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COVID 19

Urban League Nebraska is building a resilient North Omaha through strategic partnerships, generous giving, and community engagement that helps clients navigate their challenges and negotiate solutions.

Their vision is to lead Nebraska in helping people achieve social equality, economic independence and personal growth. 

President and CEO, Thomas Warren, spent some time chatting with Mike Hogan on “Live & Local” about the Tech Boot Camp, an accelerated program that provides AIM Code School’s accredited Foundations of Web Development curriculum paired with the Urban League’s professional bootcamp and career-readiness skills training. 

For more information, or to sign up for an opportunity to become “career ready” go to https://urbanleagueneb.org/jobs/career-boot-camps/

The Omaha Community Playhouse has opened a new production called Fully Committed. The show, held in the Howard Drew Theatre at OCP, stars Josh Peyton.  This comedic tour de force has Josh portraying 40 larger-than-life characters!

Josh took a little time out of “talking to himself” to chat with Mike Hogan on “Live & Local” to discuss how he keeps all the voices in his head straight, how to approach the mechanics of the show and how excited he is to be in front of a live, socially distanced audience!

More information can be found at www.OmahaPlayhouse.com

Fremont Tribune

Nebraska will move to its next coronavirus vaccination phase today with a focus on residents who are 50 to 64 years old and those with certain health conditions. Gov. Pete Ricketts says the change will apply to the entire state, unlike previous phases where the transition has taken place by public health district. Under the new phase, 90% of doses are required to go to residents in the 50-to-64 age group or people who qualified under previous phases. The remaining 10% will go to people with health conditions that are chosen by local doctors and public health officials in each region.

Alzheimer’s is a terrible disease that has touched the lives of all of us.  There are several fronts to battle this insidious illness: the search for a cure, improving treatments, caring for those afflicted, and caring for the caretakers.

Terry Streetman is the director of Public Policy and Advocacy for the Alzheimer’s Association-Nebraska Chapter.  On a daily basis, Terry is working hard to make sure Alzheimer’s issues are front and center in the minds of our government leaders.  In this two-part interview with Mike Hogan, Terry discusses how he leads the charge, tells us about progress, and what needs to happen next.

For more information on Alzheimer’s resources, one can go to the website https://www.alz.org/nebraska/about_us/staff

The Omaha STEM Ecosystem, a not-for-profit, is offering free resources online.  The Omaha STEM Ecosystem and AIM Institute announced the launch of the online STEM Community Platform. The mission of the STEM Community Platform, stemplatform.org, connects youth, parents, educators and professionals to an online hub of high-quality STEM programs, resources and events in the Greater Omaha area.   

Julie Sigmon, the director of The Omaha STEM Ecosystem, joined Mike Hogan on the “Live & Local” program to discuss these free resources, the importance of STEM education, and the partnership with AIM.

BBC

Nebraska health officials say a variant of the coronavirus first found in Brazil has been found in Omaha. The Omaha World-Herald reports that the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services has confirmed two people in Douglas County have tested positive for the so-called Brazil P.1 variant. That strain is believed to be responsible for a surge in hospitalizations in Brazil even though many people there had already developed COVID-19 and made antibodies against it.

As part of the Generator Series, Omaha Under the Radar presents “How are you, really?” a virtual program of films set to new, original scores exploring health in one of our most difficult years in memory.  The program features original film scores by composers from the United States, Mexico, and India.  One video looks at how mugger crocodiles and people manage to live in close proximity in Western India.  Another explores sexuality, sanity and family pressures set to film clips from a 1919 Mexican film, El Automovil Gris (The Gray Car).  Another is an original score created for a 1947 educational film teaching about hygiene and how to avoid illness. 

Curator Stacey Barelos checked in with Mike Hogan to discuss the program and the work that went into collaborating during a pandemic. 

More information on the program can be found at the website www.undertheradaromaha.com or you can view the program at

Sarah Lynn Brown has put together a non-traditional adaptation of Shakespeare’s most complex political villain, Richard III, which will be presented by an ensemble of three actors- all of whom share the title role among them. The show is called R3³ and it is at BLUEBARN Theatre right now.

Sarah took the time to chat with Mike Hogan on the “Live & Local” program about how she wrote the show and the great performers she directs in it.  The show can be seen live or streamed in the comfort of your own home.

