correspond well with waking up early for a Saturday morning run.
Besides the nasty hangover, the biggest problem with alcohol is its effect on sleep quality and hydration. Therein lies the problem: as your Bottle Chronicles correspondent, it is my solemn duty to sample a variety of wines, beers and liquors each week. But instead of swearing off alcohol as I train, I’ll be practicing moderation as I tack on the miles.
If you’re looking to exercise more, lose weight or simply reduce your alcohol intake, or if you can’t drink alcohol for other reasons (pregnancy, age, religious or dietary restrictions, or you just hate the taste), this week’s Bottle Chronicles is for you.
By Alexis Abel
Thanksgiving can be a nightmare for vegetarians and vegans, who in the past could be left with a handful of non-meat side dishes to cobble together a complete meal. But with a growing interest in healthy and sustainable home cooking, many people are looking for options other than the traditional, industrially-raised Frankenturkey.
To help you out, Star City Blog taste-tested three main dishes sure to satisfy vegetarians and meat-eaters alike: Tofurky, Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie and Winter Squash Risotto with Sage and Parmesan. Recipes for the last two dishes are included at the end.
By Clay Farris Naff
Since the discovery of penicillin in 1928, antibiotics have saved countless lives. However, their overuse has spurred a rapid evolution in the microbial world. Today, multiple drug resistant bacteria are proliferating in, of all places, hospitals. In Part 1, we hear from Dr. Paul Fey (at left), director of epidemiology and associate director of microbiology at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.
In Part 2, Dr. Paul Auwaerter joins us. He's the clinical director of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and he's an expert on a potent new threat: NDM-1. Bacteria are making use of it to evade every medical defense.
By Hilary Stohs-Krause
Tuesday, she paid $19 for $40 worth of groceries.
She never, ever has to pay for toothpaste.
What’s Pierce’s secret?
Good old-fashioned coupons.
“Traditionally, you make a grocery list, and you got to the store, and you get what’s on that list,” she said. “If you’re conscious at all, you look at what’s on sale … but with extreme couponing, we do what’s called ‘shop and stock.’”
Shop and stock involves buying larger quantities of what’s on sale, freezing or storing it for later, and eating out of previous stock.
But Pierce was quick to differentiate herself from extreme couponists as they’re depicted in the national media.
“There’s been things on ‘Nightline’ about extreme couponing – you can get me a soapbox if you really want to get me started,” she said. “If you’re hoarding food in your house, and there are people in this country who can’t afford to feed their children, there’s something wrong with that.”
Pierce runs a blog on how Lincolnites can get the most for their money, called “Chicks Dig Deals.”
She said she encourages her readers to donate to charities any food they get for free but don’t need or won’t eat.
“The beauty of couponing is you can do it as much or as little as you need to,” she said. “If you’re strapped and need to cut your budget, you can do it a lot with couponing.”
By Sally Cobau
At first, most women are completely smitten by the new family member, but there are also moments of sheer panic. The learning curve is steep, and sometimes tears are involved as new mothers learn new skills.
For many, one of the most frustrating of these new skills is nursing. Although the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life, only 11.9 percent of women in Nebraska reach that goal. It's not through lack of good intentions, however; statistics also show that 76.8 percent of Nebraskans give their babies at least one feeding, but after the initial attempt the majority of women turn to formula.
There are myriad reasons why new mothers struggle with breastfeeding -- everything from the time commitment involved to lack of milk production to painful mastitis, a tissue infection. For Lincolnites who want to make it work, they can find a valuable resource in MilkWorks, 5930 S. 58th St., a nonprofit operation committed to successful breastfeeding.
"We are unique; we may be the only place in the country where a mother can drive right up to the front door to get help," said Ann Seacrest, executive director of MilkWorks and a certified lactation consultant. "We are not hidden in a hospital, and we are open seven days a week."