(UN) Premeditated
OK, it's time to post again...

Sorry for the long break. I promise that I will be better at posting these blogs. I've actually heard from a few of you who apparently look forward to what I have to say. I will try not to talk about rain in this blog...as clearly my talking about it, put a lid on the rain for the year.

No, really, the weather this year has been noteworthy. It made for a long, hot summer (sorry, Keith Urban). It's so sad to look out the windows and see brown grass and pastureland. Especially after the last couple years of wet conditions. OK, enough about the weather.

So, it's been five months. While a lot of time has elapsed since then, my summer could be summed up with one word ... moving. From finding out we would be moving in May to actually moving in August, I swear the summer lasted only a week. It's been a great move, and our family is adjusting well to life in the "big city" again.

So, now that the move is almost over (there's still some boxes), it's time to enjoy the fall, one of my favorite times of year. I've already been to a Denver Broncos game this fall -- and what a great one to go to. Peyton Manning's first regular season game as a Bronco. The crowd was electric, and the atmosphere was unlike anything I've ever witnessed at Mile High Stadium. (I won't talk about last night's letdown in Atlanta!)

I attended my first ever United Way Duck Dash. I cannot believe the amount of volunteers that selflessly give their time and money to help out an amazing organization. The United Way helps so may organization and touches so many people in western Nebraska, it truly is a remarkable entity. If you don't know somebody personally who uses one of the 19 agencies that the United Way supports (get the list here), I'm sure you know somebody who does.

The Duck Dash was an overwhelming success -- 20,000 quackers floating down a fuller-than-expected river. I don't know where my ducks finished, but I'm pretty sure some of them made it down to Bridgeport, or were stuck on the bank before they finished the race. This was a great fundraiser for the United Way, but the real campaign is about to start.

In the coming days and weeks, volunteers from the United Way (possibly even me), will be at many of your businesses asking you to consider donating to the United Way's annual campaign. This the main fundraiser for the United Way, and the campaign goal for this year is $360,000. So, while that number seems big, every contribution adds up and helps us get closer to our goal. LIVE UNITED!

But I Sure Can Smell The Rain

No, I'm not talking about the old Blackhawk song here.

What an amazing smell this week. Rain. It was the smell that many have forgotten in this area. Granted, we didn't get the two or three inches of rain that forecasters were predicting earlier in the week, but this was the first time - in a long time - that we have seen measurable rain.

I remember walking outside the KNEB Studios after a brief thunderstorm Thursday afternoon. It was like my nose "perked up." There was no smell of dirt and dust, but that natural cleansing smell that only rain can bring.

I took a deep breathe. In....and AHHHHHH...I don't even remember exhaling. I just remember smelling. That smell. That beautiful, clean, rain-soaked smell. The sun was out, the air was clear, all was right with the world for a little bit. And, then, the wind came back, and starting blowing dirt all around again.

The U.S. Drought Monitor (link here), has the entire area as "abnormally dry," and a swath of the Panhandle in a moderate drought, so it's clear that we need the rain, and we need it badly. We've been used to the drought conditions for some time, and just when we thought we were clawing our way out, one dry winter has us threatening to dive right back into the drought - kicking and screaming!

But, for a few moments over the weekend, I forgot about all of that had. You've heard the phrase, take some time to stop and smell the roses. Well, last week, I took some time to stop and smell the rain. I hope to do it again really soon! There's just something about it ... something unexplainable.

Oh, and just in case you were hoping for some Blackhawk when you read the title, you can hear that song, by clicking here.

It's Time To Listen!

As a big Law and Order SVU fan, I can clearly remember watching a PSA with Mariska Hargitay, or Oliva as I knew her. This PSA stuck with me because she was talking about statistics of a child being diagnosed with autism, and I was the proud father of a healthy baby boy, Seth. Something stuck with me in the commercial, I couldn’t explain it. I remember her saying watch for the warning signs, and make sure to talk to your doctor if you had concerns. I was probably paranoid, after all the odds were 1 in 166, but still, something made me think, wow that number seems high.

Weeks and months passed, and there were little things that I started to notice. Things that made me think back to that commercial. Seth was a late walker. Seth was a slow talker. Seth didn’t make a lot of eye contact. Seth was hard to understand. Seth didn’t really play with other kids. Seth liked to flap his hands a lot. OK, so maybe it was just this father’s paranoia again.

