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coronavirus

This past year has been like no other in recent memory regarding the great need for help so many in our community have experienced.  The statistics are staggering.  Catholic Charities has given out nearly six times the amount of food they usually do in a single year.  They have helped twice the amount of people.  That all takes funds and they are able to raise those funds with their 29th Annual Irish Fest Gala event.

Fr. Mike Eckley joined Mike Hogan "Live & Local" to discuss the massive volume of assistance, safety, comfort, and help Catholic Charities has provided and to invite one and all to join Irish Fest this year.

Top notch talent has gotten very creative to provide an evening of fun and entertainment for the entire family.   The livestream program will be produced and directed by nationally known Choreographer, Otis Sallid, and Founder of Broadway Dreams, Annette Tanner.  Sallid and Tanner have been bringing Broadway entertainment to people across the world for decades and have strong ties to the Omaha entertainment scene.

More information can be found at https://www.ccomaha.org/irish-fest-2021

NPR

Some coronavirus vaccination events have been canceled across Nebraska because winter weather delayed vaccine shipments. Health officials in Beatrice and Hastings canceled vaccination appointments that were scheduled for this week. The West Central District Health Department in North Platte said it has enough vaccine on hand for the appointments it has scheduled this week, but it may have to delay next week’s vaccination clinics because of the shipment delays. The state estimated that 6.5% of Nebraska’s population has now received both required doses of the vaccine.

Step Up to Quality, Nebraska’s Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) for child care and early childhood education providers, has reached a significant milestone: more than 500 programs across the state are participating, and have been rated.

Step Up to Quality Director, Lauri Cimino, spent some time with Mike Hogan of “Live & Local” recently to discuss the milestone and explain the multi-step program which helps improve the quality of childcare across the entire state.

If parents want information about what QRIS means for their children or if a childcare provider wants to know how to participate in the program, go to the website https://stepuptoquality.ne.gov

This month, SHARE Omaha turns two years old!  They have spent the past 730+ days connecting metro supporters throughout eastern Nebraska and Western Iowa to local causes. 

Executive Director Marjorie Maas spent a little time with KIOS-FM’s “Live & Local” host to talk about what everyone has been doing to help make this area a great place to live. 

She also discusses how as we enter 2021 with renewed energy, SHARE Omaha will continue to serve this eight-county metro region in Nebraska and southwest Iowa.  Continually expanding upon their mission of helping local nonprofits to fulfill their missions, year-round, by connecting everyday philanthropists – (that’s YOU!) -  to easy ways to do good.

For more information, go to the website https://shareomaha.org/stories/share-omaha-turns-two-years-old

The Nebraska Regional Officials Council (NROC) announces the launch of a statewide broadband mapping initiative.  Every Nebraskan is encouraged to partake in the one-minute speed test from any internet-enabled device, including cell phones.  Speed data will provide decision makers a better understanding of where internet accessibility is limited or not available, and where speeds are not meeting the needs of today’s users.

Tom Bliss, Executive Director of the Southeast Nebraska Development District, took the time to chat with Mike Hogan “Live & Local” about this important project.  During this two-part interview, Tom says the purpose of this initiative is to bridge the digital divide between urban and rural areas.  The captured information will provide statistically sound data that can be used by communities, counties, and key stakeholders as they plan for broadband infrastructure expansion or enhancement projects.

For more information or to participate in the speed test, one can go to the websites https://www.nebraskaspeedtest.org/ or www.speedtestne.org.  Thanks for helping!

KLKN

Nebraska ranks in the middle of the pack in the rate of administering coronavirus vaccines, but state officials are working to speed up distribution of the shots. The state ranked 33rd among states and the District of Columbia by administering 14,770 shots per 100,000 people as of Sunday, according to data from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Overall, Nebraska has administered 285,708 of the 407,500 doses it has received — or roughly 70% of the doses. Lincoln Dr.

A number of Nebraska school districts are planning to expand summer school sessions and offer other additional help to students who fell behind because if the disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The Omaha World-Herald reports that Nebraska’s largest school districts said that between a quarter and one-third of high school students attending classes remotely failed two or more classes last semester. That failure rate is significantly higher than it was before the pandemic.

ABC News

Nebraska should see at least 43 retail pharmacies participating in a new federal program to help provide coronavirus vaccinations, although state officials say they don’t have a good way to communicate with all of them to avoid mistakes. Gov. Pete Ricketts says he’s grateful for the additional 5,700 doses Nebraska will get through the federal program, but is concerned about how all the different businesses will coordinate with the state’s efforts. He says the federal program didn’t include a way for states and the retailers to ensure they’re on the same page. 

WOWT

Nebraska officials expect nearly 70,000 doses of coronavirus vaccines to be available in the state this week as they continue to work to distribute more shots. The state said 69,600 vaccine doses total should be released in Nebraska this week, up from 61,750 a week ago. Most of those vaccines are being distributed through local health departments, but nearly 6,000 doses will go to a new program that is just getting started to distribute vaccines directly through some retail pharmacies.

Due to concerns surrounding COVID-19, Max I. Walker has made the difficult decision to postpone the 2021 event.  