More information can be found at http://bluebarn.org/

Covid Emergency Remains In Effect For Lincoln

Mar 16, 2021
Lincoln Journal Star

The city of Lincoln's COVID emergency declaration is staying in place.  City council members voted six-to-one yesterday against a motion to end the emergency.   Lincoln's emergency declaration has been in effect since March 2020, and supporters say it allows cities to get resources including personal protective equipment and reimbursement from the federal governor in a shorter period of time.

Tony Wendice has married his wife, Margot, for her money and now plans to murder her for the same reason.  He arranges the perfect murder.  And it's never that easy in the suspense thriller "Dial 'M' for Murder" now playing at the Bellevue Little Theatre.

Actress Laureen Pickle plays the wealthy Margot who finds herself a potential murder victim, then a suspect, and fighting for her life on death row!   Laureen spent some time with Mike Hogan on the "Live & Local" to discuss this production, having two "gorgeous" leading men in the COVID era, and the thrill of safely performing in front of a live audience again.

More information can be found at http://bellevuelittletheatre.weebly.com/

Dr. Susan La Flesche Picotte was the first Native American doctor in the United States.  She was also a reformer in the late 19th century.  She campaigned for public health and for the formal, legal allotment of land to members of the Omaha tribe. In addition, she started a hospital on the reservation in Walthill, Nebraska that needs some restoration help today.

Joe Starita is a journalism professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and he joined Mike Hogan “Live & Local” for a two-part chat about the amazing life, achievements, and work that Dr. Susan La Flesche Picotte accomplished in her short life.

More information about this incredible woman, her hospital and its renovation can be found at  https://drsusancenter.org/

More than 250,000 people have signed up for a coronavirus vaccination on Nebraska’s official registration website, but state officials say they want more and urged residents to add their names. State officials want residents to sign up online at vaccinate.ne.gov or through a toll-free hotline at 833-998-2275. The state is currently working to vaccinate residents who are at least 65 years and older, but the next phase will focus on people ages 50 to 64 and those with certain underlying health conditions.

Biden Marks 1 Year Of Coronavirus Pandemic

Mar 10, 2021
Wikimedia Commons

Thursday, March 11th at 7 p.m. CST, President Biden is giving the first prime-time address of his presidency to mark one year of the coronavirus pandemic, a day after Congress passed a massive relief package. More than 500,000 people have died from the virus in the U.S.  Watch or listen to President Biden's address here.

Covid Variants Now Confirmed In NE

Mar 10, 2021
NBC

Nebraska health officials continue to identify more cases of different variants of the coronavirus in the state. The state said Monday that five cases of the variant first identified in the United Kingdom and 14 cases of a variant first identified in California have now been confirmed. Both of those variants of the virus are believed to be more easily transmitted. State officials said they expect to receive 82,430 doses of the vaccines this week.

March is colorectal cancer awareness month.  In fact, the governor’s office finds the topic so important, the governor himself issued a proclamation officially naming March "Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month."

Joining Mike Hogan in a two-part “Live & Local” discussion is Dr. Josh Evans.  Dr. Evans specializes in gastroenterology and is involved with the Nebraska Cancer Coalition, the nonprofit organization behind the "Dress in Blue Day" and Colon Cancer Awareness efforts.  He breaks down the steps that you can take to not only detect colorectal cancer early (increasing chances of survival) but actually preventing any colorectal cancer from developing in the first place.

For more information, visit the Nebraska Colon Cancer Screening Program website, call (800) 532-2227, www.coloncancertaskforce.org or go to https://www.necancer.org/.

Omaha World Herald

Roughly 5,000 teachers from the Omaha area received their coronavirus vaccine shots this weekend. The Douglas County Health Department held two large vaccination clinics Saturday at Millard North and Omaha North high schools to distribute doses of the new Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine to educators. Tim Royers, president of the Millard Education Association, praised the mass vaccination effort. Royers said he’s optimistic all educators in Douglas County could be vaccinated by the end of next weekend. 

BRUSHBUCK WILDLIFE TOURS

 

With spring approaching, the sandhill cranes are making their way to breeding grounds in Canada and Alaska. Six-hundred-thousand of them will make their famous pit stop in Nebraska along the Platte River. Their gathering is a sight to behold.