After moving to Bridgeport, we began to have some more concerns and started to ask more questions. After many visits and doctor’s appointments, a psychologist told me they were going to diagnose with Pervasive Development Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified. I remember clearly telling the psychologist, you are going to have to write that down for me, because there is no way I will ever be able to remember that, and if I mess it up, my wife will kill me. She said, just remember PDD-NOS. Surely I could remember six letters.

So, I called my wife after the appointment, and told her those six letters. She put it into Google and brought up the results, and she began to tell me what the doctor had told me.

PDD-NOS or atypical autism are when people who meet some of the criteria for autistic disorder or Asperger syndrome, but not all. People with PDD-NOS usually have fewer and milder symptoms than those with autistic disorder. The symptoms might cause only social and communication challenges. Finally, a name for what was going on. A long term plan, and things that we could do to help Seth.

We have worked with the school, and have had Seth on a special education program since he was in preschool. This has allowed access to therapists, and tools that he needs to make his education more fulfilling. But, none of this would have occurred without early detection.

We have come a long way with Seth. He is doing much better in school, has learned to carry on a good conversation (he kinda likes to talk like his Dad), and has many successes. We are so proud of him!

April is National Autism month. If you drive by my house, you will see a blue light on my porch. This is to “shine a light on Autism.” I encourage you to go to AutismSpeaks.org to learn more about Autism Spectrum Disorders. If you are a parent of a youngster, check it out. Look at some of the symptoms, and make sure to talk to your doctor if you have any questions. Regardless what diagnosis you get (or even if you don't get a diagnosis), it’s imperative that you start your child’s education plan early. The earlier you begin to help you son or daughter, the more it will benefit them later.

A lot has changed since the first time I heard about Autism when I was a new father. In fact, just a few weeks ago, the Centers For Disease Control released new statistics, where they estimate that about 1 in 88 children have been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. While the CDC admits it’s unclear exactly how much of this increase is due to a broader definition of Autism Spectrum Disorders and better efforts in diagnosis. However, a true increase in the number of people with an autism spectrum disorder cannot be ruled out. They believe the increase in the diagnosis is likely due to a combination of these factors.

Whether the number is 1 in 166, 1 in 88, or as high as the CDC’s estimate of 1 in 54 in boys, there is one thing that I know for certain. I will do everything I can to advocate for Seth, and all kids diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. Remember, Autism Speaks ... It’s Time To Listen!

I must be getting old...

OK, so maybe old isn't the right word. But, I am definitely "maturing." For all my life, I remember hating this weekend, the weekend that we spring forward with our clocks. I remember thinking that I got cheated out of an hour of my weekend, that I missed an hour of sleep, and that I would be more tired Monday.

Now, I find myself excited for this weekend. It gives me another hour of daylight with my family. More time to be outdoors after work, and more time to just enjoy the day. I have actually been looking forward to this day for several weeks. What I would do with that extra hour.

Now that it's here--and the weather is perfect, it's almost like a that perfect present on Christmas morning. While I can't say for sure what I will do with the extra hour every day, I know that I have a ton of plans for it this week. I will spend some of it on my patio, soaking up some sun, and enjoying the sounds of a later-winter afternoon and evening. My grill will be on (but, then again, it has been for several weeks). My son will be roaming around the backyard, and I will enjoy those sounds too. There will probably also be a golf course on my itinerary this week, too.

I also know that -- surprisingly -- I did not miss the hour of sleep last night. So, maybe I'm not getting old, or maturing, but maybe I've finally come to terms with this "right of passage" to get to spring. After all, I will get that hour of sleep back in the few months, when my outdoor calendar isn't nearly as full.

Merry Christmas!

I tried a little experiment this year. For the past week or so, I've been trying to do something that most would think is minor, but I learned a lot over the past few days!

Whether I was at the checkout line, the gas station, on the telephone, or paying a bill somewhere, I tried to say Merry Christmas to every person I interacted with.

It's two words -- MERRY CHRISTMAS, but the reaction was something I never expected. The smile on the receiving end was amazing!

I saw clerks, who clearly had a long shift already, smile and say Merry Christmas to you too! I heard a smile on the other end of the phone, with a Thank you and same to you! Everywhere I went and everyone I talked to, I got the same response...a smile. Sometimes, a look of surprise, with a big smile, and a thank you!

Who knew the most important things this time of year really are things that money can't buy!

I know it may sound lame, and I'm sure most of you reading this will probably think I'm reading too much into it, and maybe I am, but I can tell you I have never felt as much Christmas Spirit as I had this year.

