Urban-rural dialogue vital for future

The Omaha area was host to a worthwhile event: Visitors from rural parts of the state took a tour of the Omaha area, to learn about economic development projects, law enforcement programs and more.

It's a commendable, longtime initiative: In odd-numbered years, rural visitors come to the Omaha and Lincoln areas. In even-numbered years, Omaha and Lincoln folks visit rural communities.

Urban-rural exchanges have enabled worthwhile conversations and cooperation in some states.

Kentucky has used such a program to facilitate dialogue between residents in Louisville, the state's largest city, and coal-country communities facing economic struggles. In Oregon, the 4-H program at Oregon State University takes Portland middle school students to eastern Oregon to experience rural life.

The more divided we are as Nebraskans, the greater our challenges. The more united we are, the greater the opportunities. Promoting that understanding and respect is a crucial task for our state's future.

- Omaha World-Herald

Require training of county treasurers

Public debate over a public official's future is fun for no one. Especially in a small community.

Pain and emotions ran close to the surface last week as Lincoln County commissioners heard eight hours of testimony on whether first-year Treasurer Lorie Koertner had fallen so short in her performance as to warrant removal.

Two things now should be clear:

* The performance of a county treasurer has implications far beyond the courthouse, because of his or her responsibility for handling tax collections for every local government.

* Those who receive the treasurer's post must be as fully prepared as possible.

After this experience, we believe the Legislature should add a professional qualification that Nebraska county treasurers must meet in order to serve. State law already requires this of county attorneys, public defenders and sheriffs, for instance.

Voters have seen why they can’t afford to ignore homework before casting a ballot. Ultimately, what happened in the Treasurer's Office isn't on the County Board. It's on us.

- North Platte Telegraph

Let’s rekindle passion for space

During these ugly days of division, the moon mission of U.S. astronauts Neil Armstrong, Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin and Michael Collins that culminated in humans setting foot on another celestial body for the first time in Earth's history returned Americans, if only for a few days, to the end of another troubled decade when our nation united in pride over a colossal achievement and the thrill of an unparalleled journey of exploration.

It's impossible to adequately describe in words how Apollo 11 brought this nation and world together on July 20, 1969. Some 600 million people, about one-sixth of the planet's population at the time, watched the moon landing on television.

To this end, we applaud what we read about NASA's Artemis program this year. It seeks to return astronauts to the moon in 2024, establish a sustainable human presence on the moon by 2028 and aim for a manned mission to Mars sometime in the 2030s.

Just as we did 50 years ago, America should lead the way. A great manned mission into outer space around which to rally, as Americans rallied around Apollo 11, may be just what our fractured country needs.

- Sioux City (Iowa) Journal

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