 

Dusty Barner owns outdoor adventure outfitter Dusty Trails in North Platte. He founded the business about 15 years ago to provide activities like horseback riding and river tubing.

 

Emily Matis, Director of AIM Code School, joined Mike Hogan on “Live & Local” to talk about the AIM Institute’s free Introduction to Technology course the nonprofit is now offering in an effort to connect people with an interest in technology to opportunities they haven’t been able pursue as a result of financial barriers. 

More information can be found at https://interfaceschool.com/workshops/?utm_medium=article&utm_source=community_calendar&utm_campaign=code_school&utm_content=intro_to_tech_class

The Last Five Years is a captivating, intimate musical that retraces the rise and fall of a five-year romantic relationship.  The story is presented in chronological order by Jamie, the man, and in reverse by Cathy, the woman, with the two versions of the story meeting only once—at their wedding in the middle. Profoundly emotional with comedic moments sprinkled throughout, The Last Five Years is beautifully heartbreaking.

Susan Baer Collins directed this production and she spent some time “Live & Local” with Mike Hogan to discuss the show, the fantastic efforts by cast and crew in this pandemic era, and what it means to mount the first musical in months in front of a live audience.

More information can be found at https://www.omahaplayhouse.com/tickets/view/LastFive/

CNBC

Nebraska could get its first doses of drug-maker Johnson & Johnson’s new coronavirus vaccine as early as this week. Gov. Pete Ricketts says the state has been allowed to order up 15,000 doses, but state officials don’t yet know how much they’ll get. The announcement came days after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the vaccine, clearing the way for a third shot that’s shown to be effective. Unlike the vaccines from manufacturers Pfizer and Moderna, which require two doses to provide full immunity, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine can be delivered in one shot.

Five University of Nebraska―Lincoln students announced the creation of “The Civility Effect,” a communication campaign aimed at promoting civility, a topic that 93% of the public believes to be a major problem, according to a recent report from global PR firm Weber Shandwick.

Emerson Belitz is the Project Manager for the Bateman team, and Amanda Barker is the Deputy Executive Director + Director of Civic Health at Civic Nebraska.  They spent some time with Mike Hogan on “Live & Local” to discuss the project and the hoped for results in this two-part interview.

If you would like more information on the project, please go to the website  thecivilityeffect.org.

Jesse White plays Hedwig Schmidt in the rock musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch.  This is Billy McGuigan’s company, Rave On Productions, first show in The Omaha Series, performing a limited run at The Waiting Room in Benson.

Jesse chatted with Mike Hogan "Live & Local" about the show which is a groundbreaking show that tells the story of “internationally ignored song stylist” Hedwig Schmidt, a fourth-wall smashing East German rock ‘n’ roll goddess who also happens to be the victim of a botched sex-change operation, which has left her with just “an angry inch”.  Hedwig and the Angry Inch is the winner of four 2014 Tony Awards including Best Musical Revival, playing to record-breaking sell-out crowds on Broadway.

More information can be found at https://www.billymcguigan.com/theomahaseries.

The 29th Annual Irish Fest to benefit the works of Catholic Charities takes place tonight.  Otis Sallid, Director/Choreographer, and Annette Tanner, Writer, join Mike Hogan on the “Live & Local” program to discuss their work to make this fest a memorable one.

More information about Irish Fest and the work of Catholic Charities can be found at www.ccomaha.org.

NIFA

Nebraska has launched a federally funded aid program for renters and landlords who have lost income due to the pandemic, but residents of the state’s two largest counties won’t be eligible. The program managed by the Nebraska Investment Finance Authority offers a maximum of 15 months of rental or mortgage assistance per applicant, up to $20,000. State officials say it’s only available to tenants who make 80% or less of their county’s median income, and who can show they’re unable to pay rent because of a financial hardship caused by the pandemic or they’re at risk of becoming homeless.

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

Omaha World Herald

The coronavirus has devastated many types of businesses, and a new study in Nebraska shows just how hard the pandemic has hit child care centers. The Scottsbluff Star-Herald cited a new legislative study that found 231 licensed child care providers in the state have closed permanently since the pandemic began. Hundreds more shuttered temporarily, and more than half of operators say they will close permanently without further government financial assistance. Nebraska ranks highest in the nation for households with children where both parents work. 

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.

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