Maybe I'm getting older, or maybe we all just need a little Christmas, with a friendly greeting from a stranger every once in a while.

Broncos and Bears and Christmas, Oh My!

Holy smokes! It's been a long time until I've posted something here. Where did the rest of fall go?

I absolutely love this time of year. Christmas lights, decorated trees, carols, and cookies, and sweets, and good times with family and friends.

For the first time in a while, I have all my Christmas shopping all done, and pretty sure Seth's list has been all finalized and sent to Santa. Now, this gives me time to sit back, relax, and enjoy this time of year!

While college football bowls start up soon, I was able to get some of my football fix in last week, as some good friends and I went to the Denver Broncos-Chicago Bears game. While this will not turn into a gushing over the amazing efforts of Tebow, Prater, and the rest of the Denver Broncos, it was simply amazing to be a part of that stadium on that Sunday afternoon.

There's something about watching a group of professionals believing in something. Believing that they can do something. Never giving up. Too often the world of professional sports leaves us yearning for players that can be our heroes . . . people that our sons and daughters can look up to. In this case, it's almost like 2011 Denver Broncos are the definition of heroes.

If you haven't seen it yet, there is a video from NFL.com, where Tim Tebow was wearing a microphone during the game. While you can see and hear things you would expect to see from a quarterback, I was shocked at some of what I saw there. The world and media try to tear apart this young man, but he has never lost his roots . . . who he is, and what he cares about. His teammates are constantly encouraging, never giving up. How refreshing!

Click here to view the video.

Maybe something we can all think about next time we face an uphill battle, or a feat that seems to simply be overwhelming and impossible! Instead of tearing down our family members or co-workers, or friends (or even enemies), maybe we can send out an encouraging word, or lend a helping hand. Sounds like the Christmas spirit to me!

Merry Christmas to you all!

Re-Experiencing the Sandhills

My wife decided to give me a belated birthday present in the form of a trip to the scenic Nebraska Sandhills for a tanking trip down the Loup River near Mullen, Nebraska.

Now, I must take a moment to digress. I was born in Mullen, and lived there until I was 10. My parents have returned to Mullen, and both of my grandparents call the Mullen-area home. So, to say that I've seen the area before would be an understatement. In fact, we had to travel through my grandparents pasture to begin our trip.

Enough digression.....back to the trip....

We set off from Bridgeport Saturday morning, and had a great time on the two-hour trip to Mullen. When we arrived, we stopped by the Sandhills Motel and registered for our adventure. Mitch and the gang were helpful, and in just a few short minutes, we were on our way to get started!

My wife, Reagan, and I on our trip.
We left our vehicle at the "stopping point" and were given a ride upstream to the "launch area." We were given our "vessel"--which I wanted to call a boat--but was corrected numerous times, because these things weren't made to float, but rather to hold water. So, after rolling our stock tank toward the water, Mitch set us up with a couple benches, four life jackets (just in case), and a couple oars. We added our cooler full of refreshments. We hopped in, Mitch pushed us away, gave us a couple of last-minute instructions, and we were off!

For the next two hours, as we slowly floated down the winding river, we were met with breathtaking views. Views I had seen several times before, but with no automobile to maneuver, no cell phone ringing, no radio, no distractions at all, it was an oddly-different view. One that was ... well beautiful!

There were prairie grasses, trees turning a gorgeous fall color, old bridges, cliffs, and even a house or two along the way. The entire view was sun-soaked by an absolutely clear and warm fall day. The conversation with friends, along with the relaxing sounds of a gentle-flowing river aided in the pleasure of the trip. But, in the end, it was the Sandhills in all their glory.

I have often heard that you never take the time to enjoy what you have. I know we will make this trip an annual event. Who would have ever thought that there could be a place that provided more rest and relaxation than I have ever had at any resort...and it's in our own wide-open backyard in the heart of this amazing state.
Hello and welcome!

My name is Bill Boyer, and I'm the new Director of Operations at KNEB. That's a fancy word for saying that I do all the things that nobody else wants to do!

In all honesty, I have a blast at KNEB, and have been responsible for the oversight of the launch of this new website. We have spent a couple months working on it, and making sure that we continue to provide the same great news, weather, sports, and ag information you've trusted us to provide for the last several years!

While the navigation may be slightly different that what you had seen in the past, we hope you find this new site more eye appealing and interactive, while still being your source for the information you need!

As for this blog, check back often for posts and updates about a little bit of everything. I'm a weather nut, I love sports, technology and computers, and love to golf!