Spinning Tales — More Kids Need to Play Summer Ball

By Dennis L. Morgan


Most weeks go by with few if any suggestions for what I should put in the paper. This past week was different as I had a number of people making suggestions.

Mayor Mike Schmitt stopped in the office and asked me to write about summer ball programs and the dwindling number of children who want to participate on these teams.

By all means, I support parents encouraging children to play on tee-ball, baseball and softball. There’s so much to be gained by being part of a summer ball team. There’s the joy of competing, the excitement of making new friends with players from other towns, the same kids you’ll compete against in other sports for the next five to 10 years.

Then, there’s the wonder of it all. The sound of a bat making solid contact with the ball and seeing it arc into the outfield for a hit can spark a lifetime love for the game. It’s memories like these which won’t be forgotten. I still remember setting up in the batter’s box like Oakland A’s left fielder Joe Rudi and hitting the ball over Gregg Phillips’ head for a home run. More home runs would follow through the years, but the first time I flew around the bases I have never forgotten.

In my opinion, the best thing about summer ball programs is that it allows for our children to participate in outdoor activities — running, catching and throwing, then cheering for each other. That’s so much better for the players than staying at home and playing some computer game.

Ball programs allow kids to be kids. Isn’t that what summer is all about?

While we may have public and parochial schools in this town, players from both schools unite in the summer to form one team. Everybody pulls together as one to win the game.

Off the ball diamond, the City of Elgin makes it possible to have these ball programs. They hire and pay the coaches, and make sure there are fields to play on.

It’s hard to imagine there not being teams from Elgin playing, but it’s possible that could happen if kids don’t sign up.

If your child isn’t signed up for a ball program, there’s time to reconsider. It may be a commitment of time, but the lessons learned and the memories formed will last a lifetime, trust me.


The District #18 Board of Education recently spent considerable time discussing energy, in particular, wind energy during their March meeting. Board member Bob Hoefer urged the board to offer a letter of recommendation for the Prairie Breeze wind turbine project which may one day be developed by Invenergy. At the meeting, Hoefer said the future of nuclear power was dead following the problems in Japan created by an earthquake and subsequent tsunami. He’s entitled to his opinion and may be right, who knows for sure. But it made me start to wonder, just how many wind turbines would it take to equal the production of one nuclear power plant?

Mark Becker, media relations specialist for the Nebraska Public Power District, provided some interesting statistics. Using 2009 figures, he said the number of megawatt hours produced at Cooper Nuclear Station (800 megawatts) totaled more than 5.7 million. The number of kilowatt hours from CNS was 5,734,579,000. In contrast, all Nebraska wind farms (153 megawatts) produced just over 38,400 megawatt hours. Total kilowatt hours from Nebraska wind farms came to 384,515,804.

Just from those numbers alone, it’s going to take more than just a few wind farms to equal the production of one nuclear power plant.

This area has great potential for wind energy and I believe everything should be done to turn potential into reality. However, I don’t see how wind energy can ever replace nuclear energy in this country in the foreseeable future.


My ‘son’ who lives in Recifé, Brazil, invited my wife and I, along with two other couples to attend his 40th birthday celebration next year. He was the first of five Rotary International exchange students to stay in our home. He was with us back in 1989. Since them, he’s gone on to become a prominent businessman in Brazil. We’re looking forward to seeing him again.


Prom season has come and gone. First Elgin Public, then last weekend it was Pope John’s turn for juniors, seniors and their dates to dress up for a night of celebration.

Tuxedos and formal gowns, special hairdos for the occasion. Occasions like these, for some, are just the beginning. For others, there may be few such occasions in their lives to celebrate what life has to offer.