Due to space limitations Max I. Walker is only able to accept donations of long formal dresses and modern wedding gowns until further notice.

Steph Dorland and Casey Walker of Max I. Walker joined Mike Hogan on the “Live & Local” show to talk about the cancellation and the hope that this event will still take place sometime this year.  They have also asked that people please consider donating short or cocktail dresses, mother-of-the-bride dresses, and vintage or other dresses to another local charity at this time.

More information can be found at https://www.maxiwalker.com/ultra-chic-boutique/

Mentoring, at its core, guarantees young people that there is someone who cares about them, assures them they are not alone in dealing with day-to-day challenges, and makes them feel like they matter.  Research confirms that quality mentoring relationships have powerful positive effects on young people in a variety of personal, academic, and professional situations.

MENTOR Nebraska, formerly Midlands Mentoring Partnership, was launched in 1999 to improve the number and quality of mentoring programs available for Nebraska’s youth.  Training and Partnership Development  Manager, Marisa Hattab, joined Mike Hogan for a two-part interview discussing the rewards of mentoring, the recruiting drive currently underway, that no one is expected to be perfect, (just engage with the kids), and her favorite part of the job.

For more information, to donate, or to get involved, one can go to the website https://www.mentornebraska.org/

Lincoln Journal Star

The number of people getting vaccinated for the coronavirus increased nearly 5% last week in Nebraska. State officials said 48,982 doses of the vaccines were administered last week, up from 46,806 doses the week before. The state is working to speed up distribution of the vaccines. So far, about 4.6% of the state’s population has received both required doses of a vaccine. Nebraska said Monday that it has administered 232,896 doses of the vaccines. The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Nebraska fell over the past two weeks from 849.14 new cases per day on Jan.

Inclusive Communities is a 501 (c)3 non-profit organization. Through their powerful human relations work, they are providing education and advocacy related to the topics of diversity and inclusion.

Dominic Green, Programs & Faculty Manager at Inclusive Communities, took some time to chat with Mike Hogan about the work performed with schools, businesses and the community. He also discusses the critical social justice work and how one can become a volunteer.

Vaccines Arrive At Open Door Mission

Feb 4, 2021
Omaha World Herald

The Open Door Mission in Omaha is one of the first homeless shelters in the country to vaccinate staff and residents against the coronavirus.  The Douglas County Health Department and Nebraska Methodist College teamed up yesterday to provide 70 doses at the shelter.  Officials say the Open Door Mission has seen COVID-19 infection rates of less than one-percent among its residents. 

The Longest Day is one of the Alzheimer's Associations signature fundraising events.  Sherri Obermiller, member of The Longest Day planning committee for the Alzheimer’s Association-Nebraska Chapter, sat down with Mike Hogan “Live & Local” to discuss how Nebraskans can register to raise funds by doing the things they love, changes in the fundraising landscape in 2020 due to COVID and social distancing measures, and why she became involved with the Alzheimer's Association.

One can register or get more information at https://act.alz.org/site/TR?fr_id=14244&pg=entry.

KWCH

Meatpacking companies and public health officials are trying to overcome any reluctance workers may have about coronavirus vaccines before they become eligible to get them. Major companies such as Tyson Foods and JBS are encouraging workers to get the vaccine with campaigns to educate them about the benefits and safety of the shots. Also, JBS and Pilgrim’s Corp. are offering $100 bonuses to workers who get the vaccine.

As a part of his four year theme/mission, Dr. Derrick Fox, Director of Choral Activities at the University of Nebraska-Omaha put in place at UNO an initiative entitled” Reflections of Us.”  With this, he works to connect the UNO student community and the Omaha community. This iteration of the mission is subtitled “United in Song.”

What he did was send out a song survey this fall to local retirement homes, since they have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. He asked them to list songs that they connected with great memories and/or family. 

In the “Live & Local” chat with Mike Hogan, Derrick talks about how he made this list available to choral students who chose songs and recorded them. Those performances were then edited together and sent to the retirement homes for their residents to have during the holidays. 

Dr. Fox provided links to preview that initiative as well as others he has led.  The complete two-part interview is also below.

Retirement Home Preview - https://app.vidgrid.com/view/SSQne56cwpkR/?sr=hgCKoS

Professional Choral Collective Lesson Links - https://www.drderrickfox.com/the-professional-choral-collective

Country Music Association Foundation - Unified Voices for Music Education - https://cmafoundation.org/voicesformusiced/

Lincoln Journal Star

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts is self-isolating from the public after he was exposed to someone over the weekend who tested positive for the coronavirus on Monday. Ricketts says he was near the person for longer than 15 minutes on Saturday. He had been scheduled Monday to participate in the Governor’s Annual Wellness Walk around the Capitol to promote fitness, but spoke to reporters instead through a video-conferencing link. Ricketts says his contact with the person who tested positive for the virus was for business and not a social gathering, but he didn't identify the person. 

KMEG

More than 54,000 people signed up for a coronavirus vaccine on the day that Nebraska’s new registration website went live, and state officials are seeking to assure residents that the elderly and vulnerable will still get priority. Officials with the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services say the website’s launch on Thursday went smoothly. Nebraska residents can register for a vaccination at vaccinate.ne.gov.

KITV

Governor Pete Ricketts announced on Saturday that Nebraska is moving from the blue phase to the green phase in the state's pandemic response plan. This means indoor gatherings can now reach one-hundred-percent capacity, but events with more than 500 people must write a reopening plan and send it to their local health department. The governor also said any Nebraskans who have been given both doses of the COVID vaccine no longer have to quarantine after a close contact exposure. These residents are asked to self-monitor for symptoms and wear a mask for two weeks.

Pandemic Leads To Split 2021 Swim Trials

Jan 27, 2021
Omaha Sports Commission

The U.S. Olympic Swim Trials in Omaha this summer will be split in half due to COVID-19.  USA Swimming says Wave 1 will be on June 4th through the 7th and Wave 2 on June 13th through the 20th.  The organization says Wave 2 will be the sole qualifier for the Olympic Games in Tokyo.  USA Swimming says the decision was made to reduce overcrowding in the arena and to provide a safer environment for the athletes. 

Lincoln Journal Star

Gov. Pete Ricketts is defending Nebraska’s approach to distributing coronavirus vaccines, saying the state won’t redirect doses away from rural areas that are outpacing Omaha and Lincoln with vaccinations. State officials reported Friday that 15 rural public health districts in Nebraska have already finished the first phase of vaccinations, which focused on front-line health workers. Those districts are now vaccinating the next high-priority group, consisting largely of residents who are at least 65 years old.

Lincoln Journal Star

A mass vaccination event in Lincoln that helped Nebraska record one of its most productive days in its campaign to distribute shots could serve as a model for future events. Health officials in Lincoln said roughly 2,400 health care workers received the vaccine Friday at the event held at the Pinnacle Bank Arena. That helped the state administer 8,701 doses of the vaccine on Friday in what was the second-busiest day of the campaign so far. The state has been averaging about 4,500 shots a day over the past two weeks as it works to speed up distribution of the vaccine. 

Lincoln Journal Star

Nebraska’s chief Supreme Court justice says the courts faced a big challenge due to the coronavirus pandemic but continue to serve the public with the use of technology. Justice Michael Heavican says the pandemic has forced courts to turn to livestreaming and video chatting services to keep proceedings accessible. Heavican says the court’s online payment systems allowed residents to pay traffic tickets and court fines without leaving their homes, and the judiciary also offers an online education system to help judges, lawyers, guardians and others meet continuous education requirements.

Thousands Of Applicants Strain Vaccine Registration Portal

Jan 21, 2021

The Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department's online COVID-19 vaccine registration form is experiencing technical difficulties.  The department says the problems are being caused by an extremely high volume of users.  They say as of 8:30 yesterday morning, 100 people were trying to register every second.  As of 9:30 a.m., more than 11-thousand people had registered.  The department says pages may take longer than normal to load, and those who are unable to get through should try again. 

  

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska’s campaign to vaccinate people for the coronavirus is further along in some rural parts of the state. At least half a dozen health districts across the state have already started giving vaccines to seniors living outside long-term care facilities, the Lincoln Journal Star reported. Officials in Lincoln and Omaha are still working to vaccinate health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities. State health officials have said they expected the campaign to progress at different rates throughout parts of Nebraska.

Tyson To Offer COVID-19 Vaccinations At Meatpacking Plants

Jan 15, 2021

(Waterloo, IA)  --  Tyson Foods will be vaccinating its workers for COVID-19. Several Tyson meatpacking plants in Iowa experienced severe outbreaks last year which led to several lawsuits. The company is now providing mobile clinics to offer on-site vaccinations for workers at its plants. Iowa will start allowing meatpacking workers to receive COVID-19 shots next month.

OPS Announces In-Person Learning Plan

Jan 13, 2021

(Omaha, NE)  --  The Omaha Public School District is working towards returning to in-person learning.  District officials say there will be phased transitions to in-person learning five days per week.  Elementary and middle schools will transition to five-days in-person learning per week on February 2nd, while high schools will transition to five days in-person learning per week on February 17th.  The district's Remote Learning Program will continue to be available.

Nebraska.gov

A new, more contagious strain of the coronavirus that has been discovered in five states is probably in Nebraska as well, but officials say they haven’t yet confirmed its presence. Dr. Gary Anthone says the new strain is concerning because it could lead to an increase in hospitalizations in Nebraska. Anthone says the state’s public health lab is purchasing its own equipment to test for the mutated virus. The new strain has led to a national lockdown in England, and the virus has been detected in California, Florida, New York, Georgia, and neighboring Colorado. 

No Vaccine For Undocumented Meat Packers, Says Ricketts

Jan 6, 2021
WOWT

Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts is saying only documented workers in meatpacking plants will get the COVID-19 vaccine.  Ricketts says people who work in the plants are supposed to be in the U.S. legally, and there will be no conflict since people need to be in the country legally to work in the food-processing program.  UFCW Local 293 officials tell WOWT that there are plenty of undocumented workers employed in the state's meatpacking plants, and that the best way to keep the plants running is to vaccinate everyone. 

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